Advice. I've had this topic on my brain A LOT lately. How often do you ask for advice? What do you ask for advice on? Who do you ask for advice? It's been coming up a lot lately because I feel like I've had these situations being thrown at me that are forcing me to evaluate and analyze every possible angle. I can't stand it! I love knowing exactly what to do and when to do it. But lately I feel I've had to seek counsel for multiple issues.

Then it brings me to, WHO do you ask for advice? This is a tricky one in my opinion. Someone could give you the best advice ever or the opposite and turn your situation into a worse one. How do you know what to listen to? And when do you get to the point where you go with your gut instinct and hope for the best. It scares me to think that if we went with the wrong advice what can happen. Who are you trusting in your life to give the best counsel?

I'm so TIRED of being put in situations where I feel I can't handle it on my own. Maybe God's trying to teach me something? Maybe He's showing me that it's ok to depend on others? Maybe. Or maybe it's a way to stretch me into building my decision making skills. Whatever the case may be... I'm tired.

This felt more like a venting blog than anything else, but it's where I'm at right now


The Bacholorette

It's been almost a month since I moved out on my own, 4 weeks on Sunday! Amazing how time flys by. I must say that I love being out on my own. It's the little things that have been making me happy lately. Like having internet, a TV converter box where I can still watch basic cable, knowing that if I left food in the fridge it wont be thrown out before trash day, one of my favorites is that the temperature on my shower doesn't change because I'm the only one showering in there. I love being able to invite over whoever I want whenever I want.

So far I'm still adjusting to sleeping in a new place. I seem to wake up around the same time every night. Luckily it's easy for me to fall back asleep. I'm also adjusting to living more than one block away from my work. I've been late a total of maybe twice because of unplanned traffic. I finally figured out that I really do need to leave that extra 5 min earlier. Lunches are sometimes a pain because I used to go home everyday, granted I can still do that now BUT it's a waste of time and gas. So I'm getting used to planning lunches the day before. So far I've done a couple girls nights and a TV night and I loved it! I love being able to host and take care of my friends and family when they come over.

I haven't had any problems with my neighbors except when I woke up to a loud conversation outside my window at 3:30am by my Korean neighbor. I walked out with bedhead and pj's and asked him to pipe down, nicely of course. I also came home to a "present" outside my door the other day, it was dog poop. Not just dog poop, but stepped in dog poop. Apparently my neighbors have a dog and I was not aware. They cleaned it up that night so I didn't have to regulate.

With the changes I've made in my life recently between place to live and leadership I can honestly say that I am less stressed and really enjoying the couple extra free nights I get a week. It's given me the opportunity to do things I couldn't do before. Even if that thing is as small as taking a friend out for coffee. God's really been working on me, I know with this new transition of leadership he is going to continue teaching me lots of things. One of he biggest will be patience and learning to go with the flow when I need to. Bring it!

Till next time.


Jesus Feeds 2,500

Today South Hills Church had one of the most amazing outreaches that we have ever put together. We had a 30,000 lbs of food giveaway. We had enough food for 1,500 and with the help of God we fed 2,500. I can't tell you how many times I heard the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000 today. People kept bringing up the story because we shouldn't have had enough to feed that many people and it just felt like the food stacks weren't going down! It was amazing to see every family get what they needed. Not only did we give away 30,000 lbs of food but we had stations for clothing, haircuts and areas for kids to be able to connect with other kids and just have fun. The event was more than a success, it was a blessing.


Fan Friday

This young woman is amazing. From the outside if you don't know her you would probably think she was just a quiet kid who was shy. When you really get to know her she is this ocean of wisdom and beauty. Ok so that sounded really intense but seriously, she's one of the best people I know.


You are such a beautiful woman. Inside and out. You are one of the most caring people I know, such a big heart for others. You make me laugh when you get tired and dillusional and you really make me want to grow deeper in my relationship with God. When I hear about how you pray at school with your friends or how you were reading your bible and you found this and that it really challenges me even more to get my act together. You are an inspiration to me and to so many others.

I challenge you to walk boldly into your gifts, you were most definitely called by God to do amazing things. I'm glad to see that you are developing yourself more and more as these weeks and months go by. You are such an amazing support system to me, I wouldn't be able to do what I do without you. I'll always be here to listen to you when you need it, to counsel when you ask for it and to just make you laugh because your tired and crazy. I love you girl!



Where to Draw the Line?

Where do we draw the line between life, ministry, family, reaching out etc? This week I've been thinking a lot about how my days have already been feeling a little less packed. It's free'd me up to the point where I have been able to spend time with people that I normally wouldn't have had time for.

I was sitting at Starbucks last night with Jolene and so many of these thoughts just kept racing in my head about how we preach until we're blue in the face about being a family and yet a lot of us neglect our own families. Why? Because we justify it with telling ourselves that because we're reaching out to people who don't have families that it's ok to neglect our own?

I'm not saying that we all do this, but I know that I myself am guilty of this. I have a student who came to me the other day and told me how his family is upset with him because he spends all of his time at church and doesn't spend time with the family anymore. He was upset because he didn't understand how his family could be upset about him doing something meaningful and productive with his life. I understood how he felt because I was there just months ago. And now I finally see my families side of it.

Our family gets upset because they too want to spend time with their family. But we, or at least I turned that into them being selfish. They aren't being selfish, they want to spend time with you because they love you. Some people just don't communicate that the right way and then resentment comes in.

I bring all this up because this week has really shown me that I need to remember my friends and my family. To remember that I need to pour into them just as much as my students. I'm just happy that now I'll have more freedom to do that. And please hear my heart when I say that there is nothing wrong with pouring your time into your ministry and on loving those who really need it. But where do you draw the line between ministry being your life and ministry being your passion?


Life in November

This week has been such a rollercoaster of emotions. Where do I start? I'll start with moving day because it was at the beginning of the week. I officially moved into my new place on November 1st. I <3 my apartment. I love coming home and knowing where everything is or just being able to relax without worrying who might be in my living room. It's bittersweet. I love that I'm stretching myself and getting out of my comfort zone but I also miss the little things about the house. I miss the girls, I miss being two minutes from work, I miss having someone to talk to at night.

I baked brownies for my neighbors the other night, I figured it would be a great way to introduce myself and get to know the faces of the people around me. I know that I was placed there for a reason so I'm looking forward to building new relationships and strengthing old ones.

Aside from moving I've been making a few other big decisions in my life lately. I realized that I'm not Superwoman. Yes, I know it's shocking! I'm not Superwoman and I finally realized that I have too much going on. Most of you know that I am a leader in the Children's Ministry and in Remnant Next Gen Ministry. I found myself hardly having time for anything other than ministry. Don't get me wrong, I love what I do but I needed to evaluate what I'm doing.

I realized that by being in both ministries I was wearing myself very thin. I wasn't giving my full attention to either one and it was time to make a decision. After weeks of praying and weighing out the pros and cons I decided that I needed to take a step back from one or the other. I decided to step back from Remnant. It was one of the hardest decisions I've made in a long time and also one of the easist. I know that If I step back it means someone else gets to step up and develop their leadership skills.

I'm excited that now I get to really focus on the Jr. Leadership program and really pour into my leaders. I'm excited that now I won't be feeling like I'm a stress ball 24/7. I let my Jr. leaders know on Wednesday and they were excited as well. It means I get more time to build them up and really take our ministry to the next level. It also means I get some time to myself. I can't be my 100% for them if I'm not spiritually feeding myself.

I'm always amazed at how I think I have everything figured out and I'm happy and I'm comfortable and I don't think things will change and then God decides to change things up. I NEVER know where I am going to be... all I know is that wherever I am I'll be serving Him. A good friend told me this the other day and it stuck with me " It doesn't matter where you serve, so long as you're doing what you're called to do". Amen to that! Children's, Next Gen, Youth, etc. They're all labels. God asked me to love on people regardless of what label they fit into.



So for those of you who read the previous blog about my mom and possibly having Uterine Cancer, she let me know yesterday that her tests came back NEGATIVE!!! It was so good to hear!

