Wednesday, August 29, 2007


I hate brokenness. Someone I care about deeply is hurting in ways that I never imagined they could. It makes my heart ache inside as I feel their pain. It feels foreign and wrong-- like we were intended for something so much better, but we are stuck on this broken planet, breaking ourselves in the process.
This morning I sat on the bathroom floor and cried as I felt their pain; and as I cried, I felt God crying with me. I told Him, "God, I will do anything to help this person", and in my heart, I heard Him say, "So would I".

I have been reflecting on this song that Chris has been listening to a lot lately. It's called "Sorrow", by Bad Religion. I wouldn't expect to find deep insights on God or life from Bad Religion normally, but this song is special. In the video, he is broadcasting this song all around the world, and the lyrics say, "When the only true Messiah rescues us from ourselves, its easy to imagine: There will be sorrow no more."

He will wipe away all tears from their eyes; there will be no more death, and no more mourning or sadness. The world of the past is gone. (Revelation 21:4)

It's gonna be alright. Someday, it's gonna be alright.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I Just Found Heaven

Heaven, it turns out, can be found 2 blocks from our office, on Octavia Street. A friend & I were walking down the street today-- a walk I've taken many-a-time-- when we noticed a little confiserie, which is apparently French for "Heaven" (actually, it means a confectionery, or a candy store, if you really want to take the romance out of it).
It was called Miette (which means crumb), and if Willy Wonka had a hip Aunt with incredible style & taste, this would have been her store. It was a wonderland of mason jars filled with candy, tables of exotic chocolate, and a case of tiny treats-- gourmet cupcakes, bitty macaroons, tartlettes. I felt a sort of sacredness come over me when we walked inside-- even the music was ethereal.
We literally stood with our mouths open for about a minute taking it all in.
I ended up buying a tiny piece of spicy Aztec chocolate with pumpkin seeds in it (I know, sounds weird, but you would have bought it if you had been there, too!).

I looked up their website and you can rent out the store for children's birthday parties-- complete with a ballerina , a pony ride, and custom decorations & candies.
I'm tellin' you, this place was heaven =)

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Joy of Plants

Chris & I were gone for about 2 1/2 months this summer (gosh, just writing that kinda hurts), and we left our plants with some friends to plant-sit. We finally remembered to get them back last night, and it's incredible how alive and warm our apartment feels now!
Chris brought me back some flowers from his trip to Costco yesterday (flowers from Costco may not sound romantic, but let me tell you, he did a great job!). A friend also brought a tiny bouquet of flowers from her yard to the party last night, and they are sitting in my antique CocaCola glass on the table.
Our place has been magically transformed, and today feels more alive than yesterday =)

Ghetto Martha Stewart

Back when I was living in Compton, some friends gave me the title of Ghetto Martha Stewart (or GMS). It was partly because I literally lived in the Hood, and partly because I would sometimes get aspirations a little beyond my abilities. Once I made a super fancy cake for a Christmas party, but frosted it before it was cooled. The result was that it slid off the plate on the drive there, and ended up sitting on the floor of my ghetto ride (an '89 Buick LeSabre-- I used to ride in style). There was nothing to do when I arrived but brush off the carpet fuzz and serve it. Nobody knew-- don't tell.
So anyways, now that I'm 29, I was kinda hoping I had outgrown the "Ghetto" part of GMS, but sometimes I'm not sure.
Yesterday was Chris' birthday, and I definitely got caught in some aspirations that were beyond my abilities (actually, they were more beyond my time limits, but that' s kinda the same thing).
I made the mistake of beginning to paint the hallway a few days before hosting a party at our house. The morning of the party rolled around, and everything was still taped up, but not finished. So rather than leaving well enough alone, I decided to finish painting the day of the party. I ended up with only enough paint for one coat, making my nice latte beige a kind of peach color (it really needs another coat). I noticed, half-way into the party, that I left the tape on the ceiling. Oops. Who invited GMS to the party?
I also tried to make Chris this funny shirt for his birthday. After an hour of cursing the computer & trying to print out the little iron-on design, Chris came home to see all the pieces of the present scattered around the room. Ummm, surprise. Happy Birthday, from GMS.
I baked an apple pie & a carrot cake for the party, upon Chris' request. I forgot to add half of the oil to the cake (long story-- I was getting frazzled), and almost left the pie in the oven for an extra 2 hours to "warm". Sheesh.
All in all, though, the party turned out great, the cake didn't miss the oil (maybe it was the 6 pounds of butter & cream cheese in the frosting!), the pie turned out lovely, and everyone had a great time.
Oh, Chris did serve a few people regular espressos when they asked for decaf. Is there a male equivalent to GMS =)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Angry Mime

