Sunday, April 30, 2006

Night Light

This picture was taken Saturday night on a friend's balcony. I just loved the paper lanterns and used another friend's awesome new camera to take the picture. A shout out to all of you who where there on Saturday. I really enjoyed myself and getting to know some of my new friends better. I was so glad that we chose to play Cranium instead of watching a movie because the way to build relationship is through shared experiences.

Although watching a movie is one way, I always think it is more effective for the verbal communication to occur. We get to hear different perspectives on a similar topic, to see how we interact in a competitive environment, to learn about each other and to laugh together. It was a lot of fun and I'm so glad I was able to grow in community and fellowship this weekend.

Breaking and Entering...

Don't worry, I wasn't arrested or anything. My car was actually broken into and entered by some very health conscious but inept thieves this weekend. After breaking the passenger side window of my car, they took a towel from the backseat and very carefully folded it and laid in on the front seat to cover all the glass. Then they proceeded to tear apart my car and try to steal it. Either they were thwarted in their efforts after destroying my steering wheel column, or they realized they couldn't drive the car after destroying my steering wheel column which made it impossible to turn.

Either way, I would have liked it better if they had managed to steal my car instead of destroying it. With a couple extra brain cells, they could have simply opened up my center console and used the key that is prominently located inside. Oh well. I need a new hiding spot now :) Thankfully, no one was hurt and nothing was actually stolen out of my 10 year old Honda Civic with a tape deck. Yes I said a tape deck. The only thing that did end up missing was my Florida license plate, which could be seen as a sign that I need to register my car in Maryland now.

I was a little stressed yesterday, but overall not really that upset. More annoyed than anything. They get to enjoy their gorgeous saturday while I have to deal with the police, a tow truck and a mechanic. Sounds like it could be the beginning of a good joke!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Because Hyla asked :)

I've actually been wanting to post, but there has been so much happening lately and much of it impacting me so deeply and personally that I haven't been sure of how much to say on this very public blog. I don't want this to just be a place for listing events, but also a place where the impact of life is shared so that I may grow from others insights and wisdom and hopefully others will learn from me as well.

I'm in a place of my life right now, where for the first time that I can remember, I'm actually a little frustrated with God. This seems kind of funny to me in an ironic way considering the many crazy things I've dealt with in my life and the many uncertainties I have faced and I am just now getting a little frustrated with God. In whom, I might add, I have faith and trust and have seen do miracles in my life and the lives of those around me. During this time of uncertainty (jobwise, financially, location, relationally), I tend to see myself as weak and unrighteous and sinful. I'm not sure if it is because trials and challenges tend to bring that side of us out, when we want to really be super spiritual and wholly lean on the cross (which I hope I'm doing), but I also realize that I fail at that miserably. Many many times throughout the day.

Am I doubting God just a bit and wondering if his promises are true? Perhaps a little. I wonder if this is because I am getting older and still feel like I don't know what I'm supposed to do with my life, or who I'm supposed to spend it with, or where I'm supposed to spend it. God has been nothing but faithful and truly blessed me beyond belief. I don't even have to look very hard to see what he has done in my life. Just stopping for a moment and realizing the simple fact that I am alive should be cause for a major worship session. It is by his breath that I am even living. And yet I get lost so quickly in the details of life.

Some lessons I've learned recently and am trying to incorporate/apply/examine:

1. My passion and purpose is to glorify God and to serve him. The where, how, when is superficial, yet that is what I spend more of my time worrying about.

2. I tend to be lazy and satisfied with the status quo perhaps mistaking that for God not leading me. I need to explore this more often and be more of a mover than a sitter, a shaker than a stander (in some areas and in some circumstances).

3. Four years in Washington, DC has made me a better friend, a more compassionate and open Christian, and a more realistic/analytical thinker.

4. Four years in Washington, DC hasn't made this place truly feel like a home yet.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Egg-citing Eggstravaganza!

This past Saturday, my church ( held the 5th annual Easter Eggstravaganza in Lincoln Park near the Capitol. There were over 1600 parents and kids who showed up for this awesome free event. There were games, prizes, snacks, crafts, face painting, and a petting zoo for everyone. The best part though had to be the 8,000 easter egg Egg Hunt. That's right...8,000 easter eggs each stuffed with a piece of candy. This is one way my church reaches out to the community to say that we care and that we are relevant to their lives. With around 100 volunteers I think we showed the love of Christ in a practical and super fun way.

My favorite part was the impromptu dance party I had with several kids under the age of 4. That was awesome. One little boy named Guido kept coming up to me and saying "Break It Down!" And boy did we. There were some pretty awesome moves being showcased out in the park :)

This picture is of the crew who stayed until the bitter/sweet end helping pack up all the materials and unpacking them back at Ebenezer's Coffee House. Our reward was that Pastor Joel (big guy in the back row left with the yellow shirt on) treated us all to an Ebenezer's drink. Yum. Mine is a tall iced mocha - one of my favorites.

Friday, April 14, 2006


I've been on a cupcake making kick lately and this is one of my creations. I was inspired by a food picture blog to take this fancy shot of my cupcake. These are peanut butter filled fudge cupcakes with homemade chocolate buttercream frosting and decorated with peanut butter and chocolate chips.

End of the Road?

This is a picture of my small group Journey that had its last meeting on Wednesday. I have really enjoyed meeting this great group of people and look forward to continued relationship building with them. That sounds so formal - basically I want to keep hanging out with them :) Not pictured: Hyla and Karen.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Test Taking is FUN!!!

