Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

"Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
with glowing hearts by His cradle we stand."

Thursday, December 17, 2009

it's reindeer...

This morning I was listening to a radio station that plays only Christmas music during the month of December, and there was a well-known version of "Here Comes Santa Claus" playing. I couldn't help but cringe every time the singer reprised, "Vixen and Blitzen and all his reindeers are pulling on the reins..."

It's reindeer, people, not reindeers.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

O Christmas Tree

My roommate and I got our tree today--a nice 6-foot Douglas fir. He smells heavenly. I kinda want to sleep on the living room floor tonight just so I can breathe it in.

Tomorrow night...ornaments!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


"You called, you cried, you shattered my deafness. You sparkled, you blazed, you drove away my blindness. You shed your fragrance, and I drew in my breath, and I pant for you. I tasted and now I hunger and thirst. You touched me and now I burn with longing for your peace."
~ St. Augustine~

I love Augustine. His writings always invoke inspiration and awe.

Monday, November 23, 2009


Highlights of my trip to New Orleans (aka N'awlins):

1. The awesome brick wall and huge windows in our hotel room.

2. More fried food than I would ever care to eat in a week (highlight or lowlight?)

3. Being asked to take photos with some of my authors.

4. Reconnecting with "conference people" friends.

5. Braving Bourbon Street on a Saturday night.

6. The awesome live music at our bar of choice on Bourbon.

7. The young (sober) man who, just before exiting said bar with his buddies, told me I was extraordinarily beautiful. (Extraordinarily!)

New Orleans, I wish I could have seen more of you. Thank you for not flashing me. Man Who Called Me Beautiful, you made my night, maybe even my year. Thanks for your sincerity.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Way down yonder in New Orleans...

Tomorrow I'm headed to New Orleans for the week for a work conference.

Bourbon Street, here I come...

Saturday, November 7, 2009

seasons in san diego

Even though I live in Southern California--and only a mile or two from the beach--I am happy to report that fall still makes its presence known.

Right outside my living room window I can watch the leaves turn. This was taken last weekend. Today there are more leaves turned scarlet, and a carpet of them on the ground below.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

on joy

A wonderful friend gave me the book Come Away My Beloved by Frances J. Roberts a couple of years ago. This little book has ministered to my heart many times as I've read and re-read it. This week I read "The Healing Power of Joy" and really enjoyed this portion:
Bring Me your sorrow, and watch for the sunrise of the resurrection. Yes, truly there always comes a resurrection--a morning when hope is reborn and life finds new beginning. Wait for it as tulip bulbs anticipate the spring. The rarest of blooms are enhanced by the coldness of winter. The snow plays her part in producing spring's pageant. But when the blossoms break through, we do not then turn back to thoughts of winter, but instead, we look ahead to the full joys of the coming summer.
So you must do also. Your God is your maker. He is your defender. And He is mighty to save.

 I love the image of the most beautiful blooms being enhanced as they are by the coldest of winters. What a great hope that gives us for ourselves when we're find ourselves going through "cold" times! And Zephaniah 3:17 is my favorite verse of the Bible: "The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing."

When I looked up the book on Amazon I found that Frances has written multiple other books too, and think I just may need to go check out a few others as well.

Friday, October 16, 2009

on faith

"Faith is a cop-out. If the only way you can accept an assertion is by faith, then you are conceding that it can't be taken on its own merits." (Dan Barker)

 There’s a problem with this statement, and it’s not just from a religious standpoint. The very definition of “faith” is a firm belief in something for which there is no proof (check out Webster’s Dictionary).

It is maddening, really, how simultaneously simple and complex the idea of faith is...believing in that thing which you cannot see, cannot feel, no questions asked, all doubts laid aside, having steadfast confidence—no matter what happens. How can something so simple—just believe—be so hard to grasp? No one can convince someone else to have that faith; they have to decide for themselves. A choice must be made to surrender all those unanswered questions and unknowns and uncertainties.

We cannot give up only some things and have true, all-encompassing faith and abandon in God. He doesn't ask for part of us, but for all of us. It's about giving up our "right" to anything and everything that we place value in—family, friends, lovers, dreams, goals, our very selves.

We ask whether or not the beauty of the world and the suffering of the world can truly come from the same hand. If they are from the same hand, we wonder what in the world God is thinking, and how He can truly be good and compassionate and loving. If they are not from the same hand, we wonder how God can truly be all-powerful, for if He was and He did not initially have his hand in our suffering, then why would he not intercede on our behalf and end it.

