Sunday, December 27, 2009

2010- sinking my teeth in

Every year, God speaks to me about what He wants to do in my life in the upcoming year. This last year, He wanted to renew life and promises in me that He had already spoken, but that I had let go of. And in the year, I went through many circumstances that made me fight to renew my belief. It became a year of me learning to believe again.

It is not surprising that God is continuing down this path for me in 2010. This next year, I am being called to sink my teeth into His promises. Earlier this year, I saw this picture in a store window, and made it my cell phone background, because I knew it was something I needed to be reminded of daily...

I love how this little girl is just biting into the fruit...it is the image that God brought to mind as He showed me the next step I'd be taking. It is one thing to believe in His promises. It is another thing to sink your teeth into them. "O taste and see that the LORD is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!" Psalm 34:8 I am excited to begin to take hold of what God has been speaking over my life. I know it will be a daily decision, and a daily struggle as God transforms the poverty mindset I have long lived in. But I know I will taste and see that the Lord is good to me. He gave me the verse I quoted in my Christmas post as another encouragement...that I would be blessed if I believe that God will fulfill what He has spoken! Let's go 2010! I am ready. Happy new year, and may you be blessed as you kick off 2010!

never been asked


Flashback to high school. I went to four high school dances, including prom, but I was never asked. Imagine a 17 year old girl wanting to go to prom, and time passes by...no one asking. I ended up asking a sophomore to go with me, just so I could go. For years before this, and even a few years after, I believed that if I wanted to date a guy, I needed to do the pursuing. Otherwise, it would not happen. God began to show me that I needed to change my perspective and learn to be pursued. And it has been a journey...sometimes it feels like it has been a loooooong journey. But I have been waiting.

Why the flashback? Why bring it up now? In two weeks, I get to re-live "prom" thanks to two of my friends who are dating. The guy is re-creating prom for his girlfriend since she has never gone. Because I am a close friend to both, they want me there. Here lies the dilemma. It requires a date. Insert flashback here. Maybe you can even insert some of that horror "ree ree ree ree" music too. Haha. I have been single for ten years. And still have never been asked. I don't have high expectations that I will be asked to this prom by the man of my dreams and be swept away...that would be nice, but honestly, not expected. BUT I would like to be asked. Even if it is just by a friend. The last time I faced this experience was about 5 years ago. I did not get asked. I wanted to go, and so did several of my girl friends. We ended up going as a group, and two of the girls dressed up like guys, but girl-ified. The only saving grace for me that night was that a dear friend, who had asked someone else to go, asked me to dance...not once, but twice. This same friend has built a determination in me not to settle for anyone less than a gentleman.

Truthfully, I don't really even want to go. Why? Because I don't want any guy to feel like he has to take me, and I don't want to go unless I am asked. That's a lot of pressure on a situation...and to me, it just does not feel like it is worth it. I am not sure how it will all pan out, because I want to go and be there with my friends. I just don't want it to end up feeling like high school all over again. One day, I won't have to worry about this. One day, I will have a husband to be my date, and he will have asked me. Until then, I wait...and hope that this all works out.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I just wanted to wish you all a very Merry Christmas! Enjoy your family and friends, and remember that Christ is the reason we celebrate! He has changed my life, and at Christmas, we remember that. He came to set us free and give us grace...which I continue to need in an abundance.

I am so thankful for what God has done this year, and look forward to all that next year will bring! Lots of adventure and fulfillment of dreams...

"And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord." -Luke 1:45

Thursday, December 17, 2009

rough around the edges

I feel like life has been a little rough around the edges lately, and while I know this feeling will most definitely pass, I feel quite consumed by it at the present time. I feel worn, like a weathered book left out in the sun or the rain or both. I feel sad in waves, in the quiet moments of the day. I feel like I am going going going...because work demands it of me. And so I am tired and would rather rest a while. Meanwhile, my heart is crying out to keep going strong...but at the same time, it feels like there is little left to give.

This will pass. I am a mix of emotions from the season, and exhaustion from work I am not used to doing. I spent Tuesday night alone on my couch because I was too tired to move. I was hoping someone would be home, but instead the time passed, and I kept myself distracted. And all the distraction really does is cover up the feeling of being alone. I haven't let myself cry yet...until now. It is as though writing draws it out of me...the sadness that words cannot describe. That does not make a lot of sense, but I guess the process of slowing down just enough to let it spill out is enough.

This time of year is a mixture of strong emotions for me. I love it, and yet at the same time, feel overcome by it. That is what grief does. And in a few days, I will pick myself back up and keep going...a little stronger and a little less burdened.

I know I am loved. I am surrounded by so many people who made it a point to check in on me. And when I feel like no one else in the world understands exactly what I am going through, God reminds me that He knows and He has not forgotten me.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

turn the tide

If we look at our lives, we can easily find things to complain about, and often do. Just as easily we can see the good things, it depends on our perspective. This time of year is when we take off the dark lenses we often use year round and try and see things through the rose colored ones. It's time to be thankful, and I would love to keep the lighter lenses on this time around. Let's turn the tide.

Instead of dreading going in to work on Mondays and praying for Fridays to come faster or looking forward to my next vacation, I am thankful I have a job, because many don't. I am glad that I have a job that challenges me and pays a decent wage, because I could be doing something less fulfilling for less pay. When I am overwhelmed by deadlines or circumstances at work, I can take a deep breath and remember that it doesn't last forever.

When I think that it is time for me to move past the "having roommates" stage in my life, I am grateful that when I come home, there is someone around to either laugh or cry with, depending on the day. I could live alone, or have no home at all...but I don't. When I feel like I am desperate to start the next chapter in my life, I can see all that being single has blessed me with...I can still enjoy 8 hours of sleep a night...haha, once I become a mom, that will change!

I am SO blessed. I live in a beautiful home with fun roommates. I have more friends than I deserve. I have a family who loves me. I have a good job where I learn something new everyday. I have an amazing church family who helps me grow in every area of my life. I have lived within 20 minutes of a beach for a majority of my life. I can afford many luxuries that many cannot. And I am rich in my relationship with God, who has given me more second chances and blessings than I could have ever asked for or imagined. I am blessed.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

complimentary, my dear

Since I have stopped doing my 30 days, I have not really posted...except about Needtobreathe, whom I still love! You will likely hear more in the future, but for now, I will move on to a new topic.

Compliments. I am not always very good at receiving them. I am great at receiving them when I am expecting them...I think most women will relate to this scenario. The days when you wear an outfit you absolutely love and feel confident that you look amazing in. Those are the days when people say things like, "Wow! I love _____! Where did you get that?" I easily smile and say thanks in return, and somewhere deep down I know that I worked hard for that compliment. Haha...it's true, right?

Then there are the days where you manage to get out of the house...you may or may not feel great about the effort you made, and while you may have started out well, the day has brought you to a point where you feel like a "beast". (Someone I know used this term to describe how she sometimes feels...I think it fits.) It is in these moments where I am completely caught off guard by the nice words people have, and come up with a really lame response, because in this moment, I truly don't believe it is true about myself. I did this a while back with a friend who simply told me I looked really nice. I think I managed to say something like, "Yeah, this is just something I wore to work today..." I am not even sure I thanked him! Horrible! Not only is this insulting to myself because I don't believe it, but also to the giver for blowing off such a sweet compliment. These types of days are when we need to receive these compliments the MOST. In fact, sometimes the timing of them have made me want to cry.

The important part about a compliment, a real genuine one, is that we need to receive it graciously and with open arms. If we ward them off, the negative things take over, and it takes so much longer to overcome them! Plus, these friends who love us enough to bless us with their words may be hesitant to do so in the future if we cast down their attempts. (If the person I sadly blew off ever reads this, I am sorry!) This is a dare to those who fumble when given a compliment...for the next few weeks, even if you don't feel like it, look that person in the eyes, smile and say "thanks." Then let their words sink in. We need to be collectors of blessings. I am going to do this as well.

Monday, October 26, 2009

had to share...

