Thursday, September 30, 2004

Jaci's First Boba Experience

Jaci, Me and Kristin Posted by Hello

Over the weekend and during the early part of my week, I had the privilege of hanging out with Jaci, the other noviate in Innerchange who is living in Minneapolis. She was out here for our Retreat in San Francisco and for other meetings during the last week through InnerCHANGE. I really enjoyed seeing her,...I always do. What I find really neat is that Jaci and I knew each other before we had joined InnerCHANGE. I went to college with a girlfriend of hers (from back home). Jaci would come up to visit Jen, our friend, from Iowa, every once in a while. When she did, I would hang out with all of them. So, I have actually known Jaci for about 5 years now. The Ironic part about it all, is that neither one of us knew we each had signed up to be a part of InnerCHANGE. It wasn't until the first day of our apprenticeship, last September, that we both found out.
While she was out her, it had come to my attention that she had never had Boba, a drink with large tapioca balls in it. Usually they put it in fruit juices, teas, smoothies, or coffee. It is one of my favorite things, so I couldn't let her leave LA without trying it at least once. So, the night she was going to leave: my roomate, Jaci and I went out to get Boba. It was a lot of fun.
The picture was taken at a place called "I love Boba" in Koreatown. We had a lot of fun. Jaci is to the left of me and Kristin, my roomate, is on the right of me. If you hadn't guessed, I am in the middle! My roomate, actually just moved here a little over a week ago from Indiana. She is going to be an Apprentice, like I was last year, in InnerCHANGE. She is a lot of fun and we are finding we have a lot in common. Which is probably a good thing being that we share a studio apartment!

My Day at the Beach

My Day at the Beach Posted by Hello

On Saturday, I got to spend a couple hours at Topanga Beach. It was really relaxing to sit there and read a book while I listened to the sound of the waves. I really needed it...
I did, however, burn my legs....they are still in recovery! ;-)

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

A Walk in the Park with My Baby

Jake on a walk, in Echo Park Posted by Hello

Jake out and about in LA!


Jake Posted by Hello

For those of you who have been waiting to see my baby, here he is. Jake is a Bearded Dragon and I have had him for about a year. He is actually suppose to be double the size he is, but right now he is about a foot long. I love my baby and he has got such a character. My roomate has said that, he has even got some human type qualities. I will tell you this, he is anything, but what animial books have said him to be. Jake is a very active animal. One of my favorite things to do, is let him loose on the floor in our apartment. He runs from corner to corner, tracking his territory before crawling up the bicycle spikes and resting on the tire of my bike.
Jake pretty much goes everywhere with me, so he has covered a lot of the LA area while sitting on my shoulder. The second picture above was a walk we took to the park. When we got to the park, and I took him off my shoulder so he could rest in the grass. I'm not sure he new what to do with himself, He didn't move for 5 minutes. But, once he saw the flies that were flying past us, He snapped out of it and started to hunt. ;-)

Friday, September 24, 2004

Be Thou My Vision

this is an audio post - click to play

Music has always been an important part of my life. I guess you could say my love for music was instilled in me as a young child. Both my parents, love music. But, I think, even more, my father breathes it. I cannot remember a time in my life where music was not some how connected to my father. I have memories of driving in the car with him-blasting some latest hit, of hearing him talk about the band he was in in high school, or the time, when I was five and he gave me my first record cleaner (a sort of brush that you used to dust off records)-I was so excited.

I have found that music can somehow hit some of the deepest cords in my life. It has this ability to reach the inner parts of me that mere words could never reach. In a moment, a song can take me back to memories of my childhood or express the feelings that I am inhabiting at that moment.

There is one song that I have found resignating in my heart as of late and it is the hymn: "Be Thou My Vision". I, normally, am not one to listen to Hymns. I find myself more inclined to modern music. But, I cannot escape from the connection I feel to this song. I find it expressing the heart of one hoping in God regardless of Circumstances. It speaks the heart of who God is and who he wants to be for us.

