Monday, December 17, 2012

Heavy Heart

When life seems unfair, I turn introspective.  I struggle with questions like every normal person.

Why is there so much evil?
Why can't we make it stop?
What could have been done differently to protect those precious children?
Why won't the Lord just come back and rescue us from all this destruction?

I get overwhelmed with the injustice in our world.  Twenty innocent lives were lost on Friday at the hands of a young man who was more than likely mentally ill and fighting his own demons.  We point fingers at guns or politics or communities who surely saw the violent potential in this boy, yet we refuse to analyze our own lives, shortcomings, and mistakes and see where our words and actions kill, even if not literally.  Thank God I have been blessed with a mind that thinks clearly and impulses I can control.  But do I ever look twice at the people around me who may be struggling with illness?  Do I lend a hand or volunteer my time?  No.  I rely on the "system" that is in place to deal with these people.  I didn't go to medical school to learn about the depths of mental illness, nor do I have the understanding to genuinely help, which makes me feel helpless.  Instead, I do nothing.  And this is where the cycle of feeling overwhelmed loops back to the beginning, and I feel crushed with anguish and frustration.  But so often I forget I have a powerful tool in my arsenal; I have prayer.  As much evil as there is in this world, we have someone who is already victorious and who listens to the cries of his people.  “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)  Prayer.  I have prayer.

Sadly, while people in all walks of life are up in arms about this very public, media-attracting tragedy, little boys and girls in your town, where you sit reading this, are being kidnapped, drugged, and sold into sex slavery, and yet you never hear about it.  Ever.  We turn a blind eye to prostitution because we want to imagine that it's dirty men looking for their sexual "fix" and filthy girls who are willingly subjecting themselves to it for money and drugs.  Yet, that is the minority!  The majority of these girls, some not even old enough to attend your local kindergarten, are being taken and forced into sex with much older men.  Not always the men you'd expect either; a lot of times it's husbands, lawyers, doctors, pastors, the "good" men in our communities.  And though these children might be the "throw aways" of society: the orphans, runaways, "bad" kids, they are still someone's little, sweet, innocent girl, and she is being sold, like livestock, to men who beat her and make her do unimaginable things.  They grow up in this environment of fear, with no resources, and no way out, so they continue the only thing they know, selling their bodies.

While people are screaming about gun control, can someone please scream about sex trafficking?  Can we get some help prosecuting pimps (those forcing them into sex) and johns (those paying for the sex), rather than blaming the girls (the victims)?  Until we kill the root of the sex trade operation, it will continue.  According to the FBI's webpage on Human Sex Trafficking, "It is the fastest-growing business of organized crime and the third-largest criminal enterprise in the world."  It generates billions of dollars world-wide each year.  It is a much bigger problem that you ever thought to imagine.  If you have 2 hours, please watch the documentary "Nefarious: Merchant of Souls."  I think it's on Netflix now.  It will make you cry and hold your children a little tighter.

I am happy to say that there are some ministries out there to help these precious children get out.  In East Texas, "Refuge of Light" is raising funds to build a facility where sex trafficking victims can come to safely get out, be educated, and grow into adults with options.  Please look at their website: http://refugeoflight.org/  When I was in college, I went on a mission trip to the Dream Center of Los Angeles.  It was my first exposure to sex trafficking, and it was terrifying.  They offer a safe place to recover and also be educated.  Here is their website: http://www.dreamcenter.org/resource-project/human-trafficking/  These are the ones I personally know and have worked with and can say are worthy of your money and time.  These girls, these children, are worthy of our money and time.

Please educate yourself on human sex trafficking.  I know it's not the only evil out there, but it's one that I feel I can impact with prayer, time, and money.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Life, as I know it

It's been a while since I've posted anything.  Probably because I'm not changing jobs, or moving, or any of the other big adventures you're used to me doing.

I'm just living life as it comes.

I am still enjoying being a landman.  Every day is a new challenge, but I feel successful and so very thankful.  Next week will be one year with my broker, but I still have so much to learn!  Oil and gas is a very detailed, complicated business, and I've just scratched the surface.

