12.31.2010

2011, Let's Do This!













Happy New Year!

As much as I love beginning new things and coming into a new year, I am not a huge fan of New Years Eve. Shocker, I don't like something. I think its the pressure of doing something amazing to close out the year. Or the idea that however you end a year will determine how you go into the next one. I find myself over analyzing (again, shocker) what I should be doing for New Years Eve. Honestly, anything I do so long as its with the people I love and care about would be just fine.

With the new year comes the "New Years Resolutions" not a big fan of these either. I would prefer to call them "Goals for 2011". It feels like anytime you add the word "resolution" that it's doomed for failure. I don't want my goals for 2011 to crumble as soon as February rolls around. So taking a look at 2010 and figuring out what I want to be different about 2011, here is what I came up with, in no particular order;

Quality time with God
Read More
Relax More
Learn More
Become a licensed pastor (nbd)
Take a REAL vacation
Go on a missions trip
Quit my 9-5 job
Visit Chris and Es in Iowa
Spend more time with my family
Orange Conference

I'm not sure that I'll get to do all of these, but if I had it my way this would be done by December 2011. I'm hoping to do at least 7 out of 9. It's possible. I'm sure I'm missing some things, but these are the bigger goals.

12.27.2010

Break The Cycle
























This weekend Pastor Billy spoke about generations and how we have the ability to break the cycle and not end up like our past influences. It was funny to me because he mentioned how being with his family for Christmas he thought to himself "I am so different from them" but in reality, we are so much alike that we clash.

I realize more and more that I am my father. The good and the bad. Last night was another reminder that as much I have changed, and as much as I don't want to be like his bad qualities, they still fester in my blood. Hot blood to be exact. I have what some may call a short impatient fuse. Believe me when I say that this fuse has lengthened over the past years but it's still not where I want it. If I could have it my way I would have all the patience in the world and nothing would bother me.

Last night myself and a few friends had dinner at Miguels Jr. Already irritated with the long line I ordered my food and sat down. My number was called and to my surprise the order was incorrect. Not a huge deal really, I let the worker know that it was not what I had ordered. Here's how it went down:

B=Me W=Worker

B: I had ordered a bean rice and cheese with extra rice

W: This is a bean and cheese, what you ordered.

B: No, I ordered a bean rice and cheese extra rice.

He then gives the burrito back to the cook and says in Spanish "Hey, she wants a bean rice and cheese with extra cheese" To which I say "No, a bean rice and cheese with extra rice"

W: What you don't like cheese? (with attitude)

B: Just give me the burrito the way it is, it's fine. (said with attitude)

Honestly, reading this back I sound ridiculous. But sadly, this is my day to day. Crazy part is that I seem to let my emotion show more when I am around people that are closest to me. Maybe it's because I know they won't disappear when they witness the real me. Maybe it's because I trust they won't judge me for my imperfections. NEWSFLASH: Brenda Medina is human and not perfect. Maybe it was the fact that I was tired and it had been a long day. But regardless, I never want my excuse for my actions to be "I had a really long day". I've watched too many people treat others like junk because they had a bad day.

The thing about my fuse is that I HATE myself for letting small things like this rob me of my joy. The worst part about all of it is that it just reminds me of my dad and the countless emotional explosions I witnessed growing up. I am determined to break the cycle and CHOOSE my emotions rather then let my emotions dictate my reactions.

12.25.2010

Merry Christmas!


















Tonight marked the beginning of a new tradition in the Medina family. It all started with my mom coming to church with me for Christmas Eve service. My mom hasn't been to church in I'd say close to two years. As I sat next to her I could hear her singing along to the songs, watched her give during offering, and watched her pray. I was a wreck! I literally felt like an emotional fool who couldn't keep her tears in. I was incredibly thankful to God for letting me experience that moment with her.

There have been a lot of changes this year with family and how we spend our holidays. So this year I suggested dinner and movies at my apartment. It was nice to be able to cook for them and host in my own home. They both seemed to really enjoy just being able to relax and enjoy each others company. It was a nice change of pace.

On that note, don't forget the reason for the season, YOU. Jesus came for YOU. Merry Christmas!

12.22.2010

Your Love Is Strong

Music, gets me. It's a huge part of who I am. I can listen to it all day everyday. I think it's one of the most beautiful things that God created. This song has been stuck with me the past few days. Almost every time I hear it I want to cry. A reminder that His love is strong, and that He knows what I NEED.

