Thursday, August 25, 2011

i love needtobreathe

It's the week I've been waiting for. I bought tickets to one of the shows I am going to this weekend EIGHT months ago and it's finally here. On Saturday, I'll be in L.A. watching NEEDTOBREATHE open for Taylor Swift. I am so excited for them...this is HUGE!

And then next Wednesday, they will be in my home town once again for a SOLD OUT show. I want to be up front for this one. I've missed their shows incredibly. I understand that most people don't get why I love them so much. I am not a "groupie", that's not it. It's hard to explain, but I do. So much so that I saw them nine times last year, and the two shows I am catching this week look pitiful to me in comparison. But I am going to make the most of it and enjoy every minute!

You may notice the presence of a flashing NEEDTOBREATHE button on the right side of my blog. If you feel at all tempted to get their upcoming album (which by the way is going to be fantastic!), you should click there...or here:

Why? Because if 13 CDs are bought through that link or that button, I win dinner with, yes, you guessed favorite band, NEEDTOBREATHE. So, help a girl out. Trust me, the CD will be worth it. Buy some for people you love, and maybe even people you might not like so much. But do it by clicking on that link. You will make this girl VERY happy. :)


Last weekend I was having a conversation with an older woman about how a young church like mine could benefit from more women like her. She said something that struck me and stuck with me for the rest of the day. Basically she shared that her generation has to make an effort to be involved in the younger generation, that sometimes that effort proves to be difficult and many go where less effort is required.

You see, I am a part of a church that, if it can, wants to reach the WORLD for Jesus. And we've started in the world right around us. I am so proud of my church and its heart for Jesus and people. We are not perfect, but we live in grace. In our efforts to reach the world, we do a lot. People can get overwhelmed by doing too much, especially if their heart is not in it. Then sometimes we stop doing, and as a result begin to feel guilty. The thing is, it is not about doing...not just for the sake of doing. It doesn't matter what we DO. God is concerned about our hearts. And it ought to be that what we do comes from the heart.

I had the thought after this conversation that I never want to be in a place where I feel I am doing enough. Don't read that wrong. This is not about works or feeling inadequate. It's about my heart. I don't want to ever feel like I've I can't grow or learn or do anymore. I want to save my arrival for when I meet Jesus face to face. I want my relationship with Him to always be alive, always feeling like it is not enough. I know my weakness. I know that I have the choice to live out many years with Him and then one day decide to sit back and say "that's enough". I know that I may play with the thought of disengaging and just going through the motions. Go to church. Read my bible. Pray. All without life or adventure.

No, I don't ever want to be in a place of "enough".

Monday, August 15, 2011

golden birthday

So, I turned 30 on the 30th of last month, hence it being the GOLDEN birthday. Here's how I celebrated it!

Went to Seattle to visit family and friends!

Drove through the redwoods

Came home to 30 of these beautiful roses from my friends!

Was taken out to lunch by my Dad, roommate and friend :)

At dinner, I was surprised with these golden cupcakes!

Then surprised by a living room full of balloons!

Yup, there is definitely a small child living inside of me.

Just when I thought the fun was over, I was taken to Target where I was led through the store by clues given to me by many friends, each giving me a gift from the section I found them in. By the end, I had a cart full and a posse of my favorite people! So much fun!

And to end birthday week, my friend Katie and I were treated to a lovely evening in Cambria, then Paso by two of our friends. They even brought us flowers!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

i felt like runnin'...

I just finished week 5 of the Couch to 5k running program, and I thought I'd give an update. I just met a major milestone, not just in this program, but really in my life. As I explained earlier, I am not by nature a runner. Not one bit. So, not even in high school when they made us run sometimes do I remember running this long. Maybe I could do a mile, with some walking. And yesterday, I ran 20 minutes, 2 miles, without walking. No, it's not a high paced speed, but jogging to me is running. And I am beyond proud of myself.

