Wednesday, December 29, 2010

a story.

By day, Christina usually finds herself working in an office about the size of your average bedroom with no windows. She types away at her laptop dutifully, answering emails, writing case notes and annual reports, and making sure the billing is turned in on time. She manages approximately 80 cases on some level, all related to helping each one find meaningful employment. Each of these persons receive assistance based on one general qualification: there is some sort of "disability" involved...although these people often deserve jobs better than some "regular" folk out there. And to help manage the cases, Christina has a dedicated and gifted team of people including a job developer, a coordinator and other managers of more specific departments. What motivates her is seeing people reach their goals. Even goals that seem small to one person out there can make a world of difference to another. When there is success, life is good.

Every December for the past three years, Christina finds herself having to step into a different role...one more hands on. It is a fun challenge and gives her a chance to work directly with some of the persons she case manages. You see, every December, one of the areas within her department needs a little extra help. And it doesn't make sense to hire a person to come on board for only a month, so off goes Christina to the parcel service store!

As the packages come flooding in, each seeking to find its way just in time for Christmas, Christina is seen working behind the counter...processing, packing up those important gifts, and making sure all the information is right. She laughs as she sends boxes to streets called "None Such Place" and gets to put a smile on the customers' faces as they successfully get their shipments off in time. Her feet ache after the long days of standing, and her arms get a workout from lifting 40+ lb. boxes of wine! And even though working here at this parcel service takes away from the time she needs to spend in that little office doing the day-to-day office work, she welcomes the change, knowing that it only lasts a little while.

Every year, it's the same story. Christina comes along and lends a helping hand. She has help if she isn't sure what to do, but she does what she can and enjoys it! However, this year was different. Not only did she spend her usual month shipping packages, but during the last week, someone decided to leave her on her own to run the whole store! "Sure, no problem," she thought to herself in the weeks approaching this time. She would just pay extra attention and take diligent notes. It couldn't be that hard...right?

The night before the first of three days left her sleeping fitfully and dreaming that she showed up an hour late to a group of angry customers. Christina woke with anticipation of the responsibility she knew was coming her way, and got to the store about ten minutes early. While the dream did not come true, her start was not any less rocky. Several people came in right as the store opened, eager to get their items shipped off. And little did she know, but she did not have the right key to open two of the three main doors! With people confused and having to be redirected, Christina found herself quickly overwhelmed. Despite her promise to try not to call for help to the regular manager who was trying to have a vacation, she was left with no choice. One quick call and help was on its way...just in time...as the man who would make her eye twitch for the next two days walked in the door.

His face crinkled with frustration, the man began to explain how he had sent a package for next day delivery only to have it sent back...a package that was costing him thousands of dollars. Christina understood his frustration, but didn't know what to do. It wasn't her fault or the store's. The people who delivered it messed up somewhere, and now the package was back where it started...miles from where it belonged. So much for next day guarantee. Not only that, but the man had to wait four days, thanks to the Christmas holiday weekend. He ranted and ranted, and she stood there bewildered, until he promised to come back in a short little while. You see, the store was still crowded and Christina was not able to give him the answer he wanted, so off he went. Her rescuer with the key came shortly after, and stayed long enough to help her with the angry man's problem. With everything settled, she sent him on his way, with hopes not to have to bother him again.

Grateful that she also had the help of a long time employee (also someone she case managed), the rest of the day went well, although it was steadily busy. Christina had hopes that the next day would go oh-so-smooth. She still did not sleep well, but at least had all of the right keys! A rainy, cold morning, she knew things would be slower. No one waited outside the door on the second day. She could take her time making sure everything was ready for the day. She sipped her coffee and chatted with her helpers for the day. Though it started slow, things picked up. And just as a rush of customers came in, wouldn't you know it? That man, the frustrated man, walked back in the store...only to share that once again, his package was not being delivered. His tone of voice a pitch higher and his level of anger building, Christina began to feel her shoulders tense as this man started talking. But she'd seen how to handle it the day before. She got on the phone and got the assurance that the package would indeed be delivered. She sent the man home with the promise of a call when things were confirmed. She felt confident that she had done the right thing and proud that she didn't need to call for help. 10 minutes later, the phone rang. Haha, the manager of the store, despite being on vacation, was checking his email and saw that the package was having trouble again. Of course, he was on the phone with the shipping company and was trying to fix the problem from home!!! Sigh. So much for handling things on her own! A few more phone calls, and her dealings with the frustrated man would be over.

That second day ended with trying to fit a box that was slightly too long into her car before heading home for the day. It was needed for a packing job. Christina looked forward to her final day of this immense responsibility...which fortunately went off without a hitch. It was slow overall and to make things even better, the register balanced to the penny! She was asked to permanently stay, and although it was fun for a while, she was ready to return to her office. So, this Monday, the laptop will be ready, the billing will be needed and the emails will flow again. This adventure over, she anticipates what the new year will bring.

The end.

Monday, December 20, 2010

winding down.

At the end of every year, I become very reflective and begin to look back at how the year went...whether or not I made my goals, how the word God spoke to me worked itself out during that year. This year, God wanted me to see His goodness, His blessings. And while there were some roller coaster moments and disappointments in 2010, I can look back and see how many times God has blessed me and shown me His love.

-I got to travel a lot this year...to North and South Carolina, to Sacramento, to Berkeley, to Las Vegas...and I have dreams and plans to travel even more next year! (Possibly Seattle, St. Louis MO, the Carolinas again, and maybe even New York!) I love traveling and the fact that I am finally getting to do it is amazing to me.
-God provided for me SO MUCH financially this year. When my car needed repairs to pass smog but I had just spent almost $1000 on other repairs and a few hundred on the Carolinas trip, I received more than I needed for my birthday. Then when my poor car decided to let the transmission go, God gave me the plan I needed to get out of credit card debt and to be able to make car payments on a much newer and nicer car!
-A new passion has been stirred up in me and I have been so fortunate to be chosen as a local representative for NEEDTOBREATHE's street team. It's hard to describe why I love this band so much, but as you have seen over this year, I am definitely devoted. Not only is their music high quality, but the guys themselves are incredibly sweet. I don't know where this will all lead for me, but I am enjoying it as it comes. I have met a bunch of friends through it, and I am excited to see where the band is headed. BIG things are in their future, and I hope to be a small part of it.
-I am so blessed to have the family I do, especially my dad and brother. They mean so much to me, and I know God is bringing blessings into their lives too.
-I have had a lot of FUN this year, and I am seeing that is meant to only increase.

