Friday, July 30, 2010

My Name. His name.

When I meet most people, they assume that I am named after a city on the California coastline that shares my name, but I'm not. Here's the story of my name: (Which I may have told before in greater detail, but I cannot for the life of me remember.)

There is a long tradition of first born girls in my family being named with the first initial C and June as our middle name. My grandmother is Carol June and my mother is Celeste June and as you already know I am Cambria June.

My mother being the unique, artistic woman that she is was always in search for a unique "C" name.

When my parents were dating they went to a little art expo somewhere. There they saw a painting of an artist that they cannot remember. They say it was of a little girl in a field of wildflowers and it was called "Cambria". They decided that if they ever had a girl, that would be her name. They said I came out, they took one look at me and then at each other and said this is our Cambria.

I had a unique name before it was cool and celebs were doing it. What I resented soon became a part of my identity.

Recently my name has begun to become more popular. I've heard of 3 babies in the last few months named Cambria. What I didn't expect was for it to rock my identity. So much of my identity is wrapped up in being unique, original, like my name. My name made me feel like their was no one else like me and I liked that.

As chance, or probably something more would have it, I'm going through a study on the names of God right now by Kay Aruthur. I'm learning about all of God's names. How they represent Him and how we for centuries have tarnished His name. I'm shocked by how commonplace His name, that once was so reverent has become.

I've come to realize something. His name doesn't shape Him. Who He is calls out behind His name and gives it it's meaning. His name is good because He is good. Therefore, my identity is not wrapped up in a name and the child I someday have is not going to be unique or original or wonderful or horrible because of his/her name. Their character will determine the value of their name. It's meaning. It's relevance. It's significance. That's why when people who don't know who Christ is use His name it's often in a derogatory context, because they don't know of whom they are speaking. When I forget who He is His name, His power, isn't evident to me.

Instead of letting my name guide me, I'm going to choose to give meaning to it by working on the person behind it. By building a character that gives it meaning and significance and hope that through that practice, I reflect His name to those who don't know how good it really is.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

42 minutes

It's only been 42 minutes since I've been on vacation and already my mind is more clear. I am more relaxed and I'm connecting more to whichever side of my brain is creative. (I always forget which one does what.)

In these 42 minutes I've come to realize that I love my job. When I'm stressed or close to burnout, I forget just how much. I continue to work hard, but sometimes it becomes more labor than love. I know I love my job because I am already feeling like I'm going to miss it for the next week. I am going to miss calling strangers to talk to them about Jesus. I am going to miss hearing the stories of what random people ask at a church office. (My favorite this week was a guy who left a message on the counseling center voicemail and then when I called him back didn't remember calling me at all and freaked out.) I'm going to miss my cube buddies. I'm going to miss my boss. I'm going to miss watching my amazing volunteers make people feel like they belong at our church.

I feel privileged to get to do what I do. Though I doubt my calling, or rather, my deserving of my calling every day; I know I am exactly, precisely, where God wants me to be.

In case you were wondering Well Church, absence does make the heart grow fonder.

Monday, June 28, 2010


I've been a little creatively stunted. Solution: Vacation next week. Expect to hear more soon. If I posted right now I promise it'd be real, real boring.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Space You Leave

I step.
As if I walk.
I breathe.
as if the air is there.
Ever present your space remains.
it sings till it echos in my mind.
the hope of you hidden in my heart.

You're here
In what's left, in what's lost
and I never want to set it right.
calling to me:
my arms, my heart

it's only here that I am home.

-For my dear friends,
Thinking of you. Remembering him.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Caffeine FREE

It's hard to believe, but for over a month now, I've been caffeine free. What brought on this life altering change? Great question. A plethora of things I suppose, but mostly, getting into a "discussion" with my boyfriend.

We make it a habit to lightly tease each other about our vices. About a month ago, I was giving him a hard time about one of his, to which he responded, "I will as soon as you give up caffeine". I emphatically insisted I could give up caffeine if I wanted to and challenged him to bet me. He refused, but I took it as a challenge none the less. Immature? Maybe. But you're a stupid, butthead if you think so.

What started off as something ridiculous became something real for me. Brad Bell, my boss and pastor of our church, challenged our staff to make sure we were taking a Sabbath after a recent visit to Israel. As he was speaking to us I realized, I don't even know when my body needs rest. For so long I have joked about my coffee, pepsi, and in general caffeine addiction that I didn't think about how I was medicating my body. I didn't think about how I was interfering with my body telling me when I needed rest. Instead, I just kept telling it to go, and go, and go. Suddenly, this ridiculous challenge became something more profound. I decided I wanted to listen to my body. When I did, it started telling me a couple other things:

1. you never work out anymore and I don't like it
2. it hurts when you eat Mc Donald's (even though it is disgustingly awesome)

I had once again fallen into a familiar cycle of overcommitting and ignoring what I need to stay healthy. What I joked away was actually a symptom of a bigger issue.

Since then, I have been eating healthier (not like crazy healthy, but I've been staying away from the golden arches and started paying attention to what I put in my body). I'm not going to lie to you, at first it sucked. Like those first few days I was off caffeine were horrible and I hope if I get Alzheimer's some day I won't remember them. Though I probably will, because Alzheimer's seems like one of those horrible things where you forget the people you love, but remember that one time you fell on your butt at a football game in high school.

My sacrifice has been incredibly worth it. A month in I can tell you, I miss pepsi sometimes when I'm at a mexican restaurant, but really it's not worth it because I feel so much better. I have more sustained energy. I have less headaches. I'm sleeping better than I have in a long time. In general, my body is beginning to function like it was intended to. Which gives me more energy to pour into the things and people I love. Like for reals, this is the business.