Tomorrow I sit for the Foreign Service Written Examination (FSWE) which is the first step in becoming a Foreign Service Officer (FSO) with the Department of State. I'm not sure how well prepared I am, but I am looking forward to seeing what this test is all about. I want to send a shout out to those on the Yahoo groups listserv for the encouragement, support, laughs, and thought provoking discussions over the past month. I'm sure I would be way more nervous than I am now if it hadn't been for them.

The test is pretty grueling starting at 8am and finishing around 2pm. There are three major sections and a written essay portion. Depending on how well I do tomorrow, I may move onto the next step which is an oral assessment sometime in the fall/early spring 2007 or I will have to study for the next year and sit for the exam again next year.

Here goes nothing!

For more information visit

Thursday, April 06, 2006

A Road To Remember

Not a poem this time, but a song - phrasing and lyrics need work and the tune is everchanging because I need a tape recorder or something to get it down. Anyway, a work in progress :)

A road to remember
That’s what I want to leave
Behind me
A road full of dangers, a road full of peace
A road that makes my heart sing
Only to the KING

My feat are growing weary,
My strength begins to fade
I’m all alone on this
Road called life

But I’m pressing on,
I’m going forward
It’s taking all I have and all I am
To walk toward you,

On this
Road to remember
That’s what I want to leave
A road filled with stories of grace
A road to remember
That’s what I want to leave
A place for others to reveal
Their songs of joy.

So I call to you
To help me through
This place of toil and fear
For the place you’ve called me to
Is just beyond my reach
And I need you to help me

On this road to remember
That’s what I want to leave
A place for you to stand and see
Where I have been
And what He’s done for me.


What does this day bring?
Sorrow at the leaving and joy at the coming home.
Soaring on wings toward
your destiny, your land of promise.
The sun rising over the dunes, calling you
to come and dwell in its bosom.
The sea behind beckoning for
your soul to stay within its touch.
The heart breaking at the choice,
but the spirit longing to walk
with the Father eternal..
So the choice is clear, nay firm.
Follow the call, follow the voice, follow the leading.
Confident that what remains is
Held in His hands.

NOTE: This was written as a goodbye for a friend of mine who was leaving DC to go to Africa. She was raised in the city and her mother lives here still, but she has been a missionary in Africa for many years and was headed back after a short three month furlough.

September 25, 2002

Anarchy. Liberalism. IMF. World Bank. Negotiation. Resolution. Birth Control. Party Animal. Freedom. Ignorance. Self conscious. Conservative. Sheltered. Longing. Not belonging. Alone. Memory.


Future. Where, what, how, who, when. Understanding. Not understanding. Protests. Tear gas. Long sleeves & high socks. Old. Young. Fat. Normal. Obsessed.

Stop obsessing.

Cell phone. Conference call. Time zones. Insecure. Unsure. Out of style. No style. Screwing up.

Screw it.

Languages. Which one. Research. Writing papers. End result. Advisor. Christianity. Cross-cultural.

How’s it fit?

Balance. Values. Ethics. Morals. Who am I. what am I. God is love.

God is.

Guiding me. Leading me. Drawing me. Cleansing me. Filling me. Loving me. Focus on Him.

At the end, that’s all there is.


NOTE: This poem was written one month into grad school, September 25, 2002. I was at American University and living in DC and was really going through some intense internal challenges. I vividly remember sitting on a bench in the main area of campus having just finished a cell phone conference call for work and it all hit me at once.

World Bank protests were going on, I was in a much more liberal environment than I was used to or had ever been in before, I had just read an article on the different health policies of all the universities and discovered that American is one of the most liberal in the area. The elephant and donkey painted sculptures (party animals) were on campus hiding from the protests downtown. I had read on a website that anarchists wear long sleeves etc. to protect themselves from the tear gas.

So there was much swirling around inside of me and I just had to get it down. As I wrote, the action of putting it all onto paper was cathartic and naturally led me to the conclusion. To me journaling as a form of prayer has always resulted in praise and recognition.

Ironic or Saying Goodbye on IM

If you gotta go
Just let me know.
I won’t be sad
I won’t be mad
I will be glad
That we did grow
In heart, and mind, and soul.

NOTE: written to a friend of mine. I find this an ironic goodbye message because instant messenger (IM) is such a shallow and superficial means of communication. You can discuss deep and intimate topics over the Internet, but the very nature of technology removes you from the warmth, the personal touch, the nuances of language both verbal and body making a true connection difficult.

three worlds (conundrum)

The following is a poem that was inspired by a friend of mine. He is Chinese born and raised outside of Shanghai. He spent five years in France and then came to the U.S. for a semester abroad which is when I met him.

We were walking through Chinatown in DC and he made a comment about how each of the three languages that he knows all have their special nuances and are each better for expressing different things that he feels and thinks and wants to say. Even if it has expanded his ability to express himself it has also complicated his ability because the choices are so much more.

The title of this post is also the title I have given to the poem.

I'm sitting here in my room
at my journal.
Wanting to empty myself in written word
but not sure which language to use.

Should it be the lyrical mother tongue
that evokes memories of the childhood village
and makes the bright lights of Shanghai sparkle?

Should it be the nearly perfect second language
with the romance and poetry that invokes
Paris, Lyon, la Tour Eiffel, l'Arc Triomphe?

Should it be this third global language
that rules the world through
slick images and raw might?

Which one should it be?
Which one will best express my thoughts and emotions
on paper covered with ink?

Three worlds, three voices
one me
I think I'll use all of them.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Spring Flowers

I took these this past weekend in DC!