I keep meaning to share with the world about my Angry Mime experience at Ghirardelli Square. Over the weekend, Chris & I went down the the Warf to enjoy the sunshine & watch the tourists. As with any tourist area, there are all kinds of street performers, and you can always find a handful of those creepy mimes painted all silver to look like a statue. Well, one of the creepy mimes was "off duty" while his friend was doing the statue thing, so I thought it would be nice to just smile at the guy as we walked by to let him know that someone in the world recognized his humanity (that he was more than just an attraction on the street).
As I smiled, he started cussing me out! He just started yelling at me and calling me all kinds of names and (worst of all!) making fun of Gavin, our dog. He was spewing hatred and venom as I have seen few people do to a total stranger!
It was so very odd & ironic (not just that I smiled to make his day better, but because he's a mime... yelling!) that I just burst out laughing. He didn't like that very much, and just kept swearing at me as I was whisked away into the crowd, laughing harder & harder.

Monday, August 20, 2007

East of Eden

A friend was recently telling me about how she and her husband decided that they spend too much time in front of the television. They started playing card games together, putting together puzzles, and reading books out loud together.
That last one sounded great to me, and for the last several weeks, Chris & I have promised ourselves that we would take one night a week to read a book together. We had thought we would read a book on marriage, or a good spiritual book, but tonight at dinner, East of Eden caught my eye on the book shelf.

Now, East of Eden is (besides the Bible, of course) the best book I have ever read (and re-read, and re-re-read). Our staff team got me a first edition copy for my birthday, and this lovely green book was staring at me from the bookshelf, almost audibly asking to be read.

So Chris & I spent the evening on the couch, while I read out loud from East of Eden. I thought we would take turns, but once I started reading, I didn't want to stop. It was therapeutic. There is something so deep and rich about this book, and I have read it so many times that it was like sharing a part of my soul, and it felt so good.

Growing up, both my mom & my dad would read out loud to me. Even through high school, my parents and I would read books together, and it was almost a sacred time together. It was a beautiful thing tonight to get to share that with Chris, and let him be a part of my world in that way. I can't believe we've never thought of it before...

I'm an Italian Goddess!

Yesterday afternoon, I got a strange craving for spaghetti and meatballs. This happens from time to time, and I just need to follow my craving. So, I decided that it was really important to make spaghetti and meatballs from scratch.
Chris indulged me in my obsession, and several hours later (and a trip to Trader Joe's) we sat down to a feast of garlic, herb & parmesan breadsticks, tangy home made marinara sauce, turkey meatballs with Pancetta & sun dried tomatoes, pasta, and red wine.
Let me tell you, it was amazing. And, if I do say so myself, I think I'd make a pretty good Italian =)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Fighting for my Weekend

I recently started taking this medication that has made me crazy-- literally crazy. Not to mention being highly emotional, it's also made me nauseated, dizzy, given me gnarly headaches & blurred vision, and (worst of all!) made me gain weight. It sucks.

So anyway, we had big plans for the weekend, but feeling poopie has really put a wrench in our plans. But I made a decision: this silly little pill would not defeat me.
Friday night, when I was about to break down & cry because I couldn't find anything that fit me (the weight gain & emotions) I was tempted to not go out & see our friend's jazz band play at the cute little Cuban coffee house. But a little emotional outburst (and nausea & a headache) couldn't stop me, so we went anyways. Okay, we came home after an hour, but still-- I made it out of the house!
Saturday we had a lovely, leisurely morning of sleeping in & making Irish Soda Bread. Then we headed out to the Marina & Ghirardelli Square to enjoy the sunshine & watch tourists. Once again, crazy emotions and a headache couldn't stop me (although I did get a little cranky with Chris-- sorry Chris!). After that, I got beaten half to death by a little Chinese Kung-Fu Master posing as a facialist (is that a word? What to you call the lady that gives you a facial?), but I was determined to enjoy myself (even though she almost ripped my nose ring out of my head... twice!). It really was nice.
Today was an amazing, perfect Sunday. It was sunny and warm-- actually warm, not some pretend sunny-but-cool-and-breezy San Francisco weather. We went to church, took Gavin for a long walk to the top of Bernal Hill (where he was an angel off-leash. I take back half the bad things I said about him).
After that, I refused to be defeated by a nasty headache, and walked a mile to my favorite bead store where I learned to knit with wire. On the way home, I did a little shopping, and was actually treated like "one of us" by the cooler-than-you San Franciscan retailers. A new experience!
We ate a big dinner, and painted the front door a red that I actually love, and now it's time for bed.
That stupid pill had me up against the ropes a few times this weekend, but I am definitely ending my Sunday night feeling wonderful and victorious. You shall not defeat me...

