Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Story Of My Life: Answered Prayer

I left a piece out of my salvation story. I mentioned that I found hope in the Delta river, where a bunch of awkward teenagers revealed Jesus to me. What I didn't mention is that nothing actually happened on the houseboat trip. Well, things happened - swimming, mud fights, skits and singing, banana boating, all the good stuff. But no enormous, spiritual transformation occured in my life while I was there. As with everything else in my life, I took it all in, but I needed time to process it. When I returned home, I surveyed the situation. I knew that I was about to leap into something that could bring me unspeakable joy, but it would also bring radical change. And I hate change. I suffer from neophobia, (fear of new things) and I was freaked out. So I prayed, "Lord, I want to live for you. I want hope, and peace, and joy. But I can not do this alone. I need you to show me somehow that I can do this. I need some sign from you that I won't be alone. And then I'm all in. Amen." Yeah, looking back it seems selfish and ridiculous. But God saw me as a heart seeking after Him and being honest about my shortcomings. And He answered my prayer. The next day, one of my closest friends (circa preschool) who had never really claimed any faith, but had been with me on the houseboat trip, called me. She said, matter-of-factly, "I decided to give my life to Jesus. Just thought you should know." That was my amazing, miraculous sign. I think the reason that I left it out of the story is that my precious friend is no longer walking with Jesus. But that doesn't change the fact that she was part of my story. God answered my prayer. And for one glorious summer we worshipped, prayed, and read the bible together. And by the time she walked away from her faith, I was strong enough in mine to do it on my own. And her story is not over.

My story continues with Bumps In The Road and Freedom.

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Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday Follow

Friday Follow

I just discovered a fun way to get to know other bloggers! It's called Friday Follow. If you want to join in the fun, visit One 2 Try, Midday Escapades, or Hearts Make Families and link up!

If you are visiting from Fiday Follow, welcome! So glad you're here. Have a look around and get to know me. :)

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Story of My Life: Roots

Previous Entries in the Story of my Life Series: Salvation

As I mentioned before, I was raised in the Catholic Church.
Before I say more, I want my parents to know that I am absolutely, 100% grateful for my upbringing. Their dedication to their faith, their marriage and our family made me who I am today. Words can't express how much I appreciate being raised in a safe, loving home (especially working with girls who didn't.)

With that said, my experience of faith growing up was that it was: a basic belief system, a label, and a safety net.

Everyone has a basic belief system, right? Humans are descended from monkeys.... The world appeared from nothing with a bang... Everyone is connected... The energy we send out is the energy we get back... How we live life now will affect who we are in the next life... etc. etc. Of course there are people who are unsure about where we came fromn or where we are going, but they still have a belief system. They believe in kindness or selfishness, in community or anarchy... there is something that drives their actions. Growing up, I knew what I believed. God created earth and mankind. Man was sinful, so God sent His son to die so that our sins could be forgiven. We don't have to be perfect, but we should strive to be loving and kind. These beliefs gain us a place in heaven.*

In addition to knowing my basic beliefs, I had a label. "Catholic" was a part of who I was in the same way that "White" or "Irish" or "American" or "student" were. Sometimes those labels were/are important, sometimes not. It was just a part of how I defined myself.

Lastly, my faith was a safety net. Outside of church on Sundays and saying grace before meals, prayer was for asking for God's help. Help for people I knew who were sick or injured, dying or grieving a loss, taking an important test or interview, doing something dangerous or traveling.

My faith, in sum, was a belief/understanding of where I came from, where I was headed, and how I should act. It was a part of how I defined myself, and it was something I turned to when I or someone I knew needed something. Faith is still all of those things for me. But it's so much more.

The Story Of My Life continues with Answered Prayer, Bumps In The Road and Freedom.

*This was my understanding of faith at a young age. If you would like to know the full extent of Christian beliefs, visit your friendly neighborhood church. :) Or feel free to contact me.

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

New Domain

Just so you all know, I have changed my domain name. If you are one of my friends or family members who type the name in every time, the new name to type in is: It's simpler, really, once you get used to it. If you still type in the blogspot address, it will redirect you, but it would be better to get used to the new name. :)

Also, if you don't subscribe to my blog, or even know what that means, there is a way to get updated every time there is a new post on my blog. I am going to explain this in simple terms because I only recently figured it out, so if you already know all about this, don't take offense, and feel free to stop reading now. If you are new to all this, it may seem like a lot, but stick with it, because it makes keeping up with my blog (or anyone else's) much easier.

Here's how to subscribe: there's link at the bottom of every post on my blog that has a little orange square and says "subscribe in reader." If you click on that button, it will take you to a page that has a yellowish box on the upper right that says "Subscribe with Google." When you click on it, it will give you the option to "Add to Google Home Page" or "Add to Google Reader."

If you have a gmail account, select "Add to Google Reader" and enter your e-mail. What will happen now is when you go to your e-mail, you can click on "Reader" (on the upper left-hand side of the page). Every time there is a new post from any blog you subscribe to, it will appear as an "Unread Item" in your reader (just like unread mail does in your inbox).

If you do not have a gmail account, select "Add To Google Homepage." If you have an iGoogle account, sign in. If you don't have an iGoogle account, set one up. All this means is that when you go to the main Google page, you can sign in and have your own settings on the page. Once you do that, you can sign in to your iGoogle account, and in the upper left hand corner of the page, there will be a button that says "Reader." Every time there is a new post from any blog you subscribe to, it will appear as an "Unread Item" in your reader (just like unread mail does in your inbox).

