Tuesday, December 23, 2008

dashing through the snow...

Whew. The day set aside for the world to celebrate Christ's birth is less than 25 hours away. I feel like every day should be a celebration of what God has done for us-how He has saved us. It is nice that there is a special day although I am saddened by the commercialization of the day and how the world attempts to profit from anything and everything.

Sunday Gene preached on 'Why Celebrate?' It was wonderful to hear again that God created us for worship. We are supposed to be full of joy. I often am self conscious about my loud laughter... and the fact that I laugh very often.  I never thought about how we as Christians turn ordinary things into the sacred.  I have thought to myself that there is more in common between Christians and non-Christians than most Christians would like to admit (though I never understood why because we are all human).  The joy we experience from knowing God rather than the circumstances we face.  To know that He is only working for our good, to bless us, that He has saved us & given us eternal life!-this is what sets us apart.  

We can rejoice even in the suffering.  We can rejoice even when we're far away from everything we know.  We rejoice even though the world around us is fighting us at every turn, even when we are constantly attacked by the enemy's lies.  Although our bodies are falling apart, our spirits are captive of the Holy Spirit.  What grand news!

I am 'fighting for joy' in every day life as John Piper says.  I cannot do it on my own.  I need You.  Thank You for giving me everything.  For blessing my life.  Thank You for saving me.  I am so grateful, I cannot express in words what You mean to me.

- run for life

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

like sand through your fingers

How quickly money goes even when you're trying to be frugal. My physical therapist told me to buy new running shoes since I already have over 350 miles on both of my old pairs that I got in April and the bottoms are worn out oddly from my messed up muscles. He wants me to re-train myself to run and strengthen my right leg so it will match my left. I just dropped $120 on two new pairs of supernovas. I'm hoping that the switch from responses will help a little bit. I've been told supernovas have more control than response. If not, then I will switch back after these shoes are done (apparently it only takes 6 months or so for me to wear two pairs out at a time). At this rate, I'll be spending tons of money on shoes.

I registered for my class in the winter. I chose the only 3 credit option since I'm still paying 100% out of pocket for grad school. Another $1500 towards school. Maybe one day I'll get ahead in my spending. Right now with school I'm still trying to play catch up. I need to fill out the applications and paperwork to submit so that I can get reimbursed for my classes when I am eligible to get reimbursement (after I've been with Aramark for 6 months).  Good thing I'm not too concerned about 'storing earthly treasures up' huh?

I met with Steve today about membership. I asked my questions and went over my application with him. The answers were what I was expecting so it wasn't a big surprise.

God is amazing. I am astounded as I look back on this past year, but I will save all of my thoughts for my end of the year post. I put my trust in You. I follow Your footsteps and You guide my path. I often fail Lord, but You are there to pick me up and lead me on. Thank You.

- run for life

Monday, December 8, 2008

physically ill..again

This weekend was rough.  I am a food lover and I was only able to keep down 6 crackers and a yogurt drink on Saturday (the yogurt was really hard to hold, apparently dairy isn't so great for you when you're nauseated).  Saturday I did my homework, went to work, and then to the CG Christmas party.  It would have been much more enjoyable if I could have eaten.  I knew I shouldn't have gone.  Honestly, part of me wanted to be a kid again and have a 'mom' to tell me what to take and what to eat when I'm sick.  Weird, I know.  I haven't had that for over 7 years now.

I woke up Sunday with a pounding headache, still feeling fatigued, queasy and overall quite ill.  I fell back asleep, drank about a 1/2 cup of chicken noodle soup Kelly brought up for me, ate some crackers, and got up to go to work.  I didn't even try to eat again until after I was done.  I ate a bag of Ruffles (with ridges of course).  Luckily that stayed down and I got home and went to sleep.

This morning I felt a little better but I woke up with a start at 9AM.  My alarm had been set for earlier... I guess I just slept straight through it.  I was lucky that my outpatient wasn't scheduled until 10AM so I got there just as they did (9:35AM).  I still have a headache but today I was able to eat some spaghetti O's and ice cream after work.  I had a little broth at work, but nothing else.  I worked straight through lunch so I wouldn't have to stay as late (and I felt nauseous anyway).

I'm praying (and taking more cold medicine) that I will get better soon.  It feels like someone is squeezing my head right now and punching me in the lungs.  It was really hard to breathe the last two nights.  I had to use my inhaler it was so hard to breathe (good thing I have health insurance and got one!).  I hope my body feels better soon.  It's hard to concentrate or get anything done when you are preoccupied with not vomiting the contents of your stomach (even if it's only HCl and other gastric juices).

Through all the physical aliments, it's important as my friend Dave wrote to me "sickness cannot break your spirit because your joy in the Lord cannot be broken!  You will rejoice even in sickness!"  Kelly reminded me of 2 Cor 1 "We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even our life.  Indeed in our hearts we felt the sentence of death.  But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.  He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us.  On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers."  At least that's what I got from it... ha ha.  I'm still congested and groggy/sick.  I think that's what she was reading from, but I'm not quite sure.

Just because our physical bodies are ill-our spiritual lives do not need to be!  Our minds can be as sharp as ever and our sword ready to attack our enemies.  They can use the illnesses and pain to poke at your weaknesses and try to undermine the truth.  Continue fighting the good fight, focus on Him, and press on friends.

- run for life

Monday, November 24, 2008

zzzz...

The good days of sleeping.  Where have they gone?  Why does it seem like there is so little time?  When did all of the responsibilities come?

Answers to these questions elude me.  A quarter of a century into my life I stop and wonder.  There are so many obligations that I must fulfill.  So many people I want to spend time with and invest in their lives.  Yet here I am, wondering where the past year has come and gone so quickly.  I need to become better at prioritizing.  I am terrible at that when it comes to people, I want to help everyone, hang out, get to know everyone better, and save the world from corruption, obesity, and inactivity.

I barely slept this weekend.  From juggling working, taking classes to become a certified group exercise instructor and my online graduate school class, I guess there just wasn't time.  I made it to church alive which was only by the grace of God.  I almost hit the wall on 95 while driving to church from work after being awake for more than 27 hours straight.  That's the longest I've ever been awake in my entire life and hopefully the last.

It's almost 9:00PM and I'm ready to go to sleep.  I'm glad I at least have a day off tomorrow.  I have a lot to do tomorrow.  I'm praying for a few things and specific people.  Lord, let Your will be done.

- run for life

Sunday, November 16, 2008

only time will tell

Like many girls growing up I dreamed of getting married, having kids, a house with a beautiful garden-bay windows-and a porch. I wanted a dog that would protect my family. It was picturesque. The house would be spotless, like the rooms out of a Home & Gardens magazine. Sunlight would flood the rooms in the afternoon and cast a lovely glow into the dark corners of the rooms glinting off the shining wooden dresser drawers. The china cabinet would be filled with various dishes and glasses from all around the world. The walls would display photographs from the traveling my husband and I had done prior to having children. The kids would wear little ties and cute dresses that matched to church. They would be respectful and mind their manners when out in public. My husband would have a 40 hour work week so that he could be home in the evenings to spend time with the family. Weekends would be filled with family time, hiking, playing, going to the park, singing, laughter and pure joy of being together. Sometimes we would go on family vacation playing games in the car if it were a road trip or dozing off in the plane.

Reality hits like a slap in the face. It's 2008, not 1998, or 1988. I'm twenty five-a quarter of a century, single, on the other side of the country from everything familiar to me, and still wondering if the dream was just that-a dream. My eyes well up with tears as I pray and repeat various verses to myself. He is the Rock... He will never leave us or forsake us... All things work for the glory of God for those who love Him... and on I fight back the temptations and lies. Satan whispers in my ear that I am not good enough, not pretty enough, don't make enough money, am not smart enough, fast enough, don't have enough hobbies, am too tomboyish. The list could go on forever. With a shaking hand I pull out my sword and cry out to my God to help me.

He reminds me of how He saved me. He gently turns me away from the distractions. He tells me that His timing is best. He whispers that He has marvelous plans for me. I look up into His loving eyes as tears stream down my face. I tell Him my hopes, my dreams, and put my trust in Him. I ask Him if I'll one day have a family of my own and He smiles at me, "child you are more precious than silver," He says. "I cannot tell you what your future holds right now, you will have to trust me and wait and see. I have never broken a promise, I will always be faithful."