I found this link for an acoustic set of "Stones under Rushing Water" by Needtobreathe, and it is amazing. They played it at the show, and I tried to record it, but it was too loud...my poor camera could not handle the instruments. The only part that was clear was the pure vocals at the end when they do a part acapella. I love love love it! Joe's baritone rounds out the sound beautifully. Anyway, I wanted to share it, because I am convinced that if people heard them, they'd be instant fans as well. And these guys deserve it. :) And yes, I am slightly obsessed.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

things that make me smile...finale

Days 29 and 30 are going to be combined, as I was not really able to do them having been in San Francisco! I am also going to use this last one to share about the concert I went to because it was so so fun and well, made me smile. :)

-Hearing kids engage with God. Caleb, my 3 year old friend, was showing me his foot saying that it had been hurt. He then proceeded to tell me that it was okay though because "God healed [his] foot." Then he said, "Thank you God for healing my foot," and went back to playing like it was nothing. I stood there beaming, because I knew I was witnessing a precious moment. He also at another time was coloring a page with orchids on them. He told me that they were monsters. I asked him what monsters do. He looked at me, and smiled, then said, "Rawrrrrr!" and went back to coloring. Haha. Yes, that is what monsters do.

-Road trips! (minus the traffic)

-Meeting people from other places. At the show I went to, we met Dave. We called him Apple Dave because he works for Apple. Apple Dave is from England. He insulted my camera, calling it "practically a Poloroid", and joked with us about needing subtitles. My roommate Gayle especially had a hard time understanding him. He was pretty funny, and was our friend for the evening. He just enjoyed hanging out with the band along with us (more on that soon...)

-Realizing on a Friday that you have taken off of work that you still have a FULL weekend ahead.

-Sleeping in. :)

-Live music.

So, yes, the SHOW. Gayle and I arrived at Cafe Du Nord at about 7:45, just in time to grab a drink and get ready for everything to begin. The first two bands were pretty good. I enjoyed both. Usually I feel fairly ambivalent toward opening bands, but not this time. By the time it was Needtobreathe's turn, the place was crowded and I had a few people standing in front of me. I wanted to be as close as I could be. They played a variety of old and new songs, and I was excited to hear Bo lead a song. Usually Bear leads, as he is the frontman and sound of Needtobreathe. But Bo, Bear's brother, is one of the main writers for the songs, and it was a treat to hear him sing one of them. At the very end, they unplugged and sang two songs over us. They also earlier in the show sang a part of "Stones over Rushing Water" completely acapella. It was magical.


The end of the show came, and Apple Dave introduced himself to us. Then, as we saw members of the band come out to hang with the fans, Dave marched over to Bear to get him to take a picture with us. It was hilarious, and we had a new friend. Bear was very accomodating, and Gayle told him that he needed to come to the Central Coast to play. They ended up talking about how they went to the Pismo dunes and how his wife is a nurse...Gayle works at the hospital, so they had quite the conversation! Soon, we met Bo, who was obsessed with Gayle's headband! Haha, we took a couple of pictures with him, but he was not as easy to converse with. Next thing you know, Joe, the drummer, was standing by himself, and we walked over to say hi. Hi turned into an hour conversation ranging from why they don't ever play in the UK (asked by Apple Dave) to what his relationship with God looked like. He told stories about having to buy new clothes at Walmart sometimes because they ran out of clean clothes...life on the road does not always include laundromats. And that they are probably Febreeze's main supporter being a group of sweaty guys and all. Gayle and her friend broke off to meet Seth, the bass player, while Apple Dave and I continued our talk with Joe. Eventually we wore him out, and realized it was 1am. And so we headed out. We crashed at her friend's place, a typical small apartment in San Fran. It was delightful. I am pretty sure I did not sleep until 2:30am. But it was all worth it.



I started out the trip as a fan of Needtobreathe's music but ended it as a real fan of them. They were interactive with their fans both on stage and off, and they want to connect. They don't want people to walk away liking one of their songs, but rather embracing who they are and what they produce. I believe that, in that, they are successful. It was amazing to see how they could gather a crowd of both believers in Christ and not. Their ability to reach both is such a blessing! I hope that they get the promotion they deserve, but that they do not lose the heart of what they do. These men are authentic, and I very much enjoyed meeting them.

Friday, October 23, 2009

final fall fashion day...

...which they really should call "Fashion feel good day" because of all of the amazing compliments! You ladies who have been a part of this week have been so sweet! And I barely am awake enough to post today's, so I will peruse yours tomorrow. This was fun! I wore a more casual outfit for frolicking in San Francisco, and honestly did not get very many shots. I did my best though, and here they are:


I snuck the top right picture in while I was in the dressing room at H&M (hee hee).
Shirt- Gap
Scarf- Target
Necklace- same as earlier (Forever 21)
Jeans- Old Navy
Fake Vans or "Fans"- Payless Shoes
Sunglasses- Ross

Here I am looking out into the bay. Fun day for sure. And slightly sad to see this week of fall fashion ending. I enjoyed it!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

fall fashion day 4!

Today my entry is earlier in the day, and tomorrow mine might not make it until Saturday...but tomorrow's will be backdropped in San Francisco! I am excited to get away for a day and a half to have some fun. Here is day 4:

Striped sweater: Ross (I love it for the shoulder detail!)
Necklace: a boutique shop at a concert venue (a favorite, for sure)
Scarf: Target
Jeans: Target

I love having fun with the shots I take. :)


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

age 28...errr, day 28

Only two more days after this, and the lists will be gone...but I am excited to share today's things that made me smile. My only complaint about this 30 day project (besides having to stick to it daily) is that NO one person has shared anything with me that makes them smile. So, please, if you are actually reading this, share something that made YOU smile today. :D

-The people I work with and for. The clients we serve are great! They bring a different perspective to life that is often random or unexpected, but almost always guaranteed to make you smile. I surprise visited one of my clients today, and what ensued was hilarious...I only wish I could share. But let's just say that he was sorry he didn't shave for me. He only shaves for single ladies and hates being caught off guard by one and not being shaved. Hee hee. It was fun.

-Smelling candles until you find the perfect scent. I am sure I look funny pulling off lids and taking a deep whiff but man, when you find the right one, you want to grab it and light it up! (which I don't...until I buy it and get it home). Sometimes there are funky smelling candles.

-Newborn babies. They are like little nuggets that you can just cuddle with for hours! I got to hold a little boy only one week old when I dropped off food for the family. Newborns are so dependent on their parents to care for them...it is a picture of how we should be with God. Resting completely in His arms. I want one. Obviously not now. But soon.

-Breakfast for dinner. I simply love breakfast!

fall fashion day 3

Hahaha, is it bad that I have my outfits planned for the next two days? :)


Orange-y dress: Target (even better, it was clearance!)
Necklace: Forever 21
Boots: thrifted
And of course, same cardi from yesterday...


P.S. There are lots of other amazing women flaunting their fall wear, and you can find those listed on Emery's page!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

day 27

....continued....

-Long drives where you can think, pray, sing, whatever...especially if they include beautiful scenery! Driving today to Hearst Castle was wonderful.

-Dollar tacos. Need I say more?

-When you think something is going to go badly, and it turns out to be okay. I had to go into my boss' office today to discuss something, and I was relieved when it didn't turn out to be the lashing I was dreading. He was looking to see that I had a plan to fix the situation, and I did, so problem solved. Sometimes, I over think things.

-When God answers little prayers, like when my roommate got permission today to take a test early so that she can come with me to the concert this Thursday. So sweet! :)

fall fashion day 2

So, this morning, I realized that I was thinking way more about what to wear than usual...because I was going to be taking pictures! Ha ha :) I was perusing the other fashion posts (all very nice), and one person commented that they love sweaters/cardigans, etc. Well, so do I. I love the purple cardigan I wore today. You will likely see it again, perhaps even tomorrow.

The headband- made by a talented friend for a wedding I was in about a month ago
The necklace- Lia Sophia
Purple cardigan & gray tank- Target (no joke, one of my favorite places to shop)

I wore plain black slacks with the black heels from yesterday...not that thrilling, but good for work today. So I didn't take a shot of that.

Monday, October 19, 2009

day 26

Back to rain again today...not sure what is going on...but I have to admit that I felt like rain tonight. And that's okay because this, along with a few other things, are helping me feel a little better. Things like...