Caffeine free is the way to be.


Monday, April 26, 2010

A Rose by Any Other Name

I’ve lived most of my life in Fresno, Ca, in fact, I’ve lived most of my life on the same square block. It’s a sad fact for me to admit, but it’s the truth. I say it’s because my family is here, and that is a big reason. I say it’s because it’s so cheap to live here, and that doesn’t hurt. I say I’ve tried to get out and it keeps drawing me back, and on some level that’s true, but the reality is, it’s comfortable.

Everything about Fresno is built for comfort. No matter where you are in town you are two miles from a Target. There are a total of 5 in the city. No matter where you go in the city you are 1.5 miles from a Starbucks (give or take). Most of which you don’t have to leave the comfort of your car to enjoy. Everything about this city is built for two things: comfort and convenience. While those things are nice and have a certain appeal, lately I’ve been thinking, Is that really all there is? Is that really the goal of a city or a group of people? Of life? Comfort and convenience.

I refuse to be one of those people that lives in Fresno and bags on it like crazy, but I can also put aside my idealistic tendencies and look at it honestly. Fresno doesn’t have the greatest rep. Though there are tiny portions that are lovely, for the most part it’s a box ville of chain stores. Chain stores I’m embarrassed to admit, that I adore. ( As you know I love me some TJ Maxx.) However, there is a downfall to all this comfort and convenience. Comfort and convenience almost always produce mediocrity and mediocrity is what we have producing for some time. It’s what we’ve been settling for. Heck I’ve settled for it. Some where along the line mediocrity speaks to you and convinces you that you are safe, that you are comfortable (which you are) and then it lies to you and tells you that that’s really all one can ask for. I’m refusing to believe that’s the truth.

I’m refusing to believe comfort, convenience and mediocrity are all that life has to offer. Are all that one can hope for. I have let myself be convinced, for too long, that my comfort is what’s important, but it’s not. In fact comfort, almost never, produces excellence, or the extraordinary.

So what does this mean? I don’t know yet, but I’m excited. Excited to learn beyond my horizons. To challenge myself to make my life less convenient and more meaningful. To manage my time differently. To pursue what excites with fervor.

The older I get the more I’m learning, maturity and growth are about learning to be fearless. That’s the secret behind any great art. Not great technique or planning, but being willing to risk failure. Being willing to not be afraid to fail and whatever it is you’re trying to create. I think it’s the secret to living an extraordinary life as well.

Fresno, hear my call, abandon the numbing comfort we’ve all become accustomed to and embrace something unexpected. Someone suggested that we should change Fresno’s name in an article in the Fresno Bee once. The author claimed that the reputation has been so badly blasted in the media that this was the only way to change the nation and the world’s notions about Fresno. An interesting notion, but a flawed one. If we change the name, but fail to change the people or the city, the world will not be fooled. I’d rather change us. I’d rather inspire us to be more and sit back and watch as the world notices a group of people truly living.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

"I'm Sorry"

When I was a kid I was a dreamer and a liar. I would get carried away in my own imagination. I would imagine scenarios and stories. Play out conversations in my head. (Many involved the president and Oprah, not joking.) When I was in trouble, there was always a period of time that I would have to "sit and think about what I'd done." I didn't usually think about what I'd done though, usually, I'd think about how I could get out of it. I'd craft arguments and positions in my mind, colorful explanations for what I did and why. Though I would dream up wonderful, matlock-esq explanations, I never really lied outside of my own thoughts. Not until I was in High School anyway. Usually, I would come up with all my stories and by the time my parents came in, what came out of me was, "I'm sorry."

To be honest I'm not sure how sorry I was. I bet sometimes I was sorry. Like if I'd made my sister cry or something, but usually I think I knew "I'm sorry" was the way for me to make things right with my family. It would end the separation I experienced when I had violated the terms of our arrangement. I had disobeyed my parents and I knew "I'm sorry" was my ticket back in.

I still say I'm sorry a lot. Sometimes at inappropriate times in conversation. I think when I say it, what I'm trying to say is, I don't want things to be uncomfortable between us anymore or I want things to be right with us or Are we ok? But instead what comes out is I'm sorry.

I've noticed the same pattern with me and God. Often I'll quickly run through my list of confession to Him. I'll breeze over the list of my sins and quickly get to something more tolerable. It's made me begin to question, How grieved over my sin am I? I know I want to be right with God. I know I don't want things to be uncomfortable or weird between us. I don't want to feel like He's far from me. I wonder, am I actually repentant or am I just trying to appease God by apologizing for my sin.

I think the motive of getting out of the dog house isn't completely bad, but it's not complete. God wants me not only to apologize, he wants me to grieve my sin, to hurt a little. To long to be right with him again. Not so I sit in self pity, but so I don't want to do it again. So I can identify with the pain Christ felt on the cross and so I can appreciate how great a sacrifice He made.

Even though it's awkward, it's good for me to think about what I've done. If I don't think about it how will I be motivated to change it and if I don't work towards changing it, am I really sorry at all? I know I'll never be perfect, I recognize that full well, but I can't grow weary of trying to change. I can't get cold to the gravity of sin or else I'll demean the gravity of the sacrifice of Christ for me.

Now once I do grieve, once I do confess, I can't dwell. I've got to let it go. I've got to let God do what He does and restore us and not hold on to it. I've still got accept what He's done for me, but I can only accept it fully if I experience the pain fully. I do it a disservice if I numb myself to it or hold on to it.

There are a lot of things I'm not sure of, but I have a feeling God wants a little more than an insincere "I'm sorry" from me.