There are things I didn't come to see like I wanted to, but it doesn't mean they won't. There were things I didn't want to see, but did...and there were goals not yet attained. What I feel God whispering to me over and over is to hope in the things unseen, to live in faith. And I am excited to see what 2011 holds.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

etsy.

I should not be allowed to look at Etsy. Good thing that I don't have the money to spend freely on whatever I want...or I'd end up with...

This gorgeous and classic looking necklace
This sassy purse
These fun shoes
and these funky ankle boots
This recycled scarf
A simple, but fun dress

I could spend hours and hours looking through Etsy...but I can't...shouldn't...won't.... :)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

daughter. friend.

Tonight I went to a meeting where many people from local churches gathered to pray and fight for each other...instead of with each other. To repent instead of building walls. To hopefully see through to the other side what it truly means to be one body together in Christ. And while being apart of this great gathering, God also gave me a personal word.

One of the leaders spoke this word...that we are already friends of God, sons and daughters of God. This is the greatest thing we can achieve while here on earth. We can become Presidents...we can become the best husbands/wives ever, but nothing can compete with the title of being God's friend. God's daughter.

Often times, I see the other titles as great things to seek after, as though they could make me more complete or more worthy. How wrong I've been. Nothing compares to the love that comes from being a friend and daughter of the King. Nothing. I have been chosen. I am loved. What a great thing. I pray that I continue to remember this as I walk this life. That whatever is given to me on top of this honored position can be considered a blessing...but that it could never be greater than what I already have.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

worth sharing

I don't have much to say today...but I do have a few things to share on this fine lunch break!

A. This article. It made me tear up. Read it if you need any kind of encouragement.

B. Big news to finally hit the stands! Rumors had been flowing like crazy and though I was 99% sure it is true, it was finally announced... NEEDTOBREATHE is officially opening for Taylor Swift's "Speak Now" tour!!! This is bittersweet for me. I know this is the opportunity of a lifetime for them, and so of course I am excited, proud, and full of anticipation for what it will bring. BUT it also means the beginning of a new chapter, where the last chapter of more intimate shows and endless possibilities for interacting with the guys is ending. I hope and pray that they don't change as a result. And that they get the publicity they deserve! (and just a little bit, I hope they don't forget the little people...like me.) To celebrate, I'll share another new song of theirs!



C. It's December! This means that my roommate and I can start our Advent countdown :) Our house is decorated and we hope to get our tree this weekend. I love Christmas. It's my favorite holiday. Any time we get to celebrate what God has done in our lives is well worth it.

And while this may be completely ridiculous, I find it hilarious (Dave Barnes is not only a great musician, but is also a comedian). And it's related to Christmas, so here you go! My favorite one is the last song "Police never die" hahaha :)


Monday, November 29, 2010

loss.

A few days ago, I was in a bit of a funk, and it was hard to put into words all that I was feeling. It was my mom's birthday, and I have been sorting through other emotions...I think it's best I didn't write for a bit. This time of year can be kinda rough on my emotions, and I think my biggest realization in it so far is that when someone you love dies, you don't just suffer the loss of their presence in your life. You also grieve over the loss of the dreams you had with that person. In my case, I had dreams that my mom would not miss out on everything important in my life. She missed out on so much...my adolescence, my prom, my graduations (both high school and college) and all the in-between...I knew that she wouldn't miss out on my wedding. She wouldn't miss out on seeing my children. She would have something to share and say in those times. She would be there.

But she didn't make it to those things. She won't know my husband or my kids. She won't be there for those milestones...just like she wasn't there for the others. It's not that she didn't want to be. I think deep down she wanted to more than she could express. But she wasn't. And then her death meant death over those dreams as well. It hurts. When we don't see the dreams we long for find fulfillment, it breaks something inside us just a bit. It's why it says in Proverbs 13:12, "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life."

I am learning to trust in God when faced with heartache such as this. I am learning that even when things seem devastating, God has a plan...and that it is for the good. I am learning that I can still hope and dream...that loss doesn't have to be a setback, but simply a stepping stone. Grief and goodbye is a process that no one ever wishes to face. And I know that my mom will not be the only person I'll have to go through that process with nor have I seen all of its facets. It's a journey, sometimes painful, but thankfully one that I don't have to walk alone.

mish mash

It's been a few days...or a week or so since I last updated my blog...haha, oops. I am pretty excited to share with my awesome readers that yours truly was featured on someone else's blog today! You should follow her if you like cool things like music, movies, art...So, to start my mish mash of a blog post tonight, here's the link to it:

And since I have been a little more bold in sharing my songs with you lately, I thought I'd share my favorite one. It captures what I believe God wants me to live out. I have written about this song before, but only shared the lyrics. I apologize in advance...there is a slight editing hiccup in one of the choruses. I did my best to make it smooth.



In other news, I had a wonderful Thanksgiving with my family and got to spend a few days with them, which I always treasure. I love that I can just relax, enjoy and laugh with them. I am looking forward to Christmas with them, and am actively on the hunt for the best gifts possible for them. I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! There is much to be thankful for, yes?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

lunchtime thoughts

There has been a lot going on in my life lately...some of it really deep, and some of it just fun. I realize that this time of year always comes with mixed emotions...it is my favorite and well, not-so-favorite. It's hard to put it all in words. So this post is going to be a bit of a random assortment :)

Things accomplished lately:
- From my list of 29 things: went to Disneyland, went wine tasting for the first time, saw one out of at least two NEEDTOBREATHE shows, wrote a new song, walked through the Bob Jones trail, had a tea party
-Started to accomplish and attack paying off all of my credit card debt: I hope to pay the rest off by the end of December. (only $700 left! and I should be able to pay at least half of that this week.)
-Got a new car!
-I might have found a green dress that meets the standard of what I wanted on the list of 29 things :) It's in the mail. Let's hope I figured the measurements right...
-Started my Christmas shopping! Usually I start sometime after Thanksgiving...but I am on it!