Friday, August 17, 2007

Love-Hate Relationship: Evil, Disobedient, Demonic Dog

So, most days, I love my little pit-bull mutt, Gavin. I would even say that until about 6pm, I was thinking that he was being such a great dog today... but now, I hate him.
I took him to the dog park, where he is normally really great... but as I said, today I hate him.

Let me say a little something about dog parks in SF. People take dog owning very seriously here. I've heard that there are more dogs than children in the city. I've also heard that legally in San Francisco, Gavin is an "Animal Companion", not a pet, and I am not an "owner" (I haven't actually confirmed this-- it's just a rumor I've heard). Anyways, people at dog parks (for the most part) have their dogs amazingly well trained, and there seems to be a kind of social hierarchy based on how good your dog is. It's like mom's comparing their preschooler's art work.

Today, there was this lady at the dog park who kept throwing her ball for her dog, but Gavin always beat her dog to it. Then he thought we were playing a fun game of keep away, and it would take me about 5 minutes each time to chase him down & get the stupid ball back. I would give her the [slobbery] ball, she would throw it, her dog would look stupidly at her without moving, and Gavin would get it.
I spent an eternity chasing him around the dog park, calling to him, trying to coax him with treats, and watching him get just out of arm's reach. And all the other dog owners watched me and judged (I could feel it). [Incidentally, all their dogs were chasing me around, trying to get the treat that Gavin so obviously didn't want]
When I finally caught him, I was so mad & wanted to punish him, so I spanked him (I'm sure I was judged even more severely), and put his leash on to go home. The worst part was that he was never afraid of my rage, he just stupidly followed me back to the car with a dumb happy grin on his face.
I don't think I would have been half as angry if he had just cowered and looked remorseful. Stupid dog. I hate him...

Oh Happy Day: Livin' Off the Land

My friend, Jenny came up with the term "Livin' off the Land" (okay, technically she didn't come up with the term, but she reintroduced it to our urbanite vocabulary with a new meaning), and she is the queen of Livin' off the Land. This means using the resources around you to do or make things for free. For example, using branches & twigs to make a cool picture frame, or creating a patio on the roof with furniture found on the street. It also means finding fun & interesting things to do that don't include paying $12 for a movie ticket.
That's where my Happy Day comes in. I discovered today a website called, and it is exactly what it sounds like. I learned that this weekend, there's a free showing of Shakespeare's Henry IV, a Blues & Beer Festival, a Bay Area BBQ Cook Off and Music Festival, a Lonely Planet Exhibition (where they're raffling off tickets to Hawaii, luggage & stuff), and a miniature golf course that they're setting up in the middle of the city (for free).
That's all this weekend!
Tonight, we're listening to a friend play Jazz at a cute little Cuban cafe (also free, but not listed on the website!). How fun!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Chicken Soup for the Tastebuds

My Dad told me tonight that chicken soup is the Jewish remedy for a cold. My mom always told me that the French cure for a cold was going to bed with a bottle of wine (those stinking French-- they'll use any excuse!).
So tonight, I made some homemade chicken soup for dinner, and we had a bottle of 2 Buck Chuck.
Man, I had forgotten how good homemade chicken soup is-- plus it's super cheap & easy to make, and really healthy. Between that and the wine, I'm feelin' pretty good. Maybe that's the wine talking, though-- I'm a bit dizzy =)

Sick Day

The last few days, I have been feeling kinda crappy on and off. I thought maybe it was just the long meetings. Actually, I kinda thought it was a migraine threatening to strike, or possibly this new medication I've been taking.
Today, however, I woke up and felt awful (nothing new-- waking up at 6am usually does feel awful!), and as the morning progressed, and it continually hurt to be alive (coughing, achy-everything, crazy stomach, drained of all life...), I decided it was time to go back to bed.

