Monday, July 29, 2013

In Your Book Were Written, the Days That Were Formed for Me

The church softball team is short some I said I will fill in if necessary so they will not have to forfeit a game (due to a lack of females on the team). The problem with this, I have NEVER played before! Which is fine when it comes to the rules (because they are all funky anyway) but it also spreads to hitting, catching, and throwing.

Last Monday, was my first game! As the alternate, I showed up hoping everyone was present and for which accounted...I had a date with the drive in movies! Not the case, infact. They were two females down. One was on her way and two others had not yet arrived. So, I ran to a local gas station to make a copy of my driver's license, signed a waver, and was officially placed on the roster.

But, I am getting a little ahead of myself. Monday...and then a bit of Tuesday...was a tad crazy. Our days seem to fill up, no matter the season---summer, fall, winter, or spring---with invitations to play dates, camping, museums, ball games, working out, etc. And at the end of the day, I sit exhausted...sipping on a glass of wine.

This past weekend seemed stretched out. I suppose it felt that way because we took Friday to go to the beach. And, yes, it was cold and overcast as usual around here. Santa Cruz is usually sunny and pretty warm, and I have never been to Half Moon Bay, but Ocean Beach, Stinson, and Bodega Bay were each the same.

Saturday, we attended a Brazilian Jiu-jitsu tournament. I did not compete this time...maybe the next one. But, I did come to the realization I need to be more well rounded. The submissions I saw were the same but the point system and take downs were different than that of Shootfighting (the Japanese form of MMA in which I train). I feel I need to be as prepared as possible and know as much as obtainable about how my opponent is going to fight.

My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I would count them,
they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.
(Psalm 139:15-18 ESV)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Brazilian Jiujitsu

Today, I attended a Brazilian Jiujitsu tournament.  I did not compete this time. Maybe the next one.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Spiders, and Lizards, and Snakes...Oh My!

This week began with a trip to the doctor's office. Innocent enough, as it was to treat "swimmer's ear", but ended in vaccinations, which are NEVER enjoyable in and of themselves.

A pharmacy visit and one conference call later landed us at a softball game (which, little did I know was going to be my first, EVER played)! No hits, and no runs for me...but that is okay. I went out swinging (except for the very last one). Afterward, it was a movie with friends at the drive-in! ($7 for adults and $1 for children under 12! And, you can bring your own popcorn and drinks!)

A late night, Monday, rolled into an up at 8:30 morning (I accidentally overslept!), Tuesday, meeting up with a great group at the "Serpentarium" to check out their insects, spiders, a frog...yep, just one, lizards, and snakes. Our guided tour was informative and interactive! It started with a hissing cockroach and ended with a pretty meaty boa constrictor.

This scorpion glows in black light.

This one was my favorite, which I'm sure is no surprise to those who know me best.

This is an Egyptian lizard.

Its tail sort of reminded me of that of an alligator.

The fantastic thing about animals (which always cracks me up when they appear on a certain late night talk show) is how unpredictable they are when in the spotlight. The handler might say, "Oh don't worry, that one never..." and then, it does! But, no one in our group was urinated on, defecated on, scratched, chased, or, it was a good day! And, the hissing cockroach survived us!

Praise the Lord from the earth,
you great sea creatures and all deeps,
8 fire and hail, snow and mist,
stormy wind fulfilling his word!
9 Mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars!
10 Beasts and all livestock,
creeping things and flying birds!
(Psalm 148:7-10. ESV.)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Desire of the Wicked Will Perish

Light dawns in the darkness for the upright;
he is gracious, merciful, and righteous. 
It is well with the man who deals generously and lends;
who conducts his affairs with justice. 
For the righteous will never be moved;
he will be remembered forever. 
He is not afraid of bad news;
his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord. 
His heart is steady; 
he will not be afraid,
until he looks in triumph on his adversaries. 
He has distributed freely; 
he has given to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever;
his horn is exalted in honor. 
The wicked man sees it and is angry;
he gnashes his teeth and melts away;
the desire of the wicked will perish!  (Psalm 112:4-10. ESV.)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Word (and Will) of God is Not Bound

I recently attended a school board meeting where an established learning center in the community (which is tethered to a charter school in a neighboring county) was petitioning to be approved as an independent charter school in our county. This request was officially submitted (and we also attended the first meeting regarding it months ago). The board did not vote on it that particular evening and leading up to the new date asked that various items be addressed and resolved before they were willing to give it their consideration.

This gathering began just as the other, with formalities (but also a technical problem). We waited patiently and I sat texting, checking email, etc. Making posts on the Internet which said, "I should be training but I am stuck in a boring meeting. Zzzzzzzz." I quickly engaged, however, when the school board's attorney (county counsel) was called to answer questions. Inquiries like, "If we deny this petition, will it cost us anything?" And, "If we deny this and county or state approves it, will this charter school have to come before us to ask if it may branch out and have 'learning centers' in neighboring counties?" And, "Are all the teachers and administrators certified?"

