Monday, March 31, 2008

I apparently have no use for the North...

I have seen 70% of the United States. Yay me.

create your own visited states map
or check out these Google Hacks.

A Gypsy in Disguise

As was mentioned in my previous post, we are apartment hunting and we've found an apartment we really like. Today, I'm getting all our paperwork together so we can turn in our applications. Pabst-Kinney (the management company) requires applicants to supply a 5 year rental and employment history, so I set about the task of compiling this information (because God knows they never put enough space on the applications). I've just finished writing out my respective histories. I've decided to share them with you so that I'm not the only one with a headache. Ready? Here we go...

Rental History (I've included all previous addresses, rental and non-rental)
09/02-05/04 6149 Ruth Street, Metairie LA
05/04-09/04 35 Rader Ct, Baltimore MD
09/04-10/05 Pasadena Ave, Metairie LA (Apartments by far, my favorite!)
09/05-10/05 Let's not forget the evacuation to Joplin, MO then Lexington, KY
10/05-02/06 Veterans Memorial Blvd, Metairie, LA
02/06-08/06 Joplin, MO (I can't even remember the address)
09/06-01/07 7149 Nada (Nana's house)
02/07-Now 8356 5th St, Downey

Employment History
10/02-05/04 Radioshack
05/04-09/04 YMCA of Central MD
10/04-08/05 Radioshack (same one)
05/05-09/05 Journey Christian Church
09/05-02/06 Unemployed due to life
02/06-05/06 Pediatric Assn. of SW Missouri
05/06-10/07 US Bank
11/07-Current Bellflower Friendship Manor
11/07-Current Downey Unified School District
03/07, continuing Master's Academy

Is anyone else tired? Maybe I should start dressing like this...

...and selling my wares on the streets...
Gypsies selling wares at cathedral

...or maybe this could be my next job...

...but probably not in Downey...

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Apartment hunting

Christopher and I have spent a lot of time the last couple of days looking for a new apartment. We've been searching Long Beach and have found only 2 or 3 possibilities thus far. The one we really want is in Nader and Michelle's building. We love the area, and we love the complex, but it's also really appealing that they would be our neighbors...that we would have neighbors to talk to. What does that even look like? I've tried with a couple of our neighbors here, but no one wants to engage. What about you? Do you talk to/know/befriend your neighbors? If so, are people receptive to you? Let me know, because I'm dying to know how it's done in Downey (and the surrounding areas). I've never lived somewhere (in my adult life) where it hasn't been somewhat easy to make friends with at least one neighbor.

Monday, March 24, 2008

It all starts here

Some of you may know this about me, but I just learned to ride a bike last summer. And really, I only had one night to ride around a small community in Ocean City, Maryland. So I'm not very proficient and it's hard to say if the idea of never forgetting how to ride a bike applies to me since I barely figured it out in those 3 hours. So my goal for the next 6 months is to (a) get a bike...a beach cruiser to be precise, (b) learn how to actually ride it (complete with starting, stopping, turning and steering effectively), and (c) become proficient enough to merit getting one of those little wagons that attaches to the back of it to put Bella in.

So, first thing's first. I need this...

(and since I have no idea how to paste something on a MAC, you will have to type the link in yourself...)

Wish me luck!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

It's only hair

Many of you who've seen me this weekend know that I have new hair. I finally went with the two-tone, and I've gotten numerous compliments since making the change on Thursday. Thank you, by the way. What many of you might not know is that I'm the type of person who, when I start to feel bored or out of control in my day-to-day life, I like to run away...make a something crazy. This last year, that felt need has been actualized in my hair, with this new change being nothing short of another effort to take control of something that has nothing to do with hair.

I have to pause here. I don't want anyone to get me wrong. This blog is not a cry for help or a pity party. These are just my thoughts on what I've been dealing with lately...with that being said, I will continue.

My hair is different, but it doesn't change the person I am when I look in the mirror. When other people see me they see the physical change that's taken place and think how cool and fun I must be. When I look in the mirror, I still see the itchy splotchy skin caused from the stress and bad eating habits of the last month. When I walk in my bedroom, I'm still overwhelmed by the disaster it has become. When I am faced with the God who's done so much in, for and through me in the past, I can't help but see my current brokenness and insufficiency even more clearly than ever before.

You see, the truth is that for a while now I've been believing in a God who doesn't do a lot with me now that I'm married with a child. I believe in a God who required things of me BEFORE I chose to set my mind on worldly things (as Paul would put it)...a God who could change me when I was by myself but now that there are 2 people "more important" than me (in my own estimation), I am no longer worth the time, investment and effort it takes to truly pursue excellence in all areas of my personal life, to pursue MY God, to serve at MY church, etc.

