Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year! (Adapted from our Christmas letter that went out during the holidays)

Dear Friends and Family,

2008 has been a year of both joy and sadness. We are so thankful to have a loving and faithful God who never leaves us nor forsakes us!

Joys: My sister and brother-in-law welcomed their son Samuel to the world. He is such a little love and I cannot adequately explain in words how much I absolutely adore being his "Tia".

We celebrated our first anniversary at Dana Point and Disneyland!

I performed in How the Other Half Loves at Long Beach Playhouse.

We enjoyed a fabulous vacation to Spain and Paris!

Sadness: On June 11, after a long and courageous battle with cancer, my father passed away. My sister and I had several visits with him during his last months, and an amazing last visit with him, just days before he died. We are so thankful that he got to meet little Sam two or three times before he passed on to Heaven. We love you, Dad!

Exciting News!!! God has opened a door for Hubs to be the Discipleship Pastor at a wonderful church in the Houston area. We are so tickled at the thought that the Lord brought me all the way out to California to meet Hubs, only for him to get a job right back in the Houston area! God really does have a good sense of humor, and we are excited about the blessing of living close to family and so many of our friends! We'll be moving to Houston in a couple of months, and you can rest assured that I'll be documenting it all right here on The Starshine Report! 

May the Lord bless you and your family this Christmas season and all throughout 2009!

Happy New Year,

Starshine and Hubs
Love * Loyalty * Lifetime

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas my dear friends!

Our warmest wishes for a happy and peaceful holiday,

Starshine and Hubs

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Bethlehem Ponderings

On Sunday night, I attended a gathering at my church designed to help us pause during the busyness of the holiday season and reflect a bit on the Reason we are all running around celebrating in the first place. Each of us received a handout with some questions to ponder:

~As you ponder the scene of Jesus' birth, what sticks out to you? Ask God why this is important for you.

~Think about how Jesus' birth in a place like a stable in Bethlehem is a symbol of humility. Jesus' humble beginning started in a stable.

~Where am I being called to be humble?

Here were some of my thoughts:

As I ponder the scene of Jesus' birth, the thing that sticks out to me is the phrase "No room at the inn". Jesus, the King and Savior, couldn't even be born at the inn. I imagine how frustrating and scary it must have been for Mary and Joseph. Did they feel disowned by God in their hour of need?

Even as God was delivering His Son into the world to redeem it, Mary and Joseph could have felt like God had abandoned them, wondering where He was in the midst of their obedience. ("God, in obedience to You, I agreed to carry this child," perhaps Mary was thinking. "Now is the time for me to give birth, and You won't even provide me with a clean place to have this baby? Really? You're going to make me do this in a stinky, dirty stable?") Yet, their Savior was right there with them, entering the world in the most humble of ways to save the people from their sins. On the dusty dirty floor of this stable was being birthed "good news of great joy that will be for all the people"!

Thank You, God, that you are accomplishing some of Your most redeeming work when You seem the farthest away. Thank You that even though at times it feels like You have abandoned us, You are right there, closer than the air we breathe.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My Hiding Place

"I'm 34 years old," I thought. "Why in the world am I high school again?"

But there I was, waltzing into science class, late for some reason. No one seemed to be bothered by my tardiness. I took my seat, and was relieved that the teacher seemed to be understanding. There was a kindness in his eyes, and as he talked and interacted with the students, I was definitely drawn to him. A little crush, maybe? Yea, it was a crush.

I loved how he talked to the loner kid about what was going on in his life. He just asked him in a real straightforward way if he's into alcohol. The kid really opened up to him, like maybe he was the first person to see right into his soul and ask the question that even his parents were too busy to notice needed asking. This teacher had a real way with young people.

I tried not to let my feelings for him show, but something about him seemed like such a safe person. I just wanted to know him more. He was married, and so was I, so I really wasn't worried about anything inappropriate happening. Still, there was just something so humble, yet so magical about him. I was drawn to him.

He got my attention and motioned toward the door. There in the doorway was a flower delivery man, with a bouquet of flowers for me! Oh, I bet the other kids would think I was cool getting flowers sent to me at school. The flowers were from my husband. I was relieved that they arrived, because it let my teacher know that this 34 year old high schooler was married and off the market, but mostly it was good for keeping my crush in check.

