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Apr 22, 2014
@ 3:13 pm
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Too good not to blog

When I warn my mom that I'm bringing a white guy over to our place to use our bathroom in the middle of the night...

Mom: Honey, wake up, there's an American coming to our house.

Dad: Whats that got to do with me and why do I have to wake up?


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Apr 20, 2014
@ 6:28 am
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It’s 2:45 AM

And I am still up, stuffing brightly colored plastic jumbo eggs with Reeses, Rolos, Starbursts, and of course—hand written Bible verses about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ because my printer so strategically chose tonight to run out of ink.

This is all the result of driving around like the madwoman that I become every Saturday night as I desperately scramble around to gather last minute materials for Sunday School, because I have been unable to kick the procrastinator out of me since high school and now it is making life more difficult than it should be. No joke, I hit up a Walmart in LA, a Walmart in Orange County, and then finally ended up at good ol’ Target on a literal hunt for these damn plastic eggs. It was like trying to find food at the market right before a huge earthquake, during a looting. All the shelves were cleared of all things Easter as we procrastinators made last minute dashes to prepare for tomorrow. 

I feel that familiar panic about to rise up to my chest and choke out as I drown in brightly colored eggs and pastel grass stuffing, eyelids heavy and body winding down without my permission. Why eggs? Why candy? Why me?? What do Starbursts and Reeses have to do with the death and resurrection of Christ? Why am I tainting something as sacred and powerful as Easter with the world’s commercialism?  Why do I have to bow to the expectations of vain tradition “but we’ve ALWAYS done an egg hunt on Easter!” 

But somewhere between gasping for air and drowning in vivid plastic Easter paraphernalia, I am forced to slow down as I touch pen to paper in an attempt at making some sort of connection between faith and chocolate. The Bible verses.

Ah, so this is why you chose to make my printer run out of ink— so I could  slow down, take a breather, and write out the living words of your testimony by hand and witness its very life giving power actually renew my mind which is stuck on the suckiness of my “reality” right now. 

Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day. 1 Corinthians 15:3

Jesus answered, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18

Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this? John 11:25

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe with your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9

I can deny what I’ve heard from others. I can deny what I’ve felt for you before. I can even deny the pangs of guilt I feel so often these days. But I cannot deny that still small yet powerful voice of your living Word speaking into the darkest valleys of my trembling heart tonight, as I stuff plastic eggs for Easter. 


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Apr 16, 2014
@ 12:37 am
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Pursuit of happiness?

He asked me if I was happier now than I was three weeks ago.
I asked what was three weeks ago.
He said it was before I met him.

I thought about it for a while and decided that I didn’t know how to answer that yet.

Can any one person single handedly make another person happy, or happier, even? I feel like there are so many factors that go into making a person happy. What does it take to be happy? Often times Christians knock happiness as if it’s not worth pursuing compared to something as spiritually meaningful as joy. We say things like, happiness is temporary but joy is permanent, or happiness is worldly but joy is spiritual.

But I think sometimes even happiness is a luxury. 


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Apr 13, 2014
@ 3:35 am
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Things Im learning here

It’s easy to get guys to fall in love with you. The hard part is having them stay in love with you.

Dont trust valet parking so easily.

Crying is a great way to destress after work.

Complete honesty is not always the best policy.

Eating out in LA will break your bank.

Plan dates strategically. It will make life a lot easier.

If you go somewhere expecting to run into someone you know, you will.

It is always rush hour.

The sooner you learn how to say no, the better.


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Apr 10, 2014
@ 2:52 am
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3 notes

That feeling

Of when you see the futility and emptiness of everything you used to turn to comfort yourself and yet you still turn to it anyway.

It’s possibly the most sickening feeling in the world.


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Apr 5, 2014
@ 11:11 am
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Excuse my french

Since so many people seem to be writing these lately, thought I’d give it a go:

Dear future husband,

Where the f*** are you?!

Yours,
Manuela


Photoset

Mar 29, 2014
@ 11:45 pm
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7 notes

Waaaaah they’re all here!! So Berkeley wasn’t just a dream after all… :’) can yall just move down to LA ?


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Mar 28, 2014
@ 8:00 am
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HALLELUJAH I FOUND A KHOP

Meeting new people thrills me. Maybe because with every new person you meet you have a chance to start over on a blank slate. Maybe it’s the fresh potential of an unknown relationship that excites me.  I’ve been meeting a lot of new people lately. Introductions, explaining the story behind my name, first impressions—somehow all of it is exciting to me. Call me an extravert.

There are the new people you meet once or twice and soon forget because you will most likely never see them again. Mere extras in the film of your life. Then there are new people that seem likable enough for you to consider investing more than just the first couple of meetings with them, maybe exchange numbers or add them on Facebook. The side characters— a bit more memorable than an extra, but they might not make it to the next scene. 

