Friday, November 30, 2012

He is the Potter

      This week I have not been thinking about blogging, as there have been a lot of things going on in my life.  So, I will take a few moments to catch you up on the happenings!
      I am once again employed as an RN!  Praise the Lord! After five months of  applying, waiting, praying, waiting, and praying some more, God opened the doors at a job at the hospital here in Nyack.  I will be working in the MICU - medical intensive care unit. I know it will be very different from the emergency room, but I look forward to the new challenges. Night shift, here I come!  Expect many posts about daytime sleeping adventures, coffee, and balancing work and school.  At this point I am hoping to keep my full-time status at seminary, but I will see how the next month goes before making a final decision. 
      The only thing that can be said about this whole thing is that God is faithful. He has never given up on me, even when I was angry and frustrated and kept asking Him why. He never told me why, by the way. And I don't feel the need to know. What I do know is that He has a plan for me and that everything that happens in every season of my life is for a purpose.  
      Last night in my spiritual formation class (I feel like I use that phrase a lot - such a good class!), a potter did a presentation with clay.  He spoke about God as the potter, as found in Isaiah 64:8: "But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand." He described the amount pressure that the potter must put on the clay, even though it hurts the clay, in order to fashion it into something of beauty.  Even when the clay dries out, the potter does not give up on it, because he paid a price for it. That was the part that struck me the most. Why would God ever give up on me? Out of His love for me, He paid a price for me, and He will never give up on molding me into a beautiful vessel. Praise to the One who picks me up in my brokenness and turns the wounds into beautiful scars that echo songs of His faithfulness. 


"But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us." 2 Corinthians 4:7

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving!

       Happy day after Thanksgiving!  Yesterday, I bucket-listed something I had been dreaming of since I was a little girl: I attended the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.  One of the perks of living an hour from New York City! 


Waiting for the parade to start! 
      Lea and I headed to the city at 3:30 yesterday morning in order to find a parking spot in Park Slope where we were having dinner, take the subway to Manhattan, and stake out our territory at the parade.  By 5:20 we had found our way to 37th Street and 6th Avenue, where we sat on a subway grate behind some very loud and restless children.  We had sat on the cold ground for two hours before being told by a parade representative that we were in the "quiet zone," meaning that we would not hear any of the performances as the bands and performers passed us.  I was so exhausted and had waited so long for this moment that I did the unthinkable: I started crying. Right there in the middle of the sidewalk in New York City.  I eventually pulled myself together and was able to enjoy the parade, even if it was soundless and a large child kept falling into me. 
       Since we were near the end of the parade, right before Macy's, the parade members sometimes had to rush past us in order to get to the star on time.  Our favorite part of the parade was watching the marching bands sprint past us, their tubas and drums bouncing up and down.  The people holding the balloons were also quite amusing when they ran, especially the people who weren't in the best shape and were left straggling behind.  I was thankful that if we couldn't hear anything, we at least got some entertainment! 
Our fashionable footwear for city walking.
       We wandered around Times Square and 5th Avenue for a while after the parade, but were exhausted from the early morning and lack of sleep. Using my Hopstop app, we made our way back to Park Slope to my friend Colleen's apartment. We relaxed a bit, took naps, and drank lots and lots of hot beverages.  Colleen's mother Carol arrived later in the evening, and we put the final touches on dinner. 



       Colleen assigned Carol the task of carving 
the turkey, so Colleen found a YouTube instruction video for her to watch. I had the best time watching the video and the observing the turkey cutting! We sat down to a delicious dinner of carrot ginger soup, turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes with maple syrup, green beans, and homemade biscuits and apple butter.  Yum!  I got to Skype my family before dessert, which made not being home a little better. Dessert was an apple crumble pie with caramel sauce from Cousin John's bakery in the Slope.  Delicious ending to a perfect day!  So, so thankful for wonderful friends who made my first Thanksgiving away from home a very joyous occasion. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Colorful People

      
      Tonight, my friends and I celebrated Thanksgiving early with a multicultural dinner. Korean barbecue was the main course, accompanied by thoroughly American sides: stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and cranberries in the shape of a can.  Lea, my friend who came from Harvard to spend the weekend, fit in beautifully with the group. As we sat around heaping plates of delicious food, we all shared what we are thankful for and decided that we are all thankful for diversity. Someone referred to us as "colorful people."  I started thinking about that.  We are colorful people because God is a colorful God. How boring would the world be if everything in nature was the exact same shape and color, or if every person thought, looked, and acted the same? My world has definitely become more colorful since I moved to New York, and for that I am thankful.  How blessed I am to serve a creative and colorful God!  

