Friday, July 30, 2010

Perfect Love

Last night, I sat down, intending to read a chapter or two of the Bible, but it didn't happen. For some reason, a verse kept running through my head, so I finally said, "Alright, God. I'll look it up and think about it, okay?"

The verse turned out to be 1 John 4:18, which says, "There is no fear in love. Perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love." That verse brought me a lot of emotions. First, it was intense relief, the kind that brings about tears. For much of my life, I have lived in fear of many things. But this verse assures me that perfect love, the love from God, drives out these fears. I don't need to fear all the things I have in the past, because of Christ's love that wraps me up and protects me. The things I fear may still show up in my life, but because Christ is in control of how my life works out, I don't need to worry about how these things might affect me.

Second, I felt a longing. I want to know that perfect love. I am a Christian, but sometimes I just don't feel that perfect love. I had a deep longing to be wrapped and covered by God's love. At this point I suddenly stopped. "Wait a minute," I thought. "I've been a Christian for four years and I still don't fully know God's love? God's love is the foundation of Christianity. If I feel as if I have a rudementary experience of the most basic gift from God, then how much else is out there that I don't understand?" I was struck with how little I actually know about God. He is so much more powerful than I can even imagine if His love and drive out all of my many fears.

As I'm considering how complex the Lord I serve truly is, I am reminded that He is simple enough to make it into the hearts of children. At Vacation Bible School I watch kids learn about Him and learn to love Him. The God I contemplate is the same God that numerous people write about on a daily basis (and still don't even come close to explaining how deep this God is), and is also the same God that little children can understand with a simple "Jesus love me, this I know." That's what I call perfect love.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I Am Very Tempted

Right now, I am quite tempted to set my Facebook status as a pro-life and/or pro-traditional-family rant, just to see how angry some of my Facebook friends who are on the opposite side of those stants would get. I am particularly interested in how a lesbian friend of mine would react.

Then I remember one of my favorite movies, Come What May, and how the female main character acted when proposed with a situation like that. She stood up for what she believed in, but didn't do it just to anger people, but if she knew it would have a purpose.

But I'm not a fictional debater-heroine. I am a Christian kid who gets sick and tired of how people tell me to be "tolerant" but aren't tolerant of my intolerance of mistreatment of humans. So I may do it anyway. And I think I have a really good one in mind...

Monday, July 26, 2010

Highlights of My Three-ish Day Vacation

-Harvey's maiden voyage to Northern California!

-I learned how to drive on the two lane I-5. Learning how to pass trucks at 80 miles and hour with getting run over by someone else is a lost art.

-As I drove through the Bay area I saw a sign that said: Oakland...23. It all makes sense now. On a similar note, I made it all the way through Oakland with seeing a single Raiders-anything. I wasn't so lucky on the way back.

-Drove through Berkeley. Good-bye, Berkeley!

-Arrived at approximately 2 am in Fortuna, Ca, and promptly crashed.

-I went to breakfast in the hotel lobby and got juice in a cup that said it made from corn and 100% compostable. Hello, liberal-land.

-Drove through Rio Dell, where my great-grandfather lived. Everything is just like it was eight years ago.

-Drove through Scotia, where my great-grandfather worked on the PALCO Mill. The mill is now shut down. Such a sad sight.

-Saw license plates from the following states: Alabama, Arizona, California (duh), Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennesse, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming. All in three and a half days. (It's a family hobby. we look for license plates from other states...yes, we're weird.)

-I walked into the Loleta Cheese Factory wearing my Biola sweatshirt, and the girl behind the counter asked if I went to Biola. Turns out, she is from Ridgecrest (only a couple hours from where I live) and she goes to Point Loma.

-Drove over a 99 year old bridge that was the only bridge to survive the flood of 1964.

-Drove to Ferndale! We saw the Church of the Assumption, where my great-grandfather was baptized about 110 years ago. Then we realized that I left the card thingie for my new camera at home. Eight hours away. Go figure. So we walked down to the drug store (the oldest continually open drugstore in California). Then I toured Ferndale (population 1430) and took pictures and looked in the shops.

