Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Vortex of Love

Tonight Mom and I had another evening of taking my aunt back to her apartment and driving her and Grandma to a restaurant to eat. Grandma paid for everyone's meal as a Christmas / Birthday gift to my mom :) My aunt made it back to her apartment and she and her roommate were happy to see each other when her roommate opened the door. 

The drive back to my grandma's house was uneventful and I had no problems helping Grandma into the house. However, Mom had a bit of trouble getting into the garage (it's an old garage door), and she got a bit frustrated which resulted in her taking her frustration out on me. 

Later Mom and I talked and she said that she didn't like all the driving around she had to do as part of her caregiving routine. I gathered from the conversation that she didn't feel appreciated. Earlier I gave Mom a Hobby Lobby gift card as a small birthday present and Mom was really excited about that and a surprise birthday card a neighbor gave her.

Our conversation made me realize why those little gifts were so precious to Mom. It seems that Mom was starved for love growing up, and she is still hungry for love. Tonight I shared with her Romans 5:5 which says hope (in God's love) does not dissapoint because God pours out His love through His Holy Spirit. That seemed to cheer her up along with a hug :) :) 

Yet I came to my room and had a bit of a near teary moment because I do not want to be a vortex of love. 

I do not want love to come to me and I just to take it and keep demanding love and keep demanding praise and such. I do not want others to feel like they can never please me and that everything anyone does isn't good enough because I always need more love. 

I also do not want to have to be in a situation where another person is pulling love from me and demanding more and never has enough from me. Specifically, I do not want to get married and discover Prince Charming is a vortex of love. That would be bad. That is a fear I have in getting married. 

I want to be a fountain of love - a little bubbling fountain where people can be encouraged and see that Christ loves through me because I am imperfect at loving people. Not just because of my ASD, but because I am not perfect - I sin and need Christ my savior. 

I want to marry a fountain of love fueled by Christ. Fountains give life and love, but a vortex only takes away.

We are all vortexes of love apart from Christ. Only Christ can fill up the holes left from our development. These holes just take away and suck love out of other people and demand more love from those around other people and can't give back. But Christ covers these holes. He is all in all, and transforms His followers from vortexes to reflections of His true fountain of love. 


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Tea and Hot Chocolate


Mom and I finished our Christmas with tea and hot chocolate! Mom liked her cute snowman mug :)

Yesterday I wrote how I was struggling to get in the Christmas spirit this whole season. Well, I'd have to say that after that post, I was feeling more in the Spirit. Not just the Christmas Spirit, but letting God's Spirit talk to me more. 

I was able to stay calm when Mom was worried about going over to my grandma's house to take her and my aunt to church. Turns out, they weren't sure how it would all work out as it was blowing snow. Mom and I were concerned about Grandma falling on the ice as she has osteoporosis and is quite unsteady. When Grandma said she didn't think she would go to church, I reminded her that God understood and that she made a really good decision to stay safe and warm inside her house. My aunt wasn't too disappointed either, and so Mom and I went back home after wishing them a merry Christmas. 

The morning of Christmas, I got up and made Mom some breakfast. We jammed to some Jars of Clay and Third Day Christmas tunes. While opening presents, we jammed to Chris Tomlin's Glory in the Highest CD. Some years I see presents as a competition: did I get enough presents for Mom to 'match' what she gave me? If I feel like I didn't break even with Mom and she gave more than I did, I would feel guilty afterward. But this year, I was more grateful for her presence than her... presents! (Yes, that was a pun for any of my blog stalkers who enjoy puns!) Mom and I bought each other really inexpensive practical gifts and that was nice :) 

Then I read Isaiah 11 - 66. Like the whole thing. 

Mind. Blown. 

Like. Wow. WOW! GOD IS LIKE SUPER EPIC! He wipes out WHOLE NATIONS and saves HIS PEOPLE - His Redeemed - for Himself all through Christ and - oh man - did I say that was epic already??? There's a bunch of prophesies specific to Christ, and tons MORE that are general promises for those that are redeemed through Christ and were for the people of the Old Testament. Oh. Man! 

Like I said: Mind. Blown! 

That was really nice to set the stage for the next part of our Christmas which was taking my grandma and aunt out to dinner en route to taking my aunt back to her apartment. 

We went to one of the few restaurants that was open. The server wasn't as quick as his co-workers, but we eventually got everything we asked for. I felt like asking the manager to ask him to get a move on it since we had two family-member clients that had to get places before it got too cold, but I think God was teaching me patience. I was nice to the guy even though I thought he should've done a better job for how busy the place was and that they seemed to have adequate staff. However, God reminded me that Christ treated us not as we deserve, so I should treat this server not as he deserved. I was nice and we all wished him a Merry Christmas and tipped him adequately. 

Mom was a bit worried about Grandma walking on the ice, but there wasn't much, and she was ok. There was one moment where both she and my aunt were using me for balance, and I was thinking, 'Ok guys. At least we're right by the car.' We made it to my aunt's apartment and I helped her open the door. She was turning the key the wrong way in the deadbolt and I showed her after the door was open so she could see the bolt going in and out of the door. Mom, Grandma, and I made it home uneventfully. It was just super cold. 

Hence the need for tea and hot chocolate once Mom and I got home :) 

I know it's a pretty obvious thing to point out, but definitely focusing on Christ helped me this Christmas. God worked through  me to display His love and care on the day we celebrate His birth. For that, I am thankful :) 

Monday, December 24, 2012

What remains when traditions are stripped away

Mom and I are struggling to keep the true meaning of Christmas in our minds this year for a few reasons. 

First, our tree has been downsized a lot. We've gone from a 5 foot tree in the corner of the living room to 
this little ornament tree from Target because my crud is in the corner as you all can see. 

I still have Mom's presents around it :) :) 

Second of all, Mom and are not going to my aunt's house in Littleton like we normally do because she has other Christmas plans. 

Third of all, Mom and I are going to take my grandma and my aunt with special needs to church tonight and then out to eat tomorrow before we take my aunt back to her apartment. We will basically be focused on family caregiving on Christmas day. 

I can 'check out' and treat Christmas like I did when I worked at the group home: It's a holiday, but I'm at work for some of it and I can focus on the clients but not on what the holiday is really about. I can make Christmas about keeping Mom happy and making sure she has a nice Christmas and not really celebrate it myself in my own heart. 

However, I can do all these things: joyfully help my aunt and grandma as well as encourage my mom if I remember the TRUE meaning of Christmas. 

Today I felt myself checking out, so I spent some time in Isaiah chapters 9 to 11. I read the familiar verses of "For unto us a child is born..." to Mom and that cheered her up. Christmas is about redemption. Christmas is about Christ coming to redeem His people out of the world being held captive by sin. Christmas is about God and His love for the world. 

If I focus firstly on Christ and celebrate His birth, that encouragement derived from that and He can better display His love to my family as I help meet their physical and emotional needs. If I focus firstly on Christ, all traditions can be stripped away: we could go without our little ornament tree and little presents, yet I could still rejoice in Christmas because I would be rejoicing in Christ. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Isaiah 4:2

And THIS is why I like the book of Isaiah and one of my friends likes the book of Isaiah too!!! :) :) :) :) 

"In that day, the branch of the Lord shall be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land shall be the pride and honor of the survivors of Israel."  - Isaiah 4:2 (ESV emphasis added)

 I asked myself, "What is the fruit of the land that would be the pride and honor of the survivors?" Then I thought of the 1930's Dust Bowl because Mom and I watched a PBS special on it (yes we're nerds).