Believing—if only for a moment—that God does indeed exist and, in fact, has His hand in and on everything, we also have to believe in our own smallness, knowing that this universe is both complex and intelligible, and that He who fashioned such a world out of nothing might also be able to bring something beautiful out of all that is wrong. To envision a Godless universe—to strip away that intelligent being leaves nothing but a terrible and mindless force. What could be worse? Truly it comes down to that complex simplicity of faith—believing in such a God, believing in Him enough to know that He doesn't waste suffering, believing that when we are crying out to Him, our tears and prayers aren't falling into an empty void, but into a mind and power that ultimately and infinitely cares for us.

Folks like Mr. Barker have decided that God does not exist. There is no tangible proof of His existence, so it is foolish to have faith in God.

 Neither, however, is there tangible proof for His non-existence.

I love what Oscar Wilde says:

“Skepticism is the beginning of Faith.”

Wilde was not a religious person, but I think he struck gold here. There is nothing wrong with questioning our faith, whatever it may lie in. Asking honest questions and seeking the answers with open ears and an open mind will challenge us and strengthen our faith in the end.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Welcome, October

"There is no season when such pleasant and sunny spots may be lighted on, and produce so pleasant an effect on the feelings, as now in October."

- Nathaniel Hawthorne -

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

little piece of hope

Yesterday I lost this:
I didn't realize it was missing until late afternoon. I had trouble putting it on in the morning because I had just lathered my hands with lotion. But I gave it a good tug to make sure it was on properly before leaving the house. Apparently, it was not on properly.

I kept my eyes open the last couple hours at work, checking the dimly lit hallway on my way to the printer, the path between the printer and the ladies rest room, my own office. Nothing. It wasn't in my car when I left to go home. Nor was it in the parking lot. It was gone.

Or was it?

Today, when I left my office I walked out in the empty parking lot to my car. Unlocked the doors and threw my stuff in the backseat. Opened the front door to slide in and there, laying on the pavement right next to my door, was the necklace. Laying there as though someone knew I was coming and had placed it there for me.

I know what probably happened is that it somehow got stuck between the door and the seat and I didn't see it in the five or six times I had been in and out of the car since I put it on yesterday. When I left for lunch today I probably kicked it and it fell out onto the ground.

But I much prefer that magical reappearance. Someone knew I needed a little piece of hope this week. That necklace wasn't anything extraordinarily special, and I would have been fine going on with my life without. But it's been a hard week. A hard month. And finding that little sparkly piece of jewelry after I thought it was long gone was like a reminder that good things happen, even when we least expect them.

~ Psalm 52:9~
I will praise you forever for what you have done; in your name I will hope, for your name is good. I will praise you in the presence of your saints.

Friday, August 28, 2009


This week I went to see Wicked and it was fabulous! I knew it would be the tale of Glinda and The Wicked Witch of the West (made by famous by The Wizard of Oz) and what happened before Dorothy and Toto showed up. But I was unprepared for a story that made the audience partial to the supposed "bad guy."

She really wasn't so bad after all.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Friday, August 14, 2009

faith on film

I came across this in World Magazine this week: A feature article on a New York photographer who has created a project of photos of people worshipping God. Check out the article here.

I googled the photographer and found her website here.

"Lifted Up in New York City." That's the title of the project. There's a really beautiful slideshow of the images: folks of all different ages, races, genders in various forms and stages of worship. Very powerful stuff.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

smart fridge

Check this out:

It never ceases to amaze me what we can come up with in our modern world. While the prospect of a computerized refrigerator is actually a little creepy, I am in favor of the idea of the fridge being able to tell me when something has been in there too long and should be removed. That is one surprise I would be more than happy to forgo!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

things I learned last week

1) Replacing the fuel pump is more costly than replacing the alternator.

2) Sometimes, I have a really hard time asking for too much help.

3) Finding parking in Del Mar on a beautiful Saturday is close to impossible.

4) Dog beaches are really awesome.

5) Kidney (as in steak-and-kidney-pie kidney) is NOT delicious.

6) Microsoft Office 2007 is a problem-child.

7) My drying rack expands to hold more clothing at one time.

8) Ulta sells toothbrushes.

9) Lemon juice tastes good on just about everything.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

seeking justice

He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8

Four summers ago I did a journalism internship with Reign Ministries. One of my tasks was creating and sending the weekly newsletter of updates from our short-term mission teams serving all over the world. One of our teams went to Nepal and spent a whole day in an orphanage that rescues children and young women from Nepal's rampant sex slave trade.

While reading and editing the team's mission update I realized this was an injustice that I felt very strongly about. I thought to myself, "This is what I would do if I found myself with a lot of money all of sudden. Open a home somewhere in the world where women are forced into prostitution because there is nothing better for them."

