Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Year's Resolution.

For whatever reason, I've always been one of those make-a-resolution people. Sometimes I couldn't decide, and made a list. And, I have to toot my own horn and say... I'm actually pretty good at keeping resolutions. I'm full of stick-to-itveness. 

So, since the new year starts in three days (already?) I've been trying to think of what my resolution should be this year, or if I should even do one.

Although I'm kind of stealing it from another blogger, it was convicting and although it's not the usual resolution, I know it's something I need to really focus on.

"Wherever you are, be all there." - Jim Elliot

As you've probably read in previous blog posts, I'm a little anxious and/or impatient in general, but especially about moving to Georgia and joining the adult world. Discontent is an accurate description.


So, I'm making a more valid effort to be here. To enjoy this last semester, to fully be here or... wherever I am, doing whatever I may be doing at that time.

If you're reading this, and you read anything in the future that sounds like I'm discontent, kick me and remind me of my resolution.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Try, try again.

Over the last few weeks, people have asked how I'm doing, how my semester went, etc. I hate fake responses, and so I told the truth... doing okay, the semester was a little rough. I always find it a little funny when I say that to people because they're not expecting it, they were expecting the vague, monotonous "good...." reply that everyone else says.

I've had worse semesters for sure, but between homework always kicking my butt, hardly seeing friends, not to mention that it continues to be harder and harder to be away from Aaron. Oh, and the endless and frustrating job search.

I am in the exact same place I was at the beginning of the semester. Square one. I still have nothing waiting for me after graduation. Yes, it's still a little soon to already have a job, but after sending 75 job emails with little to no response... it's hard to stay positive.

I'm a planner.

I have to be ahead of the game, be organized, be on top of things, know the when and where. I don't enjoy just "wingin' it" or waiting until the last minute. So, to sit here without answers is difficult, to say the least.

This semester will be very interesting, and probably more trying than the last. More emails, sending resumes, hopefully some interviews. Not to mention all that school and work business, plus a few trips :)

I have to daily give all my worries and dreams over to God, otherwise Satan starts to use it against me, and I become very discouraged and stressed.

My hope is that five months from right now I will be in some stage of the moving process, or maybe sitting at my new job. The only way I'm going to get there is with Him, because it's all His plans. It's a daily struggle reminding myself it's never my plans.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

"If home is where the heart is, then I'm out of place."

Who knows how many times I've blogged on this topic before... it's something I've been trying to learn for the past 21 years.

Patience: the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering, without getting angry or upset.

Y'all. I lack this more than anyone I know. Whether it be waiting on a friend to pick me up, or waiting to graduate. I'm ahead of schedule, ready for the next thing, excited for what's to come.

My customized background on my computer says, "you feel like running, but life is on a stroll."
I made it a few months ago because I liked the quote, and then all the design-y parts of the rest of the background were nice too. Now, when I see it, I think, "yessssss... I know... slow down..."

I received a text from a person today, that I haven't received a text from in probably three years. But, it was something I needed to hear. Very cool how God works that way. "When you run so fast to get somewhere, you miss the fun of getting there. Slow down and enjoy the song."

I love Texas, I love college, I love my friends here. I love where I'm at, and have loved my time here... yet, something inside of me is discontent.

Perhaps, even a little homesick.

I can't deny it. My heart is in Georgia.

But, I'm torn between preparing (literally) to move to Georgia and dealing with all that excitement, and enjoying the last sweet few months I have here in college. Both are exciting, both are begging for my attention.

I have no idea how to handle the situation.
All I can do is pray, which at times makes me feel helpless - but I know He's strong enough to handle all this.

And I know God answers prayers.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

You are Peace, when my fear is crippling.

It's been a rough and crazy last week or two.

I feel like I've hit a wall. I'm in some sort of funk. Everyone blames it on "being ready for break" - which is true, but I'm just exhausted, emotional, and unmotivated.

There are several things I could write about in this blog, but the heaviest on my heart is life six months from now. Actually, it's less than six months. I have nothing, right now. Nowhere to go. I have possibilities, but that's where it stops.

Which is the most frustrating part.

Although I don't really forsee myself working the local drive-thru after graduation, that's what is on the list right now (joking... sorta).

Forgive me for being human, but I want to know answers. I want the future to be solidified. Want, want, want, me, me, me. My prayer for the next few weeks (though this should be more of an all-the-time prayer) is that God would rid me of myself and my desires. Wanting anything other than what He wants causes heartbreak.


I looked back through my November blogs over the last two years. Two years ago, I was growing and learning, and it was painful. Last year, I was happy and thankful.

Not to say I'm unhappy or ungrateful now, because that's not true. I'm in a state of restlessness. Discontent is a frustrating emotion, because no matter how many times you tell yourself to enjoy the season you're in... your heart and your mind don't always agree.

In the words of Kari Jobe, He is faithful, constant, loving and true, and He will never forsake me in my weakness. He is patient (thankful He is, even if I'm not), gracious, merciful and true, and so wonderful in all He does.

I know when I look back a year from now, I will laugh at myself for doubting, for wasting my time worrying about all this when God knows everything, and is in control. Last year, I had no fear of the future. Somewhere along the way, I picked it up... and I wish I hadn't.

Remember earlier when I said I read through some old blogs? Sometimes I think He uses my blogs to write future notes to myself. I saw a post about Psalm 81:6, "Now I will take the load from your shoulders; I will free your hands from their heavy tasks."

He's willing to take our burdens, when we're willing to give them up.

"When I am afraid, I will trust in You." - Psalm 56:3

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Food Blog!

As part of my senior project, I have started a food blog... we (me, and a few friends) will be posting the recipes we're trying out, as well as health and fitness tips here and there. Check it out!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Cookbooks for sale!

Hey!
Help me out, buy a cookbook (or two!)

You can find more info at my art blog, or on my Facebook page.

They are only $7 each, or $10 if you buy two - includes shipping - and make great Christmas presents! :)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Summer Vegetable Pasta Salad.

I don't know what's come over me, as I'm starting to enjoy cooking finally. I have this sudden desire to want to know how to cook yummy things and cook big meals for every meal. When my family learns of my new hobby, they will probably say, "it's about time..."

So, here is my latest cooking endeavor - one that I can already see will be repeated many times as it is healthy and incredibly easy to make - and not to mention, delicious. I got the recipe from Budget Bytes - a new favorite website of mine.

Total Recipe cost: $7.59
Servings Per Recipe: 8
Cost per serving: $0.95
Prep time: 20 min. Cook time: 10 min. Total: 30 min.

Ingredients
12 oz. bow tie pasta (I ended up having to use a different pasta)
2 medium roma tomatoes
1 medium summer squash
1 medium zucchini
1 medium broccoli crown
1/2 medium red onion
1/2 bunch parsley

Vinaigrette
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
1 tsp dried oregano (used cilantro instead)
1 tsp minced garlic
3/4 tsp salt
to taste: fresh cracked black pepper




[I'm at the point right now where if it's too expensive or if I'm not crazy about it, I just leave it out. Yes, I know, not the best technique but it's worked so far. What's italicized in the ingredients, I left out. Yes, I realize that's not really a "vinaigrette" with it being just oil... but it still tasted great!]

STEP 1: Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and boil for 5-7 minutes or until tender. Drain in a colander.

STEP 2: While you're waiting for the pasta water to boil and the pasta to cook, prepare the vegetables (squash, zucchini, broccoli, tomato, onion, parsley, red pepper). Give the vegetables a good wash and then cut into bite sized pieces (onions and red pepper thinly sliced; parsley removed from stems and chopped).

STEP 3: While the pasta is cooling, prepare the vinaigrette. In a small bowl whisk together the vegetable oil, olive oil, red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, oregano, minced garlic, salt, and pepper.

STEP 4: Combine the cooked pasta, chopped vegetables, and vinaigrette. Stir until everything is well mixed and coated with vinaigrette. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat.