 

Kansas and other places in the Midwest were utterly laid to waste and buried under dust. The agricultural community lost its only source of income. 


Those people that didn't relocate to the cities and survived the Dust Bowl really truly rejoiced over the crops they had once the Dust Bowl ended. They had survived and persevered, and now they had a crop again! 

I'm sure these people had other 'fruit of the land' that resulted in surviving the Dust Bowl. They probably learned a lot about improvisation in hard times and just what determination and loyalty to their land and their way of life truly meant. 

The Israelites Isaiah was writing about were the ones who would return from exile. They would once again live in and off of the Promised Land again, but he was also writing about God's people overall. So how about us as Christians? In one sense we are also the "survivors of Israel" because we're God's people stuck in a fallen world. 

That verse struck me because in one sense, I have survived a lot. I really did survive being born very low birthweight (3 pounds and I was term), having Hepatitis B, having measles and menengitis, having severe sensory integration problems (WHERE THERE WAS NO INTERVENTION FOR ANOTHER 10 YEARS FOR IT GRRRRRR...), mild autism spectrum disorder, and attachment issues. 

So, what has that taught me: Well, that God is The Man because only He could've brought me through that. So, one fruit is gratefulness to God :) Empathy for people going through hard times, because, man! They are no fun. A dependence on God for comfort through it, and a seeking of Him that ultimately led to me accepting Him as my Savior. The Fruit of the Spirit because God made me new and His Spirit is in me. Yay for tangible examples, and my life happens to be one of them :) 

Interesting! :) I pray for all my Christian brothers and sisters that are going through hard times and are / have survived little and big things. I pray that they would be able to trust God for fruit from it and trust that He is with them in it :) Because it's cool when He shows the fruit and brings Him glory and makes Him more real for us :)

Friday, December 14, 2012

A compilation of thoughts and feelings about today's events

I can't think of a clever title to this post, but it's a direct excerpt from my journal. I only share this because maybe someone can be helped inseeing how I still rely on my faith to help me think about the mass shooting today.
Mom and I went into a nearby movie theater to watch The Hobbit and watched two and a half hours of hilarious dwarves, pretty elves, short hobbits, a crazy Gollum, and really ugly giants and orcs battle it out in Middle Earth. 

We walked out of the movie theater and I checked Facebook in the car to tell my peeps that the movie was FREAKING AWESOME!! People were posting about some tragedy and one of my HDFS friends had her political commentary on it. I was thinking, “What the heck did I miss?” Then I checked Google News and I said in a very Sheldon Cooper-ish voice, “Oh, Lord!”

Battling it out in Middle Earth with some smelly orcs wouldn’t be as bad as realizing some crazy guy shot up a classroom where 20 kids died. Like school aged kids. Like just coming out of early childhood and discovering the joys of middle childhood kids.

Like kids I worked with when I was hping out my first year of AWANA and kids I have been a nanny for and kids I saw swarming the Summitview building.

I’m rocking to some Skillet because it’s sorta like how I feel right now like how headbangers at Marylin Manson or heavy metal concerts headbang like, “F-THE WORLD!!!!” Except, I could be headbanging like, “THIS WORLD SUCKS AND NEEDS JESUS!”

I told Mom and she agrees that we both feel waves of numbness mixed with waves of sadness and waves of anger.

I don’t understand in a personal way why some of my friends posted stuff like “I will hold my son tighter tonight.” because in one sense, they are in Colorado and this happened in Connecticut. A good friend explained to me that these parents sympathise with parents who have lost kids in this shooting, and this has made my friends grateful that their children are still alive. She also said that they are comforted in a way by their kids’ presence.

Even though I initially told her that I didn’t get it, I sort of do. I have thought about helping the school-aged kids in AWANA with their game time and later getting their awards at the AWANA shop, and I haven’t thought about them for a long time. I’ve thought about the two kids I was a nanny for over two summers, and I haven’t thought about them for a while. They are in 2nd and 3rd grade now. In a way, I guess I’m ‘holding my kids tighter.’ I’m thinking about them more, and I am grateful that the kids I have helped are safe. I have prayed that nothing bad happens to them.

At Chipotle after I read about this event, I saw a little baby. I think it was a boy. It was in a lime green shirt and in a high-chair facing away from me. He was a brown haired squirmy little guy, and one thought I had was that I wondered what sort of world he would grow up in. Would things like this be the norm that he would hear on the news? I hope not, but if the world is going to be more depraved before Christ comes back, I am afraid he will view it as somewhat normal.

As I was making dinner, I thought about if I ever met Prince Charming and had kids. If they said, “Mom, I heard about a mass shooting in [insert city] in [a school / mall / who knows where].” would I just say, “Oh. Yeah, that’s been happening for a while, kids.” I wouldn’t brush it off and say, “Yeah yeah. Ok, dinner’s at six. Do your homework, guys.” Depending on their developmental levels and how it was affecting them, I would talk it over with them. But it was a sobering thought to realize that I’d say, “Ok, as a kid, I had to learn how to deal with it like this…”

Aaaaaaaaaaaaand that’s just a really weird thought to think about. That events like this could become somewhat the norm. Like how high speed chases on the news are talked about but they’ve sort of lost their, “brand new news story no one has ever experienced ever!!” appeal.

Aaand, my HDFS Nerd side wants to have a go at something, so here we go:

How to explain a mass shooting to your child at various developmental stages:

0 - 2 years: keep the routine normal, try not to tune in too much to the news so that you keep yourself emotionally responsive to the child’s needs.
2-4 years old: Explain that an emergency is happening in another city and they need this TV time and that is why [insert kid’s show] is not on. Put in DVD’s or stream a movie to device. Heck, the cute kids’ movie will be better than the news. If the child asks, explain that someone made a really bad choice and hurt a lot of people, but the police in that area are making it safe for everyone else. Maybe use toys to explain (toy cops, firetruck etc.) “Now the cop is blocking the school so the kids will be safe now.” “Now the ambulance is getting the hurt people out.” Tell the child that Jesus will help the people there feel better and we should pray for them. Jesus can help us feel less scared too. 

5-7: Same thing just slightly more advanced. Explain basics of criminal justice system (thank you, paralegal nerd side) if child asks what will happen to suspect if suspect is alive). Explain basics of public safety system (911 / police / fire) and how they would respond in child’s area of residence. Explain that Jesus is still in control and we should pray. Explain how Jesus making us new helps us not make bad decisions like that. If it is a bullying related incident, emphasize child can help other children in the school environment who are ostercized.

8-12 Let the child come to you with what he / she understands. Listen. Ask open ended questions and then explain what he/she does not understand about the situation (disaster planning, criminal system questions, emotional questions, theological questions). Be available to talk if he/she needs. Answer ‘The Problem of Evil’ question as concretely as possible. Using cultural analogies LOTR, Narnia, whatever child is interested in to help illustrate how yes, the real world is full of villians, but Jesus is the true hero. Discuss how child can share this stuff with friends. Discuss concrete ways to help the community to do some good and spread some Jesus.