County counsel stated the petitioner had met every request made by the board and satisfied each legal requirement under the Charter School Act. Further, he said the petitioner would not be legally obligated to get approval from the court to serve bordering counties by erecting "learning centers" however, did agree to do so as the board had asked. Not to mention, "Yes," all of the teachers and administrators are credentialed. He went on to say the board could only deny the request for very specific reasons.
The governing board of the school district shall not deny a petition for the establishment of a charter school unless it makes written factual findings to the particular petition, setting forth specific facts to support one or more of the following findings:
(1) The charter school presents an unsound educational program for the pupils to be enrolled in the charter school.
(2) The petitioners are demonstrably unlikely to successfully implement the program set forth in the petition.
(3) The petition does not contain the number of signatures required by subdivision (a).
(4) The petition does not contain an affirmation of each of the conditions described in subdivision (d).
(5) The petition does not contain a reasonably comprehensive description of all [that is outlined herein].

The board was divided two to four (with one member missing). One of them said, "Let's be the ones to approve it." Another stated, "I don't see how it benefits the community." And a third with, "I don't agree with it so my vote is, 'No'." And there it was, the denial of an independent charter school in our area. To be honest, I am so glad we are moving to Texas soon where there are many from which to choose, approved, close by where we will be living! Praise God!

Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! (2 Timothy 2:8, 9 ESV)

The Lord is Not Slow to Fulfill His Promise

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

My Funny Valentine Dogs

Our chihuahua (Cheech) tries to get our pug (Sydney) and white boxer (Brutus) to play with him every morning. Even if that means hassling them.

Friday, July 19, 2013

I Do Not Cease to Give Thanks for You, Remembering You in My Prayers

I had a sad thought, today. Surprisingly, it has never crossed my mind, really, until now. Once my younger kiddos are grown (or even in high school...I remember when my older ones were in high school) they will not want to go places with me much anymore (or have me linger around while with their amigos) and I will be alone---though not to be confused with lonely. You see, my world currently revolves around my children. I have been a stay at home mom for going on six years now and have devoted so much to the health and well being of my crew.

Not to mention, they are going to outgrow some of the things I take them to do to keep them busy (like playing at the park and Chuck E. Cheese's). I asked the Little Chef for some ideas and one suggestion was, "the skate park"! Good one! I guess I better invest in pads and new helmets for them...and find one in a good area. Hubs says they will start hanging out with their friends more. Which, they already have me running all around so they can meet up with their today, I took them to catch up with two of their friends for a bit---same as yesterday.

I suppose it is good I am working on going back to get my degree. (The College Kid and Second Born are out on their own---though they still need assistance from time to time---and I rarely see them.) Hence, the less my younglings need me, the more I should pour into the "empty nest" season of my vapor of a life. Law school, then who knows what. Much of the same, just by myself...I do not really have a specific friend that wants to spend time with me each day. I imagine I will meet one (or an old one will resurface) when it is time. That is usually the way God orchestrates His perfect timing and not a moment too soon. Right now, I have a few sets of friends with whom I socialize (in group settings) each week. Various weekdays it's those with whom I train in martial arts, on Sunday (and Wednesdays during AWANA season) it is my church family, and Fridays (though it is ending) it is the spouses (and supporters) of hubs' softball team. All of whom are so much fun to be around!

There are times when I think I want to be alone but truth be told, I am social and prefer to be around others. When my kids were very young, I had a ladies bible study with whom I participated most days, every week. Sunday I saw them at church, Wednesday was AWANA, Tuesday or Thursday morning was bible study, we did outings together (went to the zoo, fed the ducks, picnics, etc.), I think there was one other day but I cannot remember it off the top of my head. We were a big group...15 ladies and about 38 children (and that's not counting all of them). (Funny story: One time my friend and I did a 5k walk (or something like it) and brought her four, two of mine, and I was babysitting our friend's us and nine young bloods. We were asked if were a daycare service! But that was par for the course!) What sweet memories I have from those days!

But God is a mover and a shaker! Seven of us (of which I know) have moved, three out of state and four in state...leaving eight. That really shook things up in the beginning. Now, I think we are used to it...though still sad to see each lady and her family go. Like fallen leaves, those days have blown passed. New ladies bible study teams (and friendships) have formed.

I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. (Ephesians 1:16-23 ESV)

To Tania, the most recent to depart as God has called her and her family. I love you and miss you, lots! May the Lord bless and keep you on your new adventure, together!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Do Not be Dismayed

I love to write...I always have. Unfortunately, I do not believe it will ever amount to anything...but that is okay.