-Being reminded of your worth. I got an email from a friend tonight that wrote amazing things about women, admitting that their biggest flaw is that they forget their worth. I know that email was sent with perfect timing.

-Also being reminded of the attitude of your heart and who determines it. Another email brought me to a site I follow where a man with no arms or legs wrote about allowing God to determine our heart attitude, that we should be grateful no matter what the circumstances. More perfect timing.

-When the weatherman is WRONG. Like today. My friend Stacy actually called me to see if I knew if it was going to rain (because apparently I know things like that, haha), and so I checked for her. She was looking into washing her car. The weatherman of the internet world said no rain, but at approximately 5pm today, the proof was in the pudding, so they say...and we had rain. Stacy decided not to wash her car, so she was grateful.

-Fall fashion. See post below.

fall fashion week: day 1

I follow a fun and amazing writer here in the blogger world (check her out at http://emeryjo.blogspot.com/ ), and she has put out the call to flaunt our fall fashion. I almost passed the call up. But it just seems like a fun idea. I really like fashion, even though I would not say I am on any kind of cutting edge. My blog is going to be quite busy this week, with the last days of things that make me smile and now a week of my best fall fashion. Our weather has been weird lately, so this may be a funny week to do this!

I am wearing my new sweater from Forever 21. I love it for its peacock feather in pink and several blue hues. I tend to wear a LOT of blacks, grays, etc. so when I pulled it out to put it on this morning, I wanted to go a little bolder and chose a mustard yellow top. Paired the whole thing with my Express skinny jeans and a pair of black kitten heels. Comfy but fun!


(close up of the feather)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

day of jack bauer and of christmas

That is 24 and 25. :)

-Drive-In movies! Whether you pile in the back of a truck or snuggle in a car, drive-ins are the right price and loads of fun. I packed a bunch of food and enjoyed "Where the Wild Things Are" and "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs". I also think that movies based on children's books are RAD.

-16 oz cans of soda for 99 cents.

-Using psychology in things. Like analyzing the Wild Things movie. Or looking at your temperament and seeing how it affects others. I did both this weekend.

-FREE massages. (the massage chairs at Bed Bath & Beyond...squee!) I seriously want one (there is one for $80!). It kicks off my Christmas list...that and a mini NASB bible so I don't have to lug my big one everywhere. Poor thing is beginning to fall apart!


-FREE dinners with awesome friends. I love a free meal. Make that meal at Tahoe Joe's and you get a :D

It was a good weekend. Only sad part is that it is over. But I only work 4 days this week! Trip to San Fran on Thursday!

Friday, October 16, 2009

veinte tres

Some funny guys I know wrote a song about a girl turning twenty three called veinte tres...now one of those guys is going to marry that girl in a few short months...I think writing songs for the one you are going to marry should be a pre-requisite, yes? Even if it is silly and includes lyrics like, "que dice el gato? meow". Haha...so begins day 23...

-Pumpkin Spiced Chai Iced Blended drinks in the fall when it is 90 degrees outside. Need I say more?

-Planning fun events. Even if two people show up, I love planning events.

-People watching. Tonight I was people watching at an amazing show I went to with two bands- Almost There ( http://www.myspace.com/almosttherecalif ) and Citizen ( http://www.myspace.com/iamacitizen ). They rocked it. But watching people who are watching a concert is great. You see a lot. Very interesting.

-Watching kids dance freely when they think no one is looking. Why don't we do that all the time? Why do we have to care so much what others think? The only sad part about the kids is when they got self-conscious. Luckily it faded fast as the music carried them away again.

It is really really really hot outside and even hotter inside, but I am going to attempt to fall asleep...I cannot wait until the weather makes up its mind and dives full on into fall. Yes, two days ago it was pouring rain. Now humid heat with no sight of letting up. Good night all. Sweet dreams...may you not have the many weird dreams I had last night! Haha!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

two two (or 22)...

Back to work today, but felt like I was dragging...took a nap at about 6:50 pm after reading for a while. I did get a lot accomplished at work today. That made me smile.

-Books. Gads of books! I like books and reading. I am reading a few right now..."Power Evangelism" and "Pilgrim's Progress" are the two right now, but I am also feeling compelled to start reading "Holy Spirit, My Senior Partner". Really I have a list of about 10 books I own and want to read....

-Farmer's Market. I did not go tonight, but I like it a lot. One day, like a friend wrote about, I want to walk through Farmer's holding someone's hand. That makes me smile. And I know that one day, it will happen.

-Fridays. Always make me smile! And it is tomorrow!

-Amazing concerts. Tomorrow I get to hear Almost There and Citizen play...both are super awesome! And then next week, I am going to see Needtobreathe!!! In San Francisco!!! So excited! I won free tickets and I am looking forward to spending the day mulling around after the concert. I never do that...linger and mull around. :)

twenty one...

So yesterday, I practically did nothing. I slept a lot, because I woke up feeling sick and chilly. I feel better today, but still dragging a bit. So, that is why I am doing yesterday's note, today.

-Doing nothing (every once in a while). Sometimes we need to stop and allow ourselves to rest. It was nice to do that yesterday.

-Having friends who facebook stalk you and bring you what you say you want via facebook. Example: Yesterday I posted that I was craving cinnamon rolls but was too lazy/sick to go get them. A friend of mine who was coming over to study with a roommate of mine saw the status and decided to bring some! My hero! (Ladies, Estevan is an awesome candidate for a future husband. This is Christina and I approve this message.)

-Being able to watch T.V. shows on the Internet! I have not had cable in my house for six years, but there are shows I like to watch. I have discovered the amazingness that is free T.V. on the Internet. So great! I can catch up on several weeks worth if needed...or watch on my own time. Yay!

-The following quote- "never make someone a priority that considers you an option." So true. And very revolutionary. God made me a priority, as He has you. There are people who are meant to have room in our lives, but perhaps not priority. That's okay...but we get hurt if we give someone priority who is not willing to give the same back. I like quotes that make you think.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

t w e n t y

Only ten more days until I stop...I kind of like writing about things that make me smile, like I said it keeps me reminded of the good things in life. I will likely re-visit the subject in the future, but not on such a campaign.

-"Duh" signs. I was driving like a granny today in the monsoon that has attacked California...okay, that's extreme, but I drove by the fire station where they have their risk of fire sign out. I laughed out loud when I saw that it said the risk was "low". Duh.

-Listening to the rain. It is one of my favorite sounds.

-Warm meals on cold days. Today I took a liking to grilled cheese and ham. So simple, yet yummy.

I am doing this early so I can go to bed at a decent hour tonight! I have an early day tomorrow...

Monday, October 12, 2009

nineteen!

....and here's some more!

-RAIN. It's gonna rain! The dark clouds, the warmer but still chilly air...makes me want to curl up and read a book with a warm drink. And my husband. (one day.)

-My co-workers. They are a fun bunch. Today our office mascot (a chihuahua) was dressed up in a little chicken outfit. I took pictures.

-Making decisions that you know might be hard, but are good for you.

-The smell of pumpkin candles. :)

18.

A day late, but not a dollar short. Things that make ya go... :)

-When God's love brings you to tears.

-When God shows you how He works behind the scenes. That sometimes the person you are inviting or that you meet is not ready when you come on the scene, but perhaps you are a seed planted. It is fun when God shows you when the person blooms, even if you are not the harvester at the time.

-Dressing up like a princess. I felt very elegant last night. Pictures to come!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

seventeen

I think it is curious that today is day 17, and I found a poem I wrote when I was 17 today that was about being 17. Must be day 17. Haha, that is a lot of the number 17.

And the beat goes on...ladeedadeedee...

-Lazy days! Short of having band practice at 8am this morning, I had no real agenda. I came home, took a nap (hee hee), got my car washed, picked up food, and was joined by a friend who also had nothing but laziness on the agenda. It was one of those days where you are astounded at the time because you could swear it must be several hours later than it actually is...

-On the same token, I love having a clean room! It is 95% there! Having a lazy day also meant time to organize the little things that have slowly driven me crazy since I moved. When I moved, I was caught up in wedding stuff, so I threw my room together and put off the rest till later. That later was today. All I need is a vacuum run and a few clothes to put away, along with a few things I have left out for a project. My room is almost there! Happy!