Unfortunately, I have never found myself with a large sum of unexpected money. But there are other ways we can help people across the world who are entangled in this demoralizing industry.

My good friend from high school, Ann, works for an Orange County-based organization called The International Princess Project. This organization helps restore the lives of women formerly enslaved in prostitution in India. To do so, they teach them to sew pajamas called PUNJAMMIES™, which are sold online. The proceeds go back to the women to pay for holistic aftercare after they are rescued, give them a fair trade wage, and build a saving's account for them so they can rebuild their lives after they go through aftercare.

In India, millions of women and girls work as prostitutes. Many have been trafficked, kidnapped, lured with promises of jobs, or sold by their own families into sexual slavery. Some as young as six years old have become sex workers (the actual term used in India) due to poverty or lack of opportunities. Within the huge, cosmopolitan city of Mumbai, lies the largest red-light district in the world, which is home to a myriad of injustice, abuse, and horrors.

One million children are trafficked into the sex trade each year, taken from their families and forced to work as prostitutes. In Mumbai alone, ninety cases of HIV are reported every hour. Once in the sex trade, women and girls may be forced to have intercourse with up to twenty clients per day.

You can help bring hope to women who have been rescued or escaped from forced prostitution and human trafficking! By purchasing pajamas these women have made, you help empower them to restore their lives. While living in a safe, holistic recovery home, the women learn to sew PUNJAMMIES™. PUNJAMMIES™ help the women support themselves with skill and dignity, heal in body and spirit, and live lives of freedom.

If everyone takes a small piece of responsibility in the fight against human trafficking and forced prostitution, we can overcome the dark reality these women have lived and prevent others from experiencing the same. Please purchase PUNJAMMIES™ online at Every sale contributes to restoring hope and dignity to another life.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


A soul is the more dependent on grace, the higher the perfection to which it aspires; and the grace of GOD is the more needful for each moment, as without it the soul can do nothing. The world, the flesh, and the devil join forces and assault the soul so straitly and so untiringly that, without humble reliance on the ever-present aid of GOD, they drag the soul down in spite of all resistance. Thus to rely seems hard to nature, but grace makes it become easy, and brings with it joy.

-Brother Lawrence, The Spiritual Maxims

Friday, June 5, 2009

fun with words

My mom actually introduced me to this site months and months ago: It is so fun and addicting! You can paste any selection of text into the wordle machine, and it generates a fun, artistic rendering of those words! The only downside is that you can't save your wordles...but you can post them to the public gallery.

Check this out. Here is my wordle of this blog:

    title="Wordle: blogspot">    src=""
alt="Wordle: blogspot"
style="padding:4px;border:1px solid #ddd">

Saturday, May 9, 2009

at last

I have been searching for just the right pair of red high heels for quite some time now. At last I have found them! (Thank you, Kohls.) They are just the right color red. Just the right heel height. And the perfect amount of shiny patent. 

I have this theory about red high heels and how every girl should own a pair. Even if they never wear heels. Not all women have realized this yet, but deep down, they know that they need some scarlet footwear. 

They can be worn with jeans for a just a smidgen of pow at the hemline. They can be worn with your little black dress for a more dramatic effect. They are bold and sassy, and I believe they can empower even the most timid female.

So ladies, if you don't already own a pair, consider adding red high heels to your list of "things I need." Believe me, you need them.

Monday, March 30, 2009

in memory

The best great-grandparents a kid could ever ask for.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I <3 Ireland

Nearly seven years ago (yikes!) I went to Northern Ireland with Youth for Christ on a service project. It was an amazing experience, and I fell in love with the country of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Close to my heart, I really hope to go back someday.

In honor of St. Patty's Day and the wonderful country of Ireland, I'm posting one of favorite Irish blessings:

May th
e road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face and rains fall soft upon your fields. And until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

the power of the nap

Naps are important.

March 9 was National Napping Day. I wish I had known. I have still not recovered from the lost hour of Daylight Savings. I definitely could have used a nap on Monday. And Tuesday. And probably today too!

It is so wonderful and strange to leave the office in full daylight now, and I love it! I'm planning on busting out my new running shoes soon and putting in some miles on evenings after work now. Yay for longer days. But boo for lost sleep. Every rose has it's thorn, I suppose.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

This is my life

So I saw this posted on a friend's blog, and it was intriguing to me. There are 99 items on this list, and you're supposed to highlight in bold those things you have done in life. You can see mine below:

Here are the rules: Bold the things you've done and post on your blog.

