Posted by: tranalist | May 15, 2008

‘Twas a Happy Mother’s Day

May 11th marked yet another holiday without Mom, and another holiday where I found myself doing extremely well. Since there was no mother to honor, I did the next best thing–I honored my G-ma.

We stuffed ourselves on In ‘n Out burgers, since Alisha’s was closed, then headed over, with my cousin, to the quaint Korean tea-house, Cafe Veronese, in downtown Fullerton for the best tea ever! We all had fun chatting and catching up.


She’s so hip and cool.

At church that night, I got a sweet little Mother’s Day present when I was told that during the morning service, someone had shared about Mom and how she always told us how wonderful, amazing, intelligent, and beautiful we were. The moral of the story was, “That’s how all mother’s desire to be toward their children.” It was touching that someone remembered that from the funeral, and all these months later was able to impart it to other mothers.

Then, to top it all off, a package came in the mail the next day with a DVD slideshow containing tons of pictures of Mom (and friends & family) that a good friend of my mother’s had put together as a sort of memorial for us. It was very sweet and made me cry–the good kind of cry. Thanks Kim!

Posted by: tranalist | May 7, 2008

2 a.m. musings

For some reason, my internal clock has been off this week.

Yesterday I woke up at 5 am–the wide awake sort of awake–and felt great and fully rested.

This morning I found myself up at 2:30 am, once again, wide awake and not sleepy in the slightest. After a hour of unsuccessfully trying to tell my body that it needed to sleep, because I do have to work, I settled on praying for an hour, secretly hoping I would be able to fall back into a restful slumber at its conclusion.

It didn’t work.

So now it’s 4 am and I’m sitting with my compy, in the living room, waiting for the world to wake up.

I’ve learned to just go with these sorts of things. I figure God knows how much sleep my body needs, so if I’m up at ungodly hours, I’ll have enough energy to sustain me throughout the rest of the day. I also think the fact that I haven’t been dreaming lately, and therefore, am able to sleep really well at night, is helping.

____

I remember one night, during our Chicago trip, my sister asked, because she loves to ask those questions, “What do you miss most about home?”

I stopped to think for a moment, then replied, “Nothing. I guess home follows me wherever I go…it’s wherever I find myself at the moment.”

I don’t know, maybe it’s God’s traveling mercies, but I seem to be quite adaptable to wherever my travels take me. It could also be attributed to the fact that my first real travel experience was a cramped 40-girl dorm, 150 westerners, 100 Mozambican pastors, latrines, bucket showers, and absolutely no privacy of ones own, except the few moments of solitude one could grab on the beach in Africa.

That pretty much forces you to become an adaptable person, and any other situation is going to seem a piece of cake!

Another neat thing that is starting to happen is God reawakening me to my strengths. And it has stemmed from the most unlikely place–the book we had to read and the personality test we had to take to prepare for our staff retreat at work.

As I read through the description of the personality type I tested as, I sat there nodding my head, saying, “That’s me!” But for some odd reason, and quite unconsciously, I had buried a lot of who I am over the past couple of years. I don’t know if it’s because I am such a strong, independent personality, that I needed to go through a time of learning how to properly balance that out, and now that I have, I can begin to access that strength again in a more healthy and productive way. Or maybe it was the trauma I experienced from my first job that made me retreat into my shell and now, in my new, healthy office environment, I am finally able to flourish. Ha!

Whatever the cause, I’m glad that my confidence is returning.

And finally, at church on Sunday, God reminded me of something He had told me during my stay in Africa: I would bring healing through touch (which is probably why I love hugging people so much!). So far it’s been limited to emotional healing and I’m still trusting for the physical healing!

After the preach, I put my arms around a girl and said “I appreciate you.” She burst into tears. We sat there quietly, arms around one another, as she let the healing tears fall. Nothing more needed to be said as God loved on her. I guess I was there to help her feel safe enough so that God could do his work. That was cool.

I’m off to Florida in a few weeks to visit a friend, which I’m rather excited about. I hope we have decent weather…luckily she lives close to the beach. Should be a nice and relaxing time.

Ok, I think I can start getting ready for work now. I’m starting to see some light outside.