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Oh, Glorious Day!

      You know those days when everything seems perfect and when you sit down at the end of the day to reflect the only thing you can do is smile? Today was one of those days.  My friend Kristi and I try to make Sundays adventure days when we can, free from homework and full of new, fun, New Yorkish things.  We have been wanting to do a photo shoot for a couple of months now, since Kristi loves taking pictures and I love being in them.  Even after the hurricane, many trees are still clinging to their colorful leaves and the sun was shining this afternoon, so today was the day!  We wandered up and down a neighborhood street and then went down by the river, where I pretended to be a model and Kristi snapped away.  It was so much fun! 
      The photo shoot made us hungry, so we went to Amici's where we both enjoyed delicious slices of New York style pizza - tomato for me and spinach for Kristi (my third time for pizza in a week and a half - I never eat this much pizza!).  I am becoming quite the fan of vegetables on my pizza! 
      After dinner, we were in a quandary as to what should come next.  We decided to cross the Tappan Zee Bridge and explore White Plains.  After an hour, we were in the car headed back across the bridge.  It goes without saying that we didn't find anything exciting to do.  Except walk through Walmart - something that we don't get to do very often.  Definitely more exciting in theory than in actuality, especially when one has no money to spend.  We ended the evening with a trip to Dunkin Donuts back in Nyack.  Coffee and two donuts when we only paid for one! One can never go wrong with green frosted sprinkle donuts in the shape of a star! 
      I am thankful for a friend who is as adventurous as I am, for the ability to laugh, and for a God who loves to bless His children with glorious days.  So tonight I will go to bed with a smile on my face, for I am blessed and loved by God.  Happy Thanksgiving week, friends! 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Piggy Banks, Old Ladies, and Cauliflower

      This afternoon, I convinced the two boys I babysit (the 7 and 9 year olds) to walk to the library. We made a deal that if they walked with me, we could go to the Sweet Shop, the newest candy store in town. The 7 year old had a piggy bank full of coins, which I finally convinced him to put in a Ziploc baggy, as much as I wanted to tote the pig along on our excursion. The boys scootered and I walked, which meant that I did a lot of shouting down the block and they did a lot of waiting at corners. The boys wandered around the candy store for about 20 minutes before deciding on a combination of Mike and Ike's, candy corn, and candy Legos from the bulk section. The total came to $2.66, which the owner of the store graciously accepted in a variety of quarters (only 1), dimes, and nickels. 
      After making the candy selection, we walked back down the block to the library, but were slowed down by a group of elderly people on a leisurely walk. The 7 year old leaned over to me and whispered, "we're going to be here forever!" as we walked slowly behind an older woman.  One of the gentlemen veered to the right after a couple minutes, at which point I quickly motioned to the boys to scoot around before the gap closed. The 7 year old and I chuckled to ourselves as we went up the walk to the library, where the boys spent the next 45 minutes playing maze games on the computers. 
      When we arrived back at their house, I had my first introduction to Scooby Doo. They had checked out the Scooby Doo with "real" people from the library and were excited for me to watch it with them. I must say that I don't feel like I've missed anything by not watching Scooby Doo the past 23 years of my life. But, it was a bonding experience and the boys enjoyed the movie. 
      Tonight when I came home, I experimented with cauliflower. I admit that I have never cooked cauliflower before, unless it was mixed into a vegetable medley from the freezer section.  I didn't know there would be so much chopping involved.  I hacked off the leaves and stem from the whole head of cauliflower I purchased this past weekend before smothering what was left in olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper and popping it into the oven. 25 minutes later, I covered the browned vegetables in Parmesan cheese and let them sit under the broiler for an extra 3 minutes. The result? A delicious, cheesy side dish that I will be making again.  Gotta love creative Friday nights! 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Break

      Only one more class this week and it's officially Thanksgiving break! In college we only got a few days for Thanksgiving, never a week. What a treat! I am so thankful for a break, even though I had one unexpectedly due to the hurricane. Somehow that week without classes wasn't very relaxing. I am so thankful for the much-needed rest. I am also thankful for the time to catch up on assignments - I may even read a few books for fun! 

