Tuesday, April 25, 2006

I am back from Vancouver! Wohoo! It was so fun to get away and experience a new, stranger place. I really LOVE to travel. It didn't really register that I was going to a foreign country until I got there and got fun, colorful money. But basically, everything was the same. There was a Starbucks on every corner, and the cars drove on the right side of the road. The best part was spending loads of quality time with my best friend, Shannon. But it also made me realize a few things. First, I am used to being independent. And I like it! I make decisions and never have to wonder whether someone beside me concurs. I was happy to return to my own egocentric life. (Remember that next time I start griping about how the universe has conspired against me to keep me sad and alone forever.) Second, I actually enjoy solitude. Being with someone 24/7 is draining, especially for two high energy women like Shannon and me. I can only take so much laughing and foolishness. Yes, I know its hard to believe, but I am not happy and hyper all the time. For once I was glad to be alone. Third, friends are really great. Shannon and I have known each other since freshman year of college when we were randomly assigned to live together. We were roomies through out college and have stayed more or less close since. All that to say, she knows me well, probably better than anyone, and she loves me and encourages me. That is so precious. It was good to soak up all the love she had to give. But before I get really sappy... she also shows me (inadvertantly) my shortcomings. It was a glimpse into marriage. She forced me to be less selfish (though sometimes I wasn't) and to, well, just be a nicer person. So there you go, the personal reflections on Joy's vacation to Vancouver. Of course, these reflection haven't told the many wonderful adventures on bikes, buses, and feet, but those will come when I post the pictures (which will be next month b/c I ran out of download space on Flickr but some are on there).

Monday, April 17, 2006

As some of you may know, there was a variety of protests led by Cardinal Mahoney through out the country last monday in response to a new immigration bill, which would control immigration by raising illegal immigration to a felony. Here is an L.A. Times article on a recent protest. Ever since, the issue of immigration has been recurrent and I don't exactly know how to respond. My friend, Wess Daniels, has a great dialogue going on the issue. There are several difficult issues. First, I approach the issue from the standpoint of a liberation theologian,which reminds us of the message of the prophets and the example of God's action on behalf of the oppressed people of Israel in Egypt. God is on the side of the socially marginalized. Note the example of Jesus, who counted tax collectors, prostitutes and drunkards as among his friends and disciples not the wealthy and politically powerful. In our society immigrants are undoubtedly among this population. Second, I would like to note the positive presence that Latino immigrants have in the US. The Evloution of the Mexican-born Workforce in the U.S., written by two Harvard economists, is an informative and provocative look at actual role immigrants play in our economy. Our economy is dependent on their cheap labor, which is unacceptable in my opinion. Third, one of the biggest issues seems to be enforcement. Whatever policy we choose, it must be implemented with justice and efficiency. Even if we had the perfect response, if it is not enforced (without violence or militarization, of course) we will still have the same problem. Finally, we need to look at the broader issue. What is bringing immigrants to America? The jobs and lack of sustainable jobs in their country. Our country so often becomes the focus of immigration that we forget that Mexico is part of the problem. Holly has written a post on the need for just trade between the US and Mexico. That's just some thoughts for now as I explore this issue. I'll be posting more in the future and would appreciate any insight or observation you have.

I never told ya'll about how I marched in a Peace Parade on Palm Sunday. It was my first experience with direct involvement in social action. I was suprised at how much fun it was. There was no anger or force; we weren't even overly serious. We were sending out a powerful message, but I was just walking with my friends from Pasadena Mennonite and Fuller Seminary. There were a few encouraging car honks along the way and lots of staring, but I don't mind attention (as you probably know). We walked with signs, such as the ones below, and palm branches. I stole my sign from Kent. I love it because it brings the issue of torture, human rights and violence very close to home. It also made realize how simple social action can be when you are part of a community seeking justice. We did it together, and it was fun and easy. I would never have done had I not know Wess, Barry, Holly, and lots of others were going to meet me and walk with me. In fact, I was later invited to go to a candlelight vigil in L.A. by Barry, which I wouldn't have known about or had the courage to go to without him. Sadly, I couldn't go.

Pictures from Easter, which I hosted! My first holiday! Yeah!

Below is my Mom, Aunt Ruth, Omi and Caitlin

Me and my divine salmon bisque

My brother, Nick

Rosa and I

Look at my adorable cousins! Lily (8 months), Isaac (6 yrs) and Amanda (4 yrs). I love 'em so much!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Joy's Story of the Day:

Okay, so I am at work, and this lady comes up wearing a maroon velour jumpsuit (a bit passe dontcha think) with USC Trojans emroidered loudly across the front. To make conversation I ask, "So were you bummed when we lost to USC?"