I look down the path, trying to control my feelings and emotions. I see the faces of the guys who have distracted my thoughts. I turn away and refocus on my Savior, telling myself if it's in God's plans-it will happen (I've not lost hope, but have once again had to refocus on what is of utmost importance). I put my head down and grit my teeth. I have a long journey ahead of me. I take the hand extended out to me and turn to see a familiar face. Jesus is walking beside me. He smiles and tilts His head back with laughter as we head down the path together.

- run for life

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

independence

I am glad I live in America and am an American. Even though I get people asking me "where are you from," expecting me to say some Asian country, I am a proud born & raised Californian. We are so lucky to have a voice in who leads our country. Although the tide has turned from red to blue, we have been on a roll with presidents maintaining office for 8 years for the past two.

I feel like no one will ever be satisfied. There are pros and cons to both sides. I am registered under a party simply because I want to vote in the primaries. I claim to be non-partisan because I do not agree with either side.

I have friends and family who were pushing hard for either side-democratic and republican. While I do not need to go into detail, I understand the plight of both sides and the reasoning behind both choices. I believe that people should be informed voters albeit-it is difficult to do so with the media skewing things to sell a scandal.

Relief flooded over me last night as my head hit my pillow before the votes were even counted. I am tired of people publicly bashing each other. Will there ever be an election based on the character of the person and their policies without speaking poorly of the other candidate? Some are complaining about "dead people" voting for Obama, do I need to say that stuff like that has happened every election for both parties? I mean, I hope it evens out if both parties do it, but it's not really necessary to point it out when it happens on both sides every election-it's like pointing out the speck in someone's eye when you have a mammoth log in your own.

I'm already hearing the complaints about the new president and it's only been 1 day. He's not even president yet, he's just the president elect. I'll continue praying people do not resort to violence and that this nation will one day know God. Four years ago I listened to the angry cries of "he's not my president!" when Bush was re-elected. I told them then and I'll say it again: if you are an American citizen, he's your president. I voiced my opinion by voting and now we have a man waiting in the wings to begin his term as president of the United States. I will support the man whom the nation has appointed to lead us, this does not mean I will support all his actions and policies, but I will not slander a man I have never met just like I do not want to gossip or slander against someone I have.

Regardless of who is my president or not, I keep my focus on God-Our creator, Sovereign over all & always ultimately in charge. He is the one who planned this moment and this day before time began, He knows when the world will end, He knows the exact moment of every detail of each of our lives. The president is merely a man, a sinner with flaws, who must obey God's laws just like the rest of us for he will stand one day in judgement. God will determine if he truly believed or not, not me or anyone else. I pray that God will give direction and guidance to Obama while he is in office.

I lift up our president and our country to you God. I pray for those who are excited and those who are discouraged about the results. I pray for those that will be affected by this-the United States and the entire world. I pray for the soldiers at war. I pray for the countries and their citizens who are under attack or have terrorists in them.  I pray for the people who are in need in our country and others.  I pray that God will always be our Guide and our Light no matter what.

- run for life

Monday, November 3, 2008

the eve

Some days I wonder, what happened to decency?  I never was a huge fan of Halloween because I'm afraid of everything related to creepy-ness and being scared.  I did like the candy and it was nice that we got to visit the neighbors to get it (and now I like that kids are getting exercise).  Granted the last time I went trick-o-treating was 2006 (you thought I was going to say something like 8th grade huh?).  I never fully understood the holiday and don't really celebrate it per se, but here I am to gripe about it.

Now Halloween has morphed into yet another excuse for females to traipse around scantily clad in the cold while men gawk and bring their video cameras (literally my friend was telling me that there was a 40-ish year old guy with his video camera out on Halloween, I can only assume he was making a free 'girls gone wild' dvd for himself).

As I say this, I think of the varying standards for different parts of the world as well as different parts of the country.  I understand different attire is accepted in various places, but wearing underwear in public negates the term "under" wear, maybe it should just be called "wear" now.  We've lost the under part I guess.

On another note, yet somewhat related-today's society is looking for a 'quick fix' or short term enjoyment; in other words: lust rather than love.  People think that love is a feeling, when it is more than that.  It is a commitment, something that must be worked for, not just found.  When love fades (and I'm told it will and it does), it must be rekindled-more than just once or twice during a person's married life.  What happened to "until death do us part"?  At least that used to hold true in the old days.  Don't say it unless you mean it!  I wish that we didn't have to sign papers and have 5 million witnesses.  What happened to the good old days (I have no idea what I'm talking about, but I've read books) when a man's word was his contract?  When you could 'shake on it' and it would stand up in court?

I know I'm just annoyed because I do wear clothes and I get annoyed because the girls not wearing any get more attention.  I have to keep telling myself that I don't want that kind of attention.  I keep telling myself that God has something/someone planned for me, someone worth waiting for.  Someone that will appreciate that I don't "flaunt it because I got it" or "shake what yo mamma gave ya" for the world to see.  God's plan is the perfect plan.  Anything worth anything is worth trusting in Him and waiting for.

-run for life

Sunday, November 2, 2008

stress

It's already November! Wow. Thanksgiving is coming soon. Two more states down. I was in North Carolina this morning running the Sony Ericsson City of the Oaks marathon in Raleigh. Last weekend was the Spinx Greenville, SC marathon. At least I am done with the Carolinas now. I was so disappointed when I was told I probably had a stress fracture... but I kept running. Then it was later confirmed by the trainers at the end of the race. So disappointing!

I wish I could bring my bike here for less than $100. How unfortunate. I am probably going to start swimming every day after work/aqua jog to keep my cardio up and stay in shape until I can run again in January. Six weeks is such a long time! It will pass sooner than I think.

SC was fun while visiting Kristen and Sam. Sam took some great pictures of us running. I was so impressed with his awesome (really expensive) camera. Kristen got a PR in the half which was great, I was excited for her... but it was really painful to run the second half alone.

NC was good too. I enjoyed the marathon in NC more than last weekend. The first half last weekend was good, but the second half was terrible. Today there were more people and it was just all around organized better and more of the volunteers were cheering us on. It was a lot more fun. I ran almost the same time this week as last weekend even though I wasn't even breathing that hard at the end. I tried to take it easy because my ankle was killing me. :(

-run for life

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

re-growth

I'm attempting to grow pineapples in my room. They take 18-20 months to grow. One of them has roots... well a stub of a root that is beginning to protrude from the base of the 'stalk' (is that what the spikey green part is called on the top of a pineapple?). Life is all about growth and re-growth. Pineapples must be grown from individual plants, then replanted. They aren't like other plants that you can keep harvesting from. How did I never know this? It really is true that we learn something new every day.

God continues to teach me lessons each day. I am forever in His debt. I answered all my messages and emails today and I'm hitting my 4th post this month. I realize October is almost over, but hey, I'm trying to be technological enough to keep in touch with the outside world.

I messed up while taking my first online graduate school test. I was quite disappointed and felt like a complete nincompoop. I accidentally submitted it before I was finished with the test. Luckily I still got an 88.63% so I can still get an A in the class. I would have been horrified if I had gotten anything lower than a B. I still have the final which is worth more and a big project than I can do well on. God is still working on my pride in the area of intelligence and GPA.

My TF lesson went fine. It wasn't actually nursing students. It turned out it was actual RNs and LPNs who worked in the ER, acute care, and ICU. Fancy that. I was nervous and thought I sounded terrible. For some reason I was having difficulty pronouncing things, medications are weird though. At least people learned something. It's over until next year at least.

Tomorrow I leave for South Carolina for state 5. I'm excited to go somewhere new. I pray that I don't get more sick while running and that God will help me through it. I can only pray that I will finish strong since I know I cannot get a PR while my lungs feel this way and my body feels physically ill. Oh well, that just means a bigger PR in 2009.

Keep looking up and focusing on Him. Look out SC! Here I come.

