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Monday, June 09, 2014

Devotions 6/9/14 - iDisciple

Entrance by Cleansing by R.C. Sproul

Read Hebrews 9:13 and 10:22. Now find Numbers 19. Note the relationship between death and resurrection, unclean and clean, and old covenant baptism. What does this chapter teach you about your new covenant baptism? How many times do you need to be baptized with “pure” water?

It teaches me that my new covenant baptism is "once for all" while the Old Testament cleansing had to be done every time you became unclean. It would seem you only need to be baptized with "pure" water once.

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Follow His Vision for You by Jeff and Beth Jones = https://www.idisciple.org/post/follow-his-vision-for-you?rid=140332

Treasure in Earthen Vessels by Ed Young Sr. = https://www.idisciple.org/post/treasure-in-earthen-vessels?rid=140332

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #148: Yuuki o Dashite!

Today's Video: "Pray For Me - Courage"

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I have decided to stop using this app. I am no longer attending Miles's church (for reasons I won't go into). So this will be the last post like this. I will continue to record my devotions here, however.

Discuss/Describe a situation you need courage to get started today.

I need courage to take a risk and actively look for another job, rather than stay where I am comfortable but unhappy. I need that little nudge to actually do something about it.

Lord, it says in Psalm 27:1 "The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?” Give me the courage to obey YOU regarding looking for a new job. I ask for the strength to trust and wait patiently as YOU move in my circumstance. In Jesus name, Amen.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #147: Not What Was Advertised

Today's Video: "Door"

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Discuss/Describe the last time you were disappointed by a decision. Talk about how you were expecting something to be on one side of an opportunity or decision, and discovered it was not as advertised.

When I got my current job I thought it was going to be great. After all, it was union, had health benefits, and most of all, had come around after I and others had been praying for me to get a job, ANY job. So I figured God wanted me there, since things had worked out so well.

But the job hasn't been great. Sure, it was union and had great health benefits and was close to my house. But I took a bit of a pay cut from my previous job at first, it's been stressful, I've been moved around to different stores, and I am way overqualified for the job. And now I am in a rut, where I feel like I should move on but I can't push myself to do it, mainly cause I'm not sure where to go from here. Other than that I want a more career-like job (I'm out of college now, after all) and one I actually like (after 10 years of paying my dues, I think I've earned that...although knowing me, even at a job I like I'll find something to complain about...I did working at a bookstore, for goodness sake, and I love books...although to be honest I didn't complain nearly as much as I do now. My main issue was with this one strict manager I had who I didn't always get along with). Maybe something in an office? I am qualified for that. (As long as it's not like The Office ha ha). I have considered being a publishing assistant, and the idea of technical writing has come up, although I have no training in that regard. (They had a class in it at Cal State, but I took a different class in that category instead). It's something I need to think about.

Friday, June 06, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #146: The Opinion of Man

Today's Video: "Bobbleheads"

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Discuss/Describe one situation that your fear of man and their opinion of you, is preventing you from obeying God. Include this in your prayer below.

It's keeping me from being open about my faith and witnessing. That's the biggest one.

Dear Lord, I know that I need to witness for you and share the Gospel but my fear of not knowing how to say it is getting in the way. I fear that they might ask me questions I can't answer or that I might offend them. I know that Mark 10:28 says, And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Please give me the courage and another opportunity to do what you are asking me to do. I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #145: On the Wall

Today's Video: "Miami Heat - Championship Alley"

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Discuss/Describe one spiritual accomplishment that you think would make it on the wall of God’s championship alley, if God had one.  Explain why you think it was significant.

To be honest, I haven't accomplished much spiritually. Maybe for myself but not for others. The only thing I can think of is praying, along with others, that the daughter of one of my junior high volunteers at church would get well and she did. But that's not that impressive really.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #144: Armor Up

Today's Video: "Novocain - Dentist"

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Discuss/Describe ways that you can ensure that your spiritual armor is in place as you face the challenges of the world this week.  Endeavor to spend time in the word this week to help you prepare to wield your shield of faith as you face the world.

I can try not to think negatively. I can "capture every thought and take it captive" and think on what is good and praiseworthy, etc. That won't be easy. It's hard for me not to be negative. It will take time. But I can try to work on it this week.

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #143 (catchup): Junk in The Mind

Today's Video: "Junk Food"

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Discuss/Describe one type of 'junk food' that you are feeding your heart or mind. Describe how it has poisoned your thoughts actions or words.

Definitely gossip. I shouldn't listen to it but I do. It has turned me into a gossip and that's not good. 

Also while I try to avoid "junk media" I do occasionally fill my brain with that.

Monday, June 02, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #142: Faith Shortcuts

Today's Video: "Shortcut"

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Discuss/Describe one shortcut you are taking in your spiritual growth process and ask yourself if it is working.

I suppose my legalism, trying to follow all the "rules" of being a Christian perfectly and beating myself up when I fail. I used to be hard on myself for yawning in chapel! It hasn't helped me really at all. It's just shown me that that way doesn't work. :(

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #141: Letting God Contribute

Today's Video: "Pray for Me - Increase"

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Discuss/Describe an area of life where you make all the decisions and continually neglect to let God contribute?

I try to control everything in my life. My life is all compartmentalized, and I only let God control a little bit. The "Christian"/church part. I'm too afraid to take the risk of letting him control all of it, because I'm afraid of where it will lead. Even though I know it's what I should do. 
*sigh*

Help me release my personal “authority” over well, everything in my life. Lord as it says in Jon 3:30 “He must increase, I must decrease”. Let my words be your words, my thoughts be your thoughts, and my desires come from You. In Jesus name, Amen.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #140: Citizen of Heaven

Today's Video: "Citizenship"

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Discuss/Describe three aspects of your world, your friends, music, TV, language or diet that are actually contrary to the kingdom of God. In other words, they drag you away from God. As a citizen of heaven, Phil 3:20, you need to create an environment that reminds you and nurtures a heavenly attitude in your heart.

Well I try to stay away from bad stuff for the most part. I was basically raised in a Christian bubble, with church and going to a Christian school. But I know I am influenced by the world, and have been pulled away from God. Last year I didn't tithe or read my Bible or do any sort of devotions at all. 

But let's see...three things. My addiction to the internet I guess is one. Not that I look at porn or anything like that. But I spend too much time online, time I could probably spend doing something spiritual. I also have moved away from writing strictly Christian fiction. I haven't written anything anti-Christian, but I have written stuff that wasn't overtly Christian. It may have Christian values in it, but it doesn't mention God or the Bible. (Then again, my favorite book of the Bible, Esther, doesn't mention God's name at all). Also, where before I would never have included alcohol or sex or anything like that in my books, I am becoming slightly more ok with that. Well, not the sex. That's not going to happen. But the alcohol thing I'm becoming more ok with (in the Doctor Who story I'm working on, The Doctor and the male protagonist Darren both drink, although the main character Alys does not). Cursing I am also against, though I might be ok with like "bloody hell" or something like that. I wrote a novel a while back where one of the characters was a rape victim, though the rape was not described in any detail. I also am uncomfortable still writing about drugs.

The main "objectionable" subject I've written about more lately is magic. I am a big fan of fantasy, Christian and secular. For NaNoWriMo 2 years ago I wrote a novel that was my take on the magical girl genre, complete with magic. And while I'm not a Wiccan or anything, I am ok with writing about magic, whereas some Christian fantasy writers aren't. 

I also don't eat very healthy at all. That probably doesn't make God very happy.

In other words, not living a very heavenly attitude at the moment.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #139: Favorite Story

Today's Video: "Story of God"

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Discuss/Describe your most favorite story and how it relates to your life today.

I am a big fan of The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan. There's a lot of long passages of theological discourse in there which can be hard to get through, but underneath is a great story of the Christian life, told via allegory. I've also read an adaptation of it by Steven James 
called Quest for Celestia which reimagines it as a fantasy novel. It combines both parts of Bunyan's work (with Kadin standing in for Christian and Leira for Christiana), condenses parts, and renames places and people, but overall tells the same story. It's a book I like to read sometimes cause I guess it helps remind me what the Christian life is really like. "The bitter must come before the sweet," as the messenger tells Christiana. The bit of Christian's burden falling away when he sees the cross is poignant too. 

I also relate to Leira in Quest for Celestia a little, in that she doesn't feel very worthy or beautiful and has to realize King Kiral (King of Celestia) sees her as special. I know how that feels.

So anyway yeah that's my favorite story.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #138: From The Heart

Today's Video: "Heart Talk"

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Discuss/Describe one recent comment you made that was taken wrong because you said it wrong. You did not speak from the heart.