12+ Let adolescent come to you, listen. Answer questions as needed. Let him/her know if he/she needs additional support, you are there. Continue to help adolescents develop a Biblical response to stuff like this and nurture empathy and being real with how God helps us cope with this.
TAAA DAAAAAAAAAA! I sorta think that’s awesome that I have a template - it’s not foolproof, but I have a TEMPLATE of how to explain to a kid about mass shootings / mass casualty events and I don’t have to listen to the news to see “Now how do you explain to this to your child?” because I HAVE a birth - adolescence quick guide!!!!!! WOOOOOOO HOOOOOOO! Prince Charming (if he’s out there) better be impressed :D
But seriously, it’s nice to have. I would’ve liked some support even at age 14 when I learned about the Columbine shooting. It didn’t help that Mom and I actually went to the park near the school while news crews and the national guard and police were surrounding the place. Whoops. I think that made the whole emotional processing of the event worse. I had to ask God the hard questions on my own and rely on Him alone for emotional support. It was bad at times, but I guess now I’m grateful I had the experiences. Maybe after living through these experiences, my future generation will have more security in God through these types events won’t have to feel so alone. 

Bad guys should be Orcs

Bad guys should be like the orcs in The Hobbit! Slimy ugly and obviously very mean looking! That way we'd know to eliminate them from our surroundings as to keep ourselves safe. 

I mean, if a 3000 pound Orc came stomping down the street and entered a school zone, the CIA, FBI, SWAT team, and the hobbits and Gandalf would be there to take him DOWN! 

But bad guys do NOT magically morph into orcs so we can be like, "GAAAAAAANNNNNNNDAAAAAALLLLFFF HEEEEEELP!" They sometimes aren't obvious that they are the bad guys. So they can do stuff like sneak into schools or malls or movie theaters and kill a lot of people and that's bad. Really really bad. 

There's a reason why bad guys don't just morph into orcs. Because we all have 'bad guy' in us. I mean, if I snap at my mom and my skin turned green like the wicked witch of the West,  she would know, "Uh oh... grumpy snarly Katie is here!" Same if she snapped at me, she'd uh - get warts all over her face, so I would know it's 'evil mom.'

Left unchecked, us two might just become orcs because our evil natures would take over completely. However, God has saved us so the old sinful orc-ish nature is gone and even though we battle it, truly on the inside we're good :) We're not ugly warty evil witches, but at our core, we're princesses :D (Guys that are saved, inside, you're not orcs / stormtroopers / evil character. Inside you guys are like Super/Spider/Ironman / Jedi / Gandalfs / Aragorns). 

Aaaanyway, that's something I've been thinking of. We can say that the person who did this shooting is like a really REALLY evil bad ugly orc that GANDALF MUST KILL IMMEDIATELY, but we all are to some extent orcs. Nothing could save this guy but Christ, and Christ would transform him, and nothing can save us except Christ. The orc-ness disappears as Christ transforms us. 

That is the hope of the world, and Christ is the only way the bad guys are going to get eradicated. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Mothers' Special Helpers

Today Mom, Grandma, my aunt, and I went to dinner. I enjoy hanging out with my aunt and grandma because they remind me of my mom and myself. 

My aunt's Down Syndrome doesn't stop her from helping her mother. She often gets her mother's purse or makes sure she has everything she needs. She also reminds her mother that my mother and I are waiting for her. When I ask my aunt, she will tell me about putting away her mother's groceries or helping with breakfast when she is at her mother's house for the weekend. 

Of course, my aunt has limits on how much she is able to help. Sometimes she gets impatient or wishes her mother would walk faster. It's hard on my aunt when her mother snaps at her more because she's in pain or frustrated rather than because my aunt did something wrong. I explained to my aunt on several occasions that  "Well, your mom is mad because she's in pain or because she can't do something. Not because you did something wrong." Sometimes she can be blunt when talking about her mother. Tonight she told me, "I'm going to tell my mom you're ready. She's slow." I cracked up once my aunt walked down the hallway to summon her mother. My aunt can say the darndest things because she has no verbal filter. Yet she thanked me when I helped her mother with her coat after dinner. 

I help my mother on a more sophisticated level by listening when she is upset (well, trying to), or doing things such as helping her around the house. However, I am limited in what I can do. I can't drive Mom around because, well, I can't drive :D Other times, my autism specrumness gets in the way. I can't understand why she has to think about a situation I solved in my head within moments. Sometimes I don't know whether what I said makes sense if she looks confused. And if Mom snaps at me out of frustration due to her own circumstances, it still hurts even though I am a 28 year old post-bachelor's paralegal student that's only home temporarily. 

Yet God has me in this role. Yes, I had an unhealthy emotionally enmeshed situation with my mom earlier in my life, but I think it's getting better. I can see that God is using my experiences to help my aunt cope with issues she faces with being her mom's 'little helper.' I understand the challenges of a parent sometimes needing to rely on me like a child, and more importantly, I understand what it feels like to help someone else even in spite of my own limitations. Whenever I share these things with my aunt, I am thankful that God gave me this role in all its joys and struggles. Because in doing so, He is allowing me to help someone else. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

100 Things I am thankful for

Happy Thanksgiving Blogsphere! 

I have not done a Thanksgiving blog post since November 2005. While reviewing that post, I noticed that I had done a 100 things I am thankful for as a Small Group Bible Study exercise. 

Here's a list of 22 things I am thankful for as of November 22, 2012 :) 

Katie is thankful for: 

  1. God saving me TEN YEARS AGO in 2002 in 264 Newsom Hall at Colorado State University!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
  2. That the formative years of my spiritual development (ages 0-7, especially 0-3) were spent around people who truly took the Bible to heart and lived it out. Thank you Summitview!! :) 
  3. For my college education that has helped me as I go into the paralegal program! 
  4. For Mom because she's awesome and she's letting me crash at her house rent free while I get my paralegal certificate! 
  5. For the rest of the Sutherland clan because they are crazy yet awesome! 
  6. For this computer because I use it a LOT! 
  7. For my jobs I've had in 2012 - my group home job and my job at CSU. 
  8. For my ROOMMATES I had in 2012! Roz and Jo! I LOVE YOU GIRLS!!! :) 
  9. For the others in the Quad that made me smile such as Kristina and Kim :) 
  10. That I am able to volunteer at Colorado Legal Services for experience and also to help them out :) 
  11. For the RTD bus system that is so much better than Transfort :) 
  12. That there's peace in the middle east for today (Thanks, Mom) 
  13. That Mom is thankful for stuff too and thankful to God for a lot of it and that wouldn't have happened 10 years ago! 
  14. I'm thankful for Hope Crossing Church my new peeps! 
  15. I'm thankful for freedom of speech and religion covered in the First Amendment to the Constitution :) 
  16. I'm thankful for my friends in the paralegal program that we can be paralegal nerds together! 
  17. I'm thankful for my friends from high school  and CSU that I still keep in touch with  :) 
  18. I'm thankful for squishy friends (stuffed animals). 
  19. That it's sunny out today and it was really nice out yesterday :) 
  20. That the news only has to report on the Macy's parade and not more urgent (bad) news. 
  21. That God has provided for me even in this recession and still has his hand of grace and provision over the United States (for now). 
  22. That I get to play with my cute second cousins at tonight's family gathering and that I will most likely get to eat pie :) WOO HOO! 
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Middle East Issues, End Times, and Reminders

"You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.  Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be faminesand earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains." Matthew 24:6-8 NIV1984
In case you all in the blogsphere didn't know, the Israel-Palestine conflict is heating up with the Israeli's countering missles fired into Tel-Aviv in the last few days. An analysis here explains it all. Whenever I hear about issues between Israel and Palestine, I am tempted to either think two things: Oh, it's just another skirmish we hear about on CNN or I think: 
It's the end of the world as we know it!!!!!!!!!!! 
(R.E.M. Video from YouTube)
And I don't necessarily feel fine. 

