A Gift Found on Paper, in Person, in a Picture (Joy Dare)

Joy Dare Day 31

on paper: scripture has been an the biggest gift this month that I could ever think of. It has been a rock, a point of return, and a foundation unlike ever before. Because the waters were raging and crashing, I needed a firm place to stand this month and I found it in the word. 

in person: my small group of Junior High girls. I cannot express how amazing it is to see them every Sunday. They are some of the brightest young ladies I have ever met and they remind me why I love being a small group leader. Many of them are more mature than half the high schoolers and what I love most is seeing how God is strengthen their faith. I was able to pray with some of my small group girls and to see their desire for the Lord to move in their lives, in their friends, and in the world is amazing. I love their passion. 

in a picture: there is a picture in my room of myself, Sarah H., and Sol at FUI back in 2010. I love that picture for many reasons. It reminds me that those two girls are my best friends. It reminds me that their friendship is a gift encouraged by a mission trip I could have easily never attended. It reminds me that they challenge and encourage me no matter. It reminds me of who I can count on and even reminds of good days when life gets rough.


Three Old Things Seen New (Joy Dare)

Joy Dare Day 30

phone conversations: I used to hate talking on the phone. Well I still dislike talking on the phone in general, you can't always hear people and it is just not as good as talking to people face to face. However, as I have been away from some of my best friends this year, I have come to rely on the phone as a necessary means of communication. I am grateful for this piece of technology that allows me to hear the voices and laughter of my dear friends that I cannot be with in person. When my phone rings from Sol, or Sarah, or SGP, my heart leaps with joy. 

dinner at the table: Growing up we rarely had dinner at the table, it was a unique thing for my family. In college, there was never enough time to have dinner at the table with my house. One year we managed to get it down to once a week but that was a routine as we could. This year I have been blessed to eat dinner at the table with my roommates every night. I didn't see how beneficial it was to be in this form of community but it makes a difference to sit down an enjoy a meal together. I am seeing now how this moments of consistency, making dinner together, eating together, can bring a house closer to each other. It gives me something to strive for in all living situations. 

writing: I have loved writing ever since the 3rd grade where we had to create stories and make our own books (mine was about the Zortons - a made up alien race). Since then I have loved all forms of creative writing and journaling. Recently, I have found just how wonderful it is to get thought onto paper when I don't know who I can tell in person. I have also rediscovered how writing stories or poems helps get out feelings or emotions that don't have a name or an easy way to describe them. 


A Song Heard, a Soft Word, Where You Found Light (Joy Dare)

Joy Dare Day 29

a song heard: so this isn't a direct song but I heard birds chirping this morning and it reminded me of Yosemite. That was guaranteed to wake you up is the soft chirping of the birds outside your tent. And in that setting, in nature it was nothing short of beautiful.

a soft word: I like the soft whispers of good morning and good night. I reminds me that I am seen and not forgotten. Every time I hear a good morning right after I wake up, I know it is not out of common courtesy or custom because it is to actually greet the morning. And good night reminds me that I do not have to go bed forgotten or hiding in my room. You'd be surprised how it makes a difference when you roommate enters your room to say goodnight before bed.

found light: I found light in the word. As I have been seen an increase in some trying times in my own life, I have found a lot of light in reading scripture, especially the psalms. Growing up in the church, you are taught, if not overly reminded to look up a bible verse when things are hard. But as young child or teenager I never fully appreciate how I could relate to David's cries for help in the Psalms, or Isaiah's outcry about injustice, or Paul's pleading in his letters. It is amazing to see this people who can seem so distant from us in time, bring to light the God of the universe who is not distant in neither time nor space. 


Training Hawks

I am currently updating my joy dare posts - they will be up soon. On a slightly different note, I am so looking forward to July because Sol and I are returning to Portland/Seattle for our soon to be annual vacation of awesomeness. I have one problem though: pigeons. They have it out for us. Somehow they got it in their brains that we are against them and pigeons do hold grudges.

I have plan though. I think we want to train hawks to protect us and attack the pigeons. Does this sound like a brilliant plan? I think so. Hopefully the absurdity makes you smile just a little bit more today.

