Friday, September 27, 2013

On Starting a Law Firm

Out where I live in the desert cities east of Los Angeles, there's a lot of poverty, but very few businesses or nonprofits offering affordable legal services in underserved communities.

During summer 2012, I found myself praying that God would inspire someone to open a law firm dedicated to providing low cost legal services in local communities and that I would get a job at this law firm. Can you imagine my shock and trepidation when I discovered that that someone was me?!

Now if you read "law firm" and think mahogany furniture, designer suits, and BMWs, you've got it all wrong. Think more along the lines of a start-up, small business, community organizing, work meetings in my living room, and "Let's take a ten minute break. I need to nurse my seven month old." That's this law firm.

Here's a timeline of how it all went down.

May 2012. I didn't get the post-graduate fellowship that everyone told me I would definitely get, so I joined the masses of jobless recent law school graduates.

Summer 2012: I began tutoring kids at a summer enrichment program hosted by a wonderful local nonprofit dedicated to community transformation.

Fall 2012: I landed a part time, temp job advocating for undocumented immigrants who were victims of crime and undocumented youth who arrived in the US as children.

The programs director at the nonprofit found out I was doing immigration law and practically begged, "If there's any way you could do any immigration advocacy for our families..." I said, "It's too complicated, and I don't know enough yet." Around the same time, my supervisor at work said, "Why don't you open your own immigration practice out where you live?" I thought she was crazy.

But, then I couldn't get the thought out of my head. I talked to a few people about it. The idea grew and grew.

December 2012: I started pursuing opening a law firm.

July 2013: I invited my friend, Sarah, to join as a partner.

September 2013: We opened the doors of our immigration law office! My partner has had some asylum work, we have two upcoming information sessions on DACA, and we hope to be bringing in lots of clients soon!

When I make a major life decision, I try to submit it to God's guidance via community, prayer, and Scripture. But, most of the time, there is no clear guidance and I end up making the best decision I can trusting that God's grace is sufficient to cover for any mistakes.

This time around, the guidance has been crystal clear. I feel so strongly, in a way I've never really felt before, that starting this law firm is exactly what God wants me to do. I have received tons of encouragement and support. All my needs have been beyond provided for. Every obstacle I've encountered that's made me want to throw in the towel and shout, "What was I thinking?!" has been cleared without all that much effort. It's as if, all along, God has had this law practice in mind and he's just taking me down his pre-planned path. It is such an adventure to follow the one who is over all and in control of all!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Homemade Applesauce

It feels like fall has come early this year. This past week, I've woken up to chilly mornings with overcast skies. By noon, the gloom burns off, and the sun shines cheerily, warming my corner of the world up to a balmy 80 degrees.

I can hear you non-Angelenos snickering, "That's what you call fall?!" Yes, this is what we call fall. Through October, temperatures normally soar into the upper 90's and even crack into the 100's. 80 degrees is fall. When the temperature plummets into the 60's, our boots and sweaters come out. And when our swaying palm trees are regularly sprinkled with rain and our mountains are lightly dusted with snow, it feels like Christmas.

So, as I was saying, it feels like fall has come early this year. And with fall come hoards of inexpensive, delicious apples! Growing up, my mom made applesauce. I got the instructions from her yesterday, bought the ingredients today (aka just a lot of good apples), and made applesauce this afternoon. It was super simple, super inexpensive, and came out super delicious. And it makes good baby food.

Homemade Applesauce


  • 14 Fuji apples (or any other yummy, inexpensive apple)
  • 1 tablespoon of butter or margarine
  • Cut the apples into eighths getting rid of the stems, cores, and stickers as you go.
  • Put about a half inch of water in the bottom of a pressure cooker. Put your chopped apples on top of that. Put your butter on top of that.
  • Seal the pressure cooker and put it over high heat until it comes up to pressure. Let it cook for a minute. Let off the pressure and pierce an apple to see if it's soft all the way through. If not, bring it up to pressure again and cook it for another minute.
  • Use a soup wand, blender, or food processor to turn your mushy apples into applesauce. You can leave it a bit chunky. That's how I like it. Or you can make it smooth. That's how my baby likes it.
Notice that there's no sugar in this recipe. If your apples aren't very sweet, add sugar. If they aren't very tart, add lemon juice. Or just start with really yummy apples. :)

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Happiness is a Warm Puppy

My take on the Charles M. Schulz's book, "Happiness is a Warm Puppy."

Happiness is...

June gloom in September. 

A half caff espresso with sweetened condensed milk.

A stroller rolling through crunchy leaves.

Malabar spinach winding its way up a netted trellis.

A kid who eats her spinach and broccoli. (For now.)

A babysitter, a real date, and a fig marmalade burger.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Two Thoughts on Parenting

Thought number one.

It's at times like this...

...that I marvel at the fact that the human species is still around. Every single person who has ever lived has needed bottle/breastfeeding day and night, poop cleanups, bathing, help with keeping themselves entertained, and enormous amounts of holding and comforting while teething, scared, bored, or around strangers. I can hardly believe that's how we've been sustained person after person, generation after generation. It's a wonder we're still around.

Thought number two.

To a baby, everything is fresh and exciting, including the sight of morning sprinklers launching water in all directions across a field. I love taking the time to see the world through my baby's eyes. It brings out the beauty and intrigue in all that I've gotten used to.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Seven Things I Learned in August

1. I love short hair. It's me. 

I enjoy change and variety, so for over ten years, I've repeatedly gone through the cycle of growing my hair long only to chop it all off. My hair had gotten super long over the past year. I chopped it into a long bob a couple of weeks ago. It feels so light and free. I'm already dreaming about how short I'll go next time it needs a trim.

2. You cannot grow summery vegetables with little sun.

Our garden is a sorry sight these days. Our brussels sprouts and artichokes completely failed. Our squash and tomatoes are only barely producing. I sometimes catch myself dreaming of what I could produce if I had the requisite 6+ hours of sunlight. I'm looking forward to being successful again when winter rolls around and we grow veggies for the leaves not the fruit.

3. How to make homemade Greek yogurt in a crock pot.

It's so easy, I've made batch after batch. My go to breakfast these days is yogurt drizzled with honey with a handful of granola mixed in and a cup of tea alongside. I found a recipe for how to make homemade ricotta cheese from the yogurt whey. I hope to try it soon.

4. My husband listens to eclectic music.

I suppose I've always known this, but I learned it at a deeper level. This summer, while doing reading for a seminary course, he listened to chip tunes, movie soundtracks, instrumental bluegrass, and bluegrass/Classical fusion. Ever seen a world class mandolin player play Bach? It's pretty incredible. Watch it.

5. Ten hours of work without childcare is the right balance for me! (For now.)

Women (and men more and more these days) all have different ideas of what is the "right" balance between work and home time. I started working again about a month ago. In the past few weeks, I've discovered that about ten hours of work is totally doable with a six month old. It's refreshing, mind stimulating, and fun. More on what my work is to come...

6. My daughter looks like my husband.

7. Nose piercing doesn't hurt much.

That's right. I got my nostril pierced. I've wanted a little stud for years. A year and a half ago, I was going to get it done with my sister, but had a fainting spell and lost the courage. A year ago, I went again to get it with my sister, but they refused to pierce me because I was pregnant. A month ago, I went again with my friend, but they again refused, this time because I was breastfeeding. I called my doctor, got the green light, went in a few days later, and finally got it done. I love it!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...