Tuesday, February 7, 2012


A rainbow over a valley on the Na Pali Coast of Kauai, Hawaii.

What makes the world go 'round?  Or, maybe a better question is: what makes it worth the world going 'round?  


Not to be cliche or to boast or gush too much in "marriage" or what has recently happened in our lives . . .  because I do NOT think "marriage" is ultimate or should be our priority in pursuit.  But, the past few months have been full of Love.  So much Love.  And I don't only mean mine and Jeff's for one another, which is an unimaginable blessing.  But we have been humbled by an outpouring of love and blessings by so many others; it has been overwhelming.  And I don't only mean only during the last few months.  This time has reminded us of the cloud of witnesses we have had surrounding us from birth.  We have had so many wonderful people placed so beautifully and instrumentally in our lives, we cannot be but thankful and full of joy as we are forced to our knees in humble thanks.  Love!  Love from family, friends over many years and only a few years.  Most of all, we are humbled as we see this is all from Above and not of our own deserving or merit.  We have been given all of you, and we are so humbled.  We are thankful for your encouragement, support, admonishing words, correction and warnings, and your commitment to continue to be Love to us.  

Even as we see relationships change form or seem more distant and the phone calls fewer and further in-between, the affect they have had on our lives are ever-so-real in making us what we are today and as we remember the times of proximity.  It is Love! 

As I was running errands today, catching up on what has piled up as we were gone, I was reminded as I reflected on the outpouring of Love throughout my life: "THIS is what makes life worth it: loving God and loving others."  We were made for this . . . Love.   As we see hatred rampant and read the headlines about a father killing his children, wars escalating and people killing their own people, threats of nuclear war and wondering when we will all kill each other or when will we see that nuclear flash and kiss this world goodbye, I am reminded of Love and the Hope we have in Love.  

7 The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

1 Peter 4.7-11

7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and rhis love is perfected in us.

13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

1 John 4.7-21

28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32 And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. 33 And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one's neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” 

Mark 12.28-34

As I reflect upon the outpourings of love experienced during this time and all the rest of my life as I look back, I am convinced it is this the Lord intended for His children. God is Love and as we love one another, we shine His light in this o' so desparingly dark world. He first Loved us so we could Love others.  And when we Love each other as we should, and as I have witnessed in my life, in those moments "[we] are not far from the kingdom of God."

So, thank you, thank you, thank you. We are humbled and inspired.   May we Love you as you Love us.  Praise God for you all and may we live lives worthy of your and His Love!  Amen!

Monday, March 21, 2011


There are moments you just know things.  Like when you know something is right or when something is wrong.  There are moments you see things clearly and it all makes sense and you don't have to fight the blur of distraction of life. There are moments when you can see a bigger picture, unhindered by the tunnel-vision of the task-driven day-to-day routine.  There are moments, when the clouds break, you stop and see things, realize things and bask in a simple reality, even if ever so briefly.

Today as the sun broke through several days of rain and gloom to shine some light on the beauty being born beneath the darkness of the clouds, today became a day of clarity, of stepping back and seeing a bigger picture, of seeing the beauty and renewal of the heavy rains and dark clouds.  And it was a beautiful and calmly serene day.  The hills are brilliantly emerald green, dotted with little orange poppies and yellow mustard flowers.  The trees are blooming their flowers before their leaves come.  The creeks sing their songs of abundant flow in the rush of their waters.  The bluebirds sing and and hop from branch to branch.  It seems we all celebrated the sun today and rejoiced the secret work of the rain in the darkness.  An allegory for Life?  I think so.

My friend Angie and I ran to her car from my place in torrential rain and even freezing rain, thinking, "So, our 'girls' day out' may be a very sloppy and wet one!"  By the time we got to Saratoga, about 20 minutes later, the clouds had parted, the sun broke through and warmed our faces, and brought to life the beauty around us.  An Italian lunch in charming Saratoga, a breathtaking 10 minute drive up through the mossy green forest to overlook vineyards and green Silicon Valley at Paul Masson Winery. We then headed down and up the road to Savannah Chanelle Winery, to taste a delightful flight, buy some Syrah Port, and take a short walk down the road on the property to the Redwood Grove with a sweet, full, and happy creek with the sun filtering down through the leaves.  What a fun and peaceful getaway from the bustle of 3 million people Bay Area, only 20 minutes from our houses!