Attached to the flowers, though, was a note. "Open it," the teacher said. So I did. It was from my grandmother, who wasn't always the nicest person. In fact, she could be downright mean. Not a safe person at all. Somehow, though, I felt safe reading the letter out loud with the class listening, and in the presence of my teacher. He was a safe and reassuring presence, and I just liked being with him. School had ended 45 minutes ago, but so many of us students were just hanging out with him in the classroom. And best of all, he wasn't in any hurry to get us out of there. He enjoyed being with us too.

...And then I woke up. "What a dream!", I thought. And through the haze of waking, the still, small voice of God said, "That teacher is like Me."

Saturday, December 13, 2008

An Answered Prayer

As Hubs was going through the interview process last month for the job in Texas, one of our major concerns was that the salary simply would not be enough for us to live on, especially considering that we are hoping to add children to our family in not too long. Still, we felt like God was opening a door for us, and we decided to stay in the process.

The church flew us to Texas and we both really liked the church. That in itself says a lot. One of my issues with the evangelical church in general is that many of them interpret the scriptures to mean that women are not to be permitted to have certain key leadership positions in the church. And because I'm a special brand of Christian (the feminist variety), that interpretation of scripture does not sit well with me. So the fact that this church believes that women can serve in any capacity in the church puts a big smile on my face. I really want to raise my kids in a church environment where they are not just hearing, but also seeing women in leadership. Besides that, the pastor is a wonderful teacher, and the music/worship in the church was awesome!

Hubs' interview went well when we were in Texas, we really enjoyed the people we met, and we flew home thinking that it would be a wonderful church community to be a part of. Still, there was the issue of salary, and the church had made it clear to Hubs that they wouldn't be able to offer more. 

When we got back to California, we knew that we would hear one way or another about the job in about a week. During that week, we prayed two specific things:

1.) That God would "do immeasurably more than all we could ask or imagine".

2.) That the church would make Hubs an offer that we couldn't refuse.

Well, one week passed, and the phone rang. It was the senior pastor of the church. He told Hubs that everyone involved in the interview process really loved him. He said, "We want to offer you a job, but we want to offer you a different job than the one you applied for." During the week that we were waiting and praying, some circumstances changed and the person who would have been Hubs' boss decided to move into a different area of ministry, and they decided to offer Hubs that job instead! The best part is that it is a job that he is much better suited for than the one he originally applied for, and it comes with a higher salary--one that we feel good about for starting a family!

Needless to say, we were just blown away with God's awesome answer to our prayer. My jaw dropped in amazement and Hubs' hands were shaking when he heard the news. God had worked on our behalf, and we were just sitting there taking it all in. Seeing God work in this way really gave us the confidence we need to move forward with this huge change in our lives.

I decided to share this experience here on my blog for no other reason than that I love to see God work when you know it is Him. Such amazing and specific answers to prayer are so encouraging to me, and I want you to be encouraged, as well.

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurable more than all we ask or him be the glory...throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


You may or may not know that over the past ten months, Hubs has been looking for a new job. He has worked for the past 19 years for a wonderful college ministry, and about a year and a half ago, he graduated with a masters degree from seminary. His desire has been to find a new job in a church in some kind of a pastoral role.

Our preference has been to find something in the Los Angeles area because we both love it here, and for me, it is the professional market that I moved here to work in.  From the beginning of Hubs' search, we have prayed that God would direct us to the right job for him by opening and closing doors. Boy did He ever answer--He closed 16 doors here in the Southern California area!  :)  We knew that if God was faithful to close that many doors that He must have had something pretty special in mind for the door that He would eventually open for us. We decided to expand our search criteria to include New York and Houston, since those are good markets for acting, and my family is in Houston.

In early October, Hubs submitted his resume to a church in Houston that began to show serious interest in him. A month ago, they flew us both out to see the church, meet the people, and for Hubs to interview. To make a long (and very awesome) story short, we loved the church, and they offered Hubs the job! 

We are feeling a mixed bag of emotions here. While we are sad to leave LA, our friends and the life we have so enjoyed here; we are very excited about the future. Hubs is thrilled about his new job opportunity, and I can't wait to live close to my mom, sister & bro-in-law, and of course, little Sam! Hubs is starting his new job March 1.