I didn't get up again until 1:30! I don't think I even slept until 1:30 in college! I have little memory of life between 1:30 and now except that I talked to my mom on the phone for a long time (does everyone call their mom when they are sick, or is it just me?), and that I was dying of thirst. They turned off our water today to fix some plumbing problem, and I had that cotton-mouth, sick, thirsty feeling. Yuck! Luckily, I seem to always leave half empty (half-full?) glasses of water laying around the house, so I was able to make it until 4 when our water came back on. Whew!

I feel a heck of a lot better now. A lot of sleep and a little Air Born does wonders! =)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Slamming my Head Against the Wall

There are a few movies in my life that have left me speechless: Life is Beautiful, Crash... I remember not wanting to talk after seeing a few really amazing films.
After Hot Fuzz, I am also left speechless, but it's more that I lost my ability to speak (I think little bits of my brain leaked out of my ears. Can movies kill brain cells?)
The worst part is: I actually laughed out loud. Several times. ;)

Banging my Head Against the Wall

I think we can all agree that long meetings suck. Is there anyone in this world who truly relishes a long meeting?

This week, our staff team met together Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 10am until 5pm. Meetings from 10 until 5. I take that back-- today, we met until 5:30.

Now, let the records show that I love my staff team. I love working with them. I love dreaming & creating with them. I even love hanging out with them. I can say in all honesty that I think I have a fantastic boss (and I'm not just saying that because he will probably be reading this!). BUT, at around 5:15 today, when we were still meeting, I was ready to throw something.
It's been a long week.

Tomorrow, we get to go out on campus and talk to humans and leave behinds charts and white boards and roller chairs. Hallelujah.

We had planned on going to church tonight, but I just don't think I can sit and listen any longer (plus, it starts in 5 minutes). We got our Netflix in the mail, so I think I will now shut off my brain and watch Hot Fuzz (that's how bad it's gotten). With a margarita, I might just think it's hilarious.

Monday, August 13, 2007

God Came Back

Since we moved to San Francisco, I have felt a distance in my relationship with God. The first year we were here, it was an aching void, and it was miserable. It was a year of feeling like a raisin inside, with all the life & hope & joy & God sucked out of me.

The second year, things got better, but it was more like there was a veil separating me from God & life & hope (which is better than a void). I felt like I was able to exist and work and go to church, but it was like I was stuck in this mediocrity of my soul, and I couldn't feel God's presence.

Sometime this June, I felt like God was beginning to stir inside of me, telling me that things would change this summer, and that I would turn a new page in my relationship with Him. I was hopeful, and a lot of friends were praying for me. And I did learn a lot and I saw God work a lot, but hadn't quite experienced the freedom from this dull sadness that I was hoping for.

Well, yesterday was officially the last day of summer for us, in that today was our first day back for the Fall, meeting together as a staff team. And at church yesterday, I went in feeling that same dull sadness, but at the very end of the service, we sang a song, and it was like someone opened all the windows and let in the light.

It was so lovely and wonderful, but it didn't really hit me until this morning: I realized that God started bringing my heart back to life again on the very last day of summer. As I realized that, I couldn't help but laugh. And then, as I went about my morning, getting ready for our first staff meeting, I felt more & more light come in, until I realized that God had come back.

I just felt Him all of a sudden-- His presence, His life, all of the things I have been quietly aching for... they all came back. I found myself on the bathroom floor crying, just for the feeling of having a heart that is alive.
God literally showed up 1 hour before my summer officially ended. It is said that God is never late, but rarely early.
It's a good day today.

Thoughts on Faith: The Kingdom of God (?)

"He [Jesus] called the Twelve together and gave them power and authority over all devils to cure diseases, and he sent them to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal... So they set out and went from village to village proclaiming the Good News and healing everywhere." -Luke 9:1-2, & 6

I read this passage the other morning and started thinking to myself, "Most of the Christianity I see in America today-- that is, 'evangelicalism' (and specifically the company I work for)-- really doesn't look anything like this. In fact, my life doesn't look anything like this."

When we talk about "sharing the Gospel", it usually consists of a list of very basic principals, like "Jesus loves you and he died for your sins so that you can go to heaven & live with him forever." But I don't think that's what Jesus meant when he told his followers to "proclaim the kingdom of God."

What exactly is the kingdom of God? I don't even know that I could give someone a good definition-- and I certainly don't go around telling people about it.

Another thought from this passage was that probably 75% of Jesus' ministry on earth was casting out demons & healing diseases. His disciples & apostles followed his example. But I have never in my whole life seen someone cast out a demon or heal a disease-- let alone do it myself.

