Sunday, November 29, 2009

Go ahead...throw a wrench at me!

On Thanksgiving weekend you would think that I would be well aware of how many things I have to be thankful for...but I think it was tonight on my super long drive to church (literally an hour...I love my church!!) that I had one of those moments where I was in awe of how blessed I am. I was driving west, into the sunset, on a cloudless and pleasantly cool evening with a Venti Non-fat Peppermint Half-caf latte (with whip cream instead of foam) while listening to Coblie Caillat (that I got for $6.50 @ an after Thanksgiving sale at Target)...and it hit me...well actually IT hit my car...but it hit me...a wrench (an actual wrench) hit my car (and actually it was my mom's know the almost like new Honda Civic)! I saw the car in front of me run over the wrench and the wrench banged around underneath it a bit before it flew out the back end and started bouncing on the freeway towards me. A million thoughts ran through my head...can I get over? NO...I am surrounded by cars; if I slow down will that make a difference? I don't know? What if it hits my windshield? Will my windshield shatter? Will I be knocked out...oh man this could get real bad real fast!!! But...thankfully it just hit the front of my mom's car and flew into the lane next to me where it had time to settle on the road before the car in the lane next to me got to it. My next thought...why is there a wrench flying around on the freeway? Next thought...oh man...I hope the front of my mom's car isn't damaged...the one time I take her car! (Actually last Thanksgiving weekend I took her car to go meet a friend and while it was parked in a parking spot some other car that was trying to park totally hit her car...I think I shouldn't drive her car anymore!)

Anyway all that to say that I am so blessed! I am so blessed to have a car to drive (and a mom that let's me drive her car too). I am blessed to live in Southern California where I get to see amazing sunsets everyday and have amazing weather. I am soooo blessed to have a job so I can afford my Venti frou-frou latte from Starbucks (who a great company who works with coffee growers all over the world and gives them a fair price for their coffee...ex: the coffee growers I work with in Thailand) and a new CD that costs more than what a person lives off of for a week in a developing country. AND I am so blessed that I am alive and breathing and didn't have a wrench go through my windshield tonight! There are a million other things that I am thankful for many of which I probably don't think about most days...but I am going to try to be more appreciative for the little and everyday things! And I am also going to continue to be thankful even when there are wrenches hurdling my way at 50 mph (literally and metaphorically!)

Oh...and if you were wondering...there appears to be no damage to my mom's car (from my brief inspection in the dark!)...I am sooo thankful!!!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I freaked out today!

Today was a great day...I got to hang out with an amazing student who has decided that she wants to spend her life doing missions (I mean come could that not be an amazing conversation!); I got to hang out at my most favorite coffee shop in Glendora and have an iced vanilla chai while reading through my journal and reflecting on my life over the past 2 years; I was able to hang out with two amazing friends; and I ate Thai food (ok, not necessarily my personal choice but they love Thai food and I love Thailand so it seemed like a good option at the time)...

And then it happened... I pulled into my driveway after my long and wonderful day and I went to grab my book, my Bible and my journal, but my journal wasn't there! I frantically searched under the seats and in the back of the car and it was no where to be found. At this point I flipped out! Seriously not only are there some really profound observations and my life story in that journal...but also some pieces of information that I DO NOT want other people to know about... that is why it's my journal and not my blog!

So I storm into the house (quite literally...ask my mom) and throw down my purse and ask my mom if we have a flashlight. She responds with..."yeah, why?" I respond with..."I CAN'T FIND MY JOURNAL!!!!" My mom, "oh..." I go back out to the car and look this time all I can think about is that the last time I know I had my journal was at the coffee shop. Maybe I left it on the table or maybe I dropped it on the sidewalk as I walked to my car... ohhh my gosh!!! What if someone reads it! It's not like there is anything in there that would be completely awful if someone read it I guess, but it is just so personal.

I storm back into the house, with tears in my eyes at this point. I start to take deep breaths. My mom tells me she will go out and look for it because "sometimes another set of eyes is all it takes" (I love my mom!! She is so calm! I mean seriously she knows how upset I am and she just keeps me calm) She tells me if she doesn't find it she will drive up there right now with me to go look for it. Too bad the coffee shop is already closed and well...what would you do if you found a journal laying on the sidewalk? Leave it there? Hmmm that is a question to think about for sure!