Things I am looking forward to:
- Visiting my brother and high school bff in December, and seeing NEEDTOBREATHE two more times!
- Thanksgiving and seeing my family...and then Christmas to follow!
- Seeing God transform the way I think and dream
- All things Christmas. I love Christmas.

Other things I've been up to:
- Went to a church conference and despite being sick the whole time, had a great time. God spoke to me through several of the speakers, and I look forward to going back through my notes. I also spent the weekend with 4 amazing women with a great sense of humor. The 215 freeway kept giving us trouble...so much so that on our way home, we ended up in Barstow! Haha...and ironically our hotel room was #215....bahaha
-Been doing some extra work for NEEDTOBREATHE, heading up the shows in Minneapolis, Seattle and Las Vegas, and even helping gather data for the Europe shows. I love this little "side job". And I love all the people I meet through it.

Things God has been speaking to me about:
- Fear paralyzes. Too often I live in the "what if" and the crazy part about that is...most of the time, that "what if" never comes to be, and all of that worry is wasted time. It's why Jesus points out so clearly that we are not to worry. Plus, we are doubting when we do.
- My view of myself is clearly warped. Haha, and there is nothing I can do about it. BUT God can. And He is. I am learning to receive, and to dream.
- The difference between bringing truth in love, and being judgmental. This theme has been coming to the surface in so many ways lately...in my devotional time, in situations, in my memories. The bible verse "judge not, that you not be judged" is often misused and abused in my opinion. It's often thrown up as a defense that says don't you dare say anything about the way I choose to live my life...you have no right...see? But the truth is that as Christians, we are called to speak truth in love, to bring correction when necessary... Where we sometimes go wrong is when we come at it from wrong motives, thinking we are better than someone or from a heart to condemn. When we come from a place that is trying to save others from making choices that can hurt them, where is the judgment? If someone you love was walking toward a cliff that they couldn't see, wouldn't you intervene? How is this any different when we bring correction to each other? We have gone to the extreme of pleasing people to the point that we simply say "who are we to judge? It's their personal choice/belief. It's fine for them." I had someone very close to me use this verse to accuse me of judging them years ago, when my intent was to find out where they stood with the Lord. I did not want to get to Heaven and not have her there. And I have let her response mold how I approach people ever since. Don't let fear of rejection and judgment stop you from bringing truth to those who need to hear it. Ever. It's not a regret that you want to live with.

Music that has caught my ear lately:
- Chris August

- Dave Barnes

- NEEDTOBREATHE's live EP :) and new songs on tour! Here is one:


Anyway, that's all for today's lunchtime thoughts. Maybe this will become a new thing. :)

Monday, November 8, 2010

challenge: cook and shoot

It's a photograph-kind-of-day! I love photography...and follow several amazing photographers' blogs, including this lovely lady, Susan Lloyd. I got to meet her in person on my trip to the Carolinas, and she takes wayyyyy better shots of our favorite band than I do. Well, she tweeted about this challenge tonight, and I decided to join her! Now, I wasn't cooking anything fancy but I have to say it was yummy! So, here is me cooking, and well, shooting!

A few things to note:
-The picture of "Need to breathe: Always" started out as our "Need to buy" list. A clever friend who knows of my love changed it, and I had to add always...and it's stayed since.
-And yes, in the background of that same picture, there is a bottle of Cheerwine in my fridge. :)

favorite picture...so far

So I get challenged by a good friend all the time to take pictures, and her latest challenge is to post the best/favorite picture you've ever taken. Instantly my mind went to this shot. I love everything about it...it's of my favorite band, the lighting, the focus, the detail...for my little camera, I felt like a semi-legit photographer in capturing this shot. I am pretty sure I've shared this photo before, but I don't care! :)

NEEDTOBREATHE April 17, 2010- Music Farm, Charleston SC



Sunday, November 7, 2010

like.

I was typing up my last post and this song came on...as though it were a reminder of the promise God has long put on my heart. Thank you, Dave Barnes for this sweet little song.

pushed beyond comfort.

I find it a bit ironic that I have written about my car issues and how I had hoped my Maxima would last for quite a bit longer than, well, it did. A couple of weeks ago, the poor thing began to show signs of pre-transmission death. Given the amount of money I already spent on it, I made the executive decision to replace it. At first, I wasn't sure I had the means to afford a nicer, newer car like I wanted. But God showed me how I could rearrange some finances and end up with a down payment, and pay off my credit cards!!! This, of course, made room for the car payment needed for a better car. And here it is...
(new car is dubbed "hi-ho silver")

One thing I saw in this situation is that sometimes (and for me, a lot of the time) we talk ourselves into accepting the average, the comfortable things in life because it's all we think we deserve or can afford or whatever the logic. I thought I was too far in debt and planned on driving the Maxima for as many years as it would give me. It was a good car, I am not complaining. But God had more. I would not have ended up with the car I have above unless God pushed me into it. He did just that, and gave me the plan. God's teaching me to dream bigger than my mediocrity. We should be thankful for what we have...but God also doesn't want us walking around with our heads down. He loves to bless us.

And when things go wrong or disappoint us (I certainly wasn't stoked about losing the Maxima), we need to let God work the situation for the good. We will have hard things happen. We will feel overwhelmed or grieve or face tough circumstances. But if we put it in God's hands, He can and will bring something good. He'll help us through.

In this case, I now have a low mileage, high mpg car that is stylin'! And I had peace though the process, as I knew God would help me figure it all out.

that's right...42.4 mpg...love it!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

day 6...

So day 6 brings you two looks.
One for work and
one for the Switchfoot concert!
Today, I am hopefully buying a car.
Not gonna lie, I am leaning heavy toward the...
Honda Civic Hybrid!

Yellow sweater- Old Navy
Blue v-neck- Gap
Necklace- little store at a concert venue
Green jacket- Target
Fake Vans- Payless :)

One more day!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

day 5...


