who's its and what's its and why nots and WHAT'S UP?!!

Well well, what have I been up to? Certainly not blogging!!!

The biggest news is that I've landed a job! And a great one at that! Beginning November 16th I'll be working as a Mutual Funds Specialist for USbancorp in downtown Milwaukee. I'm extremely excited about this new opportunity and definite adventure! I know I'm going to be challenged and I'm going to learn a lot. I feel undeservedly blessed to have been offered this job. I know people who have been searching for work for months and months, and this has all happened quite quickly for me. In fact, it took only 6 days from the time I submitted my application to the time I received the phone call with the offer. And from all that I've learned so far, I think I'm going to really love it!

In other news (the second biggest news!) I signed a lease for my new apartment! Mom and I spent the entire day yesterday scrubbing and cleaning previous tenants gross gunk off of everything :( but it looks and smells fantastically clean now and I'm painting tomorrow and moving in on Saturday and I will MOST DEFINITELY have pictures up soon. It's a charming little apartment in my favorite area of Milwaukee and walking distance to most of my friends and my church. It's also right on the bus line so my commute to work will be a cinch!

And now that I'm not spending every waking moment in front of a computer browsing job openings, or at Kinko's printing resumes, or re-wording my cover letters.... I've been letting my creative energy run wild. Grr...... haha.

Years ago, in my early teen years, the neighbors threw this little cabinet on the curb. For some reason I snatched it from its demise and ever since it has been one of my favorite pieces of furniture. I know it's nothing special, but I love it.
Well as you can see, (this is post-sanding) it needed some love. I told mom and dad that it needed to be "born again". So I spent some time out in dad's garage and well... you can see the results.

Now, if you're confused, it is SUPPOSED to look old still, but with a new charm. And after I took this photo I dusted it and polished it a bit more so bear that in mind. But I'm planning to use it for a TV stand in my new apartment. We'll see...

Finally, I thought I'd reminisce for a moment.
In mid-July I was watching the sun rise over Trinity Beach in Cairns, Australia with my treasure-of-a-friend Michelle. We were talking about life and future dreams. At that point, I didn't really know what life was going to look like post-travels. I was planning to return home in September and after that everything was one big uncertin cloud. But for some reason, sitting there on Trinity Beach I felt comfortable. I remember telling Michelle "I don't really know what I'm going to do with my life, but I really feel like God is going to guide me every step of the way and I'm just not worried."
Well Michelle had it in her mind to make a reminder for me, so that I'd keep that calm faith, so that I'd remember to trust God and believe that he truly is GOD! She scribbled in the sand for me. (see below) And for real, it has been a picture in my mind ever since!

I've had a few meltdown moments as my finances have been dwindling. I had some angry moments. (...moments where dad had to say "Hey watch your mouth!") And at times I've felt like all of my adventures and experiences have been nothing but a waste of time and money. But I'm human, and I have emotions, and sometimes it's just really hard to get past my own control of everything (see previous blog post). BUT I WILL SAY that this memory from Trinity Beach has indeed kept me thankful. I've been ever-reminded to thank God for all of his provision whether that be finances, food, a bed, a family, a church, or delightful french-pressed coffee. And I guess I just hope that someone else can read this and be encouraged. God is so faithful, he really really is. And I'm saying that now as I'm at the other end of the tunnel. But truly, honestly, I was saying it and believing it all the way through. Sometimes I felt a bit schizophrenic being frustrated and hopeful at the same time. But as a good teacher Greg Laughery always says "Life is all about tension".
So be encouraged. And thank you THANK YOU thank you for all of your prayers, your notes, your support, your time, for buying me breakfasts and coffee and making me dinners and for cleaning my apartment and for helping me afford security deposits and for letting me share my life with you. I'm a blessed blessed girl.
Stay tuned!



(surfer alongside China Walls in Hawaii 08/2009)

Wow, it's been so long since I've written. I've certainly been busy while also being bored out of my mind. Or at times I've been cripplingly frustrated, while also feeling quietly at peace. How does that even work??? I know... I must be crazy.

Let me capture for you the reality of my life at present.

I'm home in Zion, nesting with my incredible parents who are generous enough to support me and keep me encouraged to the best of their ability and energy. I am unemployed. I have decreasing finances. My best of friends live an hour's drive away. And I have this nagging craving for kimchi that is quite the challenge to settle! I've been home for 2 months now and I spend most of my days online searching for jobs, writing cover letters, sending off my shining resume, and taking the family dog for walks to ease my nerves. I've filled out 5,056,413 applications for employment and have eaten at least that many dark chocolate Reese's Peanut Butter cups. I've had moments of careless frolicking, and moments of writhing tears. Never a dull moment... never.