Oh be scared pigeons. Be very scared.

Three Graces Found in Your Friends (Joy Dare)

Joy Dare Day 28

encouragement: my dearest friend are always there to bring me words of hope. I think the most famous is "I know you're scared, don't be scared." They cry with me, sit with me, and bring me the joy that I feel I lack. They listen intently as I verbally vomit all over them and sink into their couches. They take calls late at night and send awesome text messages. Their words of hope have carried me through a lot. 

challenging: my friends don't ever let me settle and I love that. Ok, at times I hate that, but I know they won't let me become complacent or apathetic. They challenge me to take risks, to think outside my own box of thinking, and to never be complacent. The sharpen me and while many times I want to poke back - I think they know what they are doing. 

laughter: I love to laugh. I love to tell jokes. Even more - I love when my friends get my jokes. They understand me and my sense of humor and play up to it all the time. Sometimes, the best friend lets you laugh about stupid things when you aren't ready to process the deep stuff. That is how Sol and I created our Hawk Training venture to attack the pigeons. 


Three Gifts That Might Never Have Been (Joy Dare)

Joy Dare Day 27

the twin: No, this is not my biological twin but Sol and I are more alike than even my own sister and I. But how we met was complete divined by God because there were too many other factors than could have easily led to us not meeting. We did FUI (Fresno Urban Internship) two separate years. I did it in 2007 and she did it in 2008. We came from different schools (Cal Poly and UCLA) that didn't even do things together. But we both decided to come and do FUI staff the same year. Neither of us had to and I don't think either of us expected or planned to. But as so as we started talking, we knew that we were too similar to not be friends. Our relationships is a testament to how InterVarsity brings people together from all over the world.

my roommates: how we ended up living together where we do was a miracle. We all three got jobs in the same school district, unheard of for teachers. We found housing in a week, which was unheard of SLO. We have had very little conflict with each other, which is unheard of in most living situations.

my small group: I am actively involved in my church in Pasadena, which does not leave me much time to have a small group of my own. But my roommate Jessica came to me with this idea of a book study back in October and if we I wanted to join. It was through her church young professional group, which I was a part of. We decided to meet at our apartment. I think how easy it would have been for me not to be involved if it was at a place far away or if Jess had't been so encouraging that I come. But it was a lifeline sent to me from the Lord for a community. I know so many people who have to initiate going to a small group community and I was blessed to have one handed to me.


A Grace Before 9 am, A Grace Before Noon, a Grace Before Dark (Joy Dare)

Joy Dare Day 26

before 9 am: slight sleeping in. On Thursdays we have professional development day and it means a late start for the students. They don't have to be at school until 9:30 but I get 10 minutes more of sleeping in, which is the best gift I could ever receive.

before noon: having a sink in my classroom. At first I thought this was a disaster because my students and I have a lot of tension about how often they are allowed to get a drink from it. But I have realized how much of a blessing it is for me because I fill up my water bottle at least four times a day. I drink a lot of water every day and it is a real blessing to be able to fill it up so many times rather than twice a day. Now that does create a slight bathroom problem though... :(

before dark: a roommate cooking dinner. One of the things that I've loved about being with my roommates is that we cook dinner for each other. We each take one day every week to cook dinner for each other. It has been such a blessing not to have to deal with cooking for myself every day. It is the ideal cooking situation and I have been unbelievably blessed by it.


One Grace Borrowed, One Grace Found, One Grace Inherited (Joy Dare)

Joy Dare Day 25

borrowed: sharing meals. I would say I borrowed this idea from my roommate Jessica. She came into our living situation with the mentality that we share all groceries and meal responsibilities. It has been amazing to see this idea that I learned in FUI, back in the day about sharing groceries and meals enacted in real life. Never once have we argued about who drank too much milk or ate the last cookie because we are not tied to our food as being solely one of our personal possessions. I have may borrowed this idea of sharing but I don't think I'm going to let it go.

found: phone calls. I used to hate talking on the phone, I would actively avoid it (which is ironic because I would never leave my phone out of my site). Now with so many friends who do not live near me anymore, I have been insanely blessed by this technology. I think I'll add in Skype to this because it has allowed me to talk to my friends who are out of the country on mission trips.

inherited: journaling. I don't know if this is really inherited but I have been doing it for as long as I can remember. One of my small group members noted to me earlier that they were surprised how much I could journal in one sitting (they are in junior high and that is when I first started journaling anyway). But it is a real gift to feel so comfortable with a pen and paper in my hand. I rarely have a difficult time expressing myself in words (probably why I like blogging) and it is a huge gift to be able to process life when there isn't someone to talk it out to.