I should be in bed.
I'm not.
Instead, I am posting my day 5 of fall fashion...
Car news...
I am "borrowing" 2 different cars over the next two days.
One is a Honda Civic Hybrid.The other is a Honda Accord.
I like both.
We'll see if one comes out a winner. :)



Wednesday, October 27, 2010

day 4 :)


I'll let you in on a little secret...
I only wore this outfit for about two hours tonight.
I wore pinstripe pants and heels with the top and cardigan below,
sans scarf.
I had professional meetings to attend.
I liked this better for our little fall fashion shindig.
Hope you do too. :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

day 3...


I love doing Fall Fashion week.
I wake up each morning to a bunch of compliments
that continue on through the day.
I love looking at everyone's ideas,
and storing them away for future use.
I feel bad that so far this week, since Monday,
my time has been eaten up by dealing with having
to figure out buying a new car.
You see, my beloved Maxima is dying.
Good ol' faithful car.

So I promise that when the craziness slows,
I will go back and comment on everyone's posts for the week!
I'll pick my favorite and leave a note.
Hopefully, the delay in comment will be a fun blessing as
we leave Fall Fashion Week behind.
But for those of you that have time now,
go compliment away HERE!



Monday, October 25, 2010

day 2 fall fash :)



Sweater from H&M
Jeans from Ross
Shoes from Ross
Necklace from F21

I was inspired by the shoes when I glanced in my closet to see which ones would go with my orange-y sweater. Teal and orange are an awesome combo, I have decided. :)

See all the rest of the great fashionistas here!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

fall fashion 2010- day 1

I am posting this early, since I took pictures of this outfit in anticipation of this week. It was one of my first "fall" feeling outfits of this season. Chip wanted in on the action. :)


Happy fall! :)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

point of view

Last night I was faced with an unpleasant circumstance. I had some control over the situation, but I didn't like it, not at all. I was faced with having to do a ten hour day at Hearst Castle vs. doing what I wanted and needed to be doing...finishing the large amount of paperwork I had. I could have made someone on my team fill in, but in looking at all of the circumstances, it was better overall if I did it myself. But I didn't want to. And in the midst of this, I was tired, and not feeling great, so I quickly let myself get worked up about it...but made the decision to do what I didn't want to do despite not wanting to. And I went to bed that night asking God to help me have a better attitude about the whole thing, even though at the moment, I certainly didn't feel like it. I still was struggling with wanting my way.

I woke up in the morning, early in the morning, and earnestly began to pray for God's help. That I would connect with Him, that I'd have the strength to make it through the day...and with that, I rushed out the door. Not off to the best start, I got lost trying to find the first person I needed to pick up for the day. But once I figured out where I was going, I passed a street that was called "tranquillo". It made me laugh, and I took it to mean that I needed to breathe...

I managed to pick everyone up, and although we would be late, I let my mind let go of that worry as I drove through the hills of Paso Robles to Hearst Castle. There is a point in that drive where on a clear day you can see the ocean. Today was not one of those days. While it was sunny and beautiful on that drive, I could see a heavy fog enveloping the hills and the area where I was meant to be that day...in Morro Bay. I knew that God wanted to show me something with that picture, but it didn't quite unpack itself in that moment. Instead, I tucked it away and continued with my day.

Only later, after what turned out to be an 11 hour work day, did God finish showing me what He started to in the early part of the day. If I had gotten my way or forced my staff into taking the shift, I would have been in Morro Bay. I wouldn't have been able to see anything but gray fog everywhere. The sun was up and shining, but not anywhere that I could have seen it. Circumstances (i.e. the fog) were blocking my view. However, I chose the less favored way (at the time) and found myself in the sun, looking down on the gloomy looking circumstances. A lot of the time I choose to stay in the fog. Whether I reason that it's because it's what I have to do, or it's because it's what I know or even what I do everyday, I want to be there. It's MY way, and I want to be there. It doesn't matter if choosing to be above those circumstances would be better overall, it isn't MY idea, so to heck with it. Literally if I had chosen MY way today, I would have been in the fog.

(not actual picture...just one taken and edited for effect)

The only way to see the sun was to be moved into a different situation. In fact, my point of view was one where I was literally above the fog, looking down on it. From there, I could enjoy the sun and clearly see that where I would have been was missing out. God showed me that the sun represented His good plans. His promises. They are always there. However, sometimes, something blocks our view of that. And we have a choice. To stay where we are, going our own way OR let God lead us out and bring us to a place of a new perspective. It's our choice. Things look very different from one place to another BUT the reality of things does not change. The sun still shines even on foggy days....we just may not be in a place where we are able to see it. I am praying that God would help me see things His way...to change my perspective. I have seen way too many foggy days in my life. How about you?

Friday, October 15, 2010

rearview mirror

This photo shoot brought to you once again by Photo Freak.
Challenge was to capture yourself in the rearview mirror of your car. :)





boys and girls


Boys and girls like each other. From a young age till we are old and gray. Boys and girls like each other. This weekend my church is having a seminar on this subject, and at first, it seemed like it was for those already dating or newly married. Then someone (I think our Pastor) got up and said, "no, it's really for anyone, dating, married, anyone who wants to get married". You'd think that given that I am in the latter category my first reaction would be "where do I sign up?". Haha, no.

Instead, I began to slightly panic. This very issue...the war between my deep desire to be a girl who likes a boy who likes me in return and the, well, lack of said boy...has caused me to wrestle with faith to still see that it will happen. In fact, I imagined myself showing up at this seminar wearing a scarlet letter with an 'S' for single...not only that, but that I'd be the only almost-30 person in the room, looking at her prospects...all under the ripe age of 25. I realize, of course, this is not what is going to happen. NOT AT ALL. In fact, it is an amazing opportunity to hear from people who have successful marriages. And I have lots of other friends, though slightly younger, who are going to be there eager to get Godly guidance in this area of their lives.

God confronted me on my lack of faith on Wednesday morning. I was reading His word, and got to the following words: "my God in whom I TRUST"...I saw that though there were areas I completely trusted God in, this area was one I did not. In fact, I was frustrated that at the age of 29 I was not only single, but had not seen the possibility of a prospect in over 10 years...nor do I see one coming my way. I was losing my vision and dream for marriage because I have been letting circumstance steal away from that hope.

