Saturday, June 25, 2011

Date with God

Learner pilot, Deji and the two lucky passengers. The asphalt was burning through my sandals.

I've established that I have an irrational fear of heights, but I have not established that I have daydreams that often involve several of my irrational fears. Yesterday, however, God took my world by the hand and allowed me to live a daydream and conquer my fear of going into the unknown by going so high.
It was God planned. I'm convinced. Because these moments don't come to me often enough for me to think "It's just my luck." Oh no. My God definitely likes me, and oh how it thrills me (since I also go through serious times of feeling like He doesn't. Satan's lies are so cruel). I had a dream of flying in a helicopter, figuring it's as free in the sky as I would comfortably get, but felt it too expensive ($60 bucks is a lot) or unlikely for me to see it come true.
I met Deji briefly about a few months ago and within a short span of conversing I learned about his dream of becoming a pilot. His stamina of following that dream is incredibly inspiring and because of that I could not find any excuse to back down from my own little dream of simply riding in a chopper. News of his flying lesson was no sooner received until I abruptly asked if I could get a ride for free. Wonder of wonders and oh kind Deji, there was such an arrangement possible :). So a couple months later, and after a speeded drive over to the airfield, I found myself sitting in a helicopter for the first time, earphones and all! It's the closest I have ever felt to flying and oh what a feeling of freedom with no doors and the wind so strong that it alone is carrying you where it desires. What a treat! What a joy :) If only there were a day like this in every week. :)

Plans for my future may still be pending, things may not be exactly clear, but I feel the key is to not wait to let your dreams live (as I have learned the hard way). I may not be able to move forward with plans but I am able to experience such a joy in seeing past plans come to completion and success. He gives such good things. And best of all are the days where He takes me out, puts it together, and carries me along for the ride. All I have to do is praise Him for His goodness (whilst looking at our chopper's tiny shadow flying over the vast Arizona desert) and question how in the world I got there.
I may have to wait till tomorrow to get my direction, but today I can revel that a dream I thought impossible became an awesome reality :)
Thank you, God.

Getting buckled in. No doors! Just so we could hang our heads out and see this :)

Oh to fly

Friday, June 17, 2011

He gives good things

My God knows His children well. He pushes, grows and builds our faith through hard times but He also spoils and romanticizes. Some times when I feel like my life is no where near as epic as I want it to be I'll be reminded of those times in life that God blew me away with the tiniest of gestures to express His love for me and to feed the parts of my heart that He created for good. Most times only I will know how much He showed up for me in those moments. But I love to think about them and share them, simply because it communicates that God really does care about the little things and will freely give simply because He loves to.
I label these moments as some of the happiest moments of my life (for lack of better words). Really they are just little moments, but knowing that God gave them and He didn't have to is what made me love-struck with Him. He is a good God :)

I was coming home for Christmas break, I was missing the opportunity to travel with new found friends but my homesickness for my desert, its sunsets and my family was something I couldn't ignore. I wanted to be home for a little while.

 Everything about this time was perfect. I was home but Bodenseehof wasn't over and I'd be going back. Abbie was home from law school. The weather was typical for our Decembers. Quite different from the green and wet of Germany. I think this was the Christmas that dad got his six shooter, so to celebrate we went shooting. It was my first time. My family together, the sun setting on fire and an open desert before us.

Dad and Zander

Loving the shotguns

Rachel was here!

Dad, becoming John Wayne and saving the west.

Zander had us do drills. Running out from behind the car and shooting up your target. I still don't understand the point, but it made you feel like you were in a western (with all safety precautions, of course) :)

I was in love

 It was just a couple weeks of God granting my wish for what I longed for, and goodness knows that wasn't the case when I came home for the final time, but it's important for me to remember that circumstances will always change, time will change everything, and even His reactions to us and our pleadings may be different to each circumstance, but He never changes. Whatever part of His giving heart was visible in those weeks is always there. Even when He says, "No," or "Wait." He never changes and loves those moments that we treasure just as much as we do since He created them. But He doesn't stop there. He keeps creating these moments. Each unique. Each a blessing that you cannot thank Him enough for... And you'll hear about those other moments too. :)