Clarity and simplicity struck me again today as we took in the day.  This is a beautiful place with majesty all around: Redwoods stand towering over us in their millenia of years of wisdom; the creeks rush and rejoice with the rains; the graceful green hills surround on three sides, inviting a peaceful hike; over "the hill," or the Santa Cruz Mountains, the sea pounds the shore, rocks and cliffs with awe-inspiring power.  Life was clear and simple to me today: the Lord has brought me here. He gives me delight in His creation here.  I can't seem to get enough of His beauty here.  And, the times of work, busy-ness, politics, distraction and noise, fade away as I remember the Ultimate Simplicity of Truth.  He is there. I am here.  And through the clouds and seemingly endless wind, rain and chaos, new life is being nurtured and born for glory and to bear new fruit. Years past and the path He has led me on thus far makes sense today.  God is good.

Hope you are all well where you are!  Love and miss you!

Monday, January 24, 2011


Two Thousand Eleven?!  Oh my!

My brother always says the key to a good blog is to have something to write about.  Yep, I would say that's true.  I have no big stories to tell.  January and 2011 has held work, a day trip to Sonoma, some time in the City (San Fran) and a head cold, like the rest of the Bay Area.  This last week, however, included the exploration of the town of Sonoma and Sonoma Valley.  Sonoma is where the Bear Flag Revolt occurred and Californians declared independence from Mexico in 1846.  California was even it's own republic for less than a month before it was annexed to the States!  But, Sonoma has much to offer the history buff, with preserved hotels during the mining days, old barracks, the last Spanish Mission built, and General Vallejo's home, who was a very prominent and prestigious figure in Sonoma after the revolt.  If you ever come to Northern California and are looking for a nice day of learning about the history of the area, Sonoma is a charming and fun old town to visit.  Of course there many wineries to visit and taste wine at and the valley is beautiful.  It's a good country kind of day to have.

The next day, my friend, Angie and I went into SF and visited the Palace of Fine Arts, which was built in 1915 originally for the Panama-Pacific Exposition.  Rebuilt in 1965, it is the only remaining structure from the expo.  It is quite impressive and grande.  Also worth the visit.

See Angie?! She's short compared to the Dome!

On a more personal note:  Settling into living here grants me mixed feelings. As I was walking into the coffee shop with my flip flops on in the sunshine and 70 degree weather, I thought, "I love it here!"  But, then, I still miss Texas and the goodtimes had in Texas.  I miss family and being closer to family, especially when grandparents experience ill health.  Determining the balance of actively living life versus hanging back for things that may or may not happen is an ongoing internal conflict that all who move away from home probably experience.  I have found myself missing times in the past like when all my grandparents were around, all the grandkids were slamming the doors running in and out of Granny and PaPa's house, and how I would be sitting at the bar, swinging my legs and licking my lips while Granny made chocolate gravy, anticipating when she finally said it was okay to "dig in!" My dreams take me back there, at times.  Maybe I'm just missing Granny and how our family was more intentionally united by her presence.  Those were fun times and good memories.  Life marches on, but, a part of me will always long to go back there and enjoy the smell of bacon and hear it sizzling in the pan, while the kitchen bustled with people "doing chores" and chomping at their bits for Granny's cookin'.  After breakfast, we went out to feed the dogs or play with the puppies (Granny and PaPa had a greyhound farm).  After that, we would play Nintendo, or ride horses or ride the Odyssey dune-buggy.  There was never a shortage of fun to be had at Granny and PaPa's and with 10+ grandkids there at a time. There was never a dull moment or a time when you couldn't hear somebody hollerin' or laughing.  Good times, indeed. 

