Sunday, October 31, 2010


I'm not talking about bread here... I'm referring to Benjamin's, lettuce, a little cha-ching, cheddar (and not the cheesy kind). Yeah, we're talking about cold hard cash.

I'm not gonna lie, my first panicky thought after reading my acceptance letter to CCBCE was "Ohhh shoot, I'm gonna need some money". As I've said before, I'm a planner (well more of a "go-with-the-flow-planner" I don't care if my plans change, but I feel safe within the boundaries of a plan).  Well, one thing I decided early on was that I would not be sending out support letters. Not that I think there is anything wrong with fundraising through support letters, I've actually sent them before and may need to send some in the future, but not for this.

(PLEASE NOTE: I am NOT asking for money, but sharing a praise report!)

The first logical step was to break down the amounts needed:

1. $200 deposit
2. Plane Ticket  $700-$1000
3. Laptop $500-$1000
3. Tuition $3,000
5. 30 day mission trip: $300-$600

Step 1. $200

I might only have $12 in my bank account, but $200 is totally doable. 
As many of you know I started planning a garage sale for next weekend with a $200 minimum goal. Well, last night I worked a serving event and received a $250 cash tip! (Thank you God!)

Step 1. $200  Check!

"And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus."- Philippians 4:19

I have been working as a catering server for five years now. This is the largest tip I have ever received. I can't wait to see how God works to provide the rest of the money that I'll need!

Hey, Garage sale, we have a new goal! 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hungry or Hungary?

I have some EXCITING news! Really, wonderfully, exciting news. However, in order to appreciate the "good stuff" I think you need to know the story behind it...

*Notice: This will not be a short entry, but if you know me and love me, I think it will be worth it for you to stick with it and read to the end.*

It was the summer of 2005, I was seventeen years old and graduating high school a whole year early. I was young, optimistic, stubborn, and self-assured. I knew exactly what I would be doing with my life, and no one was going to stop me. I had planned on studying culinary arts from the time I was twelve years old, and now it was actually happening. Starting in the spring, I would be a full time student in the Scottsdale Community College Culinary Arts Program. After that, I would be a personal chef for a rich family and on the road to success and riches. I had always been told that I was mature for my age and so much of that perception stemmed from the fact that I knew what I wanted and I wasn't easily distracted from my goal.

Time passed so quickly that year. I loved school, and although I didn't fit in (at all!) with the other students I still had a good time. It was very hard, both physically and emotionally for me. 8-10 hours a day on my feet surrounded by the type of people my parents had worked my entire life to keep me away from. Yes, I had led a fairly sheltered life. Not that I was totally ignorant of what the cynics call the "real world", but still, I had never been in the thick of it before. More than half the students were drug addicts and just a select few were not alcoholics. Needless to say, I stood out. I confused people and so became an easy target. Actually, to tell the truth, I rather enjoyed it. I think my large obnoxious family must have prepared me....

So I finished the program and started working towards my associates degree. I didn't have a definite plan for the next step after that, but hey, I was ahead of the game and had lots of time to decide! Most of my friends were just graduating high school and people were impressed with how far ahead I was. I'd always wanted to travel. I am so attracted to other cultures (mostly what other cultures eat), so I started looking at Hotel & Restaurant Management and Hospitality & Tourism programs at different colleges around the US.  I actually started the application process for at least three schools, but for some reason, I never fully pursued them. I also applied and got accepted for a study abroad program called Semester at Sea but decided not to go (mostly because it was $50,000 for one semester). I didn't stress about the future much; I was a full time student with a part time job and an active social life. I just didn't have much time to think about it.

Suddenly, two years passed and I was graduating with the degree I had been planning on and working towards for over half my life. Instead of being happy, I wanted to cry. Now what? If I had learned anything over the last few years it was that working as a chef was the last thing in the world I wanted. I decided to "take a break" from school, work full time and save money.

Now came the hard part…answering the questions:
"So Callie, what are you doing these days?"
"Where do you go to school...Oh really...Well, what do you want to do?"
and worst of all:
"Dating anyone? Are you even interested in anyone?"
Because, as we all know, if you're a young woman whose not going to school you better be looking for a husband to support you....