Three Things Blue (Joy Dare)

Joy Dare Day 24

jeans: while working in a job that requires you to dress up a lot more (and trust me - I barely dress up as it is), I realized how much I value my jeans. They are a clothing of comfort rather than style for me and go with just about anything.

my Powell's shirt: I already wrote about my three favorite blue shirts, but my ultimate favorite is my shirt from Powell's. Back in July, my twin Sol and I traveled to Portland and Seattle. It became a trip of ultimate adventure and new loves. One of those is Powell's. I love that bookstore because it is locally owned and huge. It is a book lovers heaven. In addition to the shirt representing such an awesome place, it is also fits fantastic. I wear it all the time.

sky: I love a blue sky. In LA any beyond, you can get a slightly browned blue sky on most days (thanks to the smog) but back in SLO there was a blue sky every day. As I've moved back down into my 'hood I've realized there are lot of things in SLO that I have taken for granted - constantly blue skies, relatively consistent weather, awesome sandwich places, etc. It is nice to reflect how good I had it for five years while in college there.


Three Gifts Found in Christ (Joy Dare)

Joy Dare Day 23

unconditional love: I have heard a lot of people say that they love others unconditional. Honestly, I think the only person who can do this is Jesus. In Romans, it says that Christ died for us while we were still sinners. I don't think that is something easy to do - to love people so much, while they were still so messed up, and to want to take such a brutal punishment for them. Christ's sacrifice on the cross is the biggest expression of his love

redemption: What is amazing about the cross (I think the cross and Jesus are so interconnected, especially we are studying them in small group it is hard to separate the two), is the power of redemption it brings. Christ came down not just to save us from eternal hell and bring redemption between us and God but also saves us in the present and brings us redemption within our own human relationships.

examples: After studying the book of Mark during Spring Break Camp through InterVarsity, I can say with certainty that Jesus lived out the life he called us to. He didn't just sit on a hill side and list the rules we should follow, he lived them out and then called us to do likewise. Read Mark - it will change your life.


One Grace Wrinkled, One Grace Smothered, One Grace Unfolded (Joy Dare)

Joy Dare Day 22

wrinkled: the wrinkled lines by lips. I like these wrinkles because it means that people smile a lot. :) 

smothered: blankets. I love being in bed smothered in blankets. On cold nights, in two, sometimes three blankets, I often feel like I am camping. While camping I am usually covered in several layers of blankets to stay warm in the cool nights and it has been cold recently. 

unfolded: warm laundry. I have this shirt I bought at Target. It is a warm, wonderful, long sleeve shirt I often wear around the house at night. It is especially wonderful after I have just pulled it out of the laundry and it is still soft and warm. 


One Thing in the Sky, One Thing in Your Memory, One Thing That's Ugly-Beautiful (Joy Dare)

Joy Dare Day 21

sky: clouds. Not the heavy rain clouds but the wispy white clouds. I think it makes the sky look beautiful. Especially when the sun sets and those clouds turn all shades of reds, oranges, yellows, and purples. It is beautiful.

memory: San Luis Obispo. On bright sunny and cool days I am taken back to SLO. I remember how we used to go to the beach in January because it was actually hot enough to. It was so great to sit outside and look at the beautifully clear sky. I miss the place a lot more than I care to admit. While there are great things about living in Southern California, the crisp, clean weather in SLO is unbeatable.

ugly-beautiful: San-Bernardino itself. There is a lot of brokenness around this city. A lot of poverty, a lot of injustice, a lot of heartbreak. But one thing that I am seeing is that there is room for hope. I see it in my bible study that people care for this city. I see it in the desire for people to move in here and live intentionally, I see it in the eyes of my roommates who care deeply for the city itself. There is a lot of wrong here but a lot of room for Jesus.