Posted by: tranalist | May 5, 2008

Post Windy City Excursion

Amy and I had a blast in Chicago. It was our first “sisters” trip ever and I think it went extremely well. Janessa was a great hostess, taking us to see and do so many things. We splurged a bit, but it was all worth it. We also had the right amount of down time–getting to just laze around the house, play games, and stay up until 8:30 in the morning talking (that’s right…all night long…such girls).

I always like to get a feel of the places I travel to. This year, the theme seems to be Big City. Chicago is checked off, and now New York City and Boston seem to be next on the radar. A good friend, who lives in Manhattan, has been encouraging me to come out for a visit and another friend of mine, whom I met whilst in Africa, has graciously opened up her home if I want to make the short trek to Boston. I’m excited. She and I have talked of this trip since returning from Mozambique 3 years ago, and now I just might get to do it!

But, I digress.

I found myself experiencing a wide array of emotions during our stay in Chicago. The neighborhood our hostess lives in isn’t, admittedly, the most affluent sort of place, but I loved it. I liked walking around in my grubby jeans and t-shirt, dressed in the same coat everyday and smiling at the people I saw on the street.

It is no secret that a large amount of racial tension exists there, which is so bizzaire to me, having been born and raised in one of the largest melting pots in the world. I find it fascinating that prejudices, on both sides, still exist.

When I start sensing this sort of thing, it is so easy for me to become complacent, to avert my eyes and continue on my merry way. But then, something begins to rise up within me, wanting to challenge, in the best sort of way, those prejudices and stereotypes by just showing love. It’s the only thing I know to do that can possibly destroy the years of misunderstanding. I don’t want to see the division perpetuated in younger generations. I want people to be set free. Part of me would love to move to a neighborhood like this one to do what little I can to help arrest the problem. But those are musing for another day.

It feels like I’m starting to get more of a sense of what I’m really passionate about, and what direction I may be heading in, which is making me really excited to see what unfolds in the future.

Here’s a photo taken right before we hopped on the L to catch our flight back home. Amy thought it was so telling of the stark contrast that exists between us. She’s dressed in her nice pea coat, silk scarf, and stylish shoes–even her gloves match. Then there’s me. Casual jacket, scarf, comfortable walking shoes, and gloves that definitely don’t match. Who woulda thunk we’re sisters, huh? She is a great traveling companion however, so I’m looking forward to our next outing.

Posted by: tranalist | May 2, 2008

Welcome Dylan James

Yes, we have yet another addition to the Kincer family. I am proud to say I knew it would be a boy and I knew the name would start with a “d” and end with a “n.”

Adrianna and I joke that I seem to be really tuned into her womb. I had a dream that it would be a girl when she was pregnant with Abby, and a had another dream it would be a boy and his name would sound strangely similar to Dylan. 🙂

He’s so cute. Looks just like Ryan. I feel another Eugie coming on.

Posted by: tranalist | April 20, 2008

Welcome Rylie Daniel

Here’s the newest addition to the Kincer family.

baby

Is that the face of a Kincer boy or what?!

Isn’t he just begging to be called Boozah?

Or how about Eugie?

Soooooo euuuuugie.

Posted by: tranalist | April 18, 2008

The blind man

I saw a blind man today.

Everything inside me wanted to run up to him and ask if I could pray for him.

“Do you believe in God? Do you believe he can make you see? May I pray for you?”

My faith was there. I knew God could heal him. I knew He wanted to heal him.

But I didn’t stop.

As soon as my friend and I reached the corner, I knew I needed to go back, so I turned around.

He wasn’t there.

I forgot about him until I came home and had my debriefing for the day with God. The blind man came back to my mind. I cried. My faith was so strong, but not strong enough.

“You must be the change you desire to see in the world.” That’s what Ghandi so wisely shared. How will people ever come to know the awesome power of God unless someone allows themselves to be used by Him?

We have to take the first step to allow God to meed us halfway. He’s just waiting for our boldness to rise up.

A blind man could have gained his sight today, but I was too afraid to approach him.

Rejection, fear, lack of faith.

I can’t continue to just walk by these people when I know His power! But I continue to do it. Day after day.

I hate that. I really, really hate that.

I’m so sorry. Next time, God. Please, let there be a next time.