On Friday night, God gave me just a little glimpse of what's going on inside my heart, and I am both relieved and nervous. He's shown me that while He's done great things in me in the past, if I think the only changes left to be made have to do with my hair, I am sadly mistaken. I am amazed at how many pieces of my heart are still broken and being stored inside me because I didn't even realize there was a God big enough to mend them. Really, I didn't even know He thought enough of me to WANT to fix them anymore. I used to believe he wanted nothing more than to make me like Jesus...perfect. But now there are just too many other hurting people, too many other things to do, too many other practical demands on my life.

And I've really got to stop thinking that way. I still have a God who's my Father. A God who knows and understands me more intimately than anyone ever has or will. A God who wants good for me more than anyone else. A God who wants me to come to him as a a daughter. Not as Bella's mom. Not as Christopher's wife. Not as _________ (fill in the blank). A child. Expectant. Joyful. Trusting. Simplistic. And He will do the rest. And although the changes I can make might seem fun or cool to the naked eye, they are miniscule and insignificant in comparison to what God can do.

After all, it's only hair.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

In the last 24 hours...

I've heard all of these artists.

new kids on the block
vanilla ice
bel biv devoe

I don't know how it happened, but someone is allowing my childhood mistakes to takeover the airwaves.

Lord, help us all.

Oh...and I heard this...

Life Group Love

So we don't always get through "the flow". We don't always actually start "the flow". But I love being with my Life Group. Good people. Loving people. Encouraging people. If you're reading this, you should pray for them...because everyone needs prayer...especially people that I love. :o)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Last night

Jody invited us to come out and celebrate with his Life Group last night, and we had a GREAT time! First, we went to In & Out with all 80 of our kids (the Corns, Calderons, Lytles and LaPointes...sans Ashley), which was a feat in and of itself. Poor childless Phil and Roxanne were trying to sink into their table so people would stop looking at them and assuming they are to blame for at least 1 or 2 of the kids. hehe. The rest of us didn't was like we owned the place.

After devouring an amazing amount of burgers and fries, we thought the next best place to go would be Coldstone. So off we went to the Downey Landing...well, most of us...along with 79 kids (poor Audrey couldn't stay up any longer...or was it Eric...). There was some serious good times had. Between Joe forcing us to ignore his son when he face planted on the concrete (it's really true...if you don't react, they don't react. He was fine!), Stephen, Stephanie and Christopher breaking into some old school hip hop and Christopher ending up with Stephen's hand-print on his rear, we had a roaring good time. :o) We should definitely do it more often.

Thanks, Jody, for the invitation and thanks, Lapointe life group for including us in the good time!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Help Leanne get to Kenya!

Many of you know that for the last year, Africa (specifically the population affected by AIDS) has been deeply embedded in my heart. Little did I know that God had such an immediate plan for that aching. My friend, Angela Musilu-Murray, has founded an organization called Angel's Center of Hope. The purpose of this organization is to assist areas in Kenya and eventually India with the development of water wells, AIDS education, medical care, food and housing for orphans, etc..

Although there has been some recent civil unrest in Kenya, Angela has gotten word from home (she is from Kenya) that planning a trip for this summer would be perfectly safe; therefore, God-willing, I will be joining her for 2 weeks during the month of June in the village of Kilaatu (and surrounding areas). There will also be at least 4 other people going along with us to lay the groundwork (literally) for a kitchen/church/school facility, provide AIDS & Abstinence education to schools in the village of Kilaatu and surrounding areas, and to love on the many orphans living in a very harsh reality.

We need your help to do all of this. Right now, the cost of airfare alone is looking to be approximately $1800/person (and it could still go up). Someone has already committed $500 toward my trip, but our goal is to get (at least) 5 people over there on this trip. We are estimating total cost for each person to be between $2500-$3000. Any money above and beyond the cost of the trip will be put into the Angel's Center fund for future work (building wells, providing food and clothing, continuing AIDS education in other villages, etc.).

I am trusting that God has a plan for me (and the other people involved) in this endeavor that goes beyond a simple 2 week trip and I hope that all of you will take this challenge to partner with us in this opportunity to reach yet another area of the world that is broken, hurting and (literally) dying.

If you would like to give to this cause, you can make out any checks or money orders to Angel's Center of Hope with "Leanne/June trip" in the memo line. You can give or send donations directly to me (8356 5th Street #107, Downey, CA 90241) so that I can keep track of supporters for update purposes, and I will forward them on to Angel's Center.

Please email and repost this request as you feel compelled. Please take note that some of you (but probably not all) may get a physical letter from me as well. If you've already given, don't feel pressured to give again! I can't begin to tell you how humbled I am that God is giving me this opportunity to be a part of something that will be so life-changing for the people we will reach (especially the children). I can't wait to share the outcome with all of you!

Just a side note for those of you wondering about Christopher. Although he wants to, he is not able to go to Kenya this summer because he already has numerous trips he is leading through Revolution (New Orleans, The Balkins, a foster-kids camp). This is something we want to do together, so hopefully the next time I ask for support, it will be for both of us!

