through these lenses

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Life lately…

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Ages, it’s been….(so it seems) since I’ve come here to type out what’s on my heart. When I have publicly written out the adventures of my life, it’s been here.

A lot has happened since Chaos:
-I student taught. Did you just hear all the kindergartners ask me to tie their shoes, repeat myself and cry because their toy broke? No? I did. Glad that’s over…snotty noses, cute kids, teacher politics and all.
-I graduated! Whoop! And I got to watch my mom graduate the next day too!
-I backpacked across Europe with my two best friends. Blissful and classic…loved every minute of it. I’m very aware this makes me typical…as they say here.
-I moved back in with my parents, reluctantly because independence sounded sweet, but excitedly, because my savings account could actually grow now.
-I put a dot com after my name and learned that I really love building a business and taking photos all the time. I also learned that in comparison of the two, it’s a whole lot less about taking the photos and a whole heck of a lot more about knowing good business.
-The Lord began opening my eyes to the depth of His Word and gave me a craving for understanding what I believe about Him. Only He could do that…because theology had just been straight up intimidating until this past year.
-I learned what my name meant and that empowered me to be who He created me to be…in everything.
-I traveled to Haiti since their recent experience with an Earthquake and saw that only the Lord can re-establish a nation. I can help, but in the end…He does it all.
-And most recently…I lost my father. It’s only been 8 days since my dad went to be with our Heavenly Father and it feels like so much longer. There’s a million emotions that have run through my head and heart, and then there’s the numb feeling that makes everything seem like a dream. I’ve found Hope in the Lord alone, but I’ve also been amazed and blessed by those around me that love me. They are truly showing me what the body of Christ looks like. I know this reality will take a while to fully set in, but I’m strengthened by the fact that He is in this moment, the next one, and the next to the next one. He is here for us, and we are on this earth for Him.

While I’ve been dealing with what this all means for me now, I’ve also been preparing to head back over to Asia. For the last few months, I’ve been planning a 3 week trip with a small team to minister to people who have been affected by another Earthquake, to disciple new teenage girl believers and to bless families in small villages with family photos (something they’ve likely never had before.) After the news of my dad passing, I considered canceling my trip, but after thinking about the orphans who lost a parent (or two) in the earthquake, the new believers who will one day deal with death, and those who don’t have a single photo of their parents…I decided I must go. In the scope of things, I’m just one person, helping in teeny-tiny ways, but I feel I need to be obedient to Him who has called me to go there. This is a land my heart loves, a people my heart loves and I’ll have Him with me…whom my heart loves.

I’m still raising support for this trip too. I was actually in the process of writing a note to my friends/family to tell them of this the day my dad died, but since then..it just hasn’t been my main priority.  Now, honestly, you could read this and think it’s pretty shady of me to mention these two things at the same time, much less in the same post in a recently resurrected blog. But that’s not my heart. Not at all. I hadn’t told many of my friends even that I’d be returning to Asia this summer because I had a couple of other international trips planned, and this was the last. I know most of you reading this are friends and would have wanted to know anyway. Most of you have huge hearts for missions, huge hearts for Asians and just plain love to support what the Lord is doing around the world. So that’s why I’m writing. If you want to be a part of this, want to pray for this or want to give financially to this…let me know. I would love to keep you updated as we trek through the crumbled mountains and eat more than our fair share of rice. 🙂 Contact me through a comment here or through facebook and I can let you know how that can happen. I have about $1,000 left to raise by this coming Wednesday and am confident He will provide…even if it’s through my own checkbook somehow.

Thanks for being the Body, friends. Thanks for loving me in this bizarre time and thanks for coming back to this ol blog.

Written by throughtheselenses

July 2, 2010 at 11:06 pm

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chaos

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this is beautiful.

thank you for your Sovereignty Lord.

Written by throughtheselenses

February 8, 2009 at 2:37 am

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when we all bought bookshelves

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After being home a lot this summer, I decided I needed to re-organize every single thing I owned. My room at home, my things in that room at home, my memories, my sock drawer, etc. I’m sure the inspiration to do so was brought on by living so simply for the few months that I did. I was so grateful for my motivation, because now I don’t have as much junk as before, nor as many socks.

After getting through a huge portion of it one night, I decided I really needed a bookshelf. Books were swimming around me as if the beige carpet beneath them was their home. I tell you, it is no longer librarial. I went out and purchased a bookshelf. Everything found it’s place inside those stacked rectangular boxes over the next few days and I became quite pleased with the lack of seaweed grabbing at my feet every time I crossed my room.

A few days later, I went and purchased the same exact bookshelf for my parents to use in their office. Actually, I bought two. After feeling mighty capable of setting up three bookshelves in one week, a close friend of mine told me she was also about to purchase a bookshelf. Then another day came when a second friend told me of all the books she had and how she really desired a bookshelf.

