Thursday, March 12, 2009

Oil Paint & Jasmine

My new place has it's own little deck! And it's overgrown with Jasmine that fills my room when I open the windows. What an amazing time to move in. On Saturday I took a few hours to enjoy my new little space -- I finally have a place to oil paint! Which means I could work more on this one that's hung for nearly A YEAR on my wall unfinished! (I always think if I just hang it, I'll be inspired to finish it. I suppose it takes me a bit more inspiration than that.)

I'm in a darling house on the Mesa (in SB) with 4 other fabulous girls (all older and way cooler than me, but so so fun and sweet!). Best part -- it takes me about a minute to walk down the street to a view that rivals my painting (perhaps the inspiration??).

The masterpiece has yet to be completed, but someday - I'm determined! - it will be. It's hard when you go so long on something -- I consistently fight an urge to scrap it and begin again. But I'm committed, and finished it will shortly be. I took the photo in Cyprus a few years ago... they say it's where Aphrodite was born. :)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Jabez & the Mouth from the South

Sounds kinda like a children's book, doesn't it?

This weekend I had an amazing moment. One of those, "okay God, go ahead!" and He goes... sort of moments. Christie has been reading "The Prayer of Jabez," and the little old pair we are, whatever she's reading she'll usually end up reading out loud to me.

The prayer of Jabez goes...

And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, "Oh that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!" So God granted him what he requested. (NKJV)

Christie was in the second chapter: "Enlarge my territory." Essentially a prayer that asks God to expand our ministry. The author, Bruce Wikinson, marvels at the way God answers this prayer when we ask Him for ministry.

Fast forward to this Saturday... 11pm... Santa Ana... sitting inside an In&Out because AAA has yet to come rescue Morgan and I from our keys-unfortunately-in-locked-car experience. (We'd just come from a Not For Sale event and had left early for the trek back to Santa Barbara. Morgan my fabulous NFS intern and darling friend!). The rain was pouring, and we were now slumped in red plastic swivel chairs hoping the tow truck would ring before we experienced the "Out" of that fine establishment. (We'd long outstayed our welcome at Starbucks an hour earlier.) That to say... it was one of those slightly defeated, hurry up and wait, goodness we have a long drive ahead, sort of evenings.

And so I prayed the prayer. "God, expand my territory. There's nothing I can do, so give me ministry."

And He did. Within that very minute, a security guard strolled inside to wake the woman, head down against her book and fast asleep, at the table next to me. The woman I'd hardly noticed. We made eye contact, I smiled. She made some comment about needing to stay awake, I made an offer to buy her dinner (my ministry!). She said she'd already eaten (nevermind) but that she could really use finances for laundry. She was a Christian she said, and studying international business actually. And she'd pay me back if I had anything (my ministry!). I opened my wallet... to find one dollar (seriously?). I gave her that apologetically... but a conversation had begun.

We talked for who knows how long. She went on about her faith and falling away. All the years she missed knowing the Lord but her passion now for His kingdom. She told me about miseducation in math keeping her out of college at 19, but her determination today to press through it, to get her degree in International Business. We talked about our love for languages and places, and she asked me to write my email on the map in the back of her Bible -- so we could be penpals. "Oh do I have stories to tell you!" she exclaimed, nearly leaping from her seat. "And I have the mouth from the South! Oh just you wait." A few years back a newspaper did a story on her: a homeless woman in college. She said she'd send me the link! She wants to do inspirational speaking.

Albeit to say, I pulled out my checkbook and wrote her the amount that was on my heart. That week she'd tried to buy health insurance for her mother, and it turns out she'd come up $20 less of what I'd given her. "Oh and I'll pay you back!" she exclaimed. I just asked her to give it back to others when she had money again. "Oh I just love to give!" raved this woman. "It's the most freeing thing."

I left that night, exhausted and dishelved, and praising God for putting me and using me exactly where He wanted me.

Pray for expanded territory. For ministry wherever you are. Be ready though! You'll be amazed.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Cure to Our Economic Problems Marc Cuban (Blog Maverick)

I have yet to publicly admit that I follow investing/economy blogs (now you know!), but I think it's so good to stay up with this stuff. As we await a tremendous decision for our country's future, I thought this recent soundbyte from investment master Marc Cuban was a great reminder to my perspective. He writes...