Posted by: tranalist | April 17, 2008

Seeing a need…

The other day, a friend was sharing with me about something that reminded me of a similar situation I faced in Africa…

Across the street from the center we stayed at was a very nice resort hotel. A group of us had been praying that God would use us as He saw fit to reach out to and love people, not just the locals, but anyone, including those staying at the hotel.

A few days later we met two brothers, 18 and 26, from South Africa who were working for a few months at the resort. Brother 1 had just led Brother 2 to Christ and both were in desperate need of some good Christian fellowship.

I looked around and no male from our center was stepping up to reach out to these two men. No one would talk to them, no one except two young girls with hearts wanting to help–my girlfriend and myself.

I clearly remember mulling over the decision that laid before me, weighing the possible consequences of my actions. I knew how this could look. I knew how people could talk and I faced a very difficult crossroads.

Do I, as a woman, refuse to spend time with two males who need to be shown God’s love, because of what it could look like? Or do I as a Christian, continue to love and pour into these two brothers, trusting that God will transform their lives, regardless of my being a girl?

I knew my heart, felt God’s leading, and made my choice.

Because of that decision, my girlfriend and I were tainted by association. People talked. Rumors spread. People were asking why we had even come to Africa, and there was even someone who thought we were sleeping with them (because two cute girls have only one reason to spend time with two cute boys).

I was called a floozy. I was told I was throwing myself at them. I was told that my actions made people sick.

Not once was I asked my side of the story. Not once was I asked for the truth or an explaination. I was being judged completely on supposition.

My heart was devastated. Completely broken.

How could the heart behind my actions be so completely misunderstood? I was left dumbfounded.

“Lara, if they knew you, they would know the truth,” my friends would say to comfort me.

I remember experiencing frustration, sadness, disappointment, even anger that the people in our camp failed to see the obvious need in these Brothers’ lives and step up to do anything about it. No man came alongside them to offer their friendship, and only a handful of the actual mothers in the camp made an effort to reach out to them, which meant so much to these brothers when they did.

Instead, the responsibility fell on the shoulders of two women, a responsibility they didn’t ask for, a situation they knew didn’t offer the healthiest dynamic, but they saw the need and, however right or wrong, chose to meet it.

What the other people didn’t know is that when my girlfriend and I spent each day with them, we talked about God, we read the bible, we had worship times. We introduced them to “mothers” who were able to pour into their lives for the 3 short months we were there. We even were able to bring them to church a few times before they started feeling unwelcome.

Because of the relationship that was being built, the trust that was forming, we were able to call them out on things that needed to be addressed in their lives, and they were able to receive it, because they knew our hearts were for them.

We didn’t always make sound decisions and mistakes were definitely made along the way, but we were trying to live the gospel, to sow seeds.

Should the good Samaritan not have stopped to help the man on the road, because the two cultures didn’t mingle at that time?

It’s a tough question.

Sometimes I think that the right thing to do isn’t always the popular thing to do.

But when did Jesus ever do what was popular? It’s an interesting thing to ponder.

I do know that through all the pain I experienced from being alienated and misunderstood, God wanted to teach me to listen to His Spirit and be willing to follow His leading, to love those who are causing the pain, and to overcome my fear of man. We must make sure we do things for the approval of God, not man, and hope that the two meet in a healthy balance.

Mistakes will be made. Walking with Him involves a learning curve. But God knows the heart behind our actions and hopefully it will always be love that motivates us.

Posted by: tranalist | April 10, 2008

A heart revealed

I happened upon this the other day, written in July of ’07…

I must have a vision. I must be working toward something, something Kingdom related or else I begin to whither away. I forget who I am. I forget who God’s called me to be. I fall into the beginning stages of depression. I feel like a fallen leaf floating aimlessly down a river—no direction, no end in sight. I have to remember who I am, what my desires are, what my heart is.

It’s people. It’s building relationships. It’s loving the stranger in the coffee shop. It’s praying for the wounded girl at work. It’s hugging love back into a tormented child.

I’ve forgotten how.

That scares me.

I’ve been so caught up with my personal life and working at making it work that I’ve ignored the core of who I am. It’s not this. I feel like I am wasting away until the vision gets renewed and the blood starts pumping through my veins again.