1. Started your own blog.
2. Slept under the stars.
3. Played in a band.
4. Visited Hawaii.
5. Watched a meteor shower.
6. Given more time than you can afford to charity.
7. Been to Disneyland.
8. Climbed a mountain.
9. Held a praying mantis.
10. Sang a solo.
11. Bungee jumped.
12. Visited Paris.
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea.
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch.
15. Adopted a child.
16. Had food poisoning.
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty.
18. Grown your own vegetables.
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France.
20. Slept on an overnight train.
21. Had a pillow fight.
22. Hitch hiked.
23. Taken a sick day when you're not ill.
24. Built a snow fort.
25. Held a lamb.
26. Gone skinny dipping.
27. Run a Marathon.
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice.
29. Seen a total eclipse.
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset.
31. Hit a home run.
32. Been on a cruise.
33. Seen Niagra Falls in person.
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancesters.
35. Seen an Amish community.
36. Taught yourself a new language.
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied.
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person.
39. Gone rock climbing.
40. Seen Michelangelo's David.
41. Sung karaoke.
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt.
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant.
44. Visited Africa.
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight.
46. Been transported in an ambulance.
47. Had your portrait painted.
48. Gone deep sea fishing.
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person.
50. Been to the top of Eiffel Tower in Paris.
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling.
52. Kissed in the rain.
53. Played in the mud.
54. Gone to a drive-in theater.
55. Been in a movie.
56. Visited the Great Wall of China.
57. Started a business.
58. Taken a martial arts class.
59. Visited Russia.
60. Served at a soup kitchen.
61. Sold Girl Scout cookies.
62. Gone wale watching.
63. Got flowers for no reason.
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma.
65. Gone sky diving.
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp.
67. Bounced a check.
68. Flown in a helicopter.
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy.
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial.
71. Eaten caviar.
72. Pieced a quilt.
73. Stood in Times Square.
74. Toured the Everglades.
75. Been fired from a job.
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London.
77. Broken a bone.
78. Been a passenger on a motorcycle.
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person.
80. Published a book.
81. Visited the Vatican.
82. Bought a brand new car.
83. Walked in Jerusalem.
84. Had your picture in the newspaper.
85. Kissed a stranger at midnight on New Year's Eve.
86. Visited the White House.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating.
88. Had chickenpox.
89. Saved someone's life.
90. Sat on a jury.
91. Met someone famous.
92. Joined a book club.
93. Got a tattoo.
94. Had a baby.
95. Seen the Alamo in person.
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake.
97. Been involved in a law suit.
98. Owned a cell phone.
99. Been stung by a bee.

After doing this, I got to thinking, "What are the things I most want to accomplish off of this list? If I can't accomplish all 99--and let's face it, there are some I don't want to accomplish--what feats would I choose to mark my life? (note: these are not in any particular order)

1) Adopt a child. A couple years ago when my parents were preparing to move, I made several trips back home to purge my old stuff so they wouldn't have to move a bunch of junk! While I was purging, I found a list of goals that I had made for myself when I was probably eight or nine years old. One of the things on that list was to adopt a child. (By the way, what eight-year-old kid thinks of adopting children someday?) I couldn't believe that a dream I had for my life before the age of ten was a dream I still had at 21...and have now.

2) Publish a book. Also on the list of goals from childhood. That one was not so surprising. I've been writing stories since the third or fourth grade. And if you're a regular visitor to this blog, you know that I have a novel in the works at the moment. My plan is to finish that book this year. Whether or not it will publishable is another story!

3) Ride a gondola in Venice. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to travel to many places. But Italy is the one place I've always wanted to have and not yet been to. I love the idea of Venice...even though I know it's mostly a big tourist trap and hot and crowded. I still want to ride a gondola in Venice someday.

4) Which brings me to one of the items on this list that I will get to accomplish this year: Go on a cruise. My generous grandmother is taking me, my mom, my two aunts, my female cousin, and her brother's girlfriend on a Mediterranean cruise this summer! This cruise will also get me to Italy (just not to Venice), which is even better. We will sail from Barcelona and hit nice, Sicily, Rome, and Florence.

5) Go whale watching. I actually live somewhere where I can make this a reality...and it's not even that expensive. So I am pretty confident that I can make this happen. I think it's a matter of just planning for it and executing the plan! There's a kayaking company in San Diego that does whale watching kayak tours, and I love kayaking, so that sounds awesome!

6) Walk in Jerusalem. Someday I want to go to Israel. I want to walk where Jesus walked. I want to walk the streets of Jerusalem, swim in the Dead Sea, and see the birthplace of Christianity.