Anyway, I sort of yell at my mom (not sort of...I do...sorry mom!!) and she goes out with flashlight in hand. I stand in the kitchen and try to collect my thoughts and say a prayer. I hear the doors of the car close. My mom walks into the house. She casually walks into the kitchen and says..."Here you was wedged in between the seat...only a little part of it was showing." Deep breath!

So that is my short story on life today... it was good, I lost my journal, I freaked out, my mom found my journal, and life is still good!

But you wish you knew what was in my journal huh???

Monday, August 31, 2009

Running Shoes...Oh how I've missed thee!!

So yesterday I did it! I braved the 90+ degree heat at 9 am and went for a run, or (if I'm being honest) a jog/walk. It has been so long since I have gone jogging that I forgot how much I love it (even when it is beyon hot outside)!

Only feet weren't so happy. I wore my old running shoes (which I absolutely love) which was a huge mistake. See I took the running shoes to Thailand and wore them in the village quite a bit so they got just a tad bit muddy. When I brought them home I washed them in the washing machine and well the heel part of the shoe is really worn through. I also wore really short socks, which when added to the shoe problem equals some pretty ugle blisters on the back of my feet. Oh's worth it!

Today I signed up for the Surf City Half Marathon. This will be my 3rd one in a row!! So excited!

Well I think that's it! I do have some exciting news to share soon...but it isn't 100% so I don't want to post it on my blog I'll let you know!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Thailand Update 1 (this may be a long one!)

Well...I have been in Thailand over 3 weeks! I really cannot believe how fast the time has gone! I am going to do my best to brief you on the trip, tell you some funny stories, and let you know what is happening the next few days.

I met up with the team at LAX on Tuesday May 12th. We had no problems checking in and going through security, which can always be interesting considering all the tools and random things we bring with us! We boarded the plane and took off for Bangkok...and we didn't stop at all for over 16 hours! Let's just say I had plenty of time to think, read, watch movies, and attempt to sleep (thankfully the flight home is much shorter because of the air currents or something like that...I am just very very thankful!!!). We arrived in Bangkok, hustled through customs and boarded our flight to Chiang Mai, which was less than an hour.

We arrived in Chiang Mai around 9 AM and headed to our hotel to drop off our luggage. Then it was off to lunch, a briefing at the office, and shopping (which I opted out of to go relax at the hotel...I mean you can only go to the Gem store and Silver shop so many time =) ). After the team came back we had dinner & headed out to the night market. On our way back to the hotel that night it began pouring rain- so by the time we reached the lobby we were completely soaked from head to toe...I love wading through the steets of Chiang Mai!

The next morning we headed out to the Elephant Farm, the Snake Farm, and Tiger Kingdom. At the Elephant Farm I feed a preganant elephant 5 bunches of bananas in about 30 seconds (she would eat them a whole bunch at a time) and watched the elephant show. At the Snake Farm (not my favorite place int he world) we walked around, held snakes, and watched the snake show. At Tiger Kindgom I opted out of petting the tigers after I heard that sometimes the tigers just have bad days and knock people around with their huge paws...I may have some good traveler's insurance...but I am not too sure if it covers getting mauled by a tiger? After our exciting morning of visiting animals we grabbed our gear from the hotel and headed out to the villages.

We stayed overnight at a "resort" (which is nothing like a resort that we would think of...I didn't even get a warm shower) about half way to the village. It was a fun night to get to know the team a little bit better, as the girls stayed up late talking and fighting off the "big" bugs...which little did they know the bugs only get bigger the farther away from the city you go...but I thought I wouldn't scare them and let them figure that out on their own (I'm mean I know!)

In the morning we headed out fairly early and were able to not have any rain on the way into the village. The drive into the village on the dirt road was amazingly easy! Absolutely no rain, no mud, and no wenching trucks up roads...incredible! Thank you for your prayers! We arrived in the village (not Maohjo where I thought we were going to stay, but the village right next to it...we are trying to spread the wealth...I guess each village "fights" over where the team stays...they love us that much!!!) in early afternoon and got settled. As I was getting settled I realized that I didn't know where my battle buddy I went on a search. Came to find out that the team had gone to visit Maohjo and the work one of the staff found some children to take me on a hike to the work site. I admit I was a little nervous...but the children took me on the easiest route and I arrived at the school site and hung out with the teachers until the team came back down the hill.