-Days where I don't put on makeup or make a big deal about what I wear. Don't get me wrong, I didn't leave my house looking awful, but it was nice to just be confident in comfort.

-Movies from the time frame of my young childhood...especially ones with characters like Steve Martin...they are good for many laughs.

-My family. Going through pictures of them today made me realize how blessed I am. I miss them a lot...time to make some phone calls, I think. I love that the holidays are coming...as rushed as they are, they bring us together. And no on-call this year on a holiday!!! Yay!!!

Friday, October 9, 2009

cheating...because i can...days 15 & 16!

I know, I should be doing two separate entries, but this one time...I will combine them. I have an early Saturday morning, and it is getting late.

Things that made me smile yesterday and today...

-HUGS. Cuddly little friends who just love and love through their hugs. I love grown up hugs too. I am a huggy buggy gal...what can I say?

-Shopping for something specific, and not only finding it, but finding it on SALE! Best e v e r. Seriously.

-Sending a friend texts like "I see you..." when you are just out of their line of sight and watching their reaction. It is a bit creeper-ish, but it makes me laugh. :)

-Bantering. The kind of back and forth quick tongued sparring in jest. I do it a lot with male friends, actually. But it takes wit and sharpness, which is challenging and fun.

-Celebrating with friends. I get to do some of that this weekend...whether it is for a farewell (don't go Cheatwoods....you will be missed!) or for a birthday where you get to dress like a princess...I love having a good time with my pals.

-Dressing up. You name the theme, I will go there...unless it is sketch. But all in good fun, I am willing to dress funny, no holds barred.

-Reminiscing. I have been at my church for over 8 years now, and I was remembering some old memories with a good friend tonight. It made me smile for sure. I have been so blessed by my friends and family here, I can't even begin to express how much!

I think I had some good ones tonight. I hope to be back on track by tomorrow. :)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

oops, day 14...

I decided last night that going to bed before 9:45 was much, much more important than writing about things that make me smile. But, a late entry is still required. It's not that I didn't think about it...I just wanted to go to sleep, so I did!

-Randomness. All things random. Like a video on "committing to having a mustache" by the makers of Grape Nuts. I love things like that. I also love to share things like that and see the reactions. Random nonsensical stuff. I see it everyday, and I know it is there to bring a smile to my face.

-Knowing that God keeps His promises. He has promised me a few amazing things. The best part is that if He promises it, I am not the one who has to make it happen. Whew!

-Fresh baked cookies and vanilla ice cream. Such a great combo!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

day 13

I am going to make this quick so I can go to bed...so...

-God's grace! Tonight He spoke deeply to my heart about something I have been wrestling with Him for over a year about...and tonight I chose to let Him take it. I am choosing to trust a love unknown and not settle for mediocrity. And although I chose the wrong things for a long time, His grace has washed over me.

-Feeling productive. I felt like I got a lot done today at work. It was good.

-Making babies laugh or smile. :)

Monday, October 5, 2009

on the twelveth day of smiling...

Aaaahhh, that reminds me that Christmas is coming!!! While I absolutely LOVE Christmas, the speed at which it is coming is frightening...I hope fall lingers a bit before barreling into winter.

Today's list:
-Swing dancing! I enjoy it very much, even though I would not classify myself as a great dancer...in fact, any kind of partner dancing used to freak me out. Mostly because I felt like I would fall all over any guy who attempted to spin me around the floor. I love dancing, but dancing in coordination with someone? Yikes. Then, a dear friend named Howie taught me some simple steps and that I indeed won't maim my partner. I have been slightly addicted since. I still mess up a lot, which results in laughing at myself, but again, it makes me laugh. I dream of being 80 something dancing with my husband...so romantic!
-The candy aisle at Ralphs. Endless choices...dangerous but so good!

-Listening to my newly married friend talk about marriage as being the best thing ever. I can't wait to double date with her and her husband one day, and eventually raise our kids together. She, of course, makes me want to get married, but I guess I still would at this point without her encouragement.

-Down comforters on cold nights. :)

-The story of Mary and Martha, and the fact that God is trying to teach me to learn how to rest in His Presence.

-Big, green grapes. Yummy!

day e l e v e n

Continued...

-Days that actually feel like fall! Someone tried to tell me today that I would miss summer when we really delve into fall, and I simply told him it was not true. I love summer in the summertime, but once it is time for fall, I am ready, and welcome it with open arms! Cold nights where my down comforter is put to good use, bundling up, crunchy leaves, changing colors (even if it is much less dramatic here)...I love fall!

-Getting a hold of God's heart. I only ever get a hold of it in small portions, because I know I would be overwhelmed with more, but it makes me cry...it is so beautiful. He loves me. He really does.

-When dogs get excited to see you. How can that not make you smile?

-Books. I love books. I am making my roommate read Pride and Prejudice. She has never read it! I have a list of books to read...I am going to be making more time to tackle that list. I have some good ones on that list. Now if only I had a fireplace to go with that...haha. :)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

day 10

Today I slept in because my little self decided to evade sleep until 2am! I pretty much got up in time to get ready and go volunteer at the Harbor Festival. It was a really mellow day, but definitely a good one.

Things that made me smile today:

-Kettle Korn, fresh and yummy! People everywhere had bags of it...I could not help but buy some on my way out.

-Getting close parking spots when you pray for them. I am pretty sure I could have parked much farther away, but God gave me a hand, and a parking spot.

-Movies with Tom Hanks in them. I don't know what it is about him, but I like almost every movie he is in! Tonight after deciding to be a vegetable (while balancing my checkbook), I watched the Terminal. That movie made me smile.

-Being unexpectedly thought of.

niner niner day nine...

Two hours past brain mush time, and I think my brain gave up good thinking right about 10am this morning, so really I am about 14 hours past clarity...haha, nevertheless, here I am. I smiled and laughed a lot today. Sometimes at myself and my inability to come up with words like "conference" or forgetting what I was going to do right in the middle of doing it. So here is some of what made me laugh besides myself...always a funny thing...

-The 90s. Sister Act 2. Ace of Base. Boyz II Men. Spice Girls. My night was filled with this. I still have a mix of "Spice up your life" and "Barbie Girl" stuck in my head.

-Trying to do things that might be physically impossible. Like bending your legs behind your head. Real pushups. The worm. And laughing when you realize that all you have really accomplished is sticking your butt straight up in the air. Classy.

-Girls nights. No, these do not usually consist of pillow fights and doing nails. Sometimes they do. Tonight we challenged each other to do crazy amazing feats of amazingness. And mostly fell flat on our face laughing.

-Laughing. I love to laugh.

-Gospel type music. Too bad I can't really sound like that when I sing. But it gives me the shivers and makes me smile to hear it. Like the entire soundtrack to Sister Act 2.

I really need to go to sleep. But I get to sleep in tomorrow. Another thing that makes me SMILE! :)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

day 8

I am starting 10 minutes before 10pm, so perhaps my list will be a little more coherent. Hee hee. I am starting to look forward to writing this everyday. One cannot keep this up forever, but I think this is something everyone should do at some point in their lives. Keep track of things that make them smile. Here we go for today!

-The faith of a child. I got to go to a meeting for our Kids World team, and one of the leaders shared some amazing stories of faith from the kids in our church. Jesus told us to have faith like a child...He did so because it is so unhindered. So real. And so beautiful. I want faith like that. It makes me want to hang out with kids even more!

-Getting my car back after being parted from it for almost a week. I love my car! I really do! It is at 211,000 miles, and still ticking. I am praying it goes to 300k. It is a good car. :)

-Good, deep conversations with trusted friends. I love that I have friends who I can say almost anything to, and they still love me. That they can share their heart and be real. It is so important, and I know I have not always had that in my life. I greatly appreciate them!

-Having a variety of things to do in my job. I taught CPR today. Tomorrow I will be holding meetings and setting up new clients to start their new positions at one of our group sites...oh, and starting billing. It is the variety that keeps things from getting monotonous! I like my job.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

day seven

I really need to start writing these earlier in the day...my mind turns into mush, I am afraid, after say, 10pm. So then you get entries like "I like people. and peanut butter. and pillows." Haha, but really, something to consider for the next 20 something days...