I have probably said some things to people at work recently that weren't from the heart. I do try to be sincere but sometimes I don't come across that way. Having Asperger's tends to make you blunt, so I think I come across harsher than I mean to most of the time. There are also times I fake being happy when I have to help customers when I'm really miserable, and I hate that.

So I could do better at that sort of thing.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #137: Bad Voice

Today's Video: "Costa Rican Cuisine"

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Discuss/Describe a voice that speaks to you that could be destructive.

My own inner critic. It tears me down and makes me feel miserable. It's awful! :(

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #136: Roach Ew!

Today's Video: "Roaches"

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Discuss/Describe one type of roach in your life and the dirt or drama that you need to clean out of your life.

My own pride, which makes me think I have to be right, that makes me defensive. That has probably caused a lot of unnecessary drama in my life. I need to deal with that big time.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #135: Obedience

Today's Video: "Just Try"

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Discuss/Describe one act of obedience that you need to just try, whether you think you can do it or not.  Include that in your prayer below.

I need to just let go and trust God to control my life instead of insisting I control it myself. It's a tough task, and I have no clue how to do it perfectly, but I know I need to do it.

Dear Lord, I know that the just shall walk by faith, so I need to step out in faith and just try to allow you to control my life instead of trying to control it all myself. I trust that You will support me and give me the strength to get me through any difficulties I have. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #134: Will of God

Today's Video: "Pray for Me - Will"

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Discuss/Describe a choice you are making that is not the will of God. Use that choice in the prayer below.

I am choosing not to stand up and take risks but to play things safe. It's stagnating my life, and I know it. And I hate it. But I'm too afraid of change to do something about it.

Dear Lord, help me realize the gift of free will. Give me strength to rely on YOUR will regarding taking risks in my life. In Luke 22:42 it says " saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” Dear Lord, I pray that in all my choices I wait for YOU, and not my will. In Jesus name, Amen.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #133: Verses for Life

Today's Video: "Sticky Note"

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Discuss/Describe one life situation that you need to apply God’s promises to. Begin memorizing one verse that gives you hope in that situation.

Not gossiping comes to mind. Either that or taking risks. One of those two. Oh and worrying. Any of those would work.

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #132 (Catchup) - Out of Your Way

Today's Video: "Shower Water Tank"

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Discuss/Describe one time you went out of your way to do something that you knew was wrong. What was the result?

Well I know I've jaywalked before when I knew I shouldn't. And usually I get away with it, but one time it resulted in me getting hit by a car.

Sorry that's the only thing I can think of.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #131: Boiling to Purify

Today's Video: "Hot Water"

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Discuss/Describe one time when a painful situation made you a better person. Thank God for the lessons that He taught you through it.

Well I guess what I went through with Kyle. I hated God for making me go through that, but I guess in the end it taught me how easily I could lose my heart to a guy just cause he was nice to me. It made me more cautious. But I think it might've made me too cautious. As in afraid to get close to any guys. Not so good. 😞

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #130: In a Cage

Today's Video: "Caged"

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Discuss/Describe one hurt or negative perception of yourself that has you trapped in a cage.

My fear of failure. If I fail at something, I take it personally. I think something must be wrong with me. Instead of thinking constructively how I can do better, or considering that maybe there were other circumstances, I just take it all on myself. But then all the effort I go to not to fail ends up stressing me out. Also, it keeps me from taking risks because I can't predict the outcome of such situations and fear that I might fail. 

Fear of failure paralyzes me, which is basically like a cage.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #129: Bad Company

Today's Video: "Bad Fruit"

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Discuss/Describe one person in your life that is causing you to put God second in your life. Someone who is a bad influence in your life?

Oh gosh...I'm not really sure to be honest. I don't have a lot of friends, and the ones I do have I choose with care. 

There probably are some though. I'd have to think about that.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #128: Run Over

Today's Video: "Dead Dog"

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Discuss/Describe one situation of a friend or family member who could be on their way to getting run over by life.

My friend Miyuki comes to mind. She is frustrated by her job at our workplace. I think she might actually complain more than me. She also is the main caretaker of her diabetic boyfriend (with whom she shares an apartment) and has to deal with her "in-laws" (as she calls her boyfriend's parents), who apparently like to make her life miserable. Well, mostly the mom, who's real overprotective of her son. His dad just sort of goes along with the mom. I told her her boyfriend needs to stand up to his mother about this, but apparently her boyfriend's not really the type to do that. The fact that he can't seem to hold a job doesn't help much.

Meanwhile, Miyuki is trying desperately to finish school (she wants to do medical research), but has found it hard to get our work to work around her school schedule. It took me longer than usual to finish school too, but that's cause I only went to school twice a week (more than that at first, but for most of the time it was that way) and never took more than 4 classes at a time, cause that's the most I could handle (the exception to this is when I was getting my web design certificate on top of my B.A.). So I can kinda sympathize. But the reason I only went to school twice a week is cause I finagled my classes to be so, to make it easy on my work to work around it (cause I knew my current work would at least give me 2 days off a week). 

I try to be a supportive friend, but often I don't know what to say to help her. I mean, I have my own stresses too. My friend and coworker Geraldina nicknamed me Reneesme (after the Twilight character); if only I had her power to show people my thoughts. But I don't. 😔

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #127: Give Me Wisdom

Today's Video: "Pray for Me - Wisdom"

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Discuss/Describe one area of your life you have not been using the information given to you correctly. Use that area in the prayer below.

I know all this information about the Bible, from Christian school and church, but I'm not using it to reach people for God or anything. And I should. 

I've taken spiritual gifts tests where my top gift is knowledge, and yet often I'm not using that gift. Frankly I'm not quite sure how to use that gift. Spiritual gifts are supposed to be used for the church, but it isn't clear exactly where in the church having that gift would be useful.

I need to use my knowledge of God - my head knowledge - more wisely and practically. If only I knew how.

Dear Lord, please help me better understand the knowledge I have in the area of the knowledge I have of the Bible. In Proverbs 2:6 it says " For the Lord gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding;” Dear Lord, help me in all my decisions. Let me be wise and lean on to YOU for all understanding. In Jesus name, Amen.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #126: Friends With Rights

Today's Video: "Amigo Con Derechos"

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Discuss/Describe one way God can move from being a friend with rights, to being your Lord, Master, and God.

If I were to trust him more and give up control of my life and let him lead, that would definitely help me to go from being in an amigo con derechos relationship with him to something more committed. I'm just afraid to do so.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #125: Stopping Cold Turkey

Today's Video: "Cold Turkey"

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Discuss/Describe one type of behavior that you need to stop doing right now. Today. Before you stop reading this sentence...

Complaining. I complain a lot. I'm never content with anything. Never satisfied. It's probably partially my lack of patience, partially my perfectionism. Complaining is something I just naturally fall back on as a habit (just like picking my nails). And I'm not sure how to stop. I know it'll make my life better if I do stop; I'll be happier I think. But I don't know how to stop...

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #124: Step of Faith

Today's Video: "Faith Step"

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Discuss/Describe one challenge God has placed in your life that makes you nervous

God has given me the talent to write, but I'm nervous about all it takes to become a published author - the promotion, the sending things out to publishers, etc. I kinda avoided all that till after high school. Now that I've started even thinking about it, I feel nervous. I feel nervous even sharing my stories with others - writing has always kinda been a private thing for me. And I'm not very thick-skinned when it comes to criticism; I'm actually very defensive. And mostly I'm nervous about messing things up, so I keep trying to read stuff about it, but there's so much to read, it's overwhelming. And I feel like my writing itself is suffering because I'm so worried what others will think of it. I'm having to actually work at my craft instead of it coming effortlessly. (Although sometimes that does still happen). I compare it to Lyra and the alethiometer in Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. At first, in her time of innocence, she could read it effortlessly, by grace basically. But then when she grew up, when she gave in to her love for Will and her daemon became fixed (one's daemon becoming fixed is a metaphor of entering puberty in this series), she couldn't read the alethiometer anymore, not as she used to be able to do. Instead, she was going to have actually study how to do so, using books, if she wanted to keep the ability. 

Having to work at something I'm good at is hard for me to accept. I'm the kind of person who likes when it comes effortlessly and gives in to the magic of that. Sometimes the words do just flow, and I just give into it, let the muse take over and just write. Allow the beautiful alchemy of pen and imagination mix together and produce something amazing. In those moments, I feel as if I am the characters, as if for a moment they are real and their world is real, and I can see what they see, feel what they feel, hear what they hear, etc. 