When I wonder if the end of the world is coming, I think about how that might mess up my own plans: my career path, my dream of maybe meeting prince-charming and living in a castle (house somewhere) and otherwise just living an ordinary American life suddenly seem less predictable. 
If I think the end of the world is coming, I often wonder if I will wake up and see this:  
"AVENGE ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" 

Ahem... anyway, I must ask myself this question: So what do I think is truly real and the most important? Do I think my (potential) paralegal career is important? Do I think my Mom and my family is important? What about my dreams for the future? In every day life, I think these are the most important thing. But when I hear about world events that might change things, I am forced to draw back and see the bigger picture. 

God's story, His-story is the most important thing and all these smaller variables are a small part of it. Being an to Christ example to my Mom, doing my paralegal program stuff, and doing whatever else God has planned in my life are a sub-plot within the main plot of God's plan for the whole world. If my little sub-plot falls right before the end-times or still 100 years before the end times, I don't know. What I do know is that each generation is called to be obedient and faithful to God. That is what I see as I read 2 Chronicles. Each king had the choice to be obedient and faithful to God. Yes, the history of Judah was affected as these were heads of state, but individually every leader had to chose God each day. 

In my own small world, I am reminded to chose God each day and influence my little circle for Him. In the larger scheme of things, I should not neglect to pray for the rest of the world - for our leaders and for the nations. Prayer and material support for missions work is always needed no matter what part of history we are in. 

The reminder that God, as the sovereign ruler of this universe, could allow events that change the geopolitical landscape of the world in an instant reminds me to focus on what is truly important which is to love God and love the world for Him. 


Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Careviging Hierarchy

I will probably address this more as I go along in the blog, but currently my aunt and my mom have seen a significant increase in the tasks they are required to do for my 92 year old grandmother who is living at home but with 20-30 hours a week of some form of outside help. 

Today Mom was supposed to take my grandmother on a scheduled outing. We realized the keys for granny's car were in our condo where the steps were currently under construction (and thus inaccessable). Mom called Grandma and turns out Grandma didn't know where her car keys went and didn't know for a few days. 

That was a problem because Mom needed the keys to take Grandma to the outing because Grandma's car is a 4 door car and could hold the stuff she needs better than Mom's 2 door car. 

So Mom and I had to brainstorm and find a solution. We found someone else to take Grandma, but it stressed both of us out. Mom was stressed because she felt like it was her fault. I tried not to stress when the solutions I brought up weren't being met with the response I was expecting. 

My mom and my aunt have most of the caregiving responsibility. I have read in the HDFS literature that informal or family caregivers need support. Currently I am experiencing being that support to Mom. 

If I were to outline a caregiving hierarchy, it would look something like this: 

Grandma (client) 

  • Supported by Aunt 1 (with driving her to appointments and keeping records of care as well as other administrative tasks. She's seen as "lead staff" 
    • Supported by her husband who helps her emotionally and helps her do projects around Grandma's house. 
    • Supported emotionally by her two adult children. 
  • Supported by: Mom (with driving her to events, managing medications) 
    • Supported by me who does small tasks around Grandma's help either by myself or as a helper to Mom. Mom is also supported emotionally by me and I also brainstorm ideas Mom can share with Aunt 1. 
  • Supported by Uncle 1 who comes up from Colorado Springs bi-weekly to do yard work and "manly" tasks as well as for other support tasks. 
  • Supported by paid house-cleaners that clean floors and the kitchen on a bi-weekly basis. 

I have to remember that without Christ, this caregiving hierarchy will collapse. If I do not support Mom with the love of Christ, she will loose her support and that will affect the rest of this structure. 

Firstly I will have to pray that my family comes to know Christ if they haven't already. If they know Christ, CHRIST is their ultimate support as they help my grandma. Secondly, I just have to remember that God sees all of this and common grace He gives is strength for each day. Grace He gives those of us that are Christian are Christ working through us. We just have to keep letting Him as more needs are added to the caregiving hierarchy. 

A little vay-cay a three minute bus ride away

 
Yeah! So,  Mom and I are hanging out at the Holiday Inn literally a 3 minute bus ride away from our house. My cousin is redoing the stairs that lead up to our front door. We live on the second floor and unless we can beam ourselves up a floor using "The Force" we have no other way to get to the condo. 

Hence we are staying in a hotel. I have a Queen size bed and FOUR SQUISHY PILLOWS!!! I also feel like a business traveler with all my paralegal books and my laptop. I'm currently writing this blog entry in the hotel right now. It's sorta weird being so close to home but yet away. I'm on a bus line that gets me to the light rail to classes, so that's nice :D 

The hotel also has a HOT TUB! After I studied, I dipped my little feet (and the rest of me) in the hot tub :D YAY! I met this girl from Iowa who's a senior in high school. She wants to study English, but she didn't know what to do with it. I put in a plug for paralegal school due to job security :D I feel like a nerd. Oh well. 

Having a short little vay-cay is sort of refreshing, but there's no place like home. I'll look forward to being in my own room and not ten feet away from my snoring mom :D However, I'm glad I could keep Mom company when we've been here :) 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Ruth and Boaz - A match that only makes sense in Heaven

Drawing of Ruth & Boaz
obtained from Google Images
At Hope Crossing we're in a series on Ruth. I really enjoy Ruth because I can TOTALLY RELATE to being a young poor single lady looking after her mom! :D (who is also poor and yeah).  Our pastor pointed out that a lot of people though Ruth and Boaz's meeting was "love at first sight" but it might not have necessarily been. 

Ruth was a foreigner and the Israelites were told not to marry foreign citizens. Therefore, Boaz wouldn't have even considered her for marriage. Also, he calls her "my daughter" when he addresses her. John Piper said that could indicate a large age gap between them. Therefore, he probably wouldn't think of her as marriage material because she was too young for him. 

Boaz was a rich guy, but he was OLD! Like, he probably had to trim his ear and nose hair and pop his back in five different places before going out to the fields to greet his workers. Ruth probably didn't consider marrying him at first because a) she was a foreigner and probably thought he wouldn't want to marry him anyway and b) she was barren so she couldn't really be of any value in continuing on his line. She hadn't had kids in 10 years of marriage and that was when The Pill and such definitely didn't exist. 