Thank you to those of you who prayed for her, it was much appreciated.



Signatures and Initials

Twenty four signatures and initials later I've got myself my very own apartment for 10 months :) I just got back a bit ago from signing my lease at the apartment complex! It felt so surreal signing those papers all by myself. No joke, twenty four stack of papers to read through (which I did not). I got the important info from the leasing agent.

Official move date is THIS Sunday! It came around so fast, I knew it would. The house is already looking more empty. Boxes fill the living room now where our furniture used to be. It's exciting! And also bittersweet. I'm really looking forward to the craziness that will ensue this week. By this time next week I'll be blogging from my new home.

Stay tuned...


Date Night with Luca

Last night I had the oppurtunity to hang out with my nephew Luca. This kid is adorable. I really don't just say that because he's my nephew. He's so much fun! He talks now so communicating with him is a lot easier for me. He's hilarious the way he repeats things, which I have to watch out for.

We started out our night with a trip to McDonald's for chicken nuggets, or as he likes to call them "nuggies". Driving with him was fun, "I got a feeling" came on the radio and he only sang the word "night". We watched "Barney" as our dinnertime entertainment. I'm not really a fan of Barney but I can appreciate that he teaches the kids something new in every episode.

After dinner we played a little soccer, dodgeball, and had a little photo shoot (photos to come). He managed to kick me in the face but it's all good, luckily he has tiny feet. When bed time rolled around he knew the drill, change to pjs and got the books out. Reading to him was probably my favorite of the whole night. He sat on my lap and just listened so quietly. When he was done listening to me read he pretty much let me know he was ready for bed.

It was a really fun night, he's a great kid and I need to see him more often.



Faith. Hope. Love.

I should be sleeping right now but I feel like I can't because I have so many things running through my mind. The word seasons has been coming up A LOT lately. Not so much the seasons like Fall, Winter or Spring but the seasons of life. P.Chris spoke tonight about how we need to accept the season we are in because it's exactly where God wants us. We can't be upset with other people for being in a season that we want to be in.

God's timing is perfect and I think we as individuals have a hard time accepting that everything is on His time, not ours. We tend to want to speed things up or slow things down or go back a year or two. Why? Why can't we be content in the time we're in and embrace it? He talked about how when we don't accept our season that we can become bitter or angry towards those who have already made it to where we want to be.

This season is a season of change for me, it already has been for the past months. God has radically changed me in more ways than I ever thought possible! He's healing my broken heart into something beautiful. I don't say that to sound like I'm bragging on me, but I'm bragging on Him! My life has changed because I've allowed Him to come in and restore me.

I continue to pray every single day that He fully restore me. I pray that through this season He has me in, that he keep showing me ways I can be better. I pray that He continue showing me the path that I need to be on. Being in His perfect will is where I want to be.

Accept the season your in with faith, hope and love.



I received a phone call from my mom a couple hours ago that I wasn't expecting. She called me letting me know that she had just left the Dr's office. She's been having "feminine" issues the past couple months that aren't exactly normal so she decided to get it checked out. The Dr. told her that what she is experiencing is not normal for a woman of her age. She ended up getting referred to see a specialist that would be able to determine what the problem is.

When I got her phone call she told me that the specialist is running test to see if she has Uterine Cancer. I'm pretty sure when I heard the word cancer is when I lost it. Cancer runs in my mother's family so I automatically thought the worst. She told me not to worry that it's probably nothing and that she has been feeling the best she has been in months.

How do you NOT worry when your mother calls you and says she's being tested for Cancer? I suppose this is where my faith comes in and I pray that she's going to be ok and I remind myself that we don't know for sure if something is wrong or not. This is just the process we have to go through to eliminate anything that it could possibly be.

I share this on here because if you read my blog then you care enough about me to read what's going on in my life. Please pray for her. I don't know that I can handle losing another parent. It sounds so morbid that I would even say that but after going through one I do NOT want to go through another. Not until God says she's ready to go home.

So for now...we sit...we wait...we pray.

<3 B.


Fan Friday

Gretchen, G, Mama G,
I chose you for so many reasons that I don't even know where to start. I want to be careful that when I choose words like "amazing" "loving" "caring" that they don't lose their meaning and that they don't get watered down because they get used so often. That said, you really are all of those things. Amazing, loving, caring, beautiful woman on the inside and out, fantastic mother and an all around beautiful human being.

Whenever I see you I instantly feel joy in my life. You've made such a huge impact on me and so many others. I can truly say that I feel you are like a surrogate mother to me. I know that If I ever need you that I can count on you. I know that if I need an ear or a shoulder to cry on that you will be there. It's odd because normally I'm that person for others so to be able to have that with you is truly a gift to me.

Please know that today and always that you are incredibly loved by me and anyone that comes into contact with you. Your spirit is so alive and pure that it really is an example to any Christian woman looking for a role model. Forgive me if my words sounds cheesy but it's coming straight from my heart. Thank you for being giving, understanding, loyal and most of all thank you for being you.

<3 to you.

It's Official!

It's official! On November 1st, 2009 I will be moving into my very first apartment by myself! Yes, folks that's me +0. This is a really huge step for me, I never thought I would be the kind of person that would be able to live on her own. I'm running through so many emotions, I'm happy, sad, excited, scared, thrilled, nervous, extatic etc. Most of those words mean the same thing but I figured i'd change up my lingo a bit.

I'm sad because i'll be ending a chapter in my life where I lived with some of the best people in my life. I know it's not goodbye but living with someone is completely different than just being friends with someone. It becomes something deeper than that, it becomes family in it's rawest form. Talk about knowing the ins and outs of your friends. I love these women deeply and I will definitely be missing them.

I'm happy! So happy! I'm proud of myself for how far I've gotten, with God's help of course. I never would have imagined that financially I would be responsible enough to pull off living outside of my family's home and let alone moving out to depend on myself 100%. To most, this may not seem like such a big deal but to me this is life change. I fully believe this is where I am going to grow the most and fully believe I am EXACTLY where God wants me to be at this very moment.

I'm nervous because I worry and I think crazy things like "What if someone breaks in?!" "What if a strange man is in the parking lot when I come home late?!" Luckily, Mikey B. said he would get me a baseball bat to keep handy and Tony said he would be one my body guards. Praise the Lord for knowing people in your apartment complex. I'm sure I'll be fine, I know I'm a tough girl.

All in all I'm antsy because I can't wait to see what this all brings. I have one more month in the "SheShack" and then it's off to my new pad. I need a name for it. It's "B205" (ironically the same # as my apt with Candice) so if you have any suggestions for anything I can name it, feel free to drop some knowledge on me. I'm looking forward to sleepovers, dinners, game nights and new memories.

Also, if you're reading this I will probably need help moving (boxes would also be appreciated). So if you want some FREE food, be ready to help me on November 1st. It's a Sunday so no excuses ;) Thank you to everyone who has been so supportive of me and the decisions I've been making. Your support means the world to me!

<3 B.


Music and Lyrics

Ever have a song that you used to LOVE because it just reminded you of the times when things were so good and you just felt on top of the world. And every time you heard you just felt all warm and fuzzy.

But then something happens and now you hear it and you can't STAND to listen to it because it just reminds you of the time when everything used to be good. A time when you were blissfully happy. Only now it just makes you cry?

Ya, me neither.



Ever have God blatantly tell you to do something and you ignored Him? I suppose I should explain why I ask the question. A couple months ago I felt God telling me to move out of my house and get out on my own. Yes, I live out on my own away from family but I live with three amazing women that feels like family. I feel like He was telling me to move so that I could get out of my comfort zone and really experience life on my own.

I decided I was going to do it. I decided that at the beginning of the year (2010) I was going to move out and get my own place. In the past week I had really been struggling with whether or not I was making the right decision by leaving so I started to slowly back out on my plan. I was making excuses. Things like "well if I move out I won't have that much money to travel" or "If I move out then I won't be able to have as much spending money for entertainment" you name it, I was saying it.