Really I was upset that MY plan did not, has not panned out. Never mind that God has perfect timing...what have I been thinking? Why is it that I have this incessant need to control and plan everything? God asked me again to trust Him...FULLY. And I have begun to do that again. What I am asking Him to help me do again is dream. To be able to hope for the future in a way I have never done.

I am really excited to find out who the man God chose for me is. Really. But in the meantime, I am realizing how much fun I am having. I am confident in who I am and what I love in life. And that is important because I'll know when that man stands in front of me and likes me, it'll be real. So, tomorrow, I'll be at that seminar, soaking in all I can get to be that Proverbs 31 wife one day. And I can't wait.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

broken voice.

This is not me speaking now, but the broken voice of people all around us, just wanting to be heard. I feel like many people would say this if we would scratch the surface of their lives and go deeper. Why? It was me once.



How am I, you ask? Well, should I give you the standard answer because really all you are trying to do is make conversation? A nice "I'm good" or "I'm fine" should suffice...if I were to tell you the truth, I am not sure you could handle it. Or really that you'd want to. You see, on the outside, I can smile and some days I truly do believe that it's a good day. But those days don't usually last long, or come my way too often. Instead, I spend my time distracting myself. Most days I drag myself out of bed, and put on my best clothes so no one knows that I barely made it to wherever I am headed. Going through the motions, looking for something to pass the time. Before I know it, the day ends and I am dreading the new one. But you don't know that. You don't see beyond the smile.

I am supposed to be able to do this on my own...make it without leaning on anyone or anything. I know I can't keep going at this rate, and yet I still try. You don't want to be bothered with that. I can tell by the fact that as you asked me that question, you quickly turned to your cell phone going off...you don't have the time. It's okay...I'll be fine, really.

I wish I could say I didn't feel so alone, that I didn't feel so overwhelmed by this feeling...even with you standing in front of me. That I wish you'd look in my eyes and see my pain. That you'd see that I want to do something greater than my life reflects now...but I just don't know how to get there. Instead, I continue to find disappointment at how my efforts just seem to get me by. I just want someone to see.

Would you take the time to ask me again, for real, how I am? And would you take the time to listen? More than anything, I am looking for someone who understands. Someone who will love me despite...well, myself. If you don't, I may just continue to be a broken voice lost in the crowd of life. Crying out, only for it to fall on deaf ears. Would you be willing to show me what real love looks like...

sound like someone you know?

This morning as I was getting ready to sing with the worship team, I felt lead to read Psalm 78. A lot of people consider the Old Testament a great book for history, and to see God's heart for His people...often not seeing the value it has for our lives today. If you don't know your history, it's bound to repeat itself right? As I was reading this passage, I knew God was speaking to an attitude in my heart:

"And in their heart they put God to the test
By asking food according to their desire.
Then they spoke against God;
They said, "Can God prepare a table in the wilderness?
"Behold, He struck the rock so that waters gushed out,
And streams were overflowing;
Can He give bread also?
Will He provide meat for His people?"
Therefore the LORD heard and was full of wrath;
And a fire was kindled against Jacob
And anger also mounted against Israel,
Because they did not believe in God
And did not trust in His salvation.
Yet He commanded the clouds above
And opened the doors of heaven;
He rained down manna upon them to eat
And gave them food from heaven." Psalm 78:18-24

You ask how this is relevant today? We don't do this...or do we? Here is what we say instead:

"Can God bring my husband in these circumstances? Behold, He gathered enough money to pay for my car repairs, with enough left over to bless me; Can He really find an amazing man for me? Will He provide the deepest desire of my heart?"

Insert whatever God has done for you, and whatever you question or doubt in the quotes above. I think we do this far too often. It makes God angry because He knows that He has ALL we need, ask for or imagine and beyond, and yet we do not trust Him. If you keep reading, it says that despite our unfaithfulness, He still provides. Over and over the people of Israel, much like ourselves, gave in to fear and doubt, and despite God's frustration, He knew we were weak in our flesh, and faithfully forgives us...pursuing us until we return to the right heart. God is calling me to return to faith in Him. To ask for forgiveness for my unfaithful heart. To trust that despite the circumstances, God will provide.

Friday, October 8, 2010

never tried this before.

Okay, I came home tonight from band practice with a song on my heart. It is in a pretty rough stage... A. because, well, I just wrote it 30 minutes ago... B. I don't play guitar nearly as much as I should OR used to... C. it's recorded on a point and shoot camera...and D. well, I guess telling people that it is a rough stage means that people are nicer with their critiques?

The reason I write songs is really for an outlet. I love singing, and music, and it seems natural that given that, I would express myself in song. I have written a lot of songs...and may one day put on here a song I have shared in verse only. But for tonight, here is the rough song I am working on:



Lyrics:
We give our lives to too many things
Searching for answers to our needs
We lay them down
I lay them down

For the beauty of the mystery of you
The purpose of a lifetime
More than I can do
You're the hope for my future
Beyond all I can dream
Jesus
I need you

We settle for what's left over
Not knowing that the best's within reach
We let it go
Oh I let it go

For the beauty of the mystery of you
The purpose of a lifetime
More than I can do
You're the hope for my future
Beyond all I can dream
Jesus
I need you (x3)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

eye. heart. ewe.


This picture is brought to you by a challenge by Photo Freak.

I bought this heart ornament two Christmases ago, and it has made a permanent home on my wall in my room. I took this photo about 6 months ago.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Chip's modeling career

...or my assignment from Photo Freak? I give you Chip Cooper. He's kinda cute.

I love how here he magically looks like a kitten. He's not.

No, I did not use the strap on my camera as a distraction ;)



Thank you Jess, for always encouraging me to look at the world through my lens.