But is it magic or God? I can't tell. I mean, we all have a sense of something more ("He has also set eternity in the human heart," Ecclesiastes 3:11, NIV). And imagination is a powerful thing, something that God clearly has given all the variety and beauty of nature. And if we are made in his image, then we must have that attribute too. (In fact, I just looked it up - the word "imagination" originally comes from the Latin word imago, meaning "image," coming into English by way of another Latin word, the verb imaginari ["to picture to oneself"], then via Latin again [imaginato] and Old French to become imagination in Middle English [Chaucer's English]). It is through imagination that we create things. Animals create nests and stuff by instinct; humans, however, have rational thought and imagination. 

I am reminded of Tolkien's AinulindalĂ« ("Music of the Ainur") here (which is found in The Silmarillion). Eru IlĂșvatar (the chief of the Ainur) instructs the other Ainur to lend their talents to create a Great Music. They do so, and this Great Music serves as the template for the creation and history of Arda (the world in which Middle-Earth and its environs exist within the greater universe of EĂ€). This is how it is described:

"And it came to pass that IlĂșvatar called together all the Ainur and declared to them a mighty theme, unfolding to them things greater and more wonderful than he had yet revealed; and the glory of its beginning and the splendour of its end amazed the Ainur; so that they bowed before IlĂșvatar and were silent.

"Then IlĂșvatar said to them: 'Of the theme that I have declared to you, I will now that ye make in harmony together a Great Music. And since I have kindled you with the Flame Imperishable, ye shall show forth your powers in adorning this theme, each with his own thoughts and devices, if he will. But I will sit and hearken, and be glad that through you great beauty has been wakened into song.'"

Tolkien goes on from there, of course. But is that not a beautiful description? "Great beauty has been wakened into song." Wow.

God, please make me less nervous about writing, and about sharing my writing with others. Help me to use my talent for your glory, as I have always known I should, and through me waken into song the great beauty that is imagination and story. Amen.


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #123: I Love You

Today's Video: "Say 'I Love You'"

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Discuss/Describe the one person you need to say, “I love you” to. Make a plan to do it and then go do it.

I'm not sure who I need to say this to. I guess my parents, but my parents aren't interested in empty words, especially my mom. I need to show it through actions. So not sure what to do there...

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #122: Heart Pumpin'

Today's Video: "Warm Up"

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Discuss/Describe how you think and act when you heart is pumping to serve God, when your mind is focused on God verse when it is not.

I'm not really sure how I think and act when my heart is pumping to serve God. It's been a while since I've been that committed. When it's not, I tend to give in more to worry and stress and negativity. That's about all I can think of to say.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #121: Bible Reading

Today's Video: "Private Devotion"

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Discuss/Describe how often you have been reading your bible. Are you putting in that daily effort?

I read my Bible every day. I have been doing that for many years. (Except last year, when I slacked off on it majorly). I have done this in several different ways. I've done the chapter-a-day method, the multiple-chapter-a-day method, and pre-made reading plans (which is what I've been doing this year - currently I'm doing one where you read through the Bible chronologically). I've read the Bible cover to cover multiple times in multiple "versions" (the ESV is my version of choice right now). In addition, I usually read from some devotional. I've worked through several of these too. At first I did this one they gave us when I graduated high school. Since then, I've done several others, from Charles Spurgeon's Morning and Evening to Sarah Arthur's Walking with Frodo to several in the YouVersion app to now Miles-a-Minute. (Working for a Christian bookstore for almost 2 years largely helped me find them). Other than that, I pray (usually not long enough) and for a while I would sing a hymn too, using the Methodist hymnal I took from my grandparents' house when we cleaned it out (that only lasted a little while cause I only know a handful of the songs, mostly the Christmas carols). 

I don't really study it a huge amount though. I don't really know how, other than the "word study" method where you look up words in concordances that we did at the InterVarsity retreat. I did read Tim LaHaye's How to Study The Bible for Yourself but didn't quite agree with it. The only ways I can think of that I'd enjoy are the word studies or studying it as a story (in other words analyzing it via all that literary theory I learned in school) or the history/archaeology (which is what attracted me to the Archaeological Study Bible, which came out shortly after I started working at Loaves and Fishes but which was really expensive). 

I also have read into old practices like lectio divina, where you don't just read the Scriptures but pray and contemplate them. I tried it but I think found it wasn't for me.

Sometimes though I feel like I'm not sure how to apply what the Bible says, and so I become less motivated to read it. Which sounds stupid but it's true. I've found in my reading recently that in Deuteronomy they actually bring up the idea repeatedly that what God wants is simple: for you to love him with all your heart and soul and to keep his commandments. This idea is echoed in Micah ("He has shown thee, O man, what is good and what The Lord requires of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God") and in the New Testament, where Jesus says the greatest commandment is to "Love The Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind" and that "the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" Later, in John, he says, "So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples" (John 13:34-35, NLT). So it's probably just me making it complicated. I'm kinda legalistic, and in general all about following the rules (I think it's an Asperger's thing). 

You have to really be open to reading the Bible, or it's not going to do anything for you. It's going to be just like reading any other book to you. That's what I've determined.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #120: Feeling Worthy

Today's Video: "Pray for Me - Worthy"

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Discuss/Describe one area of your life you don’t feel deserving. Use that request in the prayer below.

I don't feel deserving in the area of being liked and appreciated. I try to be friendly to people, to be helpful and kind and stuff. But sometimes, even when I do work hard and make an effort, it doesn't get appreciated. Or nothing comes of it, like when I work hard to make a website or a video or something that then languishes in obscurity (or isn't liked, like my "Take a Hint" song dub which has 10 dislikes, or the chapters I workshopped in CWCW). And that's frustrating. 

Dear Lord, please help me feel worthy in this area of being liked and appreciated. In Matthew 6:26 it says "Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” Lord thank YOU for being by my side and lifting me up in my circumstances and feelings of self doubt. In Jesus name, Amen.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #119: Wait and See

Today's Video: "Prayer Support"

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Discuss/Describe one incident when you prayed and were patient enough to wait for God to send help. Instead you took [of taking?] matters into your own hands.

I don't know if I'm ever that patient. I prefer to control things myself, cause I am afraid of failing, of not seeming capable. I suppose if I was it would help a lot. Make life a lot less stressful. Cause I do stress a lot, and probably unnecessarily. But I'm not sure how not to be that way...

Friday, May 09, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #118: Gifts

Today's Video: "Owl"

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Discuss/Describe the talents and gifts that you think God has given you. Now go and take the spiritual gifts test at http://www.sdrock.com/giftstest and find out.

I definitely have a talent for writing. Even when I'm tired and shouldn't be able to concentrate one wink, I can still write well. In fact, sometimes it's when I'm tired that my imagination is most active. 

I am good at explaining things to people for the most part. 

I am helpful. When I see someone needs help, I am usually prompted to want to help them. (I say "usually" because it doesn't happen all the time. I'm not the sort of person who would stop to help a homeless person under a bridge probably. I didn't even like helping at the homeless shelter my mom used to work at). 

I have a talent for memorization. I can memorize a song after hearing it only 2 or 3 times.

I have dramatic talent, having been in some plays and skits. 

I have a knack for languages; they come easy to me. 

That's all I can think of. (It's easier to think about what I'm not good at than what I am good at. That's how ingrained negativity is in my life...it's sad).

I'll take the test later.


Thursday, May 08, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #117: Visibility

Today's Video: "Leader, Jesus Follower"

***
Discuss/Describe how can be a more visible follower of Jesus.

Well I could act more openly like a Christian. I mostly hide it, to the point that people are surprised I am one when they find out. I could witness more, do more for him in the community. Currently I'm not serving at church cause I'm not sure where I fit. So there's that too. It's odd that service is one of my top three spiritual gifts, yet I'm not out there serving. I do like to help people too. Like if I see a checker needs someone to bag for them or service deli has a customer who needs help, I'll help them. 

I think it has to do with being afraid what others will think of me. That and not being very good socially cause of my autism. Neither of those things help. :(

What will people think
If they hear that I'm a Jesus freak
What will people do 
If they find that it's true
I don't really care
If they label me a Jesus freak
There ain't no disguisin' the truth.
--"Jesus Freak," DC Talk

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #116: One Size Fits All God

Today's Video: "Louis Vuitton"

***
Discuss/Describe a situation where you put your faith and trust in something else besides God.

I may have put my trust in myself many a time. Trusting my own talent rather than God. I feel like I just did that with Camp NaNoWriMo, and that failed miserably. Ironically, I was writing a Christian novel. 

