Tuesday, April 29, 2008

What a pain!!

The Chinese consulate is evil!! I am not a fan of how things work around there. So here is my whining, complaining story. I know some of you have heard it but I decided to blog it for posterity's sake. I also am trying to avoid doing my work right now :). Well I left my apartment yesterday around 6 a.m. to go to New York City to get my visa for China. I don't remember if I said this already, but I have to go to NYC to get a visa just to visit China for a few days. They don't accept anything through the mail so I had to go in person. They also have limited hours on limited days. Well I had yesterday off so I decided to go into NYC to get it done. I went online to find out about the application process and followed every last word that I read. I drove an hour then I took a train for an hour and a half. I got there later than I wanted. I wanted to get there first thing in the morning but I was late because I had to do some errands. I got there and it was a madhouse. I had to wait for 5 hours before my number was called. I got up to the window and was denied for my visa. They gave me a list of more stuff I need including my bank statement, a letter from my job saying I am on vacation, and a letter from Marc saying that I am going to be visiting him. You also have to hand in your original plane tickets and hotel reservations. It's nice that they can change the rules like that whenever they feel like it. So I left the consulate and had to take my train back to my car and then drive the last hour in pouring down rain. I didn't get home until 8 p.m. I wasn't the only one who got denied a visa. A bunch of people were having problems with the consulate. Some people even drove 5, 6, 7 hours to get there. Can you imagine? I can't believe how hard it is too get into the country.

So for those of you who know me......the next part may come as a surprise to you. Y'all know that I am anti-American in a lot of ways. I don't agree with a lot of our policies, how we treat many countries of the world, and how we control most of the world's wealth. ......But I do have to say that it is horrible of China to make it so tough to get into their country when we send them many of our educated to teach their children English and we buy many of their products. I got a small glimpse of the relations between Americans and Chinese at the consulate. Most of the guards were Americans. They were rude to the Chinese people and the Chinese were rude back. They were so nice to me though and didn't even look at my passport when they saw that it was American. So I gotta go and eat dinner but there is a little about my hassle of a day that helped to keep me grumpy.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Why are joy and peace so hard to hold on to?

I don't know why I let Satan steal the joy and peace that I have. God grants me joy and peace about something and then I let it slip away. Every time I swear that this time it will be different. This time I will cling to the joy and peace for dear life. Yet I can't manage to hold on to the joy and peace for long. They sift through my fingers before I even realize. It always makes me feel so frustrated and useless. Today I had a horrible day which was followed by a horrible attitude and a horrible mood. I had been doing such a good job about holding on to my joy and peace. Today I lost it though and haven't managed to get it back yet.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

How many chicas does it take to change a lightbulb..............oops, I mean park a car?

Any guesses? The answer is 3. Tonight 3 of us tried to parallel park my car, and 3 of us failed miserably. Lynette was the one who finally got it in with coaching from Becca C. We all tried many times too and it just wasn't happening. I was ready to give up and go home after a few tries. It happened that we were able to put on a show on a busy street in West Chester. I felt quite embarrassed while standing there. I felt like silly girls who didn't know how to drive. It was quite ridiculous. I have hated parallel parking with a passion ever since I failed my driving test the first time because I tapped the car that I was parking behind (or in front of, I don't remember). Lynette is usually awesome, but it just wasn't happening tonight. She finally prevailed and we enjoyed a lovely dinner. Of course it took longer to park the car than to actually eat (no lie!!). So there ya go, 2 posts in one day!!

Assorted musings.......

I have been thinking a lot about spiritual warfare because my church is currently in a series about it. It has done wonders for my thinking. It's a cool series because churches don't usually talk about the supernatural, but it's everywhere in the secular world. I love how my church will talk about things that most churches won't (for example, we had a PORN Sunday :)). Anyways, spiritual warfare is all over the Bible. It really changes your thinking when you start to think of it as war........being distracted in church, doubts, believing lies, losing focus are all tools Satan uses against us. It makes a big difference when you realize that it's not just chance when things like that happen. There is spiritual warfare going around all around us and we need to arm ourselves for the fight. Ephesians 6: 10-18: 10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. One point that my pastor made is that we fight from victory and not for victory. I know that I often forget this. Sometimes I feel so defeated and unable to fight. I know I need to remember that God has one and I too have victory.

God has done so much in my heart lately. I feel a true peace and joy deep within for the first time in a long time (possibly ever). It amazes me how God can heal things and give you strength to face things you never could face on your own. I never realized how having a healthy spiritual life would impact the health of the rest of my life. I see God's grace and goodness in everything including my relationships, willingness to connect and be real with others, and my desire to turn off the noise in my life. I have even been eating healthy and exercising and doing a really good job at keeping my apartment clean. It's amazing what keeping God at the center has done for my productivity!!!!!!! Hahaha.......I know that's not what it is all about, but spending time with God has given me the strength and energy I need to get things done. I am blessed to be on this journey and I pray that I will change everyday. I don't want to be the same today as I was yesterday.

Last week I felt under attack, and I lot of it had to do with the ladies' tea. This ladies' tea thing has been rather stressful and annoying. I know I gave some details about the tea but here are some more. First of all my church is the last one you would expect to have a fancy event like the tea. We are one of the most casual churches I have ever been too. We don't even have a building :). The tea is being held at a nice hotel and the guys are valet parking the cars. We are supposed to dress up in semi-formal to formal clothes (hence, Becca's bridesmaids dresses :)). Lynette and I got roped into it because our House Church leader asked us. He wasn't well informed about what it involved. It ended up being a lot more than we bargained for and we don't own a tea cup between the two of us. We wanted to do the cow theme but it seemed like it wasn't well received by the person in charge of the tea. I also told my HC leader something and told him not to say anything to anyone. He did and I was very mad and hurt. It has been just one little mess after another. It has made me feel doubts about church, HC, etc. Last week I dreaded going to HC. Like I said, I was really under attack in a bunch of areas. God worked it out though and I feel so much better. I am nervous now because the cow tea set I ordered 10 days ago got canceled and now I am waiting on a new one to come in at the last minute. I am trying to trust that everything will be fine...so please pray for our tea set to come in because we won't have anything on Sunday if it doesn't.

Hmmmmmmm, ?que' ma's? I bought my tickets for South Korea and China. I will be there from June 10th-June24th. I am really excited. It is just a big hassle to get into China. Not only do you need a visa to even enter the country, but you also need to go to the consolate in person to get it. You can't just mail it in. Luckily my consolate is NYC and not too far away. Still, what a pain.

Last musing that I have time for: I AM GOING TO BE AN AUNT AGAIN!!!!!!! Yep, Cindy is pregnant and we are all excited. Please pray for her because she had a difficult pregnancy the first time around.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Two maids a-milking

So Lynette and I had a fun night of craziness. Becca, you will recognize the dresses that we are wearing in this picture. First, some background. Lynette and I are hosting a table at a Ladies' tea that our church is hosting. It is a semi-formal affair so I suggested that we wear the dresses that we wore in Becca's wedding so we could be matching. So this evolved into us trying them on because we wanted to make sure they still fit. We then decided to be brave (or crazy) and wear the dresses while shopping for our tea. We definitely turned some heads while shopping and had a lot of fun doing it.

So we decided on a theme for our table: Divine Bovine. Lynette and I are going to be the lovely milk-maidens. We are decorating our in a cow theme because of all the stuff I have from my mother's shopping. It should be fun even though it won't be the traditional flowers and frilly stuff. We are even going to try to talk our House Church leader into dressing up in my dad's cow suit. So if you have any suggestions or ideas please share them. We still need to come up with a gift. I will also post pictures of our table after the event.