Than an amazing thing happened. I had an opportunity to go to Uganda on a mission’s trip. I had been part of a team in high school that went to Mexico loved it. I’d always wanted to go on another trip somewhere and couldn’t have been more excited for this adventure.

That trip changed my life. I was confronted with poverty and hopelessness in a way I didn’t know was possible. Suddenly I realized just how much I had and therefore how much I wasted. I spent almost two weeks playing with dirty, starving, adorable and fun children. When I got home I was so confused. Suddenly, I began to question God in a way that I never had. Why, God? Don’t you care? You are so powerful, and I am so weak, so why don’t YOU change it? I would if I could…I can’t help that I was born to wealth. What do you want from me? Should I build a mud hut in my yard to ease the guilt of my comfort?” I wrestled with these questions for months. Finally two people gave me advice.

The missions’ pastor at my church helped me to see that the true poverty was not the lack of physical things, but rather the lack of information. The real need was for access to The Word. Not that the poverty wasn’t real or that we shouldn’t help, but that the larger focus should be on the spiritual need and the spiritual starvation. I have been blessed, but not because I live in a rich country, but because I have every tool at my fingertips to study and learn and to share my knowledge of Christ with others.

The other person who helped me was a guest musician at a college group I was attending. He told me that so many Christians here see the deplorable situations and question God and pray that He will provide for them and help them, yet at the while have the resources to be the answers to that very prayer.

While I struggled with these questions, another year passed and I had another opportunity to travel to a third world country. This time the destination was India. My experience in India was vastly different from Uganda. For one thing, I HATED it. I struggled with my American pride and the attitude of “how do these people live like this” the entire time. The smells, the trash, the food, everything made me sick (both figuratively and literally).

Yet I accomplished something in India that I never had expected to do in my life…I got up in front of a crowd and taught a lesson. This was a huge deal for me…I had always been the little shy girl who cried if I had to answer the phone or talk to a stranger. Now I was teaching a wonderful group of young women my own age. They loved to hear from me; their faces lit up with bright smiles the moment I stood for my short and simple lessons. I needed to be humbled and God made sure it happened.

Once home, I continued to search for purpose, feeling inadequate because I didn’t have a plan for my life. It might not be something that people think about often, but as a young American and “student aged” I can tell you, people expect a plan. Well, guess what? God has a plan for my life and I don’t have to know it.
That is a statement that has taken me my entire life to say. Even now, as I type those words, I still wish God would fill me in…

Well this summer I decided, for a variety of reasons, to go back to school. This time for fun! Yes, fun. I signed up for Ballet, Personal Exploratory Writing (creative non-fiction), and Ceramics. My plan was to waste some time and have an outlet besides work. Gods plan was to plant a new desire in my heart.

The writing of my classmates has allowed me to glimpse into their lives. I have heard stories of abuse, neglect, fear, confusion and sorrow. Everyday, my compassion for the lost here in my own country is growing. I feel an urgency that at times I wish I could ignore. I look into the faces of the unsaved and am confronted with the fact that if what I believe is true, they are doomed to hell. To be honest, I have to say that I lack the courage to share the truth. I lack the training and the drive that I know I am going to need. I know that if I don’t begin to equip myself and dare to step out of my comfortable life that I will be consumed with self loathing. It’s time for a change.

So now, are you ready for the BIG news? You should be after reading my entire life story!

I have applied to and been accepted to the Calvary Chapel Bible College Missions Training program in Vijta, Hungary!

It is a year long program that starts in February of the Spring 2011 semester. I’m done wasting time, waiting for a “plan”. From now on, my only plan is to live my life for Christ. So, please pray for me as I prepare for this time in my life. I know I am going to need it!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Seventy-Four Peices of Trash

One of my favorite pastimes is browsing second hand book stores. There's absolutely nothing like it. It's distracting, relaxing, and yes, even exciting. Well, I had some time between classes today, so I decided to peruse thphoenix public library website(which, for obvious reasons isn't as satisfying, but definitely still a time waster). Out of curiosity, I clicked the "Most Borrowed" link and I was more than a little disturbed by what I found.

