the eagles family

Archive for September, 2009|Monthly archive page

World Relief

In Uncategorized on September 24, 2009 at 9:59 am

Many of you know that before Nathan and I started dating I was hoping to move overseas to work with Muslim people groups, possibly long term. Well, that red-headed, green-eyed boy changed a lot plans I had. And while I wouldn’t take back those decisions, there is still a part of me that struggles with the realization that I will probably never live in a third world Middle-Eastern country and be a part (at least on the ground) of what God is doing there.

Another reason why Nathan is AMAZING, is that he’s helped me see how I can use that same passion within the context of our marriage and where his job is at and he’s totally supportive and excited with me!  One of the greater comforts to me in moving out here has been that we just so happened to get moved to an area where we white, potato-looking folks are very much the minority and this place is bursting with all kinds of people groups. I also discovered before moving that there was a World Relief office in San Jose, which is just a little south of us. You can read about this organization here.  Their purpose is to help refugees settle into American life, offering English lessons, and a variety of other services, and being the hands and feet of Jesus.  Sounds cool, doesn’t it?

Well, last night, I got my first call to meet a family that is flying in today and moving to Fremont.  And the kicker is that they are from a country that I started praying about 2 years ago to have some type of contact with.  This people group has a larger population in Fremont, but they have so far been very difficult to reach out to.  I was positively ecstatic!  I was again reminded that God knows the desires of my heart and is faithful to provide.  I’ll most likely be meeting with them for a few hours a week, helping with their conversational English and just be a friendly and familiar face in a very different and unfamiliar place, hopefully offering some semblance of stability to them as they’ve just come from a horrific experience.

I guess I didn’t have to go to the Middle East to be used after all, they’re coming to me.  AND…I still get to spend the rest of my life with the love of my life.  I guess God does know what He’s doing after all.

Life Lessons from the Panera Lady

In Uncategorized on September 21, 2009 at 10:44 am

Since I work from home and tele-commute back to Iowa each day, I sometimes go to Panera near our apartment to work for a change of scenery. The biggest reason I go there is because there is this one woman that is so cheery and pleasant every time I’m there, that she puts me in a good mood.

Today, as I was fixing up my tea she was loading napkins next to me. So I leaned over and told her how much I appreciate her cheerfulness and that she does a great job. Without hesitation she replied how grateful she was to have a job, that she had lost her’s a few months back and Panera hired her right away. So many people in this area are without work, she said, and so she can’t help but bustle around and enjoy her work. She’s paying her bills on time and that’s as much as she can ask for.

I think I forgot to mention that this woman is probably in her 50’s and 60’s. How many of us would be that cheerful, after having lost a decent job and then starting a career in food service at that age. Ah, how convicting.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve complained to Nathan in the last month how I never get out of the house because I’m working from home and how annoyed I am about this and that. But the truth is, I get to spend every morning with my husband, I can work during the day, or at night, in a coffee shop or at my kitchen table. We can pay our bills and I never go to bed worrying about how we’ll be fed the next day.

So thanks, Panera Lady (aka Luci), for reminding me that we have much to be thankful for and that we can still bless others by our cheerful and joyful heart when our circumstances aren’t what we anticipated them to be.

Theory vs. Reality

In Uncategorized on September 18, 2009 at 10:59 am

Have you ever been stung by the realization that what sounded like a good idea and practical, in theory, didn’t really play out the way you anticipated in reality?  I find this in a lot of things.  A recipe accompanied by a scrumptious picture of the finished product , just didn’t taste, nor look the way you excepted it to.  Or say, moving to California and being near the ocean sounded great in theory until I came to the hard realization that my friends, family and church didn’t and didn’t want to reside on the west coast?  Or that one sweater you had to have because it would be the missing piece of your entire wardrobe, and yet you get it home and find out that the wool is a little too itchy, the color doesn’t flatter you the way you thought it would, or you missed that the sweater was coming unraveled under the arm.  Disappointments.  The ever elusive “grass is always greener on the other side”.

I had a new experience to add to my list of this very idea.  I went to get my haircut today by someone I’d been referred to.  I sat in her chair and she explained to me how she was going to cut my hair.  It sounded fabulous.  I was going to look whimsical, beautiful.  I could see it all in my head.  I HAD to have that haircut!  It was mid-way through her chopping my locks, that I suddenly lifted my eyes to see my stylist’s own hair.  I studied it for a while and then a light bulb went on.  HER hair actually looked similar to what she had described to me, minus the whimsical and cute part.  SHE WAS GIVING ME HER HAIRCUT!!!  Let me first explain her haircut in the only way I know how:  tired, teased, mid-90’s knockin’ on your door.  My breath became shorter and I felt ready to burst forth the water works.  (What is it about a bad hair cut that makes women cry as though the last chocolate bar in the world has been sold and consumed, never to be enjoyed by another human being again?!)  Luckily I held it together long enough to squeak out, “It’s great”, pay my bill and slip into my car.  All errands planned for after my haircut were quickly cancelled and I cried/drove my way home to shower and try to salvage my wreck of a head.