-Pumpkin butter. Might as well list ALL things pumpkin. :)

-Pregnant bellies. The fact that a baby is growing and forming inside delights me to no end. And I think pregnant mamas are incredibly beautiful.

-Truth. It outweighs logic, which is often faulty.

-Hanging out with the Lord. He is the BEST thing in my life.

Sorry so short, but seriously. I am about to fall asleep on my laptop and I think the drool that would ensue would surely kill it.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

day s i x

Continuing on...

-Finding out that you only have to spend 50% of what you could have spent on fixing your car (i.e. expecting up to $425 and being quoted $200. h a p p y)

-Being allowed to borrow your friend's bomb diggity brand new Honda Accord. It has butt warmers, XM radio, and a sun roof. :)

-This video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRRkJ95RxIo Oh my goodness. I have listened to it several times today and it still makes me smile. I have a feeling I might have talked like that at some point in my childhood. Her dad is trying so hard to be attentive...but can't help himself and cracks up. Poor thing was like, "why is he laughing? I am having a serious conversation here..."

-Chocolate lava cakes. I think there is a trend. I think I like food. :)

-God's patience with me. Good thing He never runs out. He's used a lot. I am so grateful.

Monday, September 28, 2009

day 5

It is more difficult to do this when your mood is calling you to be negative...this is precisely why I am doing this. There is plenty of joy in my life, and here are more of the things that make me smile.

-Finding out new things about people. Like when I borrowed my roommate's car and discovered her love for country music.

-Cold, foggy days at the beginning of fall. Makes you want to curl up in a blanket and read a book.

-Brownies. Some magically appeared in the office today. Made me smile. And eat one.

-Being stretched. This is actually something I don't really enjoy, but the outcome is usually something that brings a smile. It brings a sense of accomplishment once it is done. I am writing a piece for something much more important than this blog. Here I just write my thoughts and I am done. If people want to read, great! If not, I have expressed myself and have enjoyed the process. But when you write for something greater, it stretches you. I hope to share it in the future.

:)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

day 4

Another day, more things to make me smile...

-Engagements. I know so many people getting engaged...and they glow. It makes me want love like that.

-Singing. I love love love to sing. And when it is combined with worshiping God, it makes me smile.

-Seeing how much God has done in my life. I sometimes forget to look and see how far I have come because I am so caught up in the moment. But there are times when I am reminded, and I am grateful. I was told today that I smile a lot more these days. I would have to agree.

-New friends. New friends are like gifts. You are not sure what is inside, but you are so excited to open them up!

-God's heart for me. Really it makes me weep and smile at the same time. It's powerful, and if I let it, it will change my life.

I like this. Doing this makes me smile. :)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

day 3

Day 3 was off to a rough start given how late I went to bed, etc. but was quickly redeemed...I won't pretend all the car stuff is not affecting me, but I am also seeing God move despite the circumstances, and how generous my friends are.

-Needtobreathe. Yvonne and I listened to them while driving to a birthday party in her truck...and it was amazingly good driving music. I am a huge fan, and look forward to going to their concert in San Francisco in a month. I am not usually this big a nerd for things like this, but seriously, if I could pick a band to be friends with (that I am not already, like Citizen...), I'd pick them.

-Avila Valley Barn. This place is magical! Especially in the fall. This is where the birthday party was, and seeing kids run around and have fun, sampling amazing foods in their little market, piles of pumpkins, and a hayride to boot was enthralling! I can't explain why I love it so much, but I do. I am definitely bringing my kids there one day.

-Friends who go above and beyond for you. Yvonne looked at my car and waited with me while the tow truck came. We got slurpees! She then drove me to the car shop and looked up the cost of the repair so I would know while the truck unloaded my car. She then drove me home. My co-worker is taking me to and from work on Monday, and my roommate Katrina is letting me use her car tomorrow so I can take a new girl from Poly to church. I am so blessed.

-Naps. I needed one today and enjoyed it thoroughly.

-Pumpkin ice cream. Delicious. Enough said.

Off to bed now...lots to do tomorrow. I like this...30 days of things that make me smile. Tell me some of yours!

day 2...

So continuing on...I am determined to do this everyday for 30 days...and here it is almost 1am. It has been a loooonnnnggg day. But a good one despite a major hiccup. My car won't start. It is in a random parking lot in SLO and I am without a car until I can figure it out. Money is not flowing from my natural bank account, so I am seriously hoping for the supernatural bank to open up to pay for what I think is a dead starter. Not a horrible thing, but quite inconvenient. I have been awake for almost 19 hours today because I started my day volunteering at K-Life for its Fall Partnership Drive. I had a lot of fun doing that, which leads me into the joys of today...

-Spontaneous fun. My friends and I who volunteered this morning had no shortage of spontaneous fun. It included breakdancing, stomping, making up songs and cheers, and cracking random jokes. Maybe we were delirious from being up so early, but I laughed for a majority of it. And yes, in the meantime, we took many phone calls for pledges. We multi-tasked.

-Hearing God move in people's lives. I took two phone calls this morning in a row where people were weeping because of God's heart. My favorite was a woman who wanted to give and felt bad she couldn't give more. She told me a story about how last night on her job, she was given a $76 tip...for a $23 delivery. It made her weep. She was trusting in God's provision, and giving because she wanted to. It was inspiring.

-Scarves. First day of fall to wear one! It was lovely.

-When you don't end up doing something and you realize it was for the best. Like me deciding not to drive all the way out to Hearst Castle as planned today. I was not feeling up to it. In fact, I was not feeling well, and it wasn't until I decided not to go that I started to feel better. Looking back, it is quite likely that my car could have ended up stranded in San Simeon instead of San Luis Obispo. Big difference. And grateful that it is not.

-The 80s. Such a fun decade. I went to an 80s party tonight and rocked out with a generation of people who were not alive in that decade, haha. Here's a sneak peek...


-Young brothers...real ones, yes. But also the ones God puts in your life to remind you of your youth and make you feel cool. I have a posse of them, and I love them dearly. They made tonight that much more fun.

Time for bed...let's see how tomorrow unfolds!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

30 days of things that make me smile...day 1

So, I've decided I need to focus on the small and joyful things in my life for 30 days...God has given me much, and I need to see that everyday! Sometimes I get caught up in what I don't have, and that steals the joy from those simple things. I will chronicle my daily joys here, and will hopefully write about other things in between. Maybe it will encourage you to think of the good things in life and maybe even share them with me! :)



Day 1:

-KIDS. Today I was told by a very smart 3 year old (well, tomorrow he will be 3!) that ice cream comes from church. Must be because good things like ice cream come from church, right? Hee hee. And I got group hugs from the same 3 year old and his little brother. Later when I stopped by my cell leader's house to grab my forgotten sweater, I got her son's first wave as I left. It was stinkin' adorable!

-The book of 1 John in the Bible. I have read it a hundred times, but it is still rocking my world.

-Diet Coke and Chile Limon chips. YUM.

-Ipods. Keeps amazing music from my favorites like Needtobreathe and Bethany Dillon streaming in my ears, especially at work when I have lots of paperwork.

-Cooked chicken from Vons...yum!!! And little to no prep for dinner :)

I really could go on and on and on, but that will unfold over the next 29 days. I look forward to tomorrow's joys!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Walmart and other fun adventures

Tonight I ended up at Walmart with my friend Stephanie. I highly recommend going to places like Walmart with friends who make you laugh. I needed that tonight. This week has got me running a million miles a minute, and while I am loving it, I am getting a little weary. So, tonight's adventure was a good thing for me. Our friend Katie was sadly at home sick, and so we set off to send her pictures that would make her laugh. So...we discovered the new Miley Cyrus line, and promptly tried on spandex black shiny tights and random fun tops to match...

We also found the backpack section, where to my delight, we discovered what I would, of course, need if I were going back to school, which I am not....


Anyway, all of this was a nice mental break from life. Even if it was only for an hour. This last weekend was amazing, and yet exhausting! I watched my friend's two adorable kids both Friday night and Saturday for most of the day before continuing onto band practice and meeting lots of fun freshman at Poly. I even drove a Tahoe around...it gave me a glimpse of the life of a mom. Moms really give up their lives for their kids. I only experienced this for all of about 10 hours, but still. I dream of being a mom. It just comes with a lot of responsibility and self sacrifice. I am not there, but I hope one day to be, and to do it well.