Three Gifts You Saw Only When Close-Up (Joy Dare)

Joy Dare Day 20

The connection of Adam's fall with my sin. When I was meeting with a counselor the other day, he helped point out that when Adam and Eve ate of the fruit God never asked them why they did it. He asked them two questions: 1) where are you? and 2) who told you were naked. This was profound for me because whenever I mess up I seem to always ask myself why or others ask me why and I don't think God ever likes to ask that questions. He knows why - we are faulty, we are human, and that is what we do. He asks us where we are and who lied to us telling us we should be ashamed.

Pillows. It may not seem like a gift but trying falling asleep without one. It is very difficult. My pillow is the perfect comfort - not too soft so it has no cushion but not to hard that it feels like a rock. It is a perfect gift for when I am trying to fall asleep or even just need to lay down.

The ocean. Well I haven't seen the ocean in a while but I realized how much I love being near it now that I am far away. I am reminded up the ocean waters whenever I walk by our pool in our apartment complex and I see it sparkling in the sun. Today even I want to stay outside by the water and journal all day (or just for a few hours).


A Grace in the Kitchen, a Grace in the Weather, a Grace that Might Never have Been (Joy Dare)

Joy Dare Day 19 

kitchen: Juice. During this week I have been painfully sick. I have been coughing a ton and my head is spinning. I am so thankful that we can have juice in our fridge. It calms my throat and is about the only thing that I want to drink.

weather: The night edging back. Every day night creeps a bit farther back so now instead of it being almost pitch black at 4:55 pm it is now pushing towards 5:30. That may not seem like a big deal to you, but when you don't get home until 5 almost every day, it is nice to have daylight hours at home. I really enjoy having it begin to be lighter later. It means that summer is almost here.

might never have been: living with Michelle and Jessica. It was definitely orchestrated by God that we live together. All of us wanted teaching jobs and back in March there was a quick idea that we all peruse this recruiting thing in San Bernardino. It seemed like a faint idea at the time but by June we all had interviews within the district. But then we needed jobs - anyway long story made less long, we didn't have to get placed here. We could have ended up all around California but God but us here together to live in community, to pray together, to laugh and cry together, and I have never been more thankful for a set of roommates.


Three Gifts from God's Word (Joy Dare)

Joy Dare Day 18

Psalm 40:1-3
"I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the LORD and put their trust in him."
This is my encouragement every time I feel overwhelmed. I have known about this passage for a long time and I every time I re-read it, God gives me more peace.

Philippians 4: 4-7
"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
My favorite part of this verse is the "The Lord is near." Whenever I read this verse, I often skip over this part because it is in the corner of my bible. But I know it is there and I force myself to re-read it to remind myself that the Lord is near. I need to rejoice in the Lord for he is near and his peace transcends all undersatnding. Upon reflection I also know that pray guards my heart and mind in Christ Jesus - it guards my heart from fear, guards my heart from worry, guards my heart from stress, guards my heart from lies.

Genesis 16:13
"She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: 'You are the God who sees me,' for she said, 'I have now seen the One who sees me.'"
I love this verse because God reveals himself to Hagar, not one who was used to God revealing himself to her. She had run away, been mistreated, and had an unfair life. But God shows himself to her for he is the one who sees people. It just shows that God sees the pain, sees the struggles, sees, the fear, and reveals himself to those in who have been struggling.


One Gift that Made You Laugh, One Gift that Made You Pray, One Gift that Made You Quiet (Joy Dare)

Joy Dare Day 17

laugh: our memory book. We have a memory book in our house that shares hour apartment memories. My roommate reminded of the time that I rain straight into our screen door. It was a normal apartment day, I was doing laundry while my roommate was working on the couch. I thought that screen door was pulled open (as it usually is) but it clearly was not and I walked straight into it. It made my roommate laugh so hard and I laughed only after the fact (especially far after the fact.) :)

pray: my small group. My small group is rooted in prayer now. I have been given a gift of being with that small group (especially since I don't attend the church they are based in). But every week we share prayer requests and pray with each other. The group encourages me to pray more and gives a time and a space to pray as well.

quiet: being sick. Being ill has made me quiet because I can't really talk. I was home all day from school and there wasn't anyone for me to talk to all day. This is drastically different from a normal Tuesday when I am talking all day - talking at students, talking to colleges, telling students to be quiet and sit down. But since I was home ill, I was finally able to rest and be quiet in a time where I wouldn't normally be. And while I didn't feel healthy, being sick did give a small mental break.