Monday, October 31, 2011

Five Minutes of Fame.

I know everyone thinks they have the best grandparents around, but really, mine win. Because they aren't awesome grandparents, they are awesome people.

I don't know how many times they've made us (the grandchildren) things, gone out of their way to get us something, driven to us and back home in one day just to watch us get an award... they are getting extra jewels on their crowns in heaven.

They are so cute together. I want to be like them when I'm that age. My grandpa loves woodworking, and up until this year, that's all he did. He would go out into his self-built shop, while my grandma stayed in the kitchen and cooked up some of her wonderfulness.

Turns out, they are so awesome, that the local newspaper wanted to feature them in a story again (this is NOT the first time people have found out how awesome they are.)

Here's a link to see pictures, but I'm afraid that the article will be taken down, so... here's the story!


"Orin Shogren wasn't about to let his 3-year-old granddaughter miss out on Halloween.

Diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 1993, Jessica Shogren dressed up for the holiday, just like all the kids, but her intake of treats was strictly monitored.

"I could never eat much candy. It lasted an entire year," said Jessica, now 21, who was reared in Satanta in southwest Kansas.

Through her childhood, when she visited family in Salina, Jessica knew that sugar was not an issue when she rang grandpa Orin Shogren's doorbell. To her heart, his offerings were priceless.

The wooden figurines of cats, ghosts, goblins and other seasonal creatures he began fashioning in a basement shop -- now in a shop out back -- became a hit to Jessica and her grandpa's five other grandchildren.

"It was really cool seeing the things he would create for us," said Jessica, now a senior at West Texas A&M University in Canyon.

"It's just a special way of showing his love for us. Our grandparents are really loving toward everyone, not just family," she said.

The handcrafted artwork also made Orin a neighborhood star. The Shogrens live in the 900 block of Sunrise Drive.

"I usually make 45 or 50 of them. It's nothing fancy. They're very crude things, but that's what they want," said Orin, 80. This year, Shogren's saws have been silent, thanks to his bad back and broken finger.

"It just didn't work out this year," Orin said. "Maybe I'll do it again next year."

The tradition he began some 18 years ago has contributed to making the holiday special for many youngsters, some who are now just young at heart.

"We have a couple of kids who are in their 20s, who dress up and come to our house every Halloween to get the things that he makes," said Dorothy Shogren, Orin's wife.

Keenan Bowles, 13, who lives in the 1100 block of Sunrise Drive, targets the Shogren house every year, aiming to add to his collection.

"I think it's pretty cool," he said. "I've gone there since I was a little kid. I thought it was pretty unique and nice that he made things himself and gave them out to people."

Shogren's treats met with the approval of Staci Arnold, Keenan's mom.

"They get plenty of candy, and that's something we can keep," she said.

They're important to Keenan, Arnold said, judging from her son's near "meltdown" two years ago when their trick-or-treating excursion arrived late to the Shogrens.

"(Orin) had just handed out the last one," Arnold said.

Luckily, Keenan was able to negotiate a trade with a girl and snared another figurine for his collection.

While he's not thrilled that no figurines will be available tonight, Keenan understands.

"If (Orin) has a problem, he shouldn't have to make them," Keenan said.

Shogren doesn't confine his handiwork to Halloween, Jessica said. He gifts grandkids with other creations throughout the year, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas.

"He's an awesome grandpa, and that's an understatement," Jessica said.

But don't think grandma goes unnoticed.

"Grandpa's carpentry skills are matched with her cooking skills," Jessica said.

Molasses cookies are her favorite."

(Story by Tim Unruh at the Salina Journal)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Reminder.


October Weekend.

Dear Boyfriend,

I can't tell you how glad I am we share a love of Chinese food and fortune cookies. I say we incorporate this into our list of goals, maybe.. eat at every Chinese restaurant in Georgia? P.F. Chang's in Birmingham was good, but we obviously have to test out the one in Atlanta sometime.

The bakery and deli were obviously my favorite parts of my first visit to Publix. nom nom. Perfect way to start my arrival in Georgia.


You always said Georgia is beautiful in the fall, and you were so right. Wow.


Only we would eat lunch in your car in the Publix parking lot before my big interview. I'm almost positive the DP Ten (and the dance party) helped me in the interview. The creepy smoker guy who stared at us from his car, not so much...



I'm glad you understand and/or encourage my love of photography. It's nice to have someone help you choose good photography spots, rather than grudgingly follow along. Photo adventures are the best way to kill time, even in random towns we don't even know our way around.


And I finally got to go to my first corn maze! Even if I was horrible at it... oops. But, the hay ride was fun :) Maybe next year we can do the jumping pillow... Any reason to be with Glorieta family and you at the same time!



Amicalola Falls is going to a be a frequent spot for us, I can already tell. But, next time I will make sure and bring proper hiking attire, instead of moccasins. I also enjoy the fact that we blatantly ignored the "stay on the trail" signs. We're such big rebels. 
Us in this picture > the group of old people we took a picture of, in terms of cuteness.


I hope we have a backyard someday, so we can just lay around in the grass, relaxing in the shade. But, if any more dogs run up to us, we're putting up a fence. I don't care if that dog was only the size of my foot! 

You and your chef's hat... adorable, really. I think I'm going to have to design some signs for the kitchen to match.


Another fall first - carving my first pumpkin. Okay, really, you carved most of it while I sat there. Just means I have to practice and carve a pumpkin every year. We can roast the pumpkin seeds, and then spit them at each other on the porch... it'll be a yearly tradition, unless the neighbors report us.


Church is a rare occasion for us, due to the flight schedules. But, it's a favorite of mine when it does happen. Your church has prettier surroundings than mine :)


Leaving you is always the worst part of the weekend. This trip home was even worse thanks to that Dallas fog. But, hopefully that'll be the last time it happens.

Love you, miss you, see you on New Year's Eve :)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Pumpkin Pudding.

I bought pumpkin puree in the hopes of trying a Pinterest recipe... but they all called for 10+ ingredients that I didn't feel like buying.

So, instead, I just formed my own simple recipe.




Sugar-free pudding mix (add milk as it calls for)
Can of pumpkin puree
1-2 tbsp. of sugar
Few shakes of cinnamon/pumpkin spice
One small shake of salt.

Mix and let sit.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Home is where the heart is...

Monday was a day of frustration.

Woke up at 2 a.m. unable to sleep - didn't need to be up until 3:30.
Long line at security in the Birmingham airport.
No breakfast.

Little things, really. But then, the fun really started.


A heavy fog in Dallas prevented our plane from landing. Four hours later than needed/expected, I finally walk in to the DFW airport... mass chaos. I had to stand in a long line to find a new flight.

Wait, wait, wait.

I start getting emotional. I'm running on three hours of sleep, I'm sick, exhausted in all aspects, hungry, missing Aaron, wanting someone to talk to, and then my phone dies. I sit by a trash can, on the floor, plug-in my cell charger, and eat a Cinnabon (the second thing I'd eaten all day)... in tears.

I stand in line (for the third time), to get a boarding pass for a "guaranteed" flight. Mmhmm. "Your name is not on here. We can put you on stand-by, and if you don't get on then, you'll for sure be on the next flight." I even tried pulling the I'm-a-diabetic card, and it backfired.

But, my name was called, finally. I got on the 5:30 flight. Even got front row... it was center seat, between two elderly people each doing their own crossword, but I was going home.

The pilot announced we were descending into Amarillo. I looked out the window to at the sunset, combined with clouds that made it look like we were flying into heaven. I smiled, and thought to myself, "mmmmm..." and then my thought stopped.

I realized, that thought is typically followed by the word home.



Two things hit me at that moment.

I've been struggling with discontent in being in Texas, away from Aaron. I dreaded saying good-bye, coming back to school, being away from him for another two months. But, those five hours in the airport, my only thought was I-want-to-go-home. But, "home" has two places in my heart right now. Seeing the sunset, and the huge relief of being done with travel made me appreciate this home more. I felt God telling me to stop and enjoy this season, these people, this area.