I'm also thankful to be living in Tyler and getting to see my nephews as often as I want.  We had a sleepover last week, complete with kids' meals, crowns, the Avengers, and paint.  It's amazing to watch them grow and learn and develop these precious little personalities.  Eli is so inquisitive and keeps me on my toes.  He is in 1st grade and needs to know everything...how electricity conducts, how Hawkeye (Avengers) doesn't run out of arrows, or what would happen to the tides if the moon shrunk.  I can't make this stuff up.  And little Joe is not so little anymore.  He is 3 and almost as tall as Eli.  He loves to run, jump, punch, and climb.  He is so sweet when he wants to be.  And he does a killer robot impression.  He has dubbed himself the Happy Robot.  It's adorable.  He's also obsessed with lizards, frogs, insects, or anything else he can catch, put in a jar, and feed crickets.

This past weekend, I walked/jogged by first 5K.  I decided when I turned 29, that I wanted to challenge myself to do a marathon in a year.  Well, I've quickly scaled back that challenge from a marathon to a half marathon.  I think 13.1 miles is enough of a challenge for one out of shape 29-year-old.  My parents, little brother, and I participated in the Tyler Rose 5K.  We all finished!  And surprisingly, I loved it!  It was an adrenelin rush.  And though I'm still a little sore, I feel so accomplished.  The next one is lined up for December 1 in Nacogdoches.  I'd like to improve my time by 5-10 minutes and jog more, walk less.  Hopefully in 4-5 months, I can advance to a 10K.

Other than that, not too much is going on.  My cat, Meowers, is as crazy as ever.  Our apartment is pretty great.  And Christmas is really soon!  Decorations in a month (or so)!

Christen

Monday, February 13, 2012

Thoughts on a Rainy Day

I hate rain. To be completely honest, I hate water. I don’t like swimming, washing dishes, or getting flicked with water. I really don’t even like drinking the stuff. But I reluctantly do, usually as tea, though.

Nevertheless, today, outside, the rain is falling. After a very dry summer and hundreds of scary wildfires, I can’t begrudge the ground its water.

It makes me introspective though. It’s also Valentine’s week, which further makes me introspective. I’m like an unproductive, thinking, rain-hating sap this morning.

I think for a long time I've thought love was elusive to me. I’m too tall. Too short. Too girly. Too unfunny. Too demonstrative. Too. Too. Too.

But over the last 3 years, the Lord has been showing me, gently, that His ways are bigger than my ways.

I have had dynamic adventures.

I have stood on the beaches of the Atlantic and Pacific, both north and south of the equator. I have wandered the streets of NYC, Chicago, Boston, Philly, San Francisco, LA, Portland, Dallas, Atlanta, Tampa, and dozens more in between. I’ve traveled to multiple countries by plane. I’ve crossed the US by train. I’ve driven to California, Oregon, Canada, Illinois, Indiana, Florida, Mexico…I could go on. I have worked with some of the sweetest children on this planet, putting bandaids on cuts and ice packs on bruises. I have learned the skills required to save a life and am always ready to jump in and do so. I have learned that though I have the mental capacity and skills necessary to manage people, it brings me no pleasure. It makes me borderline crazy. And I’m beyond thankful that someone believed in me enough to give me that opportunity.

I believe I would not have found my way to my current job without all the aforementioned experiences. And I love being a landman.

The search for love has become less of a search. No more blind dates set up by friends, or awkward emails on eHarmony, or any of the other embarrassing things I’ve subjected myself to. At some point, it occurred to me that I could be unhappy, waiting forever. Or I could buck up, quit waiting and hoping, and get on with things.

If you’re reading this north of the Mason Dixon line, you’re thinking, “Crap, Christen, you’re 28. Not dead.” However, if you’re south, you get it. There are thousands of things I could blame it on… But bottom line, God has a different plan.