The next day was Sunday so we didn't work; but we did get to go to church in Maohjo! What a blessing! One of the girls in the village that I had gotten pretty close to the last I was there was at the church service...I couldn't stop smiling! Her family is Buddhist and she's Christian now! What an answer to prayer! During church some of the team shared their testimony, we sang a song (impromtu), and our team leader gave the sermon (which was translated into Karen)...such a great experience!

On Monday we began work on the medical clinic. A team from San Diego Christian College had come out in December and done a ton of work on the clinic! They had laid almost the entire foundation...which basically meant mixing cement for 2 weeks straight! We arrived to a very basic structure of a foundation and some of the steel beams. We spent the day mixing cement, hauling cement, pouring cement, and smoothing cement...we love cement!!! This is where a really funny story comes in!!! So on the way up to the work site we took a random path up the side of a hill...literally!!!! It was pretty steep and slippery and well I was pretty dirty before we even started working. On this little path there were two "ladders" made of that spanned a gap between the rice patties and the side of the hill (with probably a 4 foot drop under it into a small stream of water) and a ladder that allows you to climb over a barbed wire that seperates plots of land. No big deal right??? Well on the way up the hill there were no problems at all. But on the way back from work...well that was another story!! So we get to the first ladder on the way down (over the barbed wire fence) and there are Fire Ants all over the handles of the I am told not to touch the sides of the ladder so I have to walk up one side...not hard and down the other while standing straight up...a little harder. Thankfully one of the team members helped and I made it over safely with a big sigh of relief! We get to the next ladder (the one spanning the gap)...well earlier in the day other people on the team had broken the ladder (remember that everyone on the team...even the smallest girls probably outweigh the villagers 20 or 30 pounds) two of the rungs were missing. So all of the team but me has gone across...the ladder crackling all the way...I think ok this could work...I will just crab crawl across it...well I get half way across and well the part I am not even on suddenly has had enough...the girl in front of me is like...ummmm Erin....and down I go! But like a pro I landed on my feet in the stream! Lauging the whole way! I didn't even get dirty! BUT....I did get dirty about 1 minute later. While walking in the rice patties we had to manuever through a random part that was big deal right...well first step no step...instantly knee deep in rice paddy mud (which full of leeches and weird things!). My foot would not come out and I thought my big rubber boot was lost forever....but I got down on my hands and knees and wiggled and squirmed while the girl with me was laughing hysterically! Needless to say I was so dirty...that I walked into the village and everyone who saw me just started laughing!

Alright there is so much more to write but I have to go I will write more later!!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


I am going to Thailand in about 6 hours! I don't know if I would believe it was true if it wasn't for the giant gear bag full of stuff sitting in my living room right now.

The last week has been crazy! I finished up working at APU, Graduated with my M.Ed. in College Student Affairs and moved out of my apartment! Needless to say that I didn't start packing until this least I got it done!

I am excited for the adventure that is waiting for me in Thailand! I am going with a team of college students...which should be a blast! Other than the basic details of the trip I have no idea what is going to happen over the next 3 weeks, but my new more spontaneous self is completely fine with that!

I would ask for your prayers...we got word late last week that two villagers died in an accident on the dirt road that leads to the village (and 5 others were injured, but have returned to their homes). This road is the same one we have to take into the village (and is the same one I have traveled many many times). So first, please be in prayer for the families of those who died. This is a totally different ministry opportunity for our team, so we are praying that we can just be of comfort to the families. Second, this accident has caused a lot of concern and worry from friends and family of the team; which is totally understandable. So please pray that we have safe travels and that the drivers know what is too dangerous and what is doable.

So thanks again!! I will update this as much as possible while I am gone! Love you all!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Some Exciting News!

I am DONE with my Masters Degree!!!! (Well almost!!) I am done with homework at least!

So here is the link to the website I created as my Capstone Project for my degree...

Enjoy, comment, & critique...but be nice...I am so worn out I literally can't think anymore =)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I always write blogs when I should be doing something else...

