Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Today's Earthquake

I was sitting at my desk paying some bills at about 11:40 a.m. today when I heard the house creak, then it started to gently shake. I figured it was probably just a little 3 second shaker.

But then the house lurched…as if falling down a stair step. The shaking intensified and the house lurched again. I decided to stand under a doorway. Then the shaking calmed into a roll. It felt like our house was a ship sailing on the ocean. Next I felt a little dizzy and it was over.

Mozart stood in his studio doorway, outside…and we talked back and forth while it was shaking. I started walking outside, and he said…"no…stay there under the doorway." After it was over he came trotting inside and turned on the television. The news people were still in recovery…and they didn’t know much. They asked anyone who felt the quake to call in. They had people calling in from San Diego to Las Vegas. Finally we were informed the quake was a 5.4 and the epicenter was 15 to 20 miles from our home.

Meanwhile my son, who was up at summer school, had to vacate the classroom, so the school could be checked for damage. But it was almost time to go home anyway…so they released the kids after they stood 15 minutes in the field. When I drove up to get him, I didn’t see him anywhere, so I tried to call him with my cell phone. My phone wouldn’t work! But then suddenly my phone rang. When I answered, no one was on the other end. “Hello?” I said. But I only heard complete silence.

The L.A. Times reports we had an 800% call spike…soaring beyond predictions for emergencies. Verizon Wireless said they were 40% beyond the peak that they plan for in major disasters.

Actually this was not serious emergency or disaster. Yet our cell phone coveage was blocked over a wide area. It makes you wonder what might happen in a true disaster. Some land lines were out also.

But actually it was a fun earthquake. What I mean is…no one was injured and I’m sure it gave our summer tourists the ride of their life…much better than Disneyland!

In a unique way, earthquakes bring us all together. Everyone felt it, rich and poor, movie star and homeless person, and the neighbors. We all went through it together.

Experts keep telling us that a big one is coming in the next 30 years. I hope the epicenter to that one is somewhere in the ocean.

With earthquakes…economic problems…gas prices…it seems we live in an uncertain world. Today I pulled an old paper back book out of the bookshelf, “The Hiding Place”. It's about the experiences of Corrie Ten Boom, who also lived in uncertain times...times much harder than ours. Corrie and her family hid Jews in their home during Germany’s occupation of Holland. She and her sister were eventually taken away to the “camps”. Her unwavering faith and courage always encourages and inspires me.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Don't Waste Your Life

As I drove my son to summer school this morning, I had a strange feeling. It seemed like only minutes ago that I was driving my son to summer school—yesterday.

Wow—My days are quickly flying by.

As I felt the cool morning air flow through the car windows, I thought, I’m so thankful for this new day. And because I am reading, “Don’t Waste Your Life”, by Jon Piper, I felt like I didn’t want to waste this day. note: my summer school job has ended and I am now in my first week of "summer vacation."

But how does one know if they’re “wasting” their life or not? I can’t answer that. But there are some glimpses of direction in the book I’m reading. Here is what John Piper says:

God created us for this: to live our lives in a way that makes him look more like the greatness and the beauty and the infinite worth that he really is…..We are meant to image forth in the world what he is really like.

Mr. Piper goes into depth about what it means to glorify God. Part of glorifying God is enjoying him. “God created me—and you— to live with …a passion to glorify God by enjoying and displaying his supreme excellence in all spheres of life.”

I’m only about three chapters into the book.

I am now approaching a chapter entitled, “Magnifying Christ Through Pain and Death.” That was my next question. Is it possible to glorify God when one is going through hard times? I’m sure it is…but I’m looking forward to hearing what Mr. Piper has to say on the topic. I will add that Mr. Piper ‘s conclusions are based on the Bible…he gives scriptures and references throughout the book.

So I dropped my son off at school and ventured into my day. I washed 2 cars, swept the front walk, watered the yards, made phone calls, took both boys back and forth to various places. About 5:00 I went to the grocery store (for the second time today—because early this morning…they didn’t have their meat out yet!) So I returned later, bought what I needed, and upon exiting the store my eye caught a woman (about age 35) holding a sign that said, “Will work for food.”

Hmmm. My mind started going into its decision making process.
I have to get home.
But I should buy her some food.
She doesn’t look like she is hungry. She looks well-nourished.
But I could tell her God loves her…when I give her the food.
OoH. But I have to wait in that line again.

I went in. Bought her some cool drinks, a snack and some candy.
I spoke briefly with her, and asked her what kind of work she wanted to do. She said, “housework.” I said I didn’t have any housework, but I bought her some food, and something cool to drink. She was very appreciative. I told her God loved her. Her name is Ginger.

I’m not sure if what I did will make an impact on her for God…but it made an impact on me. And I know that God will help me grow in the area of "imaging forth in the world" what he is really like.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Blue Sky Day

I wasn't sure if we would make it down to my parents...and I prayed that things would go smoothly in our household to enable us to go. I was so thankful we made it! Just like the ever-changing weather of Hawaii, the life-clouds sped by overhead and then began to separate...exposing a beautiful patch of blue...on Sunday. A blue sky day! All doors opened and beckoned us to travel toward the coast to see my parents.

