21 April 2010

One Fruit I Forget to Eat...

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control..." (Galatians 5:22-23 NIV)

I need to focus more. In this world, it is certainly easy to let my mind wander- "Wouldn't it be nice if I had...?" Jesus said it was simple: Just keep your eyes on the Father, and your nose stuck in His Word (not in other peoples' business!), and the fruit of the Spirit would just naturally emanate from you.

The other day, I was commenting that I "need to remember" that patience is a Godly trait. My friend Daniel reassured me with this: "We sometimes think about the fruits of the Spirit as things we need to work on, but in reality the analogy the apostle Paul was making is that these things just naturally flow out of our relationship with Christ, because the grower doesn't try to make fruit appear on his tree; he has to focus on the tree itself (the relationship with Christ) and the bearing fruit follows when that is healthy."

At any rate, you and I should realise that our growth as Christians is a journey- not to arrive at perfection, but to get to know the Perfect One more intimately.

So why am I talking about patience being something I'm lacking? Well...drumroll, please... I GOT A JOB! On Monday, I started working at San Joaquin Community Hospital in the Health Information Management (HIM) department. I work as a "Document Imaging Specialist" from 1 - 930 PM, Monday through Friday.

But what does this mean? Here is the job description:
Summary of Duties-
The Health Information Management Document Imaging Specialist is responsible for preparing the medical records to maximize scanning efficiency. This position is also responsible for prepping and scanning all paper documents into the electronic document imaging system according to established procedures, guidelines, and productivity standards. The Document Imaging Specialist must understand the validation and completion of the Quality Control process, ensuring the integrity and legality of the EHR. This position is responsible for reviewing scanned documents for overall image quality and the accuracy of indices assigned during the scanning process as well as according to the time-frame requirements. Also responsible for the maintenance and preservation of confidential patient records. Conducts analysis of the electronic medical record for quantitative and qualitative completeness based on Medical Staff Rules and Regulations, State, The Joint Commission, and Federal Guidelines. Also responsible for the retrieval and filing of old paper records required for patient care, audits, release of information and other health care operation purposes.

Qualifications Requirements-
+1 year experience in a health information management position preferred
+Ability to communicate effectively (verbally and written)
+Ability to adapt to a rapid change in both internal and external environments
+Works well with others in a team-orientated environment, including support of other co-workers’ job duties in a manner that further advances the goals and objectives of the whole organization
+Ability to work independently and perform effectively in a fast-paced, high-growth, rapidly changing environment
Now, this is all very new to me. You might have noticed that it says "experience in a HIM position preferred." Well, because I do NOT have that kind of experience (just experience in general office tasks), the last two days have been spent learning like crazy. I've found myself lacking patience with myself, I start up with the self-deprecation... and man, that just makes the work day miserable. I spent the first half of Monday really getting down on myself because I kept making little mistakes (well, duh, it's my first day!). After meeting Kevin for my dinner break, I decided that I was going to be positive, even if I mess up- and, can I just say, that made all the difference. Day two went by a lot quicker, and I wasn't so hard on myself. Like I mentioned above, this is NOT a journey to perfection! ;P

Anyway, I am really glad to be alive right now. I'm enjoying getting out on the bike, but most of all, I'm loving spending time with my mom (who has been coming out on rides with me). On Sunday, we went on a 25-mile ride, but on our way back, we stopped at the Elephant Bar for some snacks and something to drink. It was nice spending the day with her...and even the evening, because she has started coming with me to church! :) I tell you what, though- our "in-betweeners" (as my mom calls them) were certainly very sore! Haha.

Well, day 3 at work starts in a few hours. (Happy Administrative Professionals Day, as a side note!) I am looking forward to all that I learn today. What are YOU looking forward to today? ;)

Rest in Peace, Cousin Richard.

A couple weeks ago, I mentioned the death of my 48-year-old cousin Richard. Well, I thought I would share an article that the Sacramento Press recently wrote in his honour. In short, my cousin almost single-handedly prevented the beautiful and historic Sacramento Memorial Auditorium from being remade into a more "modern" theatre. Though he struggled with his own demons, he was truly a man who made an impact in his community. If you need anymore proof, just check out some of the community's comments (at the end of the article)! (Just a side-note: the photo to your left is of Richard back in 1987, I believe, playing with little baby me. Teehee!)