I am finishing off this week with a bang! 80s party and lots of other things...more updates to come!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

keeping it real

Sometimes you just have to say what is on your heart and put it out there so others can join you in prayer or in some cases pray for you...sometimes that is two different things...haha. Anyway, to keep it real, here it goes:

I want to get married. Soon. This is such a deep deep thing, I can't even put it into words. It has been a lifelong desire, and I sometimes feel like it is so so far away. I feel like time is ticking and racing all at the same time. And at the same time, I am on pause. So, there it is. Pray. I need it. End of moment.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

tarnished.

Today I was polishing many pieces of silver for a wedding that is coming up in just a couple of short weeks (!), and in the midst of it all, God began to speak to my heart. In the picture above, you can see two teapots, one very tarnished, and the other less so. The shinier of the two started out just as bad as the darker one. But with a little bit of polish and a lot of elbow grease, its shine has begun to return. It still has areas that need work in order to look its best, but it has come a long way...wouldn't you agree?

We are much the same. We start out tarnished, wondering if there is any potential left in us to shine. But God brings out the polish and begins to work in our lives. Sometimes we forget how much God has done, because all we see is the tarnish that has yet to be worked away. We forget that we are beginning to shine, despite the work that needs to be done. A work in progress like these two teapots...with much potential. God, our maker, knows that potential and seeks to bring it out. It is not an easy process, but is one that takes meticulous work. In the end, it is worth it. We end up like new, like the one below.




Sunday, August 2, 2009

remembering your salvation

Almost eight years ago, I had a powerful encounter with God. He changed my life, and it really has not been the same since. Recently, He has been reminding me to remember my salvation. That feeling of when He went deep and I made the decision to live my life for Him. I am being saved daily, but that moment was so important. Sometimes we get so caught up in what we are doing that we forget why we are doing it in the first place. This is why I am remembering. I wrote the following the night of this encounter on 10/2/01:

From the moment I was conceived
You had your gentle hand
Around my little beating heart
I grew not knowing of your love
Until later years
You called my father into your arms
When I was five
Bringing me closer to you too
I learned your stories
And sang your praise
Believing you were real
Even when my parents divorced
The pain was so strong
I could have been weak
But you would not let me
So much temptation
Surrounding my everyday life
But you held my hand
Guiding me away from danger
At age 12, I knew you
I wanted you closer
Yet at that wonderful time of openness
I, instead, began to look away
I never doubted you
But I never leaned on you either
I pulled away from your grip
And felt I was strong enough...alone
I was not ready to give it all to you
Even as I fell away
You never left me
Your arms always stayed open
Protecting me from horrible decisions
You saw not what I seemed to be
But what I was meant to be
I would look back and see you
I would come back here and there
Not fully, still not ready
And you knew, you waited
I went to church, I was supposed to
I even taught Sunday School
My heart was not quite there though
I kept going through the motions
High school ended
I started to feel even more lost
Loneliness ached inside me
But I shut my eyes tighter
And your embrace did not loosen
Two years and it was time to leave home
You found me a home
You brought me here
And although I did not have to
My parents were not here to make me
I felt compelled to find a church and go
You were pulling me
And for the wrong reasons
I found myself in your Presence
And both times I cried
The first time I thought I was home sick
But needed to be there
Tonight I cried too
But unexpectedly, suddenly
I was right, I needed to be here
In your arms
It was finally time
And there you stood
Smiling, knowing, loving
As you always have been
I cried harder
Ashamed at knowing I had not
Fully known you, loved you, trusted you
You surrounded me with prayers
From strangers, yet sisters in your love
As you forgave me
I stopped shaking, but tears still flowed
Thankfulness filled my heart
And the shame and embarrassment melted away
I am your child
I am beautiful in your eyes
And I found myself humbled at your feet
A new peace in my soul
You pick me up and hold my hand
So that I can walk with you
I do not deserve your mercy
But you freely give it
You still hold my heart
In your gentle hands
And if I ever stumble again
I know you will not leave me behind
Your patience is overwhelming
I will never be alone
You are always with me
Today I pledge to give my life to you
Not just part of it
Hold it close and keep my faith strong
Because God, I need you.

must love dogs?

I am not the typical "dog person". I did not grow up with dogs really. My only experiences with dogs in a living situation consisted of two very different scenarios:

-My mom's house, where she had up to four dogs at one time, 3 out of 4 being Pekingese, and they were treated like her children. She was not able to maintain the house well due to back issues, and there was dog hair everywhere. Drove me crazy. I liked her dogs, but I was grateful I did not live there.

This is Sara, short for Sara Lee, one of my mom's dogs. Poor thing had such a bad knot in her hair that she had to be shaved! Ended up looking like a little lion....

-My dad's house, where during my last year at home, we got Penny. She is made out of spitfire and obstinance. This dog, as a puppy, "broke into the house" by scratching at one of the screens that happened to be at her level. I came home to her wagging her tail in the entryway, while I scratched my head because no one was home and she was supposed to be outside when no one was home...and yes, she left a present on the carpet. She was in BIG trouble. This dog would also LOVE being dragged across the room with her legs behind her. I think she liked how it felt on her belly. We would drag her across the room and she would pull us back, only to start the process over again. Silly dog. She was my late night greeter when I came home from work, demanding a treat for this task. I began to demand at least a handshake and a kiss before obliging. She insists upon being a part of everything we do. And if she cannot be in the same room, she will get as close to the action as physically possible. Like sitting on the landing of the stairs and peeking around the corner. Or sticking her nose through the railing and sniffing our hair JUST to remind us that she is still there. She sits on the stairs like a lady. And now, every time I come home to visit, she bounds up to me, nearly taking me out each time. Her whole body wags, and she sniffs me like crazy. Even with a hurt leg, she cannot help but love me so much and still try her darnest to greet me with all the excitement she could muster. It made my heart hurt to hear her yelp in pain...and all I wanted her to do was calm down. There is no doubt in my mind that this dog is crazy about me, and she has worked her way into my heart.

This is Penny, sitting on the stairs like a lady. This is also her spot of choice when we are all in the living room where she is not allowed to be. She'll lay at the landing and sigh while she watches us have fun.

All of this to say that although I am not a dog person, I do love dogs. Do I want one of my own? Not really. Not now for sure, but maybe not even ever. I have a strong feeling that will change when I have children of my own and their pleading eyes are saying "pah-weeze!"...ha ha ha. And the topic comes to mind because in one month, I will be gaining two new housemates. One beautiful, fun girl and her dog, Penny. Yes, two dogs in my life named Penny. Pennies from heaven, you may ask? The verdict is still out on that one. I am sure there will be adventures to come with this new canine friend in my life. I am a sucker for dogs, so I am sure she too will win me over. However, I will never be the kind of girl who dresses her dog up or carries it around in her purse. That is weird. Dogs are not people. And if I ever give in to the notion of being a dog owner, you bet I will pawn off the dog poop duty to whoever I can, even to those pleading eyes who probably got me into that mess in the first place.

don't sweat the small stuff

I have recently realized that I get easily overwhelmed by little details...because I have not been trusting God with them. It seems that I have talked myself into believing that God doesn't really care about the little things, and besides, I can handle the small stuff, right? God has done big financial miracles for me, and has healed many big areas of my heart. But the small stuff?

Going back to the "overwhelmed" part...you see, all of those little things add up pretty quickly. Individually, one might be able to deal with it and move on. But as they add up, they grow and soon, I am one stressed out girl. All because I have this backward way of thinking that God is not into the details. Sure, He'll hook me up with a sweet parking spot from time to time, or when times are tough, someone buys me lunch. But taking all the little things before God? Does He really care?