Blogging when I busy beyond words is my stress reliever. I find some of my most creative thoughts come about at 1 in the morning when I am so tired I want to curl up and not wake up for the next 12 hours, yet have so much to do that I can't fall asleep because my head is to full of stuff; it is in these moments that inspiration comes (or what I consider inspiration) and I have to get it down on paper. So forgive me if this is a little discombobulated, incoherent, or maybe even an idea that a much wiser person has already thought of...but tonight it hit me...

Our lives are like jokes. (wait for it, wait for it...) hmmm yeah, I didn't like equating my life to a joke either, but here is where my thought process was going. Jokes have punch lines, and if you don't say the punch line at just the right time...well the joke just isn't funny. True?

Well a lot of times I find that I live my life doing what I think I should be doing, going about my merry way -let's say going to grad school for example-and then I get to the part where the punch line is suppossed to come in- like an amazing high paying job after graduation- and well...I am left punch line. My first response...God, where ar You? Why didn't you deliver the punch line? Ummm hello, life isn't good without the punchline...right?

Wrong! See the problem is too often we are too busy writing our own jokes (aka lives) and our punchlines (aka outcomes, blessings, dreams, the stuff that happens in movies, you know...the good stuff) and when it doesn't happen we look to God and say...what happen? Why didn't you show up? I told you exactly what to give me! Why aren't you giving it to me? (insert the most annoying little whiny kid you can think of here begging for an ice cream cone on a hot day!)

First of all...God doesn't play on our timing! He plays on His own timing. So we may write the joke and wait for the punchline...but it's not going to come....yet or maybe not at all. God's punchline to our jokes is:
always on time...His time
always good...He never does anything wrong
and always better than the one we wrote ourselves!

So all that to say...right now I am coming to the end of this joke (this part of my life...grad school)...and I had thought I had a pretty good idea what the punchline was (ummm a great job doing exactly what I wanted to do at the exact university I wanted to work at)...but well...I am pretty sure that punchline is not going to be my reality. Instead...I am waiting (not necessarily because I want to but because I need too) for God's punchline.

What does God's punchline look like...well that, I don't know; but, I do know three things...

It will be on time! It will be good! AND it will be better than anything I could have ever imagined or dreamed on my own! that is my creative side (and heart) at 1 in the morning.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

It's after 1 in the morning & I am so excited that I can't sleep!!

So, it seriously 1 AM right now and I am so excited...though I am not going to share with you why I am so excited (don't hold your breath because I am really not going to tell you the details because nothing is 100% yet but just know that it is really cool and amazing and I am so excited that I cried about it earlier is that great!!) Anyway, I wanted to share what I wrote in my journal last night. I usually don't do this, but I really just feel the need to share and hope that someone enjoys it and it resonates with someone's here it is...

Zephaniah 3:17 - The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.

The phrase that sticks out the most is "he will quiet you with his love" -God I am so busy and always talking and always thinking...I need to be quieted by your love; I need to be quiet in your love; I need to experience the power of your love that has the ability to calm my mind, my heart and my spirit.

God you take great delight in me? I find this hard to believe a lot of the time because I do so many sinful things. How could you delight in me? How do you delight in me when others can't even delight over me - and they are my equal and not the God of the universe! But you do delight in me, as a parent delights in their child and as a artist delights in their creation and as a composer delights in his song - so you delight in me.

You take so much delight in me, that you "rejoice over me with singing." What a voice You must have! What a song You must be singing! Which one is it? What does it sound like? I know I have heard it before! In the quiet moments of the sunsets on the dock at the Delta, in the thunder and pounding rain of the storms in Northern Thailand, in the laughter of the rowdy teenage girls at winter camp who just won't go to sleep, in the waves that crash on the shore, or the sound of my feet hitting the pavement when I go for a run - all of them are percussion and harmony and sound effects to the joyous song You are singing over me!

Thank you for taking delight in me, quieting me, and rejoicing over me! Thank you also for being might to save - thank you for loving me enough to save me from myself!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Countdown has begun!!!