Advocate for Memorial Auditorium Dies
by Kathleen Haley, published on April 8, 2010 at 8:05PM

A community activist who was at the center of a campaign to maintain Sacramento’s historic Memorial Auditorium has died.

Richard LaVoie of Sacramento died April 2 from heart failure. He was 48.

LaVoie was the organizer of a campaign in the early 1990s to renovate Memorial Auditorium while staying true to its original design, said Bob Rakela, a member of the nonprofit group Friends of Sacramento Memorial Auditorium.

Today, the interior of the building looks impressive, Rakela said. And that’s largely because of LaVoie’s efforts and his fight to “keep it in its original configuration,” he added.

LaVoie pushed for passage of Measure H, the 1992 ballot initiative that successfully prevented the city from carrying out a plan to remake the auditorium into a fixed-seat theater, said Richard Clowdus, a member of the nonprofit group.

LaVoie was committed to preserving the auditorium as a “historic treasure,” Clowdus said.

Noelle Young is also a member of the nonprofit organization that LaVoie founded. “He was a very unique individual, and his loss was huge,” Young said. “He was a wonderful person -- very inspiring in a quiet way.”

Joanne LaVoie, Richard LaVoie’s mother, said phone calls have been pouring in from people who knew him. “I had so many people calling; I don’t believe it,” she said. “It’s just fantastic.”

The graveside service will be held at Sierra Hills Memorial Park and East Lawn Mortuary in Citrus Heights at 2 p.m. April 20, said Joanne LaVoie. After the service, a catered reception will be held at the Sierra Hills Reception Hall, she said. Sierra Hills Memorial Park is located at 5757 Greenback Lane. The public is invited to attend the services.

14 April 2010

Honesty Time...

Man, I'll be honest: Being an "on-fire-for-God" Christian is HARD. You might be saying, "Oh, come on, Lily- how hard is it to love God, go to church every Sunday, and read the Bible?" Well, for those of you who don't know, I used to be a hardcore, ready-to-throw-down, staunch atheist. I was one of those kids, at age 10, on the playground telling kids they were stupid for going to church with their parents. Thank God (like, seriously) that I am not that person anymore, but I was not saved until after I was married to an atheist and had multiple friends who were also vocally atheist. So, yes, I am struggling with that- but I praise the Lord that I have Him to walk me through it, placing Godly people in my life.

On that note, I will also be honest and say that it's really difficult to move on with my life and just live free of my "defining" past of anorexia. Even Godly friends/family members, who understand the concept of 2 Corinthians 5:17 will start getting "worried" about how much I am enjoying bike riding. I have to say, though- God is so freakin' awesome. I was flipping through one of my Bibles during an evening where people were especially coming against me (I had three friends attack my beliefs, and family members expressing unnecessary concern about me to the point that, I don't like to admit, I started doubting my own healing), and I guess I had dog-earred these verses; the pages immediately jumped out of my hands and to Job 33:19-30 (The Message version):

God might get their attention through pain,
by throwing them on a bed of suffering,
So they can't stand the sight of food,
have no appetite for their favorite treats.
They lose weight, wasting away to nothing,
reduced to a bag of bones.
They hang on the cliff-edge of death,
knowing the next breath may be their last.

"But even then an angel could come,
a champion —there are thousands of them!—
to take up your cause,
A messenger who would mercifully intervene,
canceling the death sentence with the words:
'I've come up with the ransom!'
Before you know it, you're healed,
the very picture of health!

"Or, you may fall on your knees and pray— to God's delight!
You'll see God's smile and celebrate,
finding yourself set right with God.
You'll sing God's praises to everyone you meet,
testifying, 'I messed up my life—
and let me tell you, it wasn't worth it.
But God stepped in and saved me from certain death.
I'm alive again! Once more I see the light!'

"This is the way God works.
Over and over again
He pulls our souls back from certain destruction
so we'll see the light—and live in the light!

Seriously?! I mean, WOW. If there is one thing (and really, there are MANY things) I have learned over the last six months, it's that God gives us hope for and direction in ALL circumstances! Yeah...wow.

11 April 2010

"Rollin' Wit My Top Down, Listenin' to This Jesus Muzik..."

