Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Words of Encouragement

Today my sweet co-worker, Martina, who does not have a relationship with Jesus (yet) or associate with any religion, said to me, "You're a great example to me of a Christian person. You mean what you say and your actions are in line with your words."

Best. Compliment. Ever.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Multitude Monday: A Thousand Gifts

holy experience

Ann at A Holy Experience has inspired me to begin counting gifts/blessings, and see how long it takes me to get to 1,000. Passion week seems like a great time to start. I have a feeling that counting my blessings will change my outlook and attitude... I'll let you know. ;) I will be posting the highlights on (some) Mondays, but the full list is here if anyone is interested. Click the link above if you would like to join the gratitude community.

I am grateful for...

1. Spring

2. Getting out of the house early enough to see the sunrise

3. My adorable co-worker, Martina 4. Patience

5. Teamwork
6. Learning something new every day
7. A few extra hours of free time
8. Comic relief
9. Rare motivation to be productive
10. Finishing my taxes!
11. Encouragement
12. The blogging community
13. Squirrels

14. The in-between weather
15. A week of reflecting on and celebrating Jesus' sacrifice
16. Rain
17. Coffee
18. Compliments
19. God working through me
20. Heart-to-hearts
21. Getting paid to do fun activities (some days)
22. Lions, Tigers, and Bears Oh My! (as seen at Wild Things in Salinas, CA)

23. High fives
24. Hope for the future
25. Good timing (ex: finding my parents' dog in the street on the way home from work)
26. Music
27. The Couch

28. Unexpected surprises (ex: getting most of Easter off!)
29. Phone calls from friends
30. Having something to look forward to (A day of fun on Easter)
31. The beautiful full moon still available for my viewing pleasure at 6:30 a.m.
32. All varieties of personalities - they keep life interesting
33. Never having been arrested
34. The fact that my skin is mouch tougher than it used to be (figuratively)
35. Getting to go to the movies for work
36. The occasional good cry
37. Hugs

38. Naps
39. Sweet friends
40. My "Friday" (which is usually on a Tuesday)
41. Sleeping in
42. Snuggles with my pups
43. Mindless television
44. Catching up with my best friend, Arletta:

45. New life! (Welcome Tyce Jeffrey Thompson!)
46. A stable family
47. Days off
48. Antibiotics (modern medicine in general)
49. Health insurance
50. The free time that singleness affords me
51. Jesus' death on the cross
52. My salvation
53. Learning some more patience
54. Cake

55. Fun in the kitchen
56. Quitting time (3 pm)
57. Church
58. My hair
59. Seeing old friends
60. Learning flexibility
61. Getting dressed up
62. Seeing some of my SLO girls:

63. Krissy 64. Brittany 65. Camille

66. Mollie! (Home from Wisconsin)

67. Friends who are as sarcastic as I am (maybe even moreso...)
68. Catching up
69. Bridal Showers
70. Story telling
71. Learning new things about old friends
72. Philosophical debates (oddly started by the question, "what's your favorite color?")
73. Wedding season (in life in general)
74. A new engagement - congratulations to my sweet friend Jenn and her fiance Kenny!

75. Feeling like I had a vacation in one day
76. Jesus' resurrection!
77. A short day at work
78. Baby steps (a mumbled "good morning" instead of being yelled at when I woke one of the girls)
79. Going to church on a Sunday morning!
80. Worshipping with a huge room full of believers
81. Tears of joy
82. Feeling God's prescence
83. Getting to spend the afternoon with my WHOLE family
84. Four nieces and nephews that I adore

85. Hearing a profound worship song out of a 3 year old's mouth (Bennett)
86. My 5 year old nephew Tommy, who knows the names of ACDC songs
87. Watching my niece Ally (10 yrs.) jump rope in the rain
88. The scrunched-nose smiles and mischevious giggles from Elodie (age 1)
89. A shard, home cooked, delicious meal
90. The best Easter I've had in a very long time!
91. The peace and quiet in the morning when the girls (my clients) are asleep
92. April showers that bring May flowers

93. A sweet excited face when I woke up one of the girls and offered to take her to the movies
94. Shared interests
95. Singing in the car
96. A mellow afternoon
97. Rejuvinating hot showers
98. My spaz-tastic dogs
99. A nice dinner out
100. Getting to visit with (another!) old friend, Ginger

101. Waking up to the sound of birds chirping
102. A steady job/paycheck
103. The first day back to school after Spring break - refreshed children!
104. Board games
105. Sunshine
106. Sleep
107. My car
108. Getting some quality time with my sister Kelly

109. Curiosity
110. Imagination
111. The stumbling toddle of a new walker
112. Beautiful weather
113. Natural bodies of water
114. Ducks and geese
115. Walks
116. The smell of a barbeque
117. American Idol
118. Smiles
119. Shared experiences
120. The smell of sunscreen
121. Fits of giggles
122. Free Coffee
123. GPS systems (I don't have one, but they're just cool)
124. The wonder of childhood
125. Slides
126. Movies
127. Shopping
127. A new dress!
128. Great deals
129. Getting to visit with my good friend Kimi