-run for life

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

racing

He is the Rock, His works are perfect and His ways are just. An upright God who does no wrong, faithful and just is He. -Deut 32:4

I am so amazed constantly throughout my days and weeks. I will never measure up, yet He still chooses me and nudges me to try again. I dust myself off and stand at the line once more, setting for the gun. The loud "bang!" fills my ear drums as my body springs into action.

The race of life is swift, sometimes I feel so left behind. I feel my anxiety and stress leaving me as I enjoy fellowship with others who are like minded. I still have hopes and dreams that I will keep to myself for now, perhaps time will reveal or smash those glimmers, but God's in charge, so whatever He wants to happen will happen.

I didn't feel super productive today but at least I got some cleaning done and read through some of the material I'll be teaching tomorrow afternoon. I am hoping to get to work early so I can finish all my patients and prepare my lesson! Wow. I've never been this last minute when giving a presentation or teaching. I guess it's a good thing I already know the subject, I just need to review it. We have a lot going on tomorrow including a teleconference. I hope that my lesson doesn't need to be an entire hour-maybe 45 minutes max. I can squeeze and easy half hour out of nothing so I can hit 45 no problem. God please help me with all of this, the things I must do for work and everything in life.

Greenville, South Carolina here I come this weekend. I am praying about that too. My lungs hurt and feel like they are strangely smaller than normal or clogged... I guess that could have something to do with being sick this past week and being unable to breathe. Sometimes I pray for God to just take me now and put me out of my misery of this life and take me to heaven. One day I'll see His face. I can only imagine. I pray that I will finish this race for His glory and be able to make it through the next race in Raleigh, North Carolina the week after. God, please help me.

-run for life

Monday, October 13, 2008

commitments


I glanced through the past few entries I've written and every single one of them speaks of a lack of time.  This has been evident throughout my entire life as I filled my calendar with sports, clubs, activities, academics, work, and social events.  I need to re-evaluate my use of time again soon.  I always pack in as much as I can and I am able to survive and make it work, but I want to enjoy the life God has given me rather than feeling like I'm barely clinging on, trying to make all the events that I've committed to.

I look and try to determine if each commitment itself is important, and they are. All of them are good in themselves. I can glorify God through them. However, I don't think that I can continue to barely make it and feel like I am utilizing all of God's gifts appropriately. I suppose I can make it to the next quarter. Once Starting Point is over I will have another free night each week-then I can finish all of my homework on Wednesday instead of working on it on Thursday. School is a lot more work than I anticipated, but I know that it will be worth it when I receive that Master of Science diploma in the mail.

I keep telling myself that God wants me here. I know that He does. It's so hard to stay when your heart is telling you to run as far and as fast as you can go. I guess this is what fear is like. I don't experience that often. Kelly says, "if you leave now, you could miss out on the best thing in your life." I know she's right, but I still want to learn Spanish fluently while working and living in South America, backpack across Europe and live out in Switzerland and Germany. There are so many things on my lengthy list of life goals.

Some days I just want to sit and do nothing. Yeah, I know, that's not glorifying God. Please help me out here. I really just need to hear Your voice in my life. Please tell me what I need to do and help my human heart to be comforted and content.

-run for life

Friday, October 10, 2008

disappointment

I suppose I put a lot of stock in what people say. I have always been the most gullible person I've ever met so I guess it makes sense. I am feeling mixed emotions. I want to do nothing and mope around, but at the same time I feel like that would be stupid and lame. I've never really done that before over anyone, I always just keep rollin' on with my life and truck along. I wonder if I'll get up in time for discipleship group. I have to confess I've read nothing. I have been really bad about keeping up with something I should be, especially because I need to work on my heart in so many ways. I should really go.


I need to catch up on homework tomorrow-my first grad school test is next week. Life is coming at me 100 miles an hour and I feel like I'm barely hanging on. It's already 10/10! Nikki's birthday! Gosh, I wonder how she's doing. Ahh, those good old days of gymnastics. They were so much more carefree, I worried more about sticking my dismount than I did about boys, money, and life.

I don't know why I'm so sad. I shouldn't expect much. I keep realizing that people flake out all the time and every time I'm shocked as if it's a new phenomenon. I wish I could go visit my family, well my sister, whenever. I wish I had plans with old friends from college or could go visit and go to a game on short notice. I have to plan everything far in advance when I go home and then I still can't visit everyone.

I did have a good time in Hawai'i though I wish I could have stayed longer and seen Anna and a few others... especially since I flew all that way. It was good to see Lei again and support her at her wedding. Oh I miss the mochi days. Those were good times.

I need You. Help my thoughts and heart Lord. Help me to concentrate on You and glorify You.

-run for life

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

wow

Dear God,

So what are you trying to tell me? Am I supposed to feel this way? I feel so conflicted inside. Please help me to focus on You and avoid distractions. I am so tired. Please help me to get real rest and be refreshed from my trip to visit Lei.

I am so excited to go back to Hawai'i, it's almost as far as going to China though. Thanks for making me small and have great ability to sleep on planes, buses and trains!

You're the best. <3

-run for life

Saturday, September 27, 2008

stuck

I can't get out of bed today, or get you off my mind... I pray that God will make it go away if it's not from Him. I wonder and I try to focus on my life and glorifying God. Am I doing the right thing? Should I give myself a break and not get annoyed with myself?

It's already almost October. So close to Lei's wedding. Terrence called today, I can't believe I haven't seen him in 4 years. I am excited to meet his sister and hang out with old friends. I wish Yuri was going though. We definitely need to have a Mochi reunion one of these years...

God I need Your help. I need Your discernment and direction. Please help me to stay on top of my school work and keep up with my friendships. Lord please help me to speak truth into the lives of my friends and co-workers. Please give me the words to say and help me to be joyful when I face adversity. I get discouraged when I don't get a positive response, but I have faith. Your Holy Spirit is doing a work that I cannot see. It's all for You.

-run for life

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

there and back again


Life keeps on flitting by. I feel like I've done a lot, but there is much to be done. I attempt to stay on an even keel and hope for the best-preparing for the worst. I know God is watching out for me. I can tell that He wants me to be here. It's funny how comforting that is. The small fact-yet immensely huge and I don't know how anyone would be able to be somewhere if they didn't know God wanted them there. I continue to be amazed at how fast my paychecks go each month. I know it will lighten up with less plane tickets and no school payments, but wow. I can't wait until I'm no longer a student! People can save so much money!

I went home the first weekend of September. This past weekend was my only chance to make it up to Philadelphia and back before the season was finished. So I went. I drove straight toward Philly after I finished at work and stopped off at a refill station in the middle of I95 somewhere in Delaware to go to the bathroom and sleep in Lazarus' trunk. I got up-went to the bathroom again and continued on my way in the morning toward Pennsylvania. I parked in the ballpark/stadium parking lot and took the subway up to downtown Philly. There I met Cap and Dave-two ex-foodservice directors who were now bus drivers. The stories they had to share. I asked them about cheesesteaks and they were on their way to eat some, so they invited me to join them. A mainly vegetarian being, I was excited to eat a Philly Cheesesteak-a REAL Philly Cheesesteak. It was delicious. I also had In-N-Out Burger twice when I was home for 2 days.

I went to the Phillies game and caught a ball from Suppan, one of the Brewers pitchers. I was excited. It was a good day, humid, and kind of disgusting, but an over all good day.

-run for life

Monday, September 8, 2008

movin' on

First time in SLO since graduation.  Oddly it was so much the same as far as looks.  It would be a beautiful place to live for sure.  It would be kind of sad with all of my friends gone though.  I had a wonderful time celebrating Juice and Blair's wedding with friends old and new.  I went to church the next day and saw some of my youth group kids... I can almost not call them kids anymore.  They're all grown up now.

Mixed emotions fill my mind and soul.  I am so thankful that God has kept some of my kids in the church and rooted them in faith.  It breaks my heart to see some of them fall away and get caught up in the world.  I knew it from the fruit before, but I prayed that it wouldn't happen.  God is ultimately in control.  I am so glad that I could play a small role in the development of so many children and teenagers who are now adolescents, adults, and even married adults.

Wow, I miss California.  I miss my friends and my sister.  I pray that she is okay and that it is just a plane delay.  I'm sure it is.  I hope that everything is all right.  God please help sister be all right and those who she is with.  I know you only give us what we can handle and I'm quite certain I could not handle a tragedy of catastrophic proportions.