On Wednesday I had told myself that I wasn't going to move out. I decided I would stay and save up money for when I really need to leave. On Wednesday Lindsey my beautiful roommate came to me and said she is planning to move out by the middle of October. Which means we either all need to move out OR we need to find another roommate ASAP! Hello wake up call this is God speaking. Instantly I thought "Ok, God is this your way of getting me to move out?"

We had two prospects for roommates but neither one worked out. I really think this is God's way of saying to me "Hey Brenda, I asked you to do something and you're not listening so I'm going to push along the process" Feel free to disagree with me but it sounds about right.

So... here I am... 12:36 am...blogging...and looking at places to live. We'll see what happens BUT I have 3 days to decide what I want to do. All I know is that God is going to take care of me regardless what situation I get myself into. I just need to weigh out all my options.

<3 B.



This Thursday Jolene, Melissa, Es and I ventured on a trip to "Glendale!" to attend a recording of The Ellen Show. I adore Ellen, I think she is hilarious! We didn't get to meet her but the experience of being able to dance next to her was pretty fun. Es won a dance contest towards the beginning of the show and won herself an Ellen T shirt! She won because she did the air guitar so well, Chris would be proud.

After the show was over we were able to take a tour of the Warner Bros Studios. I saw one guy that I have no idea what his name is BUT I know he's on tv! We went to the Central Perk store that I was hoping was going to be the set of F.R.I.E.N.D.S no such luck! I did however see the show's section of memorobila that I would have to admit was overpriced so I passed.

We ended up on Brand st. in this amazing shopping center that most of us girls hadn't been to. We treated ourselves to Mexican cuisine at Frida's and a gourmet cupcake from "Crumb". Here's a quick recap of my favorite moments from the day:

- Dancing w/Ellen

- "Padme"

- "Sur La Table"

- Good conversation

- Blocking the isles at B & N while Es read to us about Twitter

- Singing in the car to old country favorites. Yes, country.

- "Euchre"

I'm glad I got to spend the day with Es, I'm gonna miss her.

<3 B.

J. Leaders Unite

Last night we had a J.Leader hang out. I wanted to do something for the leaders that was just a fun kick back night of good food and good times. I bbq-ed some chicken and we had a fiesta of rice, chips, salsa, tortillas, cookies, brownies, fruit and who could forget otter pops.

We played Spoons, Mafia, Apples to Apples and Guestures (I won it on the ELLEN show, name drop). Playing Spoons had to have been my favorite, Tyler jumping over me was ridiculous! Thankfully no one was hurt by the activites that we played :)

I really just wanted to have a night where I could appreciate them and show them that I care. Also, it was a good way for them to build up their relationships and have fun memories to look back on. Here's a few pictures from last night. Enjoy.

Fan Friday (Double Feature)

The Dominguez Family

This week I chose a family instead of a single person. When I reveal who they are you'll understand why I couldn't just choose one person. I chose Tonya and Abel Dominguez. They are probably one of the best families I know. Sadly they just moved to Texas "Stupid Texas!" if you don't follow me on twitter than that joke just isn't funny ;)

Tonya and Abel,
I chose you two because over the past year I've gotten to know you both a little bit more and the more that I know the more I love. Not to mention you two have the most beautiful and fun loving girls! I wanted to say thank you for everything you've done. Texas is an incredibly lucky state to have you and the family live there. You are both a perfect reminder that when we feel God calling, we should respond. There's no doubt in my mind that God has called you both to do amazing things. I think the best part about it is that you're both a team that works together.

Thank you for being a great example of what a fun loving family should be. I know times can and have been difficult but I've seen you both pull together stronger than I've seen most couples. Thank you for showing us what it's like to be a supportive family. I sincerly hope and pray that where you go you will find everything you've been looking for. You both deserve the best and I know that God is going to bless you with that. As much as I am happy for you, I am also sad that we won't be seeing you around anymore :( March is just around the corner so we have that to look forward to! I wish you both nothing but the best!

<3 B.


Mama Bear

DISCLAIMER: To any man/potential husband reading this, I am NOT baby crazy. Just excited about the future.

I may blame this entry on the fact that I turned 25 and that my biological clock is possibly ticking. I'll be hitting the snooze button on that until A. I get a husband or B. well I suppose there is no plan B. I need the husband before I get the kids.

In the past 4-5 months I've grown really close to a few of our students in our ministry. To the point where they really feel like they are my kids. Buying them food, taking them to and from school, helping with homework, counseling on boy/girl issues etc. I LOVE being able to be there for them in those ways. It's more fulfilling than I ever thought possible. To know that in some small way I'm making their day better just because I cared enough to pick them up from school so they wouldn't have to walk in the heat to their house makes my day.

It really just got me thinking about me having my own family someday and how much more will I love my own kids when I get them. I had a conversation with a father friend of mine the other day about kids and how he says that it's one of the best things in the world. How cool is it that you get to raise your kids and teach them about God and teach them how they should behave or show them how to play sports or play music. It also got me thinking about the fact that I want to be a pastor and how I would have biological kids and also spiritual kids (Youth kids) and how I would really need to work hard at making sure my own kids aren't feeling neglected because I'm paying too much attention to my youth kids.

Clearly this is all just my mind running and me thinking about the future but I suppose as the years go by that this dream of mine will hopefully become a reality sooner than I think it will. I suppose I just want to be somewhat ready for it. My point to all of this is that if life as a "youth mom" is even half as good as being a real mom then sign me up! Never thought I'd see the day where I would be writing blogs about having kids.

Happy Birthday to Me...

I turned 25 on September 21st. Ya, 25! It felt like this year majorly flew by. Twenty four was pretty good to me. I experienced more things that year than any other year before. I suppose every year should be that way, where you experience and learn things that you never have and that it just continues to get better and better. I pray to God that this year be good to me.

I have so many things I want to accomplish this year. I want to go back to school. I want to finish paying off my debt. I want to travel. I want to change lives. I want to change my own. God has blessed me so much that at times I feel I don't deserve it. But deep down I know that I need to just be thankful instead of questioning it. This year will be a big year of trusting in Him. I feel I have some pretty big decisions coming my way and I really need to be listening to what to do.

Thank you to everyone who celebrated with me. Whether it was through text, twitter, emails, cards, voicemails etc. I appreciate you all more than you know! There is only one picture from this weekend and that's the one above that Candice took. BUT here is a recap of my favorite moments from this weekend:

-Chick flick with my favorite ladies

-Dinner at The Cheesecake Factory

-Playing "Mafia" and "Things"

-Spending quality time with my sister and nephew

-Wishing my grandma a Happy 75th birthday when she thought it was her 76th (We share the same b day)

-100+ J. High students singing Happy Birthday to me while on stage during service

-Flowers, cards, cupcakes and body pillows

- Late night dinner with some of my favorite kids @In N Out

Looking forward to 26...


Fan Friday

This is Peter, one of the nicest guys you will ever meet!


It's been a couple years now that I've known you and I must say that you are the epitome of "servent". I think a lot of times people hear that word and automatically think that it's something negative. I see such willingness in your heart to help and do what needs to get done. I think the best part of your willingness to help is that you have the right attitude ALL the time. You are such a positive person and that is definitely needed in the work that we do.

You are such a joy to be around because you are such an uplifting person. I always see you encouraging other students older or younger and even the adult leaders as well. You are a great leader! As the days go by I notice more and more that you possess the qualities it takes to be something incredible! Thank you so much for all of your hardwork and especially for your heart. You are a great example of what our students should be like, in ministry and out of ministry.

I look forward to continue working with you in our Remnant family! Specifically in J. High, we need you there just as much as any other leader! You are definitely someone that we can't replace and don't even want to try to replace. Children's ministry and Next Gen would be lost without you. I pray that God continue to use you because he is doing an amazing job with you, as always ;)



Watering the Seed

This story starts back when I was 18yrs old. I met this boy, his name is Brad. He doesn't read my blog so I'll use his real name. Brad and I have been friends since I was 18 although now we haven't seen eachother in about 3 yrs I still talk to him every so often.