I felt trapped in the airport. Alone, and trapped. It was just a transition (and a long one, at that). I freaked out. I got emotional. I knew I was going to leave eventually, I wasn't really trapped. I kept saying there was a reason for all of it, and looking back it was just a lesson. I'm in a slow transition in life right now. Slow is not in my vocabulary. I want to jump on the next plane of life.

Maybe I'm starting to disconnect, to try and transition. Maybe I'm wrong for feeling this way. Maybe it's normal. I don't know. I'm still learning. How do I stop looking forward to something so exciting, and enjoy this moment?

For the first time in three years, this area does not feel like home to me.
Home is where the heart is...

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pinterest Recipe #2.

Continuing with our theme of Pinterest recipes, we switched it up a little with a lunch.

This recipe is INCREDIBLE. I know, it sounds weird, maybe even gross. If you eat turkey burgers, or ground turkey, instead of hamburger meat - and think it tastes the same... this is the same way. There is a little different texture, but same taste. We ate the entire pizza between two of us (shhh...)

Cauliflower Crust Veggie Pizza


Before and after. See, told you we ate it all!

Use whatever toppings you want. We loaded it with toppings, because that's how we like it. Ours had olives, mushrooms, bell peppers, onions and cheese.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Pinterest Night #1.

So, you've heard of Pinterest, right? If not, go sign up - right now.

It's basically a place to visually keep bookmarks. You post ("pin") things you find on the internet; designs, cool things for your house, recipes, tutorials and tricks for anything, photography, etc. etc.

Well, Taylor and I decided to start cooking two weekly recipes that we find on Pinterest. Last night was the first night, and it was a huge success - especially considering my huge lack of cooking skills.


Avocado and Grilled Corn Salad (with grilled chicken)


The recipe can be found here.

But, since we try to save money on groceries we did a little editing:
No vinegar,
Cilantro flakes (in the seasonings) instead of real cilantro, 
Canned corn instead of husked corn, and
More feta than it called for.

This makes a TON, so although it is excellent, it's not great for two people. Either cut the recipe in half, or plan on eating this with every meal for several days. We also used it as a "dip" with chips, after eating it with chicken. I ate it with some egg for breakfast this morning (okay, that wasn't as good as I thought it might be.)

Helpful hint: keep the middle of the avocado in the bowl to help keep it from turning brown!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Right Doors.

You try one door after another, yet no one responds to your résumé. No university accepts your application. No doctor has a solution for your illness. No buyers look at your house.

Obstacles pack your path. Road, barricaded. Doorway, padlocked.
Do you know the frustration of a blocked door?

God uses closed doors to advance his cause.

He closed the womb of a young Sarah so he could display his power to the elderly one. He shut the palace door on Moses the prince so he could open shackles through Moses the liberator. He marched Daniel out of Jerusalem so he could use Daniel in Babylon. And Jesus. Yes, even Jesus knew the challenge of a blocked door. When he requested a path that bypassed the cross, God said no. He said no to Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane so he could say yes to us at the gates of heaven.

It’s not that our plans are bad but that God’s plans are better. 

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your waysand my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”
(Isa. 55:8–9 NLT)

Your blocked door doesn’t mean God doesn’t love you. Quite the opposite. It’s proof that he does.
[taken from Max Lucado devotional]

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Time.

Life is so chaotic.

I just want a break, just a measly two days of nothingness would suffice. I just need a chance to catch my breath, I feel like since day one I hit the ground running and haven't slowed down yet. Thankfully, I have been enjoying my classes. I haven't had to deal with mundane classes and homework like geology or history.

Doing more and more freelance this semester has also made me more excited to become a "real" designer, to have a real design job.

So, here I am, struggling to be content. I'm being pulled between wanting to graduate tomorrow and move, and wanting time to slow down so that I can breathe, and enjoy the last of my college days. I've been told not to grow up too fast, but it's hard when I've started job searching, I have my first job interview in two weeks, printing resumes, etc.

I've always been ready for the next step of the game, wanting to move on.

But, here I am trying to learn patience and contentment, waiting on His timing.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Art Updates.

Hey, you.
Go like my facebook page for Jess Creatives.

And pass along the word to your friends. :)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Website!

This post is short and sweet.

After a week of long hours, late nights, and lots of frustration and excitement....
my new website is finally up!

Check it out: www.jesscreatives.com!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Loss.

No one really deals with loss well.
I've lost more friends than one should at this age, but thankfully it's been minimal and hasn't been immediate family.

Unfortunately, this week I've dealt with different types of loss. Not as traumatic, but hard and very frustrating still. First, there was my foot, and then...

[There's no great way to segway into this without sounding trite.] 

Glorieta, my second home, is shutting down. The conference center is not shutting down completely, but it's only going to be open during the summer. They posted this explanation on their website.

It's understandable, from the logistic side. But, our hearts don't understand. My Facebook feed was filled with remorse and talk of memories. After two years of attending Collegiate week, and working a total of six months there - it becomes home.

It's where I re-committed my life to Christ, it's where I met the love of my life, it's where I've grown the most - spiritually. Not to mention the incredible friendships, and the memories. It sounds dramatic, but it feels like someone has died, or a part of me has died. It breaks my heart to know (not as many) people will be able to experience the peace and growth that happens at Glorieta.

Glorieta holds so much importance in my heart, but I know God is doing something good in the midst of all the emotion and trouble.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Crutchin'

My life is frustrating sometimes.

You know, I'm blessed with awesome friends, family, and my boyfriend. I have a great job, I love my major. I'm loved by the Creator of the universe. Yet, despite the misconception that Christians are happy and their life is full of rainbows, I am frustrated.

Before college, I was semi-athletic. I played a few sports, and I loathed running. First summer of college and had to do physical therapy. Healed, slowly got back into working out. Surgery in March '10. More physical therapy.

Pause story: I have never, ever, broken, sprained, fractured, or rolled anything. I tore my meniscus... and that's the most damage I've ever done. 

After a failed attempt of 5k training this summer, I re-started after returning to Texas. And what happens? I injure myself. As of yesterday, I'm in a walking boot and on crutches for the next three weeks. I was running on the first day of school (yippee!), and landed wrong on my foot. Turns out, I chipped off some bone on the top of my foot.

I've always been a busy bee. As a kid, I could not stand being bored. It's only gotten worse as I've gotten older. Except now, it's not just being busy, it's being active too. Although I've started swimming since my foot was/is out of commission, I miss running. I miss just getting on the treadmill and going.

It's frustrating. It's frustrating to want to do something healthy, and not being allowed. For the last three years, every time I started working out consistently - I either injured myself, shin splints started acting up, or my schedule was too busy and I couldn't work out at all.

I am not looking forward to crutchin' around for the next three weeks. I woke up with sore arms. (and, it's raining right now.) I am trying my hardest to live out Philippians 2:14, but it was hard to get out bed knowing that I will hobble all across campus today - in the rain.

God will use this for something good, that much I know.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Walking Blind.

I love Addison Road, as you should know... since they appear in my blog a lot. The lead singer, Jenny, blogs off and on as well, and today she wrote a blog. This blog. I think her blog is one of my favorite's to read because she doesn't cover up things with happy rainbows and trite sayings.

Although I am not in a life storm right now, this is one of those blogs that just spoke something to me. It made me realize that so often I feel like I'm supposed to be in a storm, or the opposite... whatever that "part" is called. I haven't made any huge life adjustments like she has, but I still feel like I'm in the in-between.

I'm en route to graduation, I'm beginning to see the light. I mean, I sent off my first resume today - it's starting. NOW. Not next semester like I thought it would. I feel like I'm living in the unknown.
Faith is still here, I don't doubt God.