Yeah, back on the grind again- I know it's been a lil' while, but it's time again
Folks askin' Crae, "When ya gonna rhyme again?" I'm like, "Hold up, give me time, my man!"
See, a lot of thangs change, some stay the same- went from "H Town" to "D Town" to "Memphis", man
One thang that's "fasho", everywhere I go- people caught up in "theyself", money, cars, and clothes (yep)
They talk about it all the time and put it in they songs
They drive around and play it loud like it ain't nothin' wrong
And all they talk about is sinful stuff, got everybody actin' bad, thinkin' that they a thug (weeelll...)
They tryin' to drown me out, but nah, they ain't gon' count me out
I got a backpack full of tracks, plus I keep a Johnny Mac so we can pound it out
Plus I'm bumpin' these JESUS BEATS whenever they SEEIN' ME
People lookin' all confused, 'cause every one of my tunes is screamin' "JESUS", peeps
I was bumpin' dat TRIP LEE, BJ rollin' WIT ME, both our heads noddin' like we dozin' or we TIPSY
But we ain't been drankin', man- nah, this song just bangin', man
Got us screamin' "JESUS" out the window while we changin' lanes, while we're just...

[Chorus: x3]
Ridin' wit my top down listenin' to this Jesus music
Ride-ridin' wit my top down, down top, top down, ridin' wit my top down
Listenin' to this Jesus music

[Trip Lee:]
If you hear that the bass bang and you see us in ya streets
That stuff ya boy's playin', man, it's gon' be dem Jesus beats (y'all ready)
That stuff we bumpin' ain't that "lean wit it, rock wit it" (nope)
It's that "change ya life and please let the Rock hit it"
Now that stuff that we bump bring the sound of Christ (Christ) 116 our prayer to Christ was once lost, then found- now we down wit Christ
In the dark hearts stop, but we found the light- now it's soundin' right
Suicide to the good and the phantom life 'cause the gospel is good
In the past I don't think y'all understood- now ya got it messed up
Let us outta ya hood, we got the windows down and when we find a cruise
We tryin' to glorify the Lord with what we listen to (OK)- we bump dat Cross movement
We bump that Lampmode (Lampmode); we 'bout that Jesus music
Get up yo' hands, bro (get up yo' hands, bro)- yeah
It might be screwed and chopped; it might be east coast
Either way this Jesus music's hot- bump this in ya speakers, bro
The Lord ain't pleased wit that money and weed
So if you hear them "'sup" and ya see us up in ya streets
I might be...

[Chorus: x3]
Ridin' wit my top down listenin' to this Jesus music
Ride-ridin' wit my top down, down top, top down, ridin' wit my top down
Listenin' to this Jesus music

You like music, from rap to gospel- but ya prolly never heard nobody rap the gospel
Different sound but the truth's the same- no choirs, no bands, but the truth remains
We got fam' and the clique set the booth on flames, St Louis, others, Philly
Like Duce and Flame's- if ya lost in the flow, don't lose the name
It's Jesus Christ, the King of the jews, my man
This ain't entertainment, dawg, it's timeless truth
Would you rather hear a song about shiny coupes? (nope)
Non-fat, non-gat, non-killa rap, 100% "Christ da Blood Spilla" rap
Y'all feelin' that? Rap wrapped up with the gospel; 'ey, Trip, dawg, run it back
Y'all feelin' that? Rap wrapped up with the gospel; 'ey, Trip, dawg, run it back

[Trip Lee:]
If in our car you hear that boom-bep, and you hear some dude's rep
It ain't dem folks that boast, it's folks that tell you where the truth's at
We don't wanna hear about dimes and dope (nope)
We don't wanna hear about nines and smoke
We don't wanna hear about movin' packs and foolish cats
Who lie and boast
We do wanna hear about Christ the King
Do wanna hear how lives is changed
We do wanna hear how God is pleased
And theology of the Bible, man
This Jesus music turn heads, so turn it up and let 'em know
In all we do He's first and this Jesus music's better, bro (yeah)

[Chorus: x3]
Ridin' wit my top down listenin' to this Jesus music
Ride-ridin' wit my top down, down top, top down, ridin' wit my top down
Listenin' to this Jesus music