Back in the day he and I were inseperable, from morning to night it was us all the time. I adored the guy, he was my best friend. When I had first met him he had a lot of issues with God. He had lost his friend Max to Muscular Distrophy when Max was a very young age. He felt like God wasn't there for him, like God just felt like taking Max home early for no reason. It broke my heart to see that he had so much hate in his heart. I would always do my best to tell him that God is a God of love but he never seemed to care.

Back in the day when we used to hang out he used to live here in Corona and then eventually moved back with his mom in Hemet. I started noticing that he was drinking more and started to smoke ciggarettes and eventually started trying out weed. I did my best to not be the judgemental friend but I also wasn't going to stand by and let him ruin his life. I tried to be the positive influence in letting him know that he could have better for his life because he has so much potential to be something amazing.

I never really knew if the words I was saying were getting to him or not but I knew that I needed to be honest with him. We stopped hanging out a few years ago because we both started growing out of our "Joey and Dawson" phase and getting on with our paths. I hear from him time to time but I haven't seen him in years. Just yesterday I was thinking about him and how I felt like I did my best to try and influence him in the right direction, a few hours after thinking about him I got this in a text message:

"B, ive only had a handful of best friends in my life. Yet alone a few girls that wanted me in their weddings for a time...but you need to know that no matter where life sends us you were a big part of my life that that i'll always remember and i'm so grateful for u! I would've never found a path to getting healed about Max without u and you know you've been there for so much more. So take this message however you prefer but thank you for so much frienship and it didn't go to waste. I appreciate it and always remember u. And it's not unfortunate that we grew apart becuase you've done so much with your life that could've never happened with me around and I'm proud of you. Almost as much as your father is. You were always there for me. I love u as a best friend now and till I die. Thank you!"

The water works turned on when I read this. My heart sank, in a good way. Him and I have been through a lot together, friends dying, my dad passing away, family drama, friends having babies, friends getting married, the list goes on. Even till this day when something big happeneds he's one of the first that I notify. And a quick update on him: He doesn't smoke ciggarettes or do drugs or even drink that often anymore. He's an awesome father and is with the love of his life.

I say all of this to say that I never imagined that my words would have had any effect on him because he never showed it. We've been friends since I was 18 and I'm going to be 25. All I did was water the seed, God majorly blessed me with being able to see it flourish. God knew what He was doing when he put me in Brad's life. I'm just thankful I get to continue being a part of it.


Fan Friday


I adore you. You're such a good person with a fantastic personality. You're like one of my own kids that I've seen grow up over the years. I would have to say that you're one of the funniest people I know. I laugh at a lot but you seem to make me laugh a bit more than most. I'm so proud of you for the things that you have accomplished in such a short time. I know you are going through some difficult things but I want to remind you that you have your support system to land on. Don't feel too proud to say you need help or advice.

I see you for more than I think you may see yourself. I see immense potential. Potential to get good grades, to mend relationships, to be a supportive son, brother, friend, boyfriend etc. The world has so much that it can offerr you! Be on your toes and go for it! There's no doubt in my mind that you will continue to grow into an amazing man. Set your goals and don't lose sight of them. I'll be here along the way, encouraging you and borderline nagging you to make sure you did your homework ;)

God's going to keep using you if you let Him. What I mean by that is let Him lead you when you feel awkward or when you feel shy ministering to others. He'll guide you in what to say and do, just ask Him. Already you've been doing a fantastic job!

Love you Keyvan!



Fan Friday

Today's lucky Fan Friday winner is: Bryan Corona

Bryan, B, B$,

What can I say? Without making anyone feel left out I must say that you are one of my favorite people. It's been a short time that we have been serving together but I have seen so much growth and maturity in you. You have such an amazing heart for people. I know that If I send you someone that you'll take care of them. You're in such a great time of your life, I encourage you to really enjoy it and take advantage of the days. Don't let oppurtunities pass you by. God has immensely blessed you with so much, a great family, friends, and a ministry family that cares about growing you.

I admire the fact that you're protective of those you love and care about. I think it's great that you support your family and treat your mother and women with respect. I love that you look after your brother even though it may be difficult to get along. He really looks up to you, always remember he's watching and choosing your footsteps.

Remember that everyday that goes by is a battle that can be won with God on your side. I am so blessed and honored that you are part of my life. I love that we can sing old rap songs or go from talking about climbing to astronomy. You're a great man B, I say man because you're not a kid in my eyes. Keep doing what you're doing because it's working!!!

I ain't got nothin' but love for you B!


Divine Appointments and Spiritual Attacks

Yesterday I was having a rough morning to say the least. Chop it up to hormones or just my emotions running wild. Through the day I cleaned the house, unpacked (from a week ago) and did some laundry. Cleaning somehow clears my head, almost therapeutic. That could be because I come from an anal father who always had to have everything spotless.

After cleaning and doing chores and what not I ended up over at the JV offices of SH. My plan was to go and relax in the AC and upload pictures from my trip. I ended up talking to Melissa (Next Gen Coordinator) for a while. I <3 that girl. It's been a short time but she's one of those people that you really feel are your family. She's one of those that I feel I could tell just about anything to. After talking to her I felt a weight lifted. She's so positive and so reassuring. Best of all, she never thinks I'm crazy for feeling what I feel.

As if that meeting wasn't uplifting enough, I ran into P.Dev aka Pastor Devland who always seems to notice when I'm not at my 100%. He's probably one of the few people that I feel really understands me to the fullest. And one of the few people that can call me out on the lie when I say "I'm good :)" After talking to him I really felt like the things that God has placed in my heart were being confirmed.

I titled the second half of the entry "Spiritual attacks" because I feel like lately I've been getting hit left and right. Some in subtle ways, and others just right up in my face. I remember P.Chris saying that if you're not getting attacked then you must not be doing something right. I must be doing a pretty fantastic job at what I'm doing because I'm feeling it. I'm praying to keep myself guarded from attacks and not let my emotions get played with by peoples opinions that were never asked for to begin with.

This may not make sense to you, but again it's more for me to vocalize in some way what I'm feeling. Regardless of whether it's verbal or written.


Emotions And Practicing What I Preach

This entry is more for me than for you. I woke up this morning and instantly felt this overwhelming sense of sadness. I've been noticing more and more that I'm great when it comes to handling other people's problems or issues but when it comes to mine I like to throw them under the rug as if they were piles of dust that I collected from sweeping my heart.

I'm constantly telling my students that they just need to let it out and be honest with themselves. That it's actually good to cry because you release everything inside. So why is it so hard for me to take my own advice? Why do I feel the need to be this so called "Super Woman". Is it because I feel the need to be strong for everyone else? If so, then I may be fooling myself into thinking that I won't someday fall myself.

To be open, honest and transparent, my heart hurts. And it has been for quite a while. Some days are good, some days are bad but I make the best of it. Or do I? Am I making the best of it because I ignore my feelings? If so, I don't think that's progress. I have such a hard time with vulnerablity, I have a hard time with someone else knowing I'm sensitive and weak at times. Why?


Fan Friday

Megan "MJ" Jordan

Dearest MJ,

When I think "Life Change" I think MJ. You have changed SO much in the past few months that it's remarkable. Your heart for God is so big that I honestly feel we can all learn something from you. I still remember the first time that I gave you a ride home, I remember thinking "this girl probably thinks I'm boring!" haha. I say that because you're such a unique individual that your personality spills out of you. I feel honored that you've given me a place in your life. A place where I can be encouraging, honest, open and able to lend an ear.

I'm always blown away when I have conversations with you because there is so much wisdom that comes with your words. You are wise beyond your years and I know that comes with the things that you've been through. You've become a stronger person than I think you realize. You have so much to offer and I can't tell how happy it makes me that you and I work side by side. Get ready for amazing things to happen in your life. Keep focused on Him and you can't go wrong.

Love you girl!

Brenda AKA Medina



The other night before I went to bed I felt like I had a break through. I have a hard time with intimacy with God sometimes because I never had the earthly father that was affectionate or outwardly loving. I didn't get told on a daily basis that I was loved even though I knew I was. He wasn't exactly the nicest man in the world but he was a great provider and he did his best. I think because I never experienced that close relationship with my dad that it blocks me from fully letting myself be embraced by God.

