Wednesday, October 31, 2012

All the Way

In light of all that has gone on in my life since May, and even more so in light of my whole relationship with Jesus since I was a little girl, I have fallen in love with these lyrics. They were originally written by 1875 by Fanny Crosby. Chris Tomlin slightly changed them in the recent revamped version. 

All the way my Savior leads me.
Who have I to ask beside?
How could I doubt His tender mercy
Who through life has been my guide?

All the way my Savior leads me,
Cheers each winding path I tread,
Gives me grace for every trial,
Feeds me with the living Bread.

All the way my Savior leads me.
O, the fullness of His love.
O, the sureness of His promise
In the triumph of His blood.

When my spirit clothed immortal
Wings its flight to realms of day,
This my song through endless ages
Jesus led me all the way.
Jesus led me all the way.

May this continue to be the story of my life!

Monday, October 29, 2012


As if things weren't exciting enough over here these days... Meet Lilianna Marie, my new, little niece!

She was born on October 17th and my brother and sister-in-law became her adoptive parents on October 22nd. Welcome to the family, Lilianna! We are sooo thrilled for you to be here, I can't wait to meet you in three weeks and three days (that's right, I'm counting), and I am so excited that our little girl gets to have a little girl cousin to grow up with!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

It's a Girl!

Michael and I went in for our mid-pregnancy ultrasound (yes, we're already halfway through!) Thursday morning and found out that we are having a GIRL!

We celebrated our daughter by sharing a pastry from my favorite cafe that happens to be a short walk from home, texting and calling people, and dancing in our kitchen to this song by Jimmy Needham:

They said you have wrapped around your finger like the ribbons that you wear in your hair.
Maybe 'cause when I see your little fingers holding onto mine I don't have a care.
You've got me buying you bows and dresses. Oh, what a beautiful mess that this is.

I think I'm in love.
She's two foot three
Eyes blue and green
I just can't get enough
She got my heels over my head
Or better yet, she's got me moving to the beat of her drum
And if love were time, I would spend all mine 
Just living inside her world 
'Cause she's Daddy's Baby Girl

They warned that you'd demand all my attention not to mention you're my very first child.
It's true I'm spending nearly half an hour making faces to get you to smile.
You've got me doing these silly little dance moves. I hope they don't make it onto YouTube.

I think I'm in love
She's two foot three
Eyes blue and green
I just can't get enough
She got my heels over my head
Or better yet, she's got me moving to the beat of her drum
And if love were time, I would spend all mine 
Just living inside her world 
'Cause she's Daddy's Baby Girl

I can hardly wait to meet my little daughter!

Friday, October 12, 2012

My Kiddos

I wrote last week about the volunteering I've been doing at an after school program in a low-income community a few miles from where I live, and I posted a picture of one of the darling Kindergarteners.

This week, I brought my camera and took a few pictures of some of the other kids.

I love taking pictures of kids because they don't often have inhibitions in front of a camera, and they don't care what their smile, hair, teeth, etc. look like in the final product. All they want to see is their face appear instantly on the tiny camera screen.

These kids were particularly fun to photograph because they not only lacked inhibition, but they hammed it up! They posed, gave real smiles, gave goofy smiles, and gave goofy faces. If only adults were this easy!

Friday, October 5, 2012

What I'm up to These Days

Four months ago, the looming post law school life had me stressed out.

Four months ago, I was applying for a fellowship to fund a job in an area of law that I actually wasn't that interested in.

Four months ago, I was burned out from three years of studying executory interests, adverse possession, and other tedious topics that were far removed from my desire to pursue justice by advocating for people in poverty.

Four months ago, there was that long phone conversation with my wise parents where I vented my frustrations with law school and the immediate future. They challenged me to pray and by "pray" they meant to tell God exactly what was on my heart, give it all to Him, trust Him to guide me, and then stop thinking about it.

And that's what I did.

If you had told me four months ago that today I would be advocating for undocumented immigrants, teaching an art class to inner-city kids, writing grants for an awesome nonprofit, and incubating my first child, I would have have smirked and responded, "You must know me very well because that sounds like my dreams turned to reality."

Long story short, I didn't receive the fellowship that, on paper, I should have gotten, got a temporary part time job working with an incredible immigration attorney at a large well-reputed nonprofit law firm, and started volunteering extensively with a local community organization... aka started hanging out with awesome kids like this cutie:

Let me give you a few more details about my job and my volunteering:

My volunteering. 

