Saturday, September 25, 2010

Home Sweet Home

I don't usually get homesick. Ever. But when I do come home, I am reminded of what a sweet place it really is. I've been home for a few days now and I have just had the best time being with family and friends.

I guess it's the simple things that I miss while I'm away. Like tonight I was just sitting around the piano with my brothers belting out to the Beatles in 3-part harmony. I wish I could do that more often. I miss taking a walk with my parents every night (even though I have to jog to keep up with them). And I've missed being close enough to go watch Taylor's sporting events and see Nathan's tap recitals (HAHA- had to throw that one in there, Nate :)

The other night I was able to go down to Campbell for the Chinese Moon Festival. I had forgotten how much I miss that place. As I was driving around campus, I was flooded with thousands of memories and I just had a huge grin on my face! Those four years of my life were so transformative and awesome. I was reunited with many friends, most of them international students that I haven't seen since I graduated. I was giddy for hours, laughing and reminiscing on the great times we had shared together. My favorite moment of the evening was when I surprised my friend Chioma. She had no idea I was in town, so I just opened her door without knocking and poked my head in. She was in her robe and was taking out her weave so there was a huge pile of hair on the floor! I tackled her and then we just burst into laughter!

In a way, I wish I lived closer to home, but I know that God has placed me where I am and He is continuing to provide for me. I really am happy to be in California, but it is so refreshing to be home.

Today my friend Natalie got married! I met Natalie in Sri Lanka four years ago and she's been my best friend ever since. We've traveled all over the world together and have shared so many crazy and unique experiences. I remember many nights in Sri Lanka when we would stay up late talking, dreaming about our future husbands. Our joke was that our toes would always wiggle out of excitement when we thought about getting married one day! I was so thrilled that Natalie's wedding day had finally come- and boy were her toes wiggling today!

Last night I stayed with her and we talked for a while until we eventually fell asleep. I said, "Natalie, do you realize this is probably the last time we will ever have a sleepover?" It was strange to think that in just 12 hours my best friend would have a new last name and her life would change drastically.

Today was full of giggles and flowers and nerves and tears and everything else that comes along with a wedding. The ceremony itself was really special and was truly a time of worship and committing their marriage to God. I am so happy for my friend. I hope one day my toes will wiggle too! Until then, I'll just be "Aunt Mary" when she starts having kiddos :)

...It's good to be home :)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

First Month Happenings

I can't believe I've already been in California for over a month! I really hit the ground running when I got here August 11th and haven't really stopped since.

It's been a month of change and exciting new experiences. I've been adjusting to living in a new place, starting a new job, new friends, and am a part of a new church.

I absolutely love Mill Valley (where I live). It's just 10 minutes across the Golden Gate bridge. I'm close to the city, but far enough away that it's really calm and peaceful around here. I actually enjoy jogging here, surprisingly! It's just more inspiring when you can run along the water and see the San Francisco skyline in the distance.

I'm taking 4 seminary classes and they are going well so far. But oh my goodness...I forgot what it is like to study! I have spent so much time in the library it's ridiculous.

Perhaps the place I've gotten the most education though is at my new job as a nanny. I'm working for a family in Mill Valley with a 4.5 yr. old, a 2.5 yr. old and a 2 day old (as of today!) I'm definitely learning basic life skills that will help me both now and in the future if I'm ever a mom. Today we had a "water fun" day. Basically I let them loose with the hose on the deck and watched (from the inside!) as they soaked themselves. Dinner is always the time when milk it spit on the dog and pants are pooped in. But they really are sweet kids and I always come home with a good story!

As far as church/ministry goes, I got involved with a church plant in San Francisco called Big Fish For God. The vision of the church is to reach young adults and college students. I felt led to join this plant and help start an International student ministry. There are tons of internationals in the city, which was one of the main reasons I chose Golden Gate in the first place, so I'm pretty stoked to be involved with this ministry. I'm still praying for direction, but I know God will provide.

I know I've only been here a month, but I think God has already spoken to me pretty clearly about a couple of things and I've taken away some important lessons.

The other night I walked up to a hill on campus where you can see a good view of the city. It was really late and quiet and it was a good time for me to be alone with Jesus. I sat up there for a while in silence and tried to hear from God. Sometimes it's really hard for me to just listen to Him, but this particular night He spoke very clearly to me. It wasn't audible, but the words he spoke to me resonated deep within my heart. He said, "You love serving me more than you love me."
Ouch. As soon as I heard this from God I felt so convicted because I realized it was true. I always say, "I'm passionate about missions." or "I LOVE international people." But my primary response should be "I love JESUS!" Isn't He the reason I'm passionate about everything else?

Since I started seminary I have been BUSY busy busy. The weeks run together and schoolwork is never-ending cycle. It's a challenge to keep up a consistent quiet time, but God spoke clearly to me that it is essential to spend that daily time with him. Without it, I'm just going to go through the motions, stressing myself out, until I get a piece of paper with my degree on it. I want my seminary experience to be so much more than that. I want it to be a time of spiritual growth, fellowship with other believers, and a chance to serve my community. These things are only possible when I'm in constant conversation with Him.

I'm constantly being challenged and refined. I mess up every day, but thank goodness He is merciful, right?

Here's a picture from a few weeks ago when I walked the GG bridge with some friends.