After doing some research, I found that the hymn was orginally written about 700 CE (AD.) in Irish Monastic Tradition. But, was not translated to English until 1905. The purpose of the song was to be a sort of incantation. It was to be recited for protection arming oneself for spiritual or physical battle. This song reminds us that God is with us, through some of the most difficult times in our life. When I listen to this song, I am reminded that God is my vision. And though I may go through tough times, if I can see God before me and the many ways He has never let me down, I know my "battles" will be won.

I have recorded the song onto my blog, so that you can have chance to hear the song for yourself (Just press the play button next to the date). It is not the entire version of the song, however, still brings the heart of the message. I, also, want to write the song down for you because the words really are powerful. And they speak my heart at the present.

Be Thou My Vision
Be Thou My Vision, O Lord of my heart
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word,
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul's Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor man's empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of heaven, my victory won,
May I reach heaven's joys, O bright Heaven's Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

And that is my prayer: that no matter what happens to me that God would still be my Vision, that I could find shelter for my soul in Him, that He would always be my High Tower, that His presence would always be my light, that He would always be the greatest joy in my life, and that I would remember that He will always be the High King of Heaven, so my victory is already won......

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Its the Little Things

I am realizing more and more, that it's the little things that mean the most and sadly, its also the little things that hurt us the most. We, as humans, have the power to bring others "up" and the power to bring others down with our words and actions. And, just as many of us out there, I have found myself guilty of both. I having been thinking about this alot since yesterday, primarily because of the experience I had on my way home from work.
After I had made the hour drive home from Beverly Hills (where I work), I made my way up the hill from the only available place to park at 7:30PM in my neighborhood, the Hospital. I came to the corner of Valencia and 6th, which is near Maggie's Donuts, and waited for the light to change so I could cross the street. I turned around and noticed that a husband and wife of Latino decent were standing behind me. This is not surprising being that 85% of my neighborhood is Latino. I smiled and nodded my head at both of them and turned back around positioning myself to walk across the street. The man acknowledged my smile, but the woman merely looked at me. After about thirty seconds, the man looked at me and asked, "Do you speak Spanish?". I responded with, "Pocito, pero estoy aprendiendo." Which means, " A little, but I am learning." He responded by saying, "Oh, I was going to ask you, are you lost?" Which is a common theme, I am finding. Just in case you might be wondering, there are not very many white people who live in my area. So, it is odd to many in my neighborhood that I actually live there. I smiled and said, "Oh no, I live around here". And he said, "No, only ugly people live around here". I replied, "Oh no, I know many beautiful people that live here." And as we began to part ways he responded by saying, "Thank you".

I can't, for some reason, get his words out of my thoughts. And the interesting thing is that the part that keeps coming back to me, is not the part where he said that only ugly people lived here, but it was the part where he said thank you because I didn't. The questions that continue to resignate in my head are, How many times has he been told or heard that his race is "ugly" or that his people were not good people? How many times has it been told, to the point that he appreciates when one person says differently?

We are all humans, living in the world, all trying to make a better life for our families. We have different heritages, different dreams, but we all want the same thing: to be loved for who we are....
Why must we hurt those in our path because we don't understand them? Why don't we make enough time to understand them? And why can't we focus on the one thing that we do know, that that person in your path...wants mainly to be loved?

Monday, September 20, 2004

Back from San Francisco

Hello! I would have to say that San Francisco has got to be one of the most beautiful cities in the United States. Every time I go, I am in awe of the architecture. On Friday, all the apprentices came together, from Minneapolis and LA, to share the experiences each of us had had over this year and learn more my 2 year commitment as a noviciate. So, Melanie and I flew from LA and Jaci, the apprentice from our Minneapolis team, flew from Minneapolis. We all convened in San Fransisco because that is where the Apprentice Coordinators have their offices. Our main headquarters for all nine teams is in Los Angeles, however, those that run the apprenticeship and are the assistant to InnerCHANGE's founders, all work in San Francisco.
The picture I put up was a shot that I took while I was there this weekend. InnerCHANGE does have a team in San Fransisco (the other people in the picture), so while we were there, we spent some time with them. I always enjoy visiting them. The weekend was really cold, but all together very restful. One of the nights, the San Francisco team, the apprenticship coordinators (and their families) and the apprentices all went to a Greek Festival. I ate Gyros and a really good Greek Desert. My mouth still waters when I think about it. I even got to learn some Greek Dances!!!
I think the favorite part of my weekend, though, was hearing the stories each apprentice told. We talked about the struggles we went through and the happy moments we experienced. We each learned something about ourselves over the year and I really appreciated the privilege of hearing what God had taught the others.

