Friday, February 27, 2009

Digital Dating

4:37 PM

So I met this guy recently, really recently, and I think too much of it of at first. But later that day he found on Facebook, which struck me as interesting. But I accepted his request, because I found him interesting. I sent him a message about something or other, and we began exchanging messages. Then a day or two later, he IM's me. We chat, it's pleasant and entertaining. This continues for several days. Then a week later, we're chatting, online. Today he asks me to meet up with him later in the weekend, location, everything all set. And I'm supposed to text him to let him know when I'm coming. I have this date this weekend, and I've only spoken to him voice to voice once, when we met. So I hope he's there. Or that could be awkward.

Isn't funny how much dating changed with that advancement of technology. I mean not only for "online dating", but for "real life dating", so much happens online. It's become the new "small talk". I can check his Facebook page, MySpace profile, etc... all before going out with this guy so I have idea of what to expect. I now know where he went to high school, what year he graduated, and where he asks. Didn't have to ask!

I feel a little like Drew Barrymore's character in "He's Just Not That Into You" when she found out that MySpace was the new "booty call". What does that make Facebook? Will I find out he's just not that into me? I think in a way all this social networking is enabling guys to be lazier in pursuing women. Instead of manning up to ask for a girl's number, he can get her name, and then find her online later, send her a witty message and proceed. And instead of the awkward first phone call, he can IM her to break the ice. And instead of calling her invite her to the party he's having, he can send her a Facebook event invite. And then text her to make sure she's still coming.

Is technology helping or hindering my dating life? Because we all know that we only post the best pictures of ourselves, untag the ones we look bad in, and keep a current list our music tastes so we're always "hip". As we go about lives, how often do we stop for a "Facebook pic" moment or a "Twitter update"? Am I creating the image that I want people to perceive of myself? Or is just me? I don't even know how to answer that.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Always in Transition

11:40 PM
I feel like my life is always in the state of change. Some my own doing, other not. Just in the past 2 years alone I moved to Georgia, went to New Zealand for 2 months, moved back from Georgia, worked at a coffeeshop, quit the coffeeshop, worked for a pregnancy center, moved out of parents house, moved in with a family and now I'm on the move yet again.

The fab family I live with have decided to back to Michigan. I've known it was coming for a few months, but just this month has everything happened all at once. Like the house going on the market, the beginning of the new job, and finally a move date. And it's not too far away.

And while I'm really happy for them, and I know that I'll have a new place to settle into soon, but it's gonna suck. To say goodbye to friends who feel more like family. To pack up my life belongings and relocate, which after moving my work office over Christmas I thought it would be years before I'd want to move again!

And I know that this next adventure will be exciting. And I know God has a plan and all that. But I'm ready for the process to be over. More to come on this....


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Child Prostitutes Rescued!

4:18 PM
I'm convinced the media oblivious to human trafficking going on in our country today. So I get excited news of modern-day abolition breaks! Such as this one I found at CNN today...

(CNN) -- Law enforcement officials arrested more than 500 people, and took custody of 48 juveniles in a coordinated 29-city weekend sweep aimed at combating child prostitution, the FBI announced Monday.

Task forces made up largely of state and local police officers arrested and booked what authorities said were 464 adult prostitutes, 55 pimps and 55 customers on state charges. While most faced local charges, a senior FBI official said he expected there were would be some federal charges as well.

The FBI Monday said 19 searches were conducted, netting a total of $438,000 in cash, plus illegal drugs, cars and computers.

The four dozen juveniles were recovered in the third phase of Operation Cross Country, an initiative that seeks to help child prostitutes and crack down on people who control them and patronize them.

In the previous coordinated operations, authorities recovered 21 alleged child prostitutes last June and 47 in October.

In 2003 the FBI, Department of Justice prosecutors, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children launched what was called the Innocence Lost National Initiative to address what had become a growing problem of children forced into prostitution. Many were young runaways.

Officials say the 32 Innocence Lost task forces formed nationwide have now recovered about 670 children in the six years, and seized more than $3 million in cash.