-run for life

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

time goes by

Days keep flying by. Sometimes I just want to sit and do nothing. I often feel like I'm caught up in this and that, going from one place to another. It's already September. I try to take in the beauty of God's creation around me and savor the moments He has provided me with. It's hard with so many things to do all the time though. I feel like there isn't enough time. The clock keeps ticking, time keeps moving on without me.

I am excited to go home this weekend. I can't wait to use my comforter and sleep comfortably instead of with small good will blankets. I need to get my mom a birthday present before I go back to California. I should finish my list of things I need to get while I'm home now before I forget what I need...

I feel like people are often caught up in relationships whether it be with a guy or girl, family or not. I suppose it is because we are relational beings. I find myself falling prey to the conversations about desires for marriage more out here in Virginia than I ever did at home. I don't feel like marriage will define my life. I think it could enhance it-obviously if that's in His plans it will, but I am content with being me, being single and getting to do whatever I feel like God wants me to do or is allowing me to do.

Today was the first day of school for many... wow. It's funny to look back and think about my perceptions of my teachers and others around me... and now my friends are teachers. Weird.

-run for life

Monday, August 18, 2008

benefits

I signed up today for health benefits. They will start beginning October 1, 2008. I am going to go with the highest premium plan because it's not too bad and really, if I ever plan on going to the doctor, I might as well have the best insurance Aramark has to offer. This way I can go to the chiropractor and all that if I need to and I can get fun invisaline I think... hopefully? We'll see. It's about 156/month for benefits which isn't too bad considering they pay 75% of it for me.

I'm tired now though, it takes so much effort to figure all of this insurance stuff out. Usually I figure the highest priced one is the best choice in the long run... I need to get a new inhaler and allergy medicine. I am praying that will work to help get rid of my allergy headache and messed up throat/voice.

-run for life

Sunday, August 17, 2008

green eyed

My body is tired, my lungs feel compressed. It's hard to breathe. I don't know why I can't just get a breathe of fresh air. I took advantage of being able to breathe with no problems at home. I feel so sick and tired all the time here. I think that half of the problem is my lack of oxygen to my body.

I prayed so hard that the pangs of jealously would leave my green eyed heart. My immediate reaction was the desire to run away and go home so that I didn't have to deal with any of this... as if that would help. I can't run away from life. I need to face what God has for me and accept whatever it is with a heart of joy and contentment. Lord I need Your help. I get glimmers of hope, but maybe I am looking in the wrong places.

Two more weeks until I get health insurance. I'm getting closer. I will be able to get an inhaler and some allergy medicine that works... I'm praying. I watched a meteor shower, went for a hike to waterfalls and pools, and am ready to start my third week of work. Cheers.

-run for life

Monday, August 4, 2008

seasons

I watched a Nats game up in DC with Karen and a few of her friends. It was glorious, the new park is really nice. I am glad I was able to close off my pre-salary life with an MLB game.

A new season of life is beginning. I had general orientation at SRMC today. Though twinges of loneliness and longing for home attempt to suppress my excitement, I am trying to remain optimistic. I know that God has brought me here for a reason, I know that He has a perfect plan. It's hard to control your emotions though. I am praying that I will feel at "home"-not California home, but feel like I belong, that the people around me want me to be here.

I am praying that carpooling to work works out too, that will save so much gas and be fun too. It only took me 30 minutes to get to work this morning. There is no traffic despite what others may say. If you are able to go the speed limit or higher, even if there are a lot of cars around-that's not traffic. Traffic is when you sit there and can't move, it's also known as "gridlock" or "congestion" Silly people who don't know what real traffic is. I'd say going to DC there is traffic and out to VA Beach, but definitely not on the way to P-burg in the morning-or afternoon for that matter.

I get to start doing actual work tomorrow, but I have a few more orientations to go to this week. I am hoping to get my CPR re-certified if they'll let me. I don't want to pay for it...

Well, time to sleep. I feel like turning off my computer too. I have a job now... so I don't need to check my e-mail as often. Technology has it's pros and cons. I often get tired of it. Good night.

-run for life

Friday, August 1, 2008

visit

I am a little more at ease with the Petersburg job. I had to go today to sign some paperwork and get my name badge done. The new hospital is really nice. The outside looks classy and the inside looks like a university. The cafeteria is so clean and I am excited to see old faces that I worked with back in December.

I have to do a PPD test on Monday and go through a bunch of orientation the first few days but I believe I will begin working with patients right away. I'm pretty stoaked. I can't wait to get experience to put on my resume. That sounds terrible but I hate hospitals anyway.

It's so funny to look at each minute detail. I know and have complete faith and certainty that everything God planned far in advance. It's too much of a "coincidence" for things to just work out the way they do all the time. I pray and He answers. I'm so thankful. Lord Your love is extravagant, You are an awesome God.

-run for life

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

a new chapter

A new chapter of life is unfolding. I anticipate much happiness, pain, joy, tears, struggle, and wonder. Life keeps on rolling and it's all I can do to keep up. I FINALLY sucked it up and bought a djembe (a nice one). I've been looking for a good one on sale/inexpensive for about 5 or 6 years now. It's my treat to myself for getting a job-complete with carrying case.

I start work on Monday. I'm a little scared. Yuri and Sandra are going to Vegas in a few weeks. I wish Lei and I could go to. Vegas is so boring though... and hot. Ugh. There are so many reunions I want to have, people I want to see. God be with my friends and family as I am so far away.

I wish I was better at keeping in touch, but I guess I'm not terrible. I sent out my newsletter update of the summer and let everyone know I will be staying out in Virginia for a while... I'm scared to say the least. I'm excited that I have time to hang out with Karen and Natalie before I start. I am thankful for the accountability group (right now it's just Abby & I-so partners) we have started out here in Virginia. I need to look for those questions Em and I used to do during high school with our journals.

Lord please help me to be content with the life that you have given me. Please God, I would like to be able to breathe better. I feel so headachy and stuffed up all the time. I don't like the constant dripping and sore throats all the time. God please help my heart.

-run for life

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

another one bites the dust

Life goal #524: see the sunrise over the ocean-check. I went with the Salims, Kelsey, and Joanna to Nag's Head in North Carolina. It was fun, mainly running and splashing in the ocean. I got up each morning I was there to see the sunrise. My body wakes up at 5AM without an alarm so it worked out pretty well since sunrise began around 5:30AM. I loved running on the beach even though it was hard and I thought I might pass out a few times from dehydration.


I attempted to play my guitar on the beach, mostly just trying to rebuild my calluses. Natalie made a big deal about it, I just wanted to practice. I guess it was neat. I love the strumming and the crashing waves together in harmony... or as much as I could. I need to become more disciplined in the area of music... and get my djembe.





As usual I did handstand pictures and jumping pictures around the beach and on the dunes. I probably should have taken more pictures but Kelsey and Natalie had their cameras too.


There were also sand dunes which I LOVED. I ran across the tops off them straight on down without a pause. It was awesome. I was thinking it'd be a grand place to zorb... really scary but amazing all at the same time. I could have spent hours and hours just running up and down the dunes.


I love the big blue. Waves crashing, sand squishing between my toes, sun beating down, shells to be discovered, fish to be caught and eaten, friends to be made, frisbees to be thrown, soccer balls to kick, and life to be lived. I miss being able to go whenever. I hope that I can go again soon.

-run for life

Saturday, July 19, 2008

blown away

I don't remember exactly when the dream I had in January popped into my head again but wow.  It was so real.  I had woken up with a start and thought it had happened... I was trying to figure out when and realized it was just a dream.  Prayed about it then... still praying about it now.  I wonder if it is coming true...

I was at the Jones' garage sale today and it was amazing.  I didn't think there were that many people coming through... but God answers prayers.  He does it so miraculously.  I don't understand it, I don't think I will ever comprehend it.  Trying to make sense of life and how it all works... I just don't get it.  Why does God love us so much?  Don't get me wrong, I'm so thankful He does... but why?  I constantly mess up and make mistakes.  I can't get anything right.  Yet the Creator of the world loves me and thought of every detail and step in my life right down to how many hairs are on my head.