There are probably other ones but that comes to mind.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #115: Brought to Attention

Today's Video: "Facial"

***
Discuss/Describe one fault that has been brought to your attention that you have been in denial about accepting. Then confess it to God and ask Him to cleanse it from your life.

Well one that has been brought indirectly to my attention is that I don't do something to change my situation. All I do is complain, even if it is within my power to change my circumstances. I think this is because I am afraid of change and risk, so I find a place where I'm comfortable and stay there, hunker down there. But then I become dissatisfied if those circumstances don't meet my expectations. But instead of changing them, or even giving them up if I need to, I stay with them, even if I'm miserable.

God, please help me to change this about myself, and to be more proactive about changing my life for the better. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Monday, May 05, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #114: Voices

Today's Video: "Costa Rican Cuisine"

***
Discuss/Describe a voice that speaks to you that could be destructive. 

The voices that try to discourage me, tell me I'm not pretty, that I'm a failure, that I'm worthless or good for nothing or that I'll never find a man or a job I love. Those little nagging voices that came from who knows where and stem from the negativity that plagues my life. I wish I could get rid of them, but I don't know how...

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #113: Lack of Faith

Today's Video: "Pray for Me - Faith"

***
Discuss/Describe one request from God that you don't have the faith to ask for. Use that request in the prayer below.

To let him control my life. To be willing to let go and let him be God and guide me and direct me. I'm too afraid to give up that control. Too afraid of the risks. Even though I know it could make my life better.

Dear Lord, please help me with my unbelief to ask for you to take control of not just a part of my life, but my whole life. I want to trust to YOU more than I do. In Mark 9:24 it says "Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” So I surrender my unbelief and lack of faith to You. In Jesus name, Amen.

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #112: Run Over

Today's Video: "Do Not Enter -- Run Over By a Truck"

***
Discuss/Describe one truck that keeps running you over and the commandment that you are breaking, that is causing it to happen.

Having been hit by a car before, I can relate to this on a literal level. 

I guess for me the commandment is either "Do not covet" or "Honor your father and mother." Coveting is basically envy, wanting something someone else has. And I definitely have issues with that. I'm always comparing myself to other people. I'm never content, it seems. I'm not even sure how to be content. It's frustrating.

"Honor your father and mother" is, as Paul writes, the first commandment with a promise attached -- "that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land" (ESV). It's preceded in Ephesians by a verse telling children to obey their parents "in the Lord, for this is right" (ESV). The implication here seems to be that if you obey your parents, things will go well for you, and you will live long. Of course, this isn't always the case - things don't always go well even for good children, and even the good die young. But I know things are less stressful when I do what my parents say. Like I'm not crazy about their thing (not a rule exactly) about not liking me being out after dark. For a while this wasn't an issue; the bus home only ran till 5:30 PM, so I was always home before dark if I was taking the bus home anyway. Now that the bus runs later during the week, it's become an issue. I get it, they want me to be safe, but it's like, I'm an adult for goodness sake. Hopefully I can get a car soon and not have to worry about that so much. 

I guess the truck is probably unnecessary stress and worry. Cause that does keep happening. And I wish it would stop. Or lessen at least. *sigh*

Friday, May 02, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #111: Accountability

Today's Video: "Cigarettes"

***
Discuss/Describe the type of person you would be able to trust to hold you accountable to a specific behavior, such as not smoking, or start reading your bible everyday.

I need someone to hold me accountable for not complaining. But sadly I can't think of someone who could. But if there was someone, I would hope they'd be someone who would be willing to be honest with me even if it hurt. I just hope I would be willing to take it without being defensive. Cause I do tend to get defensive when that happens.

Also I need someone to keep me accountable for other behaviors - gossiping/talking bad about others, how I spend my money, etc. I have many flaws.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #110: Missing the Mark

Today's Video: "Bow and Arrow"

***

Discuss/Describe one way in which you consistently miss the mark in your relationship with God. One behavior or attitude that does not meet his expectation in your life.

Not being bold about my faith. I tend to hide that I am a Christian instead of practicing the Great Commission or trying to speak God's Word into people's lives. That's something I need to work on. I'm not a gifted evangelist though, so I'm not sure how God expects me to do that. But I need to!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #109: Time Wasters

Today's Video: "Use Your Time Wisely"

***
Discuss/Describe ways that you’re not using your time wisely.

I definitely waste a lot of time just playing around on the computer, not doing anything in particular. Same with wasting time on my phone or iPod. Now that I just bought a 3DS I've been wasting time with that. Also, I waste time eating when I'm not hungry, and picking my nails.

I hate doing nothing, so I'm always trying to do something, even if it wastes time. Not a great idea.

Definitely don't use enough time for God stuff though...

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #108: Jesus Take the Wheel?

Today's Video: "Steering"

***
Discuss/Describe a situation where you are sitting around waiting for God to change your life. In what way may God be waiting on you to start moving so that He can direct your life?

What to do with my future. For all I know it could be staring me in the face and I'm just missing it. 

I've known for a long time I wanted to write, and I seemed determined to go that route. But when I grew up and actually bothered to look into publishing, I think I kinda panicked, cause it was kind of overwhelming. I began to realize that just writing might not pay the bills, and that writing to publish would be hard. So I started trying to figure out something I could do as a day job, something "profitable," but in the end ended up majoring in English, a major which in no way leads to a specific job. And then in a not-very-well-thought-out decision, I decided, in the middle of my B.A., to pour blood, sweat, and tears into that web design certificate. 

Now writing is hard. Sometimes it doesn't flow so well, because now I have to actually think about what others will think of these expressions of myself. And I'm not gonna lie, I got burned by the CWCW. I had friends there, sure, but stick a real traditional writer with a Christian genre novel in with a bunch of avant-garde writers who are mostly poets, and it's just not gonna mesh well. Their 3-page-per-meeting limit didn't work well for workshopping a novel. And when I finally started just bringing poetry to make things easier, it was meh. (One person said my Petrarchan sonnet "Judge Frollo" [addressed to the character of that name from Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and inspired by a song of his in the movie, "Hellfire"] should have more lines. Um, it's a sonnet...it can't have more lines! It was the first time I'd written a Petrarchan sonnet too). 

Still, sometimes, it does flow, and I am happy. Yesterday, I wrote 2,851 words for the novel I've been trying to work on this month for Camp NaNoWriMo (which, based on where I am, I am basically not going to win). It's a challenge cause I'm doing multiple first person for the first time. I've encountered it before in novels here and there (Chateau of Echoes has it, as do the Baby-Sitters Club Specials). I do write a lot easier in first person. It comes easier to me. I've been trying to branch out into third person also though. It's just harder. 

In what way may God be waiting on me to start moving so that He can direct my life? Maybe I need to be more proactive. My mom keeps saying things don't happen by magic, and that I need to stop acting like they will. She also says I need to speak up more and actually ask for what I want. (I usually beat around the bush instead of being direct). So I guess I need to set a goal and actually do something about it. Like if I want to be a writer and get my name out there, I need to, well, write first off. I need to get my author website shipshape. (I've been planning to get it updated and then have Web Design Relief, a group that's affiliated with Writer's Relief, look at it. It's quite a bit of money but I know it'll be worth it, because quite frankly I'm just not good at promotion, online or off. I have looked into it of course, but I just have no clue what the heck I'm doing). And then I need to get updated Writer's Market books and actually submit some stuff to magazines or journals, just to build publication credits. Cause all I have to show for publication credits fiction-wise is a handful of stuff from CWCW publications, a short story in the Anthology of Short Stories by Young Americans from 2003, and a self-published chapbook. 

Yeah, I think that's it. That's what I gotta do. Be proactive!


Monday, April 28, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #107: Sharing Jesus

Today's Video: "Share Jesus"

***
Discuss/Describe what holds you back from sharing Jesus in your work, school, home?

Oh the dreaded question...

The truth? I feel like I don't know how. I have the knowledge for the most part. I've been a Christian for 20+ years, went to Christian school and to church my whole life. I've read the Bible cover to cover multiple times in multiple versions. I worked in a Christian bookstore even. So I have the theory. But not the practice. That was one thing I felt they didn't really teach at school. I suppose they might have in church, but maybe I wasn't paying attention. And because I worry a lot about what others think of me, I don't want to embarrass myself by trying and not doing very well.

I had this experience recently with my friend and coworker Geraldina. Easter was coming up and somehow we got on the topic of religion. I realized what was happening and knew I better seize the opportunity. But she's Jehovah's Witness, and I know nothing about what they believe. I just know they're those people who keep trying to give me magazines at the bus station. We ended up talking about the Trinity of all things. I tried to explain what I believe about it, but it didn't sound very convincing. I felt like I was just reciting something I'd learned. There wasn't conviction behind it. 