You know when you get up in the night to go to do whatever, and you're walking quietly, slowly through the pitch black? You feel like any moment you will trip on some huge obstacle in your room that wasn't there when you want to bed, or you'll run into a wall that moved after you fell asleep? And then after a certain point, you feel more comfortable and stop walking like an awkward, paranoid freak. I feel kind of like that freak right now. I know the end is right around the corner, and although I may bump a corner or two, I'll still get there fine.

It took me awhile to realize, or maybe just admit it, that all these "plans" and "ideas" that I kept saying were God's plans were really... mine. It wasn't so much the plans themselves, just the route or order of them came from me, not Him. It takes a lot of prayer to get those desires out of your heart... they're not completely out of mine - even though I know it's for the better.

"Curiosity abounds. Excitement fights to shine through. Fear and self-doubt dominate. If nothing else, the in between seasons are great reminders to hold life lightly. Hang on too tight - to your own version - and you are bound to be heartbroken." (Jenny Simmons)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Crazy Dreams.

So, I don't think I've ever posted about this. But, I have crazy dreams. Like, cuh-razy. It wasn't rare to say to my mom in the morning, "I had a weird dream, wanna hear it?" You can ask her... it's happened for as long as I can remember. I also remember my dreams pretty vividly most of the time.

Last night I had two dreams that were somewhat correlated.
The first one:
I sneak into this huge house; I'm on a mission. I came to this house because there are about 200 African teenage girls that are sex slaves. It's my job to free them. But, of course, the owners/adults are mean and vicious, and I know that if they find me - I will die. So, a majority of this dream is finding all the girls, sneaking around the house, hiding in the most random places, and then he finds me. I look up at him (he resembles Hagrid from HP), and... I woke up.

But, not only did I wake up... I thought the killers were in my apartment. This too has happened before. One time, I watched Rush Hour 2 before bed (as a grade schooler), woke up thinking the bad guy was outside window. So, I'm laying there, somewhat out of breath (because I had been running in my dream/nightmare), paranoid that someone is in my apartment. It also seems extra dark.

And then I noticed, it was raining. Beautiful. I love rain. So, I concentrated on that, and fell back asleep. Which led to my second dream:

I'm on a college campus, not my own, and there is a mass power outage. Chaos ensues. I'm in this strange house/apartment thing that is just a little off campus. And like most dreams, things start to jump around and things happen that dream "me" knows why, but it's not really evident in the dream. So, once again, there are bad guys trying to find people and kill them. So we (there's about 10 of us - none of who I know) are hiding in my apartment, which is very long, and resembles my room in Glorieta. Somehow I keep managing to hide in boxes, or my favorite - under a piano. The bad guys open the door, but don't see us. I run to campus to find someone. It's like one big giant party. Also, the Coliseum (from Rome) is on our campus. Cool, right? I found whoever, went back to my apartment, started hiding again, and then... woke up.


So, this summer I started looking at dream interpretation. I don't think there's anything wrong with it. Not sure I fully believe it, but it's interesting - especially when it kind of relates to life right now.

To save a child in your dream signifies your attempts to save a part of yourself from being destroyed.

To see a killer in your dream suggests than an essential aspect of your emotions have been cut off; that you are losing your identity and your individuality. 

To dream that you are being kidnapped denotes feelings of being trapped. Something may be diverting your concentration and your attention away from your goals.

To dream that the electricity is out indicates your lack of insight and perspective on a situation.

To dream that someone is hiding indicates that you are looking for a sense of security and protection. To dream that you are hiding suggests that you are keeping some secret or withholding some info.

To dream that you are at a party suggests that you need to get out more and enjoy yourself. If the party is a bad one, then it indicates you are unsure of your social skills.  (haha!)

To dream that you are in a dark room suggests that you are waiting for something to happen. You are curious to see what might develop in a situation.

To see an unruly crowd in your dream signifies that the worries and problems around you are pressin in on you; signifying great distress.


Weird, right? They somewhat kind of all relate. Do I really know what this means? Not really.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Waiting It Out.

"Sometimes what you want to do and what God wants you to do are two different things. I suggest you go with God because... well, for one: He loves you, and two: He knows what's best. Even if it hurts at the time, being healthy is way better in the end." (taken from Jessica Moritz)

When I first saw that, it hit me in this face for two reasons.
a) too often I think I focus on what I want instead of what He wants
b) even if it hurts now, He knows what's best and could be saving me from more hurt

I'm a senior in college. Yep, it's that year. That year of huge decisions.

Do I know what's going to happen? No.
Do I have a few ideas? Yes.

I look at the past several years, and see how He timed things perfectly - over and over. God is able to handle every detail, and even the biggest situations. My brain knows this, but I'm human and something inside of me still wants to know, still wants control.

I think part of it is that I'm so excited about the future. I'm not scared to go out "there," I'm only scared that I'll end up homeless or jobless. But, totally excited about having a real design job, moving across the country, and all that jazz.

The fact that I've never been a patient person has never been more evident than now.


Isaiah 30:18 says, "For the Lord is a FAITHFUL God. Blessed are those who WAIT for His help."


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Many the Miles.

There are some things in life that people don't understand looking from the outside in, and currently I have something I deal with daily that people don't understand.

Long-distance relationships.

"It's not real, it won't last, it'd be different if you were closer, etc."
And I'm not just talking about dating, I'm talking about friendships as well.

For some reason, 21 years ago, when the big guy upstairs created me, He put in a wire labeled "can-handle-being-away-from-the-ones-closest-to-her" or something along those lines. Away from my boyfriend, some of my closest friends, and I'm not a homebody so I hardly go home to my parents.

My best friend and I have known each other for over ten years, and yet have never spent more than one consecutive week together. How do I call her my best friend with such little time together? Because we communicate like there's no tomorrow. Text, phone calls, skype dates, letters, emails, etc. We've done it all. Oh, and the in-between dates - like hanging out in Wal-Mart for a few hours because that's the only way we can spend time together.

If anything, my communication skills have improved over the last few years. Communicating long-distance is not only important, but I firmly believe it strengthens the relationship. When your only option is to talk... you focus on that, and use it as much as possible. That's why Ellie and Aaron know me so well - both the good and the bad parts.

Is it frustrating? Do I wish I could hang out with them every day? Do they miss special things like birthdays and holidays? Yes. Does that make our relationship any less real or important? Not even.

It's not ideal, and it's not easy, but don't underestimate the strength of long-distance relationships. 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Summer Recap.

Summer is basically over.
And, it was a summer.

Although I tried not to compare, this summer didn't compare as well to last year.
It was different, but in a good way. It was still impactful.

This summer had it's challenges. Different people, same job, similar guests, crazy schedules. I'd like to say that through all the difficulties, I grew a lot and had some major break through, but that isn't entirely true.

Did I learn, did I grow, did I change, did I finally let go of some things? Yes.

Life is changing. It's beautiful, even when it's frustrating.
It's messy, sometimes I feel like my head is just an unsolved puzzle.

He is entirely faithful. Faithful to His promises, faithful to transform our hearts, faithful to work everything out for our good, faithful and sovereign.

The best part about our God is that He changes things and provides for us, sometimes before we even know we need it, and sometimes when we don't know why we need something. But, He knew I needed this summer.


My favorites of the summer include...
- rooming with Kelli again. none of that awkward, at times annoying, adjusting to a new roommate. it was like we had never stopped being roomies. the half-asleep glares, taking naps together (as in, at the same time but in our own beds), the late nights, the talks, the laughs, and... the one crying session.
- seeing why God brought certain people into my life. some to help me, some to help them. many of those Georgia people I know I will be friends with for a looooong time :)
- covenant leader group, always what I looked forward to every weekend. a group of devoted, smart, true friends. not to mention the family that let us into their home, laughed with us, fed us, and taught us.
- taco bell or dunkin donuts run. these things seem insignificant, but I tend to find the most joy in the smallest things... the trips were fun, spontaneous, and pointless, but just more memories we made.

oh... and baby-sitting for Addison Road.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Purposeful Accidents.

