Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Ohh the Latte

I love me some latte! Every time I go to Starbucks I am amazed at the excitement that fills my bones when I hear "Grande Decaf Vanilla Soy Latte for Lily at the bar!" I feel as though I have won the lottery when my drink is called. The contents of the cup and the general company I find myself with on such numerous occasions is a joyous moment each time.
My love for lattes has grown over the years. When I was a senior in college a Starbucks opened in Hilo, HI. A big day for such a small town! On my first visit I remember ordering a Vanilla Cream Frappuccino, the gateway to the endless world of coffee. I remember walking in, not feeling very confident and knowing next to nothing about what ordering a coffee drink was all about. So I didn't order coffee at all! Besides, it was far too overwhelming to have to make that many decisions about so many things that all end up in one cup in 5 seconds flat! A new friend Natalie was there at my first Starbucks experience and we talked together about the joy coffee and Starbucks could bring to little old Hilo.
Well, little did I know that I was walking down a path towards addiction. I soon graduated to coffee flavored Frappuccinos and then onto big kid drinks like Mochas and then my beloved Latte. I even aged in my coffee affections to take on the drip. But, alas, I am not old enough yet to handle black coffee, I need that cream and Splenda! As I drank more coffee, especially my first 2.5 years on Young Life staff I decided that sleep was over rated when there was coffee that was black as tar waiting for me every morning in the office. I would load that cup up with powdered creamer and some sugar and be on my exhausted way! I would get the shakes most days and pass it off as a worth while side effect because of needing constant energy to be with kids.
3 years after I started drinking coffee ferociously I decided I was going to take a week off from drinking it to try to clean my system out and get back to maybe 1 cup a day. Two days into my caffeine freedom, or so I thought, the worst headache of my life came on and didn't go away for a couple days. It was as though a vice was on my head slowly tightening itself around my brain patiently waiting for my head to explode. I was depressed and beat down, all from not having caffeine! So that's when I decided that I was through with this caffeine business!
It's been 2 and a half years since giving up caffeine and now something nes is happening. In the last 3 weeks I have had some caffeinated coffee drinks here and there and my stomach has decided to have a little Rumble in the Bronx every time I drink it. This is a sad day because there will be moments in Young Life when I am going to neeeeed caffeine and I have to way being tired or being sick. Oh the need for energy... Anyway, God bless decaf coffee, because the caffeine is no where near the addiction of the taste for me anymore. So here's to all of the people who love them some Starbucks, we are on the same train together!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Things I Love

I've decided to write about the things in life that I love. This being the first installment of many, I hope.

First off... The iPod. I'm not sure I am exaggerating when I say that the iPod is my most favorite invention of the 21st century. I have owned 5 iPods in 4 years. 2 shuffles (1 was lost in the "shuffle" of a move), 1 iPod mini (sold to an iPod needing friend), one video iPod (I still own it) and of course my beloved iPhone. I am a music hoard. I love music so, so much and having it all on one little machine was my dream come true. I was the kid on the airplane flying back and forth to Hawaii from Colorado carrying around a Case Logic CD case with way too many CD's crammed inside. I had my Discman and was armed with extra batteries all the time. I always had to have ALL of my music with me wherever I went. It didn't matter if I was going to ride the bus for 5 minutes, all of my music was coming with me. Then the iPod came into my life.
When I ordered it online 4 and a half years ago I tracked it as it made it's way to my door. Taiwan, Hong Kong, LA, Memphis, back to LA then Honolulu and then to little Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii. Oh, how I waited for the FedEx guy to arrive. I spent all week loading all of my CD's into my computer so that when my first iPod finally arrived I would be ready to download all of my music and be on my merry way! Somewhere in my life I still have a bagillion CDs waiting for the resurrection of the Discman.
I now have my shuffle for running, my video iPod kicking it in the dock ready for a listen at anytime and my iPhone that has all of my current favorites on it. I was driving to Tahoe this weekend listening to my iPhone on shuffle realizing my emotions as each song came on. One song would come on that I would start to sing along with and belt it out like I just one American Idol. Another song would come on and I would remember a hard time in life. I love the shuffle function on the iPod because it's a walk down memory lane. My iPods bring me such joy, or better, the contents on my iPods bring me great joy. For this invention I am deeply grateful. Steve Jobs you have won my heart.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Reading Good Writing