Be blessed, people!  And enjoy the bustle of a house full of family!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Hurried shopping, Christmas partying, airport hopping, crying baby avoiding, hello hugging, Christmas lights horse-drawn wagon riding and freezing, "Look how much you've grown!" exclaiming, Christmas-carol playing, Christmas feasting, family laughing, card gaming, football watching, fireside sitting, family internet browsing, couch napping, holiday reading, "White Christmas" movie watching, gift swapping, more feasting,goodbye hugging, airport hopping, crying baby avoiding, airplane window Hollywood sign looking, fifth airplane landing, and "hello home!" saying.

Such is December!  How do we have time to think about anything else?!  Hopefully, we were able to to find the time to remember the little Babe born in the stable, God incarnate, to die so we may live.

Hope everybody had a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours!

Got to visit my friends Carli and Scott in Seattle! 
So good to see them!  Oh, this is Pike's Market, where they 
throw the fish.

 Scott, Jeff and I, standing in front of the 
original Starbucks!  Traffic stopped for us
while we took the picture!

 Seattle waterfront.

Seattle waterfront (in the SUN!).

My birthday buddies! 

Two of my favorite things:  SF cable cars and Christmas!

Union Square in SF. Second Annual 
Cheesy Christmas Day in the City!

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day written by Henry Longfellow, during the Civil War.

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play.
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of Peace on earth, good will to men.

I thought how as the day had come
The belfries of all Christendom
Had roll'd along th' unbroken song
Of Peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair, I bow'd my head:
"There is no peace on earth," I said,
"For hate is strong and mocks the song,
Of Peace on earth, good will to men."

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound the carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearthstones of a continent,
And made forlorn, the households born
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep;
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With Peace on earth, good will to men."

Monday, October 18, 2010

Half Dome: Did I mention? I'm afraid of heights . . .

I kept hearing about "Half Dome" when people would talk about Yosemite. I was always intrigued and thought I would see what the big deal was.  As I researched hiking Half Dome in Yosemite, I found many blogs, a few articles, and lists about the dangers of this climb.  Coworkers would talk about the stories of hikers witnessing people slide off the edge to their deaths and their own adventuresome tales of making to the top and back down again safely, getting lost and having to find their way back to camp in the dark with flashlights.  Not to mention, there are two large waterfalls and a rushing (raging in the spring) river to consider, which has claimed hundreds of lives of healthy people, just out for a day hike.  The warnings to proceed with caution and care are very present.

The hike is a 14-16 mile round trip, normally, depending on which trails you take.  Jeff and I hiked up the Mist Trail and down the John Muir Trail, so, including our 1 mile each way trip between the car and trailhead, our trip was probably around 18 miles.

Vernal Fall

Vernal Fall
After our 1 mile 10 minute warmup to the trailhead in the cool 50 degree air at 6:55 am and as the valley had a dim, blue light dawning, we hit the Mist Trail, still a little sleepy but excited to get to the top.  At a pretty good clip, we headed up the paved path towards Vernal Fall.  It's a 0.8 mile hike, uphill and very steep at times.  But, the views of the rapids and the eventual view of the fall is magnificent.  Vernal is a 317 foot fall and hikers climb over 600 steps of varying heights to reach the top of the fall.  I think this is the third most challenging and heart-pumping, hard-breathing, leg-burning part of the Half Dome hike. But, the view and roar and occasional crack of water hitting the rocks below is beautiful and distracting.  The hike then passes Emerald Pool, a very rich green-colored pool the water seems to rest in in before it reluctantly falls over the edge of Vernal Fall, and then up along the gentle granite slope the water recreationally seems to slide down into the pool.  We cross a bridge and begin a less difficult climb up to the next rock stairs up to Nevada Falls which is about 1.9 miles further along the trail from Vernal Fall.  This is another very beautiful fall and much higher than Vernal at 594 feet.  It's another great place to take in the view of the valley you just came up, listen to the rush and roar of the water sliding over the edge and down the granite cliff.  After a bathroom stop and visit with some mountain climbers headed toward the SW wall of Half Dome to climb (brave chaps), we headed through Little Yosemite valley along the Merced River for a bit, we enjoyed about a mile of a sandy, flat hike (easy, breezy after 3 miles of up!).  We hit one of the forks in the trail:  left to Half Dome ( ! ); or, right to Tuolomne Meadows (only something like 22 miles away . . . no big deal . . . ).