The San Fransisco InnerCHANGE team and the 2004 InnerCHANGE Apprentices (Jaci, Rikki, and Melanie) Posted by Hello

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Poverty is......

Poverty is....
Having to work illegally.
It's being a child, beneath the hot sun, pleading for money for your candy, alone, working into the night.
It's spending your days bent over a blanket of products on the side of the street, ready to run when the police come by.
It's pulling the gold watch off the wrist of a stranger so you can eat, and feeling the guilt and regret at night when you can't sleep.
It's tealing from the slow-moving elderly woman who you hope won't recognize you.
It's having to do whatever you can to stay alive, a thief of survival.

Poverty is....
Losing your family.
It's watching your child die from tuberculosis when the cure was a cost you couldn't afford.
It's leaving your home as a scared young girl because if you don't go find work, no one can eat.
It's being a kid so long on the streets that by now you can't remember the faces of your parents.
It's seeing your child slowly leave home to make a home in the steets, because there's nothing to offer him where you are.
It's coming to the city, searching, holding a picture of your son who has run away, asking everyone for his whereabouts, and returning
home alone.
It's watching your father beat your mother, your mother beat you, and knowing inside that they lost your soul a long time ago.

Poverty is...
Being hungry.
It's asking for the half-eaten piece of pizza from a stranger, begging for the half-gone ice-cream cone, stealing the drink from a
stranger's hand, because you're living on hand-outs.
It's selling candy but never getting to eat a piece.
It's eating one meal, the same meal, every day.
It's eating from the garbage, but living on empty.

Poverty is.....
Being out-casted and misunderstood.
It's being a street kid, dirty, not allowed to go into a restaurant with your friend on your birthday.
It's receiving pitied looks and being given spare change by people who think they're being generous or perhaps encouraging a bad habit.
It's walking with your friend in open daylight, and getting beaten by the police because you're a child that doesn't have a home, and the
police are taking "Preventative Action".
It's standing on a street corner, dressed for a night for sale, your body displayed, the men touching you, people calling after you, telling you you're someone you're not, that you're worth less than you are-all so that you will be able to feed your family.

Poverty is....
Needing escape, but there's nowhere to go.
It's finding solace in a bag of glue, so that you can hide from life in the paradise of being high.
It's being abused by your husband, being abused by your wife, being abused by your parents, yelling and crying and afraid, all in a room just big enough for three twin beds to be pushed together.
It's wanting to leave your work, because you're being paid nothing and barely surviving, but knowing there's nowhere out there that's
going to pay you more.
It's cutting deep wounds into your own forearm so that the physical pain you feel will provide relief from the emotional pain that
threatens to push you under.

Poverty is...
Not having.
It's about avoiding the competition between who has a better body, the better warddrobe, the better car, the better house, the better job.
It's about worrying about loving your family, providing for those you care about, and spending time with the people who matter in your
It's leaning on one-another, depending on your community, knowing more than your neighbors' names.
It's holding lightly to things, and giving them away without regret to someone who matters, or maybe to someone you don't even know.
It's sharing.
It's seeing life, living life, for what it is, without the stuff.
It's letting the lack of things create a space for something else, that is, until the not having makes no space for anything but suffering.
It's remembering that poverty can be different for different people, and that either having too much or not having at all can look awfully
Both can lead to death of the body and the soul.

Excerpt from Nothing But a Thief by Danielle Speakman

Friday, September 03, 2004

The four of us floating in the Dea Sea  Posted by Hello

The Damascus Gate, one of 4 gates to the Jeruseleum Wall. Posted by Hello

Jeruseleum (Old City Posted by Hello

Pictures from my Trip to Isreal

I have been learning how to utilize my blog better. I want to be able to share with my family and friends the things that have been happening in my life here in LA. One of those ways is putting pictures on my blog. My first experiment is with the Pictures I took while I was in Isreal. I want to put more up, but for now this is a little bit of my two weeks there. I hope you enjoy the pictures!!!