Friday, February 29, 2008

Leapin' for Love

Happy Leap Day, y'all!

I didn't even have to look outside to know that the weather had turned from sunny to overcast because as soon as I opened my eyes, my sinuses told me so...headache!  It seems like the only thing that can knock those headaches gone is a good meal and some serious caffeine.  So to celebrate Leap Day, I took myself out for a wonderful breakfast at IHOP.  Ain't nothin' like Harvest Grain 'n' Nut Pancakes, eggs and BACON(!!!) with steaming hot coffee!

That being said, my day has only gotten better and better.

Since I was dining alone, I took a wonderful journal with me called "Conversations" to breakfast. Hubs had recommended an article in it called The Arts as a Means of Grace. Wow! It really hit home.  It was an interview with poet Luci Shaw, and nearly every syllable she uttered was loaded with meaning for me.  I only discovered her poetry recently, and so far every poem I've read has moved me!  One of them in particular called "The Omnipresence" left my heart flowing over with love for God:

The Omnipresence

Reminders flicker at us from
odd angles, nor will he be ignored;
we sight him in unlikely places,
oaths and dates and empty tombs.
God. His print is everywhere,
stamped on the macro- and the microcosm.
Feathers, shells, stars, cells speak 
his diversity.  The multiplicity of
leaf and light says God. Wind,
sensed but unseen, breathes the old
metaphor again. Seasons are his
signature. The double helix
spells his spiral name.
Faith summons him, and doubt 
blows only the sheerest skein
of mist across his face.
Luci Shaw, 1990

As love is what this poem evoked in me, I have been lingering on love since then.  It occured to me that Leap Day is one more day this year to tell those I love, "I love you".

God, I love You! Thank You that I cannot and will never escape Your Omnipresence.

Hubs, I love you. You reflect God's love to me everyday. Thank you for being a tangible reflection of His love and grace to me. I'm learning so much about Him because of you.

Mom, Dad, and Jilly, I love you so much.  I'm looking forward to being with you during the next week.  

Ad, I love you!  Thaggs for beig by bes frenny!  (I hab a cold.)  :)

Friends and blog buddies, I love you.  You are a warm and cozy community, and I'm so grateful for the friendship and support I find with you.  Jelly Jules, if you are reading this, please know that I am especially grateful that today is one more day you get to spend with your dear mom, Maya's Granny!  I'm so glad she's doing better. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Bienvenido al mundo, Enoc!

My dear friend, Cristina, gave birth to a beautiful baby boy.  Welcome to the world, Enoc!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The James Lipton Meme

At the end of each interview on Inside the Actors' Studio, host James Lipton asks his guests the following questions (which he borrows from French talk show host Bernard Pivot):

What is your favorite word?  Love.

What is your least favorite word?  Rules.

What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? Seeing a live performance, worshipping God in song, a good chick flick.

What turns you off? Bullying, controlling people. Manipulators.

What is your favorite curse word?  The "f" word.  It feels appropriate to let it fly every once in a while.

What sound or noise do you love?  Norah Jones' music.  It relaxes me.

What sound or noise do you hate?  Alarm clocks.  Could any noise be more irritating?

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?  Magazine writer or linguist.

What profession would you not like to do?  Electrical engineer.  My brain is not wired that way.  (Pun intended.)

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? Well done, my good and faithful servant!  Welcome home, my dear daughter!  (Big bear hug and kisses on my cheeks.)  Let's take a walk along the crystal won't need sunscreen here!

Many thanks to Mrs. Blogoway for the inspiration for this meme.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Celebrating Jennifer

Since I moved to north Orange County after getting married, Jennifer has become one of my closest friends. We had so much fun celebrating her birthday at El Torito Grill (home of the yummiest guacamole in the world!). Happy Birthday, Jen! Here are some pics of the fun!

Zebras, Be Gone!

Before Hubs and I got married, he was living in the condo that we now share. While it was definitely a bachelor pad, he has good taste and picked a masculine theme and scheme for his place. For example, the artwork in the master bedroom was a grouping of black and white framed and matted zebra prints from IKEA.