I still can't believe it! I talked my husband into going swimming at my parent's town home pool. Of course he threw me in first! We're celebrating my dad's 79th birthday. (Mom, Dad, and son, D. are in the background.)

I wasn't expecting dad's giraffe to have the fur on! He painted the spots last week. He has a motor inside to make it move. (Dad is a retired engineer and likes to keep busy.)
Earlier in the week I had a wonderful visit from an old friend who moved to Oregon. Therese is down in Southern California to visit family. We went to the Los Angeles County Arboretum and explored the "stick house" which is made by a very artistic gardener.
Her boys enjoyed themselves. But I think their favorite part of the day was when a baby coyote ran across our path!
Broccoli is sprouting in the Arboretum vegetable garden.
and lettuce too!

My good friend, Sunny , just sent me a book. It's called "Don't Waste Your Life" by John Piper.
I'll give you a report, soon.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Wrong Direction was Right

I've been reading the story of Joseph. A young man's life goes in the wrong direction. What could be worse than being sold into slavery at the age of 17 by your own brothers?

Reuben, the oldest, gives us a glimpse into Joseph's horror, when he recounted the incident...years later. "Surely we are being punished because of our brother. We saw how distressed he was when he pleaded with us for his life, but we would not listen." Genesis 42:21. Joseph cried and pleaded with his brothers as he was shackled by the Midianite merchants and taken away.

And even after "right living" he was thrown into jail for something he didn't do. And it was not a short jail term. Then...the one friend who had a chance to get him out---forgot about him.

But God knew.

God knew the outcome.

It's hard to believe Joseph's words...later in life. I'm sure these words did not come easy.
"Don't be distressed, and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you........it was not you who sent me here, but God." Then he threw his arms around his brother Benjamin and wept.

And I don't think Joseph could have said these forgiving words earlier in life..when he was living with Potiphar or in prison. I think he had some hindsight at this point. And perhaps some maturity.

All this to say...ONLY GOD KNOWS what's going on in our lives...or why things happen. This story gives us every reason to trust Him.

In my post "The Bases are Covered" I shared about my own son, and about his new job. So far he still has the job. Oh...and one more update...I decided not to go back to college. I know I made the right decision. I still plan on taking a class or two.

Have a nice day!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Should I Go Back to College?

I've been wondering if I should go back to College and get a BA degree. I have an AA degree in Humanities. Some of my completed classes, however, don't carry over. (Because I received my AA degree a long time ago.) So I have quite a few classes I would need to take...just to complete my GE (General Ed).

First, I thought my goal might be a teaching credential. In my current job, I work alongside teachers who make twice, if not three times as much as I do. But to get a credential, I would have to...beef up my GE by taking the following mandatory classes:

Pass 3 Algebra classes including College Algebra. (I'm Algebraic challenged)
Take biology, government, speech, critical thinking/rhetoric essays, and Psychology.
Okay...after my GE is done—I have to take all the other courses required for my major. After 3 or 4 years of doing that...then I have to get my credential and also pass the CBEST and any other teacher tests. Then I have to take CLAD.

Now I know it is always noble of a person to go back to college and complete it. And I know that I will not run into any acquaintances that will tell me to "forget it". OF COURSE it would be nice to complete my education. But do I really want to live like a recluse enslaved to homework, for the next eight years? Yes I know there are fast-tracks---but I have to work...and I don't do well under the pressure.

I would probably emerge from school somewhere in my 60's. Now that's okay...but I'm not sure if I would want to take over a classroom at that age.

After much prayer, thought and deliberation...I've decided to..... I DON'T KNOW!

I think I'll take one of the classes that I need to take...to get my feet wet....for personal enrichment. Then I'll just take things one day at a time. I also have an application in to work as an Administrative Assistant at a Christian College. If I get that...I may take it. Then all this will go by the way side. (However I hear that the FT permanent employees are eligible to take one free class a semester.) Hmm.

I have been seeking the Lord about all of this…but I can’t get a clear answer. It seems to be leaning toward—that he doesn’t want me to get all wrapped up in school. But I’m not sure. My head is as clear as mud.

If I went to school, I’d have less time for people. I’d have to push away people, phone calls, and even family…just for survival. It would be such a me-centered existence. And for what? Do I really want to take on a classroom of 33 students when its all over?

I do love to tutor, and work with small groups of students. I just wish I could make a better income doing this.

So…have any of you gone back to school, late in life…like at age 52?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Excitement in the Email Box

It's 11:46 p.m. and I should be asleep. I have to face 20 kids tomorrow at the crack of dawn. But I am so excited because GUESS WHAT. I submitted an article to Chicken Soup for the Soul and I just received an email that I've made the first cut. They sent me a contract and would like to use my story in an upcoming book. "Teens Talk Middle School". The book will be coming out in November of this year. Although I had to sign a contract...my piece has not been purchased yet. But I'm very optimistic.

They asked for my "bio". I had to write it tonight very quickly. After some hesitation...I wrote on the bottom..."visit her blog at ......" They suggested we put our emails if we wanted...but I think the blog is better. But then I wondered...do I really want my blog address going into a Chicken Soup book? Oh well...you only live once. Maybe I'll get some interesting visitors.