Bookshelf, bookshelf, bookshelf.

I’m old enough to have bookshelves. I’ve lived long enough to read a few of the contents I’ve got stacked back to back all over them. My eyes have finished looking at certain word patterns and sentences and are opening themselves to newer ones. This means a lot, but basically, it just means things are changing.

And all I’m really thinking right now is that just a couple of years ago, I hadn’t read all those books, or seen all those sentences. Today, I have. And today, all my friends are getting bookshelves.

Bookshelves lead to life, I guess. They lead to life, marriage and babies inside tummies. They end up leading you to your own home, where your college roommates don’t live anymore. Proof: One of my old roommates is got married last year and is having a baby soon. I’m pretty sure she has a few bookshelves.

I like bookshelves. I like watching them being built too.

Written by throughtheselenses

September 7, 2008 at 6:58 am

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Seeds

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This summer, I took a class for my degree, but it ended up feeling like a class I might have taken for my own fun. It was a writing (and how to grade it) class and our professor lent me a really great idea. It’s a wonderful idea for the classroom, but for me…it’s a just a plain ol wonderful outlet for words. She read this one book by this one guy while she was in this one hotel in Hong Kong and immediately caught on to this guy’s idea.

Seeds. Writing just a bit of whatever you want to possibly, eventually, maybe develop into something whole. a plant. I LOVE it. You keep a folder for all of your seeds to sit in. Mine was green, appropriately. We had to write 30 seeds for a grade and were to develop 3 of them for “celebration” services we had throughout the class.

I loved this and I already miss writing them…so i’m going to share some here.

Who knew I’d ever be so into gardening?

Seed # 4         7.13.08

I’ve often wondered why I don’t like pets. Dogs specifically receive my hatred. They’ve really done nothing to deserve it, but i just keep on disapproving of their every way. Their every way turns into their every smell, which persuades me to notice their every lick and bark, which makes me disgusted at their urinating habits. All of these things, my irritations, seem to result from a tall halogen lamp and a stuffed animal for a dog named Lady.

Written by throughtheselenses

August 9, 2008 at 4:32 am

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sift me, please

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I cannot stop moving. I cannot sit still. hey, you’d think it was the coffee i just made at 3:50 in the afternoon …NOPE…I made the coffee to make me be productive. strange.

today’s been that. strange. the end of something, the beginning of another. and a million other mysterious things that i can’t decipher. it’s just one of those days that makes me think and think and think and think.

…drinking coffee that’s not really mine, because i can’t find the container i bought the other day
…listening to music that’s not mine, because i’m tired of all my faded options.
…wanting to sit, because i know there’s something in me that needs to be sifted through once i do.

I just can’t escape it. there’s this chord in me that breaks when a certain thing happens. I usually see the thing, sometimes i hear of it, never really smell or taste it..but i always, ALWAYS feel it. It rumbles inside my core, echoing itself against the memories of previous violent storms. I just hate it, but also feel so much familiarity and identity there too. Today, there was no lighting before the boom to warn me. I was at the movies with a beloved friend and while just sitting there, loving the fact that it was 10:45 a.m. and i paid a mere $2.50 for a good flick…BAM!!….hello broken chord. Um…please stop being broken. I’m supposed to be escaping reality right now with with my friend. Why stupid chord, are you sitting next to me? Why are you creeping yourself up into my heart again, being broken where broken is all you really know?

So…I come home and move. i move from my washing machine to my desk, from my dishwasher to my couch, from my mail box to my car, from my cell phone to my coffee pot.

I should have made decaf.

father…sift me thoroughly, sift me real.

Written by throughtheselenses

August 8, 2008 at 5:50 am

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Top 11

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I’m sitting in a cafe in Texas today, listening to some women discuss a book a few feet from me. I had lunch with my extended family today and just a second ago a 14 year old skater boy with a bandana asked to use my phone. Welcome back to America! I arrived one week ago and things have been NON-stop for me ever since. I love that and I don’t love that.

I’m very aware that my season in Asia is complete, but a little part of me grieves that completion. On the plane ride home, I was in limbo- in between 2 places that were comfortable to me. I’ve never been comfortable in more than one place before, so being in between them both was like a game of tug-of-war for my heart. My heart seemed to rip and fray during those long hours in the sky. Really though, the 777’s direction was already set: America. It ended up tugging the hardest . At least in a physical sense it did. I’m not so certain it won out in all the other arenas. Time will tell. And while it does, Father will introduce me to a new season. I’m certain I will become acquainted with it and find growths, challenges and blessings along the way.