Enter moi and a joyous exchange of vows, and ta-daa! It's a new look that's fun for a girl and a boy! Shortly after we married, we repainted the walls and got a new bedspread. And over the past couple weeks, we decided to 86 the zebras from their frames (though they had been taken down long ago), repaint the frames an "Espresso" color, and replace the prints with enlarged sepia-toned pictures of our wedding!

We both really love the way they look!

For those of you worried about them falling on our heads in the case of an earthquake, we hung them with these little tremor-proof cuties and then secured them with museum putty.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Happy Friday

It's Friday, and I am glad the weekend is here.  My Hubs has been out of town, and I can't wait to see him in just a few hours.  

I'm looking forward to weekend cuddles, going to a movie, and watching the Oscars.  Sounds just about perfect.

What are your plans for the weekend?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Operation: Imputation

im.pute  [im-pyoot]
1. to attribute or ascribe:  The children imputed magical powers to the old woman.
2. Theology. to attribute (righteousness, guilt, etc.) to a person or persons vicariously; ascribe as derived from another.

Last night, I attended one of a series of lectures on spiritual formation. The speaker, Dr. John Coe, taught about what happened, spiritually speaking, on the cross--imputation.   When Jesus died on the cross, all of the sins of humankind were imputed to Him, making us completely forgiven.  At the same time, Jesus' righteousness was imputed to us, making us completely acceptable to God.

Completely forgiven by God.  Completely accepted by God.  What joy!  

As we journey with God through this life, there will be times when we are called to take a good look at the state of our hearts.  It may be scary because of the darkness and sin that we still struggle with as fallen human beings.  Even so, we can journey there with our Loving God and allow Him to transform us in our deepest parts.  He sees it all anyway, but the reality of His forgiveness and acceptance of us makes Him a trustworthy God with whom we can face our deepest struggles with sin.

Dr. Coe commented that it can be so hard for us to really understand the depth and completeness of God's forgiveness and acceptance because it is rare to experience that kind of love in our human relationships.  He ended the lecture with a challenge to pray Psalm 139:23-24:

Search me , O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

I find myself more able to express such a prayer to God in light of His complete forgiveness and acceptance of me.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

What Do You Believe In?

In search of some writing inspiration, I just found this site that has an "imagination prompt generator", which basically gives you ideas of things to blog about.  The prompt I got was What do you believe in?

I believe in God.  He is my Light and my Love.

I believe in the power of dreams.  I believe that God often puts our deepest dreams in our hearts as a way to direct our paths.

I believe in the power of art and beauty to nourish the human spirit.

I believe in waiting for the right love to come into your life.  I also believe in looking for it!

I believe in treading lightly on one another's hearts. People are far more sensitive than they let on.

I believe in travel.  It is a wonderful teacher and a fabulous way to expand your world!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Glancing Back Down that Bloggy Road

This Saturday, my blog will turn two years old. My first post was about my decision to look for love online with eHarmony. Not long after that, I met my fabulous eSuitor and chronicled our love story right here on The Starshine Report--from our early dates to saying "I love you" to meeting the parents to engagement to marriage! It's fun to look back and see what God has done!

Happy Valentine's Day, Hubs! Will you be mine?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

This promotion has been brought to you by The Starshine Report

I don't know about you, but when the winter air gets cold and dry, my skin gets dry and itchy! No amount of lotion seems to help. After a couple months of this itchy craziness, I found myself in the soap aisle of the grocery store because I needed to buy some new body wash for the shower. I found this awesome product: Dove Cream Oil Body Wash. After about a week of use, my skin isn't itchy anymore! I continued to lotion (as per usual), and *bam!* healthy moisturized skin! Just thought I'd share, since it seems like half of the country is buried under snow and record low temperatures.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Using My Words

It's been forever since I've sat myself down to actually write something worth reading. I have some really good excuses though.