"I would hate to be the winning Presidential candidate. Both candidates are delusional in thinking their economic policies will drag us out of a recession or even improve the economy. The reality is that the solutions offered by both are the equivalent of shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic. They are meaningless.

You can cut taxes for 95pct of Americans and raise taxes for the rest. You can cut taxes for businesses and retain the Bush Tax Cuts. You can increase or decrease the capital gains tax 5 or 10pct either way. Under both programs the deficit for the country will increase, we will borrow and print more money. 5 or 10pct variance either way, given the big hole our economy is in wont matter.

The cure for what ails is us the Entrepreneurial Spirit of this country. We are a nation of people who encourage , support and invest in those of any and all age, race and gender who will use their ingenuity and come up with a new idea.

Its always the new idea that re energizes this country. Industry, manufacturing, transportation, technology, digital communications, etc, each changed how we lived and ignited our economy and standard of living. Tax policy has never done that. The American People have.

Entrepreneurs who create something out of nothing don’t care what tax rates are. Bill Gates didn’t monitor the marginal tax rate when he dropped out of Harvard and started MicroSoft (btw, it was a ton higher than it is today). Michael Dell didn’t wonder what the capital gains tax was when he started PC’s Limited, and then grew it into Dell Computer. I doubt that any great business or invention started with a discussion or even a consideration of what the current or projected income or capital gains tax was or would be...

Entrepreneurs live to be entrepreneurs. I have never had a discussion with anyone about starting a business that included tax rates. Ever. If anyone that wanted an investment from me made a point of discussing tax rates as an impact on their business, I wouldn't invest in them. Ever.

Entrepreneurs live for the juice of making their dreams come true. Of having a vision and fighting to see it come true. The joy of mission accomplished and the scoreboard of the financial rewards.

We are in an economic mess right now. It doesn’t matter who caused it. It’s here. It doesn’t matter what our Presidential candidates and their economic advisors come up with. Its meaningless.

The cure to our economic problems is the Entrepreneurial Spirit of All Americans."

(don't) VOTE

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wonderful Wedding

This past weekend I had the immense pleasure of coordinating a gorgeous wedding in Palm Springs.

I cannot say enough about the couple, Brock & Kristina, and the passion and care they put into every detail of their day. I felt so blessed to be a part of it, and to be entrusted with enacting their vision.

Kristina is a graphic designer, and if you are getting married, are already married, might someday get married, or have ever been to a wedding -- you should check out her AMAZING blog. It was so fun to daily see photos of her ideas, and posts on her joys, frustrations, thoughts, and advice to other brides!

From the homegrown white pumpkins and succulents, to piece by piece collections of white pottery and antique flower frogs... Kristina managed to mesh the Fall season, old-world Hollywood location, garden surroundings, and her own fabulous style to make a scenery that glowed with her personal touch. And if you go to her blog, be SURE to try the recipes. Her spiced nuts, jams, and pickled zucchini (hoarded over at the rehearsal cocktail party) are to die for!

It's truly a gift to work with a bride so creative, SO organized, so on top of things -- and yet who continually threw out lines like, "I know it won't be perfect," or, "however it works out will be fine!" Really... coordinator's dream come true :)

Not to mention, the joy of seeing how loving, supportive, and involved her husband was in all the planning. These two had been buddies since jr. high, but it was evident that he still is deeply in awe of his radiant bride.

Her beautiful dress was made by Alix&Kelly, a very boutiquey and personal dress design co. in LA that I highly recommend! The event was held at The Colony Palms Hotel in Palm Springs -- newly restored and glamorously adorned to reflect it's original 1930's mobster ownership!

One OTHER reason why this wedding was so fabulous... I was assisted by my two wonderful friends Christie and Emily! All of the hard work of coordinating was book ended by fun and refreshing girl time. Other than the moment when I had to pull them from the cabanas to come help with wedding details ;) I think they loved it as much as I did!

In the Spring I'll be coordinating Emily's wedding to my friend and Bible study leader Sean. We had a blast chatting through details over the weekend, and Emily was so inspired by the bride's ability to combine home details and personal touches with the highest element of class and elegance.

I feel so blessed to get to be a part of such a significant and holy day for these couples. I'm so thankful!