Not me Monday

From time to time, this is a fun blog to do. Call it what you want...not me or I would never...but basically it is your confession of the unexpected. Or what everyone else does but never says they do. (that's probably more likely to be the truth)

Soooooo.....
I would never play "hooky" from work and go to Disneyland on a Monday. I would not delay reports that I should get done in order to ride on Pirates of the Caribbean or the teacups or the Matterhorn or....and I most certainly would not have ANY fun doing it. Nor would I get excited that I also was doing something on my "list". Nope, not at all.

I would never take pictures while driving. NEVER. Not even when I see something that amuses me or I find too cool/beautiful/awesome to not take a picture of it. Not me.


I would never use the restroom with the door open, thereby allowing the cat to come in and do weird things...nor would I have my phone with me to capture it...



As for planning a vacation around the time my favorite band's tour...TWICE...nope. I don't do that. Nor do I take mini vacations to go see them open for another band, perhaps like Train...this Friday...no way. Not me!

No, the dates in Dec. have nothing to do with NEEDTOBREATHE...

When asked if I could loan my blender to my bible study leader, I most certainly would never text back "Sure. Making margaritas? ;)". Nor would she expect that to be my response.

I would never stay up way later than I should three nights in a row so I could finish reading a good book. That is definitely not me, nor has it been me since I could read, pretty much.

I also would not let a cat who I am allergic to come near me, let alone cuddle with me. Nope.

Share your "not me" confessions! I'd love to hear them...because of course they are just fictional stories...right? ;)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

new eyes.

Last night I went to a concert with a friend to see a band whose music I had only heard a little bit of, but knew I'd enjoy their show based on the following music video:

Shady Esperanto and the Young Hearts (click here)

I missed their entire show when they opened for NEEDTOBREATHE because I was running around members of the band. So when Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers announced their show in SLO, I knew I had to go. I more than enjoyed their show...they are HILARIOUS! Poor guys, though, it was a poor turnout...especially compared to the show with NEED in May.

All this to say, I am finding a trend. Much like my last post, God is using lyrics from songs that are not actually written with Him in mind to speak to my heart. Stephen Kellogg sang the following song beautifully with his acoustic guitar, and as he did, I felt God tell me that He wanted me to know that this song was for me. From Him. Enjoy.

"See Yourself"

Girl, you know, you got my sympathy
You destroy yourself so easily
Words that start like mandolin refrains
Ending up like bagpipe hurricanes

But it's alright, it's gonna hurt sometimes
Everybody bleeds, even when the sun shines

You got to see yourself like I do
See yourself from my point of view
No one else can get through
Until you see yourself like somebody that loves you

You can bang your head against the wall, yeah
You can build a wall around your head
No one ever needs to know you're scared
The darkness sometimes lets the light shine in

But it's alright, it's gonna hurt sometimes
Everybody bleeds, even when the sun shines

You got to see yourself like I do
See yourself from my point of view
No one else can get through
Until you see yourself like somebody that loves you

And even if your heart gets broken and it will
Imagine if you never spoke and how that would feel
And every time you're tempted to retreat
Remember, you are loved by no one more than me
And you can use my eyes if you need them to see

Girl, you know, you're so hard on yourself
Remember, you can lean on someone else

But it's alright, it's gonna hurt sometimes
Everybody bleeds, even when the sun shines

You got to see yourself like I do
See yourself from my point of view
But no one else can get through
Until you see yourself like somebody that loves you

Thursday, September 9, 2010

a u t u m n.

Lately I have been having the revelation that besides Jesus, my two main passions are people and music. If you know me at all, these three things are what season my life and bring me joy. So lately, I have been discovering new music and one of the artists is Ben Rector. He wrote a song called Autumn, and while it's about falling in love, there are some lyrics in there that really capture something bigger.

"So I watched the leaves fall
All of the way to the ground
And I knew that that was what love was
To die so that it could be found"

"Winter's chill won't leave until
I let it lay me down
And you can't see the spring
Til you're like the leaves
Here on the autumn ground"

Autumn has always been my favorite season. I feel like I write about its coming every year. So, when I saw this song on the list of many Ben Rector songs I wanted to buy, it jumped out at me. And though it is a song about a boy falling in love with a girl, its lyrics touched my heart in a deep way.

Jesus' love can be described with that line, "And I knew that that was what love was, To die so that it could be found". He is love. It says so in 1 John 4:8-10 "Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." Autumn, to me, acts as a reminder of that. Death so that life and love may come freely. That last part I quoted above in the song illustrates that picture so well.

So while I am excited for the colder weather, the pumpkin everything, the scarves, the changing colors...I know that in this season, as I continue to lay down my life, giving it to God, I will emerge on the other side with new life! So good!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

sweater. l o v e

So, I follow this amazing photography blog because by day he takes pictures and by night, he moonlights as a drummer in the awesome band Sleeperstar...and on August 24th, he posted a blog about a couple who is engaged. About halfway down, the woman is wearing a blue dress and boots strikingly similar to ones I own...except she paired them with an amazing yellow sweater!

Poor Stephanie, I pretty much dragged her along until I found a similar sweater because I LOVED the combo! Here is the result:




These colors make me all excited for fall!!! Weeeeeee!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

weekend.

This weekend I crossed off one of the first of the 29 things on my list! I went wine tasting...and it was so fun! Our first place, Cougar Vineyard ended up being my favorite and Stephanie and I joined their wine club. We liked all of their 9 wine samples, which is surprising...the other two places offered less samples (for more money) and we liked 50% of them or less. So, I am excited I've crossed off something on my list...and look forward to crossing off more! I also got to have tea with friends the other weekend. Next up I think will be baking the pie from scratch and seeing NEEDTOBREATHE at least twice. I've started the reading the bible in a year, but that will not be accomplished until next July!



I also was asked to do a photo of eyes and submit it to Photo Freak. I got my entry in too late, but I thought I'd share it here. I took it on the way back from our trip. :)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

in and out

This blog posting is brought to you by Katie who brought hers via this blog which I am now following. Gotta love the blog world. Anyway, today's entry brings you what is in and what is out...and if you read this, you should do the same! What is in and out in my world today?