But, but, but....yeah, all those buts. God, this weekend, began to show me, in small ways, how MUCH He loves the little things. I am in a wedding in one month, and we had not officially picked the bridesmaid dresses until last Thursday. The one we ended up picking is one that I like, but we thought may have been slightly too big. These dresses have been a source of stress, for sure. We took it to a person well-versed in sewing, and she said it was a simple fix. One little hook on the inside of the dress would solve the problem. Check. Easy. The beautiful bride was looking for earrings for her dress, and shoes...which were even more important because her dress fitting was for hemming it, and without the shoes, no one can predict the length! Well, she found earrings for $5.00...and as we mad-dashed through the mall on the day of her fitting, we managed to find the shoes 45 minutes before the appointment. As these things began to happen, I found myself thanking God along the way, and that my thanks came easily. He was making me aware of these small things, and I was so grateful. One of the nights, we walked into a smoothie shop and it turned out to be closed. But because they did not lock the door, they gave us free drinks! And they tasted amazing! (like 50/50 bars)

Funny thing was that it wasn't the little things that I got so excited about, even though they were great, but that God was speaking to my heart about a concept I am needing to learn. And He is patiently teaching me not to "sweat the small stuff."

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

american pastime


This evening I went to my first local baseball game in YEARS. I think the last one I went to was one my uncle played in (??? maybe???). Every summer, our local park hosts teams from all over the county and this was the first time I have managed to check it out. I didn't get to stay the whole time, but I loved it! There is something so American and family oriented about baseball! Kids were running around, sunflower seeds were flying, hot dogs were cheap, and the seats were great. Even the weather was amazing. Baseball is the kind of sport that can be really laid back, and then in a moment, takes you by surprise (like a home run...or when the ball flies at the fence in front of you and you forget a fence is there and jump three feet, haha, like I did). It encourages conversations, and takes you away from the world for a while. No wonder it was such a rich part of our history during wartime.

Going tonight made me remember the baseball games our family used to play in my grandparents' front yard. I am sure that yard was not huge, but it seemed so to my young heart. Home base was a big tree with long branches that made for a great hiding place. And my dad or one of my uncles would pitch and we would run around the yard. I remember going to the local park in Oxnard to hit the ball with my dad and brother. Baseball was one of the few sports that wiggled its way into my heart. The few Dodger games I went to were so fun! The wave, where everyone would stand and raise their arms...the loud organ...the peanuts...baseball. I hope it never gets so watered down by money that it forgets to be the great American pastime. I think that is why I loved the local game so much. It was simple, and a moment that recalled the delight of the game that was so well established in my heart as a young girl.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

fun with babysitting

Today I got FOUR texts to babysit for four different families! I got back to the first person to text me, and here is a snapshot (or two...) of what happened:


I got to be the "Chief" Fireman...



and then it was decided it had to go the other way...gangsta fireman?
(and yes, that is VeggieTales in the background...haha)


I had a lot of fun with these boys! We played, "drove", were super cool fireman gangstas, played ball, laughed, and danced to the music in the movie! Hanging out with kids is good for you.
I highly recommend it. :D

Sunday, July 12, 2009

summa summa summatime...

I love this shot. It looks like Saturn!

WOW. It is smack dab in the middle of July. Each year I find myself more and more shocked when this month sneak attacks so quickly. Some days it does not feel like summer, as here in SLO, the weather seems to reach its peak for summer around August. So far things seem to be winding up instead of gearing down like the rest of the world, and that has been a bit scary for me. I am slowly coming to the realization that it is all good for me. I am learning how to get out of my own way and let God call me to what He has planned. Still learning, but moving forward.

More change continues to come my way... I am going to have two new roommates (to be determined), and will get to move into my own room again! It is time... I am ready to have my own space again. I am not getting any younger...haha, and most likely the new roomies will be young college students. I won't have to worry about late night study sessions or someone coming in late. My own room will help with that. Stacy, one of my best friends, is getting married in less than two months! I am going to be sad that I don't get to live with her anymore, but am so excited for her and Jeff. They are an amazing couple and their lives are going to impact this place for Jesus! Things are going to start getting busy! I love being a part of helping her plan. I am learning a lot about weddings and what goes into planning one. As much as I am looking forward to getting married one day, it overwhelms me a bit to think about planning it. Hah.

Some happenings over the past few weeks:
*I led my first full song in worship. It is an intense thing to lead worship. It is more than singing a song. You are leading the whole congregation into worshipping God. I have a lot to learn. I am not sure when the next time will be, but it is an honor and privelege to serve in this way. And it is a dream. It is not a coincidence that God is speaking deep to my heart about His calling. It is not about me, simply about God using willing people for His purpose.

*I totally ate it in a ditch on the 4th of July in my typical fashion. Yup, I was walking... it was dark, and there was about a 4 inch ditch. Down I went. My leg is healing nicely but needless to say, it is still sore from the bruise, and I am hoping there are no scars... not good for the wedding pictures!

*I am realizing more and more how much I love hanging out with kids! Their hearts are so pure and sweet. The other morning, I was hanging out with two of my favorite little guys who are brothers, and I was reading a book to the older one. He wanted me to read it a second time, and as I did, he slipped his hand into mine. Such a sweet and loving gesture! His younger brother later gave me the biggest hug a lil' guy could give. Another little girl who I love spending time with melts my heart with her rendition of "Save Your People"...sounds like "Say yo po po, oh yo oh yo". Love it! Makes me want my own that much more. But I also love that I have friends of all ages. They teach me so much about life and perspective.

*I think I am going to my first ever Blues baseball game this week. Not the biggest deal but I am excited. It will be fun! I like baseball, and the summertime is a great time for it.

Anyway, things are in forward motion and I am hopeful that this summer will be fruitful and that I will have all I need to navigate all that comes my way!

I will leave you with a few fun pics of me...one from first grade that an old friend recently posted, and one at the 4th of July picnic we had. Once a kid, always a kid...just sometimes our perspective gets a bit outta whack.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

shadow boxing and grace


Have you ever felt like you've been battered and bruised deep inside, only to realize that you've been fighting yourself? Swinging low, swinging hard, beating yourself up for any number of reasons...

If only...

What if I had...

I used to be like...and now...

I should...

I wish I had...


It's a dangerous game...regret. One that not only keeps you from being blessed, but also steals from who you are, who you are meant to be. It leads to shame...keeps you looking down instead of up. Leaves you waiting for the next blow to fall. Except it usually doesn't, and you beat yourself up because you think you deserve it. Or you live your life wondering when the next person is going to come along and tell you that you were right. You should have, why didn't you? And then you'd feel justified in your shame.

But what about grace? Grace almost hurts more because you know you don't deserve it. When grace pours over you, you don't know what to do. We don't know how to receive grace. People rarely bestow grace...we are used to judgment and criticism and blame...not grace. So, what about grace?

We need grace. It turns the voice of doubt and shame into hope. Hope that you can look up again and you don't have to work so hard to get back to that imaginary place where you thought you might have deserved it once. Hope that for once you can get back up and not worry if you fall again. Grace takes the fear of failing away. It gives you the hope to try again. Grace is beautiful and complex. It wipes away the tears of disappointment and regret and urges you to move forward. And when you do, you free fall into possibility. You open the door instead of close it.

Give yourself grace. Give others grace. And most importantly, receive God's grace. There is nothing more freeing than that. In it you can begin to expect the unexpected with full anticipation...no more looking back or pushing yourself down. Open up to grace.

g r a c e

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

tribute

I have written several tributes about my mom over the last few years, and have recently realized that I have not written a lot about my dad. Part of it is because most of the time tributes are associated with the death of loved ones...and as Monty Python would say...he's "not dead yet!" My dad is very much alive and just celebrated a birthday. With Father's Day coming up and some realization over this last year of how much my dad's life has blessed mine, I decided to write a tribute to him. He is a faithful reader to this blog, so I am sure he is going to shake his head at me as he reads this, but more importantly, I hope he feels honored by it.

Psalm 112:2 "His descendants will be mighty on earth;The generation of the upright will be blessed."