Nevada Falls

Up the trail to the left we go and begin the rest of our uphill-for-four-more-miles hike, on thin air. Huffing and puffing through the trees we clip along, like we're in a race because we always do everything fast and competitively.  We soon realize we will give ourselves heart attacks if we don't pace ourselves a little slower breathing the 8,000 foot air up the steep climb of trail and steps of rocks of all different shapes and sizes.

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity of up, we reach the bottom of the Sub Dome.  We wonder at more amazing views and scout out the rest of our climb.  We could barely see a few little specks of people on Half Dome working their way slowly up the cables and could see a handful others working their way back and forth up and down the switchbacks on the Sub Dome.  We catch our breath and begin making our way up the Sub Dome.  "Oh, this is easy enough . . ." I thought, initially.  But, as we starting gaining more elevation pretty quickly, and the trees were getting smaller and smaller below us, with no cable on the outside of me, with nothing but steeply sloping granite and gravel, and a panoramic view of the entire valley below, I became dizzy and my fear of heights started to play with my head.

Sub Dome and Half Dome behind.

A little pale and scared before
the ascent!
We hiked up the stone steps on the Sub Dome, up, up, up and the cliff seemed sheerer and sheerer to me.  After trying to fight back all the thoughts of "If I slip, I die and go splat!" and thinking the same things for Jeff, I began singing my old high school fight song in my head (what a lame way to distract my brain) and we made it to the top of the Sub Dome.

With only 400 feet up a 40-50 degree slope left to go, which looks like 1,000 feet at a 75 degree angle when you're standing at the bottom watching very small people make it up the final slope of the dome at the top of the cables, this required mustering every ounce of courage I had.  I was plain scared and my eyes were probably huge under my sunglasses!  This is the the second most daunting view of the hike (guess what the first is?!).  Jeff didn't seem bothered at all!

We had our short break, ate some Shot Blocks, and Jeff asked, "Are you ready?" and smiled . . .

"Nooooo!" I screamed in my head, but I told Jeff, "Yeah . . . "

We put our gloves on and walked up to the cables, looked up and grabbed on, one hand on each cable.  The slope was gentle for a few feet of the cables and then began up.  Grab with both arms, take a step on the not-so-traction-provident granite slope and take a little step up. Grab, pull, step. Grab, pull, step. Grab, pull, step.  There are boards about every 8-15 feet so the cables are like a long ladder.  I didn't feel comfortable putting all my weight on my feet because my shoes would slip a little when I would push off, so much of my propulsion up was from the use of my arms and pulling myself up.  The air kept feeling thinner, we kept getting higher, and we were to the 50 degree point about halfway up the dome. My arms were falling asleep from being above my head most of the time and my heart was pounding.  I'm not sure if it was fear, being tired and/or hungry, thin air and hard physical work, a little stomach problem or all of the above, but I became dizzy and nauseated for about 2 minutes and I thought I might have to turn around.  Thankfully, it passed quickly and talking to Jeff helped, so we continued up.

Jeff handled the ascent very well, of course.  He wasn't as afraid as I was, and although I won't speak for him, I will say, I could tell he was concentrating. : )

Twenty-five or so minutes after we started up, we finally made it up the 9 miles, 4,700 feet and the final 400 feet and 90 degree, I'mean, 40-50 degree slope of dome and were up top!  What a view, what a relief, and how exhausting, mentally and physically.  We congratulated one another, I laid immediately down, Jeff walked around, we took pictures, and we listened to others congratulate one another for making it to the top and marvel at the wonder around them.  Wow . . . we couldn't believe the view, were happy we made it, and were very tired.