Last night, I listened to Michael Kelly speak at the Collegiate Week service. He said something that I've been thinking about a lot lately.

"There are many situations in life that happen so coincidentally that it almost seems on purpose."

When looking back at the last few years, that's all I see.

Dislike my town during high school so much that I want to get away.
[which leads me to WT, not KSU like I had thought]
Attend Collegiate Week two weeks prior to starting college.
[I like to think of this as one big pivotal moment]
Attend Collegiate Week a second year, recommit my life to Christ.
[join leadership team at BSM]
Decide to spend a summer away.. in Glorieta.
[meet Aaron]

Then there's smaller things like sharing purple paint with Taylor my freshman year - we are now best friends, the roommates I have had and will have, friends I have through camp, the classes I've taken, the job I have...

Things that seemed so simple at the moment, I now see as small pieces of what He is sewing together.


Jesus, I don't know what You're working out right now, but You haven't failed me yet.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

August Weekend.

Dear Boyfriend,

Just as it gets harder to say good-bye everytime, each visit is more and more enjoyable. I think one of my favorite parts of this past weekend was how we did all these new things together.

Lunch was complicated, and made me grumpy, but that was some gooooood pizza. It never fails that I end up in the ghetto in almost every city I visit, so just get used to that. And the shopping syndrome... sorry about that too. Someday I'll enjoy shopping like a normal girl.

Dinner on the other hand, was fabulous. You can never go wrong with Panda. :)
 
  

I've been to a few baseball games (two, to be exact) but this was by far my favorite. Minus the people behind us sloshing beer on us. That wasn't cool. 


Ziplining = favorite. Even better that we got to do it at the same time (on different lines, just to clarify). Those harnesses were so attractive, I might add. Maybe next time we can both hit the pole... or not. Also, that mulch area is where I taught you how to two-step, and Alex taught us how to pretzel. Good times, keep working on it though... 

 

We always talk about our big roadtrip around the U.S., and traveling the world. I guess you could say this is the beginning. A day trip to Colorado, with a quick run to the Utah state line. Two more down! I wonder if all states have the repeated cow signs, reindeer signs, tractor signs...



 Date night. Date nights are always my favorite. Even though I'm a t-shirt kind of girl, a black dress once in awhile is good too :) I think this picture conveys how fun we are, and ridiculous. Never forget how ridiculous we are! Another visit to San Francisco Bar & Grill, walking around the plaza, sitting on the back porch in rocking chairs... pretty nice way to celebrate a year together. The diamond necklace and earrings helped too ;)


 I love you. 
Thank you for the laughs this weekend, and the new memories.
Especially when you took me to see the sunset :)



Monday, August 8, 2011

One Year Anniversary!

"How do you measure a year?

In daylights,
in sunsets,
in midnights,
in cups of coffee,
in inches,
in miles,
in laughter,
in strife...

How about love?"

Has it really already been a year with Aaron? Yes, yes it has.

Last summer included: a trip to the zoo, an Iron Maiden concert, him giving me DDP and peanut butter, a drive-in movie, a date to the opera, lots of Panda Express, star-gazing, watching a sunset from atop a hill, and of course... many nights of playing Rock Band. After all that, we became an "official" couple.

Then started our long-distance journey. A hard year, but an amazing year.
full of Skype dates, phone calls, letters, texts, flights, driving...
full of inside jokes, uncontrollable laughter, Bible study...
full of DDP, Taco Bell, flowers, surprises, Chinese food...

We keep each other accountable, we challenge each other, we're genuine and real with each other, we laugh (a lot) together, we pray together, we read together, and we trust, respect, and love each other. The only "don't" in our relationship is we don't fight - one year, and a not a single fight. Yes, it's tried our patience, and Satan's tried to trick us with doubt... but His peace surpasses it all.

Neither of us were expecting to leave last summer being in a relationship, but God works in unexpected ways when we're least expecting it. A lot of people say our love isn't real, that it's not conventional, that it wouldn't work. But, anything is possible with God - and geography does not stop Him.

The longest we went without seeing each other was 16 weeks (and two days).
The shortest, 5 weeks.
But, the time flew (most of the time) with as much as we talked.

"Distance is not for the fearful, it is for the bold. It's for those who are willing to spend a lot of time alone in exchange for a little time with the one they love. It's for those knowing a good thing when they see it, even if they don't see it nearly enough..." 

One year down, many more to go... :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Pray for Riley.

Riley Tuttle, is my cousin’s son. He’s three years old, and was put in the hospital because e-coli attacked his kidneys and they shut down. He is going to be in the hospital for 2-3 weeks, and they just started him on dialysis. Riley had surgery to place his port in for dialysis. He’s out now, but as a precaution due to slight bleeding, he was placed in the PICU. We thought he was going to be out of PICU today (7/13), but it turns out he won’t because he can’t hold down water. Chest x-rays showed too much fluid on his lungs. They put his bed in a “V” so gravity can help pull fluid from chest and legs, and drain through dialysis. He’s also been put on pain meds. The doctor wants to put a feeding tube in, but his parents don’t really want to do that. If the parents can get him to eat and keep down 10ml of Pediasure every hour, for 24 hours straight, the doctor said he wouldn’t put one in. Please continue to pray for this sweet three-year-old!

Update (7/23): This update is a little late, but Riley went home earlier this week!! He had a successful surgery to remove his dialysis port and was released to go home. He's still recovering, but home and happy! :)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Stop Being Stubborn.

One of my favorite lyrics from Addison Road's song "What Do I Know of Holy?"says, where have I even stood but the shore of all Your ocean?

Today, I read in Deuteronomy 3, "O Sovereign Lord, You have only begun to show Your greatness and the strength of Your hand to me, Your servant. Is there any god in heaven or on earth who can perform such great and mighty deeds as you do."

He hasn't even begun to show me what He can do. And even with all that, there's enough to bring me down to my knees. Yet, my stubborn, human heart sometimes still wants more. In the next chapter in Deuteronomy, Moses tells us, Be careful never to forget what you yourself have seen.

I know that I'm stubborn, the Bible tells me this. Thankfully, it also tells me about His unfailing love and the grace that He continually pours out. It also tells us to change our hearts and stop being stubborn (Deut. 10:16).

 I need a change of heart. That's not an easy thing to say, but it's true. The Lord has blessed me in so many ways, I have lacked NOTHING. He may not always give me what I want, but He gives me what I NEED. 

"Stay on the path that the Lord your God has commanded you to follow. THEN, you will live long and prosperous lives in the land you are about to enter and occupy."

I just simply need and want to be content with what He's given me and where He's places me. Staying on His path doesn't equal an easy life, but He will provide all I need. 

"For what great nation has a god as near as to them as the Lord our God is near to us whenever we call on Him?"

Monday, July 4, 2011

Odd Celebrations.

There are certain birthdays that are deemed more important, for whatever reason. I think the last five birthdays have been accompanied with thoughts of can't-believe-I'm-becoming-an-adult and whatnot.

Yes, I am aware that my birthday was two months ago. :)
But, today is another day that I celebrate.

My diabetic birthday.

Not many people, as in... anyone who is not a diabetic, understand why I celebrate this "birthday" of mine. First of all, why not have a "valid" reason to go out to eat, or buy ice cream, or drink DDP all day? Those are not really the reasons I celebrate this, just fyi.

I celebrate being alive, being healthy. I celebrate all the good things that have come with this defective pancreas, like getting to eat snacks at school/work, when other people can't... or more importantly, the friendships that have formed because of it.

I celebrate being different. (No funny comments about me being weird!) For a long time, that was one of the reasons I hated diabetes. Sometimes it still is one of the reasons I hate diabetes. The way I see it, God could have easily not chosen me to deal with this. But He did. He knew I could handle it, and the times when I can't, He will.