10 April 2010

Asthma and COPD Education Center (ACEC) 20-Mile Family Fun Ride

Mom and I went out for the ACEC ride this morning at 9 AM. It started at the registration table at CSUB, then we got onto the Riverwalk bike path and rode out to Enos Lane. That's about 10 miles, where we got some snacks and water, and then rode another 10 miles back. (Here is the interactive map.) At the end, we got to have some yummy BBQ chicken, beans, salsa, rolls, and salad! The weather was seriously awesome, though on the way back the headwind was pretty strong. Mom donated 100$ to the ACEC, so they ended up giving her 100 raffle tickets (yes, I'm serious!)... I'm pretty sure one of us will be getting a winning call tonight or tomorrow. Haha.

I got some photos while we were out:

09 April 2010

Satan Has Been Defeated!

So, as you might not know, I was away at Mercy Ministries for just short of 6 months. They posted my very condensed testimony on their website here: Nine Mercy Graduates Celebrate in Nashville, St Louis, and Lincoln!

I was hesitant about sharing my full written testimony, but after talking with a friend (and waiting a few weeks for God's discernment), I am going to post it here with the hope that people hear what I went through- and then see how I came through it all, with God on my side... "I would think any girl could read that and feel loved." (That quote came via my friend, if you're wondering.) As a side note, I'd like to mention that I have not posted any photos of me before I went to Mercy Ministries. This is because most of them only serve[d] to drive myself (and others!) further into that sort of disordered, victimised thinking. However, there are three "before, during, after" photos. If you click on them, it will navigate you away from my blog (to the original photo), and end up interrupting the music player. :( But anyway, with that clarified, here is my testimony...

Let’s rewind 15, nearly 16, years. At that point in time, I was Lily Berger, age 8. I was short, with blonde hair and bright green eyes...and I was hyper beyond all means. I had already become the school outcast, lost friends, irritated adults, and exasperated my parents. I quickly realised that I needed desperately to calm myself down in any way possible. I had noticed that when I didn't eat lunch, or didn't have a full meal, I would start to drag in energy after awhile. It made me less of an annoyance, less "obnoxious," as I was often described. And so it began. Throw away a juice box here, a sandwich there.

By age 12, I had extremely low self-esteem, due to a childhood of frequent physical, verbal and emotional abuse. My view of what it meant to be Christian was also warped by my staunchly atheist upbringing. Although my parents provided my sister and me with a constant whirlwind of extracurricular opportunities that their parents were never able to afford, they also expected perfection. As I had many female family members who often vocally expressed their dissatisfaction with their weight, I began to use that perfectionist mentality on my physical looks, as well as to determine my worth as a person. Now the eating disorder was not just about calming my hyperactive mind; I was restricting and throwing things away in order to slim down my legs.

At age 15, the abuse and trauma that I had been experiencing heightened, and my thoughts became more and more suicidal. I even made a pact to myself to lose weight, lose my mind, and then lose my life by age 20. I began self-inflicting as a secondary way to punish myself for reasons only known to me. I never felt like I could do anything well enough, and thus, I couldn't be worthy of happiness. I began restricting and purging on a daily basis, taking illegal diet drugs, and covering up self-inflicted pain by downing sleeping pills and cough syrup. I spent my days in either a fog or in rapid motion, running at a 100 MPH. I felt like I was in a perpetual cycle of exhausting pain. I had to find an alternative, it seemed, but I had no clue what that could be.

A month after my 17th birthday in May, I went on my 1st date—the prom—with Kevin Mershon, who was a year older than me. Four months later, Kevin moved from our hometown of Bakersfield to go to San Jose State University, and we began a long distance relationship. A year and a half later, I graduated high school, began attending Bakersfield College, and started working at Starbucks.

When I was 19, Kevin and I got engaged. I was elated and moved up to San Jose to be with him. Finally free from the control and abuse at home, I drank constantly, skipping school in favour of vodka. I could keep things "under control" until my 20th birthday, when I bought my own scale. The next day, my descent into restrictive anorexia nervosa began spiraling out of control. I was also terrified that I had lived past my 20th birthday, even after multiple previous attempts to take my own life. Fear dominated my thoughts and actions.