After about an hour on top, we decided to work our way down to have lunch below the Sub-Dome (we wanted all of the danger of that out of our way).  So, we walk back up to the cables, look below at the little dots of people below us and try to see over the hump that slopes so quickly you can't see all the way down (this would be the most daunting view of the hike!), turn around to face the dome to slide down, holding on for dear life. Thankfully, going down was not nearly as frightening nor physically challenging as up.  I held onto the right cable, my cap shielded the view of the rest of the valley from my eyes so I would not see what I could tumble down to in an instant, and I took baby steps as Jeff waited patiently for me to catch up with his sliding down the slope.  We passed several going up this time (we didn't meet any on the way up), encouraged them to hang in there and that it "gets better and down is much easier."  One woman, just as she passed us, began crying, saying wanted to turn around to her husband (it really is scary!), as their little 10 year-old boy followed her.  And then one Persian man passed us as he would run up a few steps (this was still the 40 degree slope).
Hanging on for dear life!

We made it down both domes, not slipping (praise God!), not tumbling 1,000 ft to our deaths, as a few have, and happy it was behind us.  Lunch, then our 4 mile hike back down, down, down, to the pool just above Nevada Falls to recharge, take some ibuprofen, and rest our feet and knees.  Jeff pumped some water for some college boys who didn't take their gallon of water per person up with them, chatted with them, crossed the river over the bridge, and headed down the John Muir Trail back to the Valley Floor.

Eighteen miles.  4,700 feet up and back down again. Eleven hours.  Four hours in the car back home (probably not the way to do the ride home). : )

If you are in Yosemite, and want the challenge of a lifetime, Half Dome is it.  It is the hardest hike of the Valley and probably the hardest hike I will ever do.  If you do decide you would like to do it, train for it and get prepared. It is not easy and at times, dangerous even for those in excellent shape and even if you aren't afraid of heights.  You have to want to do it and you must be in shape for it.  Many have had heart attacks climbing the cables and healthy folks have made fatal mistakes on the hike and in the valley. Be prepared!

So, every experience should have a lesson learned, right?  I would say probably the obvious:  overcoming fear and the rewards thereof.  It was an amazing experience and, although not always "fun," it was mostly fun and worth it.  We hurt, could barely move after for about half a day, but we got to see things otherwise unseen by us, challenge ourselves and test our limits.  We got to do something big together and work as a team.  There is also a camaraderie between those who have shared the same experience that is fun to relate with others you may have nothing else in common with.  I have also never done something that was viewed as "dangerous" (other than driving the highway to work every day). Kinda fun, but won't be something I do often.

Here are more pics of the adventure:

We didn't take any without me in it, here,
but this shows the sheer rock face on the dome.
"The Saddle" between Half Dome (left) and the Sub Dome (right).
If you look closely, you can see hikers hiking the cables.
These are the climbers we met at Nevada Falls.
They climbed the SW side of the Dome while we did the cables.
More pics of the trip here. Click on the first photo to view a larger version and then click "next." : ) 

This is a San Francisco Chronicle article called "Danger on the Dome," if you're interested in reading more about it:

Friday, September 10, 2010

Rachel told me . . .

Rachel told me I should update my blog . . . I have to be honest . . . I have no idea of what to blog about this time.  I noticed I had started a new blog entry on August 8th, opened it, hoping I would have something to work with, and was disappointed by the fact that it was blank:  Blogger's Block?

It's been almost two months since the last entry.  Tarah's been long gone and I'm sure much has happened during that time . . . New friends, new places, more trips, more bike rides, more work . . . But the questions remain in my head, "What do people want to know?  What do they want to read about? Why do they read and what do they care about? What's narcissism? What's sincerity and openness with us and our lives? What do I have to say or share that's worthy of their time?"  I suppose honesty and sincerity are valued.  I suppose not dressing things up or "packaging" them perfectly to make them more glorious than they actually are is valued.