130. French fries
131. My i-pod
132. Time to myself
133. Living in a breathtakingly beautiful place
134. Green, rolling hills
135. Lupin
136. Already having had my wisdom teeth taken out
137. Reminders to be thankful
138. Free meals at work
139. The meadow
140. Quiet times
141. God's Word
142. My snuggle bug (a.k.a. Penny)

143. My sugar booger (a.k.a. Rocky) 144. Healthy pups!

145. Freedom
146. Worship time in the car
147. Clouds
148. The Holy Spirit
149. Quiet mornings
150. Really easy days at work
151. God's provision
152. Future events to be excited about
153. Ambition
154. Humility
155. Rest
156. Getting to chat with a girl in juvenile hall
157. Developing relationships
158. Singing
159. Driving
160. Animals
161. Pajamas
162. Change
163. Reunions
164. Prayer
165. Building trust
166. Wildflowers
167. Oak trees
168. Country music
169. Time to sit outside and enjoy
170. Getting to visit with Leah
171. Inspiration
172. Amazing women of the bible
173. Amazing women in the church
174. Great authors
175. Words of wisdom
176. Learning new things
177. An excellent dinner made by yours truly
178. Feeling like a grown up
179. Feeling like a kid
180. Technology
181. The human brain
182. The difference between men and women
183. Book stores
184. Meatballs (especially pesto ones)
185. Jeapordy
186. Wheel of Fortune
187. Exploring
188. Jasmine flowers
189. Golden retrievers
190. Labrador retrievers
191. Pain relievers
192. Independence
193. Competence
194. Walks
195. Freedom
196. Diversity
197. Closure
198. Moving on
199. Cake
200. Support systems
201. Agape love
202. Thoughtful words
203. Community
204. Visiting new places
205. Live music
206. Art
207. Pay-offs
208. Driving
209. Church
210. Worship
211. Bright colors
212. Seeing beauty everywhere
213. Eye candy
214. Learning experiences
215. Common ground

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Palm Sunday

The crowds spread out their coats on the road ahead of Jesus. As they reached the place where the road started down from the Mount of Olives, all of his followers began to shout and sing as they walked along, praising God for all the wonderful miracles they had seen.

"Bless the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in highest heaven!"

But some of the Pharisees among the crowd said, "Teacher, rebuke your followers for saying things like that!"

He replied, "If they kept quiet, the stones along the road would immediately cry out."
Luke 19:36-40

This is my favorite part of the Triumphal Entry. I have always had a picture in my mind of my God, my King, Jesus, riding into the city on a donkey (arguably not the world's fanciest animal) Simple clothing, simple transportation, but still a King. And as his followers praise him with palm branches, others rebuke those who worship the Lord. I picture His face, calm and serene, looking at them and simply replying, "If they kept quiet, the stones along the road would immediately cry out."

And as I stood there, on the hill where my Lord entered that amazing city, I picked up a few of the rocks from the road. I imagined them bursting into praises, and to be honest, I kind of wished they would, because that would be something to behold. But they didn't have to, because I do it for them. Do you?

Pictured above: moments after my much less triumphant entry into Jerusalem, with my friend Jenn.

Friday, March 26, 2010

My Favorite Places

No need to explain, really, just wanted to share. Some of my favorite places on earth:

Jerusalem, Israel

Honfluer, France

Toledo, Spain

Monteverde, Costa Rica

New York City, New York

Portland, Oregon

Grover Hot Springs, California

Disneyland! Anaheim, California

Any place that involves these four faces:

And, of course, Home!

Carmel, California

Penny Lane and Rocky Racoon (And Me)

Carmel Valley, California (Actual Home)

To join in the fun, visit Gypsy Mama.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Ministry of Writing

I started this blog in order to keep my friends and family on the California coast updated on what and how I was doing in Portland, Oregon. Since then it has become something else entirely. The blogging world is, at times, like a second home. It is a place to escape to, a place to process the things that I experience, and the things that God is teaching me. And lately, He has been teaching me a LOT. Probably because I have finally put my listening ears on. I have been praying a lot lately about what, where, and who God wants me to be. I am 26 years old, single, with a Bachelor's degree that doesn't do me any good, and about a third of a Master's Degree, which, at least for now, I'm not finishing. The thing I'm most excited about in life is being a wife and mom, but my husband is nowhere in sight. And, when I returned to California, God dropped me right back in my hometown, exactly where I never thought I'd end up. So, I spent a few months moping and wallowing in self-pity. Then I decided not to waste this season in my life being bummed out. And I am beginning to fall in love with Jesus again, right in the place where I fell in love with Him in the first place. What do you know?

So, as I mentioned, I have been praying about what God has for me. I haven't gotten a big, booming answer, but I feel like things are heading in the right direction. I will share more about the things that I discover about His plans as I discover them. The main purpose of this post, however, is to share my most recent discovery, which may affect you readers.