However, God had other plans. He made Ruth see that Boaz is a nice guy and by the way her kinsman-redeemer. He made Boaz see that here was the opportunity to show he had a pair and step up for his family he never knew existed until recently. Their marriage wasn't based on mutual feelings of drooling over each other, and I'm sure when Naomi basically told Ruth, "Hey! Propose the the guy!" the conversation may have gone something like this: 
"Um.... Mom - do you mean propose to the old guy?" 
"Yes, the old guy who HAPPENS TO OWN THE FIELD YOU WORKED IN ALL SUMMER! Our kinsman-redeemer *wink wink*
"Oh - oh yeah. *cringe* Um, but I'm a barren previously married foreigner and such." 
"Well, if he has a pair and remembers which family you married into AND  knows the Levitical law, he'll do it." 
"Well. Ok. See ya, mom!" 
"Ok - FIX YOUR HAIR!" 

And God softened Ruth's heart to listen to her mom :D 

But anyway, yeah. Just reading the story without knowing God was in it, people might be like, "What!?! That's a nice love story but... odd?" But when we read it knowing God used a very unlikely pairing to continue the Messianic line of Christ, it becomes epic!!! 






Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A little update from little me

Oh.... hi! I had a BLOG!?!?! Yes... Yes I do :D Anyway It's me! :) I've been a liiiitle busy with paralegal classes!


Midterms are next week! Again! I'll be 2/3 done with the semester! :O

I can't believe that I only have one more semester to go before I graduate. Next semester is my internship. I am still enjoying my volunteer work at Colorado Legal Services. It's the "internship before the internship."

Outside of paralegal school I'm enjoying hanging out with my Hope Crossing peeps! I'm in a group that meets on Sunday mornings before church. That's convienent because I can just get there and do church and Small Group on the same day :D I've already shown my HDFS / Paralegal nerdy side and everyone just smiles and laughs :) A woman leads the Bible study. It's sorta weird after Summitview when a man would lead a mixed-gender group, but she's a great teacher / small group leader. We're going over Fruits of the Spirit and God uses those as we relate to the lost. They basically see these fruits and wonder how we can love and be patient etc. when most people wouldn't. Then we say "Jesus! Check it out :) "

Anyway, that's a little update from little me! :)

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

It can all be lost in a generation

In 2nd Chronicles 10-12, Rehoboam is king over Judah and has a very different reign than Solomon. Jeroboam is king over Israel and the David / Solomon's kingdom is divided into Israel and Judah. Rehoboam institutes harsh laws regarding forced labor causing the Israelites to rebel against him. He nearly went to war against Israel, but God had told him not to. So he settled in the regions of Judah and Benjamin. Rehoboam still maintained the Levitical religious practices and so the Levites came to Jerusalem and continued practicing there. They walked in the ways of David and Solomon (Ch 11:16-17).  Unfortunately, the king of Egypt attacks Jerusalem and takes all the gold and treasure that Solomon had built up through his reign. 

When I read that the gold and treasure had been taken in that one raid only a generation after Solomon's reign, I was struck at how in one generation, nearly everything can be lost. Of course, this could be speaking financially because the economy of Judah probably took a hit (oh no! RECESSION!!), but spiritually, the country was not what it was. The people  of Judah probably had a harsh view of the king due to his laws on forced labor, and they probably thought he was weak in terms of foreign policy as Egypt invaded their land. This is so different from how they viewed David and Solomon where they praised God because of their reigns. In one generation, nearly everything spiritually was lost. Rehaboam may have outwardly kept the Levitical practices, but he did not truly follow God because in Chapter 12 verse 5, a prophet tells Rehaboam, “This is what the Lord says, ‘You have abandoned me; therefore, I now abandon you to Shishak [King of Egypt].’”

Me being me, when I think about generations, I think about kids. A parents' strong faith is not necessarily passed down to the children. A closer look at Solomon reveals that he was slipping a bit. Rehaboam's mother was an Ammorite, and in 1 Kings 11:12, God states: “You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.” Solomon had epic amounts of wives, which is weird. Anyway, David walked with God and he messed up, but he passed down enough to Solomon that Solomon didn't completely mess up. Children's faith is positively correlated with their parents' faith usually. We talked about it at Hope Crossing this last Sunday as a matter of fact. They haven't got the message up yet, but they talked about it. 

It goes back to childhood socialization principles. Kids see how their parents live out their worldview and they copy it first in behavior and then internalize the philosphy of the parents once they are capable of abstract thought. 

Something I think about is that if I have kids, I must guard my faith while praying and encouraging Prince Charming to guard his so he can lead the household in the ways of God. We would not ultimately save our kids - that is Jesus' job, but we will play a vital role in showing what faith looks like to the future generation. We must always pray that God in His mercy passes down the faith to the next generation. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Matthew 6:33 in the Old Testament!


Matthew 6:33 is coming true in the OLD TESTAMENT!! Solomon asks for wisdom which is going after God’s heart and then BAM the economy goes CRAZY! Now, some people (and I have also) thought, “Wow. The man asked for wisdom and then he found a way to blow up the stock market!” We-ell… I’m sure wisdom obviously helped because he knew what to do with his resources and how to advise his people, but I think the deeper issue here is that he asks for wisdom and shows that he is after God’s heart, so God provides the country with epic amounts of resources. The main goal during the first few years of peacetime is building of the Temple, so most of the resources will go to there. That’s interesting :) So when we ask God to bless us in the US (God, help us get OUT OF THE RECESSION), what if the deeper question we should be asking is, "God, what do You want for us as a nation? What do you want us to be seeking to know You better?" 

For me personally, I say a lot, "God, I'd like a paralegal job after I graduate!" I should also be asking, "God, what do You want me to learn about You as I do this career change?" Will that automatically make my finances go through the roof? Who knows, but really, with the mentality of seeking God first, then that becomes secondary :) We'll just have to see, but it's interesting. 

Solomon looses this focus on God eventually, and I will read about it more later. But yeah, it's interesting to read about his epic start! 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Foundation of Beauty

I am so grateful for my Summitview women who have taught me what beauty means. I think I am in few weeks or so of struggling with it. This is because Mom is struggling with her body image and it's projected on comments about my appearance. 
She told me she ate a lot on her vacay and how she has to walk it off. 

I'm Asian, but I'm not a stereotypical super-skinny Asian. 
Asian Model - Google Images

I have more of a Polynesian  Pacific Island woman's figure and I actually got overweight in junior high. Cross Country helped tone me out :) But anyway, I don't think I'll ever be like stick-thin like a lot of other Asians.

Polynesian Dancers - Google Images

In grad school, God really helped me accept how He created me - both physically and developmentally. I am really glad for that :) Even though I didn't gush about the emotional issues of body image like most women (I would just say, yeah, I know it's correlated to self-esteem and such and I've felt those effects - I'd talk about it in a more academic manner), the emotions are no less real.