Moving on...

Ever have a dream that you wake up from and think that it actually happened? Or at least you wish that it actually happened? Last night I prayed before bed and asked God to show me something in my dream that would give me peace. I went to bed feeling a bit restless. I asked Him to speak to me in the dream because to me it's where I think He gets me the most.

All I really remember from the dream is that I was in a house somewhere with a lot of people. I believe the people in the house were my family but the ones I remember the most being there are my mom and dad. In the dream I was saying goodbye and giving hugs and kisses and what not. I passed up my dad in the process of saying goodbye, sounds cold I know but if it was reality I would have never hugged or kissed him goodbye. We didn't have the type of relationship where I would feel comortable doing that.

As I was walking past him he said something like "hey what about me!?" in the dream I remember being confused as to why he cared. I went back and he asked me for a hug, he fully took me in his arms and just held me and told me he loved me. I immediately started crying, not because I was sad but because it was something I had never experienced. I don't know if that was God's way of showing me intimacy or if it was just something I needed to see and feel but it was powerful. All it took was a hug and an "I love you".

God is everywhere...even in my dreams.


Counting my blessings...

I've been realizing a lot of things lately but one of the major things I've been recognizing is that I haven't been spending very much time with God. I talk to Him everyday and a lot of times during the day but it feels like when things are good I don't spend as much time with Him. I really don't think that's ok. Don't get me wrong I praise Him and thank Him everyday for the things that I have been blessed with. I also have been thanking Him for prayers that He hasn't answered. Because I know that He knows what's best for me.

It's just really been weighing on me that I haven't been spending much time with Him. I've been spending more time doing things for Him then with Him. I know He doesn't need me to do things for Him, I need to remember that. I've been realizing more and more that I'm one of those people that pull closer to Him when things are going wrong or when I'm sad or when I just feel lonely. I don't necessarily think that's wrong either but I know I should be doing that when things are going well also.

Life has been pretty good to me the past couple months. I just finished taking my last two finals that will wrap up my two year internship with The South Hills Catalyst Program (assuming I passed of course). I graduate on August 29th, feel free to come out and celebrate with me! I am involved in a ministry that I have been waiting a very long time to be a part of. We're changing lives on a daily basis and we're just at the beginning.

Counseling for teens is where my heart is and where I feel God has been leading me for a long time. It's been confirmed time and time again that this is where I should be. Starting next week I will be starting counseling sessions with students who need a listening ear. I will be teaming up with Dan Martin (amazing and gifted man) he will be my mentor as far as the counseling goes. He will be my immediate resource and support. I really never thought that at the end of Catalyst I would be doing EXACTLY what I want to be doing.

God has been blessing me left and right. When I say blessings I don't just mean the "big" things I mean everything. The roof over my head, the gas in my car, the friends and family in my life, the air in my lungs, my support system... everything.


Fan Friday (A day late)

(On the left)

Today's lucky Fan Friday winner: KEELY!

Yes my dear, it's YOU! I chose you for a few reasons. 1. You're my #1 reader. 2. You're awesome. 3. You deserve it!
I've had the pleasure of getting to know over the past couple years and I've been able to see such growth and maturity through you. I know life has dealt you some pretty interesting cards but I find it amazing that you're able to continue on with every day. Thank you for letting me be the ear that listens when you need it. I think you have really great potential to be whatever you want to be. I encourage you to continue seeking after God and what He wants for you.

I want you to remember that you are a beautiful woman of God and that to Him you are perfect. Remember that any time you feel like you're not as great as you think you are. I also encourage to continue on with your music. If you feel God's calling you to worship then don't feel like you're not good enough, you are! I really think you need to keep stepping out of your comfort zone the way you have been, you will definitely be blessed in the process. Lastly, remember that I'm always here for you. Good or bad.




Do you ever find yourself in other peoples situations and find yourself giving some of the best advice and then think to yourself "Hmm, I should really practice what I preach". Well I feel like that has been happening to me a lot lately.

There have been a few incidents where I see myself in these people and what they're going through and I still find myself feeling like I'm the exception to the situation. Thinking that whatever it is that I'm going through is "different". Why? Who says it's different? Me? It most definitely doesn't sound any different, or look any different. So why do I feel like because it's me and because I'm going through the motions that it would be different.

I try to look at my situations from the outside and think to myself "If this wasn't me, what would I tell myself" half of the time I don't like my answer. I don't like my answer because it's most likely the correct one. When is it that I stop and say "Hey Brenda, it's ok to be wrong on this one". Just something to think about. What situation do you face that you feel you are the exception?

Fan Friday

Drum roll please.....

This week I chose none other than Chris Kretzu


I wanted to write about you because I know that life has been pretty crazy for you this past year. So many transitions and so many changes that have been happening and that are going happen. I chose you because you are one of the best examples at how God can turn some of what seem to be the worst situations into great ones. When I first heard that you and Es were moving to Iowa I had mixed emotions. Selfish emotions of losing two really great people in my life and also feeling extremly happy for you both.

God is definitely growing and using you for something so much bigger than I'm sure you've ever thought of. I know you've heard it all so I wont "preach" to you about how God does everything for a reason because I know we both strongly believe He does. But it really amazes me to see that through all of this craziness that God has really blessed you with a great position where you are free to be you and to continue growing and blessing people through your music.

I find it admireable that through everything that has happened that you still managed to get up every morning and make something of the day. That you continued fighting for yourself and for your family. That you didn't give up on being in ministry because you feel so strongly about where God has His call on your life. I am beyond excited to see how many more ways you are going to be blessed. I know you've blessed my life and for that I thank you. You're the big brother I never knew I always wanted ;)

P.S. Get your place ready for my visit next year!


Fan Friday

Today/Tonight's lucky winner: JOLENE CAMPBELL!

Where do I start with you? You're one of the most valuable people in my life. So much so that I don't just consider you my friend but I consider you my sister. You have such an amazing heart that it shines through you. You have the ability to make me laugh and cry all at the same time. You have this amazing energy about you that is contagious.

So much is changing and so much is coming. I know that God has so many amazing things in store for you that will blow your mind! The transitions may not be the best but the outcomes are what really matter. God's pushing you through some pretty crazy times and I have no doubt in my mind that you are going to come out stronger and with more clarity than you have ever had.

Thank you for being so supportive of me and my walk with God. Thank you for being the shoulder to lean on when things get crazy. I appreciate you more than you know and I am thankful to be able to call you my friend. Love you Jo Jo

P.S. Thank you for "family time" ;)



Flight 645

It's official. I've booked my flight to Philadelphia. Seriously, it may not seem like a big deal to anyone else but I've never booked my own flight before, I've never flown by myself either. All the times that I've ever flown anywhere the trips have been planned for me. Anyone that knows me well enough knows that I don't like to fly, I've gotten much better. I think eleven straight hours to London and then another eight to Africa broke me a tiny bit of the fear. Yes, I just name dropped.

I'm just excited to get out of California for a tiny bit. My goal is to go somewhere at least once a year if not more than that. So far I've been doing pretty well on that goal. This time last year I was in Florida, not exactly for the best reason. My grandpa passed away this month last year so it was definitely a family trip. But none the less it was good to see family that I hadn't seen in years.

This trip will be much different. I fly into Philly around 6 am and I'll be going straight to Broadstreet ministries where we will be working with homeless people. I love listening to their stories of how they got there and where they came from. It really just puts your life in perspective and really makes you reliaze how blessed you are and how there are too many people in the world that need help.

From there it's sightseeing and a Philly's baseball game! I love going to baseball games, it's one of the few places I can be loud and not get told to be quiet. It's the little things that make me happy. The next day we're heading out to NYC, heck yes! That will be a lot of sightseeing. I'm looking forward to taking tons of pictures. Should be a great time. I don't leave for another 5 weeks but I'm sure it'll fly by.

The big 25 is coming up in September... already planning my next adventure. Till next time.



Fan Friday

Today's lucky winner...

