Friday, August 22, 2008

Murder Mystery Night

Brad and Cassia hosted an event for our home group tonight. It was held in the house that Brad's parents were renting in Poway while their home was being rebuilt. I'm having a hard time describing the party because it is the first time Jenetta and I had ever done anything like that before. I'm still trying to figure out what happened. But basically, it was set in the 1920's, and Jenetta played a diva singer and I played a corrupt chief of police. It turned out that I was the murderer. (whoops!) We went to Amvets today to pick up my sweet outfit. I made the badge from a photo I got online. Jenetta borrowed the feather boa from her mom.

It was a lot of fun. After the game, we hung out in the pool with our friends. It's nice to get the group together again after the summer away from each other.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Friend Day

I am enjoying that my job allows me a measure of freedom. It is certainly not the same as I had when photographing real estate, but the flexibility of my scheduling made a pretty cool day possible yesterday.

For lunch, Mark Pavlovics met me here and took me to Los Primos for some yummy mexican food. It was nice to connect with him and catch up on what is going on in our lives. Mark was my first friend here in SD, and it is always a pleasure to hang out with him.

Later, I left work early to go swim with Jeremy at his community pool. I came in earlier than usual to allow for the longer lunch break and the earlier leave time. It has been nice to be able to get a little exercise. My foot is healing nicely, and I hope to be back running this weekend. Jeremy and I are able to challenge each other at the pool. It's nice to have someone to encourage you that way.

Then, Jenetta had a photo session in Coronado that evening, and Courtney had a tasting event with some of her clients, so David, Ryan, and I hung out with Isaiah. I had fun figuring out how to use the video recorder on my phone. Isaiah is at a pretty fun stage - everything is an adventure and exploration for him! Of course, we also played Cities & Knights. Ryan dominated as usual.

As I was driving in to work this morning, I was struck with an overwhelming feeling of blessing and gratitude for the friends in our lives.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Joyful Noise

My friend David had this idea to make a Joyful Noise at the beach. He encouraged people to bring whatever instrument they could find. There were about 8 guitars, a ukulele, various percussion instruments, two harmonicas, a guy playing sandpaper blocks, people jingling their keys, and Scottie even brought a shofar! I'm not very good at guessing numbers, but I think there were probably around 70-80 people there. David had thought 15 or 20 would show up.

We hung for a while goofing around with the instruments, surfing, eating, and doing other beach stuff. As it started to get darker, everyone gathered around the fire to sing to God together and make a joyful noise. It was a special evening - everyone sang at the top of their lungs until well after dark. Jenetta took a few photos with our crummy point-and-shoot camera. Mostly, we just participated, so there was a lot more to see than these few images. But, they will give you a little taste of what we experienced.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Ryan's tattoo

Jenetta had a wedding and was gone this afternoon and evening. Courtney had a wedding today as well. So David and I went to hang out with Ryan Castillo at his home in Poway. We played a huge game of Cities & Knights with the Seafarer's expansion thrown in. It took a long time, and David came out on top. Then we hung out in his pool. Ryan and David played this game called Hate Ball. It is kind of a water basketball with massive amounts of contact. It looked like a lot of fun! (I sat out because my foot is finally healing from the surfing injury, and I didn't want to tear open the wound again.)

Then we went to Chipotle. For all David talks about Chipotle, I found it odd that I'd never been there with him before.

Later that evening, Ryan went to get a tattoo that he had been thinking about for a long time. It is Chinese characters that mean "Living" and "Sacrifice." I have never been to a tattoo place before. I was surprised how quickly the artist worked. Once he got everything prepped, I don't think it took more than 15 minutes.

When Jenetta called and told me she was on her way home from the wedding, I told her I was at a tattoo parlor. Her response was "WHAT?!?!?!?" :) But then I explained why I was there. I have nothing against tattoos personally, and several of my friends have them (including Ryan now). I'm not sure that there is anything that I'd want permanently on my skin. There are things I write down and photos I put on the wall - these are important to me, but I'm not sure I'd want them on my skin forever. But I understand why Ryan would want to be reminded of Romans 12:1.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Sony Cafeteria and other "good times" thoughts

My friend David was telling me about his perfect day yesterday. Good surf, good food and drink, good times with God, and light rain falling on him at Torrey Pines. For David, you couldn't plan a better start to the day. It got me thinking about what was good in my life. I've now spent a week at Sony, and although my job is not a career-motivating type of position, it is pleasant and pretty easy. It won't be too hard to excel in my current placement. I am grateful every day that God has provided this for us. Jenetta continues to do my former real estate photography work, and that has turned into a nice part-time bonus for her. She is basically doing the work over a week that I used to do every day. I doubt that job will ever grow back into a full-time position, but it is nice to have moved on from that and still get some money from it. It is sort of like a severance package. Her blog continues to grow. It is quite conceivable that the money she earns from advertising on that could bring in full-time money at some point.

One thing that I discovered here yesterday that I really enjoyed is the fabulous cafeteria here in our building. There are three chefs that will make just about any lunch-type food you ask for. They also have three different specials each day. The food is high-quality and reasonably priced. I enjoyed a turkey avocado salad tossed fresh for me. Jenetta typically makes a lunch for me to bring to work, but as a special treat, that cafeteria is a great option.

I spend a lot of time thinking about "my standing" with God. By that I mean, what is my attitude toward God at this time? Am I leaning on Him? Am I doing it all in my strength?
What is my current situation, and am I asking God's involvement in that or not? It is a thinking process where I don't evaluate God so much as I evaluate my position relative to Him. As I write this, I'm listening to "I Stand Amazed (How Marvelous, How Wonderful)" the hymn done recently by Chris Tomlin. God's love has certainly been poured out on us. It is amazing to me that one month ago, we were wondering "Where are you God?!?!?!" Now with the crisis of mortgage shortfalls pretty much out of the picture and a steady job in place for me, I'm concerned that since my job is easy and our finances are more in order that I will grow complacent and I won't turn to God and the Spirit throughout my day.