I had an epiphany this last week that my best days are still ahead of me. Whether I will fall in love and have children and get the whole “white picket fence” dream, or I’ll discover a new dream, like medical school, or living in China, or doing exactly what I’m doing today- researching families for my job, only God knows. I don’t plan anything more than 6 months in advance because I honestly don’t know where I’ll be in that amount of time, and I’ve never wanted to limit God. He can do whatever he wants with me. Either way, changing my attitude from “poor me” to “lucky me” isn’t exactly easy, but I think it’s very necessary. Who am I to question God’s timing? In retrospect, I’ve always seen the perfection in God’s timing and not mine. I believe one day this will all make sense, too.

So, why do I tell you this today? To get it out of my head, I guess. To let you know that I won’t be lying on the floor depressed tomorrow. Or sending myself flowers. Or drowning my sorrows in chocolates. Or even spending more than maybe 5 minutes on the way to work feeling sorry for myself. (Though I will allow myself those 5 minutes.)

I’m very happy where life and the Lord have taken me. I look forward to what’s still around the corner.

Much love.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Day 27: Affections

Day 27: A Picture of Yourself with a Family Member

These people stir my affections:



I am not lost on the fact that I was born into a very special, and rare, family. Growing up, I did not grasp the concept of divorce, or fighting, or bitterness. I knew love, patience, and kindness. The few moments I have heard my parents heatedly disagree, I have never been scared. Because we are a family. A unit.

From the get-go, we have been tight-knit. We did everything together, and a lot of times, we still do. They are my biggest fans, and I theirs.

Growing up and growing in numbers has only brought us closer. How we survived 19 years without my sister-in-law, I'll never know. She belongs; she's one of us. And the two, precious little boys in the picture above make my heart full. I knew love on one level until they were born. Sometimes I secretly wonder how I will ever love my own children more. I mean, I know I will, but today, it doesn't seem possible.

The dynamic of my family unit only makes me more cautious when choosing a future husband. He stands to gain an amazing family, and I want to make sure he can handle it. ;) We are quite vocal about Scott's girlfriends because she's going to have to hang out with Sheila and me for the next 60 years. haha It's kinda funny, and yet, Sheila and I have discussed this, on more than one occasion. I'm quite serious.

The older I get, the more thankful I am for the family God has given me. I realize how lucky and blessed I am.

Family- I love you. :)

Christen

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Day 26: Ceramics

Day 26- A picture of something that means a lot to you

When I was living in McKinney, I had a lot of time on my hands. I worked during the day, but beyond that, I had no responsibilities or obligations. I was bored and needed something to do. I decided to take a couple of continuing education classes at the local community college, and I fell in love. First, I took Novel Writing. It was cool, and my writing evolved. No, I have not written a novel- okay, maybe a few chapters. Then I took a ceramics class. Coolest. Class. Ever. I went one night a week for about 8 weeks. I have so many cool things and memories. I miss it.



These pieces mean a lot to me. I love that I made these with my hands. The torquoise piece is my favorite. :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Days 24 & 25- A Picture of My Day

Day 24- A picture of something that you wish you could change

I'm skipping Day 24. I don't know, I guess I'm happy with my path. I feel like anything I'd want to change will just sound like I'm unhappy with the way it is. So, yeah...on to day 25!

Day 25- A picture of your day

My days have changed quite a bit since I began this blogging journey. I went from being the night time assistant manager to the day time store manager. I've had to adjust to going to bed a whole lot earlier and getting up way too early for my liking. However, I get to come home during the daytime, which I like. And I get to come home to this:



My apartment is pretty beautiful right now. :) Yeah, I know you're jealous. ;)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Day 23: My favorite Book

Day 23- A picture of your favorite book



I read this book for the first time in high school. It's about an inch and a half thick, and I read it in 2 days.

It's exciting, sad, heart wrenching, joyous. It's set in the gold-mining era, and yet, it applies to today. It's based on the book of Hosea in the Bible and completely brings it to life.

I have reread it probably 5 times and loaned it out a thousand times. The picture above is actually my 3rd copy. The first one was loaned out to a fellow flight attendant and never returned. She bought me a new one. The second one was loaned out to a Chick-fil-A coworker and doused in soda. He also bought me a new one. I apparently loan them to great people. :)

I have never met someone who didn't love this book (or cry reading it).

Maybe I'll reread it this week. :)