I loved my time away. I loved the ability I had there to not be so easily distracted by American things and the freedom there was to engage in a culture that was completely different from my own and uniquely beautiful in itself. But….I’m also really loving the comforts that this place brings. A good friend of mine made a “happy list,” a couple of days ago and it really inspired me to make a similar list. So….I’ll leave you with that…and a few pictures to go with it.

My top 11 favorite things about being back in the good ol’ USA:

11. Walking out of the terminal and being greeted with some of my favorite people on earth. And then feeling my legs shake uncontrollably from excitement/shock.
10. Eating at restaurants with friends, discussing the waiter’s type of car, and laughing at how weird we can be as humans.
9. Driving in my car for hours to visit really, really great friends and then having them show me their town’s pride and joy: two extra large plastic cows.
8. Being pushed into a pool with my clothes on and then swimming with 8 other girls, also in their clothes. (aka-acting like a bunch of junior high girls and loving it!)
7. Seeing my family and loving the normalcy they carry along with them. And…marveling at how my 7 year old niece can grow 2 inches in 5 months.
6. Seeing kids in stores and staring at them because they’re cute, and them not staring back because I’m a white girl, but because they’re just kids who still stare.
5. Finding healing in things once broken and frayed.
4. That kind of laughter that comes and makes some people roll on the floor and others bend over, breathless.
3. Deep and wonderfully rich conversations with friends about what Father is doing in our hearts and in his world.
2. Looking at those friends while they’re talking and remembering why I love them so much.
1. Singing with a room full of people who are singing for that same wonderful reason and not being fearful of who might be listening, but knowing full well Who is listening.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

My niece Jenna, loving the chocolate fountain my friend Leeann brought out one night!

My friends are just so wonderful. A few of them made this sign to greet me at the airport. FYI: Jerthcur= Jessica. For about a year and a half now, a few of us have had this “language” we speak in…it’s really an accent and it’s just really wacky. You either love it or hate it. I happen to love it.

Some of my favorite friends, hanging out my first day back!

This super fast internet motivates me to write more…so we’ll see about that.

Written by throughtheselenses

June 15, 2008 at 6:18 am

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The post that didn’t have a title for 3 weeks

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Lately my life has been a bit busy. Hmm…I wonder if any generation from America will ever be able to say the opposite of that ever again. It’s like it’s faux-pas if you DON’T say that. Hmm.
I traveled to Hong Kong last week with 2 of the gals from the family I’m staying with. Let me try to explain what HK was like for me:

America(n people, tastes)
Europe(an products, people, influences)
Asia(n smells, sights, sounds, faces, languages) +
___________________________________________
Hong Kong

I really enjoyed myself there. Aka- found some milk, cozy coffee shops, a good book store and cinnamon flavored things. 🙂 Ooooh, these comforting, home-reminding things just almost made my heart do cartwheels. Things were easy there. Convenient. “Normal,” if you will. It was easier than I assumed it would be to just pick right up and get used to everyday things being effortless.

Then…I saw the faces of the place. Their real, worn, regular ol faces. He always does that to me…shows me His people when my eyes aren’t ready (so I think). I start looking at them through my eyes and He never fails to take my chin, turn it in His direction and make the things once blurry, defined. I was riding on the subway, extremely content with my surroundings and letting these repetitive words flow through my ears (with a catchy, subway-friendly beat, of course):
Someday I’m gonna see, see the King.
Someday I’m gonna see, see the King.
Someday I’m gonna see Him.

As these lines whizzed through my mind, so did the faces of those I was whizzing underneath a mega-city with. It just burdened me and I remembered why (again) it really doesn’t matter if I get real milk, or if I can have all my convenient comforts.
They can’t sing this song with me.
They can’t hope for this like I can.
They can’t, because sometimes I just won’t give up my milk.

Milk. Are you really worth that much? Is that why I’m living? You sure do taste great, but I know something that’s Sweeter. Tastebuds, crave what’s lasting, please. And share that Sweetness.

I know a lot of you have e-mailed, called and asked about the earthquake. I did not feel anything, but was saddened to hear of the many who lost their lives that day. When I was in HK, the flags were at half-mast for the country. There was a 3-minute moment of silence a week after in most of the cities in this country. I took a picture of a newspaper, documenting those standing still for those who have passed. Please continue to lift this up. One of my team members is helping out now and has numerous opportunities to be JC’s hands and feet.

The cabs in HK were so cute!


The rain kept us inside for the first couple of days, so we found one of those comforts I mentioned earlier:

Maybe It’s European, maybe it’s Hong-Kong-ian…but, these curvy escalators were just plain nifty to me.

For some more pictures, check out my photography blog. (It’s on the links under “blogroll” on the top right hand side of the page!)

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May 27, 2008 at 12:02 am

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