She looks at me (very soberly) and says, "It was my fault." At which point, I am wracking my mind trying to think of how it could be her fault. Obviously she wasn't playing, so maybe she involved with coaching or the equipment or related to a player or something. "I didn't intercede." What the? "I was supposed to be praying for the game, but my kids were texting me, and I got distracted." So I respond by saying that it surely cannot be solely her fault. Others should have been praying too... "No, sometimes God sends a message but only one person receives it. I received it and didn't pray." She continues with a story of the USC vs. Notre Dame game. God didn't even want her to watch the game but to pray. She actually had to leave to house so she wouldn't watch it. But guess what? They won the game in the last seven seconds. And so she bought Wagner's book on prayer and left. What the ^&*%? Because don't you know God wants us to pray for football over starving children or sickness!?! Ridiculous. We should pray for her.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Love this picture. Sometimes I feel like she does.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

I climbed a tree today. It was brilliant. Simply divine.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Can I just tell everyone how insanely obssessed with David (Dah-veed) Garza I am. He is the shit, frickin' amazing!!! I want to eat him all up! I even listen to him in the shower. Yes!

This is funny. I have started teaching Sunday School for the 3rd to 5th graders. Last week I showed up about an hour early to prepare my lesson. I had just read through the lesson when a girl walks in and then a boy. I had totally forgotten about daylight savings time. Ah! So we roughly went through the lesson and went on a nature walk. LOL, it was totally fine, but this week I was even more anxious about preparing the lesson. I went over it last night and got here an hour and a half early this morning. Now, it is 9.15 (it starts at 9.45) and I have nothing to do so I am posting. I am so silly!

On a more serious note... you may know that I have taken this quarter off completely. With all the family yuck and ensuing school stress of last quarter, learning was not fun. So here I am living life to the hilt. I seriously have been to Hollywood more this week than I have in the last year! I went to see the David Spade Show, Dah-veed at the Largo, and I went to the Rainbow Room (so not as cool as I thought). Anyway, it has been fun but challenging in very different ways. The most difficult part of it has been the comments by others (and my internal over-achiever). So many people respond to my break with a look of disbelief and just say, "So what do you do with your time?" As if time is hard to fill. I am doing all those things that you always want to do but never have time. Like organize your closet or scrapbook all your pictures. Look, I am trying to justify my break to the anonymous internet void. It just pisses me off because they don't know how I am feeling or what I am going through. Grrrr... and yet I also impose those expectations on myself. I find myself feeling guilty for not being stressed out or over-worked and sleep-deprived. Why can't I just spend an afternoon journaling and reading for pleasure or not reading if I don't feel like it? Stupid judgmental workaholics. Dammit I think I am one of them.

Concurrently, I have also realized how unfulfilling it is to gain your sense of value from achievement or success in the eyes of others. This quarter I am not catering to the demands of academia or professors or competition with other students, so no kudos to bolster Joy's self-esteem. And I feel totally crappy about last quarter. I took a PhD seminar with one of the most reknowned professors of philosophy (never my strong suit). Anyways, the first half of the quarter was spent rewriting papers that were apparently shit. And the second half I was dealing with family and fell two weeks behind in work. Add to it the incomplete I took in my other class and you get an overall feeling of failure. Blugh. I hate failure. It sucks. I know know your supposed to learn something from it but whatever. So, grades came out on Wednesday and would you believe it, I got a full-on A in her class!!! And she loved the last paper I wrote! Woohoo! So I felt great for about a day. And then the high left and I was back where I started from. Even the elation of an A in the hardest class I have ever taken was not enough to change my sense of confidence or self-esteem. All that to say, I am realizing how I cannot find my identity or value in what I do or what others think of me. And it is so easy to do because others always think higher of me than I do myself. Inside this bubbly, outgoing personality is a little girl who seriously doubts her worth. Just thinking about it I feel the tears. God, transform me. Let me see your beauty within me. May I live my life in the comfort of your grace and love. You are my audience of One.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

I know, I am a negligent blogger. And I have had the greatest story to post. It happened two weeks ago! So, I was making microwave popcorn at work. I never make it... grew up on the real stuff made in the pan. So I put it in the micro for four minutes like the package says and wander off to chat with my friendly coworker Wess. So about three minutes later Susan, my boss, goes running down the hall and I look up to see smoke billowing out of the break room. Ten seconds later, the fire alarm goes off. And here I am hoping that the alarm only went off in the offices, but no, it went off in the cafe and the bookstore. And we couldn't turn it off - only the fire dept. could when they came fifteen minutes later. Well, it was good you know... like free air freshener... only it was burnt popcorn... ewwww.... So the next day my other boss, Dave, told me the story of how he did the same thing when he was working at Abercrombie and Fitch except he set off the fire alarm for the whole mall! That made me feel a little better.