I guess that is always our problem in the good times. It is so easy to forget. I don't want to.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

New Job

I started working today at Sony. Two of my biggest fears were completely erased today. The first was that I would have to give up my flexible schedule and surfing on the weekdays entirely. The second was that I would be so wiped out from working a real 9-5 gig that I would be too tired to get anything done around the house when I came home, and that Jenetta would just let stuff pile up until the weekend.

Well, they have assured me that after I learn all my tasks and do not need supervision, I can set my own schedule. I'm planning on working from 7-3. As long as I get in a full eight hours a day, they are happy. I might even try 6-2 on Fridays to avoid traffic altogether. I'm generally up early anyway, so why not head in to work? I could even surf a morning session and then work from 11-7. Nice!

I came home to a nice clean home tonight. The huge pile of dishes in the sink was completely gone. Jenetta took care of some cleaning, too, so I felt like I didn't have to stress about stuff like that. That may sound weird, but I do a lot of chores around here, and I was worried that I wouldn't have the time to take care of those things. Jenetta is a fabulous cook and there are many things she does for our family. But she will be the first to admit that cleaning is not one of those things she does well or feels much motivation to pursue.

I actually felt just fine when I got home. For years, I have desired a job that I could leave at work. I don't think I've ever really had something like that as an adult. But when 5:00 rolled around, I shut down my computer and left. No stress, no phone calls, no emails to take care of, no follow-up work - just freedom. This has been a huge relief for me! I think I will have more time to do stuff around the house because I won't have my attentions pulled elsewhere anymore.

As to the job itself, I'm still figuring it out. I am not completely sure of the tasks, and I am even less clear about the purpose. But it pays well, and so far it has been enjoyable. I'll save the blog details for that until later when I have the full picture. But thanks again to all of you that have been praying for me to find a job!

Oh, and on Tuesday, I went surfing with David and sliced open my foot on something sharp on the reef. I think it was glass. It bled a lot, and I was grateful to have a friend there to help and that the summertime lifeguard station was manned. They bandaged me up nicely, and I headed out to work. The wound is closing in but it is still bleeding a little bit. It hurts a lot, so I have been kind of gimping around. No surfing for a while...

Monday, August 4, 2008

Having friends around

There is this song that has been in my head for most of the day. It is "We Never Change" by Coldplay. The line that keeps coming to mind is:

I want to fly
and never come down

and live my life
and have friends around.

Lately it seems I have been blessed to be able to live and have my friends around (well at least some of them).

I ran the lake on Saturday afternoon with Robbie. It is so great to share in their life! He starts his student teaching assignment in two weeks, and he is going to be an awesome PE teacher.

My desktop computer died on Sunday. We have a friend at church named Chris who plays bass with us in the church worship band. His business is fixing networks and repairing computers. I know a lot about computers, but this one was way beyond me. It is nice to know someone like that. I took it to him today and he is already fixing the problem for us.

Yesterday afternoon we were able to visit with Holly and Geoff and their boys at their new home. I helped Geoff setup his new sweet bbq, and then David and Courtney and Isaiah came over, too. I meant to bring the camera, but I forgot it at home. We climbed trees with Jackson and Will, and we watched Samuel and Isaiah crawl around and get into mischief. The new grill works great, and we shared a fine dinner together out on their patio and watched the sun go down over the San Pasqual Valley.

Today was great, too. I had a job in the morning, and a bunch of errands to run (including a drug screening for the new job - I passed!) :) And in the afternoon, we visited Mark and Tricia and their family (and most of their kids' friends) at their condo they rent in Oceanside. We carpooled with David and Courtney and Isaiah. As you can see from the photos, Isaiah really likes to eat beach sand. David and I are going to surf every day this week before my job starts. The surf was ok, but the company was really great! It was fun to just hang out and share a little of their vacation.

It is very nice indeed to "have friends around."

Saturday, August 2, 2008

our (not-so) green thumbs

We saved the area in our back yard just in front of the lemon tree for herbs and other stuff that we try to grow. This year, we were surprised by a random sunflower plant that we didn't plan for. We thought it was a weed or something, but it looked different from the other weeds, so we decided to let it grow. It has produced two stalks with two heads, and the bees are pollinating it for us now. It would be awesome to roast our own sunflower seeds this summer. It doesn't look like our tomato plant will do very well, but the sunflowers sure are pretty to look at out our living room window.

Also, nearly 5 years ago, I planted a Fuyu persimmon tree in our front side yard for Jenetta's birthday. It really has never done much. The first year, it had 10 or so persimmons, but they all fell off before they got even close to full size. The years since then haven't brought us any. We've had to go to a local farm to get them in November. But a few weeks ago, we checked it and there was a solitary persimmon on the tree! We've been examining it regularly and speaking to it kindly. In another 3 months, it should be ready to eat. I actually don't care too much for persimmons. To me they taste kind of like uncooked corn mixed with apples, but Jenetta loves them. She cuts them up in small pieces and munches on them while the dog begs to get some. They are definitely Miranda's favorite fruit, too.

I guess it is kind of nerdy to get excited about a gift sunflower and a single persimmon, but we live in the suburbs, and we dream of having lots of land with fruit trees and huge vegetable garden - probably not a reality for us in Southern California, but it is fun to dream.

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