I'm a recent subscriber of the New York Times Sunday Edition. With every sentence that my eyes take in I think I can literally feel my brain cells reproducing themselves! Not only are the stories fascinating they are encouraging, challenging and speak to my heart. New insight into world affairs, a delightful story about a dog helping one person love another well, a daughter finding simple ways to show her mom she loves her. For so long I thought the Times, and most papers for that matter, all should be called The Middle East Daily Digest or something because that's all that I thought was in them. I have been proven wrong and have found great anticipation fill my soul as I awake on Sunday morning knowing that all of these peoples lives are waiting for me in a little blue plastic bag. To think that their lives are typed up on paper that later will be incinerated, thrown on the ground with an unknown fate, vulnerable to the elements is far more than can be expected for many of our stories. But their stories are so rich, so beautiful and life giving. I wish my story was left at the bottom of the steps for someone to read...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Seaside Thinking

Two years passed
Life and light gone so quick
Faithfulness like the crashing of waves
Persistance unchanged

Grief and sorrow
Tears fall like rain
The heart grows as watered with pain
Brokenness produces fruit

Inching closer, the coming tide
Ready to wash away
The power rips the sand away
come closer, so close

Sunday, May 10, 2009


As the Easter season continues our pastors at City Church are talking about resurrection stories found throughout the Bible.  Today was the story about the woman with the issue of blood and Jairus' dughter having died.  Jesus stops to heal the woman who's been bleeding for 12 years rather than rushing to the house of Jairus to help his daughter.  The woman gets healed and Jesus heads off to "awake" the your girl from her sleep.  She is raised from the dead and has new life.  You can imagine Jairus' excitement in light of a second chance that both he and his daughter now have.  
As I was sitting through the service being reminded that we all die I realized that we all experience the consequence of sin being death.  We all experience death.  We all die.  We all lose people.  So though Christ has "saved" us we still experience the consequence of our actions by feeling loss when death occurs in our lives.  There isn't anything that we can do to not ever experience death, thus we always will experience the depth of our depravity.  Our salvation doesn't stop us from feeling the consequences of our sin.  We are still sinful.  We are still more wretched than we can understand and more loved than we can imagine.  Knowing Christ doesn't eradicate the most awful feelings from our lives.  Christ does not make life smooth, nor does positive thinking or any other form of self encouragement.  There are parts of life that are just awful no matter what.  I hate death only for selfish reasons.  I hate that my friend isn't here any more and it's deaths fault.  Therefore I hate death and I hate that I am experiencing the consequence of my sin.
May the unimaginable love win in my heart.  Though I don't think it wins very often.  I cannot escape my depraved humanity not can I perfect it.  Living in it to it's fullest potential is my greatest challenge.  My greatest potential is to love and be loved, I agree with Ewan McGregor's character in Moulin Rouge.  Love is the only thing that matters.  There is nothing else of any worth in comparison to love.  

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


I was asked today what my inspiration has been lately.  What am I listening to on my iPod?  Who or what is motivating me to become more than I am currently?  I didn't really have a great answer.  I don't think a great answer was expected, but I certainly felt at a loss when something didn't just fly into my brain and out my mouth.  I have now spent the last hour or so thinking about what inspires me.  
I am most inspired by people.  Not first by what they produce but who they are.  Seeing people live out their convictions in a way that is an investment in the betterment of society is an inspiration to me.  Maybe I need to start with my convictions rather than my desire to be inspired.  Nonetheless... I am inspired by athletes who choose to do seemingly impossible things.  I want to be like them in only 10% of their abilities and I feel satisfied.  I am inspired by authors, oh how I long to write eloquently.  I want to inspire through writing.  I am inspired by others in Young Life reaching the next kid and loving them unconditionally.  The potential for future possibilities of life are inspiring.  Music, how I love music and how it moves me to experience emotions I didn't know I had.  Movies move me to action.  
Nothing motivates me more than the connection I have with a few people.  My friends who are not afraid of their convictions and callings and who run full force towards that call.  The friends who aren't afraid to be themselves and to love in an inspirational way.  You motivate me.  You make me want to be more than who I am currently.  Thank you.  