In
+ New music by NEEDTOBREATHE and their upcoming show with Train and then their fall/winter tour. They are always in, really, and you can look at yesterday's blog for a video of one of their new songs!
+ Being introduced to musicians I have not heard of and loving them. Examples: Jillian Edwards, Sleeperstar, Ella Mae Bowen, Green River Ordinance, Matt Hires, Nathan Angelo ---> Check em out!
+ Mexican chocolate anything...hot chocolate, cookies, mochas. Yum!
+ Vintage-y flower-y prints. I am on the lookout for shirts that have this kind of look or this (more the pattern than style of shirt)
+ Longer hair. I go through seasons, and right now, I want long hair. I have shorter medium length hair. Patience and not getting my haircut for a while is going to help get closer to this goal!
+ Traveling. In all forms. Not staying at home just because there isn't a "good" reason to go out of town.
+ Putting all of my hope in Jesus, instead of defaulting to myself.
+ Hip hop class. It is baller. Enough said.
+ Cardigans. Always a classic staple for any wardrobe. I think I own about 12.
+ Having a roommate that wears your size. Doubled wardrobe, baby.
+ Jewelry with nature! I realized that I have necklaces with leaves, birds, trees, owls, flowers...and those are my favorite ones in rotation right now. Oh and my buffalo nickel one too!

Example:



Out
- Gladiator sandals. There are the kinds that look cute and kinda look like gladiator sandals, and then there are the full on studded, strappy gladiator sandals. Makes me throw up a little in my mouth.
- The whole Twilight series and all its uproar. I realize this will offend some people, but it too makes me ill. Reminds me of drama/emotions in high school I'd rather not re-visit.
- Running for exercise. I admire those who do, but still despise it.
- Having to listen to a guy hacking and coughing for the last two months above where I work. It's gross. Go to the doctor.
- Not being able to do laundry without saving quarters and going outside to the laundry room. I miss that about my old place.

Okay, what's in and out in your world?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Devil's been talkin'

My favorite band, NEEDTOBREATHE, has recently been singing a new song called "Devil's been talkin", and since I first heard it, that phrase has been a theme in my life, serving as a reminder.



I remember when I first began really having a relationship with God. I was overwhelmed by His grace, and felt like all the things I had done wrong were completely washed away. And they were. But somewhere in between then and now, as God began to show me the deeper issues of my heart so I could deal with them and move closer to being like Him, I began to lose sight of grace. Instead of seeing an opportunity for more healing and transformation, I began to see through eyes of condemnation and shame. Because I keep sinning and messing up, it feels worse because I "shouldn't" be that way. "Shouldn't" I be more like Jesus?

This morning, God spoke to my heart. He showed me that the things He's showing me now about my flaws and character issues are things I couldn't handle or understand when I first came to Him for forgiveness. Rather, He is peeling off the layers of who I've been so that He can show me how to be more like Him. So instead of kicking myself for being such a "terrible" person, I just need to bring those areas to Him so He can forgive and show me where to go from here. How often I choose to kick myself instead! It says in Romans 8:1-2 "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death." But oh how the Devil would like us to live in condemnation! He talks and talks and talks, showing us our sin all while trying to convince us that we should know better and be better. That because we are such horrible sinners parading around as Christians, we don't have the right to live in grace. And if we agree, we become weighted by shame and unable to move forward...living in a world where we know the truth but don't live in it.

The truth---Christ has set me FREE! Yes, I still mess up, and yes, I have a long way to go to become more like Jesus...but because of His sacrifice, I am free. No condemnation. No kicking myself. Pretty amazing. I just need to live in the truth and stop listening to that ol' Devil!

Monday, August 9, 2010

beyond.

Late in July, I wrote about how my car had this big repair bill that I really couldn't afford, and how even though it seemed crazy at the time, I just knew God would provide. Well, He did. Big time. It's funny how many ways He can choose to provide...I have heard of stories of random checks coming in the mail, people repaying old debts just when money was needed the most, money just showing up in bank accounts, or friends giving to friends because God has led them to. In this case, my family and friends gave, some little, some overwhelmingly a lot, and all together they gave me more than I ended up paying on my car. So, not only did I get what I needed, but I was blessed beyond.

God spoke to me about his abundant provision at the end of 2009, and I wrote about it here. It's amazes me how true His word has been for me this year. I have been so blessed! I got to travel to a place I've never been, I've had enough to fix my car, and have made great progress on paying off debt. I have amazing friends, and am seeing God move in the lives around me. God is showing me how much I am capable of, and how much He loves me.

It's humbling to receive such a large gift. Really humbling. I know God is helping me to get over the idea that I have to work so hard for everything I need/want, and that I don't deserve the extras. That idea has been so engrained in me for years... I have long believed that if I didn't get "it" for myself, then I wouldn't have "it". (Insert whatever you want for "it", promotions, relationships, money/provision, etc.) This, of course, meant that I could never ever ask for help. Even in this situation, I told my friend Stephanie that God had showed me that if 100 people gave me $10 for my birthday, that would pay for my car. I told her that I could not ask people to do that. God was gracious, and Stephanie replied "but I can!" I hate pride and how it makes you think that you don't need anyone to help. That you can do it on your own. It's such a lie! It's the lie that Adam and Eve believed in the garden. It's an awful lie. One that steals away from not only amazing relationships with people, but with God. We were created to receive God's blessings. And when we turn Him away, we withhold ourselves from that. One of my favorite quotes expresses this:

"Man finds it hard to get what he wants, because he does not want the best; God finds it hard to give, because He would give the best, and man will not take it." -George MacDonald

I have watched a skit that our church does several times and there is one part that always catches my attention. This person who is struggling with many things including greed, depression, and vanity, meets pride. In this case, she has been knocked down by her struggles and pride comes along and offers his arm to help her up. He encourages her to push away Jesus and get up on her own, without His help. She does, and with the help of pride, she stands, only to be knocked down again. That is what pride does. It pushes away what we need, only to knock us down again. God warns us against pride, "Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall." Proverbs 16:18