Thank you, God, for a break and a time to stop the busyness and simply thank You for all the good gifts You give. Amen.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Blue Skies!

       Today was a beautiful day!  I woke up to the sun shining and a BLUE sky! I  have gotten quite used to gray skies since moving to New York. Blue skies are quite a treat and gratefully received! I very much enjoyed the lovely day. I also enjoyed the trees that clung to their leaves in spite of the hurricane! The colors around me today took my breath away. God is indeed the Master Artist! Tonight, I will go to sleep with a smile on my face, thankful for red trees, blue skies, and a God who paints in color. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

My iPod Has Been Found!

      I have my iPod again!  This morning I received a text from one of the parents I babysit for that said he had found my iPod!  I lost it at least a month ago and had given up hope of ever seeing it again. I prayed that it would be found, but when it didn't appear accepted it as a loss and moved on. I am so thankful that he found it! It was tucked down in the rocking chair where I rock the toddler, but I'm fairly certain I never took it up there. Which means the silly little guy may have transplanted it to his rocking chair. Oh well! It is found! I now have all my music back! I love it when God blesses me with unexpected surprises when I need them most! When has God surprised you lately? 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Be Not Anxious

      
      God has been pulling me into my favorite passage of Scripture in Matthew 6 for the past two days.  I do not know if I had ever read it in the ESV before, and it spoke to me in an all new way when I read it yesterday. In the NIV, the words are "do not worry," while in the ESV, the words are "do not be anxious."  Who knew better than God that I have been anxious for the past few weeks, worrying and stressing over things that are beyond my control?  
      The verse that has really stood out to me is verse 27: "And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to the span of his life?"  My mom told me last night that worrying does not change my situation one bit.  Being anxious about something does not change it, it just gives me headaches and makes me tired.  Today, I am thankful for the promise of Matthew 6:33: "But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."  
      As I sit here sipping my favorite tea, I am thankful that I rest in the arms of the One who tells me to not be anxious.  He is the only One with whom I can fully entrust all of my burdens, knowing that He can turn the most hopeless of situations into something beautiful.  Be not anxious, my friends. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Thankfulness Day 11

Thankful for:     

1) Warm, sun-shiny day! The high was near 70 today! 

2) Unexpected babysitting - always fun! 

3) Friends just down the hall who will let me borrow a huge knife to chop open a squash (baked acorn squash with butter and honey tonight...and I ate the whole thing - yum!) 

4) Pinterest, which provides recipes such as pumpkin spice granola - utterly delicious! 

5) Cleaning motivation: this is something that doesn't happen to me very often, but when it does I just clean up a storm! My floors are shiny again!

6) Gas - the gas stations were crazy busy (and mostly out of gas) for a while as people were frantically trying to fuel up their vehicles after the hurricane. So thankful I didn't need gas until today! 

7) Freshly painted fingers and toes - one of the few vanities I enjoy :) 

8) Parents who are totally in love with God and have wisdom to share - don't know what I'd do without them! 

9) Hot bubble baths

10) Leopard-spotted Toms

11) Country music 

What 11 things are you thankful for today? 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

NYC on the Train

      The past couple of days have been full of reading and paper writing, as I was trying frantically to complete assignments before my date with family in the city.  My cousin Ruth texted me a couple days ago and asked if I could make a trip into the city today because her parents are here for a few days.  Of course I jumped at the chance to go to the city and see family!  Ruth said parking has been crazy since the hurricane, so I rode the train, which I decided is way more relaxing than trying to dodge crazy New Yorkers for an hour and a half.  I met Uncle Lee, Aunt Joella, and Ruth at Grand Central Station, and then we walked a few miles to a restaurant in Chelsea, where Uncle Lee had made reservations.  Three course Mexican dinner - yum!  Guava cream cheese empanadas. Need I say more?  

Today, I am thankful for: 

1) My proximity New York City and and that I can make trips spontaneously with little to no inconvenience. 

2) My aunt and uncle and the opportunity I've had this year to get to know them better. 

3) Daily chats with my mom - couldn't ask for a better best friend! 