But then occasionally you meet those new people who will end up leaving a significant and irrevocable mark on your life. They have the potential to challenge you to the core of your being and shape you into a different person. The main characters, the starring roles, the Tyler Durden to your Edward Norton. The kinds of people that you will have to include the next time you share your testimony 

I believe I met those new people tonight at KHOP. (Yeah that’s right k-town house of prayer say wuuuuttt)

How I stumbled upon this place was nothing short of a miracle, and also sort of a long story which I will not get into now, but one I will certainly never forget. 

It was like discovering a Starbucks in the middle of nowhere desert land. You instantly recognize it no matter how long you’ve been lost. You go in and the people are kindred spirits: all lovers of burnt coffee or sugary frappes guised as coffee.

How sweet and comforting His presence was! How gentle and familiar His voice. I felt like one who had been starved of the encouraging power that comes from corporate worship and prayer and felt my heart opening to receive love and hope once again. It was a fortified haven for my soul especially after a long week of work.

I learned tonight that more often than not when God gives you a vision for something, He rarely invites you to do it alone. On the contrary, He is inviting you to join in on something that He has already been doing through His people for not just years, but even generations before your time. He is simply calling you to play your part in the huge puzzle that is the kingdom of God. 

Thank you Jesus for answering my heart’s cry even in the midst of a dry and weary place. 


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Mar 25, 2014
@ 8:06 pm
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Foot washing

This Sunday’s lesson was about Jesus washing his disciples feet. For the illustration, I asked for the oldest child as well as the youngest to come up to the front as volunteers. Excited for a chance at the limelight, both bounded to the front of the room where I stood with a bucket full of water and a towel. I asked the youngest to sit down on the chair and take her socks off, and then asked the oldest kid, a 6th grade boy who towered over me, if he was willing to get down and wash her feet. Upon hearing the task, all the kids were in an uproar. “EWW!! Alex has to wash her feet!”

He immediately shook his head and refused to do such a thing. I calmly told him he could return to his seat and then asked for the next oldest kid to come up. Surely enough, he also refused. I eventually ended up asking almost every child in the room, from the 6th graders down to the 3rd graders, if they were willing to do it. Some would consider it, get up, but then sit back down at the jeering of their peers. “Eeeew you’re gonna do it?!”

Some even demanded to know what they would get out of it. (Volunteers are usually rewarded). “What do I get if I do it??” A kid yelled across the room. I refused to reveal what the prize was— partly because I didn’t know yet, but mostly because I didn’t want them to be motivated by the reward. I wanted to see if there would be even one child in the room who was willing to do it without a reward.

And finally, I stopped at the pastor’s kid who slowly nodded his head yes at my question: do you want to wash her feet? He got up, and in spite of all the other kids yelling out and laughing at him, walked up to the front, bent down and prepared to wash her feet. Maybe he just felt obligated as the pastor’s son to say yes to what the other kids didn’t want to do. Or maybe he really is just a good kid. But the little girl refused to let him do it. She had suddenly become shy and didn’t want to participate. No, said Peter, you shall never wash my feet.

So basically, no one ended up washing anyone’s feet. I then asked them whose feet they were willing to wash. Some said their family members, others said, “my own feet.” This was sad but eye opening and to be expected because it so clearly revealed the human condition and our self centered nature. No one grows up wanting to serve one another, to get our hands dirty and wash each others feet. It made me see even more how truly radical Jesus’ love was, how offensive his examples were, and continues to be, against the norms of a humanistic world. Do you understand what I have done for you? he asked them

I took the willing volunteer out for boba and thanked him for his willingness to do something no one else wanted to do, even though he didn’t know what was in it for him.

 I wonder if this is how God feels whenever he asks me to do something and I look for what’s in it for me first? What do I get if I do this? What’s in it for me? How am I going to be blessed through this? How am I going to grow? How is this going to heal me? How is this useful? Yeah God, I’ll do it, but only if _________. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.

It truly takes God in me to serve the least of these.

Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.


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Mar 23, 2014
@ 8:00 am
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5 notes

Unexpected convictions

A parent pulled me aside today and asked me if I could do her a “favor” and withhold rewards from her girls this Sunday because they failed to do their quiet times at home this week. She firmly requested that I refrain from giving them any public acknowledgement, encouragement, candy, or rewards and to make sure to let them know it was because they didn’t do their quiet times, and to ask the other teachers to do the same.

I was horrified and wanted to yank my arm out of her hand, tell her to go read Ephesians 2:8-9, and just go give her kids a big hug and all the candy in the world and tell them that Jesus loves them no matter what.

And thats when I realized: how many times have I refrained myself from approaching God because of the guilt of not “doing” my quiet time, praying, serving, fasting enough or other works to earn my blessings from him?  How many times has he seen me punish myself and go it alone because I didn’t clock in enough religious hours? And how many times has he seen me puffed up with pride as a result of having done “enough” to deserve the revelations and the presence of God? 

Man. Humans can be ridiculous.