This amazing love, this awesome God who answers our prayers-I am so grateful, so thankful.  I really cannot understand how people can live without believing that God created them, loves them, and that they need a Savior.  I know it's because I have Christ in me and it was the work of the Holy Spirit...  Wow.  Why did you choose me?  Thank You God with all that I am and all that I have.  Thank You for listening and answering prayers.  Thank You for always being there with me.  Thank You for providing for me.  Thank You for granting me the patience and the strength to survive in this world and be content.  Everything I am is because of You and who You are... I am blown away.

-run for life

Monday, July 14, 2008

awkward

I passed my Registered Dietitian exam on Friday. I haven't been online in a week, it's nice not to be attached to technology. I love it. I haven't really been carrying my phone around much either... unless I know someone is going to call. I had my interview with Aramark in Petersburg, VA today. It was... interesting. Definitely the most awkward interview I've ever had. It's all up to God and I am going to have fun and enjoy myself in VA with friends until I find out what is going on.

I have felt so blessed this past week staying at the Johnson's and the Dixon's. It has been fun and I could definitely get used to having so many uplifting people around. I do feel a little jealous sometimes, though I try not to. I sometimes wish I could hang out with my family and have fun. I wish that we could even sit in the same room together without someone yelling at us. I know that God wouldn't give me anything more than I could handle and I know that He will prepare me for when I have my own family. God thank you for calming my thoughts about this matter and placing people in my life that I can talk with who speak from You.

I anticipate more glorious happenings in my future as I continue to strive to follow and glorify God with my entire being. God is so faithful and good. I know that He will guide me and make my path clear.  Thanks for always being there and lifting me up.

-run for life

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

sometimes

Sometimes... I feel very alone and lonely. I wish there was someone I could call whenever just to talk or hang out. I wish I was at the beach. The bugs get loud when banging into the windows. The heat and humidity annoy me (that's more of an all the time). I wish I didn't have to study so much. I just want to run. --This just shows me how much I need God. How worldly I am and that I need to rely more on Him rather than my feelings, thoughts, and emotions. God I pray that You will draw me nearer as I continue to seek You.

I ran 12.5 today at a 9:07 pace (slow, but oh well, I need to lose some weight before I start real training-I'm aiming for 125 by the end of the summer). I decided I'm going to run a sub-3:30 marathon (sub-8/mile) so I need to get back into shape and doing actual training instead of being a slacker and relying on my guts to make it through like I have been. Big Sur-I hadn't run for a month prior and I was dehydrated and sick before I started. Richmond was pure pain and all will power-my neck was tweaking the entire summer and I hadn't run since Big Sur 6 months before. Seneca 50k-I really felt like I needed to run more long runs before doing over 30 miles-the longest I ran before that race during training was 6-8 miles. The Ridge Runner was fine until I hit mile 19-from there it was guts and will power; indicating my assumptions were correct and I need to add distance to build up my endurance. I need to get a set schedule-aka a job soon so I can plan my runs and training schedule.

During my run today I stopped at church for water. I didn't expect so many people to be there at 6:45 when the event started at 7:30, but oh well. I was dripping with sweat, I couldn't even pretend I was just glistening. Most of the ladies smiled at me regardless, but they looked like pity smiles rather than 'good to see you/glad you're here" smiles.

I don't really fit in here very well do I?

-run for life

Monday, June 30, 2008

sparks

My stomach was full, the weather tepid and humid. Sweat dripped into my eyes as I ran through the trees. I saw a spark. I blinked, brushing the sweat from my eyes. I glanced around to see if anyone was smoking near by. Another small streak of light whizzed by in my peripheral vision. I rubbed my eyes. Maybe I needed them checked.

Rounding the corner by the golf course I sped up. The two small bridges beneath my feet made a clopping sound as I trod across and down the path. Making my way around the course and back toward the park I saw a another spark. Fear flitted through my thoughts. Flames and images of the wildfires roared to the forefront of my mind as I saw more sparks light up and disappear.

There were definitely sparks in the forest at night. I had seen lightning bugs/fireflies for the first time.

-run for life

assumptions

I never realized that it rained during the summer nearly everywhere except where I lived. I just went through life assuming that California weather was the norm. I guess I have done that with a lot of things. I assumed that if someone proclaimed that they were a Christian-that they were. I take people at their word, only to get burned, trampled on, and disappointed. I am so glad that God will never cease to love us, to be faithful, and keep His promises.

-run for life

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

the heart of the matter

Not that I ever care to confess to having an affinity toward a particular someone of the male gender... I was reading Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye? chapters 5 & 6 for Resolved Girl's Discipleship Group this coming Saturday.  I realized that I indeed have some of the characteristics of one who "dates within their mind;" more than I would like to admit.  I generally don't talk about guys.  I consider them friends.  Brothers if you will.  I love hanging out with my bros... and competing with them.

I thought I was better at guarding my heart.  I thought that I made it clear I was not interested in a relationship other than friendship.  My pride will be my downfall.  I have been illuminated once again to the fact that I need to protect my brothers and myself even more.  I think it's people freaking out because they're getting older.  I don't know why.  I'm 25 and I'm dandy.  Yes, I want to get married.  Yup, I want to have kids.

However, I have utmost faith that God will provide me with a suitor and eventually a husband in His perfect timing.  I know that He did not create me to be alone, thus He will give a husband one day.  Is it possible to have too much faith?  I don't think so.  I'm living up the single life while I can.  I should reach out to people, travel, and live life.  God has called me to be single right now and I am content.

I dress comfortably and continue my low maintenance lifestyle.  I thought for a split second that perhaps I should try a little harder to look nice, worry about my clothes, or maybe wear something other than flip flops... then I quickly snapped back to reality, ha ha.  I maintain the Northern California attitude-the "feel and look comfortable" look.  I figure I am still trying to find a balance or happy medium, but then I am pretty content with the way I dress and how I look... is that finding balance?

When I need to, I dress up-just enough.  Even at church out here in Virginia where the dress code is the most stringent I've ever experienced... I wear my free workout pants, they are my favorite pants after all.  Other people just wish they could be as efficient as me!  Dressing up for me consists of wearing my hair down and putting in dangly earrings.  I usually take about 4-5 minutes to get ready on a regular day including brushing my teeth and washing my face.  On days when I am trying to look nicer, I might take as long as 15 whole minutes!

I am so thankful that God has made me the way I am so that I can be a minimalist and still 'clean up nicely.'  I pray that God will send someone my way (I'm talking about a husband) who appreciates me for the way I am.  Someone that likes that I don't put on tons of make up or take lots of time to get ready.  Someone that values my ability to be efficient!

- run for life

Saturday, June 21, 2008

reflections on RT 2008

Good times to be had traveling. I am seriously considering saving all my money for my Europe, Australia, South Africa, and South America funds... and that is what I will probably do unless I can get a traveling job which would be optimal. I am praying hard regarding the job topic.

It was awesome meeting new people, talking to random people at games, and seeing new sights. I prayed every time I got in the car and tons throughout the day. I was going to go to the Pittsburgh Sovereign Grace church the first Sunday, but I didn't know how to get there and I woke up pretty late/realized I had nothing nice enough to wear out there anyway. God was definitely watching over me and I pray that I represented Him well during my 2 week journey.

Everything worked out perfectly. Despite floods a few days before tormenting Wisconsin before I was to arrive, the waters receded just as I made my way across and up to Minnesota. I didn't get lost despite driving back roads to Milton and into residential areas in huge metropolitan cities. No one disturbed me while I was sleeping in Lazarus. Lazarus worked... even though he had been finicky two days prior to my departure from VA. God is good, so good to me. Countless more blessings happened while on the road that I couldn't write them and I am probably not even aware of all of them.

It really is amazing how many wonderful, generous people there are. All of the news only shows what people will pay to see, the bad things going on in the world, but there are good deeds done every second of the day throughout the world!