When I hear, "Are you getting fat?" I'd immediately feel like I am doing something wrong and feel ugly. Then I remind myself that I am walking nearly every day, and I bought healthy cereal. I have a sweet spot for candy ;) but I generally don't eat a huge mega bag of candy every day. When I exercise, I have to remember that I am exercising this intricately engineered body my Creator designed to get the most effective use of it, and not to prop myself up to say, "Holy crap, I look awesome now!"

The deeper issue is this: When I hear "Are you getting fat?" or "Are you watching what you eat?" I worry, "did Mom love me  / accept me less when I was overweight?" She praises how I look now, but she reminds me a lot not to gain weight. The deeper issue is that I want someone to love the me that I see in the mirror. That sounds so like something in a women's Christian book about body image that has Papyrus font on the front and a flower or something. The more raw way to say this is: When I hear stuff like that, I wish I was happily married to a Prince Charming who would thoroughly enjoy my body and think I'm hot. A sobering thought is I'd probably be one of those girls that the HDFS journals talk about as having risk-taking sexual behavior just because I know I'd be one of those girls that craves love.

That is a sobering thought: Without Christ, I would do maladaptive things to convince myself that I was beautiful. But that is not my reality :) GOD THINKS I'M BEAUTIFUL!!!! :) :)
Bride in Hawaii -
Google Images

My Creator who sequenced my DNA and has all my physical specifications down to a science is happy with how He made me, and because of Christ, I have His love. I can crave it, not because I desperately need but do not have access to it, but I can  crave it as a bride would crave the love of her current husband. It is accessible and she can get more.

That grounds me and so I can look at myself and say, "Don't worry about Mom, God is calling you beautiful." :)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

New Peeps!

I might have just found some NEW PEEPS! 

PEEPS! (Google Images)
Church Peeps, that is :) 

This summer I spent time at the Denver Firehouse which is a really cool church that was planted off of Summitview a few years ago. They're really neat people and I was glad to spend a summer with them :) I caught up with some girls who were at Summitview a while ago, and now are there. I also got to hang out with a new girl that came around from Monument and that was way fun. 

The only problem is that church is SUPER-FAR away from my house, especially by bus, and I couldn't really do evening stuff with them because it would get real dark there, and Mom didn't want me around that area (it wasn't super-sketch like 5 points, but it wasn't like walking around Highlands Ranch at night either). So, that posed a bit of a problem. 

TODAY I checked out a new church called Hope Crossing. It's right by a post-office near Mom and my house (Wadsworth and Yale for those Denverites that read this blog). I checked out their doctrinal statement ant they actually go really in depth more than a lot do. So the theological-nerd side of me enjoyed that. 

The people were way nice who greeted me. They had a modern worship service, which I think is becoming the new norm in American Christianity. What was SUPER-TIGHT is that they played TWO songs that I really really really really really really like: Everlasting God and Our God is Greater and I eeked in my head :) It was like God saying, "Welcome, Katie, I'm going to help you be comfortable in this new environment!" Yeah - EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK! 

And THEN turns out I sat by this lady named Betsy. She is the counseling administrator at the church and has her LPC. We totally nerded out a bit about counseling and stuff and I told her that I had a background in child development. 

THEN the pastor prayed for the schools in the area including my old high school. I was like, "Oh dang, I guess I wasn't joking when I would try a church in my neighborhood." Yeah, it felt weird but cool to be praying for my high school that I went to a billion years ago. 

THEN he gave the message. They're starting on a series entitled Functional which is about God and the Family. So that is so cool that I could check out this church and really see where they were with important stuff like their view on Christ, their view on the Word, and their view on the family and stuff like that. Honestly, it felt like one of Mitch's sermons given by a guy with no hair!! :) hahahahahaha :) But yeah! They have the exact same view as Summitview: Men are the spiritual leaders, God should be at the center of a marriage, marriage is to show the world the image of God and not for our own self-actualization, and these principles can all be seen in the Bible. YAY! :) 

After church we had a BBQ. I actually brought some oranges from home that would've gotten bad, so that was nice. I met this girl named Erin who goes to Red Rocks Community College. She's studying nursing and incidentally went to my high school so I got to reminisc with her. I failed to mention that I went there 10 years ago, but oh well :D We both are not able to drive due to our disabilities, so it was fun yaking about RTD and our bus passes. 

Yeah, this might be my church. We'll see :) I am grateful for the Firehouse though. It was a really neat transitional church to go to because it had people from Summitview I knew and they helped me adjust to living in Denver. Now I have found a place that is closer to home where I can hopefully become more involved. To think this church may be where God could use me to influence the community where I grew up is.... REALLY COOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

A Crisis Observed: Yay!

OH CRAP! I can't believe I didn't write about this beforehand!!!!!!!!!!! 

So on Friday I visited my aunt in the hospital. She was doing much better and her face lit up when I saw her. She showed me her hospital issue socks and those leg wraps that keep the blood circulating when the patient is stuck in bed all day. The socks were yello and the leg wraps were green. So of course I joked that she was either wearing CSU colors or Packers colors. I also brought her an ESPN magazine about football since she's a HUGE Broncos fan :) She liked that. 

It was a huge relief to see her on the mend and happy. She obviously wanted to be home, but she knew she had to rest up in the hospital. Her mom brought her a stuffed monkey named Ricky. We joked about how she had to keep monkey Ricky away from her mom's dog also named Ricky because the dog would chew the thing to pieces. She was a bit tired, but otherwise she was her normal self. :) Yay! :) 

She has today and possibly tomorrow in the hospital and then she goes home :) We're all thankful that this little bump in the road in her life was small :) 

The God of Peacetime versus the God of War

1 chronicles 22 -  Interesting how David wanted to build the Temple but God had told him no. Here God gives a reason: Because he had done so much killing - I’m guessing during his military campaigns and also because of his sins. Solomon would build it in a time of peace.

Logistically this makes sense. A region has to be secured first before infrastructure can begin. It doesn’t make sense to build a road if it’s just going to get bombed the next day. Also, during peacetime, the government’s income can go to infrastructure rather than military spending (yeah, ya think I’ve been listening to ads about government spending much??)

I also wondered if there was a spiritual component to God’s law. God being God, there probably is. I did a search in Bible Gateway for the words “kill and murder” through the Levitical law books (yeah, paralegal nerd side coming out just a little), and I didn’t find anything that said, “If you kill or murder, you can’t do stuff like build a city / temple / stuff.” Well technically, you can’t because if you murder you’re usually dead after a trial where you have multiple witnesses (BASIS FOR TRIAL BY JURY YEAH!!!!!!!!!! Or at least a hearing or something where more than one witness is called). Anyway… um… I didn’t find that.

But I thought about how God wants His fame spread throughout the region. If David built the Temple, the other nations could say, “David killed a crap ton of people and now he has this amazing worship facility… Dang is his God like bloodthirsty or something?!” God DEFINITELY does NOT want that reputation. So, I think He has Solomon do it because of the logistical reasons above and also so the other nations see the side of God that is grace and blessing. They saw the God of Wrath, but I think He wants to show the grace side too. 