Lindsey Megan Price AKA Roomie #3

First of all. I love you dearly, seriously. I wanted to start by giving you props on how you manage to do to everything you do. I've watched you handle two jobs for the past few months and I'm always in awe at the fact that you just keep going and keep pushing forward. I know that you're searching right now for what you want to do in life and where you're going to be next year. I wanted to tell you that I fully 110% believe that you can do whatever YOU want to do.

I think it's fantastic that you want to go to school to make furniture and someday open your own coffee shop. How amazing would that be?! I would be your #1 customer. I love the fact that you're such a free spirit, I love that you can decide to move to Florida for school and just do it. I love that you have such a calming presence. I love that I almost never hear you speak negatively about anyone or anything. Thank you for being such a positive person.

I wanted to tell you that I think you're a beautiful human being with a sensitive heart and a love for God and his people. You're such a supportive friend and for that I thank you. I am blessed and privelaged to say that I share a home with you.

Love you Linds!

Analyze this...

I seriously think I have a problem... well more than one but that's not where I want to take this. I OVER analyze almost everything. Especially lately. I feel like everyday that goes by I'm trying to figure out what's going to happen next. I'm on a six month plan right now, well it's more of a 5 1/2 month plan now. I literally have a list of to do's from now until January.

And then something happened... I don't know if it was God saying "Hey Brenda, don't put me in a box k?" or if it was just me realizing that I can't have everything perfectly planned out. SO much can change from now until January, so much can happen TODAY! I guess I just need to realize that it's ok to have set goals and it's ok to have expectations but that I shouldn't be surprised if those things don't go the way I planned them to.

A LOT has happened in the past few days that is really making me think..."Is this really what I want?" I don't like that feeling... "confusion" I HATE it actually and I don't hate many things. Actually, it's not even a "Is this what I want?" because I know EXACTLY what I want I just dont know the who or the where or the when. Does that make sense?

I feel like I'm rambling and none of this makes sense but oddly I feel better just typing it out. So if it doesn't make sense to you I apologize. Can you see now how I over analyze?



Fan Friday

So I know I've been MIA on the last two "Fan Friday's" I'll chop it up to me being sick and incapable of blogging.

This week I chose Miss Alexandria Amador. For those of you who may not know her you should really get on it. She is by far one of my favorite students at South Hills and one of my favorite people in life. I feel I connect with her because we've been through similar things in life.

It hasn't been that long that you and I have known each other and even a shorter time of you and I getting to know each other but I feel like I've known you for years. I thank God for placing you in my life and I thank you for letting me be an influence and a voice in your life. You have such an amazing heart for God and His people, please don't ever loose sight of that. You have so many awesome things ahead of you. Already God has pushed you through some great things and some not so great things, but through all of it He has been there just like I will be. I can't wait to see the rest of what this world has to offer you. You are a very smart girl with so much promise. Set your sight on things above and you can never go wrong. Love you girl!!!

Brenda AKA "Mama Bear"



"Pending" for the past month and a half all I see when I check my time off request is "Pending" I have 3 different requests in right now.

Youth Summer Camp- First week of August

Philly/NYC- Middle of August

PASSION 2010- January 2010

I feel they are all equally important and I want to do ALL of them, only I'm stuck in this "Pending" mode because someone can't get their act together and give me a yes or a no. I don't ask for this much BUT if you read this... can you pray that God put me exactly where I need to be in any of these three. It would be fantastic if I could do all three but realistically with my luck I maybe get one of three.

Youth Summer Camp would be amazing! A whole week with some of my favorite students and a whole week of getting to know new ones! I missed our on Kids Camp, which I am still super bummed about. The kids and leaders are actually all up there right now, I hear nothing but great things so far. Hopefully next year I can go to that.

Philly/NYC... need I say more? Five days with some of the most amazing people I've ever met in a city I've never been. Bring on Lady Liberty and the city of Brotherly Love! I really hope I get to do this, It would be amazing to get a break from CA and get some time to relax and just have fun without worrying about all the things I've got going on down here. I've never been to either city so I look forward to new memories and taking TONS of pictures.

PASSION 2010... This one almost doesn't need an explination of why I want to go. I went to the last one they had and it was literally life changing. From what I hear the one in Atlanta is even more amazing than the one I went to. Thank you Kretzu for getting me to go last time. This would be awesome to get be able to go to "HOTlanta", especially now that I have friends from there that can hook Jolene and I up with a place to stay!

Anyways... These are the places on the calendar that will hopefully become a reality. I'm going wherever God approves. I just pray he approves them ;)

"Movin' on up, to the East Side!"

Last night was our South Hills Youth service. We have them every Tuesday night for the J. High and High School students. We used to meet in the "Kidzone" of our church building. I say "used" to because last night was a big step in the direction that we are heading. Last night we moved all of our students from the Kidzone to the main sanctuary where they have what the kids call "Big Church".

We moved because for the past month we had to keep adding chairs to the service because students keep coming. The past two weeks we had to pull chairs from the main building because we ran out! How amazing is that?! A couple months ago I remember vividly saying to P.Chris "We won't make it to September before switching over into the other room" sure enough, it's July and two months away from our RE:Launch. It's so exciting to see the students really living out what "church" is. Watching them care about someone other than themselves.

I can't tell you how fulfulling it is to watch these students grow up. I mean that in the spiritual, physical and emotional sense. I love that I get to pour into these people on a daily basis. I really feel like their my kids. If being a mom feels even a tenth as awesome as that then I really can't wait to have my own family with my own kids. What an amazing thing to be able to mold these young minds and really teach them about God and how we are to live our lives.

This ministry is blowing up just as predicted months ago. We are just barely getting our feet wet. We WILL reach the entire city, and this "church" that we call family will never be the same. I finally feel like I am a part of something meaningful. I thank God every day for not letting me give up when things got difficult, when I felt I wouldn't make it through the transitions and changes.

Until next time...



Fan Friday

Todays "Fan Friday" lucky winner goes to....

Esmeralda Camacho-Kretzu

I say Camacho-Kretzu because I still see the Camacho in her.


I chose you for a few reasons so I'll start at the top. I give you credit for marrying Chris, I know it's not easy (love you Kretzu) haha jk. In all seriousness, you give a really great example of a supporting wife, loving friend and amazing servant. I've seen you grow so much from the time I first met you. Back in the day when to me, you were Myra's "older sister" and now your Es "family".

Thanks for always having such a positive attitude even when things don't always go to plan. Thanks for having the competitve gene and always wanting to play games! Thank you for all of the inside jokes that I can now laugh at and feel special. Thank you for screaming at movies with me when they're scary even though we get yelled at by the boys. Thank you for lending an ear when I need it. Thank you for being my #1 reader :)

Most of all, thank you for being you. I appreciate you more than you know. I look forward to all of the amazing things that are coming your way. This is just the beginning of a great adventure for you and Chris. <3 you!



Wanna Get Away?

I oddly feel like running away today. Away from paperwork, schedules, rosters, meetings, services ALL of it. My heart is unsettled today and I'm not 100% sure why. Some pretty big decisions are coming my way and as much as they excite me, they also scare me. Change is good... gotta keep reminding myself of that.

I have to keep reminding myself that everything happeneds for a reason and If I'm lucky enough I'll get to see the fruit from those situations or decisions. The next few months are going to be life changing...I know it. I'm ready for it! Come oooon August! Get here already.



Fan Friday

Last week I started "Fan Friday" where I select someone that I want to just lift up and encourage. Today I chose...drum roll please....CANDICE :)


We've been through nine years together! Nine years of going through friends, boyfriends, break ups, losing loved ones, gaining new ones and becoming best friends and roommates. You're the longest lasting friend I have ever had and the one that I know will be around until the day we're done here. I chose you because I look back at us in High School and I look at us now and we aren't even 1/4 of what we used to be. You've really shown that you aren't the same person. You've turned your life completely around and really began to seek God for who HE is not for what people tell you he is. I love when you have questions because it really shows that you care and want to grow. I encourage you to continue seeking Him, He loves that.