4) Public transportation - I always see the most interesting people when I travel into the city. 

5) Pandora - I lost my ipod a few weeks ago, so it's been a blessing to be able to listen to music on my phone! 

6) Pictures - taking them, looking at them, being in them - love it! 

7) My car - I don't know what I would do without one! 

8) Running water 

9) The freedom to own and read the Bible 

10) The unfailing, unconditional love of my Father 

Have a beautiful Sunday, friends! 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Friday Night Pizza

Today I am thankful for:  

1) Christmas cups at Starbucks

2) Good hair days (very few and far between with my curly locks) 

3) Flannel pajama pants

4) The opportunity to catch up with so many friends this week

5) My parents both getting to visit their parents over the past two weeks - it made them all so happy! 

6) The blessing of having all 4 of my grandparents still living - my mom's dad turned 92 on Wednesday! 

7) Good Earth tea

8) New York style pizza to accompany my Friday movie night - chicken parmesan and vegetarian mushroom, spinach and broccoli - yum! 

9) My Jesus, who never grows tired of my company 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Thankful at Midnight

"At midnight I rise to give you thanks for your righteous laws."
Psalm 119:62


      I had never stopped to read or think about this verse before tonight.  It made me think: am I thanking God at all times, or only when it is convenient for me? Thankful today for....

1) A beautiful sunset

2) Skype date with Ben to watch my favorite Christmas movie: "I Want a Dog For Christmas, Charlie Brown!" He appreciates my sense of humor :) 

3) The snow melting before I had to drive anywhere today 

4) The fleece bear blanket I sewed in home-ec in 8th grade and 5) my mom who insisted I learn to sew. 

6) Walks in the crisp fall air 

7) Classes that challenge me to go outside of my comfort zone

8) My God who knows all of my needs before I have knowledge of them 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Wednesday Workout!

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 'The Lord is my portion,' says my soul, 'therefore I will hope in him.'"
Lamentations 3:22-24
    
      I am up earlier than normal this morning because my friend Kristi decided she was going to work out at 6.  So of course I joined her, since it's way too hard for me to get out of bed and go to the gym without accountability. I ran/walked for 30 minutes and then Kristi showed me a free weights routine. I feel so awake right now, it's crazy!  Probably a very good thing, since I'm planning on spending the majority of the day in the library. 
      A "nor'easter" is headed New York's way today, so I'm blogging early just in case the power goes out again.  I am praying hard that it doesn't.  Some people in the area are still without from Hurricane Sandy.  

What I am thankful for today: 

1) A workout buddy

2) Clean water 

3) A warm bed to snuggle into when it is 30 degrees outside

4) That I live in a country where I have the freedom to vote

5) The large zebra lamp that I bought at a Korean garage sale for $10

6) The job that I know God is going to provide for me here in New York

7) Fuzzy Christmas tree socks

Praying your Wednesday is full of God's mercies, for they are new every morning!  


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Pink Polka-Dotted Rain Boots

      
      I really need to take some pictures.  Otherwise you may get bored of my blog...me just chatting, chatting away.  Over lots of coffee, of course. Although I am definitely sticking to decaf from now on.  Yesterday and today I strayed from my decaf-only routine, which resulted in a major headache on both occasions.  Totally not worth it.  I probably need to up my water intake.  Note to coffee drinkers: drink as much water as you do coffee in order to stay well-hydrated! 
      Today was not an overly-productive day for me.  Surprise, surprise.  I did get a bit written for a paper, which is a good thing.  Mainly I'm super distracted by life's circumstances at the moment and can't seem to focus on anything of immediate importance.  Today God reminded me to stop being so inward-focused and to look for opportunities to serve Him, even if they seem "small."  A very much needed reminder today.  Funny how God works. 
      I realized that making thankfulness lists every day is kind of difficult.  Which is really sad.  I'm trying to focus on things that I don't think about being thankful for.  I would love your feedback.  For what do you forget to be thankful? 

1) A loving God who draws me back into His arms every time I run away for a bit

2) Cold weather - the chill in the air always puts a smile on my face! 

3) 50% off Halloween candy at Target

4) God using me as an answer to someone's prayer

5) Christmas music

6) Pink polka-dotted rain boots - I'll be wearing them tomorrow for sure! Nothing like cute feet during a snow/rain storm! 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Monday

Thankful for:
1) My friend Garlie - giggling (mostly silently) with her is the only way I make it through Biblical Theology on Monday nights.