Three Ways You Witnessed Happiness Today (Joy Dare)

Joy Dare Day 16

Being at BJ's with my small group for Joel's birthday. We started the tradition with my small group that on  a person's birthday, we all go to BJ's together to share appetizers. We started with my birthday and continued it with Joel's. It has been great to see our small group bond outside of study every week and the joy we get when we hang out outside of our apartment. I see lot of happiness whenever we spend time together.

The day off. I love days off from school. It is a major gift from God that in January and February we have at least three 3-day weekends. It gives a break in what could be a very grueling schedule after coming back from Christmas break. The change in pace and schedule is so welcome for me and gives me a small breath of fresh of air. I even noticed how my mood increased with this short time off.

My mom having all of us at home. When my dad bought his new house, I moved most of my high school and before stuff into the room he set for me there. Essentially I moved out of my mom's and into my dad's. But I know that it always brings my mom a little more peace when all four of us (herself, myself, my sister, and my stepdad) are sleeping overnight at her house. I can tell that she is happy to have us all at home and I feel very safe when I am there.


One Thing You Wore, One Thing You Gave Away, One Thing You Shared (Joy Dare)

Joy Dare Day 15

wore: a new sweatshirt. I had some gift cards leftover from Christmas and I finally got to use them. I decided to buy a new sweatshirt from Old Navy that is the perfect combination of soft, fitted, and comfortable. I have worn it a lot since I bought it and it is one of the best purchases I have made in a while.

gave away: my fear. I have been struggling a lot with fear these past few months. I am trying every day to release it back to the Lord because it doesn't belong in me in the first place. It has been a challenge to have to claim every day that the Lord did not make me in a spirit of fear but in a spirit of power. But every day I have to pray the same thing that I will be not be overwhelmed by this fear of failure, or fear of inadequacy, or fear of judgment. God's grace gets me through most of the days.

shared: chili cheese fries. My small group after church frequents a place called The Hat. At least a few of us go every week, and this week most of the Jr. High group went. It is a place unlike any other, filled with amazing food and only good memories. Every time we go, it is tradition to get chili cheese fries for the entire table. I don't think I've ever been to The Hat and not done so. It is amazing to share good food and good company.


Three Ways You Glimpsed the Startling Grace of God (Joy Dare)

Joy Dare Day 14

parents. When I was in high school I seemed to always be frustrated by my parents. I blame that on my stupid teenage self. Even when I was in college I felt many times like I was still treated like I was back in high school. But since I have become an adult and I feel like I am responsible for much more than I want to be, I am realizing how much my parents take care of me. Even now, I see how necessary it is to have your mom help you feel better when you're sick or your dad drive out to meet for lunch on a hard day. It makes me miss them more when I am not around them.

sunshine. I realize now how much weather dictates my mood. At night I am tired, slightly sad sometimes. Cloudy days I feel often depressed. Sunny days I am full of energy. But on days that should be a hard struggle, I am so thankful when God provides a clear sunny day. It reminds me of God's goodness and grace knowing that he can control the weather to improve my own mood.

the gift of touch. I think now I realized how much I liked to be hugged. I see it as a gift from God whenever someone gives me a big hug. While this happened well after Jan. 14th, I saw a friend of a friend who gave me a giant hug knowing that I wasn't going to see my first friend for a while. It was a huge moment of grace for her to hug to me because I don't really know her and on the day I saw I felt very uncomfortable enough about other things. It was amazing to receive that gift of touch.