-Drove to Honeydew. This town consists of a store, a post office, and half a dozen marijuana users. Lovely.

-Drove to Briceland which was made up of a dozen run-down shacks and (as our local friend informed us), the "growers" of the aforementioned product.

-Drove through the Avenue of the Giants where I got to see all of the huge Redwoods. We stopped at what is called the Four Fireplaces, a monument designed by Julia Morgan. It was my great-grandmother's favorite picnic spot.

-Saw the Immortal Tree that has survived forest fires, being struck by lightning, the axes of loggers, and the flood of 1964. Intense.

-Samoa Cookhouse...Twice.

-The beach! And agate hunting!

-Kayaking in Big Lagoon.

-I got to hear people refer to my great-grandfather by his nickname, "Irish."

-My great-grandfather's gravestone: Alva Edward O'Rourke. Born: March 13, 1899. Died: March 3, 2000. Ten days short of living to be 101.

-Saw a gravestone that read "Mary O'Rourke: native of Canada. Died Nov. 16 1908, age 83." She was the daughter or daughter-in-law of Patrick O'Rourke who immigrated from Ireland to Canada. Wow.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Precious Memories

As I prepare to leave for college, I am learning more and more acutely the importance of memories. Yesterday was the day I finally sat down to clean out my desk in which I found so many things to jog old memories. You see, when I find something that I want to keep but I don't want to see on a daily basis, I stick it in my desk. I found my first pair of glasses that I haven't worn since I was 12, all kinds of crafty materials, pictures that were taken 17 years ago, stickers from my "pioneer girl" phase when I was ten...Let's just say that I don't clean out my desk often.

But among all of these useless odds and ends, I found a stack of photos that I view as the "diamond in the rough." These photographs were mostly taken by my mother, which makes them valuable, because my mother is now unable to take pictures easily due to her MS. Then I looked at the content. One picture was of five first-grade students during a class party. I was one of those students. Two of remaining students graduated from high school with me. All I could say was, "Wow." We had all grown up together, learned from each other, experienced each other's happy and sad moments. The memories are indeed precious, as the old hymn says.

I found another picture of me and my brother sitting in a pile of leaves outside of my great-grandfather's house in Northern California. I appeared to be about four, which would have made my brother two. This photo was significant because I haven't been to that area in about ten years, but I am planning to leave tomorrow to return to that very area, where I spent so much time when I was young.

The last photo I found nearly stopped my heart. It was taken during a Christmas party when I was in third grade. I was decked out in a lovely purple cast from when I had broken my arm two months before. In the center of the picture was my third grade teacher, Mrs. Mitchell, and all of my class sat surrounding her. Mrs. Mitchell recently passed away after a long battle with cancer. We would never be together again until heaven, but this photo made me look forward to heaven more than ever, though I sorely missed the times past.

Some tell me I'm nostalgic and old-fashioned, and that is probably true. But there is something about memories that are so precious. Sometimes I will sit and replay old memories in my head. I am so grateful that God gave us the capacity to have memories. To remember the people He put in our lives. To remember the joys and even the sorrows. To remember the dramatic "firsts" and epic "lasts." Lord, thank You for memories.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


If I could stomach it, I would be a nursing major. Really. But I get nauseous just walking into a hospital, and my heart rate goes up at least ten beats per minute when I walk into a doctor's office. But if I was made for dissecting body parts and seeing blood and all that jazz I really would be a nurse. Because I hate, loathe, and despise MS with a burning and firey passion equal to only the devil himself, and I want to help anyone who has to deal with this.

MS, or Multiple Sclerosis is a disease that attacks a person's and nervous system (if I remember 9th grade biology correctly) and impairs a person from moving. My mother was diagnosed with MS about eight years ago. She has lost much of her ability to move freely and is in much pain a lot of the time. She can now only walk ten feet at a time and sometimes even that far is too far for her. And she keeps getting worse.