Thursday, June 9, 2011


"Lovers, keep on the road you're on 
Runners, until the race is run
Soldiers, you've got to soldier on
Sometimes even the right is wrong

They are turning my head out 
To see what I'm all about 
Keeping my head down 
To see what it feels like now 
But I have no doubt 
One day, we are gonna get out 

Tonight maybe we're gonna run 
Dreaming of the Osaka sun 
Ohh ohh... 
Dreaming of when the morning comes 

They are turning my head out 
To see what I'm all about 
Keeping my head down 
To see what it feels like now 
But I have no doubt 
One day the sun will come out 


Reign of love 

I can?t let go 
To the sea I offer 
This heavy load 

Locusts will 
Lift me up 
I?m just a prisoner 
In a reign of love 

Locusts will 
Let us stop 
I wish I?d spoken 
To the reign of love 

Reign of love 
By the church, we?re waiting 
Reign of love 
My knees go praying 

How I wish 
I?d spoken up 
Or we?d be carried 
In the reign of love."

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Conquering Acrophobia

As I've been searching for clues as to where God could be leading me in school, He was gracious enough to pull up some other crap from my personality that He knew (without asking me) I would want to be rid of. It had nothing to do about direction in my life. It had everything to do with the immobility I was stuck in. Oh yes. God is an adventurous God. He created adventure. And He knew how much I needed to take part in it. That meant conquering the fear in my little handicapped heart. 
Fear is a terrible, crippling monster that has taken over every aspect of my life. I've known this all along. I'm shy. I hate crowds. I'm claustrophobic. I'm deathly afraid of heights (I get vertigo in the deep end of a pool). I'm scared of other human beings. I'm terrified of going too fast down hill. Aaaand the list goes on. 

So gently He said, "Enough." Fear has paralyzed me for too long. Time to face it head on and take it down. It could have been the motivations of my daydreams of adventure. It could have been the inspiration of the brave adventurous people that I admired (Zander, Bronwen, Kathryn, etc....). It could also have been the boredom of a "safe" life. Whatever it was. This year I finally got out. I made a list, thought of what I'd like to accomplish and off I went, dragging those brave people with me.

This past Friday I finally got my brother to cart me along to the rock gym with him and Pj. Yes. That fear of heights had to go. 

This looks like hell to me

It was terrifying but oh so exhilarating. I got my shoes, I got my harness I went to the bouldering area and grew extremely worried when I got vertigo in there. Things weren't looking good and as I feared, I was beginning to immediately regret my stupid decision. But no, it had to go. I had to accomplish going all the way up a wall at least once. Even if just for diagnosing purposes to see how bad this fear really was.

Well it was pretty bad. And this is why I begged Zander to take me. Because for some reason my brother knew exactly how to encourage me without abusing the word "motivation". It's odd to me when people will use fear as another motivator to get over a fear. I just don't work that way. Especially when I'm already committed enough to show up to with shoes and a harness. So I was extremely thankful when he allowed me to come back down after only climbing up 6 feet. That wall just wasn't working for me. So I belayed as Zander showed me how it was done. I was inspired. Especially as he dangled under an over hang to re-think his route. How he could be so comfortable being so exposed and at the mercy of gravity is beyond me. 

Well with my new inspiration we went off to the beginners wall. "Alright, Arica. It's your turn." Oh, Lord, help me. I liked this beginner's wall because there wasn't a spot where there wasn't a good sized rock to cling to with your very life. It also had a slight incline which was welcoming to me on my first time up in 8 years. 
"Zander, give me a story for motivation so I'm not thinking of falling." "There once was a girl in her mid-twenties who was afraid of heights..." "No! Not that story!" 
With Zander fired as my narrator I started up. I almost fired him as my belayer too when he started to loosen the rope when I leaned back in the harness to make sure it was still there. But one quick scream at him, drawing the attention of the rest of the gym, and he was back to pulling the rope so tight that it could have pulled me up the wall. I'm not going to lie. I have no idea how I made it up (even with Zander's belaying). About half way up I had to pray and give my life over to the Lord again. I looked over to see a girl, barely in her teens about where I was, begging her family to let her down. Ahaha, ah I was in good company. Some how I got to the top, touched the bar, leaned back and was back down, hugging the stinky chalk stained ground. My relief was short lived when Zander said, "Now go back up." Oh good grief, how did I ever think this was a good idea? This time I hired Pj as my narrator. "Your mom is dying and at the top of this wall is an herb that will save her life." I was up again, this time, fully motivated to save my mother. "I can't let her die. I can't let her die!" Funny what the mind will believe just to get over fear. 