The most recent operation involved law enforcement agencies in several states including California, Alaska, Michigan, Georgia, Colorado, Oregon, Alabama, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Illinois, Texas, Florida, Ohio, Minnesota and Arizona.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

On the Air

4:29 PM

So today I was on the radio. Yup, I did a LIVE in-station radio interview on a local talk radio station here in Tampa. I have never done anything like it before. It was for human trafficking, and I was coming on as a spokesperson for the Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking. I felt fairly confident in preparing for this morning. Read up on my stats. Watched a few recent news pieces. Put together an outline. Felt ready.

I got downtown this morning early and turned on the station I would be appearing on just to listen to the DJ. He was not quite as....easy I would have hoped! Haha. He definitely had that no-holds-barred and pull-no-punches approach that so many morning talk DJ's are known for. But I took a deep breath and dove in.

Before our segment began he told me that he didn't believe human trafficking existed and if it did, it was a result of illegal immigration. I knew it would be an interesting conversation! And so we began...I used my stats to help shed some light on the size and extent of human trafficking in our world. And I made it personal by citing a recent Orlando case. But he threw some curveballs that left me momentarily speechless. I kick myself now, because I can think of the answers so much more clearly. And I wish I had said so much more abou different things. But there was so much pressure! Live. On the air.

Life is like that for me too often. In the moment, I make the wrong decision, say the wrong thing, have the wrong reaction, and immediately wish I could change it. I doubt I'm alone in those feelings. But I'm so glad I serve a God who keeps no records of wrongs. And His forgiveness is limitless.

So my time in the spotlight is through for now, and I'll forever be second guessing myself, but I'm glad I did it. And I just hope that someone somewhere out there is motivated to educate themselves on human trafficking and begins to make a difference.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Other Side of the Coin

3:16 PM

So I grew up pretty conservatively. Church on Sundays, a Christian school that teaches KJV only from kindergarten to high school graduation. Conservative. I grew up learning the Bible stories, complete with flannelgraphs, and memorizing Scripture thanks to AWANA's. Now I'm not knocking this upbringing. I am very thankful for the solid foundation on which I was raised. It provided stability and support during challenging times. And the first time I was challenged was during my freshman year of college.

I managed to attend 3 different colleges in 4 years and still graduate on time. Talent, I know. The first college I attended was a local private college. And one of the required courses they had was New Testament survey. I went in knowing it would be a cake walk. I knew the New Testament backwards and forwards. But as the class went on, I realized I didn't know this New Testament that my professor was teaching. Why was she saying the Paul didn't write some of the letters he claimed he did? Why did she imply that Paul was writing things that may not been inspired by God? And the kicker, that Revelation was not a book about future events, but the history of Rome. I remember being furious after that class! Thinking that this lady was a false prophet. I even went and told my youth pastor & his wife about what she taught and they laughed at the absurdity of it all with me. Pure nonsense.

Or so I thought.

I've come to learn a lot of things during the 7 years that have passed since then. My views on God have evolved. My theology has deepened. My relationship with God has a very different shape today than it once had. And more recently, my views on Scripture have shifted.

Oh I still believe it's the divinely inspired Word of God, and it's complete truth. But what if I've been reading it through the wrong lens. What if some books like Job or Esther, didn't actually happen but were allegories for the character of God. And what if Revelation was a letter regarding the Roman Empire.

Hear me out...

“Imagine how dangerous it would be if were Christians who skipped over the first-century meaning of John's letter and focused only on whatever it might be saying about future events, years and years away. There is always the chance that in missing the point, they may in the process be participating in supporting and funding the carious kinds of systems that the letter warns against participating in, supporting and funding. That would be tragic. That wouldn't be what Jesus had in mind. That would be anti-Jesus. That would be anti-Christ. Were the people in John's church reading his letter for the first time with Roman soldiers right outside their door, thinking: 'This is going to be really helpful for people two thousand years from now who don't want to get left behind'? “ (Rob Bell, Jesus Wants to Save the Christians p134)

Funny, huh. To hear about the Caesars of the day and their caesar-worship and olympic games, and how much of that language is mirrored in John's letter. Maybe there was some validity in my freshman New Testament professor's claims about this text. Maybe God is yet again, bigger than I thought He was. And maybe I still have more to learn about my Savior and His Word.