Meanwhile, we still have some time to live it up here in So Cal, so I decided to really go for it, acting-wise and audition away until it's time to move. I wrote a post yesterday about a dream I had the night before. Many of you said you were bummed that it was just a dream. Well, I think the reason I had that dream is because I found out on Monday afternoon that I have been cast in a play at The Neighborhood Playhouse Palos Verdes!  It is called Our Leading Lady, and this will be the first major production of the show since it opened in New York. I will be playing the washed up ingenue, Clementine Smith, who never arrives places on time and enjoys her whisky a little too much.  Fun, huh? ;)

My play will run February 19 - March 8, so Hubs will move to Texas before me, and then I'll join him as soon as my play closes. As stressful as I'm sure that will be, I'm grateful for his supportiveness and I'm thrilled to be able to leave LA on such a splendid note!

I need to write another post about the amazing ways that God answered our prayers by opening this door for us in Texas, but for now, let me just say that we are so thankful for the opportunities He has opened up for us. To God be the glory!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

One Singular Sensation

I'm at an audition for a musical. I'm pretty sure it's a musical comedy, for which I'm best suited. It is my turn to sing. I decide to sing "On the Other Side of the Tracks" from Little Me, since that song shows off my voice pretty well, and I can sing it in my sleep. 

I open my music book, and it's not where I normally see it--right on top. So I start to leaf through the pages, and it's nowhere to be found. It doesn't dawn on me to pick another song from my book. I was dead set on singing that song. So I tell the accompanist that I can't find my song and I ask him if he knows "On the Other Side of the Tracks". 

Amazingly, he thinks he knows it by heart, and he asks me to start singing it. His talent is sheer brilliance, and he just starts playing along flawlessly, keeping in step with me and my tempo.

My voice doesn't come out sounding its best. It sounds a little strained, like I'm nervous, because I am. Finally, I relax into a bit, and I hit a note that sounds fantastic! I can see that the director is interested. Suddenly, the meaning of the song just washes over me, and I am acting my heart out--not singing my best, mind you--but I'm acting the song like nobody's business. I'm using the whole room and everything in my soul wants to be "on the other side of that great divide, between fame and fortune and ME"! The song is coming to the end. Time for the big finish, and boy, do I drive it home with gusto!

The director is very clearly moved. She comes over to me and gives me a heartfelt hug and a big kiss on the cheek, as if to say, "Thank you, child, for acting!" I am uncertain if I'll get the part. I'm not even certain if I convinced them that I could sing. All I know is that I blew them away with my acting.

And then...I woke up. I looked around the room as the light of the new day was streaming through my windows and thought, "Wow. That was the BEST. DREAM. EVER!"

Monday, December 08, 2008

Just Beneath the Surface

One of the great blessings of our life here in So Cal is a small group that we are part of through our church. Every Sunday a group of 8 of us (four couples) meet together to study the Bible, pray together, and just enjoy a sense of community with one another.  For the past month, we have decided to use our time together to share our stories. Each week, two people have 45 minutes to share the major events of their life stories, and it's been absolutely amazing to hear. 

Our group has been meeting for over a year now, so there is enough trust in place for us to be able to share some of the deeper issues of our hearts with one another. It has truly been a privilege to hear what how the past has shaped each one of us. Every week after small group is over, Hubs and I comment to each other how hearing someone's story gives such a broader context to understanding who they have become. 

Tonight, we heard the last two of the eight of us share. And the thing that has struck me the most is how each one of us has so much going on just below the surface. I'm talking about major, life-shaping things that have taken place over the course of our lives that have had a deep emotional impact on who we are. Both joyful and painful things that have formed us into the people that we are. And if that is true of the eight of us, it is true of each of us walking around on God's green earth.

So much bubbling around just beneath the surface that we rarely let others see.

I feel so privileged to have been allowed to see what's lurking underneath the wrapping paper of these dear souls in our small group, and I'm grateful to have seven people in my life that are trustworthy enough to peer into the inner-workings of my heart, and continue to love, encourage, support and pray for me.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Cool Yule

We put up our little Christmas tree over the weekend, and I'm loving how it makes our home feel!  This is my favorite time of the year!

Hubs and I have been taking swing dancing classes off and on since before we got married, and for the past six weeks, we took a class to learn a Christmas routine called "Cool Yule". Last night, we performed the routine for friends and family.

This is a photo of the whole class:

And here's the video of us doing our routine:

Have a Yule that cool, y'all!