Earlier, as I was thinking about this blog, I thought about yesterday 18 years ago. It would've been my last day as a normal child. Er.. as normal as I could ever be. I know I was sick the few days before, obviously, because that's why my parents took me to the hospital finally. So, did I feel horrible? Did I get to eat anything sweet? I just wonder what that last day was like... kind of like, if there's ever a cure... what would that first day be like?


Articles like this are so exciting. But at the same time, it's weird to think about life without diabetes. Granted, it would be a lot easier and cheaper... and I'm not about to turn that down.

Maybe I celebrate this day just because it means an occasional late night "snack" (a.k.a. - eat the contents of the entire fridge). Or, maybe I celebrate it because life would be horrible if all I ever did was cry about my defective pancreas.

Cheers to surviving 18 years!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Baby-sitting for Who?

This post is a little past due, but that's okay.

A week ago, I should've been getting back from camp. Instead, I was working the good ol' front desk. For the first time in 14 years, I didn't go to Camp Discovery. Which, if you read these two blogs (here and here), you realize quickly how much it means to me. Just weeks before camp, I had to change my plans and not go to camp - which was pretty upsetting if we're being honest. Thankfully, the Lord kept my mind off of camp (for the most part).

When I was officially no longer going to camp and had a peace about it, I thought to myself, God must have a reason for keeping me here. I just hoped it was a good reason, rather than someone dying or... something. I thought, maybe God has some really important, life-changing message I need to hear.

It didn't happen.

Oddly though, I have a comfort about missing camp. I just feel like I wasn't supposed to be there. I read something the other day about God working in small ways, not always using drastic, life-changing measures. Such small ways that we don't even realize it.

So, although there was not a 'spiritual epiphany' ... something mega cool did happen.


Long story short, Jenny Simmons of Addison Road asked my friend Joley and I to baby-sit. Yes, I baby-sat for someone famous. Her daughter, Annie, is adorable. Yeah, Jenny and I talked, we called each other, even texted. Did we hang out? Not really. I didn't get a picture with her, I somewhat got an autograph... but I already had one so that didn't matter either. Sure, I earned some extra cash... not a huge deal.

I think the coolest part was seeing and realizing she is normal. That sounds so stupid, and I realize that famous people are still... people, but it doesn't hit you until you're in the hotel room. Or, when she talked about hanging out with her girlfriends. In her thank you note, she wrote how much of a blessing it was to have a break, just to hang out with friends.

Knowing that my sitting in her hotel room while her precious daughter slept, just so she could get a break and have some fun, made it all worth it. It sounds cheesy, but an act of service like that is more rewarding than money. Maybe the baby-sitting job was the reason God kept me here, and if it was, that little bit of excitement and the sweet reward was worth it.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Great is Thy Faithfulness.

I am a control freak sometimes. Not in the aspect of friends or Aaron, but more in situations. Most of the time I would prefer to drive in a group, because if it's my car, I can control where and when we go (for the most part), rather than be under someone else's control.

"The question, “are we there yet?” reveals something about human nature. We want to know exactly where we’re going, and we want to know exactly when we’ll get there. That’s a nice way of saying we’re control freaks."

I'm also one of those people who likes to know the game plan. What time are we leaving, what's the plan for the night... really, my detail-oriented style just comes out in many aspects of life. In case you hadn't noticed.

If you had talked to me earlier this year, I was totally game for life after graduation. some people want to avoid the real world. not me - let's do this. Wasn't really nervous, I knew God had a plan, life would just unfold. Well, reality hit a few weeks ago. not that I'm anti-real world now, but the nerves and questions have set in. My game plan hit a glitch and now I have no idea what the 4th quarter looks like. (look at me using sports analogies!)

On my window, I currently have written part of Psalm 89. More specifically, one sentence: You are entirely faithful. I serve and love an entirely faithful and sovereign God. Yet, between my human tendencies and Satan... fear and expectations set in. A year or two ago, I came across a quote that says, His timing is not always our own. Great quote, love it, instantly memorized it and is still stuck in my brain. It wasn't until this summer that I think the fullness of this truth hit me.

Uncertainty is not something I deal with greatly... especially in  "big" situations. But I'm starting to learn that maybe God let's us sit in uncertainty in an attempt to grow our faith and dependence on Him, and to show us His faithfulness.

Tonight our staff did a prayer "exercise" (for lack of a better word), and one of the things we prayed about/over, was His faithfulness. We were to start sentences with, "God I remember you working when..." ...wow. By the end of that prayer, I was crying because I've been reminding myself that He is faithful and food, etc. But to actually recall circumstances and situations in which He was faithful and worked things out for my good was completely different.

I'm thankful for grace in these times where I'm too stubborn to let go.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Control.

Letting God have control means simply letting things in life happen.
Whereas, trying to stay in control ourselves creates problems, and we see our situations in our light and by our standards.

Life is never boring with God. There are lots of surprises, turns and curveballs.

There are a lot of things in life I'm uncertain about, but I know God is sovereign. The biggest struggle is knowing that He is sovereign, and not being anxious. I have to remind myself almost daily that He is in control. His sovereignty should cover up any anxiety.

Today I was reading in Exodus, about all the things the Lord had the people of Israel make as an offering to Him. Although these passages are long and not the most interesting (even to an artist like me), they always remind me how our God is a God of immense detail.

Even in Psalm 37, it says that He delights in every detail of their lives.

Sometimes that's a truth I have to remind myself of, and sometimes it's hard to embrace. It's hard finding someone who actually cares about every single detail in your life.

But that's how our God works. He knows our hearts and works everything out, down to the last detail.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Reflection.

Summertime has begun.

It has been an interesting first week of summer, being back in New Mexico. Waves of emotion between excitement, anxiety, fear and peace. This place and the people last year did so much for me, and I'd like to think I did the same for other people.

Not a lot of summer staff has arrived yet, so it's been a quieter week, allowing time for relaxation and alone time. As usual, the last few days have been thinking a lot about the last semester, and year. I've grown immensely from where I was this time last year. Life has changed, and I've learned through the good and bad times. Lost friends, gained friends, fell in love, traveled and worked my butt off.

Not having a social life this spring was rough, but the 4.0 at the end was pretty nice. But, for once, I almost agreed with my professor... I felt a huge sense of satisfaction with my grades, but wondered if missing out on fun times and community was really worth it. I felt a pull from God to break away from my community. I had a new one to join, one that is building and growing, but not as tight-knit.

Satan used my busy schedule and lack of community against me. I missed the accountability and just being able to talk things out. That is one of the reasons I was so ready to come back to New Mexico - there's community here, even outside the covenant groups.

I can already see reasons I was brought back here, and am reminded of God's faithfulness. I am excited to see how the Lord is going to work not just in me, but my co-workers and in our guests. He is so good. Even though I am being continually transformed, I'm ready for this "season" and what's to come.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Reasoning.

Life is not perfect.
Oh, were you not aware of this?

I think there have been a few times when I've felt like it was, until something brought me back down to earth.

Not that life can't be enjoyed, or we can't love life. I think it's as simple as just focusing on the positives rather than the negatives. Which is actually easier said than done, coming from a pessimist like me. Most people don't consider me a pessimist, since I don't tend to walk around grumbling and pissy all the time. But, more than half the time, in any given situation... I will think about the downsides or negatives of something without meaning too.


A few things heavy on my mind lately. Mainly, summer - which translates to New Mexico. Glorieta holds a very special place in my heart, it's where I found my two loves. Two years ago, I went to collegiate week at Glorieta and the Lord grabbed a hold of my heart. I realized I wasn't living the life I needed to and recommitted my life to Christ. Last summer, with no intention of doing so, I found someone. In nothing but a God-scripted way, Aaron and I just... clicked. Nine months later, still together and going strong. Geography means nothing to the Lord - 1200 miles can't quench this kind of love.

This semester has not been the easiest though. My spiritual community changed, classes were overwhelming, it became harder to be away from Aaron more and more, my diabetes has been crazy. Although I'm in a much better state than I was a year ago, I find myself ending the semester and so ready to get away again. The Lord has taught me a lot this semester, this year. But, I couldn't help but agree when I saw a friend post a status about wishing she praised the Lord not just in the good times, but in the bad as well.