For more reading, check out Ethelbert Stauffer's Christ and the Caesars


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

One SUPER Weekend

11:45 PM

Tampa Bay was invaded a few weeks ago, by crazy, loud, noisy football fans. That's right, Super Bowl was in town! And as much as I was looking forward to that event [ok, not really, I don't like sports], I had something else even more exciting going on that weekend.

I was able to volunteer with the Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking in an effort to raise awareness about domestic minor sex trafficking going on right here in the U.S. and more specifically, right here in Tampa Bay.

FCAHT and Brad Dennis from KlaasKids, teamed up to educate the entertainment, restaurant, and hospitality industries in Tampa Bay about this serious crime plaguing our city. With the influx of tourists and the party atmosphere that accompanies the Super Bowl, we were keeping our eyes open for anything suspicious and out of the ordinary. Brad gave us flyers of missing girls, each gone missing in the Tampa area within the last month and under the age of 18. 2100 children go missing every day in the U.S. and 1/3 of those children are approached by pimps within the first 48 hours. It's essential to get their photos out into the community to avoid the risk of the victims being trafficked.

So Friday afternoon we took to the streets of downtown Tampa. We covered from Ybor City to Dale Mabry to International Mall. My team was responsible for walking Dale Mabry right past the stadium. We visited several businesses, most of whom were very receptive to our information. A few however were not. We were actually thrown out of a Sonny's BBQ! It may have had something to do with an MSNBC cameraman with us, but still, the manager didn't even want to hear what we had to say. But overall, the experience was successful. Several tips were reported, and further surveillance was done later that night.

Saturday afternoon, we moved over to Pinellas County and my team had the well-traveled area of Rocky Point and across Gulf-to-Bay. There was mostly hotels on that route, so we spent even more time educating front desk managers and staff by leaving flyers, posters, and indicator cards for their disposal. Saturday was really hot for activity, and one of the missing girls we were looking for had been identified several times. Unfortunately, she has not been located yet, but we do know she is still in the area and even more people are looking out for her.

Overall, the weekend was a success! Any chance there is to educate and raise awareness about the global crime of human trafficking is a win in my book. And as an added bonus, I was able to see “Taken” that weekend, which highlights the perils of a sex trafficking. More and more people are seeing this crime for what it really is and I believe change is going to come. Thanks for all your prayers and support!


Tuesday, February 10, 2009


9:49 AM

Blogging has been hit or miss for me over the years. I was consistent when I was living in Georgia and traveling to New Zealand. Then I came back and started this page, and I've never really found my blogging rhythm. Well, I've decided to give this another go! I don't want to use it as a way to keep everyone updated on my life, or brag about everything I do [which is not much btw], but instead use it to process. I find myself getting so wrapped in my head, emotions running this way and that, overpowering my thoughts. So I'm thinking about letting this blog become a place where I can make some sense of these things, these thoughts. I don't know why you'd want to follow my journey, but if you do...welcome. I hope that through my crazy life, my ridiculous thoughts and my rambling words you see the characteristics of God and ultimately love. Thanks for reading.


Monday, February 9, 2009

Reds & Grays

9:22 PM

Radiant red and the grayest of the grays....

A new Kurt painting I bought, sums me up these days


Saturday, February 7, 2009

Snowglobes and me

2:44 PM

I used to be quite a fan of snowglobes. Not really sure why, something about the scenic beauty of the ornate detail, or the magic when the "snow" went swirling. I grew up in Florida, to me, it was magical! My good friend & Watermarkian Ryan Young read us a poem at house church the other night about snowglobes, that's what got me thinking about them again. Snowglobes look good on a shelf, but their true purpose is to be shaken and enjoyed. How often do I as a Christian stay on the shelf? Sit around, look good and do nothing. When God is calling me to a life of being shaken and turned upside down for Him. I wish I could say I am praying for God to shake my world again, but I'm not. Just when I feel like my life got settled, the last thing I want is for things to turn upside down. But I'm pretty sure God is going to do some shaking whether I'm ready for it or not. The family I live with are moving to Michigan. My job is at a constant crossroads dependent on government funding. My heart & passion are pulling me in a new direction that I'm not sure how to approach. I'm being shaken and swirled around right now, and I just hope that I can display the beauty of God as I endure.