7) See the Grand Canyon in person. For some reason, I always feel a bit like a bad American for having never been to the Grand Canyon. I've flown over it many times, but I've never actually been to see it. I met some Australians a couple weeks ago who have been on a tour of North America, and they described their experience seeing the Grand Canyon. I'm sure it's totally breathtaking...but I can't speak from experience.

8) Go to a drive-in movie. This is so simple, but I love the simple things in life. Somehow I've never been to a drive-in movie. I would like to remedy that. Especially if I can go to said drive-in movie in a convertible...even better.

9) Kiss in the rain. This reminds me of the scene in SpiderMan when Kirsten Dunst kisses Toby Maguire as he's hanging upside down. Is it even raining in that scene? I think so. Kissing in the rain is probably not as romantic as it sounds (wet...cold...sloppy?), but I'm still gonna go for it.

I know this list would look better if there were ten things on it...but I'm going to leave it at nine. Nine future accomplishments. I think I can make it happen.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Rain Music

Rain Music
On the dusty earth-drum
Beats the falling rain;
Now a whispered murmur,
Now a louder strain.

Slender, silvery drumsticks,
On an ancient drum,
Beat the mellow music
Bidding life to come.

Chords of earth awakened,
Notes of greening spring,
Rise and fall triumphant
Over everything.

Slender, silvery drumsticks
Beat the long tattoo--
God the Great Musician,
Calling life anew.

~Joseph Seamon Cotter, Jr.~

I woke up at four this morning to the sound of rain. It was glorious. Nothing is better than laying cozy in your bed, warm and safe when there's inclement weather outside. I've always loved late nights when the wind is howling, rain (sometimes snow) is falling, and it's cold--and there's nowhere to be but tucked under the covers.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

It's finally here!

My new MacBook has finally entered my life and I'm sooo happy! It is fast, beautiful, reliable, and...oh so pretty. Such an event ushers in much responsibility though. I must, must, must get myself back on a solid writing schedule. In the fall, I had a whole schedule laid out for myself, and I was going to finish the book before Christmas. Well, life has a funny way of getting in the way sometimes. October, November, and December were such busy months, and having a decrepit computer made for a really good excuse to put aside the writing life. So. Now that life has slowed down a little bit and I have this wonderful new computer, I am going to create a new schedule for myself and do my absolute hardest to stick to it! 

Finishing the novel will be such a huge accomplishment. I don't even feel as though I would to do anything with it--just know that it is finished. And I have some other ideas I would love to start working on, but I just can't leave a thing undone. The novel must be done. 

So, no more excuses. There are chapters to be written, scenes to be developed, and characters to get to know. 

Wish me luck!

Thursday, January 22, 2009


“"Well," said Pooh, "what I like best -- " and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called.”

Ahhh, the thrill of anticipation! My favorite time of year is the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I love Christmas...but really, it's everything leading up to Christmas that makes it so wonderful. The decorations, the music, the food, the shopping, time off from work, time spent with family and friends. All good stuff!

When I lived in Minnesota, I used to get pretty depressed after Christmas. Because after all the decorations were stowed away and the holiday music was pushed to the back of the shelf, all that was left was one heck of a long, dreary, cold winter ahead. It was definitely not the most wonderful time of the year.

Now that I make my dwelling in SoCal, the end of December isn't quite so sad. Yes, the decorations and music are still put away. The television is full of ads for specials at the gym, weight loss tea, and exercise equipment. And there's no more work holidays until Memorial Day. But...winter does not have its death grip wrapped tight. Not here. Last weekend I got a tan! In January. Somehow it makes the New Year that much more exciting.

It's a New Year. We have a new President. I'm getting a new computer. I've started a new blog ( There are eleven full months of new 2009 ahead of us. I know the door is open for plenty of good and bad both, but I can't help but thrill at the unknown and feel just a bit of anticipation to see what's to come.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Last night I met Matthew McConaughey in my dreams.

Enough said.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Letter to the New Year

Dear Year 2009:

Welcome. Now that we are are few days into your being, I thought there might be a few things you should know before we get too far ahead of ourselves:

1) We're going to get a new computer this year (like next week).
2) With said new computer, there will no longer be any excuse for not writing.
3) That said, this year we will finish that novel I have been working on since Spring 2006.

In case you haven't heard, worldwide economy has been in a bit of a pickle lately. That, however, does not mean that my personal economy is in a pickle or will inevitably become pickled. Keeping good practices in hand, this year we're saving $30 a month for the International Justice Mission. In December, I will purchase a week of advocacy
with IJM for victims of oppression.

I'm sure you have lots of surprises up your sleeve in the coming twelve months. FYI: I really like good surprises. I'll try to stay on my toes. Let's make every effort to top 2008. I'm optimistic.

Here's to you,