Three Sounds You Hear (Joy Dare)

Joy Dare Day 13 

the theme song to Friends. I know I have mentioned a lot about Friends. But whenever I hear the phrase "I'll be there for you!" I am full of joy. I enjoy watching Friends because it seems to fill me with a lot of joy. I have enjoyed quoting it with my friend Sol. And it is coming to an end (well I am almost done with the series). It is nice to know that my friends are there for me... well even if it is my fake friends of Monica, Chandler, Joey, Rachel, Phoebe, and Ross.

my ringtone. I love it when people are calling me. It is most frequently my mom or Sol or my dad but still I love getting phone calls. It has been a way to keep in contact with people far away from me. This year alone it has been a huge blessing to be able to call and stay in touch.

the sound of my door unlocking. It means that my roommates are home. I am usually the first one home from school and spend quite a bit of time at home alone. I love it when my roommates come home because I feel instantly comfortable.


Something Above You, Something Below You, Something Beside You (Joy Dare)

Joy Dare Day 12

above: the mountains. I love living in California with the rolling hills and mountains. I was afraid of moving to San Bernardino that there would be no hills. But every time I look outside I see mountains on multiple sides. It is beautiful to look up and see the glorious snow capped mountains.

below: carpet below my feet. When I lived in the dorms we had the crappiest carpet ever. I never realized how important it was to have good carpet at home because it makes a home feel cozier. When I moved into my house in SLO, we had a great carpet. Now every time I feel the carpet in my room I realize how much at home I want to feel there.

beside: my roommates. I am so grateful for my roommates. In all the craziness that this year has been (and it has been full of ups and downs, and a lot of downs), I have never been more thankful to have these roommates in my life. They have been beside me in all my trials and frustrations. They have been beside me when I am freaking out about school, they have been there in my tears, in my laughs, and in my illness. I have never been so thankful for my new family.


Three Yellow Things that Strike You as a Fresh Memory (Joy Dare)

Joy Dare Day 11

In general this day is very difficult because I am not a big fan of the color yellow - let's be honest it does't look good on me. But I like that I have to look for yellow things that strike me as a fresh memory because I have to find the good in what I traditionally dismiss.

bananas. We always have bananas at our apartment. I don't know why it strikes me as a fresh memory but I guess I never really liked bananas growing up and suddenly in college I seemed to turn over a new leaf.

sunrise. I see a lot more of those lately since I get up so early. On the mornings that I don't feel still plagued by exhaustion or thinking of the ten million things I need to get done, I realize how beautiful a sunrise is. It reminds me of driving to Santa Maria for student teaching and seeing the sunrise over the ocean.

sunflowers. I love taking pictures of flowers. Love it. There is much else to say about this.


A Gift that's Sour, a Gift that's Sweet, A Gift that's Just Right (Joy Dare)

Joy Dare Day 10

sour: sour gummy worms left in my freezer. I love sour gummy worms because I used to eat them a lot as a child. Whenever we went to my dad's house we had a routine: go to the video store rent either a) The Big Green or b) Star Wars, go to the grocery store and get sour gummy worms and Archie comics. Somewhere along the line I realized I liked them frozen too.

sweet: my dad being willing to drive 2 hours to just to have dinner with me. My dad has been offering to meet me in San Bernardino for dinner on week nights and it takes him probably two hours of driving there and back. It is an amazing gift to have be willing to sacrifice his schedule and time just to hang out with me.

just right: eating together with friends. Our bible study eats together every week before study. Food is becoming very important to us (many of our outings revolve around food now) and I love to see us be in community together. There is nothing that brings a group of people together more than food. It feels so right.


A Gift in Your Hand, a Gift You Walked By, a Gift You Sat With (Joy Dare)

Joy Dare Day 9

hand: money. I have been so blessed this year to not be in a financial burden. The past year of student teaching was a huge burden on my finances. I worked a full time job but didn't get paid for it. Now I have not only the means to pay rent and buy groceries but also to support my friend in ministry and to bless others with. In this year of many difficult and hard transitions I am so thankful that I have not had to worry about money.

walked by: a smiling child. My job at our apartment is to retrieve the mail. I get to see a few of our neighbors as I walked from our apartment to the mail box. The past few days I have seen a small kid with his parents as they bbq. He is always smiling and waving at me when I walk by. When I first saw him, I half ignored him but he was so happy that I waved back I couldn't help but smile any more.

sat with: My roommate Michelle. Michelle and I pray every morning before school now. We have been doing this for the past few weeks. And in a moment of breakdown Michelle was there to sit with me and comfort me. She has been a consistent source of prayer and comfort in this trying year of transition and sometimes you need just one person to sit with and not ask too many questions.