2) Peanut butter - it makes anything yummier: chicken, vanilla ice cream, oatmeal. Pretty much a wonder food.

3) The families I babysit for - I feel so blessed to work for people I genuinely enjoy and who really care about me.

4) My computer - it's nice to have a computer whose battery lasts longer than 2 minutes.

5) Professors who are flexible with assignment due dates after the storm. Such a blessing!

Mondays always wear me out, so I'm off to bed. Have a lovely Tuesday!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Thankfulness Day 4

      I think I like Daylight Savings Time.  Falling back was a beautiful idea.  I woke up at 7:15 this morning (which is weird cause I usually never wake up before 9), so I decided to go to 8:30 church service.  Since I started my day so early, I didn't feel at all guilty taking a nap this afternoon.  It was glorious!  This evening, I had a few friends over to pray.  It was really great to sit still and refocus after a crazy week.  Classes are back in session tomorrow - I'm actually excited for Old Testament! 
      Today I am thankful for:

1) My dad. No matter how many times I call him and dump all my frustrations on him, he never ceases to be understanding and encouraging.  I always hang up encouraged. 

2) My roommate

3) Electricity

4) Hot showers 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Lazy Saturday

      Today was a lazy Saturday.  I drank coffee, did laundry, read a little bit for one of my classes, made dinner with friends.  The weather is getting chilly, but the sun was shining bright today, making it hard to believe that a hurricane swept through less than a week ago.  Today I am thankful for:

1) Friends who will eat my food when I decide to experiment.  Tonight was baked potato soup.  It was a little thick because I added an extra potato, but I think it was the best dinner recipe I've tried so far.  I'm actually starting to enjoy cooking! 

2) Skype - this evening I got to Skype with four of my friends from college - it was so good to see their faces! 

3) Pumpkin scented candles 

Happy Sunday! 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Music and Coffee

      Today was the first mostly normal day I've had since Sunday.  My power is back, but I'm discovering that most people in Nyack are still without.  Being without power for a couple of days made me realize two things that I take for granted and have a hard time living without: coffee (or tea - really just hot beverages) and music.  It was really hard for me to go without drinking something hot when it was cold outside and to sit in silence.  I like silence sometimes, but I guess I like to choose the silence.  
      Music has always been a part of my life.  My parents are both musically talented, so I grew up loving music because they did.  I listen to music while I cook, while I study, while I clean.  I don't have the majority of my iTunes after I bought a new computer and lost my iPod, so Pandora it is.  Currently my station of choice is Kari Jobe radio, which I shuffle with Jesus Culture radio on occasion.  Listening to worship music throughout the day, I feel like I am consistently being invited into God's presence.  It really is a beautiful way to live!   
      One of the first things I did last night when I got home was make decaf coffee.  I drink mostly decaf these days, with the occasional cup of caffeinated coffee.  Although yummy decaf flavors are way harder to find than yummy caffeinated flavors.  Especially whole bean.  So I settled for ground Archer Farms Cinnamon Vanilla Nut decaffeinated coffee.  Tonight I added a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Mmmmm! 
      So what am I thankful for today?  Music and coffee.  Two things I didn't know were so involved in my life until I was without them.  What things do you take for granted?  


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Remembering Thankfulness

      November is the month in which we celebrate Thanksgiving.  Of course we should be thankful every day, not just one day out of the year, but it is nice to have an actual "thankfulness day."  I noticed on Facebook that one of my friends is going to do a "thankfulness status" every day in November which inspired my next blogging idea!  
      This month, I will blog about what I am thankful for.  Not just one thing, but for every day I will list that many things; like today is November 1st, so I will list one thing I am thankful for today.  Tomorrow I will list two things, November 3rd I will list three, etc.  I invite you to join me in remembering to thank our amazing God for the blessings He showers upon us daily.  What are you thankful for today?
#1: I am thankful for my cousin Ruth. She is so in love with Jesus and I enjoy every moment that I get to know her better.  She opened up her home to my friend and I this week when we were without power, right when I didn't think I could handle the dark anymore.  Thank You, God, for blessing me with such a beautiful cousin and friend!