Before I went out to tackle this latest challenge, I felt really uncertain. The longest time without walking that I had done was 8 minutes. I felt it was a HUGE jump to go from running for 8 minutes with walking then 8 minutes again to a whole 20 minutes. I actually doubted I could do it. But I prayed. I prayed for the strength to last and to push through no matter what I felt. And so I went out. I had driven the area I was running in, in a way to mentally prepare and understand where I'd meet certain goals. I knew where it was one mile. I started to go. I kept going. When I hit 10 minutes straight, I celebrated a little inside. I hit the mile. A little more celebrating. I kept going. I wouldn't say it was easy, but surprisingly, it felt easier to keep going than taking the walking breaks. My body was ready for the challenge. The last two minutes were the most challenging, where I just kept telling my tired self that I had made it that far so I could make it all the way. And I did. I made it.

I am more than halfway to my goal. I started out in a place where running for 3 minutes at a time was hard. Now that is the easy part. It amazes me how much our bodies can be pushed and can do more and more. When I started, I couldn't wrap my head around running for 20 minutes straight, let alone a 5k. But now, I see that I can, and will do it.

This picture and the video I showed you in my first blog about running are the reasons I started this. You might look at this picture and think I look nice, but seeing this picture made me sad. I had been fighting to lose weight for months, well, really years, and I was back in the range of being the heaviest I've been. I knew I needed to make a real decision to dig in and be healthy. I still struggle. My trip/birthday week threw me off in my eating habits, and I am just now getting that back on track. But I kept running. I am not sure what is different, but I have a motivation that won't quit. Even when I don't feel like it, I still find the time to run.

I haven't lost much weight, but again, I feel different. I can't wait to share with you once the weight starts coming off more. In fact, I am tempted to take pictures in that same outfit throughout the process. We'll see. I am just taking this one day at a time!

Sunday, August 7, 2011


I just recently finished reading through the book of Leviticus, and each day as I read more and more, I found myself wondering how long the book would keep going. If you've never read Leviticus before, it lays out the requirements for offerings given because of sin and guilt, as well as various laws. There literally is a chapter on how to test for leprosy. The following is from one of the chapters I read:

"These are the regulations for the guilt offering, which is most holy: The guilt offering is to be slaughtered in the place where the burnt offering is slaughtered, and its blood is to be splashed against the sides of the altar. All its fat shall be offered: the fat tail and the fat that covers the internal organs, both kidneys with the fat on them near the loins, and the long lobe of the liver, which is to be removed with the kidneys. The priest shall burn them on the altar as a food offering presented to the LORD. It is a guilt offering. Any male in a priest’s family may eat it, but it must be eaten in the sanctuary area; it is most holy. The same law applies to both the sin offering and the guilt offering: They belong to the priest who makes atonement with them. The priest who offers a burnt offering for anyone may keep its hide for himself. Every grain offering baked in an oven or cooked in a pan or on a griddle belongs to the priest who offers it, and every grain offering, whether mixed with olive oil or dry, belongs equally to all the sons of Aaron." Leviticus 7:1-10

I kept thinking, this is so tedious! I am so glad we don't do this anymore...not only is it tedious but I cannot even fathom having to make sacrifices every time I sinned! I don't even know how they kept track of what to do when, and how. Thank you, Lord, for Jesus' perfect sacrifice!

I wondered why God even chose to include this in His word. It felt like I was being forced to read about unpleasant topics for no apparent reason. So I began to ask why. As I read, I realized that although we don't have to follow these intricate rituals or perform these sacrifices anymore thanks to Jesus' ultimate sacrifice on the cross, we can still fall into ritualistic behavior in an effort to be right with God. We fall into the trap thinking that if we read our bible more, get up early and pray, go to church and bible study every week...then, maybe then we'll feel okay enough to approach God. And if we mess up, we feel completely distant from God. There is that drive somewhere deep inside of us that wants to make up for what we've done or to work our way out of our foolish mistakes. Even people who haven't made a decision to follow Christ but are toying with the idea often say that they want to get their lives on a certain track before they feel they can follow through.

God kept that book in the Bible, in part, to remind us that we don't have to live in that way, whether literally or in our thoughts. Jesus' sacrifice changed it all. We can come to Him, any time, and He is waiting. He loves us, and if we would only believe and follow Him, we are free. The truth is that we could never sacrifice enough to be right with God. And we don't have to. What a beautiful reminder.