Within 6 months, I had become dangerously underweight. During that time, I had also taken a second job as a student assistant in the department of foreign languages at San Jose State University, where I was also a full-time French student. Kevin eventually convinced me to see a university counselor, as I was slipping at work, fainting, and though I was still getting straight A's in school, I couldn't concentrate. I had also begun to isolate and beg co-workers for prescription pain medication...just to get out of my head. I was literally starving myself to death, and every moment seemed too bright, too warped to handle. Though the counselor was nice, I lied my way around her questions, trying to “fix myself” on my own.

Kevin and I were married on the 21 December 2006, during the university's winter recess, in the courthouse of Bakersfield, CA. I felt like maybe I could finally be happy, feel loved. Three months later, however, I admitted to my counselor that I was taking sleeping pills in large amounts to numb my mind, and she had me admitted to a psych ward immediately. After a month in the hospital, Kevin and my parents were informed that I no longer had any insurance coverage left. I was discharged in April and immediately admitted to a residential facility for eating disorders. My father informed me sternly that I needed to get better because they were going to pay out-of-pocket for me. I had finally gotten my parents’ attention, and began to believe that the only thing that made me unique or I could be good at was being “the sickly anorexic daughter.”

The next 2.5 years were spent in and out of hospitals for seizures, heart problems, and near kidney failure. Again, my parents poured money into 2 more inpatient facilities. These last two stays were at Christian facilities, and my eyes were opened to who God is. However, I continued to be ruled by my “anorexic victim” identity and the doubt and skepticism of atheism. God simply wasn’t real for me—He worked for other, more carefree people—and He certainly couldn’t miraculously “heal” people of a “medically-documented psychiatric illness like anorexia nervosa." These traumatic experiences also only planted more fear in my heart.

After my last inpatient stay, I spent my time trying to help others get into treatment. All the while, I was starving myself and spent several hours per day running and walking around town, just in order to be “good at something” and to somehow find something to fill the empty loneliness I felt deep in my heart. It was only when I was looking for free-of-charge treatment for another woman that I stumbled across Mercy Ministries’ website. When I attempted to convince a friend to sponsor me for the 2008 Run For Mercy, she refused, saying that the only way she’d donate is if I was a resident!

Almost exactly a year later (October 2009), I walked though those front doors, both physically and spiritually emaciated. I was full of bitterness, anger, and literally had no hope of being free from the bondage of anorexia.

Taken only a couple weeks into my stay, with a former resident. I was still rebelling by exercising at any chance I got, despite the staff's audible concern about my failing health.

BUT! In those 5.5 months, God completely transformed my life! Within the first week, He completely delivered me from a pack-a-day smoking habit and a reliance on multiple psychotropic medications. As I continued to immerse myself in the Word, I began to see myself as God does—uniquely made, inside and out, for an awesome purpose that I cannot even truly fathom! He showed me, through the staff at Mercy, that His perfect and unfailing love pours into and out of me, casting out all fear. (The staff also taught me all about respect, humility, and submission to Godly authority, too! :D)

Taken a month into my stay, during the grand opening, with my parents. That day, I expressed my unconditional forgiveness and asked for their forgiveness, as well.

By God forgiving me for all the pain I’ve caused others, I have been able to forgive myself and those who hurt me in the past. I no longer have to identify myself by what others say or do to me, because God does that for me instead! I now know who I am in Christ—capable, accepted, joyful, strong, confident, and healed, a unique piece of His beautiful handiwork, and a totally new creation! At Mercy, I learned to trust in God’s promises to take everything I went through and use it solely for my good. I can see now that He used all those negative experiences to get me to Mercy Ministries where He could hold me close and show me that He is my Protector, my Healer, and the only one I should seek approval from. Through it all, I was sheltered by the covering of His Son’s precious blood. He was nailed to the cross, so I could live freely, not just “coping” or maintaining a façade. What’s more, God became my Rock—I no longer have to be self-reliant, nor do I have to continue in the victim role because He empowers me to make that choice between life and death. I realized that even though I felt like my way was working just enough to get me through the day, that path led not only to mortal death but eternal death as well. His grace has become sufficient for me. I am finally able to sleep through the night, because I am wrapped up in His peace. As I seek out God’s will for my life, He has continued to provide, and when I give everything over to Him, He opens doors I doubted could ever even be unlocked. My life wasn't and isn't perfect, nor will it ever be, but I don't need to be scared of that. It's so awesome to know that God will always and forever be there to guide me, even if I don't get what He's doing in my life. My favorite verse, 2 Timothy 1:7, sums it up best (I’ve paraphrased just a bit): “God didn’t give me a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind!

