Saturday, January 1, 2011

Reflections on 2010

2010 was quite the year! In celebration of the beginning of 2011, I wanted to share some reflections on the past year, month by month. What were the highlights of your 2010?

January: I fasted for the first time in my entire life. Not one to do things halfway, I participated in a church-wide Daniel Fast- basically no meat, white flour, processed sugar, processed foods, or dairy! It was so difficult, but taught me a lot about spiritual discipline and what it means to rely on God. I also got to travel to Los Angeles for CSM Staff Training. It was great to get away from winter for a week and meet some wonderful members of the CSM staff!

February: A month of transition. I went from living alone to having three new roommates- none of whom I had met prior to living together! That adjustment was challenging, uncomfortable, and all around very difficult for me. Ultimately, living with Meagan, Mallory, and Nicole was one of the biggest blessings to me, and I can't imagine what the rest of my apprenticeship would have been like without these girls by my side!

March: Hosted a couple of amazing groups- one from Virginia, and one from Tulsa, OK. Had an incredibly raw conversation with a transvestite prostitute. March was heavy, but so full of precious learning opportunities that I wouldn't trade for anything.

April: Celebrated our upcoming marriage with a couple's shower in Indianapolis! It was completely perfect, and we were reminded how wonderful our friends and family are. April also had its low points- in particular the loss of my good friend Treneal as she went back to the streets and drugs. In what was probably the toughest crisis in my Christian walk, I watched a woman who had been so in love with God and had been clean for almost two years throw everything away for a momentary high. I'm still not sure I understand it, but I've learned that some things don't come with easy answers.

May: Insanity. Finished up my time in Chicago, moved home, and had a bachelorette party!

June: Oh you married. Moved across the country. Honeymooned in Hawaii...a nice quiet month!

July: Began classes at Fuller. More specifically, took two week intensive classes in New Testament. Spent a LOT of time in the library. Found our church in Pasadena, Pasadena Covenant! Bonnie visited!

August: Zack got his first real job at Russ Reid, doing production design! Pasadena was so, so hot, and I began the slow process of calling Southern California home.

September: Went back to Chicago for the Christian Community Development Association conference with the financial support of my church! It was an incredible week with a new friend, and provided some much-needed nourishment for my soul. I was so honored to get to meet some amazing urban ministry leaders. Back in Pasadena, I began my internship as the Junior High Ministries Intern!

October: Discovered what an incredible city San Diego is while attending the National Youthworker's Conference. Went camping for the first time in my life- and loved it! October wrapped up with me being a snuggie AND grapes for Halloween- on separate occasions!

November: Hosted my first Thanksgiving dinner, and had a wonderful visit from Allison. I never realized how exhausting cooking that meal is! Having friends around the table was so worth the work in the end.

December: Somehow survived my first finals week of Seminary. Enjoyed an incredible visit home for an early Christmas. Seeing so many friends and family was such a blessing to us. And of course, we celebrated our first married Christmas together!

So what's ahead for 2011? Some things I would like to accomplish:

-Run more. Especially since I'm doing a 10K in February! Uphill. Oh man.

-Spend more time on self-care. Relaxing, spending money on things like's hard for me to justify these types of things, but I know they are so important to staying healthy and sane.

-Learning how to say no. More specifically, not feeling GUILTY for saying no!

I think 2011 is going to be a great year. Maybe I'll blog more- maybe you'll read it? Let's not get too crazy with these resolutions! :)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The In-Between

It's ironic that I've been so bad at blogging since my last entry was entitled "The Quitter."

Self-fulfilling prophecy and all that.

Life in Pasadena has been insane. Classes have started, my junior high internship is in full-swing, and I am "babysitting" (aka getting to hang out with) one of my junior high girls and her eight year old brother two days after school. It's busy, but mostly great. I'm trying to learn the fine art of saying "no", which I have always been terrible at! For my marriage and sanity's sake, I'm working hard on accomplishing this goal!

Yesterday was Zack's birthday! One of my favorite things about babysitting for the Crooks family is that we get to spend time with them, share a meal at their home, and just do things that make me feel like we belong here. Last night we ate a dinner of stew and biscuits and had a birthday pie for Zack. It rained all day, so after dinner we sat by the fire!