So, what has happened in my life in the last two months that is worthy of your reading this and ultimately meaning something?  My boyfriend gone for 5 weeks to work in Central America?  A wonderful trip to the cabin of the innkeepers of the inn I lived in to visit a beautiful mountain lake to jump off rocks, swim up to a cold mountain waterfall and feel the fresh water splash on our faces, to float and ski in solitude and serenity?  Kayaking next to otters, sea lions, pelicans and watching dolphins jump in and out of the water at the end of a pier? A wedding back in Texas with old childhood friends and family, where the plane touching the ground made me cry and taking off made me cry again?  Two weeks of the homesick blues again?  A wonderful, encouraging visit from two of some of the most influential people of my life?  Routine work?  A relaxing visit to Napa to sit by the pool, ride bikes from winery to winery and up to a lake? My recent ponderings, self-reflection, life-reflection, internal struggles?

Picture to the left is courtesy of Jeff and Cindy; used without permission but my boyfriend took it, so I have rights! Right?. : )

I realize part of relationship with people is the sharing of yourself with another, and, part of caring for one another is knowing what is happening in one anothers' lives. So, to hold up my end of the bargain (and my apologies to those who did not bargain for this!):  There have been many activities, trips, things, thoughts, feelings . . . There have been many thoughts of the debate in my head concerning narcissism and self-absorption versus genuine vulnerability with who we are and our real lives.  There have been times of speechlessness as a result--feeling like everything's been said or said too much or that words are insufficient.  All the activities and consumption of California (or what this area of California has to offer) are starting to be drowned out by the cry of wanting something more significant than consumption, "talk," or packaging.  I'm itching to "do" something, see change, love better with the breath of time I've been given here. There is more to do than take trips and more to behold.  This begs the question, "So, what are you going to 'do'?"  The goal is to get these school loans paid and go overseas to do some medical mission work.  In the meantime, I'm ready to find something here to invest time in--volunteering or a ministry to be a part of.  Oncology nursing used to be ministry--meaning that's where I could "pour out" and, as they say in basketball, "leave it all on the floor."  But, my current nursing job, although it requires love and investment as well, is not quite as ministerial, and doesn't require the same type of emotional energy as oncology nursing did.

Angie and I, relaxing at Raymond Brother's Winery, 
after being bitten by a goat . . . 

So, "what has been happening?"  Life.  Good and real life, full of all the ups and downs, happy times, laughter, friends, times of missing other friends and home, restlessness, feeling completely satisfied at other times. But, it's time to minister, to love, and to serve.  Now, you can hold me accountable. : )

This was still "all about me." Lord, help me!

Monterey Bay

Monterey.  Can't remember which biologist's home this was, 
but he was a friend of Steinbeck's, who also lived in Monterey. 
The concrete cubes were where the biologist would hold sea animals
he would study, like octopuses, sharks, etc..

More of Monterey's piers.

Kayaking Elkhorn Slough, near Monterey. Very fun!

Robert Mondavi's vines and grapes.

V. Sattui's cellar.

Angie and I, after biking up to the Hennesy Resevoir 
on a scary road without a bike lane!

Jeff and I at Lake Hennesy

Miss you all and sending my love! (Thanks for your interest and for telling me to "update my blog"!)

Word Of God Speak by Mercy Me

I'm finding myself at a loss for words
And the funny thing is it's okay
The last thing I need is to be heard
But to hear what You would say

Word of God speak
Would You pour down like rain
Washing my eyes to see
Your majesty
To be still and know
That You're in this place
Please let me stay and rest
In Your holiness 
Word of God speak

I'm finding myself in the midst of You
Beyond the music, beyond the noise
All that I need is to be with You
And in the quiet hear Your voice


I'm finding myself at a loss for words
And the funny thing is it's okay

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Goodbye, Tarah-rizer and Hello Status Quo.

Goodbye, Tarah . . . 