I calculated my total cost (including Lazarus having a full tank of gas in the driveway right now which is about $40 worth of gas, so technically it'd be the total minus $40) to be $672.34-more than I was hoping to spend (I was shooting for under $500, the games were more expensive than I thought!  $22 for standing room in Milwaukee!  $21 dollar "cheap" seats at the White Sox and mad crazy expensive Stubhub tickets for the Cubs add up!) but in the long run, worth it. Gas is only going up and I won't have time to drive around the nation when ever once I start working-especially with all of these weddings coming up!

Praise God for allowing me to have this experience and being right there with me.  His creation is so astounding.  I am forever in His debt-especially for Him helping to keep me safe while falling asleep at the wheel and knowing when I needed a break/nap.

-run for life.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Minnesota to Ohio

Tuesday, June 17: When Ryan said it didn't get light downstairs he wasn't joking. I woke up at 11:30 and it was still pitch black in the room. I walked upstairs and I met Dan, Ryan's older brother and their mom. She was making waffles for all of us which was glorious. I love waffles. I put my stuff in the car and ate waffles. Ryan and I went to the free Como Zoo which was fun. We watched the California Sea Lion show and headed back to his house to eat lunch-pizza. I got directions to the Mall of America and after charging my phone and watching a little tv/hanging out with Ryan I set off to catch the light rail train to the stadium. The train is underneath Bloomingdale's parking lot at the mall, so I parked on top and walked down the stairs just as the train pulled in. I got on and was off toward the stadium. It was pretty decent, 3.50 round trip to and from the stadium with free parking at the mall.

I arrived at ball park 22. The outside, as everyone had told me, was much more impressive than the inside. The inside was really crappy. I was kind of shocked, though I had been warned. Fortunately they are building a new park set to open just for baseball (no Vikings games) in 2010. I think I may have to go back to run the Twin Cities marathon and watch a game at the new park in 2010. It was a decent game, the Twins won over the Nationals and I saw a homerun as is customary for me at each ballpark.

After the game was over, I hopped back on the train, got back to Laz and started driving 52S-90E back through Wisconsin. I made it to Janesville a little south of Madison before I was beat. I fell asleep around 3:30AM in the back of Laz.

Wednesday, June 18: I got up at 9:30EST-so 8:30CST. I ate some random hot fries from a vending machine for 50 cents and drank some Gatorade as I rolled out. I was worried I didn't have enough gas to make it into Indiana so I bought really expensive gas for 4.229 a gallon outside of Chicago and kept on rolling. I made it to Lowell, IN and filled up for 3.979 (I had only put 2 gallons in at the 4.229 price). Then continued on my way to 65S toward Indianapolis. I ended up sitting on the highway for at least 45 minutes. I was able to load all my pictures off my camera and make some Minnesota Twins collages while waiting for traffic to move again. I was on the verge of turning around and going back up to 18 to go around the accident right when traffic started to move again. A semi had some how torqued and twisted across the entire north bound road causing the south bound traffic to be stopped by the police.

I continued on through Indianapolis (I went around 465E because 65S was only 1 lane due to construction) and then finally made it to Cincinnati at 6:30PM EST. My host was great and made me spaghetti and I was still hungry so he cooked me some scrambled eggs. Then we walked down to the store to get ingredients to make homemade brownies. We visited his house mate who lived upstairs and had made cookies from cookie dough he gave her. Then I made the brownies (which were delicious!) and he had bought Graeter's ice cream made in Cincinnati, so we had brownies and ice cream. Good times. We stopped by the neighbor's party and chatted a little with his friends. Around midnight we were finally ready to sleep... I had been ready from the long drive but it was fun to hang out.

Thursday, June 19: I woke up at 7:30AM and had to go to the bathroom. I walked through his room to the bathroom and upon my departure he said, 'good morning Jill' which freaked me out. I thought he was sleeping. I fell back asleep on the couch and thought about running... that didn't happen. When I woke up it was 9:30AM and time to eat breakfast and head out to the game. He made me a sunny side up egg sandwich and he had sausages and toast. (We had used all the eggs except one to make the brownies last night.) Then I changed, put sunscreen on and he walked me down to the bus/metro stop. Unfortunately I missed the 10:38 bus because it was early so I had to wait for the 11:18 bus. He went back to his house to meet up with another CS person who was coming to the game as well. I saw a car full of guys wearing Reds hats and I was going to try to hitch a ride with some of them, but no more cars with Reds fans drove past before the bus arrived.

I talked to the bus driver about his diet and he was very nice and told me about the different parts of Cincinnati that we were driving to. I arrived at the ballpark at 11:50AM and unfortunately all of the bleacher tickets were "sold out" at the box office so I just got the second cheapest... twice as much as the bleachers. I didn't have cash to buy from scalpers... so I really had to. I took some pictures outside with statues and then went in to take more pictures with the field behind me. I got my ticket signed by two of the players-#32, Bruce and another that I had never heard of. Sitting down where there were empty seats worked for me, I was in section 129 and had a great view of the players and field but my friends weren't able to get down without getting their tickets checked so I got up and we sat in the outfield, still on the bottom deck with a good view of the field and the "sold out" bleachers.

The game was kind of sad with the Dodgers beating the Reds pretty badly. Afterward we headed out to get Skyline chilli-"famous" Cincinnati chilli I had never heard of. It was pretty meaty, but good with the spicy-ish after taste. Then we went back to the bus, our friend forgot his sunglasses so we waited for him by the fountain and caught the bus back to his house where he got set to leave for a soccer game and I sat on my butt eating ice cream on the couch. It was good times. Before he left I was mentioning that I always hurt myself during soccer games and he said he never did, I was surprised, but figured he was just lucky.

While I was sitting on the couch, his new surfers came and I invited them in and showed them around. He came back and he had sprained his ankle! Probably jinxing himself when he said he never got hurt earlier. Everything was breaking-his milk jar, his body, the house (not really), it was pretty funny. We ended up with a lot of good times in 24 hours. I taught him about how to take care of a sprained ankle and took care of him for awhile. He called his nurse school neighbors, who I didn't think were much help, but whatever. I went out with one of the girls to get a bandage for his foot so he could wrap it.  On the way back into the house I stepped on some rusty metal pipe sticking out of the ground in the grass near the curb in front of one of his neighbors houses.  Blood came gushing out and I washed it off and let more blood bleed out so that all the rustiness would come out... and thanked God for tetnus shots!

It was fun getting to know the new CSers and meet his parents. They were great! They brought 6 pints of ice cream and crutches. Always a good thing when one has a sprained ankle. They left soon after and I got ready to leave and left at midnight. It's nice to make really good friends within a day.

I drove down 75S and when I was getting ready to get on 64E toward Richmond, the traffic literally came to a halt-for a good portion of an hour. I fell asleep in Laz for at least 30 minutes while he idled there on the highway. I was able to get about 50 miles more down 64E before falling asleep somewhere off the highway in a parking lot in Kentucky.

Friday, June 20
: I woke up, bought some gas for 3.999 and continued on my way. Before I crossed into the West Virginia state lines I had to nap again. I woke up to mom's phone call and set off toward WV and VA. It was a long drive. West Virginia is nice-"wild and beautiful" as their motto says but it's not the most fun when you're tired and alone. I hit VA and got a VA state map for the first time and a free bumper sticker that claimed the state's motto "Virginia is for Lovers" which I don't understand, but I'm a lover and not a fighter so I guess it works.

I rolled on down 64 through more traffic and construction. I finally arrived in Midlo, filled Laz to the brim at the BP in Brandermill and arrived at 4-4:30PM. I cleaned up and put away everything from my trip and heated some macaroni from a can before the family came home and we had some spaghetti for dinner. I had only eaten a power bar the whole day so I was pretty hungry. Afterward we had some moose tracks ice cream and I went through all of the pictures I had gotten, picked which ones I wanted on the walls, framed them and put them up. They aren't as straight as I'd like, but I'm way too lazy to try to line them up perfectly. I like the variety and selection up. Most of them are beachy/California themed pictures but there are some streets of Oakland and other random United States places. I have a picture of my family at Anita's graduation and of Herns, Manny, me and Noli at my graduation. All the rest are of places rather than people.  Cost for the road trip was more than expected due to the Cubs ticket, but approximately totaled $672.34 for nearly 3,000 miles, 8 ball parks, infinite good times, new friends, amazing hospitality, and unforgettable memories.  7 more MLB parks to go.  I am sending out thank you postcards/letters tomorrow to everyone that hosted me.