It's nice to have a sense of home when you are so far away. The realization that we are not going to be home on Thanksgiving or Christmas for the first time EVER hit me so hard last night and it was tough to swallow. Luckily, Allison is coming to visit for Thanksgiving and we will be home in December for two weeks. But there is something about having your entire family crowded in one house, eating too much, and getting on each others' nerves that you just can't duplicate. It's also weird, because how do you begin new traditions when your situation is bound to change in a couple years? We are in a place of in-betweens, and that has always been difficult for me. But the best thing about being there is the promise of something new coming up, and knowing that we are headed someplace good, together.

And it is very good to be together.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Quitter

I did something new today: I quit a job. Not only did I quit a job, but I quit it after four days. Yikes.

Gymboree should have been perfect. I love children. I love people. Despite that, something just wasn't settling in my soul with this job. Every time I was there, I felt a great deal of anxiety, and the past few days had been some of the tensest I can remember. Not a good situation for my emotional well-being!

The amazing thing is that God knows what I need, and he loves me enough to constantly reveal it to me. One of the junior high girl's mom is going back to school and needs someone to be with this student and her younger brother two days a week after school- and she asked me! I couldn't be more excited! Getting paid to spend relational time with one of your students?? (Oh wait, paid youth ministers DO get that, haha.) It's a much smaller time commitment with some great students and I am just so thankful that Theresa wants me to spend time with her kids.

It's so funny how life is in a constant state of change. I'm trying to learn to embrace it, and just go with the flow. Quitting a job after four days was definitely a risk, and I felt like a total flake. But maybe taking those risks and not doing everything "the right way" is good. It's important to realize that I'm not perfect, and I don't need to be good at everything. If I'm not responding to my calling, it's not going to work. I'm glad I got the chance to learn this!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Busy Bees!

Well, well, well. I've been a failure at updating the past couple weeks! Sorry about that. Life in the Moore household has been pretty eventful lately. Here's a quick update (I have some fun pictures to post from our recent outings, so come back soon):

-Zack got a design job! He is working for Russ Reid, a design firm that specializes is not for profits. They do all of WorldVision's stuff! I think that is especially cool, and I love how we are both connected to growing the Kingdom in different ways. We really appreciated all of your prayers and support during his searching. That time was filled with so much anxiety and uncertainty, and it really helped knowing that we had support and love from so far away.

-I got a part-time job! I am working at Gymboree Play and Music. No, it is not the clothing store :) It is a center that specializes in child play and development through music and parental interaction. Such a fun environment!

-I am now the junior high intern at Pasadena Covenant. It's a blessing and a challenge in so many ways. I pretty much have zero experience working at a church that is this small (only about 200 people), and the emphasis on the family is both exciting and something I'm not so familiar with. The students have really been a blessing to Zack and I thus far, and I can't wait to get to know them better!

As we build community here, So Cal has begun to feel more like home. I'm starting to really love it here :)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Bloomfest '10

I studied Psychology and Sociology in college. I'm a bit voyeuristic (should I admit that??). My husband was an art major.

Knowing that, it should come as no surprise that today we journeyed to the downtown LA Arts District. Bloomfest 2010 was going on, which is a street festival celebrating the life of Joel Bloom (he died three years ago). This guy pretty much founded the art colony in LA, so people that live in this neighborhood love him.

Along with bands, vendors, and the famous LA food trucks, Bloomfest features something especially awesome: the chance to tour all the studios, galleries, and artists' lofts for free.

If you've ever taken a walk with me at night, you know I love to creep on people. It's weird, I know. But I am just fascinated with people's everyday lives. So to get the opportunity to just walk into these working/living spaces was pretty exciting for me.

We started off the day by having lunch in Little Tokyo. Incredible! Packed with people, being in Little Tokyo just reminded me why I love the city so much. There's something about the sheer diversity of a city that I have trouble finding in the suburbs. The strangest, most interesting people hang out in the city, and it was refreshing to be reminded that not everyone in the world is a Christian, well-off, or...normal :) I have a deep appreciation for people who are just genuinely being their freakishly weird selves. There's something very commendable in that. Case in point:

Gotta love the costumes. These teens were waiting for this Japanese punk rock band. Naturally, the band was in costume too!