My prayer is that God will help me learn to receive what I need and want from Him, and that feelings of either pride or being undeserving will no longer hinder me from that. His blessings are so amazing! And I want to receive the BEST from Him! I know that this birthday gift is only a small scratch at the surface of what He wants to give me, and I cannot wait to see what the rest of the year holds.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

the last of the 20s

In just a few short days, I will be entering into the last year of my 20s. While I am still getting over how quickly this decade is coming to its end, I am also hoping to end it with a bit of a bang. It cracks me up that I will be turning 30 on the 30th next year in July. Until then, I want to accomplish a small list of things, things I have never done, things I haven't done in a long time or just simply want to do! Small things, big things...the sky's the limit! So...I am going to create the list here, and throughout the year, I plan to update what I've done. And to celebrate the big 29, I am going to make a list of 29 things :)

1. Pay off all of my credit card debt
2. Go wine tasting (it disturbs me how long I've lived in wine country and not gone!)
3. Bake a pie from scratch
4. Take a train trip to Seattle
5. Slow dance in the rain
6. Write a new song
7. Own a gorgeous green dress that goes well with cowboy boots
8. Get a facial (never done it before!)
9. See the redwoods
10. Go to Disneyland
11. Camp at the beach
12. Hike all of Bishop's Peak
13. Go see a show at a theater
14. Stay up late and watch shooting stars
15. Walk/bike through Bob Jones Trail
16. Get my passport (for future travels, of course!)
17. Volunteer at least once for something new
18. Go to a local festival and fully enjoy whatever its theme is
19. Make it to at least 2 NEEDTOBREATHE shows
20. Re-read the whole Lord of the Rings Trilogy
21. Watch "The Godfather"
22. Try donating blood again at least once
23. Go out and have tea with friends
24. Read the bible in the year (again)
25. Lead women through a cell group and see their lives changed by God
26. Eat a meal on my mom's fancy china
27. Visit my brother
28. Make up a hip hop routine
29. Go on a date

Feel free to ask me how my list is going, or to join me in my adventures over the next year!

provision.

Remember when I wrote about the MAXIMA's wonderful check engine light? Yeah...about that. Turns out I am forking out over $1000 for it. And in the moment I found out this little bit of information, I felt the panic and overwhelming "oh my gosh" come over me. I don't really have that money just sitting around, as I spent about $900 on my car in April, plus a vacation, moving, and being a bridesmaid in a wedding. I have been working hard not to use my credit card, and even harder to pay off my debt!

And then I paused. God has never failed me in this area. In fact, God never fails. Things don't always happen perfectly or the way I plan or even hope for sometimes, but God doesn't fail. He provides. My favorite verse about His provision is in Matthew 6. "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

He provides in so many ways. Ways that feel miraculous. Ways that are practical. I've gotten unexpected raises, unexpected gifts...why doubt now?

Monday, July 19, 2010

published.

I think Jessica Cheatwood will be proud of me when I share this...my recent photos are being used in the promo materials for my work's annual fundraiser! Every year we hold the Avila Beach Music Festival, and all proceeds go to our cause- full inclusion for persons with disabilities. I found out last week that a few of my photos that I took at a birthday bonfire at the beach are being used in some of the materials. I would never have fancied myself as a photographer, even though I do enjoy taking pictures. But here is an example (the top part of the beach is my photo!):

P.S. I do realize this is also a shameless plug for a great event...if you know anyone who is a ZZ Top fan and will be in the area on September 2, tell them about this opportunity to support a wonderful cause!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

final summa fash day!

And here it is, the final day...back to normal blogging, I suppose. Ha. Even though it is a little sad, I do not own an endless collection of clothes, so a week is good for me. Here is what I wore on this fine Sunday!


Shirt- F21 borrowed from roommate's closet (Steph- see Friday's fash)
Shoes- Target
Jeans- Express

For the rest of the finales, check out this link :)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

I love lazy Saturdays :)

Today was a sleep in, go to the park for a few hours in the sun, nap, clean the house, make a casserole, do laundry, then veg with friends and fro yo kind-of-a-day! And I loved every minute of it. So, today's outfit was well-suited for the day. Super casual but I love it. And it's my fave color.


Top is from Target
Shorts were jeans from Old Navy turned into shorts
Sandals from Pac Sun years ago- Cobians
Necklace- belonged to my mom (a buffalo head nickel made into a necklace)

As Katie corrected me, we now have one more day! Here's the other awesome fash!

Friday, July 16, 2010

It's Fridayyyyyy...day 5 of summa fash

Today was not a day that I felt fashionable or adorable, or any other -able...in fact, today I felt frumpy. Today I was trying not to harbor bitter feelings toward the DMV...and spent the rest of my day at work, then band practice. Seriously, bless the heart of the 16 year old boy who told me he really liked my hair tonight. And to my surprise, these pictures are probably my favorite sets of the week. Go figure.

By the way, if you use my camera while I am on a summer fashion fling, you will end up on my fashion blog. FACT. Best part, I had two different people take pictures of themselves...and both are sisters. Hahaha. Here they are!

...and here I am...

Everything except the teal cami is from Target ;)
Teal cami- Forever 21

Only one more day...I really have no idea what I am going to wear, but we'll see. Thanks to all those who have left amazing comments. I haven't been able to check everyone's out and leave as many comments as I wanted to. Hopefully, I can catch up over the weekend.
Go check 'em out!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Happy Thursday

It's almost Friday! And since I had a fairly mellow work day planned, I dressed more casual. I am desperately trying to find green to add to my wardrobe that I love. This is one of those pieces.


Cardigan and camis- Target (resounding DUH!)
Jeans- same as Monday (Express)
Gorgeous shoes- a find at Ross! Steve Madden
Tree necklace- gifted

More fashion to be found here!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

summa fash day 3

Another warm day participating with summer fashion week makes me a happy girl. I love this skirt and all of its brightness. Here is a look at day 3.


Entire outfit came from Target. Can you tell I love that store?
Except the shoes, which came from a former sister store of Target- Mervyns.

More gorgeous fashion can be found at this page!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

day 2 of summa fash

Today's theme was very French influenced. It was a warmer day, so this dress was a nice choice :) Voila, here is day 2!




Dress- Forever 21
Shoes- same black ones from yesterday
Necklace- same as yesterday
Headband with bow- Forever 21

Thanks for all the lovely comments so far! Go check out the rest of the ladies participating here.