It's maddening when you don't have control over your life. I'm living with my parents, they are providing food for me, and often filling my fuel tank. Mom has been thinning her closet and giving me piles of her unwanted clothes. I spent this past week in Milwaukee but was depending a fair bit on inviting myself to people's homes so I could share in their dinners. In my job-search, I can't help but admit that "it's all about who you know" and I've been re-kindling any connection that might work towards my benefit. Plainly speaking, I can't really do anything on my own right now. Lame...

...or not.

The thing is, we're not really in control of our lives, ever, even when we think we are. Right?

I keep thinking to myself "I just need a job... and then I can afford to purchase this or that, and then I can move into an apartment, and then I can afford to eat out, or I can drive to Milwaukee without dreading the cost of gas, or then I can tithe out of a real salary..." I stress about all of this as if it matters most, like I can't be settled until I'm in control again. But since when is it all about me? And since when is it MY power and authority that controls anything that happens in my life? And would I really wish for that control if it could be mine? Heavens no!

During these insecure and monotonous moments, may I be ever aware of God's gentle and abundant provision for me. What a beautiful family I have! My mom prepared the most perfect bedroom for me, painted stylishly with some of my own furniture and everything. Mom has been giving me free roam of the kitchen and the funds to cook anything I crave. Dad has been meeting me at the gas station to fill my tank. My neighbors have been treating me to breakfasts. My friends have been welcoming me into their homes! Other friends have been helping me to find employment and giving me excellent references. My church is only an hour away (which is much better than 2, 3, or 5 hours right?). You see, I have it all, right in front of me, like thoughtful gifts of love. And this is just a season, which will pass like all seasons do. And when I do find a job, and when I'm more financially capable, and when I'm not so reliant on other people... I must remember that I'm still no more in control of my life.

God just provides in different ways. The important thing is that he provides.



Hi Everyone. Let me fill you in again (briefly) on what's happening with my life.
I'm home, back in Zion, Illinois. Returning to life back in USA has been an adjustment, but I'm staying busy and enjoying almost every moment of it.
Since I was too busy to even think about blogging while I was traveling this summer, I'm updating my favorite memories in little pieces for you. So read back if you'd like and you can see other fun moments from my wanderings through Australia.
As always, thanks for reading! And leave a comment to let me know you stopped by!
Hugs and kisses!

Welcome to The Whitsunday Islands, one of the most beautiful places in the world! Captain Cook discovered these Islands back in 1770. I was thinking, how awesome it must have been to discover a place of such rich beauty! What a thing to write home about! Anyway, The Whitsundays are a group of 74 islands along the Queensland coast that make up part of the Great Barrier Reef. The coastal land is nothing special really and Nick and I found ourselves a bit bored. But words really can't describe the stunning beauty seen once you leave the shore and weave through the islands on the bluest water imaginable.

This is a photo shot from Airlie Beach looking out towards the islands.

And here are two people very excited about their vacation!

We boarded a boat called the Mantaray. It became our home for a day of snorkeling and beach bumming and whale watching. (We didn't get to see any whales though.)

This is the Skipper.

Probably the best part of the trip was our stop at Whitehaven Beach. I've never seen anything like it. It's the largest beach in the Whitsundays and it's about a 2 hour boat trip from the coast. I could have spent days there!

We had a little sand sculpture activity. Nick made a whale, and I made a smiling sunshine. You can pick the winner, post your opinion in the comments :)
Vacation...what a beautiful thing...


noosa and beyond

Our second day on the road we stopped at Noosa Beach, a famous beach on the Sunshine Coast.
We mostly just relaxed, paid an ungodly amount of money to use the internet to let mom and dad know we were safe, and took ice cold showers in the beach house. Refreshing! We also had a nice picnic lunch on the beach which included something like turkey, avocado, brie sanwhiches on raisin bread. Delish!

We had fun watching the kids play.

And even more fun looking at interesting people like this guy!!! Hot!!!

And it gets better! He's got a bare-bottomed son and a little girl who just doesn't quite know how to react to the bare-bottom :-)

And the journey continued... Here are some images from the road.

And then one night I made spaghetti. I had a briliant idea to make garlic bread with English Muffins and butter/garlic. I wrapped them all up in foil and put them on the stove flame. And they were delightfully...ummm.... disgusting.
Let me just say that we ate like royalty on this trip, and only once did we eat at a restaurant. We shopped for groceries and dreamed up our own best camp food ideas and only on the rare occasion were we disappointed. And WOW did we save a lot of money!


meet Dave.

Nick flew across the world and met me in Brisbane. We rented this snazzy little campervan and named it Dave. Dave was pretty great!