While at Mercy, my aimless, unceasing running in search of something to fill a void has charged its course— I am now running for the prize of eternal life!

Taken on 24 March 2010, after graduation, with programme director Cheryl Bangs and two other graduates. I'm the one in white! Read more about Beth's (right) journey here!

Later edit- Read more about God's awesome and transforming power here: "Who Am I?"

08 April 2010

There... I Fixed It! (Epic FAIL!)

(I just thought y'all could use a laugh...)

07 April 2010

God is GOOD!

Eh, we hear it time and time again... "God is so good!" And sometimes, we start getting irritated with how cliche those four words have become. But, I mean, really- God can do so many awesome things when we just give "it" up (whatever your "it" is) to Him. I'll be honest, it's not been easy adjusting to my "new" body, but He never assured us that any change would be a cinch. And honestly, we never learn to appreciate how far we've come if letting go of the old junk is an easy process.

Since I last wrote, I found out that my cousin, age 48, fell over and died from a heart attack while waiting at the bus stop. I didn't know him very well, as he was pretty introverted, but his death got me thinking:

We really DO need to take care of ourselves, because even if we don't see the immediate consequences from our actions (in his case, years of heavy smoking and morbid obesity), it will eventually catch up with us (many times, without warning)!
2) I know my grandma, my aunt (my cousin's mother), and my mom are in deep mourning over his death. I keep coming back to my aunt, though- I couldn't imagine what it would be like to lose a child after 48 short years, where he lived in constant self-doubt and self-condemnation. And that brought me to the remembrance that I, myself, nearly up and died from almost the exact same thing! Anorexia and heavy smoking is just as dangerous as the latter and obesity, and yes, it can cause one to keel over from a heart attack (especially considering the miles of walking and running I did in the 105-degree summer heat). But that's not really what concerns me; what saddens my heart is knowing that my mother would have had to deal with that, just as my aunt is grieving the death of her son. And I've lived 25 years LESS than my cousin did! That being said, I'm determined to start living my life, and spending more time with my mom, even if it means feeling a bit uncomfortable sometimes. Just like I said above... LIVING LIFE ISN'T NECESSARILY EASY!

Anyway, Easter was, as it should be, a big day of celebration, though I didn't really go to any egg hunts, scarf chocolate, or eat tonnes of ham with generations of my family. I spent the morning at Westside Church of Christ with my mom-in-law so she wouldn't have to go alone (my dad-in-law is away for work, and my husband won't go to church). Afterward we picked Kevin up and went to lunch at Cactus Valley. Later that night, I picked my mom up, and we both went to my new church called New Life Center. The worship there is a lot louder, instrumental, and charismatic than Westside. I'm actually going to their women's Bible study for the first time tonight- the workbook we are starting is called "Emotionally Healthy Spirituality"... sounds good, eh? But yeah, I was really glad that my mom came with me, since she had spent the day in bed, depressed about the passing of my cousin. Sometimes getting out helps to get your mind off things...

At any rate, I think the service helped remind my mom (and myself!) that she is not condemned by her past because the sacrificial blood of Jesus Christ covers us all- I started crying when Pastor James drove that point home, because I certainly have screwed up in the eyes of a lot of people. God is so good, though! (There I go... saying that phrase again!) I just refuse to be defined as the anorectic anymore, and it's like, I don't even really want to associate with people who are choosing to stay stuck in that mentality. (This, however, gets me a little torn up because I don't want to associate with those people who continue to make the wrong decisions for my own sake, but then again, I know that if the staff at Mercy hadn't firmly persisted in breaking through to me, I would be dead! It's one of those things that you really have to patiently wait on the Lord to give you discernment on what to say or do, you know? :/)

Exciting news! On Monday, I rode my bike to the Starbucks I have been hoping to get a job at, and had a short interview with Ally, the manager. At the end, she said that she wasn't sure how many hours she could start me off with, but that she really wanted me on her team no matter what, because I have "great energy" and she felt like she had known me forever (her words!)... Awesome! It's amazing how God really works through you- when you let Him! So yeah, on Friday, she's going to call me with my training schedule and I'll start working within the next couple weeks! WOOHOO!