Well, my road trip for this summer is over, but my adventures continue.

-run for life

Monday, June 16, 2008

Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota


Saturday, June 14: I woke up around 10:30AM again and ate some miso soup for lunch after having a power bar for breakfast. Gross. I packed everything up and checked the weather for Wisconsin and tried to look up which highways were closed but I couldn’t find anything so I set out around 2:30PM and didn’t get to Milwaukee until 5:10PM because of all the traffic and two of the lanes were closed. I stopped off to get gas on the way there since it was 4.01 (actually I thought it was 3.91 but the sign had in small letters 10 cents off per gallon if you buy a car wash).

I arrived in Milwaukee while the rain clouds rolled in. Tons of people were in the parking lot tailgating with beer, sausages, hot dogs, and other baseball food. It was great; every aisle I went down had tailgate party after party. I wish I had gotten there earlier so that I could weasel my way into one and have the entire Milwaukee Brewer experience. The stadium has a roof that closes so after I walked around the stadium and took pictures with the statues outside and the large drops plummeted from the sky, I got in line to go inside. It turned out it was kids’ t-shirt day and they were nicer at Miller Park than PNC and they gave me one. It had been Pirates kids’ t-shirt day and they wouldn’t give me one even thought it would have fit me. I probably would have worn the Pirates won too because SL’s mascot is the pirate. I walked around and took pictures down in the 100 level. I should have bought tickets earlier, but I didn’t realize there were enough hardcore people who would drive from Minneapolis to Milwaukee for the Twins vs Brewers game. I bought standing room only tickets and stood behind the seats on the 3rd base side to watch the game.

Large people were standing in the way but I ended up sitting down next to a guy who was with his family, originally from Minneapolis but moved to Chicago and drove up for the game. Another guy sat down next to me even though he had standing room only tickets as well. He was impressed that I was driving around from park to park and bought me a Miller Lite since I was at Miller Park, he didn’t think it was right to be there without having a Miller. I drank about a quarter of it (when I looked at the bottle, it was only a centimeter below the neck of the bottle, ha ha-if you look at the picture, that’s how much was left once I was done with it) and then left the rest under the seat. I figured I had the experience, but I don’t like beer so I was done with that. I saw some more homeruns by both teams. It was awesome and the game went into the 12th inning after Nathan blew the save with the Twins up 2-1 in the bottom of the 9th. The twins loaded the bases in the 10th, 11th, and 12th innings before scoring in the top of the 12th. After scoring two runs, with 2 on base, Cuddyer went up as a pinch hitter and hit a 3 run bomb. The twins shut down the Brewer offense in the bottom of the 12th and they became the first away team to win on this road trip.

I took more pictures after the game and waited for the traffic to die down. Walking outside to Lazarus I was telling Melissa about my travels and bringing her up to date. Ballpark number 6 had been reached and so far Lazarus was holding up quite nicely. I only had one scare in Pittsburgh so far and I prayed that God would help me out.

So far on the job and school front I’m not doing too terribly. I got the full time job offer from Farmville, VA and I got an email declaring my acceptance into Northeastern’s graduate program.

I rolled out on 94W and it detoured to 83S, which I took all the way to 59W. That highway brought me to Milton where Scott’s parents live. I arrived around 12:30AM and Clara showed me around the house and I soon went to sleep.

Sunday, June 15:
I woke up at 11AM and went up stairs after brushing my teeth and washing my face. We set out to the Family Diner or the Milton Family Restaurant and had lunch there. I ate a mushroom burger and fries. For some reason I thought it was a big Portobello mushroom, but it was a burger with mushrooms cut on top and cheese melted over them. I ate it anyway; it was good, but huge. I ate it all.

After we ate I was taken on a little mini tour of Milton and then we went out to the mall to see if they had cheesehats. I met some of the people that work with Scott’s sister at Kohl’s and one guy was wearing this awesome shirt that had a picture of the United States and it showed baseball countries for each team on it. I had to have it. Luckily it was on sale and Scott’s sister Leanne gets another 15% discount on clothing. Unfortunately it was a medium rather than a small, but it was too great to pass up. I got my cheesehat and my Wisconsin mission was complete.

They showed me the old high school and the rock in front and where they used to live. The Milton House is the oldest concrete building in the nation and they used to have slave trade to Canada out there. There was a small pioneer cabin built in 1837 that has been maintained for the most part. We headed back to see if the sign that said 1989 football state championships was still up since Scott was on the winning team and scored the game clinching touchdown.

I took my Wisconsin jumping picture behind the house in the garden and took a nap before dinner after making my Wisconsin collages. I woke up around 7 and ate some dinner before we headed out to Scott’s sister’s place to pick up my shirt. It was father’s day so the grandparents were there. I met the whole family and we had some cake and ice cream. We headed back (I had driven) and all went to bed.

Monday, June 16: I woke up at 9:30AM and had some toast with homemade preserves. Clara was making molasses cookies so I had some of those before I left as well. She had some great cook books that I want to try to get. I said good bye and headed out around 11:00AM. I hit 90W to 94W and then headed toward La Crosse on 90W where it split again. It was pretty smooth sailing with little traffic and no blocks.

Once I got into Minnesota it started taking longer to get any where. I guess the flooding had gone down in Wisconsin, I thought that was the part that would take a long time. I hit 52N and then 50W. I met Ryan at Target once I got into Burnsville because I didn't know where he lived. We went to the Mall of America after I ate some chips and salsa and walked around. I figured we should take a picture with some of the Legos to prove that I was there. Gabe would be all about the Legos, but I think there must have been something cooler because I imagined Lego Land a lot cooler. Then we headed to Burnsville High School where Ryan's practice for his play was.

I sat through about an hour of it and then walked toward Burger King to get a milk shake. Unfortunately... or lamely they were closed at 7PM, it was 8PM, and they wouldn't let me get anything through the drive thru since I was walking. I started off annoyed toward the Super America or "SA" gas station and saw Dairy Queen across the street. Amazing. I walked kitty corner from BK to DQ and it was so much better. I got fries and a Health Blizzard. Yum. A little league team had won and was there to celebrate. After I was done I walked back to the high school and walked around the football field where the team was having practice. I had to wait a little longer and went to the bathroom since I had time to kill.

When practice was over we headed back to the house and watched an episode of the office and some movies on tv before heading off to bed.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Illinois

Friday, June 13:  Lack of sleep finally took it's toll.  Waking up at 9:30AM this morning, Brian and Chandler were already ready to leave by the time the drilling started out the window.  I got up, checked the weather, ate miso soup and popcorn for lunch and packed my bag.  I dawdled and tried to look up the news in regards to the flooding of Iowa and the dam breaking in Wisconsin.  I started my laundry, dried it, folded it, and stuck it into a compressor sack so that I could squish it and stick it in the car.  Everything was reorganized in Lazarus and then I set out for the stadium.

I took the blue line toward Forest Hill and then transfered at Jackson to the red line south.  Then I walked out to the stadium, bought my over priced tickets and waited for the gate to open.  Some people in line were from Alabama and I was talking to them about baseball.  They were visiting a bunch of stadiums as well, but staying in a motor home instead of sleeping on other people's couches and in the trunk of their car.

We went inside and they check your ticket before you even enter the 100 level of the park.  I spoke with one of the ladies who was in charge and she let me go in even though I had an upper deck ticket (500 level-aka the 'cheap seats' even though they were 21 bucks).  I took tons of pictures at the field level and after trying to get a ball for a little while, I traveled up towards the upper concourse, some guys whistled and tried to get my attention, but I kept on walking.  I really don't understand, like I told my friend-even if I was wearing jeans and a t-shirt guys still act like idiots.  There was a beautiful view of the city loop.

I went and sat down a little to the left of home plate.  No one bothered me so I never moved to my actual seats.  The people across the isle from me were from Salt Lake City and I got another 'proposal.'  I guess guys who like baseball are impressed when girls like baseball enough to travel from park to park by themselves just to watch the game.  The first 6 runs of the game were all home runs-it was crazy.  The Rockies had 4 HR and the Sox 2, but later on the Sox scored like a normal team and won 5-4.  There was an awesome firework show after the game since it was firework night (Friday) and then I got back on the red line only to discover that I couldn't transfer to the blue line during the 'weekend' (Friday night counts as the weekend) because they are doing construction.