Thank you in advance for your partnership!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Happy Birthday, Bella!

I can't believe it's been a year. A year of coos and cries, diapers and bathtimes, hugs and baby-kisses. A year of learning, adjusting, loving and growing. A year of watching the man I married become the man in his daughter's life. A year. So many memories. So many moments shared. So many little things that will be forgotten. So many simple smiles that have meant the world.

Thank you to those who celebrated Bella's first year with us today. We are both humbled and delighted by your desire to join in our happiness.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Thank you, David Trotter

Last night, my church (about 200 of them) gathered for what I like to call "Group Therapy". After getting the kind of news we got on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (respectively), this was exactly what we needed.

Since this all happened, I've probably felt more like Pete than anyone else. Pete described his relationship to this event as being "the cousin from out of town"...close enough to have a right to be there, but not close enough to feel what everyone else is feeling. Since Friday, I've watched other people fighting on the front lines. Supporting the the individuals riding this crazy train. People who are truly breaking because they are the the ones who've loved and respected Dave for years.

My heart breaks, but I'm not on the front line. I'm proud that these are the people God has placed me with. I'm glad that even though I closed myself off to most everyone at Revolution for at least half of the time we've been here, I still have the privilege to redeem myself and to love, encourage, pray for and grow with this church. I believe that Christopher and I are here 'for such a time as this' and I am glad that God has given me the responsibility and honor of praying for and of supporting those who've been personally injured in this.

I'm also privileged that I get to see what God can do in corporate brokenness. I think a couple people might be right in their assessment that if this happened to another church, it would fall apart...but not Revolution. There are too many people who want what God wants.

So thank you, David Trotter for letting God use you to bring into existence this beautiful part of His body. My hope and prayer is that you'll be humbled enough to come back to this Family and to your family (sooner rather than later)...and you'll know that it is because of God alone that Revolution stands and says "I Will" to the call of God. We will miss your teaching, we will miss your humor, some will miss your leadership and many will simply miss the man (friend, mentor, husband, father) you've been in years past. But when it's time, Revolution will be ready and willing to welcome you Home...if you so choose.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Into the wide open blogger world

That's right. I'm venturing out of the Myspace world into the land of the blogspot. I tried this once before, but it never really took (you probably never even saw my page), but I think I'm ready for more exposure. :o)

I'll begin my blogspot with something so unbelievable and ridiculous that I wish I had a picture. But the story will have to do. Here it is, courtesy of Fox News:

Kansas Police: Woman Pried From Boyfriend's Toilet After Sitting on It for 2 Years

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

WICHITA, Kan. — Deputies say a woman in western Kansas became stuck on her boyfriend's toilet after sitting on it for two years.

Ness County Sheriff Bryan Whipple said it appeared the 35-year-old Ness City woman's skin had grown around the seat. She initially refused emergency medical services but was finally convinced by responders and her boyfriend that she needed to be checked out at a hospital.

"We pried the toilet seat off with a pry bar and the seat went with her to the hospital," Whipple said. "The hospital removed it."

Whipple said investigators planned to present their report Wednesday to the county attorney, who will determine whether any charges should be filed against the woman's 36-year-old boyfriend.

"She was not glued. She was not tied. She was just physically stuck by her body," Whipple said. "It is hard to imagine. ... I still have a hard time imagining it myself."

He told investigators he brought his girlfriend food and water, and asked her every day to come out of the bathroom.

"And her reply would be, `Maybe tomorrow,"' Whipple said. "According to him, she did not want to leave the bathroom.

The boyfriend called police on Feb. 27 to report that "there was something wrong with his girlfriend," Whipple said, adding that he never explained why it took him two years to call.

Police found the clothed woman sitting on the toilet, her sweat pants down to her mid-thigh. She was "somewhat disoriented," and her legs looked like they had atrophied, Whipple said.

"She said that she didn't need any help, that she was OK and did not want to leave," he said.

She was taken to a hospital in Wichita, about 150 miles southeast of Ness City. Whipple said she has refused to cooperate with medical providers or law enforcement investigators.

Authorities said they did not know if she was mentally or physically disabled.

Police have declined to release the couple's names, but the house where authorities say the incident happened is listed in public records as the residence of Kory McFarren. No one answered his home phone number.

The case has been the buzz Ness City, said James Ellis, a neighbor.

"I don't think anybody can make any sense out of it," he said.

Ellis said he had known the woman since she was a child but that he had not seen her for at least six years.

He said she had a tough childhood after her mother died at a young age and apparently was usually kept inside the house as she grew up. At one time the woman worked for a long-term care facility, he said, but he did not know what kind of work she did there.

"It really doesn't surprise me," Ellis said of the bathroom incident. "What surprises me is somebody wasn't called in a bit earlier."