I wanted to say thanks to you also, for also proving that you will always be there for me regardless of how ridiculous I can be or how severe the situation is. Thank you for being so supportive when it came to me choosing ministry school and helping with fundraisers on Friday nights when you could have been somewhere else. You have A LOT ahead of you. God has placed some pretty amazing talents in you. Go after what you want and what He wants for you! I continue to be surprised at how creative you can be. I can't wait till I see your videos or movies on the big screen. Don't lose sight of what makes you happy. And don't forget about me when you become famous. We have our whole lives ahead of us... I can't wait to be in eachother weddings or start having babies at the same time haha.

Love you Dizzle.



Musical Shuffle

I've been hit! Tagged that is. I was tagged in a blog by my friend Chris, you can find him @ kretzu.com Here's what you do...

Music Shuffle

Once you’ve been tagged… (1) Turn on your MP3 player or I guess your music player on your computer if you don’t have an MP3 player. (2) Go to SHUFFLE songs mode. (3) Write down the first 25 songs that come up–song title and artist–NO editing/cheating, please. (4) Choose 5 people to be tagged.

1. Si Una Vez- Selena
2. T @!#$% skit- Ludacris
3. Somewhere Only we know- Keane
4. So, In This Hour- The Rocket Summer
5. I’m Lost Without You- Blink 182
6. Fat Bottomed Girls- Queen
7. Hear You Me- Jimmy Eat World
8. Stop This Train- John Mayer
9. Fly Away- Black Eyed Peas
10. Teardrops on my guitar- Taylor Swift
11. If I Fall- Aqualung
12. Cocaine Blue- Joaquin Phoenix
13. Shakira- Ojos Asi
14. I Wish- Jo Dee Macina
15. Crying In the Chapel- Elvis
16. Let It Happen- Jimmy Eat World
17. Must Be Dreaming- Frou Frou
18. Life In Technicolor-Coldplay
19. Dark Come Soon- Tegan and Sara
20. Like That- Black Eyed Peas
21. Touchdown Turnaround- Hellogoodbye
22. Geek In the Pink-Jason Mraz
23. We Never Change-Coldplay
24. Move On-JET
25. That’ll Be the day- Buddy Holly

Wow… Talk about Variety! I apologize for any song selection that may have offended you. I need to update this thang! Yes, I said “thang”

I tag: Nicole, Jolene, Mike, Gretchen and Es. Es, you need a blog! Chris can't be the only posting stuff all the time ;)


I died.

Not literally...

Yesterday we were asked to attend a leadership meeting hosted by P.Chris. We weren't told anything that was going to be going on this meeting, we were just told to show up. When we got there we were told to pray for a couple minutes and to just prepare our hearts to experience and to be open.

As we walked into the building it was dark, with tea lights on the ground lighting our pathway. We could hear helicopters, explosions and gunshots through the speakers. As we got closer we saw different displays. Some of them were comments from real people who cut, hate themselves, want to die or some who just don't believe in God.

As we walked around at all the different displays of statistics and reading about teen pregnancy or teen depression I just couldn't help but cry. These topics physically hurt me because every week I have girls come to me asking me to pray for them because they are cutting or because they feel ugly. It's real life that isn't just read in magazines or seen in movies. I feel like I am living these experiences with these girls because I'm close to them.

After walking around to the different displays we were asked to watch a clip of "Saving Private Ryan". I had never seen that movie but from the 20 minutes that I saw of it I couldn't keep a dry eye. The clip was showing people dying everywhere in this battlefield. We live in that battlefield everyday. The battle between good and evil, between God and Satan. There are hundreds upon thousands of kids that are out there in that battle zone and we have the ammo to save them. Are we using our ammo? Or hoarding it to ourselves?

I title this "I died" because we were asked to die to ourselves yesterday. To put our selfishness aside and to give life to someone else. To go out there and "Chase the One". I say all of this to say that I had already been feeling that tug on my heart to really evaluate where I'm spending my time and who I'm spending it with. To really give life to someone else and to pour into others.

Yesterday: I died to myself and I am going to continue chasing after the ONE, are you?


Fan Friday

So a few of my friends have started weekly blogging like "Follow Friday" or "Thrifty Thursday". Well I want to start "Fan Friday" where I pick a certain person to encourage and to just shout out to the world how great I think they are because I'm a big fan. This will be my first entry with this new nifty title. In all honesty the reason I thought of this was because there is a particular friend that I wanted to write about already. So she was the inspiration to this blogging. I want to start with none other than Nicole.

I chose you because over the past couple years and more so past few months you have really shown me what it means to be there for someone. I am truly blessed to have you in my life. I know that whatever I am going through you will be there, as you have proven that time and time again. I admire you for your strength. I don't know how one person can take so much, but clearly you can. I know that through these awkward seasons God shows us how much he loves us. I think with everything going on that God has some pretty amazing things coming up for you. I know that he knows you can handle ANYTHING. I'm excited to see what develops the rest of the year. Never underestimate your God given gift. You have so much talent and beauty that I feel needs to be shared with the world. Philadelphia? NYC? Ohio? Wherever you go I support you and will most definitely come visit you! I am looking forward to exploring the possibilities of your future in August :)

So Nicole... thank you for being you.




Tough Decision

As most of you know I have been planning for my mission trip to Thailand since late last year when we found out officially where we were going. From the last blog about this trip I posted that the trip may not be possible for me at this time due to conflicts in work schedule.

Last night an “Emergency” meeting was called to discuss the progress of the trip. To get short and sweet, we were told that we need AT LEAST 5 people to go on this trip with 1 leader (Catalyst Director). That would be the worst case scenario. As I was sitting at the table listening to the different possibilities of this trip it really started to sink in that this trip wasn’t going to happen for me.

As you all know when the trip got postponed I had to come back to work and ask for my vacation time to be switched. My boss informed me that there was nothing she could do about switching but that she was very sorry. I took it upon myself to try and persuade those who were taking vacation in that time but unfortunately it didn’t work.

Taking all of that into consideration, the only way that this trip was going to happen for me is if I quit my job. I don’t feel God is calling me to quit my job. That said, I officially told Mary and Jason that I withdrawal myself from this trip. I told them that I didn’t think it was fair of me to continue fundraising money for myself for a trip that I may not be on. I also don’t think it’s fair for the planning aspect of it. A lot of detail goes into planning these trips. Everything from planning how many rooms to get, to how many lesson plans etc. I felt it was selfish of me to have them continue planning as if I was going to be there and then last minute come to the realization that I really can’t go because of work.

Don’t get me wrong, I know God is bigger than my work schedule but I also know that there is nothing in me that is telling me to continue fighting for this, at least not for me. As far as fundraising goes, the team still needs YOUR help! We have a couple rummage sales, babysitting nights and a bowling night for fundraising. The team still needs all the help they can get. I may not be going on this trip but I will definitely be supporting my team as if I was.

The team is having another rummage sale on Saturday the 30th (next week). If you have ANYTHING to donate please let me know and we will be more than happy to come pick up your items.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me along the way. It means the world to me.



Girls Night

Last night myself and 21 other amazing women from South Hills went out to Saddleback Church out in Lake Forest for Girls Night. I was invited by the lovely Gretchen Baxter :) Seriously, the more time I spend with the woman the more I'm amazed at what a great person she is. She's hilarious, loving, supportive and a blast to hang with.

"She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future.” Proverbs 31: 25

This was the verse that was focused on last night. Kay Warren (Rick Warrens wife) was the main speaker for the evening. She spoke about fear and how we should be able to laugh at the future without worry. What I liked about her was that she didn't say "This is what we should do, so do it" It was more real, she said that she struggled her whole life with fear of the unknown. Constantly thinking something bad was coming, she feared the future whole heartedly.

She said she finally got to a breaking point where she said she wasn't going to let herself be overcome with such fear, worry and anxiety. It spoke to me because I'm the same way. Or at least I've gotten MUCH better. I used worry a lot about the future and what's going to happen, where I will be, what will I be doing. But I think I'm slowly learning and trusting more that God's got my back. I realize more and more that If I'm in God's will then He really will take care of me.