There were loud boys yelling at one another and then at me when they saw my A's hat.  I ignored them for the most part and got off and walked 3/4 of a mile to get to the proper train.  I got back around 11:31PM and loaded all my pictures onto Jac to make collages, organize my papers/trash, and go to sleep.

I have to look into the news for details on flooding in Wisconsin.  I really want to see Ryan and stay on schedule.  The people I was talking to from Salt Lake City bought me nachos and it turns out they are planning on going to Milwaukee as well, so we'll see.  Maybe I will see them again.  God knows better than I do what is going to happen, so I will trust & follow Him.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, & Illinois

Monday, June 9: I don't know how people survive out here. I got up around 7:30AM and tried to sleep longer. I couldn't, so I dumped all my trip pictures onto Jac and organized them. Around 8:30 I ate breakfast, toast and cheese with some frozen blueberries and two bottles of H2O. I watched an episode of the office while working out for 30-40 minutes, took a shower, and went down to eat lunch. I thought about going outside to run, but it's really humid, hot, and icky outside. I ate lunch: a can of tuna and crackers with some cheese and water. I am really tired though, so I might take a nap and workout some more. At least I get rest on this trip, I tried to plan it so I would get enough sleep between drives. After dinner I drove out to Cleveland to stay with couch host #2 who was an ultra marathon runner and has run a 100 mile race. On the way there I was apprehensive as black clouds spanned the horizon in front of me, shocks of lightening blazing through. I hit the storm, slowed down and arrived in Cleveland around 11:30. My host was very nice and we discussed running a bit and I soon fell asleep.

Tuesday, June 10: I woke up at 7:30 even though my alarm was set for 10:30. I went to the suggested college and took lots of pictures and walked around. I came back and took a nap in Laz. I wasn't sure if my host had come back so I used the restroom on the first floor of his building before buzzing up on the intercom. Then we set off on an 8 mile running tour of Cleveland passing Lake Erie [the first time I've ever seen one of the Great Lakes], the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame, downtown Cleveland, the Browns stadium, across a long bridge that lead to Progressive Stadium where the Indians played. I was sore, dehydrated, and my blister was hurting so we stopped for H2O in a pizza place and walked through another campus before running back to the lot. I showered and ate an apple and some vegan chocolate and cookies. They were pretty good. I set off for the field with my host's directions in mind and found free parking 3 blocks from the stadium. I bought the cheapest tickets available and went in. I stayed near the bottom taking tons of pictures of the field and players and soon it was time for the game to start so I sat in some seats that were open behind the mvp area on the first deck but I couldn't see the jumbotron so I moved to a perfect location with a great view where no one questioned my tickets once and I got pictures with one of the hot dogs and the mascot. It was great. Sabathia threw a complete game shut out and I set out for Detroit at 9:30PM.

I arrived in Michigan at 12:30PM or so and met my host. He was awesome. It was so fun to talk to him and since I'm an Office addict, I mentioned some of the wonderful references but he had never seen it! I introduced him to some of my favorite cold openings and he was hooked. We didn't go to bed until 2:30AM because we were watching The Office.

Wednesday, June 11: Again, I woke up at 7:30 with no alarm so I put together Cleveland collages. Soon Joe was down for breakfast and made us oatmeal with raisins and I added glorious brown sugar. It was grand. We sat and watched another episode of The Office and then left for our bike tour of Detroit. We started off down the street and went on the train tracks. I think he thought I was a wussy because I wasn't able to ride very well on the rocks, but I wanted to go into an abandoned factory, so we did. We went and explored the rusty old ruins of what was once America's booming up and coming urban city. It was heart wrenching to recall the hopes of the citizens being pulled out from beneath them as their once growing economy came to a grinding halt with large factories closing, causing lost jobs, poverty, and a great exodus from Detroit. We were in a back room of one of the warehouses when he saw two men and we rushed quietly and quickly back to our bikes and took off down the tracks. We crossed the highway and my chain and shoe popped off when riding off a curb. I put my shoe back on and fixed the chain. We continued on our journey.

We saw some old churches and a deserted school with a hole in the gym building window-two of them. For some reason we thought that we should go inside, so we did. The pool was disgusting, rubbish floating in it, brown grimy water shallow in the deep end. We heard banging so we quickly exited the building only to discover that the noise was coming from a man who was stealing the copper off the roof... so we went back in to climb the ladder. In the room above the pool there was an old gym. Imagine the children who played there. Where were they now?

We left, riding down the street toward the water-the Detroit River. It was beautiful. Housing is so cheap! We rolled toward downtown to eat lunch at Ephs. It was good, I liked the Herb Havarti and I 'sold it' to another girl ha ha. The fountain at the park was great, I liked the ones on top. Rolling down to midtown we stopped at a smoothie place and I taught him how to play chess. We were using my chapstick because the bishop wasn't on the board when we sat down. A man kindly interrupted us and picked up the chess piece that had been hiding behind the leg of the chair that I was sitting in. We had a complete set.

On our way home after chess we stopped by the church where he works. It was beautiful. The tiles on the ceiling of the dome were shining. It was amazing. When we got back I took a shower and we set off, he drove us over because our journey had taken so long. We got there just in time to see the start of the game and headed up to seats in the top so that we could see the skyline, later moving to nicer, padded seats to complete the game. It was a great game. I saw another home run and Verlander threw a complete game. Afterward we set off in search of ice cream. Happy Cream and Ben & Jerry's were closed so we looked into a coffee shop but they didn't have any. We stopped at CVS and got some Michigan Black Cherry ice cream. It was authentic and made in Detroit, creamy and delicious. Another episode of The Office followed and soon it was time for me to leave for Chicago. I drove for an hour and a half before I couldn't handle it. I pulled off the road into a Citgo gas station and slept for two hours.

Thursday, June 12: I woke up at 4:30AM and continued on the way to Chicago arriving at 7:30AM. I was so tired. I pulled into the garage and we talked a bit before I napped. I threw together some collages of Detroit and set off for the game. I walked down to the train station and saw some guys waiting for the bus and asked if I could follow them to the game... they said 'yes' and we went down to the game.

We separated at the stadium because they were in the bleachers and I was in the main section. It was hot but my seats were in the shade so I was fine for the first 2 hours of the game. I cheered for Tim Hudson and he was doing fine until the 9th when the Cubs homered off one of the relievers. It went to the bottom of the 11th two walks were given up, a hit, and then they won because the pitcher hit a player... terrible way to win. I went to walk around the stadium and happened to run into one of the guys whom I had come on the bus with to the game, we waited for his friend and headed back to the original bus station. I have to say, I was thinking Cubs fans were idiots. They kept standing up for every inning the Cubs were up to bat as if that was going to help. I could see that at the end of the game, but they started in the 6th and continued on through the 11th. I just wanted to sit in my seat and watch the game, but with everyone else standing around, you can't see! The woman sitting next to me was really nice and bought me a Maitai, I could feel it and it was pretty funny because I thought my sunscreen wasn't working at one point because my skin was red, but it turns out it was just the alcohol. SPF 55 is great. She was a White Sox fan and explained that Cubs fans just went to games to get drunk, were mostly from north Chicago-if someone moved to Chicago-they generally would become a Cubs fan and the White Sox fans were from south Chicago and actually cared about baseball rather than drinking. I would probably be a White Sox fan.

I walked the wrong way down the street toward the loop and took some pictures of the city along the way. Then I walked up the street back to the apartment and a man started interrogating me. I was weirded out and told him I had no idea what he was talking about and that I was just in Chicago to watch baseball and then I was out of here. He looked like he was full of himself anyway with his power suit. I went inside and we watched 'Secondhand Lions' which is actually a good movie and I had some miso soup for dinner. I made Chicago collages of the Cubs game. It's already almost midnight here in central standard time. Time to sleep! Big day of the White Sox ahead tomorrow. South Chicago here I come.