The number one most borrowed book? 

Come on!? Is this really, truly the MOST borrowed book in Phoenix, AZ? This really doesn't inspire much confidence in my neighbors. For the fourteen branches through out Phoenix there is a total of seventy-four copies of this book. Seventy-Four!?

Now thoroughly worked up, I decided to investigate a little deeper.
I searched for my all time favorite book, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.

Wondering what I found? Well, to quote the library...
"0 of 1 available system wide, with 1 current hold."
Only one copy. One copy of the very best book ever written.

Now I began to try and defend humanity. This is just a fluke....maybe Jane Eyre isn't as popular as it should be, I can't just stop here and admit defeat. The search continued.

The results were a little better when I searched for Pride and Prejudice, "5 of 21 available system wide, with no current holds". So at least five people have an idea of what a good book is. However, I was appalled at  the list of books my search prompted; annoyed that titles such as Pies and Prejudice, and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies where at the top of the list. Ugh. How dare Seth Grahame-Smith add "and Zombies" to such a lovely title.
Granted, I'd been limiting my searches to what some might define as "chick flicks" so I expanded to JRR Tolkien.
One copy of Jane Eyre, twenty-one copies of Pride and Prejudice, zero copies of The Hobbit, nine copies of The Lord of the Rings, and Seventy-four copies of Poor Little Bitch Girl.

Phoenix, you disgust me.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Ceramics Projects

I finally finished some of my ceramics projects!  I still have some other things I am working on, just waiting to glaze. I love this class! It's relaxing to work in the art studio. I have always been creative, but not really what could be considered artistic, you should have seen the disaster that resulted in my instructor telling me to sketch my dead tree idea! Well, guess what, I am artistic! SO THERE!   

Last week we started learning to "throw" on the wheel .  I have to say is that it looks so much easier than it actually is. I can't help but be reminded of Isaish 64:8

Out of everything I've made so far, I have to say that these trees are my favorite. The assignment was to make something at least twelve inches tall that had to do with Halloween. Well, I hate Halloween, so I pretty much ignored that part, but I was a little inspired and the end result was dead trees. My class mates kept asking me what I was planning to do with them (which is a little stupid in my opinion, what does anyone do with ceramics projects?). 

Well, here's what I did and I think they fit in quite nicely. I'm excited to see what else I end up with. 

 But now, O Lord, You are our Father, we are the clay, and You our potter; and all of us are the work of Your hand. Isaish 64:8

Sunday, October 3, 2010

A writer? Maybe.

"I'm a writer" I thinkIt's a thought that catches me by surprise. My handwriting is atrocious. My spelling, like that of a 3rd grader. Still, I think I'm a writer. 

I collect journals. Buying new ones even before the old are filled. In fact, I have hardly ever finished a single journal. The two or three that I've managed to fill over halfway are some of my greatest treasures, although I do mock them. 

"Did I really say that?" I laugh at my attempts to sound well versed and poetic. Still, I know that if I wrote it, I meant it. I labor over word choice, often crossing out words that don't quite fit. 

Yes, my attempts are humorous. I keep trying. I want my voice to be heard. I have something to say and I want people to listen. My empty journals say this more than hundreds of filled pages ever could. 

I am a writer and I am learning to write. Learning to say things on paper that I wouldn't or couldn't say out loud. 

I am a reader. I've always been. Now I am learning that writing for myself is so much better than relating to the words of someone else. I don't have to laugh at my feeble attempts. I'm trying, right? 

I want to fill every journal on my shelf. Well, maybe I'll just buy a new one. A empty journal represents a story yet to be told. It represents an adventure yet to take place. My old, empty journals belong to stories that have already played out but go undocumented. To fill the pages with the present or dreams of the future would be blasphemous. 

Empty pages deserved to be filled, right? Isn't that the purpose for which they were created? Maybe I feel this way because I am a writer. 

Am I really a writer? 
I think. 
I think I am.