Thursday, September 15, 2011

Reflections on Summer 2011

This past summer was by far one of the best and most challenging that I can remember in a very long time. At the beginning of the summer, I had a few mental goals of tasks that I wanted to accomplish, none of which I think were completed. Instead, here's what the past few months entailed:
  1. Falling in love with the Hebrew language and Israel.
  2. Thoroughly enjoying time spent with my four parents and four siblings. "Family are people you go the distance with."
  3. Seeing more movies than I can count (although I'm unsure of whether it's more than I saw the summer of 2008).
  4. Not picking up my digital camera nearly as often as I should have but instead documenting life with my iPhone.
  5. Having some heated arguments with God. He always wins.
  6. Wearing sandals with a slight heel for the first time in a long time ( my orthopedic doctor wouldn't like this).
  7. Struggling through difficult parts of Exodus and Leviticus. 
  8. Being fascinated by the accessory section at Forever 21.
  9. Going deep every Wednesday morning with some of the sweetest women at my church.
  10. Allowing myself not to be defined by my job title.
  11. Risking nail polish colors.
  12. Going with Lauren to her first "official" concert.
  13. Visiting the Garment District for the first time ever and having the best gyro at Santee Fallafel.
  14. Listening to the Friday song on a weekly basis.
  15. Anticipating the 2012 presidential election.
  16. Vacation = ARC Conference in San Diego which is the equivalent to a family reunion.
  17. Saw the 4th of July parade for the first time since I was a little girl.
  18. Went to the food truck fair several times.
  19. Found a photo booth with Wendy and worked continuously all summer at mastering goofy self portrait photos!
  20. Woke up several times in the middle of the night to pray.
  21. Told everyone I know to buy The Blackberry Bush.
  22. Tried out several new restaurants and enjoyed Yogurtland more times than I can count.
  23. Delighted at being present at little sister Rebekah's baptism at the church picnic/baptisms.
  24. Was sad that Kaila moved to Iowa but happy to celebrate that she accepted her first teaching call.
  25. Watched too many YouTube videos.
  26. Unintentionally killed a hydrangea. 
  27. Finally started wearing a watch again.
  28. Managed not to get a summer cold.
  29. Slept in during the middle of the week.
  30. Watching the opera several times on the big screen with Mark.
I savor every moment of summer. I look forward to it with the same anticipation that I did as a child. Even more exciting is that it collides with my other favorite season, fall, and with that comes many more opportunities for new memories and experiences.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Hawaii Dreamin'

Yesterday, Mom H., and I went to see

I absolutely loved it. I loved the setting, I loved the story, I loved the music, and I loved how Christ was carried throughout the entire film.

Photo credits: Lars Housholder November/December 2010
I often hear of people who are California Dreamin',
but this California Girl is now
 Hawaii dreaming!
Spring Break anyone?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

He Wants to Give You Everything

From my friend Ellen:


1) Know Him as He truly is.
2) Prioritize Him above all else, no matter what is vying for your heart.
3) Let yourself receive love.
4) Love unconditionally, no matter what you feel.
5) Be a faithful, loyal, and committed friend.
6) Know the joy in serving others and letting others serve you.
7) Learn great two-way communication in any relationship.
8) Deal with your own anger and let go of your "rights."
9) Truly forgive and receive forgiveness.
10) Seek His direction and recognize His voice.
11) Trust wholeheartedly in Him and His love for you.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

It's All A Part of the Journey

I had lunch with my friend Wendy this past week. She is one of my favorite people in the whole world. Wendy along with her husband David, are two of my biggest encouragers. They think that I can do just about anything irregardless of whether or not I think I can actually do said thing. I love them for it.

While we were having lunch, Wendy pointed out that it was interesting how the things that we  loved to do as a child are the things that we are naturally good at as adults. This got me thinking. As a child, I was bossy and stubborn. I liked to do things my own way. I read a lot. I loved all things arts and crafts related. I played make believe all the time; mostly I was being "mommy", secretary, or teacher. I also enjoyed Barbies and had tons of them as well as a plethora of accessories for these dolls.