I’ve faced anxiety about doing the same thing everyday, my life building ruts so deep I can’t get out. I never understood where the anxiety and fear came from, but I do know that it was so real, so far from my heart that I would spend many nights in tears. There had to be more to life than this. There just had to be.

I wanted to travel, I wanted to be free, to move in whichever direction God took me.

But I can’t do that right now.

There’s something in my soul that cries out for more and I need to remember that I’d rather live in poverty and be free, than become a slave to a life and a world that doesn’t interest me.

That was the lesson God wanted to teach me in Africa 3 years ago.

I went to Mozambique a hopeful, wide-eyed girl with an open heart. I left hurt, confused, and feeling defeated because of other lessons God wanted to teach me. But through all of the events that took place I learned more about myself in those 3 months than I had in my entire lifetime leading up to it.

I loved the country, the people, the street kids, the bucket showers, the waiting on God every day to find out what His plans were. I loved how He used me to minister to others, how He taught me to live for others, to have a heart full of love to pour out on others.

I look back and see that Africa was a defining moment in my life. The ultimate turning point. I can’t go back.

I want to live from my heart everyday. I desire to be surrounded by people who love God, who want to love those who don’t know God or need help in understanding Him more. I long for that kind of relationship and sometimes I fear that that’s too tall of an order for God. I know it isn’t. That’s just my silly mind getting too involved. I battle with that. I don’t mind the battle as long as I continue to choose supernatural over natural, spirit over flesh.

Funny, I read this and know that the desires are still very real, but with time comes wisdom. I can see now that God wanted to teach me a very valuable lesson: learning to be planted where I am. My wandering eyes needed to learn how to focus; my restless spirit needed to learn how to find rest. I needed to learn how to be content in every situation and thankful for what God has blessed me with. Once you stop looking around for the next best thing, it can often end up being right in front of you.

Posted by: tranalist | April 7, 2008

In good company

It’s weekends like these that remind me of how lucky I am to have such wonderful friends.

It started with a late lunch with girl Jesse. Good conversation. Good laughs.

I decided to join her for homegroup, so I headed over to the boy’s house. More good conversation. More good laughs.

A great discussion and a great prayer time was followed with all of us dashing over to the movie theater to catch a flick. Not so much conversation, but a whole lot of laughs!

Saturday afternoon I went to visit my little nephew, played Skip-Bo with the family (was embarrassingly defeated twice!), and watched UCLA lose to Memphis. Boo. Then it was off to dinner with Jen in Old Town.

Sunday I went to hear Jon, a guy who’s planting a church in Pasadena, speak. His message was amazing, challenging, and passionate. I’m really starting to love him and his wife.

On my way over to Jen’s place, I called up Em in NY to check in. She was good. Before Jen and I headed out for our hike, I filled my belly with some very stale Teddy Graham type crackers:

Me: Can I have these (as I’m eating one already)
Jen: Sure…they might be stale. Are they bad?
Me: [Nods head quickly up and down as I pop another one in my mouth]
Us: Laughter

We had a great lunch and wanted to follow it up with some Coldstone, but then decided to go to Color Me Mine instead. I painted a mug. She painted a plate. I can’t wait for my mug. …I’m sure she can’t wait for her plate.

After getting a little paint happy, we showed up to church a little late, enjoyed a great service, then ended the evening hanging out with a group from the church. Good conversation. Good laughs. Good Pumpkin cookies and hot dogs.

Everyone is so life giving, so encouraging, so loving, so funny, so open, and so welcoming. Just being around them edifies the soul. If I didn’t know that I was meant to stay in Pasadena a while longer, I might have wanted to move back to Orange County. But I’m happy here and know there are things God still wants me to do, which I’m surprisingly content with.

Posted by: tranalist | April 4, 2008

A little off the top…

I chopped off all my locks on Tuesday at Alex & Friends Salon. My hair is now making it’s way onto some wig for cancer patients.

I guess I can consider this my good deed for the year.

The first time I ever went this short was when I went to Africa. Bucket showers don’t mix well with long, think hair, so I had someone take scissors to it to solve my dilemma.

It worked out surprisingly well.

People think I’m crazy, but my philosophy is, “it’ll grow back,” so why not try something new?

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