And that scares me. Do I actually believe all this stuff? Or is it just something I learned and can spit back out? I call myself a Christian, but do I really believe all I know about the Bible and everything, or am I just accepting it as true cause that's what a good Christian does? Like to keep up appearances?

Oh God...am I a fake? Please God, I don't want to be a fake. Otherwise for 22 years I've been fooling myself. And that's sad.

No. There was a time I was definitely more committed to God. And I think some of that is still there. But somewhere along the line my fire kinda went out. 

I feel like one lousy Princess of Heaven right now. Not a good ambassador for Christ either. :(

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #106: Divine Appointment

Today's Video: "Pray for Me - Divine Appointment"

***
Discuss/Describe a person that was at the right place at the right time that you know was God ordered.

My friend Tara and her Chi Alpha group. I needed Christian companionship at the time I discovered Chi Alpha, and they provided it for me. In retrospect, I think God orchestrated that I would be at that school carnival where I found their booth and met them. Tara and I grew particularly close when I went through that one-on-one devotional for graduating seniors with her in my last semester. That was very useful.

Other than that, God has granted me some very nice and understanding teachers over the years, like Dr. Anover, Dr. Cucinella, Dr. Wilson, Mr. Cleveland my awesomely patient Web Design teacher, Mr. Prior my MAT 120 teacher, and Ms. Striebel from the Business Office Technology department, among others. Also Mrs. Morquecho, the librarian at my K-12 school who I got to know very well as a kid and worked for as an aide my senior year of high school.

I hadn't thought about divine appointments being someone coming along and meeting a need you really need met. I always thought of it as some mystical, destined thing that brought two people together at just the right moment. It's an interesting thought.


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #105: Connection

Today's Video: "Recharge"

***
Discuss/Describe what you need to do to connect with God today so that you can be a source of encouragement to someone else.

Well there's this right now, doing devotions. Reading my Bible too. I think the biggest thing is prayer. I need to pray more. That will keep me charged throughout the day for sure.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #104: Walking Blind

Today's Video: "Blind Followers"

***
Discuss/Describe one thing in your life where you are just following the crowd without really knowing why.

My current workplace has a lot of gossip and drama going on. I usually try to be friendly with everybody, to avoid causing drama. And I know gossiping is bad. But a lot of people do it there, and my curiosity gets the better of me when I overhear things. Plus I want to fit in, and since everyone seems to doing it, I find myself doing it as well. And I hate myself for it. Especially since people feel they can confide in me too; I end up telling others that stuff sometimes and feel like I betrayed someone's trust. A few times I've gotten caught in the middle of two people's drama because I'm friends with both of them, and I find myself unable to choose a side. 

I hate myself for this and really need to make it stop.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #103: Every Breath You Take

Today's Video: "Asthma"

***
Discuss/Describe if God were the air you breathe, would you be thriving or suffocating today? 

I think I am probably somewhere in the middle. In some areas, I am not living up to the standard, while in others I am at least there. I could do a lot better though. 

Mostly I am confused at what the standard should be. I have a tendency to fall into the legalism trap and set the bar too high - like when I used to chastise myself for yawning in chapel. Other times I get complacent and settle for less than I should, because at least my life is in a place where I can control what happens and thus feel safe. I think I am a little afraid of going all-out for God, because I have known some people who were like that, and it seemed like they talked about nothing else but God, or at least worked God into every conversation. They were also really happy in a way that felt fake to me for some reason, even though it could've been genuine for all I know. I know God is supposed to be part of every part of our lives (Colossians 3:17, 23-24), but at the same time I don't want to sound like my religion is the only thing I'm interested in. I'm a geek; I have geeky obsessions. I can talk all day about linguistics or literature or PokĂ©mon or Doctor Who. I can't do that with God. Even though I have the knowledge (thanks to years of Christian school and church), I can't get myself to talk about God enthusiastically like that. We are supposed to share the Gospel with boldness and stuff, but I can't. I'm not an evangelist. Even on spiritual gifts tests I don't score high for evangelist. (Though missionary was #2 on one of them). Usually my #1 is Knowledge. Which is basically collecting knowledge. The handout for this class on spiritual gifts that I took defines it as "to discover, accumulate, analyze and clarify information and ideas that are pertinent to the growth and well-being of the Body." And I do love to do research; I always have. But all Christians are supposed to witness (that's the Great Commission), and I haven't been doing great with that. I tend to hide that I'm even a Christian, to the point that people are surprised to find out I am one. That's not good. Jesus said we should not hide our light under a bushel. 

I need help. But I'm not sure where to turn for that. I guess it would help if I had the support of Christians. I haven't really been part of a Bible study or anything in a while. After I started at my current job, my schedule was so unpredictable that I stopped going to the college group mid-week meetings, and I haven't been part of a small group in a long time, except for the Chi Alpha meetings I went to my last year at CSUSM. CSUSM has a InterVarsity chapter, but I had gotten burned out by InterVarsity already at Mira Costa. The weekly meetings weren't feeding me as I'd like, although the Bible studies and the retreats were great. 

My current church, The Rock, has a discipleship school called Impact 195. I've considered trying it, but the idea that I might have to go on an overseas missions trip at the end scares me a little. Yes, me, whose #2 spiritual gift was Missionary on that one test. Mainly I'm worried I'll want to go on those trips for the wrong reason - namely to travel abroad, as I've always wanted to do but never have. There's nothing wrong with wanting to travel, of course, but on a missions trip, it's not about you, it's about the people you're going to minister to. I realize in retrospect that this sort of worry is probably pretty stupid, and is probably just me worrying over too many details. Besides the main trip I had that worry over - North Coast's college group's trip to Romania - was just about helping out at a camp that teaches kids English, which is something I could totally have done. I should try it. It might do me good. That is, if my schedule allows me to commit to it properly. That's the rub; with my current schedule situation and lack of a car, it's really hard to plan anything.

God please help me...

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #102: Less Than The Best

Today's Video: "Airport Turkey"

***
Discuss/Describe an area of your life where you are currently settling for less than God has for you. 

I feel like my whole life is like this quite frankly. Though I'm hesitant to say my job, cause I got that after quite a bit of effort and prayer. It wasn't the best job for me skills-wise (I'm really overqualified for it), but at that point I was desperate. It does, however, pay decent, has security thanks to it being union, and has excellent health insurance. So for the time I was in school it was a good job.

If I could push myself to trust God more, to take more risks and to not worry so much about what others think, I might not settle so much. God wants us to have an abundant life, after all. And mine doesn't feel abundant right now. :(

I want adventure in the great wide somewhere
I want it more than I can tell
And for once it might be grand
To have someone understand
I want so much more than they've got planned.
--Beauty and the Beast, "Belle (Reprise)"

Betcha on land they understand
Bet they don't reprimand their daughters
Bright young women
Sick of swimmin', ready to stand!
And ready to know what the people know
Ask them my questions and get some answers
Like "What's a fire and why does it"--what's the word?--" burn?"
When's it my turn?
Wouldn't I love, love to explore that shore up above?
Out of the sea, wish I could be
Part of that world.
--The Little Mermaid, "Part of Your World"

Why do all my dreams extend
Just beyond the riverbend?
--Pocahontas, "Just Beyond The Riverbend"

I'm almost there, I'm almost there
People 'round here think I'm crazy
But I don't care
Trials and tribulations, I've had my share
But that ain't gonna stop me now 
Cause I'm almost there.
I remember Daddy told me
"Fairy tales can come true.
But you gotta make 'em happen,
It all depends on you."
So I work real hard each and every day
And things for sure are going my way.
--The Princess and the Frog, "Almost There"

"Believing in even the possibility of a happy ending is a very powerful thing.
-- Mary Margaret Blanchard, Once Upon a Time

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #101: There in the Clutch

Today's Video: "Star Player"

***
Discuss/Describe someone that always comes through for you in the clutch situations.

My parents come through for me in a clutch, I think, though I don't always appreciate that they do.

I think I come through in a clutch to people at work, cause I always try to help out. Miyuki in particular has expressed her appreciation of me doing this. Actually I learned how to blow up balloons because of this. (Patricia the HABA girl was manning the balloon station one year the day of the nearby high school's graduation, and I was bored and asked if she needed help). I also try to help people on the bus who aren't sure how to get somewhere, cause I've been riding the bus for 10+ years. 

I could probably do better though...