In Australia you drive forward on the left side of the road. Also, the steering wheel is on the right side of the car. This meant that we had to use our left hand to shift gears, and our right hand to work the turn signal, and really... everything was quite backwards! Driving with these changes wasn't as terrifying as I had imagined but it did take a little while to get used to tricky intersections or remembering who had the right-of-way in the round-a-bouts.

Anyway, our first night on the road consisted of just a few hours of driving before we started looking for a place to sleep. I hadn't made any reservations, and to be honest I didn't really know what to expect, or how far we'd drive, or what sorts of things we'd even see along the way. We just started driving. We made it to a small town called Yandina (middle of nowhere) and found a caravan park which was FULL. Figures! So we got back on the road in search of any place where we could rest.
Two seconds later we were pulled over by the police. What?!!! "Nick!!" I said nervously, "What did I do? Am I on the rights side of the road? Did I do something illegal? Was I speeding? Are the lights on?".... What the heck? But the officers were calm and polite and informed us that they were just performing random checks and they needed to test my breath for alcohol. That was a first experience for me. I had to breathe until the machine beeped and then everything was peachy-keen and we could take off again.
In our predicament, I figured I'd ask the officers if they knew of any place for use to sleep. They looked at us, said "You don't look very high maintenance" (not sure if that was a compliment)and then said, "Follow us!" They drove us to a little free roadside camping circle. It was like a rest area, only made for people to camp for the night. No power or water, and just a homely pit toilet, but perfect for us!

And there we camped out for the night.
In the morning we met our neighbor (don't remember her name) and her dog Bessie. Bessie was VERY excited to meet us. We learned that these little camping areas are quiet common along the highways (awesome for people on a budget!) and we learned a few more tips for road-tripping through Queensland. So strangely, I'm really thankful for getting pulled over on that first night of driving. Those police officer's set us up for an excellent driving adventure.


pieces of my vacation

Hey there faithful readers!
Surprise surprise! I'm here to update again.

I'm enjoying what seems to be a never-ending vacation. I've been traveling since June 23, and every moment, every place has been perfectly perfect.
I told you all that I'd update along the way and I've done a very poor job of that. I just haven't wanted to set aside time to update my blog when I'm surrounded by wonderful friends, people whose company I am rarely able to enjoy.

Where have I been?

From Korea I flew to Melbourne, Australia. I posted a blog about that.
Then I flew to Sydney. I posted a blog about that as well.
Then I flew to Brisbane, met my brother, rented a camper and drove for 1o days up the Queensland coast.
I spent 2 weeks in Cairns and Port Douglas.
Then I returned to Sydney.
After 5 weeks in Australia I flew to Honolulu.
And now, I'm in Seattle.
Whew... I've covered a lot of ground!

I have heaps of photos and even more stories and memories. And I want to share them all with you! But instead of trying to put together a timeline presentation of the entire summer, I have decided to just share random memories and photos.

I'll post every few days and tell you a bit about a certain place or experience and I'll throw in some pictures.
So today I'll tell you about my first scuba dive!

Nick and I drove up the coast of Australia in a campervan. We had such a great time and couldn't have asked for better weather or scenery! We took two fantastic boat tours, the second one was in Cairns, Australia- a city right along the Great Barrier Reef.

We boarded an old lugger ship called the Falla. Though we were on a tour, it didn't feel like a tourist ship. It was more like going out on the water with a bunch of friends. The owner/skipper Doug Meyer was very welcoming and very eager to teach us about the reef and the coral and life at sea. Nick and I hadn't planned on scuba diving, but something changed our mind at the last minute. I think it was just the perfect setting, great people, perhaps some unexpected inspiration.

Now, I have always had a fear of the underwater world. I've always been paranoid of sharks and jellyfish and other such creatures. Somehow though, my fear disappeared as I was guided down below the ship. We saw all sorts of fish, big and small. Take the wonder of snorkeling and multiply it! The colors of the coral were unlike any color I've seen on land. The life, the way things mingle, the traffic of the fish, the movements of the plants, the sounds, the feelings... Going under the sea is like visiting a foreign country. But it was also like entering a sacred temple. It was perhaps the most beautiful place I've ever been. I didn't want to close my eyes. I didn't want to leave.

I don't have any photos from the dive, so I'm sorry I can't share any of the wonder with you. But an underwater camera, though pretty cool, just can't fully capture it. I did however take some pictures while we were on the ship. You can see the amazing color of the water, the cool ship, and hopefully you can imagine what it was like.

Sadly, 2 days after our tour the Falla sank. The ship accidentally hit the reef. No one was hurt, but my heart was really sad! That particular tour was impressive. Doug Meyer (owner/skipper) poured his heart into that ship and he was doing such a swell job. The good news is that the boat was repairable and I think it's already back and running tours.

Cheers to the Falla! And may her sails lead many more people to be inspired by the wonders below the waves!