MS is a huge part of my life. It has brought many tears, fights, hurt, sadness, grief, and hatred. I almost lost my faith in God because of MS. The worst pain I have ever experienced is watching others treat my mother hurtfully because she has trouble moving. That pain and those memories will never leave.

Some people wonder why I'm going away to college when my mother is in such a bad condition. It's because God told me to. And because she wants me to. She wants me to have a full life with a strong education. So I will.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Ambitions, Goals, and Dreams...aka a Bucket List

Here's what I would love to do at some point in my life, Lord willing. These are in no particular order, with the exception of getting married part coming before the having kids part.

-Travel to Ireland
-Travel to Israel
-Graduate college
-Preferably with a Torrey completion certificate or whatever it is that they give you, and with my sanity in check. Not quite sure if that's possible, but that's where the "dream" part comes in.
-Teach high school English
-Visit Euna in Korea
-Be poor at some point (yes, I actually desire to be poor. I would rather be poor than rich)
-Be a missionary in some form
-Get married
-Have kids
-Give my son the middle name "Quadratus"
-Adopt a child
-Take in foster kids (All this is after the "be poor at some point" phase!)
-Homeschool my kids
-Write something that gets published, preferably if it involves me getting paid
-Visit a third-world country
-Quote C.S. Lewis to someone I meet in the grocery store line
-Live on my family's ranch, in the barn my dad built and set it up as a home for my family and a bunch of troubled foster kids. Then teach the all kids the power of hard word, lots of love, and lots of good food.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

What I've Learned Recently

-Dachshunds do not understand the concept of a sleeping human.
-Luke 23:17 is not in some Bibles.
-The word paradise comes from the Greek word paradisio meaning "park." Hm.
-Some Christian groups believe that in heaven everyone will appear 33 years old.
-Pricking one's finger on a cactus is not fun.
-Neither is living in a strage house at night. Especially when you're a girl. And, yes, I know that probably sounds sexist, but I don't care.
-Whenever I set my alarm for a certain time, I wake up before the alarm. Nifty. But not.
-Switching from waking up at 8 am to waking up at 5:30 am is not as easy as I anticipated.
-The Greek letter "iota" is pronounced "yota" which kinda sounds like "Yoda." Greek I am learning.

Why I Hate Facebook

Yes, I have a Facebook account. Yes, I check it regularly. Yes, I update my status. Yes, I spend way more time than I should on it. Which means that this rant isn't me looking down at all the Facebook users and telling them they're wrong. It's me looking at myself and the world and telling both of us that we need to rethink our priorities. So without further ado...Why I Hate Facebook...

-Facebook teaches us to be concerned with self. Everything is about how the world needs to know about what I am doing at every second. So what? Who cares? How is that going to edify my life? The world does not revolve around you or me, and we need to get used to that idea.

-Facebook has zero censoring. I absolutely abhor getting on Facebook and seeing a load of four-letter words that I could very well do without. If you are not going to use clean language, then get me off your friends list. Nothing personal, but I would rather not have my morning ruined by seeing the f-word all over my news feed, thanks.

-Facebook devalues language. The English language is a beautiful thing, and Facebook teaches users that it is cheap because it can be changed however people choose to do so. No more capitalization, punctuation, spelling, or even thought put into writing. Does anyone use proper grammar anymore? Maybe this part is just because I'm an English major, but seeing "i luv u :)" just doesn't have as much meaning to me as someone telling me why he or she believes I'm special or what made him think to tell me that.

-Facebook is so impersonal. What happened to chats over coffee? What happened to hours spent on the phone? Facebook is instant communication, but it is also cheap communication. I can see what my friend is doing right now, but I can't have a private, deep, spiritual conversation with her like I can when we are sitting face-to-face, or over the phone where I can hear the joy in her voice.

-Facebook eats up the time of so many of us. We each have 24 hours in each day, and we are free to use it as we see fit. Unfortunately, so many of us (myself included) rate Facebook near the top. Why can't we prioritize better? God, family, work/school, friends, recreation. Why do I so often confuse that order?