Monday, April 21, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #100: Slime

Today's Video: "Slime and Snake"

***
Discuss/Describe what is the “slime trail” that you are leaving behind you.

Probably the bad tendency I've developed of gossiping and of talking bad about people behind their back. If anything would leave a trail, that would. Cause that affects people whether I mean for it to or not. "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me" is a lie. Like Thumper from Bambi said, if you can't say something nice, best to say nothing at all. 

I can't undo what I've done in the past, but hopefully I can work on ridding myself of that slime in future. The Bible says, "Do unto others what you would have them do unto you," and I certainly wouldn't want someone talking trash about me behind my back or gossiping about me. So why would I do it to other people? Sadly, I think it's because a lot of people at my work do it, and I want to fit in. Yeah, that badly. That needs to change.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #99: Happy Easter!

Happy Easter everyone!

Today's Video: "Empty Tomb - Easter Sunday"

***
Discuss/Describe whether you believe what Jesus said in God’s Word, or you pick and choose what you want to believe. What are some areas in your life where you compromise?

I do believe what Jesus said, but I know I don't always practice what I preach. I compromise on trying to fit in the most of all. Oh and not trusting God enough.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #98: Being Misunderstood

Today's Video: "Hermes"

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Discuss/Describe a previous conversation where you tried to explain yourself, but kept being misunderstood? Was it because "how you said it" was not matching "what you were saying"?

Well there are times I haven't been understood because of a language barrier - like I tried to speak Spanish to someone at work and failed, mainly cause I didn't know all the words in Spanish for what I wanted to say in English.

But there are probably definitely times I have tried to explain myself and been misunderstood. I often think of what I'm saying as I'm saying it, rather than before. So something that sounds good in my head might not sound so good out loud. Same with thoughts - I tend to vocalize my thoughts (it's an Asperger's thing), which means sometimes I say things out loud that I didn't mean to say out loud.

So it has happened, yes.

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #97 (Catchup): Thorns

Video: "Crown of Thorns"

***
Discuss/Describe the “crown of thorns” in your life that is breaking God’s heart.

Well I haven't been trusting him like I should the last several years. I haven't been letting him control and guide my life. And I've probably caused myself a lot of unnecessary stress and pain because of it. And yet I am afraid to let go, because it's a risk and I don't know what's going to happen if I do. It could be scary. I like to be able to predict the outcome of things, or reasonably predict them.

I hadn't thought of that being like a crown of thorns though. Freaky!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #96: Gone But Not Forgotten

Today's Video: "Unknown Soldier"

***
Discuss/Describe the good deeds that God has produced in your life. Now give praise to God, who is the author of the good in your life and remember His goodness to you.

I have been able to help people at my various workplaces. I have been able to help people by explaining things. I help when asked and when not. I am kind (most of the time); I try to be at peace with everyone, to not cause any drama. I try to be loyal to my friends. 

Thank you God, for the goodness in my life. Help me to recognize it more often and to give you praise for it.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #95: Different Perspective

Today's Video: "Perspective"

***
Discuss/Describe something you are going through right now that you need a higher/better/bigger perspective on.

My future. I feel rather lost on that count, not sure what direction to go. I know God's not going to show me every piece of the puzzle, of course. But I could definitely use a better perspective on it cause then maybe I wouldn't worry about it as much as I do. Maybe I would be more willing to let go and let God. At least I hope.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #94: That Still, Small Voice

Today's Video: "St. Paul's Cathedral"

***
Discuss/Describe what God is whispering to you. What must you do to hear God’s still, small voice, and ignore what the world is screaming?

Probably that he loves me and that I can trust him, and that I am special and pretty and not useless, and the opposite of all the other lies I believe. That despite what I or the world might say, I am his child, his daughter, his princess, and that's not going to change. 

I used to have this daydream about this. I knew I was God's daughter, his princess, and I imagined that every time I came to him in prayer or whatever, it was like a princess entering a throne room to see her father the king. But my vision of myself as said princess was never very good, because I knew my Christian life was a mess. I always viewed myself as not a pretty princess, and my princess dress as worn and old, and my overall look as not very positive or appealing. In retrospect, I suppose this says a lot about my self-image. I should have a better image of myself at least in that situation. Or at the very least believe that the King (God) believed I was beautiful, even if I didn't. Him, and the Crown Prince (Jesus), and my Royal Guard (guardian angel(s)). 

I think I need to stop and be still, otherwise I'm not going to be able to hear God's still, small voice. Often I don't. I hate being bored, hate sitting around doing nothing. So I usually don't take time to just stop and be still, because I feel like I should be doing something else, anything else. Don't waste time, I'll say. There's always something I could be doing. I'm a Martha, as I've said before. If only I could calm down...

There is a lady all in white
She sings me a lullaby
She's nice to hear
And she's soft to touch
And she says, "Cosette,
I love you very much."
--"Castle on a Cloud," Les MisĂ©rables 

Little voice inside keeps calling
Little voice inside me cries
Little voice inside keeps calling
Little voice - oh won't you be my guide. 
--"Little Voice Inside," Jaci Velasquez

Monday, April 14, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #93: Injection

Today's Video: "Spiritual IV"

***
Discuss/Describe one characteristic of God that you could benefit from being directly injected into your heart today. Patience? Joy? Love? Wisdom? And explain why.

Patience definitely. I am very not patient. If I could be more patient I think that would take away a lot of my stress. I might be more content too. Cause I struggle with being content, and I think a large part of that is my inability to wait for things. Kinda like Veruca Salt: "Don't care how/I want it now." She's not willing to wait till she gets home from the factory for all this stuff, she wants it now. And unfortunately she's got parents who cater to those whims (as her Oompa Loompa song goes, "Who do you blame when your kid is a brat/Pampered and spoiled like a Siamese cat/Blaming the kids is a lie and a shame/We all know who's to blame/The mother and the father"). 

But, as they say, good things come to those who wait. And God's timing isn't our timing. So anyway, I could definitely use a direct injection of patience.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #92: Acting Selfish

Today's Video: "Pray for Me - Pure Heart"

***
Discuss/Describe that one thing that causes you to react selfishly, with ego and/or pride.

It's hard to think of one single thing. But I guess the things I get all defensive about it, that might be pride. 

My time I guess is one. My time and my money. I'd like to use them as I want. If I have a day off, I'd rather use it to do stuff I want than to clean my room or do whatever else my mom tells me to do. And my money I like to use as I like, to buy what I like. 

I have been told I act kinda entitled sometimes, and that I will admit is true. :(

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #91: Memories

Today's Video: "Hug Your Kids"

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Discuss/Describe your favorite memory with your dad. What kind of memories do you want your kids to have of you? 

My dad and I used to go out on dates sometimes. A different restaurant every time. It was fun to have some time just the two of us. He's also always been good at comforting me. Like the time I was sleeping and all the sudden I had trouble breathing. I went and spent the night with him once that happened. (My parents were living apart temporarily at that time). 

I hope that my kids - once I have any - will remember me as a mom who cares about them and is involved in their lives. I may end up being a geeky mom, unfortunately. But oh well, not much I can do about that. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #90: Deflated

Today's Video: "Helium"

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Discuss/Describe what burdens you, what “deflates your balloon.” If your heart is heavy, do you have friends who can lighten your load?

Currently, my job deflates my balloon. I mean, it's a good job, with great benefits and good pay, but it's just not a good fit. And that bugs me. I mean, I knew it real early on, and yet I stuck it with it all this time.

Another thing that deflates my balloon is worry. Well, worry and fear. That's going to bring you down no matter what. Worry and fear about many things. I'm a Martha.

Do I have friends who can lighten my load? Yeah, I guess, but only really at work now that I'm out of school. I don't really have any Christian friends I can turn to except Amy and I guess Tara from Chi Alpha. Also online friends like Elly or the people at The Anomaly forum. Oh and my NaNoWriMo regional group, for writing stuff. So not that much.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #89: Living in a Fishbowl

Today's Video: "Fish Bowl"

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Discuss/Describe what spiritual fish bowl you are living in. Do you know what is keeping you from growing spiritually?

I guess I am living in a fishbowl of fear. Fear keeps me from doing a lot of things. Like not going to job fairs and such (like I am today). And one big fear has to do with me literally "living in a fishbowl" - as the expression goes - fear of what others will think of me. I think this is keeping me from growing spiritually for sure.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #88: Do You Believe?

Today's Video: "Empty Tomb"

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Discuss/Describe whether you believe what Jesus said in God’s Word, or you pick and choose what you want to believe. What are some areas in your life where you compromise?