And I realized, I had been duped again.  I foolishly believed that what I knew could only be true in theory, would/could play out in reality.  Good news is that hair grows back, Nathan is out of town tonight, so I fully intend to drown my sorrows in chick-flicks and comfy pajamas.

Marital Discourse

In Uncategorized on September 16, 2009 at 1:49 pm

Nathan came home with flowers for me today. I have a great husband, don’t I? Here’s the conversation that followed…

Jess: Oh, they’re beautiful! I love deep red Chrysanthemum’s! Reminds me of fall! I love them!

Nathan: Really? I thought they were kind of ugly.

So I guess it was the thought that counts??

What Have I Been Eating?

In Uncategorized on September 16, 2009 at 8:52 am

I’m not sure what I’ve been eating before I go to bed the last few nights, but I have had such vivid dreams, and I usually wake up relieved.  Don’t you hate that?  When your dreams are so terrible or uncomfortable that you wake up and have never been more grateful for reality?

Night one I dreamt I had a baby and kept forgetting to feed it or take care of it.  To make matters worse, I kept neglecting this child, whom I found ugly I might add, in a rat-infested house.  Sick.  I woke up in the middle of the night so upset relaying to Nathan my dream, to which he tried to reassure me, in a half stupor, that I would be a good mother someday.  (He obviously didn’t witness my neglect in my dream or he might have been singin’ another tune.)

Night two, I dreamt that it was our wedding and I forgot to get a wedding dress, so I had to make due with an old moldy and yellowed wedding gown that looked horribly baggy on me (Think Mrs. Havisham, if you’ve read Great Expectations).  You would think that I would stop dreaming about our wedding 6 months into marriage.

And last night I dreamt that I was at a retreat and the girls in my small group were really mean to me (as in junior high school girl, “You’re wearing the wrong shade of pink” mean).  So I ran to the airport to get the heck out of Dodge.  I sat waiting for my flight whilst consoling my sorrows in a warm, soft and gooey Cinnabon, keeping an eye the whole time on the Badger who had taken up residence under my chair and was hoping to snatch my cinnamon roll.  Silly badger.  Don’t they know that in order to get a cinnamon roll from me they would have to pry it from my dead and lifeless fingers?

If any of you can psycho-analyze what all of this means, I’m all ears.  Otherwise I’ll just pray for dreams filled with puffy white clouds and angels with harps.

Transcendent

In Uncategorized on September 8, 2009 at 3:42 pm

adjective:  existing apart from and not subject to the limitations of the material universe.

Unchanging, unmoved, constant.  These are words that remind me that God is as constant as air.  He isn’t changed by the whims of man.  I can wake up and know that He is as the same as when I went to bed.  Lately, I’ve been realizing how easily I am moved by the people around me, how truth seems to change depending on who I’m listening to or who I’m surrounded by, how quickly I jump ship, how fickle I am.  But when I raise my voice in worship of the One True God I worship someone that has not changed for all of eternity.  He is not shaken by the latest health care debate or by what so-and-so said about Him.  He has always been and will always be.  He is my constant.  He is my Rock.  Aren’t you glad that he is not subject to the limitations of man?  That truth is not a gray area to Him?  That He doesn’t change his mind about us?  Ah, He is so good!

Team Eagles

In Uncategorized on September 7, 2009 at 1:38 pm

Fantasy & Football are not two words I would have thought to put together.  But apparantly someone did, and apparently it caught on.  Estimates suggest that there are 13-15 million people playing fantasy football this year and Thursday night at the invitation of a co-worker I joined their ranks.

What is fantasy football you might ask.  Well, as far as I can tell, you assemble a team of players, preferably not on the same team, and you are awarded points based on how they perform.  You get 4 pt. for a TD pass, 2 pt bonus for a 40+ yrd TD pass, 2 pts for a 300-399 yrd passing game, 6pts for a TD rush, 1 pt every 10 rushing yrds, 6 pts for a TD reception, 6 pts for a blocked punt of FG return for a TD, 4pts for a 40-49 yrd field goal, 3 pts for a 0-39 yrd field goad, 3 pts for a 50+ yrd TD rec bonus.  And thats not even half the list.  You pick an entire defense to play.  10 pts for allowing 0 pts, 2 pts for a blocked punt or field goal returned for a touchdown, -10pts for allowing over 46 points… you get the point(pun completely untended).   Your league can be based on a 75/25, 100/0, 50/50, or 25/75 touchdown/yardage.  Each week your assembled players virtually play another players assembled team in your league.  The player who’s team amasses the most points wins.