These musings are a great indicator of the person that I have become today and the dreams and aspirations that I hold. Who would have known I would later end up as a church secretary? I have a passion for learning and a desire to further my education. My Mother will still acount for the stubborn and bossy traits, along with being incredibly headstrong. My favorite hobbies include reading, photography, and paper crafting. All of those accessories that Barbie had have been translated into my ever growing personal wardrobe. I have always wanted to be a wife and a mom.

As a child, one thing that I always was able to clearly articulate was what I was going to be when I grew up. For a long time it was a teacher, then it was a fashion designer, then a larger sized model, and in later years a lawyer and a photojournalist for political campaigns. Now that I am at the age where I need to know where I am supposed to be going, I find that I really don't know what the next step is. Sure, I'm going to finish my degree, take a few years off, and go back to graduate school. But I don't know where it is that I want to end up in terms of a career.

I do know this for sure. God has a calling on my life. I know that I am supposed to be in ministry. I thrive on shepherding people and I love to be able to help others discover who He is. I couldn't dream of not working in a church. This evening David said to me that he knew for sure that I am destined for public leadership. I know that he is right. I know that God has me on an incredible path and I fearfully and excitingly look forward to seeing what that path is. I know that wherever I will go, that those traits that I had as a child will come along with me just like a suitcase full of clothes. And I know that whatever I'm doing  there'll be two people (besides my parents) knowing that I'll be able to successfully do what I was meant to do.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Bucket List

My friend Susie, wrote in her Facebook status last night asking friends what were the top three items on their bucket list. While my first automatic responses were finish my bachelor's and master's degree, become a wife and mom, and own my own home, I pushed myself to think beyond this list. A few years ago, I had started to compile this list on my old laptop, but when it crashed, I lost the list. So,  here goes:

1. Travel to Europe
2. Learn how to sew.
3. Learn to speak German and French.
4. Drive across the country.
5. Open my own business
6. Plant a church.
7. Attend SXSW and Coachella music festivals.
8. Learn to play piano and guitar (I started to do this years ago and put my guitar aside).
9. See a Broadway play and attend another opera.
10. Buy my dream car - 1959 Cadillac Fleetwood Sedan in pink and white.

This is not an inclusive list, just some the first few things that came to mind. What's on your list?

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Dreaming is a form of planning...

 I have been thinking a lot lately about changes that I want to make in my life. Goals that need to be accomplished. I say goals, because they aren't resolutions. I find that even labeling changes that need to be made as resolutions sets oneself up for failure as most resolutions usually end up being broken. I've challenged myself to be more serious about my goals and what I need to do in order to make these changes in my life...I have worked on this post on and off. Put it aside to finish it later. I find myself sitting down to finish it on Ash Wednesday. Kind of ironic, I think, as Ash Wednesday begins a period in which Christians give up something a symbol of the sacrifice that Christ made for us on the cross. In previous years, I have strictly given up different things such as soda, candy, chocolate, but this year as I have been contemplating these long term goals, I want them to be my focus.

Here they are:

1. Eating more healthy. Cutting out fast food. Making sure to get in the right amount of fruits and vegetables. Watching the amount of sugar (candy, sweets, soda that I consume). Drinking more water. Eating a breakfast that has more protein. Getting healthier snacks such as cheese, yogurt, fruits/vegetables, peanuts, etc...
2. Exercise. Over the past three months that I have been dealing with my injury, the ability to even go for a walk has been impossible to do without experiencing lots of pain. I need to slowly start walking around the block and from there easing into longer walks. My puppy could use the exercise too. This will require me to have to get up a little bit earlier, and go to bed a few minutes earlier as well.
3. Devotions and daily scripture reading. This is something that I have struggled with on and on off. I'm really good at making a daily effort to do so for about three months at a time and then I stop for another three months at a time.  I see the benefits when I do so, and am a strong believer in being in the Word every single day. I need to stop making excuses, sleeping in, and just do it.
4. Making time for play. I love to read. I love to scrapbook. I love photography. I find myself so busy lately that I don't have time for the fun things. Finding a balance between work, school, studying and church activities where I have the time to meet up with friends for coffee or go for a walk with my camera.
5. Stay organized at home. If you were to walk into my office at the moment, you would think that I'm an extremely organized person. This is not always the case. I am organized at work and with my school responsibilites, but at home this is not the case. There are piles of clean laundry all over my room waiting to be put away, scrapbooking supplies to be sorted and purged, books stacked up, and on and on...I come home at night and am overwhelmed by this and so I need to stop everything for one afternoon sometime soon and attack the clutter. I know that if my own personal space is taken care of , that I will start feeling more calm and less stressed.
6. Writing at least once a week. I started this blog a few years back as a place to record my thoughts (which could also be encorporated into my scrapbook albums). When I picked it up a few months ago, I hadn't written anything in about two years. I know if I don't get the words down on paper, no one else do, so there's no better time to start than now!

I know that these goals are not something that can be completed overnight, in a week, or in one single weekend. They are going to take me some time to accomplish, just as it has taken me awhile to get to a place where I have had to look back and realize that these changes need to be made. I'm committed to diligently working at accomplishing them and am looking forward to the results!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Stinkin Thinkin Devotional

The following is a devotional from my Dad that I absolutely loved. You can find these posts everyday here. Enjoy!

You cannot afford the luxury of a negative thought.
Negativity draws negative results. It almost always makes things way worse.
Negativity repels positive faith-filled people. They won't want to be around you and will find ways to avoid you. And who wants that?
Negativity corrodes faith.
When faced with a challenge, think best case, not worst case.
When I start to feel pessimistic, I ask myself the question: How can I think a little differently in such a way that would produce more positive feelings about this situation?
Pastor Hous

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

10 Things that I Currently Love

1. My School. I am really blessed that I get to attend school here.
2. Internet Radio. My friend Lars raved about it and I'm hooked. I love how it suggests music based on what you're already listening to.

3. TOMS Shoes. I am currently wanting these shoes from the spring collection!
4. Lady Antebellum. Can't get enough of their music lately!
5. Instagram. I have this app on my Iphone 4 and I love how it has all sorts of filters that you can add to your photos.
6. Oatmeal and fresh fruit. I had it for breakfast yesterday and it was delicious!
7. Old Navy. I've been finding a lot of cute things here lately!
8. Cherry blossoms. I feel like I have been seeing a lot of them lately and they are absolutely gorgeous!
9. The back wall in my office which was painted a bright shade of red over the weekend!
10. Hot tea. I've been drinking a lot of  it lately!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Light Is Still Burning

One of my dear friends whom I respect like my own father, David Housholder wrote his first novel which is to be published later this summer. I had the wonderful privilege of being able to test read the novel this past fall. One theme of the text that continues to stick with me is how we are the legacy-bearers for our loved ones who have gone before us.

Fast forward a few months. I find myself listening to Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Johnny Cash, and June Carter Cash a lot lately. On the surface, this would be no problem as I have very eclectic music tastes. Upon some reflection I came to realize that Miles Davis and John Coltrane were two of my paternal grandfather's favorite musicians and Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash were two of my maternal grandfather's favorite musicians.

This realization has caused me to think about who I am continually bearing the legacy that my grandparents left behind. I am still blessed to have one living grandparent, who just celebrated her 82nd birthday this past January. Although she has had some health struggles, I imagine her living long into her 90's as she is quite a vibrant, diligent woman who still has lots to accomplish.