I am not going to write a long story about his life, but rather how his life and decisions he made affected mine...affected the future generations in our family to come. As it says above, the generation of the upright will be blessed. My dad did not always serve the Lord or live an upright life, but when I was five, he and my mom decided I should go to a Christian school for Kindergarten. One evening, all the families were invited to a concert put on by a man who played many interesting instruments and shared the gospel with them. My dad walked away from that concert changed. We moved from up to Oxnard when his company changed locations, and found a church home and Christian school. My dad began to pursue the Lord, and we got baptized as a family, including my mom. Over time, things began to unravel in my parents' marriage, and my mom chose to leave. She believed that my dad chose church over her and made decisions out of that. She was wrong, but in a way, my dad's decision to serve the Lord despite the situation began to change the future for my brother and I, and the rest of our family I hope. He faithfully took us to church even when we didn't want to, and served the church as he could. Ultimately, my dad ended up taking care of my brother and I full time, as my mom was unable to. He made many sacrifices and struggled with giving us the best care...something I am not sure I will ever understand to the fullest. His heart broke when he had to bring us to work with him when we were ill, or when he felt like he could not balance all that life had to throw at him. Most fathers don't take on the role he did... He laid his life down for us. And he never walked away. And all the while, he tried his best to represent the Lord. He did a good job. He practically even adopted my best friend Jami to add to our crazy little bunch, and as a result, she too loves the Lord. My dad may not have known it at the time, but God was using him to win the hearts of his children and their friends.

I didn't always walk close to the Lord either, and my life too has not always been upright before the Lord. High school was a rough time for me emotionally for a lot of reasons, and I know I lived a life of going through the motions. I went to church to honor my dad. I am so grateful that he was a rule maker. If he had not loved me enough to put his foot down in certain areas of my life, I know I would have made choices I'd later regret. Instead, I obeyed his rules most of the time, and lived under that protection. My dad remained steadfast. He continued to serve the Lord. I know he had ups and downs. I can't pretend to know all of the details, but I know he persevered. Life during this time was not easy. A new marriage, new family dynamics, and a crazy teenager who in her heart was rebelling against the Lord. One thing that has stuck in my heart as a blessing passed on, as well as a beautiful memory, is singing with him in harmony at church. He has the heart of a worshipper, and passed that on to both of his children. Even during this tenuous time, I loved singing hymns with him.

I grew older, and was ready to fly away from the coop. I wanted to run, and do what I wanted. I am sure he must have been praying for me because it wasn't two weeks after moving out that I found myself in an amazing church, and in the presence of God. Years of prayers came to fruition in that moment, and my life was changed. And I have never looked back. My brother too had his journey of some difficult years, and now serves in his church, walking out what it means to be a man of God. Because of my dad's decision to love and serve the Lord no matter what, even at the cost of losing my mom (although he was willing to reconcile before she left for good), the generation is blessed. My dad now acts as a Deacon, preaching the word of God, a dream fulfilled in his heart as the word is a passion of his. And I couldn't be prouder. He is an excellent communicator and teacher, and represents God well. Everyone loves it when he preaches. I love that God has taken our family and changed its future because of a decision. My dad's decision. I love that I have hope that my uncle, his brother, will come to know Christ as his Savior because he is willing to come hear my dad preach. I am so thankful, so so thankful for my dad. My future is determined by the Lord because of him, because of his prayers and hope for my future.

My family has the hope of the blessing poured down through the generations of a faithful people. I am so excited to see it come into fruition. To see my dad be a grandpa one day. It brings more joy to my heart than I could ever express. And to know that they too will serve the Lord.
"But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD." Joshua 24:15



Sunday, May 31, 2009

envisioning romance


Love is in the air...my roommate just recently got engaged, and that leaves me gearing up for another wedding. We just picked out the dresses. We ordered it online, so I am praying that it fits. I am likely to have to do some kind of alteration, but we will see in a few short days. I also just attended a wedding this afternoon. Lovely, short and simple, but full of love nevertheless. So, all this love in the air, and I am hoping to catch some of it sooner than later. That seems to be my mantra lately...sooner than later. It is true. What I don't say is that sometimes I really wish it were yesterday. One of my favorite movies captures the desperate heart of this when she says, "I even wish it were yesterday. Because that would mean that *today* I would be on my honeymoon, that I would *finally* have a stamp in my passport, and that it would say *Italy* on it." (While You Were Sleeping) Sometimes, it all seems so daunting and time is flying by and well, you know. But the phrase that comes to mind again, even as I share this is "I would rather have it be right, than right NOW." And that is even more true than the moments of longing. I went to a conference this weekend, and one of the speakers encouraged us to be visionaries again. To lay our dreams out again and dare to hope that now is the time for them. Getting married and having a family is one of the biggest dreams I have. My friend Stephanie put a ginormous ring on my left ring finger, and I began to joke that it was helping me envision what was coming. I certainly do not need a big ring like the one that sat on my finger but it was fun for the moment. And what this speaker called us to do was the very thing God asked me to do this year. Dare to dream again, and believe that God's word and promise will not return void or empty. He will bring me a family, starting with my husband. And for that, I am grateful.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

up too late writing....

My sleep recently got thrown all outta whack since going on a road trip down to Spirit West Coast and doing the late nights for K-Life. I had a ton of fun, but I am finding it easy to stay up late and hard to get up early...

But anyway, while we were there, we got to see a speaker named Nick Vujicic. He was born without arms or legs, and he has had to deal with all of the questions and frustrations that situation brings. He lives in joy and hope, and from what I can tell, he lives like this most of the time. His secret? A deep reliance on the Lord, and a revelation of his purpose in Christ. He made me laugh, and made me cry...and spoke deep to my heart. He said, "Fear is a greater disability than having no arms and no legs." I am beginning to see how true this is. Through God's strength, we can do all things. But when we allow fear to wrap itself around us, we are bound. We cannot move. We give up. A person without arms and legs can move and do many things...but a person bound in fear is paralyzed. He/she may go through the motions of life, and seem okay, but deep down, that person is not accomplishing his/her purpose, and begins to live in despair. This is the condition many find themselves in. Nick also spoke about the lie that we are meant to do this alone. We are not, and yet we live out our lives as though we are. God is our greatest support and ally. He lifts us when we fall and gives us solid ground to stand on. I am inspired by this man, and am encouraged to find the deep joy he has received from the Father.

If you are interested in learning more about him, go to www.lifewithoutlimbs.org

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

beloved.


I am called His beloved. I am His and He is mine. But this morning I realized that as I am called beloved, He is calling me to be loved. Be loved, He says, and don't let yourself be held back. Be loved and live in joy.

Be loved, beloved.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

memorials, walls and other things


All this week has been rather blah for me in terms of my emotions and even my physical health. I have been in a bit of a funk lately, and while it is easy to blame it on surface things, the truth is that it runs much deeper. It is easy for me to say that the memorial service I went to this week was the strike the match needed to light this funk on fire...it was for a co-worker's husband who died of the same thing my mom did a little over two years ago. I did not get to have a memorial service for my mom. Complicated issues with my step-dad led to a parting without a remembrance. She was simply gone. The memorial service for this man was amazing. He lived a motley-crue-kind-of-life prior to being saved in prison, and he since then lived his life for the Lord. A man who impacted countless lives through the love of Christ that bore witness in him. I wept for many reasons throughout the service...I want to be like him. Like Christ. I wept for his wife's loss. I wept for my own loss, and that I did not get the chance to honor my mom in a similar way. It was complicated, but I felt the Holy Spirit gently reminding me of His presence.

I have been fighting allergies and cold symptoms all week too...sapping my strength and really causing me to want to stay under the covers until the funk passes. But really, these things are surface level triggers to the deeper issue.

God is asking me to tear the walls down.

He has been giving me things I have only secretly hoped for, and He is saying that if I want more, if I really want to live the life He is calling me to live, I need to tear the walls down. The walls that separate me from feeling the FULLNESS of His love. The walls that keep both Him and others at an arm's length away because if anyone gets too close I might get hurt. I might be disappointed. But God's love casts out fear. The walls have been my comfort zone, my shelter, my strength. The truth is, though, that my walls hold me back. I am missing out on the BEST God has for me when I hide behind the walls. I love God, but I have yet to experience the fullness, the surrounding love that never fails. And if I want more than this settled life, I have to let Him in. When I choose my comfort over the letting go, I am choosing to keep God at a distance. I am settling for second best. I am placing an idol in between myself and the very best God has for me. It is not an easy choice. The flesh loves comfort, and fears change. But my spirit has been aching for so long that I am dying to be set free. So, my struggle is plain and on my face as I am making the decision to let go. God tore down the walls of Jericho. He can tear down mine. But truthfully, He won't unless I let him.