It made me wonder: why would Jesus give us authority over demons if we didn't really need it? And why would he give us power to cure diseases if he didn't mean for us to do it?

I'm not going to go out & join any big tent revival, or anything, but I have been thinking for a while that my view of following Jesus (about "the kingdom of God") is much too small...

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Indecision Meltdown: Painting the Walls

I have been wanting to paint our apartment ever since we moved in. I confess that I have had color swatches of yellow paint taped to our bedroom wall for almost a year. I just can't commit. And Chris (although gifted in many, many areas) is practically worthless to me because he's color blind.
So, for some reason, I had a burst of inspiration yesterday, and I ran out to the paint store down the street, loaded with my birthday money, and bought a bunch of sample paints. There was one brick red paint that I loved that they didn't have a sample container for, so I said "screw it", and bought a quart of it.
Now, the top left corner of our front door is a lipstick colored fuchsia (the "brick red"), there is a powdery baby blue smear in our entryway, and two big painfully yellow squares in the bedroom. I spend $35 on yucky paint! That could have been a sweater, or something! Not only that, but I'm panicked, and wish I had never started, but I can't go back because of all the "practice paint" on the walls.
Luckily, I have a friend who's an artist, and very good with colors. She's promised that she will come look at our walls (in exchange for dinner!) and help me out. ;)
Whew! I thought I had a hard time ordering dinner-- painting walls is not for the indecisive.

Lovely Sunday

Today was sunny and nice in the City, and after going to church, getting coffee with some friends, and relaxing for a while, we drove down to Pacifica for a hike. Pacifica is this cute, sleepy little beach town south of San Francisco, and this trail is a hidden gem.
Last time we went there, we hiked to the very top of a grassy hill (Mountain? Hill? Well, it's about 3 miles up-- it's at least a BIG hill!) overlooking the ocean, and it was covered in purple irises. It was absolutely beautiful. This time, there were these bright pink flowers-- like a cross between an orchid & a pansy-- growing along the entire trail. So lovely.
Our dog Gavin was angelic, running around off leash-- tearing up the trail until he almost couldn't see us anymore, skidding to a stop, then flying past us & back down the trail, and back up again. It's hilarious-- he looks like his alignment is off, 'cause he always runs a little crooked. There's something great about owning a dumb, happy dog.
We had a big yummy salad & corn bread for dinner, cleaned up the apartment, and are going to try to get to bed early.
Pretty much a perfect Sunday!

Saturday, August 11, 2007


Chris & I just finished watching the movie Adaptation, with Nicholas Cage.
I was left with a "huh" hanging on my lips-- not quite "huh???" or "uh-uh"; and not really "ah-ha", but somewhere in between.
I worked hard & thought hard, and this is what I think I came up with: It seemed like none of the characters in the movie knew what story they were telling-- in their lives, or in their writing. At the end, Merryl Streep's character cries that she wishes she could be born again-- that she could start life over & tell a new story.
It seems like a lot of people get stuck in the middle of their lives, look around & realize that they don't know what story they are trying to tell. And more important than how the story ends, the question to ask is "Is this story worth telling?"
They are all searching for something to be passionate about, something to believe in. One of Nicholas Cage's characters (he plays twin brothers) says at one point, "It's what you love that defines you, not what loves you." I think it's a little bit of both, though.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Another One Bites the Dust

Yesterday, Chris & I helped a good friend move. Alas, this is the plight of the San Franciscan. In 2 years, I have seen 2 good friends leave the City-- which I've heard is a pretty good average for here.
I'm sad to see them go, 'cause I'm a terrible keeper-in-toucher, and because it's hard to find friends who will ask you "How are you really?" and mean it.
I told myself when we got back from all our travels this summer that I would once again start the quest for friends. It's funny-- like dating again, except that I'm married. When I meet someone who seems interesting (friend potential), I feel like an overly eager guy at a bar, asking for phone numbers and arranging times to hang out. But what's a girl to do? I know that if I don't go for it, Chris & I will spend far too many nights in front of our Netflix ;)
Cara, I will miss you!
Now, I will search Craigslist for someone to replace her (um, just kidding)

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

A Grey Day

Somehow, I managed to sleep in until 9:30 today! This is our last week before schools start up again, and I am forced to live with an actual routine. You would think it would be nice to be able to sleep in everyday, and not live by a schedule, but I think it's starting to get me down. It doesn't help that it's 11am and the sun hasn't come out yet! San Francisco in the summer is a strange, strange thing...