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Team Young Life Adventures all dressed in polk-a-dots completes century fundraiser #1!  What a day it was riding 100 miles in Chico, CA and the surrounding area.  My expectations were exceeded multiple times...  First of all Chico is way more beautiful that I anticipated.  Riding 100 miles is challenging but not as punishing as a marathon, therefore I feel like I want to ride another century some time.  The food at the rest stops was incredible and they were frequent (PTL).  Best of all was the group that I got to ride with.  All of us riding to support a program that has changed my life and has changed the lives of hundreds of teenagers every summer.   It was truly a gift to ride with the Thomsens!
As I rode up hills by myself sucking wind, just trying to make it I was struck by the surrounding area, how majestic it was and how I was looking forward to joining the group again to enjoy what we were doing together.  I didn't want to finish the race alone and the Lord knew that.  I was able to ride the last 40 miles with 8 other people from our group.  That was the highlight of my ride, going through the flats with our polk-a-dots in full force passing so many people and talking about life together.  It was a great lesson in team work as I couldn't have ridden that fast into town on my own.  Two guys carried the group by letting us draft behind them.  Thanks Thomsen bros!  Also so fun to ride alongside Courtney for 40 miles, sharing in one more adventure together!   
So here's to athletic insanity, the Kingdom of God growing in the hearts of kids and the wonderful feeling of accomplishment.  It will surely happen again!

Saturday, April 11, 2009


This weekend 9 current Young Life kids and 2 former YL kids are being baptized!  What a way to celebrate Easter!  One of my high school friends and I were sitting at the top of the Broadway tunnel looking out over the city talking about life and baptism.  What a privilege it is to take the journey with teenagers into new life in Christ.  It is truly amazing to see God's faithfulness through the kids desire to be baptized!  
It has reminded me of when I was baptized.  The moment of feeling like the Holy Spirit met me in his fullness as I was immersed in water.  It was so personal, like Jesus was pulling me out of the water and telling me that he loved me.  It was a beautiful gift of intimacy between my Savior and I.  Going down into the water is truly the way back up to fullness with Christ.  Thank you Jesus for new life and love unending.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Relationship without risk is not relationship.  Will I choose to challenge those that have been brought into my life?  Will I choose to live in such a way that draws the deepest parts of people out?  Will I ask questions that could result in pain and frustration?  Will I let people into the depths of my life?  Will I reveal that parts of me that sometimes feel like they are going to eat me alive?  The answers to these questions is not often.  
The motivation of my life is usually fear.  Fear of hurting others and of being hurt.  Fear of abandonment and disapproval.  Fear of never being enough.  So I hold relationships at bay hoping that people won't figure me out.  Hoping they won't see that part of me is a fraud.  The false self comes out to play leaving the true self in the shadows waiting for one shining moment to be revealed.   But when those moments come they bring truth, beauty and love.  Oh how I long to live out those moments at all times.  How I wish my motivation were solely out of love.  Regret would be left to the wind and the air would be filled with passion and extravagance.  
I challenge myself tonight to learn to live out of love and passion, not out of fear.  The kingdom of God is not a kingdom of condemnation but one of love and encouragement.  Our Savior is dripping with love calling out the deepest parts of who I am and I want to live in such a way that points towards him.  Relationships have the most powerful place in my life, my hope is to represent the love of the place Power really comes from.  Perfect love drives out fear.  

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


I invite you into my darkness.  Into my fear, my weakness, my sadness.  Depressing?  At times...  Beautiful?  If you read between the lines.  I am inviting you to look into the void and find the majesty and mystery that rests there.  No, it doesn't initially make sense, but the journey towards understanding will unfold.  The hope is to truly know more of Christ as I reveal more of myself.  He is found in my nothingness, in the deep places that I keep hidden, in the "just beneath the surface" part of my life.  That is where Jesus is.  
The recent days have held a grief beneath the surface of my life that lurks waiting for a moment to be released.  To be realized.  I haven't tried to forget about how I feel, I have done what I can to keep living which results in short term memory loss.  The moment I slow down for even a second I come crashing into the grief that rests in my heart.  I find comfort in my sorrow knowing very well that Jesus meets me there.  I feel very alone in my sorrow because all I want is to be with someone that understands.  That's why this is an open ended invitation.  
To escape my loneliness means I need to invite people into my void.  Into, my darkness, my fear, my weakness and sadness.  Out of these broken places grows hope.  It is in the valley where things grow and Lord I am asking you to grow me.  I cannot grow alone, thus community is welcomed in to water the loneliness with compassion and understanding, mercy and grace.  The body of Christ at work.  
So come friends.  Here we are together standing in the gaps for one another.  Doing for others what we cannot do alone, what they cannot do for themselves.  We are the body of Christ, come make my heart your home.