-In all fairness, Facebook has many good functions. I can keep in contact with friends I haven't seen for ten years. I can bounce my ideas off others. I can share a prayer request or an amazing quote. I can convince people to check out my blog. I can even discover how to find free shipping on Amazon...but still...

Maybe I'm just old-fashioned, but I much prefer a long conversation about books, theology, God working in my (or someone else's) life, the anatomy of truth, C.S. Lewis, ethics, or philosophy more than I could ever enjoy getting all the Facebook status updates, friend requests, or online chats in the world.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

One of Those Moments

I had one of those moments last night. One of those "Wow-God-You-actually-know-what-You're-doing-don't-You" moments. Those moments are sweet, strong, rejuvinating, tear-jerking, and just all-around amazing.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


When we were growing up, my brother and I thought twelve was the magic age. Being twelve was very grown up indeed. When I was twelve, I was allowed to start helping in the nursery during service at my church. When I was (almost) twelve I entered a new world known as junior high school. At age twelve my brother was allowed to get a pocket knife. He used to say things along the lines of, "I don't like bell peppers, but when I'm twelve I will because then I will be all grown up."

Now my brother is fifteen and I am nearly eighteen. As I clean out my bedroom and prepare to leave for college in a month, I don't feel the least bit "grown up." I still want to curl up under the covers when I'm scared and cry when I feel alone. I still read the books I read when I was little. I still watch Disney movies and sing the kids songs I learned at Vacation Bible School.

I feel like I know less now than I did when I was twelve. The more I learn about God, the more mysterious He becomes. I readily admit, that I only know the tiniest fraction about God, life, and any other area of knowledge. I thought then that I knew everything there was to know about God, the Bible, my peers, and life in general. Now, at seventeen, I laugh at my twelve-year-old self. "You didn't understand true pain or suffering at that age! How could you have understood God's healing power? You had not known real, deep joy at twelve! How could you have understood God's calming and sustaining presence? You didn't know what conviction was when you were twelve! How could you have possibly understood the prickle of the Holy Spirit in your heart?"

God has taught me so much since I was twelve. At that age I told God, "Get me what I want, when I want it." I am so thankful that He didn't listen to me. I would have lost a myriad of oppurtunities. I would have attended a different high school, and I would have had different friends. Most importantly, if God had listened to me when I was twelve, I would still have the mind-set of my twelve-year-old self, and I cannot think of any greater tragedy.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Curly Girl

Curly hair is something I will never quite understand. When I was little (as in five years old) I had straight hair. I would look at the girls in books with beautiful curly hair and say, "I wish my hair would look like that..." Of course, whenever you say that, you automatically expect that whatever you wished for will never happen, right? Wrong. Somehow, I ended up with curly hair.

I don't understand how it happened. My mom has stick-straight blonde hair. My dad and brother have thick dark hair. So I can't figure out why I got curly hair.

After much stress of trying to figure out what in the world I should do with this mop of frizzy, curly, unmanageable, crazy, wild hair, I finally learned to let it curl. I'm still experimenting with what could work with it, but at least I learned to like curly hair. Here's why:

Curly hair is so much more forgiving than straight hair. It doesn't have to be cut "just so," it still looks fine if it is tousled by the wind, and it looks cute when it's messy (well, sometimes).

Curly hair is so much more fun. It's a new experience every day. One day it's tame, the next it's wild, the next it's half-and-half. Always entertaining.

So, if you have curly hair, stop wishing it was straight and just have fun with it. If you have straight hair...start wishing for curly hair like I did!