Later on Monday, my mom and I rode our bikes downtown, so she could get her lymphedema arm sleeve thingie measured. We ended up having lunch at the Garden Spot, and then rode home. On the Kern River Parkway path, though, we got flagged down by a newscaster and interviewed. The video of it is below, and we were interviewed around the 3:15 and 3 minute points. Haha...

Yesterday evening, we had our friends (a couple) and their 1.5-year-old son over for dinner. It's amazing how utterly grown up their little one is now! The last time I saw him, he was JUST starting to roll over on his own. Now he can say words, stand, walk, and even run! He knows all his body parts, and definitely knows how to be mischievous! >:D He's so precious, and yes, it was great to get to see my friends, as well!

Anyway, as I sit here on the couch with my big boy cat snoring next to me, listening to great worship music on the Contemporary Christian music channel, I will leave you with these awesome verses (Psalm 118:5-6) that I re-read today:
"In my anguish I cried to the LORD, and he answered by setting me free. The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?"

02 April 2010

Go, Go, Go!

There's something so deliciously freeing about riding my bike, but not feeling like I have to pedal as hard as I can in order to "get away." I don't have to be a pro, and I don't have to be the best. I'm just going to be myself, even if that means that I'm not #1 at it.
I've started going to Bike Bakersfield and fiddling around in the Bike Kitchen. It's definitely a good hobby, and I've made a few friends/acquaintances. (Even cooler: If I volunteer for 15+ hours, I'll be able to put together my own bike from the donated parts there. Scraper bike, anyone? Hahaha!) On the 30 March, Kevin and I even ventured out to Beach Park for the Full Moon Ride- sadly, I ended up with a flat about halfway to the Riverwalk Park, so Kev walked my bike to a nearby restaurant while I rode his bike back to the car in order to drive to meet up with him again. (Wow, sounds really complicated but it really wasn't.)
This morning and afternoon, I was blessed to go out for a bike ride with my beautiful mom. I've really started to appreciate the woman who brought me into this amazing world. We rode to Trader Joe's, where we bought lunch, and then ate outside in the beautiful sun. On our way back to my parents' house, we stopped by the Chinmaya Mission, where she showed me all the flowers she planted in their garden. Pretty dang cool, if you ask me! Man, I love spring, don't you?
In the last week, I've visited my grandma twice- she's about 2.5 hours away in a nursing home, and it breaks my heart to see her so helpless. There are days when I just cannot grasp how old I really am. Just 20 more days, and I will be 24 years old. I remember the moment Kevin and I decided that we would start dating, when I was just 17. I remember celebrating Y2K. I remember my first Nutcracker performance at age 10. It's so weird. So seeing my grandma in that hospital bed, her hip tender to the touch and her shoulder in a sling (she broke it after falling- she has severe osteoporosis) really woke me up. On the 25 March, when I went to visit her with my dad and Kevin, she turned and looked at me, then whispered: "Lily, you've done this whole hospital thing a lot lately; how do you just let people do everything for you?" I guess everyone struggles to give up control in one way or the other.
I've also spent some time with my mother-in-law (MIL) lately. I rode my bike over to her house, then helped her walk the dogs and wrap wedding gifts. I'm hoping to get a job at the same hospital that my MIL works at as the chief clinical dietitian/assistant director of nutrition. If anyone out there is reading this, PLEASE pray that God directs all my words, actions, and choices in the coming weeks. I am going to have an interview with the manager of the nearest Starbucks this next Monday (5 April), and my MIL said I should get a call about an interview within the next week.

I notice that the only thing that causes me to want to backslide is when I start looking back at the past. I am plagued by people, memories, relationships, places from my past, popping up after forgetting me for the last six months. This is particularly hard, so I look to the Bible, which says that the Lord does not forget me, nor does is He flaky or untrustworthy. Phew...
Life is beautiful. I just pray that I stay this positive and focussed on my God...and HIS TRUTHS.