Lanie: Ten years, I've been keeping [dead people in the morgue] company, while they spend a night or two here on their way to where we're all going. They all had plans, Kate. Things they were going to do when they got around to it. Go on a cruise, lose ten pounds, fall in love. They thought they had all the time in the world. But, nobody does. ("Castle". Episode 81 "The Limey". Original air date 04/02/2012.)

I believe it is safe to say, I have been able to do many wonderful things in this vapor of a life and do not feel I have missed out on anything...okay, maybe one thing (but one day, maybe). For the most part, though, I am truly blessed and fulfilled.

As I continue to plug away at getting registered and enrolled in a college, I remain optimistic and driven. The full picture is in my mind but the pieces are still coming together. There are a few questions, however, 1. How much is financial aid going to cover? 2. Is my business in Texas going to be successful enough to make up the difference and then some? 3. How am I going to be able to pay off all student loans? 4. Is my Beachbody business going to pick up enough to help me out with some costs? (I am going for my Bachelor's in business, so that should assist in growing each.)

The unknown is always bothersome...whether it is about school, life, finance, health, safety, etc. But, I can rest assured God has it all sorted out. He goes before and paves the way.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:9 ESV)

Though this process is a bit tedious, I am thankful beyond measure for the opportunity!

Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
(Psalm 73:25, 26 ESV)

She Dresses Herself with Strength

She dresses herself with strength
and makes her arms strong.
(Proverbs 31:17 ESV)

Alright ladies, do you have 25 minutes a day, five days a week? If so, please join me for the Focus T25 fitness challenge.
Get excited! As an introductory special through July 31st – Beachbody has dropped the price of FOCUS T25™ Challenge Packs to $180 (regularly $205). That’s over $90 of savings if you were to buy these programs and products separately! This is a great opportunity!!!

So, contact me today! Let's bust this out and get some GREAT results!

Short on cash? No problem! Saving $5-$10 here and there is not impossible! (I know from experience!) Look over your monthly expenses/payements, check your bank statement if necessary, and see where you can trim down on spending and sock some money away! Cut some coupons. It may take a little while but your health is worth it!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Making the Best Use of the Time

Called as a witness in a case (years ago), I sat in the courtroom listening as a mentally disturbed woman recounted her side of a story for two hours. I did read scripture during this time so I suppose it was not a complete loss but I recall leaving the premises saying, "Well, that's two hours of my life I am never getting back."

It was, for the most part, a waste. I much prefer being with my children than attending a meeting, sitting in an office, or having to withstand the ramblings of a delusional individual whose own witnesses blew holes in every bit of her testimony. Perhaps this sounds harsh but it is this event about which I thought today, and came to the conclusion that being I believe God is a part of everything, everyday, an eternity (and the soul) is important, I will no longer waste time on trivial worldly things that are wasting away (1 John 2:17).

...there is nothing new under the sun. (Ecclesiasties 1:9. ESV)

As I continue to inch my way closer to enrolling at a college (and fall semester starting), I have to remain mindful of my current schedule and what I can and cannot add to it. For example, warming a seat in the classroom is not an option, so it is online courses all the way. Further, I cannot afford to lose credits in a transfer. I was going to go the community college route but being my next step will be a four year university in another state, chances are some credits will not move with me. Hence, the decision to pick one school and stick with it.

In a way, I feel like a Freshman again! Well, I am, but I am also renewed, like someone getting a second chance...and I surely aim to make it count! And, now that I am going back to do it all again, I would tell my children (regarding life) to, "Really think things through the first time around. Do not follow your heart (because it can be utterly deceitful)! Do the research, don't rush anything, be in God's word everyday, and pray for wisdom!"

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9 ESV)

Not I! But, I can seek God for truth, strength, endurance, and perseverance. He will take care of me no matter what...where I live, who I know (or don't), what car I drive, how much money I have in the bank, etc. I am only called to have faith...He takes care of the rest!

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. (Ephesians 5:15-21 ESV)

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

God of the "Unloveable"

I have been thinking, what are we supposed to do when someone (an authority or peer, etc.) treats us poorly? Whether it is as the target of ugly words spewing forth or harsh actions...does God save us or are we to rescue ourselves from such a situation?

A leader once taught me, I am to treat ALL those God has placed in my life, biblically. I may not end the relationship, be impatient, or intolerant of them. I must cover with love, "love the unloveable", turn the other cheek, etc. until God removes those parties from my life. So, that makes me wonder, why are there some "unloveable" (bullies, haters, manipulators) that just seem to linger for years on end and are never "removed"? May one then say, "Enough is enough," and walk away? What would Jesus do?