We had lunch at this excellent little restaurant where you took a number to be seated. It was incredibly crowded, and there was no silverware. We drank our soup like tea, and were required to use chopsticks. Suddenly, I was very thankful for my CSM ethnic restaurant experiences!

After Lunch, we headed back over to the Arts District and hopped on the Furry Bus. Yes, that was its (accurate) official name! We had an amazing guide named Lily. She's been living in the community for over 20 years and is an artist as well. She kept calling us the "new ones from Indiana" and knew everyone. I don't think we would have enjoyed the day nearly as much if we hadn't had her around!

Yes, we rode around in this! It was cushy and furry and all-together fun! The television was playing 80's music videos on loop.

Oh- and there was a hipster marching band. You might think that the two cannot coexist...but in LA, anything is possible!

Graffiti is legal in LA! It's so incredibly detailed/ opinionated. Plus, it's always changing- people just keep adding to the layers on the walls.

Remember the original? The designer lived next door to one of the lofts we visited! So cool.

It was such an awesome day with my husband! And...the longer we're here, the more it starts to feel like home. That's a very good thing. :)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Putting Down Roots

Here it is: the moment where I confess that I've been slightly miserable since moving here. The worst part: I'm the culprit for my misery.

The other week, Zack and I had dinner with Jeff and Rachel, friends from E91 (our church in Indianapolis). Naturally, they were asking about the move, and Fuller, and how everything was going for us. Incredibly, I found it difficult to dredge up positive things to tell them. All I could harp on was how people at Fuller were too cynical, the traffic was too congested, the vibe was too ambivalent. I have always prided myself on being optimistic, even to the point of idealism, so to hear this outpouring of negativity come out of my mouth was unsettling.

As many of you know, since we've gotten here, it has been difficult for Zack to find a job. Despite the fact that I had been praying about this every night, I kept feeling like I was hitting a brick wall. I knew God was "on the other end" but I was suffocating in the silence.

In response, I began pulling further away from the small life we had begun to make here. When people would ask how things were going, it was not uncommon for me to talk as if we were going to stick this out for one year and then move on- and always qualifying my downer ways with the guise of following God's will.

The funny thing is, sometimes God is talking and we just refuse to listen. This move has been so difficult, beyond what I had imagined. It's probably impossible to count the number of times I've seriously considered fueling up the Civic and making that three-day drive home. Not to mention all the times I've been utterly confused as to why I brought us here in the first place!

I may not know all the answers. I'm still terribly homesick at times and miss everyone at home an incredible amount. I miss the humidity, the rural-ness, the general Midwestern mindset. But I've come to realize that unless we suck it up and put down roots here, I'll always hate it. The change has to start with me- as difficult as that can be!

Zack got a job. It's at a warehouse, but it's something and we're extremely thankful for it! I've started seriously investing in the youth group at our church, slowly getting to know the students. We've even been making an effort to make friends- probably the thing that was hardest for me. I didn't want to engage in this community, because it is rather transient, but it's become clear to me that unless I am vulnerable and put myself out there, no relationships are going to be formed. And that's no way to live, especially for a social person like me!

Things aren't perfect here. I'm eagerly awaiting December, when we can come home for a little while. But this is home for now. It is home now. It's time to let my soul settle here, and learn to love this place.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Knott's Berry Farm

On Tuesday, Zack and I went with the Pasadena Covenant youth group to Knott's Berry farm! Knott's is sort of a cross between King's Island and Cedar Point. We only took two students, but we still had a really great time! We got there right as the park opened at 10am, so we were able to ride many of the rides with little to no wait! Here are some pictures from our day:

The X-celerator- similar to Cedar Point's Top Thrill Dragster...terrifying!

Waiting in line for the Pony Express ride! A unique favorite of the day.

In line for the X-celerator...seriously rethinking this life choice :)

Ryan and Zack aren't scared of the X-celerator. So brave!

Finished the day with dinner at Johnny Rocket's!

It was a wonderful, tiring day! So glad we got to know some students in the youth group!