Well I do try to fit in with others, because I am worried about what others think of me. I also compartmentalize my life, so that God and church is only part of my life, not my whole life. I avoid risk because I don't want to lose control. I don't trust God as I ought to. I claim I want to use my writing talent for God, yet lately I've been writing stuff that's not explicitly Christian. I know my spiritual gifts but I'm not sure I'm using them. 

So I guess I don't really believe everything Jesus said. :(

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #87: Competing

Today's Video: "Gangsta Love"

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Discuss/Describe something or someone that is competing for your love for God today. 

All the things I have to do, my projects. I'm devoting more time to them than to God, and that's not good. 

Monday, April 07, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #86: Wrong Direction

Today's Video: "U-Turn"

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Discuss/Describe an area in your life that is headed in the wrong direction. (Or maybe it’s your whole life.) Connect with a leader at a church to receive eternal guidance.

I feel lost, mostly. I am not sure what direction I'm going, but I feel like maybe I was going the right direction, but I made some mistakes and now I'm lost. I'm beginning to think doing that web design certificate was a mistake. It was added stress when I was already trying to get a four-year degree, and since my graphic design skills aren't good, I don't think I could do well doing web design. I don't have the technical knowledge for technical writing, the people skills for content management, or the drive for web writing. Mainly what I like to do is write stories. But that isn't guaranteed to pay the bills, and I need a steady income if I'm going to live independently.

I feel like probably the answer to what I should do for a career is staring me right in the face, and God is waiting for me to stop being stupid and actually "get it." Gah it must be so frustrating to be God. You know exactly what your children are meant to do, but they just don't see it, they don't get it. Thankfully, God is a lot more patient than me.

And that's the thing. I am very impatient. And also since I was a kid I have developed this twisted idea that things just happen by magic (or at least this is what my mom used to tell me when we'd have arguments). I know you have to work hard to get stuff that's really worth it. And I can work hard. I guess it's my impatience. And also a lack of self-discipline - or maybe motivation - when it comes to doing stuff I don't like to do, like exercise or clean or job search. Like in my Beginning Piano class. I didn't have the motivation to practice at home as much as I should've done, except when a test was coming up and I had to learn a piece. I was only taking that class because I needed the units anyway, and it was available. (I'm beginning to wish I had gone to Palomar rather than Mira Costa. They have more class offerings, plus they're big on writing there so I would've had more writing opportunities from the start). 

I was selfish and got a degree in something I love rather than something that specifically leads to a job. I made my bed, now I have to lie in it, as the expression goes. Hopefully I can get some guidance...

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #85: Fear

Today's Video: "Pray for Me - Fear"

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Discuss/Describe a situation where you responded in fear and not wisdom? How did that work out?

Oh boy I've responded to a lot of things in fear. It practically rules my life. Often times when faced with a situation that is stressful, I get worried. And worry comes from fear. At my current job, I've had a paranoia often times that if I messed up on anything, they would fire me. This is because part of the reason I was let go from my last job was because they asked me to change certain behaviors and I didn't. I don't stop and ask God what to do, respect his opinion. I just worry, or I complain. If not that, I try to control things myself, use my "scripts" that I have in my head to get me through certain situations (an attempt to compensate for my social difficulties, a symptom of my Asperger's). That's why I like life to be predictable - cause then I know what to do, how to act, what to say, etc. I don't look like a bumbling idiot trying to feel my way through an unexpected situation. Cause I want to look like I have it together.

How did it work out? Not always very well. It just generally makes my life full of fear and negativity and dissatisfaction. Not very pleasant at all.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #84: Fix Yourself

Today's Video: "Dishwasher"

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Discuss/Describe something that you mistakenly thought you needed to fix yourself before you could be good with God.

I've been like that in general. I thought that if I wasn't some perfect Christian, following the rules and doing everything I'm supposed to do, I couldn't be good with God. I used to scold myself for yawning during chapel for goodness sake! But God accepts us as we are, and I need to accept that.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #83: Lack of a Foundation

Today's Video: "Boots"

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Discuss/Describe a time that you slipped and fell into a bad situation because you didn’t maintain God as your solid foundation.

Well definitely the thing with Kyle. I developed feelings for him and that whole thing ended in disaster and a broken heart for me. That was NOT fun.

There are probably others but that one stands out right now.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #82: Comfortable but Destructive

Today's Video: "Chair"

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Discuss/Describe what are the comfortable but destructive relationships you have in your life? How do you remove yourself from them? 

Well my relationship with Kyle wasn't constructive ultimately, but that's in the past.

I guess being around people who are negative is destructive because it makes me negative. Like for example, I never used to be as negative about my job till I started being around Miyuki and Jerry, both of whom make it no secret that they want out of there though they have yet to take action on said threats. I mean, yeah, I don't like my job, but I mostly kept that to myself. Now I'm vocal about it. Except that because I'm so darn indecisive, I haven't done anything about it either. I mean, I'm not going to be rash; obviously, I won't leave my current job till I have something else lined up. But being negative about it isn't making going to work any easier. Unfortunately, I can't always escape Miyuki - Jerry I can cause he works in dairy box and I don't encounter him often - and she is my friend, her negativity aside. But I guess I need to "think happy thoughts." Or as the Bible says: "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things" (Phil. 4:8, NIV). Maybe that will help?

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #81: Failure

Today's Video: "Shame or Guilt"

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Discuss/Describe an area of your life, or your entire life, where you feel like a failure or a mistake.

Being a perfectionist - "three times a perfectionist," as I like to say, cause I'm an eldest child, a Scorpio, and an Aspie, all three of which are associated with being a perfectionist - makes failure a big problem for me. I try to do everything right, and right the first time so that I don't have to do it over again. And if someone asks me to redo it, I get irritated.

I mainly feel like a "failure to launch." I'm 29, I still live with my parents, I don't have a car or a driver's license, I've never dated anyone, and I haven't started my career. Instead I've spent the last 12 years working part-time jobs for little money and even less satisfaction. I didn't do internships or any of that other stuff you're supposed to do during college to help you get ahead of the pack career-wise. It's not that I didn't want to; it's just without a car - and especially with my unpredictable work schedule once I started at my current job - I felt like there was no way I could make it work, school and a part-time job and an internship. Even now that school isn't part of the picture, my work schedule is so unpredictable that I feel like I can't plan anything.

I also feel like a failure as a Christian, because I've never witnessed to anybody before. I don't invite people to church even though I know I should, mostly for the stupid reason that without a car I wouldn't be able to pick them up. I pretty much hide the fact that I am a Christian, to the point that people are surprised to learn I am one. I know I don't always act like one. Granted, evangelism is not among my spiritual gifts (based on the tests I've taken), but all Christians are supposed to witness to people (that's what the Great Commission is about, after all), so that's no excuse. I'm just one of those people who can talk up a storm about practically anything except God. I don't know why...

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #80: Corruption

Today's Video: "Cat Filter"

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Discuss/Describe who are the corrupt people in your life. How can you become “allergic” to them?

I know I should stay away from people who gossip and talk bad about people behind their back. Cause I seem to have picked up the habit too. And I know it's wrong, but I end up doing it anyway, to fit in. How can I become "allergic" to them? Well, unfortunately, I work with most of them. But I guess I can just not listen to their conversations. That's usually why I listen to music when I'm in the break room. At the times I overhear it when I'm working and can't resort to that, I'll just have to ignore it, I guess. Focus on my work. 

Part of the problem is I'm very curious - with that reporter sort of curiosity - and probably a bit nosey too, so sometimes I want to know what people are talking about.

Of course a lot of times this gets me involved in others' drama, which I usually try to avoid doing. I don't like causing drama or being caught up in it. Sometimes I can't prevent it - people sometimes confide in me out of the blue. I don't know why this is - do I have a real trusting face or something? (Granted, it goes both ways - sometimes I find myself talking about real personal stuff about me with total strangers or people I know online but have never met. That's probably not a great idea). 

So I need to be "allergic" to gossiping and talking behind others' backs. Basically.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #79: Cutting Through

Today's Video: "Ribbon Cutting"

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Discuss/Describe what you need to cut through in your life. What are the barriers holding you back from drawing close to God? What “scissors” could you use to break these barriers between you and God?

Fear is definitely one. Fear keeps me from taking risks, from allowing God to have control of my life, from trusting him. I think it goes back to when my grandma died in 1999, even though I had prayed and prayed for her to get better. I felt disappointed with and angry at God. It was the first death in my family (though my dad's cancer the year before had made death a possibility) so that might be why it hit so hard for me. Then the next year the thing with Kyle happened and it broke my heart, and then I was mad at God for not warning me away from this disaster. In my junior year, school was really hard and I and my long-time friends started to drift apart. 9/11 also happened that year, which impacted a lot of us. During my senior year, I got my first job (which wasn't great cause it wasn't a steady job), my other grandma died, my best friend Amy moved away AND got pregnant out of wedlock...basically a lot happened. 