At least I think thats how it works…

With the season opener in a week, we held our online draft Thursday night.  We spent the beginning of the long weekend in Phoenix with our friends Alan, Steph and their new baby girl Nora.  As good fortune would have it, Alan has been doing fantasy football for a few years.  I had picked up his magazine of FF stats earlier in the day, but couldn’t make much sense of it.  As I scanned pages filled with headings titled PPR, 50%/50%, and IDP, I realized with 5 hours till our 7pm draft time I was in way over my head.  Thankfully, after work, Alan was able to give me a crash course in fantasy football.

7:00pm – Draft begins.

With the fantasy football magazine at my side I make my #1 pick, Adrian Peterson, running back for the Minnesota Vikings.  From there, through the 15th and final round, I did my best to pick the best player in the right position at the right point in the draft based on the magazines rankings, ESPN’s rankings, my limited knowledge of last years season, predictions for this years season, and what I would like to think was a little guidance from the holy spirit.

Below is my fantasy team.  Some of you are wondering what OP, D/ST, and K mean.  I was too.  I had to ask via the chat function of the draft, not exactly the best way to strike fear in the hearts of your fantasy opponents.

Screen shot 2009-09-04 at 1.37.30 PM

So here’s to Team Eagles and this years fantasy season.  I think I’m going to enjoy it.

Oh.. I know Team Eagles is a pretty lame name for a fantasy football team so I welcome any suggestions.

Friends, the Desert and a New Baby

In Uncategorized on September 6, 2009 at 8:14 am

This weekend we headed to Phoenix to visit my friends Steph and Alan, and to see their new little peanut Nora.  Nora was the cutest little snuggle-bug and it was great to get more than an hour phone call’s conversation with Steph!  We relaxed and watched TV, saw lightning, did a little shopping, ate good food, played a game, and did a little babysitting.  It was a quick trip, but well worth the 22 hours we spent in the car round trip! It’s so great to be within driving distance to them after having lived so far away before.  We looked forward to seeing them again soon!

Nathan attempting his first baby change

Nathan attempting his first baby change

And...SUCCESS!  Baby and Changer appear cool, calm, and collected.

And...SUCCESS! Baby and Changer appear cool, calm, and collected.

Mom and baby.  Motherhood has made her even more beautiful.

Mom and baby. Motherhood has made her even more beautiful.

Fall

In Uncategorized on September 4, 2009 at 7:19 am

(09) Fall LeavesAs much as I LOVE the landscape of the Bay Area, the advent of Autumn, causes me to wish for home.  I bet if you ask people what their favorite season is, most will say fall.  I love the crisp morning air, digging in the back of your closet to dawn those cozy sweaters and vests.  I love the food of fall.  Let me say it again, I LOVE the food of fall.  All things apple and pumpkin.  Life just seems more relaxed and thoughtful.  I often feel like the fall months are when I do my best thinking and soul searching.  I can’t explain it, but something in me just comes alive. As I’ve thought about this, I think fall always brings with it the reminder that God is constant.  The seasons (at least in the Midwest), are so constant.  You can be sure that by the beginning of November each year, not a leaf will be found on a branch.  You could bet money on it.  And such is God.  His ways are endless, He isn’t rushed, and He is unfailing.

This will be the first fall I’ll miss spending at my parents.  My parents home is perfect in the fall.  I’ll miss sitting under the apple trees, picking apples, making cider, watching my mom make apple pies.  This year, I’m excited to start some traditions of our own for fall.  I’m told autumn lasts longer here and you get to enjoy the changing leaves for a few months, as opposed to weeks.  And that coupled with constant autumn-like weather is bound to make this nest a little more light hearted.

The spark began where it always begins.

In Uncategorized on September 2, 2009 at 2:35 pm

I’ve seen this a few times now on TV.

It’s core message and anthemic music, I’m sure, genuinely moves me.   Odd for a commercial, I know. But I think it moves me because in truth its not trillion dollar government stimulus’s, bank bailouts, cash for clunkers, or cap and trade that grow an economy and provide jobs.  Its these people, their creativity, their work ethic, their willingness to risk for a reward.