Tarah, the last of my traveling friends, rolled out of the Bay Area Sunday morning with her mom to help drive the post-night-shift-sleep-deprivation-induced-intoxication-ridden-night-nurse on the first days of driving back to Minne-SOH-ta.  It is the end of a mini-era.  Sure, there will always be more people to meet and to become friends with, but these were the original Fab Five Travelers and friends I met when I first came to California.  They are special.  Tarah heads to NYC to start her new assignment there at the end of the month.  She's been great fun to have around and I will miss her unique sense of humor, sarcasm and wit.  I will probably miss her Minne-SOH-tan accent more than anything!  Okay, maybe I won't miss it the most of all, but I will miss it and laugh to myself when I think about it.  Soh long, Tah-rah!  Enjoy the East Coast, again! : )

California is finally warming up and finally feeling like it might be summer.  Although, I have still only worn a swimsuit about three times this year, all three in the hot tub at the inn (I'm having swimming withdrawals and may have to head down to San Diego soon . . . ).  The grass is no longer green, but golden brown and it's incredibly dry here.  However, the weather really is great.  The sun shines most days, it's 70-85 degrees during the day and mid 50's-60's at night.  Perfect weather, other than a little too cool for skirts/shorts in the evening and a little too cool, for a Texan's taste, to swim.  The flowers are still beautiful and there are Jacarandas in bloom and are very nice.  There are some trees that are confused and think it's time for their leaves to turn (it always seems like some trees think it's fall) . . . This is, indeed, a beautiful place.

Hello Status Quo . . . 

Some of my girlfriends from all around the globe and some here locally are doing a Beth Moore Bible study (Daniel: Lives of Integrity; Words of Prophecy) which reminds us to be present in the culture we are found and relevant to it and the people in it, but to not be held captive by it--to not allow it to rule us in any number of ways, such as being consumed by keeping up the status quo in terms of financial status, professional status, intellectual status, physical appearance, etc.

I currently live in San Jose, in the Silicon Valley, where the "dot com boom" boomed. I was about to say San Francisco or Menlo Park were among the richest cities/areas in the US, but as I just looked, according to Forbes, San Jose is number one with the median of homes costing $625k (San Fran is listed as 3rd).  So, among all the Mercedes, BMW's, Jaguars, large homes, entitlement, perfectly sculpted bodies, Louis Vuitton, Coach purses, professional competition, and large homes, it seems it can be easy to be sucked into the ultimate "American Dream" paradigm--go, go, go; get, get, get; have the best, look the best, be the best.  Competition is the way of life and I've heard some here argue this may be the most competitive place on earth, especially in terms of technology.  Apple, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, HP, Adobe, Verisign, Cisco are just some of the names we encounter every day, headquartered here.  It's the "normal" rat race to be on top and be the best, amplified.

Not everybody in the area lives pursuing wealth, the best bod, or BMWs.  I know many who are solidly grounded.  But, the pressures of reaching and keeping the competitive status quo are very loud here.  Maybe the pressures are not any louder here than in Highland Park, Texas, but, I do find it much louder than in LBK.  Maybe it's all relatively and proportionately the same, but is on a larger scale.  I don't know, but I do think it can be easy to be distracted to pursue status instead of things that are more worth our time than frantically trying to gain things that only last a few years.  This is not to be judgmental of folks with funds or find themselves with status as a result of their persistent, hard work.  People can and do use their status for good things, as well.  It's the being all-consumed, swallowed up, and held captive or debilitated by the motives and desires to obtain these things so that they define a person's purpose, time and life that I'm weighing.

The overarching question of the Beth Moore study is how do we be relevant and applicable here without our identities being consumed or ruled by this culture?  Do we obtain just enough of the status quo to be relevant to those or do we live in the status quo?  Do we just not care at all and possibly be irrelevant and unrelatable?  Does it really matter? What's worth our time and energy?  We have a life expectancy of 77.9 years, these days (CDC FASTSTATS).  Seventy-seven years to do what we're going to do, however small or big it may be.  What should be pursued?

I hope I keep my eye on the ball.  Of course, there is only so much status a nurses' salary can buy!  Nevertheless . . . I hope too much time, energy and focus is not wasted pursuing fleeting, ultimately unimportant things.

I hope you are all doing well, blessed and happy!  Happy summer!