A Light that Caught You, a Reflection that Surprised You, and Shadow that Fell Lovely (Joy Dare)

Joy Dare Day 8

light: the light that comes underneath my door in the morning. I am always the last to take up every morning in my apartment. I know I am not ever alone every morning I see the light shining through the crack in my door and I know my roommates are out there too. It is small but living in community has been such an important necessity this year that I don't know where I would be without them.

reflection: my small group reminded me of a moment in InterVarsity. I know this didn't technically happen on January 8th but I'm so off it doesn't really matter. I have been struggling staying sane in my first year teaching. My first week back after a long break off was really hard and I expressed my struggles to my small group in SB. They offered to pray for me in that moment and I was taken back to many a prayer meeting and Spring Break camp in IVSLO where we did things like that.

shadow: the shadow of my car. I cannot begin to think where I would be without my car. It not only gives  me transportation but sometimes in a world of crazy it is the only place I feel safe. It can take me anywhere I need to escape to, it can crank the music loud to sing to, and has provided the best conversations ever.


Three Graces From the People You Love (Joy Dare)

Joy Dare Day 7

My mom spent three days helping me prepare my classroom. She helped me shop, drove out to my school, put a lot of things up for me, even rescheduled a lunch date with a friend just so I would feel comfortable in my own classroom. It has been a hard year teaching and it was amazing to know that my mom was doing all that she could to make it seem better.

Sol and I on the phone is a grace abundantly. Sol lets me call her late at night and talking about serious, nothingness, Friends-ness, and anything else. She listens to my cry, to me laugh, to me repeat the same Friends references over and over again. I wish she was here in person with me more often than not, but I am so thankful that she at least picks up her phone bill. She is also there with the "I know you're scared, don't be scared."

The thoughtfulness that Sarah P. has. This happened a couple days ago but I needed a favor from her and she was unable to do it. In her response to me she didn't just say she couldn't do it but assured me that it was no reflection of our friendship. While that may not seem like a big deal to you, I love that Sarah is always aware of what we talk and process about and applies it to our a friendship. Another long-distance friend that I am still blessed by.


One Thing in Your Bag, in Your Fridge, in Your Heart (Joy Dare)

Joy Dare Day 6

Bag: Sharpie pens and journals. I got sharpie pens for Christmas and they are my favorite pen to write with in my journal. I love writing in my journal, not just because I enjoy expressing myself, but I love writing with an exceptional pen. These sharpie pens are the best gift to journaling ever and often encourage me to write more.

Fridge: Spumoni ice cream. Yes this is technically in the freezer but my mom bought it for me over break and it is my all time favorite ice cream. They serve it at the Spaghetti Factory, which is one of my favorite places to eat growing up. It not only tastes wonderful but also fills me with a lot of amazing memories.

Heart: Psalm 40: 1-3. "I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave  me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.


Something You're Reading, You're Making, You're Seeing (Joy Dare)

Joy Dare Day 5

Reading: The Cross Centered Life by C.J. Mahaney. I didn't think that I would like that book at first but it has been a real blessing to me. This book has revealed a lot of important truths about Jesus and the Cross.

Making: My photo blog. I get to go through all my old photos and share them with my fans - ok well my mom since I am convinced she is the only who looks through that blog anyway. But it doesn't matter how many people look at or through, I get to see the amazing of God's nature and creation and people through those photos again.

Seeing: Southern California night lights. I loved living in SLO but there was always something I missed when I drove around at night - the extreme amount of lights. When you drive up in the mountains and can look down and see the beautiful city lights - it is amazing.


One Gift Old, New, and Blue (Joy Dare)

Joy Dare Day 4

Something Old: my stuffed bear Jimmy (don't ask me why I named him that). I have had had since I was born in fact he was a baby gift for me. And as cheesy as it is to say, when I get really stressed out or sad it is still nice to know that I hug my bear and be reminded of simpler times as a child.