College wasn't much better, other than that I finally got a steady job. For the first time I was going to a secular school. I tried to stay connected to Christians through church and small groups. I also tried InterVarsity, but got burned out by them. Don't get me wrong, InterVarsity is a great organization. But the meetings seemed more targeted toward evangelism (that is, winning new people to Christ) than to nurturing/helping those of us who were already saved. Their Bible studies and retreats were a little better at this (I went to their retreats twice - once in Newport Beach and once in Catalina). Finally though I just stopped going to their meetings altogether. During this time is when I worked at Loaves and Fishes, so I had some Christian support there too.

Then I lost my job at Loaves and Fishes, and after much prayer I landed my current job. That's actually part of what has kept me here, despite the trouble - I felt like God must've wanted me here or he wouldn't have answered my prayer. 

However, my unpredictable work schedule and having to work on Sundays for the first time made it hard to keep up a churchgoing habit or be involved in small groups. I dropped small groups altogether, and went to church only when I got a Sunday off or was working late in the day. Now, granted, by law they have to give me time off for religious observance if I request it. But since the church I was going to at the time also had Saturday services, I never did. It wasn't until my last year at Cal State that I got involved in a Christian group again. I was at the school's Halloween carnival, helping to man the booth for Sigma Tau Delta, an honors society I had recently joined. There was nothing to do at the booth, so I walked around to see what other booths there were. And I came across the booth for Chi Alpha, a Christian group. They were giving away free mass-market copies of Lee Strobel books. I took a copy of The Case for a Creator and talked to the people there a bit. They gave me information about the club, and I soon started going to the meetings. The next semester I also met with the leader, Tara, weekly to do a special Bible study targeted to graduating seniors. 

Now I'm out of school, able to go to church more regularly, and drifting back closer to God. But I need support outside of Sundays, and want to serve in the church somewhere but am not sure where. (Not having a car really restricts things, plus my unpredictable work schedule). 

But yeah, it's fear, mostly. Fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of what others will think of me, fear of loss of control. I think there are definitely some pride issues too (I am very defensive when people accuse me of stuff, and I tend to play the blame game). I also complain a lot, likely because I am never content with my lot. "Comparison is the ultimate contentment killer," as this lady at church last night put it.

What can I use to break these barriers? Well, accepting God's love is probably a start (cause "Perfect love drives out fear"). Also I need to love and accept myself, because it's hard to love and accept others when you don't love and accept yourself. I need to get over my perfectionism and be okay with not being perfect all the time. I need to learn humility and contentment. There might be other "scissors" but I can't think of them right now.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #78: Connecting to God

Today's Video: "Pray for Me - Surprise"

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Discuss/Describe what you do to connect with God when things are unknown?

I wish I could say I trust him, but I usually don't. In fact, I'm scared to take a risk, to go into the unknown without a plan. I want to be the one controlling what's going to happen. I need to trust that God knows what he's doing, but I'm afraid to give up control. Not sure what to do there.

Emma: Why are you doing this?
Mr. Gold: Because I wanna succeed.
Emma: What makes you think I'm gonna fail?
Mr. Gold: Well, how could you not? You don't believe in your parents, or in magic, or even yourself.
Emma: I slayed a dragon, I think I believe.
Mr. Gold: Only what was shown to you. When have you ever taken a real leap of faith? You know, the kind where there's absolutely no proof? I've known you some time, Miss Swan. And, sadly, despite everything you've been through, you're still just that... bail bonds-person, looking for evidence. Well, dearie, that's not gonna work in Neverland.
--Once Upon a Time, "The Heart of the Truest Believer"

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #77: God in a Box

Today's Video: "Rented Room"

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Discuss/Describe what you are holding back from God. What do you need to surrender to him? What is the box you have God in?

I'm holding back practically everything. I'm scared to give him full control. I like to have some control over what happens in my life. I like life to be predictable (yet not boring). I need to trust him and let him have free reign, without becoming legalistic (to where everything in my life has to be Christian or ok for Christians, the way things used to be when I lived in a Christian bubble growing up and didn't know much else). I mean, I used to be so legalistic I would scold myself for inadvertently yawning during Chapel. Yawning meant boredom in my eyes, and the Word of God should not be responded to so disrespectfully.

I keep my life compartmentalized and God has his compartment along with everything else. I need to fix that.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #76: Trash of Our Lives

Today's Video: "Recycle"

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Discuss/Describe the trash in your life that you need to give God. To go deeper, ask a mentor or close friend to reveal to you the trash in your life that you don’t see.

I have definitely had a lot of pain, depression, and worry in my life. Also problems with gossiping, talking behind others' backs, anger, bitterness, and guilt. I would like to get rid of that trash for sure.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #75: Pride

Today's Video: "Pride"

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Discuss/Describe how pride shows itself in your life. Ask yourself how you can pay attention to your pride and have someone hold you accountable to bang you up when your pride shows up.

I'm very defensive when people tell me I'm wrong. I guess that's a sort of pride. I also have issues with arrogance, and I take criticism of my work very personally, as if it were an affront to me. 

I guess I just have to be alert and watch out for pride. I don't know how I can have someone hold me accountable though.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #74: Opposites

Today's Video: "Pool Table"

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Discuss/Describe how God is a God of opposite. Why? Think about how playing pool is a game of opposites.

I guess he is a God of opposites in that he blesses you in ways you might not even think of when you follow him and do what he says. Your actions have ripples, affecting other things you may not even know are connected. Plus he knows what we want even before we ask. So he may bless us with something we wanted and we'd be surprised he knew about it. So I guess we need to be obedient and seek him, and let him do the rest?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #73: Disagreements

Today's Video: "Place de la Concorde"

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Discuss/Describe who you have a strife or disagreement with. Who do you need to make peace with?

I have strife with people at my work who I just don't get along with - Lisa, Rosanelly, sometimes Sergio, also Adam sometimes. I also have strife with my mom a lot.

I need to be the better person and make peace with them. I do try to be at peace with everyone, to not rock the boat or get involved in people's drama, but because I'm so friendly and apparently trustworthy, and also curious enough to often overhear other people talking or to even eavesdrop intentionally, I end up finding out about said drama often times anyway, and getting involved sometimes when I did not want to. Not a good place to be in.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #72: Ingredients

Today's Video: "Perm"

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Discuss/Describe the ingredients in your life that you want God to change. List one area that you need God’s hand of intervention.

I want to be more motivated in what I do, go back to how I was in high school when I worked hard and never procrastinated. I also want to not let fear run my life so much. And to stop making excuses so much and own up to my mistakes. And to be better able to ask directly for what I want instead of beating around the bush. Also I know I should probably lose some weight. (My problem there really is emotional overeating and lack of exercise...at home I don't eat much - some cereal and toast for breakfast [and often for dinner too], and if I eat lunch at home, it's something easy like popcorn or pasta or a microwave meal. If I don't have breakfast for dinner, dinner is often the same as lunch. Where I really put on the pounds is junk food snacks [which I eat at home sometimes but mostly at work or away from home] or eating out, either at work or at a restaurant. I already know, from the tracking I've done, that most of my money goes to food. I could save a lot of money - and maybe eat healthier - if I brought my own lunch like I used to do in high school before I had a job, but I don't want to make the effort. As for exercise, I've never liked exercise, except walking, hiking, and swimming. The only exercise machines I like are the bikes. And that's cause I had to do P.E. at Mira Costa and go to their little gym. I also did ok on the treadmill. The eliptical scares me, cause I feel like I'm going to fall off. I have done ok playing Wii Fit Plus, and I have the Balance Board and everything, but I'm not motivated to play it). 

I also would like to move out and get my own place, but I don't know the first thing about it. My parents are ok with the idea (if my mom's threats about "if you want to just do whatever you want, then get your own place" are any indication). Also I really can't afford it on what I currently make, not without a roommate. The only thing I can afford without a roommate right now is renting a room in someone's house (which is kinda what I'm doing right now with my parents anyway) or low-income housing, which can take years to process. And I'm very solitary, so I'd almost rather not have a roommate. Besides, if I had a roommate, I'd have to make sure to keep things clean, something I am not very good at doing. 

Also I do not like my current job, and would like to change it, but I lack the motivation to do what it takes to get a better job. After all, the pay's decent, it's unionized, and has great health benefits.

One area I need God's intervention in...the biggest right now would be the job thing. That's weighing heavily on my mind right now.