Just like with the Cross. We see the God of Wrath when we see Jesus on the Cross. We see His wrath when He goes all epic warrior on the whole entire world. But we see the God of Grace when He reveals the new Jerusalem where His reedeemed live and it’s AWESOME and peaceful. Not to mention, all the animals up there are fluffy and cute and don’t bite :D But that’

Saturday, September 15, 2012

A Census according to God's statutes

I PARALEGAL NERDED out today for my quiet time :)  It was actually really interesting! 

The fact situation: 1 Chronicles 21:1-6: David orders a census against Joab's advice. Joab is part of David's "cabinet." He is basically the Secretary of Defense. David ordered the census to be taken of "all of Israel" and for Joab to create a report detailing the numbers. Joab obeyed reluctantly and counted everyone except the Levites and the tribe of Benjamin because he was upset that he had to do this. 

The legal question: Was David's request for a census lawful according to the law given to Moses that all the Israelites were required to follow? 

Relevant statutes: Exodus 30:11-16 A census is lawful only if the people counted pay half a shekel to give an atonement for their lives as an offering to God. Taxes appear to be used as offerings to God. The intent of the census appears to be in remembrance of what God has done for the country. 

So... THAT is why David got dinged for doing a census. He did it just to see how much of an army he had rather than for the country's spiritual good, and as a service to God. Joab knew the relevant statute, so that's why he protested so much. That is also why God was justified in bringing a plague on them. He didn't authorize the census and it wasn't used for His intended purposes, so God, as the creator, interpreter, and enforcer of His laws and statutes punished David and the nation of Israel by wiping out 70,000 people with a plague. 70,000 people is about half the population of Fort Collins! :O So, yes, what David did was really serious. 

David offered a peace offering according to Leviticus 3. God accepted it because it was burnt completely. I think he learned his lesson, and I think Joab probably told him, "I told you so." 

Friday, September 14, 2012

A Crisis Observed: It's a short one!

Good news!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :) :) :) :) MY AUNT DOES NOT HAVE CANCER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Yay! :) I'm so happy :D She's going to be in the hospital until probably Sunday, but she is recovering as expected. 

This crisis is a short one, but still significant. My friends noticed that I wasn't really as perky and cheerful in our paralegal classes. I went home and just chilled out. I think a lot of the worrying I did and stuff oh yes, and lack of sleep wore me out. 

But yeah. It's still a bummer that one of my favorite aunts is sick, but the fact that she should recover shortly is definitely a major plus! :) 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Crisis Observed: The First Morning

Whoa, hey, last night was like "Angry Birds" except it was
Angry Blogger... wow. 


So last night, I listened to music, wrote in my journal and then listened to John Piper's message "The supremacy of Joy in a Postmodern World." That was really awesome because it grounded me that joy flows out of the relationship between the Father and the Son and then we are able to share in it because we are justified through the Cross. That was nice because joy is NOT in my circumstance (yes, Katie, you should've learned that by now, but apparently...) and also for this situation will not be primarily in: an amazingly good recovery for my aunt after surgery, the tumor being benign, or even if my unsaved family members come to know Christ through this. These would be secondary sources of joy, but the primary source is God. 

Knowing that still didn't stop the 'blahs' from hitting me when I woke up today. I lay in bed just wanting to snuggle in my blankets and stare at the wall until I had to go to class. But I reminded myself of Truth and reminded myself that God will give me strength to get through the day :) 

Knowing my joy comes primarily from God allowed me to enjoy some little smiles this morning. When I got dressed for a little morning walk, I got into my CSU Rams sweatpants and hoodie. I thought, "Oh man, I'm Ramed up today! Woo! :)" and seeing the grass along the bike path near my little house just a little bit greener thanks to the rain yesterday made me smile. Watching some ducks in the creek also made me smile :)  And during my quiet time, the way 1 Chronicles 19 was HILARIOUS. "So the Arameans were not willing to help the Ammonites anymore. v.19." Um... YEAH... if you ally with a country that God through King David will beat down, you will not have a good time. Anyway, I laughed a bit.

When I came back, I wasn't that hungry (I know that's a sign of stress for me), but I ate cereal and then made an easy lunch. Joy means I can go through the day doing my thing and not lay around stressing out. Joy means looking for little smiles in the day even though I don't know how my aunt's surgery will go later on today.

I know today I might think about my aunt when I'm in class and stuff, but I also know I can just shout out a prayer (silently) to God and then go back to thinking about torts or something. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Cussing out the Proper Spiritual Authorities

Note: I usually don't post my raw thoughts, but I just had to let this one go because honestly, there is no cleaning up certain situations. Pain hurts and pain sucks, but even when I am pissed beyond acceptable language, I can still honestly see God, and that's why I'm sharing these thoughts with the blogsphere.

I AM SUPER F-ING PISSED RIGHT NOW! Like SERIOUSLY???? Ok, my aunt who has down syndrome and who has been at times like a big sister, at times like a younger close cousin to me, at times like my favorite client, just went to the doctor and was told she had a 6 inch mass in her abdomen. 
LIKE SERIOUSLY??? Who the hell thought, "Oh, let's give a lady with down syndrome a tumor RIGHT when she's about to move in with one of her best friends into a new apartment and when she's trying to help her mom who has osteoarthritis??" And also, WHAT THE F!! My family lost an uncle to cancer. and whoever it is, if you remember THAT WAS HER F-ING BROTHER WHO DIED FROM CANCER and SHE BETTER NOT BE NEXT!!!!!  F THIS CANCER AND F THIS SICKNESS AND F ALL THIS PAIN AND SOMEONE'S GONNA BURN IN HELL FOR A LONG F ING TIME FOR ALL THIS!!

Like, my anger is truly real, and I was totally cussing out - well someone - in my head. Like, I don't cuss much (even though some of my paralegal friends drop s and f bombs on a regular basis) but anger was my first reaction. 

Unfortunately, I first started cussing out God like, "Ok, I know You have a plan for this buddy, but WHAT THE F!?!?!" Honestly, this can be a valid mistake for people. Because when I found out that my uncle was sick in 2005, my grandpa had a stroke in 2006, and tonight that my aunt has a tumor, I wanted to find some supernatural power and kick it in the nuts and make it hurt for somehow being sovereign over all this earth and letting these things happen. Because IT HURTS. It's just a natural reaction to want to make someone pay for suffering. Even that thought: that people understand there's a true good and a true bad means that SOMEONE created these standards, therefore, there is SOMETHING out there. Of course, the God of the Bible has proved Himself through Creation and through the Word and through Christ. He's proven that yes. There is a good. God is good. He is good. And Satan rebelled bringing evil into the world. That is why there is suffering. Satan is the ultimate cause of all this pain: Everything from Cain killing Abel, Eve getting deceived, Adam not manning up and standing up for her, and all the divorce and child abuse and war and genocide and starvation and class warfare and selfishness and persecution of God's people and sickness and disabilities and cancer and - ALL THIS F ING PAIN IS CAUSED BY SATAN!  Nope not God. If we don't understand the Christian worldview and we believe God is a mix of good and bad instead of the perfect just and loving God that redeems His people from a fallen world, we WILL shake our fist at Him for suffering, because we just want a supernatural being to PAY for ALL THE SUFFERING EVER, especially when it touches us personally. 