I volunteer two days per week at a faith-based community organization just a few miles from my home. It's literally on the other side of the tracks. I get to mentor/tutor young elementary kids, teach art to K-6 kids, capture the kids' adorableness for the newsletters, and I am just beginning to write grants for the organization in hopes of getting them some major chunks of change to help them do more of the awesome work they do in the city.

The best job I ever had was working at a similar nonprofit on skid row, though my current paying job [see below] is now a strong contender for the "Best Job I've Ever Had" award. I have really enjoyed getting back to working with kids through this local nonprofit.

My job.

My law firm's sixty attorneys and several thousand pro bono attorneys do fantastic social justice work throughout the county of Los Angeles. I work with the Immigrants' Rights Project.

On Tuesdays, I do U Visas. Prior to legislation passing, undocumented immigrants who were victims of crime had to choose between reporting the crime to the police and risking deportation or keeping quiet and staying in the U.S. Today, an undocumented immigrant who is the victim of a crime and who is helpful to the police can apply for the U Visa thereby protecting themselves from deportation and giving them hope for the future.

I love this law because (1) it makes society safer for us all when undocumented immigrants, there are millions in this country, can report crimes and (2) it protects a particularly vulnerable section of our society by giving them legal status, a work permit, and access to justice for the crimes they've experienced. (Relevant side note: I believe undocumented immigrants have a special place in God's heart. If you don't believe me, do a little search on all the times God talks about loving the foreigner and alien among us.)

To give you an idea of who my clients are: Most of them are monolingual Spanish speakers (Yes, I get to speak Spanish!) from Mexico and Central America and the crimes they have experienced are horrific... attempted murder, human trafficking, rape, domestic violence, and sexual assault to name the few I've seen.

On Thursdays, I help staff a clinic for undocumented teens and young adults who qualify for "deferred action" under the DREAM Act legislation that Obama passed this summer. These young people were brought to the U.S. by their parents, most barely remember the country they are from, and they all have dreams of having legal status to be able to work and travel and not fear deportation from the only country they really know. I help these young people apply for the two year legal protection created this past summer. Google it if you want to know more.

It is truly an honor to work with my clients, both the victims of crime and the young people who are so hopeful about their future ever since this new law passed. I love providing them with something tangible (legal status) that will help them as they move forward in life.

Looking back four months ago and looking at where I am now doing work that is so me, I am constantly thanking and praising God for His guidance. I have seen and experienced that He is the Good Shepherd just as He said.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Baby Bump

Our baby is the size of a sweet potato. I feel it squirming and kicking several times a day. I have tons of energy. I am almost back to my normal sleep schedule. I eat a bit more than usual on most days. Every couple of weeks, I seem to go through a growth spurt (I just went through one this weekend) where I am ravenously hungry for a couple of days and my stomach noticeably changes. I lost two pounds during that horrible first trimester nausea, but I've gained both pounds back plus a four more. I can't believe I have 20-30 pounds more to pack on before the end! It seems impossible right now, but I am sure it'll come.

In less than three weeks, we will find out if our little one is a little girl or a little boy. For some reason, I keep imagining it's a boy, but I think that's just because we know lots of little boy babies and toddlers and not many girls. After we find out the sex, we will choose a name. What a responsibility! Michael and I have come up with approximately two dozen horrible names that I will not mention here. Ask me in person.

A couple of weeks ago, I thought that I looked more chubby than pregnant. I then dug up this old picture of me pre-pregnancy. I was shocked by how much my body has changed.

Me trying to look pregnant. Disgusting.

13 weeks:

14 weeks:

16 weeks:

17 weeks:


Monday, October 1, 2012

Interminable Summer

With October just hours away, most of the country has said "goodbye" to summer. Here in my So Cal desert town, summer seems interminable. Here's the weather forecast for my city:

It got up to 100 degrees today, and the 86 degree temperature to the left is the weather right now at 8:30 pm. Tomorrow, October 1st, it will be a whopping 104 degrees.

The winter in LA brings snow to our mountains, fragrant orange blossoms and  oranges to our orange trees, light rain to wash away the smog and dirt of summer, and day after day of sunny weather in the 60s and 70s. Lord, may it come quickly. 
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