Zander was right. Accomplishing it once isn't good enough. It takes practice and over exposure to get to the point of comfort. Unfortunately those were my only two times up to the top that night. But good news was that my vertigo was gone when I returned to the bouldering area. With the fear slightly diminished I began to understand why people fall in love with this sport. It's like the ultimate puzzle that involves your whole body and mind. It's also a blast to go with those two since they make it so light-hearted and non-competitive. My kind of crowd. :)
Will I be going back? Heck yes. If Zander remembers to take me. It was exhilarating. You begin to feel alive and all of the sudden the world starts to open up. If I can conquer my fear of heights, my other fears will appear less of a giant. 

In all this time of prayer and seeking God the one sure thing I know I keep hearing from Him is, "Do not be afraid. Do not be afraid." How many times does He say this? How many times in the bible? This goes for trusting Him. Because really it is fear of the future that gives me anxiety. Fear of being out of control. Fear of failure and making a mistake. But with God on my side, with His promises and whispers of comfort...what is there to fear? My eyes are so open to see that it very well could be humanity's arch nemesis. Fear is irrational. Be smart. Be rational. But don't be paralyzed. Don't be ruled by it. Practice trust. Practice growth. And goodness knows it is a God inspired endeavor. Because He really is the only trustworthy thing to put your security in.....

"God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though its waters roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake with its swelling. There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn. The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved; He uttered His voice, the earth melted. The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah"

-Psalm 46:1-7
This was a small feat. My little step of an attempt to grow. But praise God for those little steps. Because they become addicting. And it somehow opens my eyes to see God moving. And watching Him move is like watching the Rohirim come to the aid of Gondor. He just crushes the enemy. If this is my God, then good grief, my life should be unstoppable. So here's to the continuing endeavor :)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Vicarious Adventure

The eerie and epic soundtrack that remains timeless.

Each day provides progression in the Lord's clearing of my confusion in Him bringing the right choice into my reach. Of course I am not so easy to work with, bless His heart, and there are weeks, days...even bipolar hours where I morph into a frustrated mental scene best displayed through Spielberg's genius.

Nursing school, Me (frustrated by the identical choices), Ultrasound school

Can you tell? Yes, I had a whole day committed to watching one of my top 5 all time favorite movies, special features and all. This is not the kind of movie you can really draw parallels and life lessons from. It's pure adventure. But maybe that could be the life lesson. When a situation really sucks, when you might even get eaten, or be the prehistoric creature brought back to modern day only to be encaged (really the scenarios are endless)... might as well live it as your opportunity to break free from monotony and go against the odds and SURVIVE.

To keep from morphing into said dinosaur the Lord has given me some keys to not just survive but live. I asked, "Lord, what will You have me do? Where will You have me go?" He replied, "Get up. Get out of your bed, use the brain and heart I have given you and live!"
Huh. He's more personal and adventurous than I realized. He's also a lot more in tune with me than I am with myself. Oh how He knows me.

Side note:

My brain has been feeding off of this book's adventure for the past two months.

I'm trying to speed through it but I find myself fascinated over each chapter and all the little gadgets that this Swiss family is creating and engineering. The movie is another one of my favorites and I'm happy to discover that the book is no disappointment. Who would have known it would be so entertaining? It's one of those books that makes you want to go outside and live each chapter. Construct a ladder. Create a bow and arrow from bamboo (which I have!) and forest wood. I've looked at my neighborhood trees as possible homes now. And who didn't want all kinds of wild animals as pets? Seriously, this book is an amazing antidote for anxiety and mental boredom.

Live a vicarious adventure :) Go read (or watch Jurassic Park). And may it inspire you to engineer your own endless adventures wherever you may go ...