As you may or may not know about me, one of my passions is writing. I dream of writing a book someday, but that seems like a huge, insurmountable task, especially considering that I have a B.S. in Child Development, and took no more than the base requirements in college English. When I do sit down to write, just for the sake of writing, I often draw a blank. I have at times wondered if this passion of mine is just a futile waste of time. But recently, I discovered that it is not. The other day, literally moments after praying for God to show me how I can better serve Him, I sat down to read. I am reading a book called Lady in Waiting: Becoming God's Best While Waiting For Mr. Right, by Jackie Kendall and Debby Jones. A book that I was pretty embarrassed to buy, mainly because of the title, but which has been so good for me. This is what I opened up to read that day:

The Ministry of Writing
This ministry requires pen, paper, and a willing heart. Much of the New Testament was originally written as letter to believers. An encouraging letter or post card [read: or blog post; this book was written before the internet. Gasp!] can be read and re-read. The Lord wants you to be involved in the lives of those around you and writing is one of those opportunities.

Wow. Talk about a very clear answer to prayer. It also co-incided with my discovery of other women's blogs that are so encouraging to my heart, so why shouldn't mine be the same? I want to be sure that those in my life who do not share the same belief system as I do (and there are many of you) understand that I do not want to force my beliefs down your throat. But I do want to share and encourage in the best way I know how. And since Jesus is my hope and my joy, He is the way I know how. I will still share silly anecdotes and pictures of my adventures, but my blog has a higher calling now. ;) Buckle your seatbelts.

Friday, March 19, 2010



How do you feel when you think of that word? Enthralled? Excited? Proud? Insecure? Disappointed? Restentful?

My guess is most women land in the category of the last few adjectives. I know I often do. But guess what? I am beautiful. And so are you.

In a previous post, I quoted John and Stasi Eldrige from their book Captivating: "Many of us have hardened our hearts to this desire, the desire to be the Beauty. We have been hurt so deeply in this area that we no longer identify with, perhaps even resent, the longing. But it's there. We desire to possess a beauty that is worth pursuing, worth fighting for, a beauty that is core to who we truly are. We want beauty that can be seen; beauty that can be felt; beauty that affects others; a beauty all our own to unveil." This quote, along with the majority of the book, spoke to my utterly feminine and romantic heart.

In a recent conversation with a male friend, he wondered aloud (out of curiosity, not meanness) at the insecurity that many women possess. He compared the compliments that he gives women as very carefully wrapped gifts, that women just throw in the proverbial garbage can by saying "oh no, that's not true."

This friend of mine is not the only one who feels hurt by a woman's lack of self-worth. Our creator, our king, is enthralled by our beauty. (Psalm 45:11) He gave it to us, in place of ashes. He wants us to own it, to rejoice in it, and in Him. You are a daughter of a King, which makes you a princess. And He thinks YOU are beautiful. His opinion is the only one that matters, in the end. Remind yourself of that when you need a little self-confindence boost. I do.

Read other women's thoughts on beauty on Sarah Markley's blog this week.


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Saturday, March 6, 2010

Best Friend

I have always had a best friend, as long as I can remember. Not a different one, with each passing year, although many special people have come and gone, and I am lucky to have several forever friends. But today, I celebrate my best friend. I met her in preschool, she was one of my first friends when I moved to Carmel Valley. A few years later, my family announced that her family would be moving in with ours. This is every little girl's dream to have a friend move in with you. Especially considering I was so much younger than my sisters, so to have someone my age to talk to and play with was a dream come true. It was not always such a fairytale, mind you. There were the days when she refused to play board games with me, and when I painted the most horrendous Cinderella across her face, and the days when we left each other out and hurt each other's feelings because we wanted to play with other friends. There was the summer that I spent practicing my multiplication tables because I couldn't master them in the third grade, while she danced around the kitchen because she had skipped the third grade, and had mastered them without even going. There were the days she came home from dance practice tired and hungry, and I learned to wait until after she had eaten to try to get her to play with me. But that's sisterhood, right? There were also the costumes that we put on for plays and dances that we performed for the adults. There was playing Little Mermaid in the hot tub. There were the nights (many) when I would be just about to fall asleep and I would hear, from the bottom bunk, "Colleen?" and I would respond, "Yeah?" and without fail, she would then reply, "Are you awake?" There were uncontrollable fits of giggles. There was the irreplacable feeling that someone is growing up right alongside you. Before we went to middle school, we had moved into separate houses, and then we spent three long years at separate schools. But there were many phone calls, to discuss the ever important subjects of boys and school dances and the like. In high school, we were so happily reunited at Carmel High. Although our lifestyles were different, with her being the cheerleader and the dance team captain and the homecoming queen (she's probably cringing at being reminded), and I was happy to fade into the background, we still shared our lives. In college and afterward, we moved on to new cities and new adventures, but always knowing that the other was just a phone call away. I have a lifetime of memories with my best friend: dancing, singing, laughing, crying, talking, arguing, pretending, camping, traveling, exploring, separating and reuniting. I look forward to a million more memories in the rest of this life. Today is her birthday, and she is living 3,000 miles away. So I wanted to make sure, that with just a click of a button, she can be reminded of her best friend, who is missing her and thinking of her. And always here. Love you, Letta. To the moon and around the sun. Happy birthday.