She also spoke about being prepared for the waves of life. That we shouldn't be laying in the sand waiting for them to hit us but instead we should "Decide to be a woman who sees the waves coming but chooses to believe that God is the God of waves" Do you believe that? I do. We should continue to live boldly even if we can see the waves coming. We should live our lives with freedom and have faith in the promises of God.

I had never been to an event where there were so many women of different ages, races, backgrounds etc. It was really good to be able to spend time with such strong women in our church community. I also got to meet some new faces that I had never really gotten to know before last night. A few months ago I probably would have said no to an event like this but I'm trying new things and really taking to heart what P.Chris says about friends and who I surround myself with, which is "Show me your friends and I will show you your future. BAM! It's like that.

All in all I had a really great night. Good message. Good people.



As most of you know I was supposed to leave for Thailand on May 27th, yes I said "supposed". We had a team mission meeting on Thursday afternoon to discuss the fact that we are still very far from our financial goal for this trip. We were told that our trip is being moved to July 22nd to August 3rd. My first reaction was to be thankful that the trip wasn't canceled completely because I know that was an option. My second reaction however was when reality set in.

I realized that changing my vacation time from work wouldn't be that easy. When I say wouldn't be that easy I mean it's virtually impossible. All I could think about after that meeting was that there was a huge possibility I wouldn't be able to go on this trip. All I could do at that point was hope for the best and pray pray pray.

The next morning I went in and spoke with my boss and told her everything that was going on. We looked at the vacation schedules and she informed that those weeks were already taken and that there was someone on the wait list as well. So I would need to convince three people to move their vacation days. I immediately started crying, this whole thing has just really worked me up. My boss started crying a bit with me and told me she was really sorry but there was nothing she could do.

There was nothing she could do? Maybe there is nothing I can do? I think I've done just about all I can do at this point. I think that if God really wants me on this trip then He will make it happen. Annie said something to me last night about this whole thing, she said that in all the mission trips she has ever seen that not one of them was canceled or postponed due to money. she said money always comes through. She said she thinks there may be a bigger reason as to why this is all happening. Maybe we aren't supposed to be there in May? Maybe we aren't supposed to be there at all? Maybe I'M just not supposed to be there.

I told Mary that I had a dream a few weeks ago that I was told we were no longer going, she told me she had the same dream. Prophetic? Maybe. Maybe not. Jason said that's the enemy trying to psych me out. Keeping all that in mind I have got to believe that if God wants me there He will make this happen. So at this point it's a waiting game BUT I ask that if you're reading this right now that you would pray for me and my team. Regardless of whether I get to go or not, please pray for them and this trip.

Thanks for reading :)



Spread the word!

We all still need LOTS of money for Thailand! Please come, you'll be eating for a great cause ;)

Also, we are having a rummage sale on May 16th to keep raising funds for this trip. We have until May 17th to have ALL of our money in. Ya, talk about cutting it close with the fundraising. If you have ANYTHING that you do not want and would like to donate so we can sell PLEASE let us know! You can contact myself or Jolene and we would be more than happy to come and take whatever items off your hands :)

Countdown till we leave: 25 days! Please keep praying for us. For funds, for creative ideas on how to communicate the word, for favor, for safety etc.



Elijah "E.J." Nabua

Yesterday was the funeral of Elijah, a high school student that attended Driven Youth at South Hills. When I first heard the name I must admit I had no clue who everyone was talking about. I had been with Driven Youth from the get go but couldn't for the life of me remember the name. But when I saw his picture I knew EXACTLY who he was. Even before knowing for sure who he was my heart was saddened for him and his family. So young and so much to offer this crazy world of ours.

I remember him being quiet most the time when I'd see him in service. I would say what's up to him and ask how he was. He always seemed so shy. But a great kid none the less. When I went to the funeral yesterday I saw a couple of his buddies that I would talk to back when I was in that youth group full time. I was shocked at how well they seemed to be taking it. Everyone was more concerned with celebrating his life more than mourning it.

This death hit me a little bit harder than I thought it would. I think Jeremy Solis (Youth Pastor for Driven Youth) said what I felt best when he gave his speech yesterday. He said that he always knew him to be a quiet kid and that he didn't know his favorite color or who his best friends are at school, but that he knew he was a great kid who loved God with all his heart. After the service I told Jeremy that I was feeling the same way, that I didn't know those details about him but I knew he special.

I felt so convicted to reach out more to our kids and to really get to know them. And not just on the superficial level of "what school do you go to" or "how old are you" yes all of these things are important but to really KNOW these kids takes far greater attention. I think about all of the students that I talk to on Tuesday nights and I never feel like I have enough time in the day to get to know all of them. I know it's not my "role" to shephard 100 + kids but I feel like I should still attempt to get to know as many of them as I possibly can.

The funeral was filled with pictures, flowers, slideshows, videos, speeches from teachers and friends that were close to him. There were so many people that showed up to give their love and support to this family. Through the service Pastor Billy Phipps (South Campus Pastor) asked that if there was anyone in the room who had not fully given their life to Christ that they can do so RIGHT NOW. How amazing... to see life change in a tragedy.

Towards the end of the service Bryon Bos was singing "Mighty To Save" and I was completely floored when I saw the entire front row that consisted of Driven Youth students and E.J's friends stand up and start reaching their arms out to God in praise! To think that they still want to worship and praise our God even after their best friend was taken up to Heaven early just blows me away! We all followed suit and stood up right there with them. To hear the sounds of singing and praise through a funeral service is something I had never seen.

I know everyone takes death differently but I think for myself I can say that death always makes me want to live more. And yes it may be cliche but we are NEVER gauranteed tomorrow. It always makes me think that if I'm still here on this earth then God still isn't done with me yet and I need to keep going and keep reaching. I believe that goes for all of us.



Friday: April 24th

This is where I will be...


"L" is for the way...

It's for the way Candice tagged me in a blog ;)

Love- Is it possible to love, love? Well I do, in all forms. Whether it’s loving your mom, dad, friend, cousin, neighbor, music, food, art etc. Especially love in the romantic way… haven’t given up on it.

Laughter- I absolutely love to laugh. Funny movies, funny stories, funny friends and adventures. If you can make me laugh (which doesn’t take much) you’re pretty much in with me.

LOUD- Yes, *NEWSFLASH* I am loud. I think people sometimes don’t like it. I like the fact that I’m loud. It’s not purposely like “Hey! Look at me!” it’s more of a… that’s how I was born. And I love loud people, especially loud laughs.

Life- I’m pretty much loving it right now, yes it has its downfalls. But I’ve just been feeling so appreciative and blessed that all I can do is look at all the positive things that I have going for me in my life right now. I’m really excited to see what lies ahead as well!

Lounging- I don’t get to do this often BUT I really do enjoy just sitting at home reading, blogging, watching the occasional episode of The O.C. ( I <3 Seth). What can I say? I love the Jews. I especially enjoy lounging with my roomies and friends that come to hang out (most of them) ;)

Long Talks- Hallway talks at the Sheshack are my favorite. Or random talks about anything under the sun and moon until 1 am when I know I have to be up in 6 hrs. Candice and Jolene are my long talk girls at the house. Lindsey is slowly getting there, her and I have our lunch talks going for us for now.

Ladybugs- Because they remind me of Gretchen Baxter and how much I appreciate having her in my life. She’s like a second mom. LOVE her.

Lillies- Stargazers that is. I love Stargazer Lillies, they are one my absolute favorite flowers. I actually have some in my room right now so every time I walk in I get the most amazing aroma. Plus they look amazing, it’s the little things that make me happy.

“Lovers In Japan/ Reign Of Love”- Of course, it’s a COLDPLAY song. It literally just came on my I pod as I started typing this. Coincidence? I don’t believe in coincidence. I love this song, I love what it reminds me of… good times. I constantly attach memories to songs, I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing. I think I’ll stick with good thing. I can tell you exactly where I was or who I was with with almost any of my favorite songs.

Latina- Come on… as If I wouldn’t throw out the ethnicity card? I am Cuban/Mexican/American. Only till just recently do I own up to being Mexican. I used to just say I’m Cuban. I love who I am and where I came from. Always room for improvements… yes. Still working on it.