15 weeks until graduation! (May 9th)

9 weeks of class left (or 1 quarter from February 2 - April 1)

2 classes left

1 Gigantic Project & Presentation (sometime in mid April)

Wow...I can't believe grad school will be over in just a few weeks! Now I have to figure out what I am going to do with my life- maybe go back to school and get a Ph.D.? The thought has crossed my mind...but I think I would like a break!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

I am a legend in a small village in Thailand

A couple of nights ago I was talking to one the girls who went on a Thailand trip with me a few years ago. She went back to Thailand two Mays ago (or 1 year after I went for 3 months). Anyway, we were talking about Thailand memories and she tells me this story...

She was sitting in her host families hut talking with her host family (through a translator) and they are telling them stories about different things that have happened in the village. I guess the topic got onto when Brad, Shannon and I were living in the village because the host mom starts telling this story about "the tall American girl who fell through the porch of her sister's house into a big pile of mud while the whole village was watching" and another women in the room utters "Erin" (in a Karen accent I am sure). My friend said she almost lost it, because her she is sitting in the middle of nowhere hearing a story (an embarrassing one at that) about someone she knows.

Anyway, I couldn't stop laughing as she told me the story! Of all the stories the villagers tell people I was sort of hoping the one about me falling off a porch into a giant pile of mud (need I mention that I hurt myself really really badly) would be the one they wouldn't tell. Oh well, at least they remember me right?

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Top Eight of 2008

I love lists (once again another reason I am weird I know!) so I thought I would make one about the best things that happened in 2008. (It also seemed like a good idea to reflect on 2008 as I head into 2009) So in no particular order here they are...the highlights of my life for the last year!

1. I ran a half marathon...that's 13.1 miles! (For all of you who run marathons I don't want to here about how that is not all that far...I was proud of myself and really sore for a few days after). The day was blustery to say the least...wind, rain and cold...but it was pretty cool. I will be running the 1/2 marathon again in about 28 days. My goal is to beat my time from last year, which should be interesting since I haven't been able to train much lately because I sprained my ankle (a funny story I will save for another day!)

2. I finished my first year of graduate school! (and as of this writing have about 13 total weeks of class left!!) It is going by so fast, but almost not fast enough now! Please don't ask what I want to do when I finish...I still don't know (but that seems to be the story of my life!). The options (or hopeful options) are...working at APU, working at a non-profit missions organizations, or moving overseas to do something crazy (like live in th jungle).

3. Bangladesh...pretty sure I will not go back, but it was an amazing adventure! From missing flights, hanging out in Hong Kong, incredible heat and humidity (this place beats Thailand any day!), speed boat rides across huge rivers, hanging out with college students, building 10 homes for cyclone vicitms, and hanging out with my boss as she puked her guts was an adventure all the way!

4. Wakeboarded way better than last year! (I still stink but hey I only get to practice about 1 week a year and I was proud of myself!) I love being out on the water...even just being in the boat is good with me. Anyway...this makes my list because I love my time out on the water and it is always a highlight of my year to hang out at the Delta!

5. Went to New York, New York. Had so much fun! Ditched classes (I told my professors so I guess that really isn't ditching) and did all the fun stuff....saw Phantom of the Opera on Broadway, sat in the 3rd row at an amazing opera house and saw my first opera (I LOVED IT!), rode the subway too much (we need one in LA so bad!), went to the top of the Empire State Building, saw the Statue of Liberty, went to Ellis Island, went to Dean & Deluca (amazing!), hung out in Central Park for a little, and ohhh soo much more. All that to say...NYC is not my favorite place in the hectic and materialistic...but fun to visit!

6. Went to Vermont (this was for school) in the beautiful! I highly recommend a visit. Sorry not too much to say...I was at a Legal Conference (it was a little boring, but I got out of a huge amount of class work for going...well worth the cost of the plane ticket!)

7. Several of my friends, from my original Thailand team, came out to visit! I got to be a tourist in So. Cal. which was fun! We hung out at the beach, played cards, saw Wicked, and did a whole bunch of relaxing. It was so great!

8. Moved into an amazing apartment with three amazing girls! They are definitely my saniety on nights when school is driving me crazy. I love my house and am sad that in just a few short months we all won't be living there anymore.

There are so many other great moments of 2008! Thanks for letting me share...I wonder what 2009 holds, but I guess we will find out soon enough!