As I was reading through Job this morning, these thoughts were running through my head. Of course, as humans, it's harder for us to praise God when things aren't what we exactly wanted. Things may not necessarily be bad, just not what we wanted. But... it's more about what He wants.

In chapter one, Job says, "The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!" The next verse says, In all of this, Job did not sin by blaming God.

I may not come right out and blame God, but too often I know I've asked God, why? "So who am I, that I should try to answer God or even reason with Him? ... For God is so wise and so mighty." (9:10, 4) It's not that I doubt God's plan or His wisdom, but I know sometimes my thoughts seem that way. My desires need to go back to His desires.

"But true wisdom and power are found in God; counsel and understanding are His." (Job 12:13)

I need not understand, only trust.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Weekend.

Dear Boyfriend,

I hope while watching me wander around in circles in confusion, the airport security officers laughed as much as we laughed at Furr's. Speaking of security, anybody shine a flashlight in your face lately?


Now you see why I love my job and why we love Oscar's. Sorry, I had the better burrito. :)


You weren't kidding when you said the five-year-old you was going to come out in the Discovery Center. The bubbles were my favorite part, in case you didn't notice. The light show with 80's graphics was my least favorite though - I still get nauseous thinking about it.


And I don't really care what my parents say, I think two trips to Orange Leaf was necessary this weekend. I enjoyed our eating-only-at-local-restaurants (minus Taco Bell) and always eating dessert.

I'm glad I now know how to make fettuccine alfredo.
Your cooking skills are slowly rubbing off on me! Don't give up on me yet, please!

You really love helping me finish my 101 list, don't you? This was probably one of my favorites, besides the really long roadtrip (since I was driving to see you...) Maybe someday we can ride a Tonto and Durango instead of Peanut and Rascal.

Although I don't do it very often, I'm glad I had a reason to wear my little black dress. I'm also glad you didn't judge me for how much bread I ate at Napoli's. And if you ever wear a baseball cap like those dumb high school prom dates though, we will have problems.

Two of the things I miss the most about being away from you is not being able to go to church together, and hanging out with my family. I'm glad my parents got to be part of your first-time-at-Braum's experience.

You proved me wrong when I said boys aren't very creative, and this weekend you proved me wrong on your predictability. Seven flowers each given separately, even one in the sock drawer? You're pretty sneaky, mister.

Thanks for walking around Wal-Mart with me while I finally got my oil changed, and then helping me wash my car for the first time in a year. I enjoy even doing the mundane things with you. Although it wasn't mundane, I also appreciated the help for my photo project. :)

I already miss you, our tickle fights, reading the Word at night, and randomly saying parsley... :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Summer to-do.

There are lots of things I missed out on last summer, have found out about this year and now want to do, or just want to do... so I'm starting a list:

- eat at Rooftop
- go to Anthropology
- do the couch to 5k plan
- finish my summer reading list
- read through the whole Bible chronologically
- hike or drive to Baldy
- get to know the nice voluteers
- ride my bike to Pecos
- do the zipline
- possibly an Isotopes game
- go to the flea market in Santa Fe
- photo shoots with as many summer staffers possible

...to be continued.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Two for One.

Ah, the big 2-1.
I'm not a huge fan of birthdays, I'm kind of cursed when it comes to them... last year and my 18th were the last two semi-good ones. But, I figured this one is kind of worth trying to celebrate and it's my last big one for nine years. Whoa.

But, as you may have noticed, I had to share it with Easter. I was a little bitter about this, honestly. I can relate to the kids who have birthdays next to Christmas... you don't get your spotlight. I knew it was petty, because really... Easter is a lot more important and significant than my birthday. If it weren't for Easter, my birthday wouldn't be worth celebrating in the first place. But, I felt like I was being selfish trying to celebrate my birthday the same weekend/day of Easter.

I didn't have a bad birthday, just nothing went as planned. I ate plenty though, really... I need to go run 12 miles everyday for the next two weeks.

Sunday, I went out for ice cream with Dino.
Monday, I went out to Starbucks with Molly and Jenny.
Friday, I went to Abuelo's for the first time with my work ladies, and Taylor.

Yesterday, my parents came to town to celebrate. And brought presents. Wrapping pictured courtesy of my sister.

We, along with Sarah, went to "soccermom's" for lunch and then the Cake Company.
 


Then, my parents and I went shopping... for five hours. I hate shopping.
I also introduced them to the Frazzleberry. :)
For dinner, I ate McAlister's Deli for the first time; Angela and Allison also joined in on the fun.


Then, I came home and worked on a typography project. Yes. I did homework.



Sunday! Easter! Birthday!

Usual breakfast at Ranch House Cafe (my parents and I eat there every time they come to town). I splurged and got chocolate chip pancakes.
Church, and then Ruby Tequila's with the Meyer family. Where I got free dessert, again.

Come home, ran some errands and got some Starbucks with Tiffany.
Then, nothing. Stores are closed. The lab was closed. Everyone was busy.
So, I instead I got to skype.... for three hours. :)


Maybe not the most exciting birthday. Maybe not what I had planned... but when does anything in life really go as planned? I think what I'm disappointed most in is that in the midst of all the birthday-ness, I never really soaked in the gloriousness and sacredness of what today is first and foremost about. I was selfish and more caught up in me, and besides church this morning, never really celebrated the excitement of Easter.

But, I am thankful. I have some of the best family, sometimes I lose sight of how blessed I am. My friends, or second family, are amazing as well. Really, I don't need presents and more stuff. And really, all I wanted to do was hang out with people. Plans got canceled and changed, but things happen.

I know I'm loved, by family and friends - but more importantly, God. Everything I received this week/end was just another blessing from Him. He's sooooo good.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Changes.

Wow, it's been awhile since I've blogged.
This can be equated to many things: lack of free time being number one, a lot going on and not a lot going on at the same time, I haven't had much quiet or "be still" time to process... which means lack of time for blog-worthy thoughts to form in my brain.

Something God has been reminding me about over the last week that it's not about me.

Yes, God cares about and knows our every little desire and dream, but we have to surrender those over to Him. Maybe those things happen, maybe they don't - but He sees our whole journey. He knows what's best for us, whether or not we need this or that.

I love that God knows everything before it happens. He knew the conversations I was going to have yesterday, that I was going to write this today, what I will do in a week. He knows when we'll mess up, yet He never forsakes us. He does nothing but continually guide us. I look at my life over the past year, over the past three years, and see nothing but how He has guided me so beautifully... people, situations, places.

I've realized lately how much I've been thinking about what I want, me me me. Most of these things haven't been bad, but I've been selfish and discontent. I want my desires to be His desires, my heart to be like His.

I've definitely grown a lot and learned a lot over the past year, but I still see the Lord working patience and contentment in me, among many other things. I know I also need to make some changes. Change is not overnight and it's not temporary, but He is always there in the midst of it.

"If God doesn’t lead you along the shortest path to your goal, don’t complain or resist. Follow willingly and trust Him to lead you safely around unseen obstacles. He can see the end of your journey from the beginning, and He knows the safest and best route."

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Life Lessons.

The Lord brings people into our life for various reasons, one of those reasons being to teach us. It may be in a literal way like a Bible study leader, or it can be not as literal and just be the friendship and the stories and insights that are shared.

I made two (okay, four) new friends last fall. April and Brandon (with their two kids), became my adoptive parents. Before you freak out wondering why I was up for adoption - it was through the college service I attended at a church in town. It's called Adopt-a-Buff, and it just gives students a family in town to hang out with, do laundry if needed, maybe even baby-sit!

So, I went over for dinner and laundry every so often, but then we discovered a mutual love of Grey's Anatomy. Then it turned into laundry, dinner, coffee and Grey's. Unfortunately, my Grey's Anatomy/coffee dates have come to a stop - but for a good reason. :) April and Brandon (and their kids, they're not leaving them behind) are headed overseas to be missionaries for a few years.