Something New: my iPhone. While it feels where to feel like technology as a gift but I realized how awesome it really is - not just for the cool tech stuff. But I can keep worship music on hand, I can have games to escape when I need a break, it is easier to send text messages to loved ones, and easier to call others while driving and still be legal about it. It has allowed to still be connected to those that don't live near me.

Something(s) Blue: My 3 favorite shirts that me and my twin have. There is the cookies and milk shirt, the Powell's Bookstore shirt, and the Fry-bread Power shirt. These were all amazing finds and every time I wear them I am reminded of my twin, Sol.


Three Lines You Overheard that Were Graces (Joy Dare)

Joy Dare Day 3

"She gets to know people so she can love them well."
I found this on a friend's blog. When I hear things like this I am encouraged. There are many moments when I do feel like a failure - as does everyone I am sure. But when I read things like this, my heart swells up and I feel that great sense of purpose. It is just an overwhelming great feeling of joy.

"The stalling of the ball is a reminder to us to stop and reflect on the year gone by. On the triumphs and missteps, promises made and broken. New Years is about getting another chance." 
This is from the movie New Year's Eve. I was pleasantly surprised by the movie (but more on that later). I love this quote because it brought me a lot of hope for the New Year. 2011 was filled with a lot of hardships and frustrations and I am really looking forward to things improving. It gives me hope that change can be a good thing.

"She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: "You are the God who sees me." 
This is from Genesis chapter 16. It wasn't really overheard per say, but heard in church. This is slowly becoming one of my favorite passages in scripture where the Lord sees Hagar after she has run away from her mistress and her crappy life at home. God saw her in all the crap.


Between Christmas and my birthday and my paycheck I have finally been outfitted with all 10 seasons of friends. It has been a fantastic few weeks as I have been catching up on all the funny and hilarious moments. Here are a few of my favorite moments from the show.

Phoebe sees Monica and Chandler from ugly naked man's aparetment. 

The Smelly Cat music video 

And Chandler tries (but fails) to make a whip sound. 

One of these days I will make a serious and thoughtful post, I promise. 


A Gift Outside, Inside, and on a Plate (Joy Dare)

Joy Dare Day 2

Outside: Christmas lights that are still up even after Christmas. We were walking around the Americana after watching a movie and it still felt like Christmas time (without all the snow or cold weather). I love that time of year with all the fun lights and I really miss it when its over. I made my mom and sister walk around the Americana one more time.

Inside: Friends dvds. I got all 10 seasons for my birthday and Christmas. I have loved being able to laugh with them and to watch them while calling Sol and sharing millions of quotes over text messages.

On a plate: Sushi. I love sushi and San Bernardino does not have very good sushi restaurants. I love going to the place near my dad's house. And I've even got my mom hooked on it as well.


Three Things About Yourself that You are Grateful For (Joy Dare)

Joy Dare Day 1

It seems narcissistic to just say the things you like about yourself on a blog, but sometimes you have to admit what you like about yourself. We can easily tell ourselves all the things we do wrong in life or in the world and then we want others to correct us. But these are three things about myself that I am grateful for.

My voice: I love to sing and I am very thankful that I can carry a tune. Not that you have to be able to carry a tune in order to sing but I am still grateful that I don't feel like I have to hide in my shower or car just to sing.

My laughter: Laughter brings joy to so many people and I enjoy how easily I laugh at things in life.

My writing: I know that I have blessed people through my words of encouragement. Words are very powerful and I know that I have been blessed with an ability to put words together for others.

January Joy Dare

I pray about many things when I'm stressed. I pray for peace, protection, courage, restful sleep, but I don't usually pray for joy. Joy is something I am learning to understand. It's not the same as a happiness but this deep feeling that no matter what is happening around you, thing are going to be ok. Joy is more than just a feeling - in many ways it is a attitude choice.

I have never been good at making resuoltions. They are too vague for me. But this year I am going to start small. I am going to participate in the January Joy Dare. My friend Sol got this from her friend Ann Voskamp. Each day I am going to think of the things that give me joy in life. Each day I will have a sentence prompt to think about what give me joy in life.

Enough with the explanations. Let's begin.