I was blessed to also have a great-grandmother in addition to my four grandparents. She was the matriarch of the family and was delighted to have two daughters, four grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. She was a devout Lutheran and instilled her beliefs upon her family. Her daughter, my maternal grandmother was also a devout Lutheran and her mother's beliefs were just as important to her and she raised her children in the same faith that she herself was raised in. I too, was raised in this faith and consider the gift that Jesus Christ has given me to be the greatest gift I have ever been given. I think both women would get a good chuckle out of the fact that I am now attending a Lutheran University. My great-aunt gave me my grandmother's Bible a few days after her memorial service. It is such a treasure to me.

My maternal grandmother grew up in San Francisco. She moved away from the city in her 20's/30's but always considered it her hometown. She visited the city at least once a year and her love for the city and her love of the city has been transposed on me. I feel like I am returning home every time I am there. As a teen, I loved going to get coffee with her, going to the movies with her (we saw the Johnny cash biopic Walk the Line together), and just running errands with her. She loved dogs and would have been enamored with my dog Molly. Her greatest joys in life were faith, family, and friends (and of course the San Francisco 49ers).

My maternal grandfather was a true southern boy. He was born in Tennessee and was raised in the south. Later in life he moved his wife and two children to South Carolina for several years. As a child he was merciless in his telling of childhood stories and his love for southern food. Now that he is gone, I can't get enough southern food. I dream of traveling to the south. I savor the time that I spend with his sister in Ohio. He was a salesman and worked for the bank most of his career and could sale you anything from a million dollar home to a discarded orange peel. I'm told that I am just as convincing as he was. My cousin Edwin looks like the spitting image of my grandfather at 29, and the older I get the more I don't mind that I resemble him.

My maternal grandmother is still alive. She makes me laugh often. She is stubborn and headstrong, she loves to shop, she is suzy-homemaker, and she is craftier than anyone I've ever met. She tells me that my cousin Sarah and I are little versions of her and although she doesn't have the faith of my maternal grandmother, she tells me that she prays that I will marry a nice young man who is a Lutheran pastor. Two of my most prized possessions are a locket that belonged to her with a picture of my Dad as a child and a picture of her father in it and a handmade quilt that she made for me with scraps of dresses that she had sewn for me as a child.

My paternal grandfather took up photography as a hobby and second career after he retired from the phone company. He had a studio and dark room built in his backyard. My grandmother was delighted when I started dabbling in photography as a young teen. He loved to get in the car and drive. He would say he was taking the scenic route (which was cue for he didn't know where he was going). He always had new gadgets and would have loved the Iphone (and would laugh at the fact that my grandma doesn't know how to use her Mac). I loved spending time with him and would give anything to go to lunch and wander around Target with him. My Dad resembles him more and more each day.

I thank the Lord for these five people. I hope that someday I'll be able to share my memories of them with my own children and that my own children will love being with their grandparents just as much as I did.

Thanks Hous, for once again making me stop and think.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Patterns and Observations

I like to observe people. Watch the way they do things, how they behave, what they wear, how they talk. I pick up patterns. It helps me to get a glimpse into the person.

This last month and a half has been trying on me. Not just physically, but mentally and emotionally. Observing my own behavior is a lot harder is a lot harder than it is observing other people. But it has forced me to look at the way I process my own emotions and how I handle different situations. This analyzing showed me some patterns that I have in my own life. Patterns that went back way further than I thought they did. I didn't like what I saw and have spent quite a fair amount of time workingonhow to change those behaviors and patterns.

Oswald Chambers writes in his classic devotional, My Utmost for His Highest,
"God requires us to examine our own souls...We can only be used by God after we allow Him to show us the deep, hidden areas of our own character."
 In a season of resolutions and new goals, it's time that I stop focusing so much on the patterns and behaviors of others and start looking at the ones that I embody. I need to start looking to the one who knows who created my soul and knows it better than I do. I need to start being more intentional about making that my pattern, my goal, my focus.

Life Manifesto

I love this photo. Found it here:

It makes me smile and feel inspired.