That may seem complicated, but it really isn't bad. Try it, you'll like it. :)

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Relevant 2010

This October, I will be attending the Relevant conference. This is crazy for a number of reasons:

1) I've never been to a blogging conference in my life, or even thought about going to one.
2) Um, it's in Pennsylvania. I live in California.
3) Large groups of people I don't know make me highly anxious.
4) I will not have met (in person) any of the 200 women there. (Remember #3?)
5) At this point, I'll be flying out there alone, getting to the hotel alone, sleeping alone, and leaving alone.


I'm soo excited!! I've been blogging for less than two years now, and only recently have I discovered that God wants to use my little ole' blog for His purposes. Since then, everywhere I turn, I see/hear something about the Relevant Conference. I am confident that He is going to bless this conference and use it to grow and teach me, and all the other women there. And through their blogs, I'm starting to get to know some of the amazing women attending, and can't wait to meet them in person!

So, to the ladies who are atteding: If you or someone that you know who is going needs a roommate and/or travel buddy, let me know! I also have a Relevant page on my blog for this purpose, and in the hopes of getting to know some of you, so check it out.

Today I'm featured on Gather Inspirit, so thanks to Chele and the other lovely ladies over there for putting that together so we can get to know each other.

I can't wait for the conference!!

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Monday, April 12, 2010

Multitude Monday

This week I'm thankful for...
102. A steady job/paycheck
104. Board games
105. Sunshine
108. Getting some quality time with my sister Kelly

109. Curiosity
110. Imagination
116. The smell of a barbeque
121. Fits of giggles
122. Free Coffee
129. Getting to visit with my good friend Kimi

130. French fries
132. Time to myself
133. Living in a breathtakingly beautiful place
142. My snuggle bug (a.k.a. Penny)

143. My sugar booger (a.k.a. Rocky)

145. Freedom
151. God's provision
157. Developing relationships
158. Singing
161. Pajamas

The rest of the list is under 1,000 Gifts at the top of the page.

Join the Gratitude Community at A Holy Experience:

holy experience

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Friday, April 9, 2010

Story of My Life: Salvation

I have believed in God as long as I can remember. Although raised in the (Catholic) Church, during my childhood and adolescence I experienced God more outside the church than in. I heard Him in the sound of children's laughter, felt Him in the warm, summer breeze against my shoulders, saw Him in the kindness of strangers, and felt His love demonstrated in the beauty and faithfulness of the sunrise. Despite my confidence in His existence, the world beckoned, and I sought excitement and satisfaction elsewhere - if you haven't yet been or can't remember being a teenager, consult a teen flick and you'll know what I mean. (Don't let your imaginations run too wild - I was still a pretty good girl.) My freshman year in high school, tragedy struck and my world changed. Two very close friends of my family passed away, both unthinkably young, and in completely separate but equally tragic circumstances. Suddenly going to dances, cruising the mall, and talking about boys was not quite cutting it. Life was short, cruel, and unfair from my new perspective, and what was the point of it all, really? After about a year of seeking various ways to ignore, suppress, numb, deflect or deny my painful emotions, I found hope. By some completely non-coincidental series of events that seemed random at the time, I ended up going on a houseboat trip with a church that I had casually (mainly socially) attended in junior high. I saw people who were joyful, peaceful, and genuine. People who had hope, and were not just living for the moment, but for eternity. I saw Jesus in them. I recognized the voice that had been whispering my name throughout my life, but now that voice was calling out, "Come to me! Rest in me. I have what you need." And I went to Him. And in Him I found abounding hope, limitless joy, profound peace, and unconditional, crazy love. Nothing has ever been the same. Thank God for that.

More of the Story of My Life in Roots, Answered Prayer, Bumps In The Road, and Freedom.

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Multitude Monday... Er, Tuesday

I am one day behind on this post too, but I've been working diligently on counting my blessings this week, so I wanted to share. I will be posting the highlights on Mondays, but if you are interested in viewing the whole list (with added pictures) you can click the "One Thousand Gifts" link at the top of my blog (under the header/picture at the top.)

3/30/10 - 4/5/10

I am grateful for...

19. God working through me
20. Heart-to-hearts
22. Lions, Tigers, and Bears Oh My! (as seen at Wild Things in Salinas, CA)

38. Naps
39. Sweet friends
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
52. My salvation

54. Cake

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...)
72. Philosophical debates (oddly started by the question, "what's your favorite color?")
74. A new engagement - congratulations to my sweet friend Jenn and her fiance Kenny!

76. Jesus' resurrection!
79. Going to church on a Sunday morning!
80. Worshipping with a huge room full of believers
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!
95. Singing in the car
99. A nice dinner out
100. Getting to visit with (another!) old friend, Ginger

holy experience

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Monday, April 5, 2010

Happy Easter

This post is a little belated, because I had a very busy Easter. It was amazing to get to go to church and see my whole family, instead of working all day. Despite the rain, it was a beautiful day!

Jesus' Tomb:
The Door To The Tomb:

The writing says, He Is Not Here - He Is Risen!

Hope everyone had a blessed Easter!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Friday

He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter; And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.

Isaiah 53:7

Then Jesus said, "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do."

Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two. And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, "Father into Your hands I commit my spirit." Having said this, He breathed His last.

Luke 23: 34, 45-46

But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.

Isaiah 53:5

My feet on the ground where Jesus was beaten.

Golgatha, where Jesus was crucified:

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Holy Thursday

"Father, if it is your will, take this cup away from me; nevertheless not my will but yours be done."

Luke 22:42

Me, in the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus spoke these words the night before He died.