Did I cuss Satan out in my head? Oh, yes I did. Yeah, I sure did. And I was thinking, "AND I AM SO F -ING GLAD, SATAN YOU ARE TRULY HONESTLY GONNA BURN AND ROT IN HELL FOR A LONG LONG LONG LONG TIME AND YOU WILL GET YOU ASS HANDED TO YOU FOR ALL ETERNITY BECAUSE YOU CAUSED SO MUCH PAIN AND SO MANY TEARS AND SO MUCH - AAAGH! YOU WILL F - ING BURN!!!!"

Then I realized, "God, I truly do thank You that we don't have to go around like, 'pain is really nothing la la la,' and brush it under the rug and put on so-called rose colored glasses, but we can fess up like, 'GOD THIS F ING SUCKS AND THIS IS ALL F ING SATAN'S FAULT!' because God is sick of this sht too. That's why He's going to judge the world. 

Then I was humbled thinking, "Oh crap. Obviously I've sinned too. Yeah, I deserve to burn, and apart from Christ, I'm just as screwed as the rest of the world." Then I was like, "Grace is seriously epic." Like that sentence doesn't even capture the epicness of God because God rescueing even 1 person from this crappy pisshole of a world that is just as defiled and covered in filth is mind blowing and He is rescuing THOUSANDS of people EVERY DAY and He is not going to stop until He gets people from EVERY SINGLE NATION IN THIS PAIN-FILLED WORLD. THAT is the reason no human being can EVER fathom that, and that is what the Apostle Paul writes over and over in his letters. 

If there was not a good sovereign God who has through Christ defeated Satan and defeated sin and death and sickness (including cancer and tumors), there would seriously be no hope at all. This is the light in this onslaught of pain and anger and crap, and this is the light and hope I hold onto so I can trust God and be real with Him and connect with Him through all this. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

One of America's Worst Days looking back

  
NYC skyline at night - Google Images
Today is the 11th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. I was walking down the hallway at John F. Kennedy High School in Denver, CO when I heard kids talking about how a plane hit the World Trade Center in New York City. I thought it was a small commuter plane and I wondered why it went off course. I told my friends, "Well, you know, a commuter plane is small, so it might not damage the building, but why would it fly so close to the skyline?" They just told me to look in one of the classrooms that had a TV on to the news. I looked and saw dark black smoke billowing out of one of the towers. 

First Period AP American History started and we sat there and watched the news. We learned that two planes hit the towers, another hit the Pentagon, then another plane went down in Pennsylvania en route to somewhere in Washington, DC. We realized this was an attack. Just as first hour ended, the towers of the World Trade Center collapsed. I saw just billowing smoke mixed with the ash of the buildings collapse into the streets. I was worried that so many other people were now hurt by the debris that had spread into the street. 

That started several months of what I'm pretty sure was secondary PTSD. That was no fun. The newsreels kept on playing in my head when I went to sleep and I couldn't get the images out of my head. I would have nightmares about it. I may have also developed a fixation around the World Trade Center as a way of processing all of it on my own. Because I did have to process all of that on my own. Sometimes I'd get scared to go to Downtown Denver because I would be fearful of an attack there. This lasted the rest of the school year. Before my honors Chemistry class, I liked to get there early and crawl into a little space under the lab counters because it was a nice safe space in case something happened. My country wasn't safe, my home wasn't safe when the news was on because they would show newsclips of the attacks which would start flashbacks, and sleeping sometimes wasn't safe because I would dream about it. 

 What did I learn from it? Well, first, that I took for granted this country. As someone adopted from a third world country, I knew living in this country was a gift. I thought living here provided some immunity from the "horrible current events 'over there'"
 I also learned how to handle a situation completely differently than Mom and find my own way to deal with it. Mom responded with anger and hate toward Al Queda. By God's grace, I responded with asking God to help me with my sadness and fear. I turned to God instead of just hating what happened. 


I learned that with God's help, and with adequate emotional support, things I saw on the news that made me sad didn't have the power to make me spiral into fear. When I came to CSU, I visited the Counseling Center around the anniversary of the attacks and they gave me tools to help me deal with it and then helped me learn how to deal with my emotions better. I think this event is the last one that I have unhealthily interanlized, that is: had it hit me so hard it was like I was there, even though I wasn't actually there. I learned how to have a healthy emotional distance between myself and what I saw on the news. To empathize without letting the dark world crush me. 

If I had told myself on September 12, 2001 that on September 11, 2012 I would cheerfully tell my mom who I love very much to have a great vacation as she left on an airplane knowing that day was the anniversary of the attacks, I would say, "How will I be able to do that without being sad and having flashbacks and stuff?" My present day self would say: It will be a long road, but by God's grace, I promise you, He will get you there." The way God can help me heal from handling a very intense national crisis with limited emotional resources has taught me this: God's healing power is amazing and stronger than anything the world tries to destroy.

Competence tested and reasserted

Greetings blogsphere!! :) Mom is off on a jet plane with one of her nursing school buddies on her way to Maine!! :) 
Lighthouse in Portland, Maine - according to Google Images :D

They're going on a little vay-cay and I'm here in Denver doing school stuff :)This morning very VERY early, I saw my mom and her friend off and Mom reminded me of some things and a laundry list of stuff not to forget while she's away. I jokingly told her, "Mo-om, I've lived in Fort Collins for 9 years before. I'll be fine." After she and her friend left, I did think about it: 

I realized that excessive worry on a parent's end may cause a child to feel less confident. Or in less HDFS scholarly terms, I can second guess myself when Mom is constantly worried about me because her worries say to me, "What if you're not doing something right?" 

It took a lot of time for me to realize that I could do things on my own without second-guessing myself. It's funny, I think I learned my lesson, and yesterday I was on my own at my volunteering time at Colorado Legal Services, and today I'm back on my own (YAY!) defined as: making my own choices about my daily life without Mom's input (which I follow when prudent, and don't when I want to do my own thing ;) I think also this time of being by myself will just remind me that I can do stuff on my own so I am confident next semester when I do an internship, when I graduate and I get my first paralegal job, and FINALLY when I get out of the house :D

Monday, September 10, 2012

Turned loose in the law office

Today was an interesting day for me when I volunteered at Colorado Legal Services (CLS). The person I usually help called in sick. Her assistant, however, left me with some stuff to do which was sort and file paperwork as well as add a final sheet to some files. I would partially fill out this final sheet.

Normally I work pretty closely with the CLS staff. She doesn't check every single thing I do, but I usually do my work in her office. Since she was away, I did a lot of it on my own. At first I was nervous about doing it by myself, but I had to remind myself that I knew what I was doing because I had done it before. Her presence had been like a safety-net. However, I realized that I really did understand more of the case closing and case categorization processes than I thought I did because I was really forced to think it through myself.
In the paralegal world, the more experience a paralegal has, the less 'hand holding' the attorney does. Being able to work with minimal supervision is the mark of a good paralegal. The fact that I sort of had that happen suddenly, and the fact that I think I did everything I was supposed to gave me confidence that I will be able to do a good job as a paralegal :)

Sometimes I doubt myself because of my disabilities or because other people doubt me, but when I have accomplishments like this, those help boost my confidence :)