1.) I've been sick. Cold. Fever. Snot. Enough said.
2.) My upstairs neighbors enjoy blaring their merengue music so loud that comprehensible thoughts can't find their way into my mind for all the noise. My feet, though, are tappin' to the ritmo!
3.) The presidential race is ON, people...and I, for one, have been a little obsessed. I alternate between news stations to see what's news!

This morning, though, after I woke up and blew my nose nine times, I went to turn on the television, only to realize that our cable is out.

What? No news? No Anderson 360? No Situation Room? *paces room and remembers...* Oh yeah, I have original thoughts in my head. Go to computer. Write blog post.

So there you have it! On my first day back writing a real post in a long while, I'm going to fill you on the above mentioned three things that have been occupying my time.

1.) Colds are icky. However, Hubs and I have found that if we begin a regimen of Zycam (a homeopathic over-the-counter goo that you stick up your nose) and Airborne (a multivitamin/herbal disc that you drop in to water to fizz and then drink) at the first sign of a cold coming on, it seems to limit the duration and severity of the cold. And even if it doesn't, I like to think that it does so I can at least feel like I'm being proactive about warding off the stinkin' cold.

2.) The music upstairs is taking me back to seventh grade when my mom signed me up for ballroom dancing classes and I learned merengue from a man with a perm. I distinctly remember wearing my oversized pale yellow and white striped sweater with shoulder pads and coordinating flats during that season of life.

3.) Is it just me, or is this primary election making for a very good race? I have been following both parties. This presidential election is a very important one for our nation. Has a particular candidate captured your mind? I am rooting for the underdog...go Huckabee! I like him because he is articulate, diplomatic, good-humored, and a man of faith and integrity. Plus, when I took the Presidential Candidate Calculator test back in mid-November, he was the candidate with whom I was most aligned.

Ahhh...I've missed blogging. I'll write more soon!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Wanda's Personal Superhero

This is the third video of the Wanda series. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Hubs Has a Blog!!!

He has been wanting to start a blog for a while now, and finally decided to go for it.

Check out his inaugural post, which also explains his blog's mysterious name:

(I've also added a link to his blog on my side bar.)

Happy Super Tuesday, everyone!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Baby Dedication

This morning at church, a couple from our small group dedicated their baby to the Lord. It is an opportunity for the parents to offer their child to God in prayer and to dedicate themselves to teaching the child about God and how to know Him as the child grows up.

"I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the LORD." -Hannah, mother of Samuel (The Bible)

Friday, February 01, 2008

Breath Prayer

The following are exerpts from the Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun. I really liked what I read in it about "Breath Prayer":

Breathing is an uncounscious thing. And breath prayer reminds us that just as we can't live on one breath of air, we can't live on one breath of God. God is the oxygen of our soul, and we need to breathe him in all day long. After all, it is in him that "we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28). Breath prayer reminds us that each breath we are given is God's gift and that God's Spirit is nearer to us than our own breath.

Breath prayer or "prayer of the heart" has been practiced in the church for millennia. The Eastern Orthodox Church in particular has seen breath prayer as a way of living out Paul's instruction to "pray without ceasing."

To practice breath prayer, ponder the nearness of God. Settle deeply into the truth that Christ is in you. Deeply breathe in, repeating any name of God that is dear to you. As you exhale, voice a deep desire of your heart. When you exhale, offer up the desire of your heart. The brevity of the prayer allows it to be repeated over and over throughout the day.

Examples of breath prayers are

  • breathe in "Abba," breathe out "I belong to you."
  • breathe in "Healer," breathe out "speak the word and I shall be healed."
  • breathe in "Shepherd," breathe out "bring home my lost son."
  • breathe in "Holy One," breathe out "keep me true."
  • breathe in "Lord," breathe out "here I am."
  • breathe in "Jesus," breathe out "have mercy on me."

"Think often of God, by day, by night, in your business and even in your diversions. He is always near you and with you; leave him not alone." -Brother Lawrence