First of all, what DID Christ Jesus do? He died for our sins. With that said, when it came to the Pharisees and Sadducees, Jesus did not tolerate their hypocrisy and (at least once (in the book of John)) flat out avoided them when exiting the temple. He did not put up with tax collectors and such doing business in His Father's house. Infact, He overturned their tables. But, God did save Saul of Tarsus. He did not, however, remove Cain from Abel's life, and Abel was murdered by his brother. David fled and hid (twice) when King Saul sought him out to kill him. Abigail's husband (who is described in scripture as a "badly behaved man") was no longer in her life after he died from a heart attack. Those who taunted, teased, and harassed Noah were killed by the flood. Delilah betrayed Sampson causing his death. King Herod ordered the murder (and beheading) of John the Baptist (among many other things). And, satan, has been left to cause all kinds of havoc on the earth. (Further, those are only biblical examples, there are plenty throughout all of history as well, of course.)

So, what determines if God is going to intervene and expel a threat from somebody's life or not. The only scripture (I have found thus far) to give me any sort of answer to this states,
Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? (Romans 9:21-24 ESV)

I guess tyrants like Hitler, terrorists, slave traders, murderers, child abusers/molesters, felons, bullies, etc. are "vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory"?

You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. I do not receive glory from people. But I know that you do not have the love of God within you. I have come in my Father's name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him. How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? (John 5:39-44 ESV)

Girl's Night Out

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

I Do Not Run Aimlessly; I Do Not Box As One Beating the Air

Hum, I forgot how many hoops through which one has to jump in order to go from holding a high school diploma to earning a college degree. The other day, it was federal financial aid forms to fill out. Today, it was contacting my former high school and the original university I attended (many moons ago) to get copies of transcripts. What?! Can't I just fill out an application, submit a résumé, supply three references, and call it a day? I guess not.

I filed my transcript request with the district office (since I graduated so long ago) and I guess tomorrow I will need to follow up with the old college just to make sure they have received my inquiry. Next, I will have to finish applying for grants and loans. I certainly cannot afford all of this right now. So much for paying cash for everything.

I am so excited to be beginning a new season! (And as I write this a cricket just whizzed through the air past my head. Good thing I leaned or it very well could have hit me directly in the face! I had caught one last night, in the house, and placed it in the bearded dragon's habitat...hoping she would wake to enjoy a scrumptious treat. But now I am wondering, "Did that crafty bugger escape and make its way back to the family room?")

Where was I before I was interrupted? Oh, yes, "a new season". An education, moving to Texas, getting into the martial arts business, training with my children so they can help me teach and perhaps one day run the studio, attend law school after the kiddos gradate high school, and begin anew. A fresh state, a newfangled job, an invigorating next step in this life (James 4:14).

I was trained up in the way I should go. I worked in the field of dance (fine arts), traveled, got married, was a court appointed child advocate, raised young ones, and will one day be an attorney (or paralegal)! Truly, I am blessed!

Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. (1 Corinthians 9:25-27 ESV)

Monday, July 01, 2013

Do Everything in the Name of the Lord Jesus

Good golly, Miss Molly! I made the decision to go back to school, thinking it was going to be a simple task (to start taking classes). Yet, to my dismay (and frustration), it is far more demanding than I imagined! And, I have been so far out of the loop (after 15 years) when it comes to this stuff. Where is a counselor when one is needed?

I have gone from applying at the local community college (but then fearing not all of my hard earned credits will transfer when it comes time), to asking around about the University of Phoenix (thinking if I just stay in one place all the way through for my Bachelor's Degree that will make things easier for me), to looking up the top 25 online colleges and picking the cheapest out of them. I just do not have the time to take away from my family to go sit in a classroom at this, virtual it is, then.

Without having a job (and not being in the workforce for as long as it has been) I have to apply for financial aid, loans, and grants. That, too, is not as straight forward as one might assume. But, if 18 and 19 year olds can do it, so can I, right?. Not to mention I should hope all of my life experience thus far will help when it comes to being considered for a spot at an institution.

I initially desired to begin the process and get some credits under my belt before the end of summer but it appears I will not get going until August, at the soonest. This most likely means the kiddos and I will all be adjusting to our new school schedules at the same time...eek! On top of that we are still training in the martial arts and I am aiming to become an instructor and have enough knowledge and practice to open our own location (under the same business name and method) once we move. It sounds like a lot in the next two years but I am confident I can do it without getting too overwhelmed. I guess we'll see.

No matter what, I have to keep in mind, at the end of the day everything is going to go as God has orchestrated. He has placed the passion within me, the drive, the perseverance, the faith, and He will take care of the rest. I know some might say, "How obnoxious!" But truly, that is what I believe.

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV)

I am thankful for the opportunity, for a second chance to get my degree and maybe go to law school! I have to be honest, though, I have considered just getting my certificate in paralegal studies and saving myself the agony of at least seven years of studies. But, the bottom line is, I want the choice to go to law school at the end of it all.

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17 ESV)


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