This family taught me so many things, much like I mentioned earlier - just with sharing stories and insights. But, just being in their house once in awhile taught me so much. They are amazing parents, and it's obvious by the way their kids act. In relationship with each other, and with their kids, there was a huge spirit of grace and love. Their actions constantly reminded of Christ's relationship with us. Their house is truly based on Biblical truths and standards.

Then, today I read this article that my friend wrote. I realized that the longer I've been dating my boyfriend, the more I want for girls to note sell themselves short. There is a difference between Christian men and Godly men, and the Godly one will be well worth the wait (I seem to think so at least!)

I happened to stumble across this blog post earlier, which seems to prove my point. Make sure to read the text, see what he loves about her and how he pursues her. There's not much else to say about this post, because it speaks for itself. :)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Barely.

I promise I'm alive.

Life has consumed me lately, and there are days where I have to try and just survive (as in, stay awake during class).

After beach reach, I was sick for a week with strep throat.
Last week, I went to DSVC, my first Rangers game, and the Village Church!
I'm currently working on four projects, one paper and have two freelance things needing work.

My church-adoptive parents are leaving for overseas mission work next week,
ten days later I turn 21,
four days later, Aaron is coming is coming to town,
and three weeks later I'm back in New Mexico!

I never said this post was going to be interesting, but I wanted to make sure people still knew I was alive. :)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

OneLove.

Beach Reach is all about loving on people.
Essentially, we are a free taxi and free restaurant. This year, over 700 Christ-followers traveled down to SPI for a week. From 8pm - 4am, "teams" loaded up in vans and provided free rides to wherever the spring breakers wanted to go - the bar, the gas station, their hotel, Whataburger, etc. We also served a midnight pancake breakfast by one of the largest clubs on the island, and another breakfast outside our church (home base) in the mornings from 8am-12pm.

There was also the handing out of the hotline cards and cleaning Coca-Cola beach every morning (a different team each night, around 4am), when it's layered with cans, trash, shoes, lost cell phones and credit cards. On this beach, during the day, there was also a large sand sculpture - Christ's face and Christ emerging from the tomb were two I saw. One of the most important parts of the week was our prayer room at the church. We have a text message (or tweet) system set up, so while one-half of the team is out giving rides, the other half is on base interceding for their teammates and spring breakers.

The beautiful part about this past week, is that the Lord didn't just change lives of spring breakers, but also moved in the hearts of Beach Reachers. Through all the exhaustion, sharing, caffeine-overloads, sunburns and hours of praying...something inside of us changed.

On the first night of Beach Reach, all 700 of us gathered in a parking lot and prayed in small groups. We prayed for each other, the spring breakers, and everything that will happen that week. I talked with a girl that was a first-timer, and she asked why I came back to Beach Reach and to share about last year. The Lord has given me a heart for college students, especially the girls - and I know it's not just because I'm a college student, I can tell it's much larger than that. That reason, and the fact that I could've very easily been on the beach partying if the Lord hadn't changed my life, is why I go to Beach Reach. I want them to know there are more satisfying things in life.



There were four people I met that impacted me the most this week:
Yadi is a girl who grew up with a father who is a pastor. She knows the Truth, and hasn't totally rebelled against her faith, but was tired of 'that life' and just wants to have fun and party right now. I didn't get to share my testimony with her, but I so wish I could have.


By far, my favorite night of Beach Reach was Tuesday night. WT had the shift of working the midnight pancake breakfast. It was totally of the Lord that this conversation happened, because at first... I wasn't having any conversations, it was like I was invisible. Then, randomly, my new friend David walks up to Amanda and I and starts talking. Like most conversations at Beach Reach, it started with small talk about school, life, the island, etc. Turns out, he was a Mormon missionary for two years - but then stopped because he was tired of people throwing dog food and fruit at him while he was on his bike.

Our conversation eventually turned to faith and Christianity. I could tell he wanted Christ, I saw it in his eyes. I ended up giving him my Bible, yes... with all my underlining and notes. He had only ever read the Bible in the Old King James version, and I know he needed it more in that moment than I did. He told me that when he used to pray, he never "felt" God. Which, oddly enough, I had a conversation about last semester, but I couldn't get across to him how God is so much more than a feeling. It's an active relationship that we have to work daily on and grow in - and even then there will be bad days. He also knew that if he turned to Christ, he probably would need to stop partying. Although it was frustrating to not be there to see him accept Christ, I have been praying for him daily, and I know the Lord will continue to work in his heart.


On the beach, I talked to Jacob, who is already a Christian but really wanted to grow in his relationship with Christ. He and his wife can't find a Catholic church that they get spiritually fed at, and he doesn't have a daily walk with God; Sunday is enough for him. We talked about different denominations, spending time daily in the Word, and religion vs. relationship. I tried so badly to convey the importance of a daily relationship with God, but really all I can do is pray that God continues to work in his heart.


On our last night, Clay and I talked with a guy named Andrew. He grew up in Catholic school, and went overseas with the military for awhile. Clay talked about an active relationship with Christ, trusting in someone we can't see, and about sacrificing for God, after Andrew said he doesn't want to give up partying. Both Jacob and Andrew made a comment about how they try and live good lives, they're not bad people, and so they felt that was enough. Even though I was the one that did some clarifying, it was a beautiful reminder of how I don't have to do x-number of things for Christ to accept and love me. No amount of "good deeds" will make me right with Him - the "good' things I do, are just out of worship and love and a reflection of what He's done for me.


I'm still trying to comprehend everything, while in a state of exhaustion. But, I do know that the Lord has given me a big burden for the people I talked about in this blog, as well as just the lost around me. I literally saw the process of one girl getting some "beads" and it broke my heart, I literally had no words. I know that this week is always a reminder of just how powerful prayer and community are - and not just on mission trips. The Lord works differently in everyone, and every person's testimony is so unique and just proves how good He is - sharing my faith for the first time was one of the most amazing things of my life.

On a lighter note, I am currently rocking the back-of-the-neck sunburn. I have very little voice left. Oh yeah, and my team forgot me one night (and I was told, even a second night!) And, almost all 80-some of our group that went now call me j-sho. :)


But seriously, the biggest take-away from this trip is being reminded that it's not just a "mission trip," but that we should be living mission-minded daily, and reaching out to everyone around us.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

oh, the Wondrous Cross.

There are many things I'm passionate about, and many things that frustrate me.
The worst combination is when I get frustrated about things I love.

As sad as it is, we are people that are often consumed by image.
Whether we like to admit or not, and as hard as we try not to be... it happens.

Who has the most Northface jackets?
Who has the newest TOMS?
Who has the latest Apple product?

In this blog last month, I mentioned how as followers, we should carry the name of Jesus everywhere. I thought about that, carrying His name, last night as I saw a table full of girls that had bedazzled, decorated, colored, fancy crosses on their shirts, jewelry, and bags.

What I really thought about, was their relationship with Christ. Not in a judgmental way, but in a curious way - if they know what the crosses they're wearing stand for and represent. I sadly think that some people think of the cross like they do hearts and flowers: decorative. I'm not saying that wearing the cross or having it anywhere on your stuff is wrong - I have necklaces, NOTW shirts are cool, there's nothing bad in and of itself with wearing the cross. I just wish more people would respect it and acknowledge it's meaning.

I fear that the cross has lost it's meaning, it's sacredness and value. The cross (and the word "Christian") means nothing to a lot of people these days. It's seen as just another ordinary symbol or picture. We don't look at the cross as a place of love, redemption and grace. The cross has or is becoming another status symbol and label.

It's frustrating to me when people who in one way or another wear a cross, and shame or blaspheme it by their words and actions - and I've been guilty of this. The cross carries a heavy meaning; it and the call it has on our lives should not be taken lightly.