Monday, July 12, 2010

My Assessment of The Iliad

-Achilles needs some anger management classes.
-I applaud Odysseus. I think he is a pretty swell guy. Honest, brave, smart, respected, faithful.
-Zeus is a nut job and not only needs anger management classes, but also a reality check. The world doesn't revolve around him (though as head god, I guess he would think it does).
-I actually like Hector. For a Trojan, he's a nice guy. He loves his wife and his son, and works hard to defend his city.
-Paris is an absolute jerk. You don't steal another man's wife and then let your city fight a war over it.
-Hera is a witch.
-Athena...good job for standing up to your father who is absolutely insane.
-Women are not objects to be bought and sold, objects to be used for bribery, materials for a treaty, or items to be stolen and used. I'm not a feminist by any standard, but women are not to be treated like this!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Elisabeth Elliot Quote

"If your goal is purity of heart, be prepared to be thought very odd."
-Elisabeth Elliot in Passion and Purity

Friday, July 9, 2010

Little Blessings

I wrote this list in March of 2010, but so many things on it still ring true today. I am always on the look-out for more little blessings that will make my day just a little more exciting.

-Clear skies
-New flip-flops
-An unexpected and encouraging text
-Walking into the kitchen expecting a pile of dishes but seeing them all washed
-Pancakes on a Sunday morning
-A good laugh in calculus class
-A genuine smile
-Cookies that taste good and are healthy
-A hug from a friend
-The sound of a friend calling your name
-Feeling the wind play with your curly hair
-Hearing your favorite hymn
-Cherry blossoms
-Seeing a little baby toddle over to you and hold out her arms, wanting you to hold her.
-Warm blankets
-Listening to your favorite Celtic song with the volume turned all the way up
-Being told that you are a blessing

It doesn't take much to make someone's day.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Notes to Self

Self, please refer to this post if you ever consider any of these things.

-Self, you are not a computer person. Never claim to be so. Never change your major to anything computer or mathematical related. You will regret it.

-Self, never let your dinner consist only of a chocolate milkshake. Even if it is homemade.

-Self, stop being late everywhere you go. Why is it that once you learn to drive, you are always running late?

-Self, when you get lost in downtown Bakersfield, just call your mother instead of wasting time, gas, and sanity trying to find it yourself. Otherwise, you will end up on the Garces Circle getting honked at for being too slow.

-Self, when you need to get some serious reading done, don't stay in your room where you can hear the strains of Hogan's Heroes coming from the TV.

-Self, just buckle down and read the Iliad already.

Monday, July 5, 2010

I wish...

...I wasn't such a procrastinator.
...I would stop worrying.
...I was braver.
...I would stop feeling sorry for myself.
...I would rely on God more.
...I wasn't such an idiot so often.
...I could handle problems better.
...I would talk more when I need to.
...I would shut up when I need to.
...I would stop thinking about myself so often.

These wishes and I have a love/hate relationship. I love that I have the power to make these wishes come true. I hate that making these wishes come true requires my hard work, not a genie.

Lazy Summer Days

If you know me, you know that I don't like to spend my days doing nothing. I would much rather be in school than be sitting around my house doing nothing. I like to be productive, and I like to be around people.

Which means it is quite odd that I have found myself with an entire summer without a job, summer school, or much else to do. Not that I'm completely deprived of activity. I still have volunteer stuff to do, Homer's Iliad to read, college to pack and plan for, friends to talk to, odd jobs to do, and errands to run. But after a school year chock-full of deadlines, projects, applications, and senior year paraphenalia, summer feels very...lazy.

But then I got thinking...maybe this lazy summer is a good thing. I like to be busy, but during my senior year, the ordered chaos of high school got a little too busy and cost me my health and endangered my safety, not to mention the safety of those around me. Could God be using a seemingly useless summer to teach me to rest and relax in Him? To teach me that I don't have to always be doing something to be loved and accepted by Him? That there's more to life than busy-ness?

I think it is quite possible.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Family of God

I love my church. I really do. First of all, it's a country church, which means I can be in the mountains and worship God with other the same time. That alone is pretty awesome.

Second, the people at my church are just phenomenal. They take care of me, invite me to "family-only" get-togethers, pray for me, and just all-around love me. It's a nice feeling to know that you have a family outside of your blood relatives. And I know the people at my church don't love me because I'm Kevin and Marlene's daughter, or because of any monetary status I may have (which is nil), or because I get good grades. They couldn't care less about any of that. Instead, they love me because they are a part of the family of God.