"Your Love Is Strong"-Jon Foreman

Heavenly Father
You always amaze me
Let Your kingdom come in my world
And in my life

Give me the food I need
To live through today
Forgive me as I forgive
The people that wrong me

Lead me far from temptation
Deliver me from the evil one

I look out the window
The birds are composing
Not a note is out of tune
Or out of place

I walk to the meadow
And stare at the flowers
Better dressed than any girl
On her wedding day

So why should I worry?
Why do I freak out?
God knows what I need
You know what I need!

Your love is
Your love is
Your love is strong

The kingdom of the heavens
Is now advancing
Invade my heart
Invade this broken town

The kingdom of the heavens
Is buried treasure
Would you sell yourself
To buy the one you've found

Two things you told me
That you are strong
And you love me
Yes, you love me

Your love is
Your love is
Your love is strong
Your love is
Your love is
Your love is strong

Our God in Heaven
Hallowed be Thy name
Above all names
Your kingdom come
Your will be done
On earth as it is in Heaven
Give us, today, our daily bread
Forgive us weary sinners
Keep us far from our vices
And deliver us from these prisons

12.18.2010

Baby Steps

















On Thursday I took a baby step towards one of my 2011 goals. I sent in my request to the Assemblies of God office with a $25 dollar check to receive my information packet and application for credentials. It's been a little over two years since I completed my time with Catalyst School Of Ministry. When I originally started Catalyst I had no idea that I would be where I am today, I didn't even have the thought in my mind. I literally used to say "I don't want to be the kind of pastor that preaches every week", ironic that now that's what I do, and I love it.

For a long time I struggled with whether or not I even wanted to be a licensed pastor. Doesn't make sense right? Go to ministry school for two years and not want to do anything with it? It's been a long road, a lot of self discovery, a lot of focusing on what God wants for me, a lot of pruning, and a lot of obstacles. Thankfully that long road led me to where I am right now. It feels good to feel confident in what God wants me to do. The road doesn't end here, if anything it feels like I just turned on a different street, I'll be on it until God tells me otherwise.

The process to apply seems to be one of many hoops to jump through. It starts with submitting for an application packet, filling out application along with the long list of requirements, new credentials orientation, exam, interview, and I'm sure there's more. They hold two orientations a year, the first is March 24th, 2011 and the other is September 22nd 2011. I am hoping that I'll be able to finish with my paperwork so I can attend the March orientation.

I know that a lot of people will say that you don't need a certificate to say you're a pastor, but for me this is more than that. It's like going to college for 4 years and not wanting to finish your final exam to graduate. When I get called "Pastor Brenda" I want to know that I earned the right to be called that, even though I know I don't need a piece of paper to prove it.

12.14.2010

Dinner With The People

Every Monday night after J. High myself, and some of my amazing leaders go out for what we like to call "Dinner With The People". It has literally become the night that I look forward to the most out of the week. Monday nights are already a night I love because I get to spend time with our J. High students by mentoring and loving on them. Dinner with the people has turned into this family that gets to be in community with each other while sitting around a table eating.

Last night I told them that it's the night I look forward to the most because I love that I get to do life with them. It may just seem like sitting around a table eating, but to me it's spending quality time with people that I love. It's important to me that my leaders understand that they are important to me as leaders, but first as people. It's not all about what they're doing for the ministry, but it really is about what I can do for them. Being able to set aside a couple hours a week to spend quality time with them is a blessing.

Spencer had made a comment to me about how his group of friends are changing and things aren't the same as they used to be. It really brought me back to, if things aren't changing and groups aren't evolving then you're doing something wrong. If things aren't changing then that means that you're staying the same. No one is meeting new people, no one is venturing out doing new things, no one is moving on up in life. Realize that change isn't always a bad thing, sometimes it's just change. Which brought me back to dinner with the people, I know that Monday nights won't be the same forever, so I'm enjoying it while I have it.

12.10.2010

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree...

Well, here she is in all her glory. This is the first ever Christmas tree that I ever purchased, and also decorated on my own. May not seem like a huge deal to you, but to me it was the beginning of a new tradition. Another sign that I really am somewhat of a grown up. Last year while I was visiting Chris and Es in Iowa I had the pleasure of going to a real tree farm where you pick your tree and cut it down yourself! Such a fun and crazy experience. Here in sunny Corona, CA. the experience wasn't as great. The trees here aren't as pretty and they are really expensive.

To save myself some money (or so I thought) I decided to string popcorn and cranberries on fishing wire. I learned it from the Kretzu's. I must say that this task is quite time consuming, and not as much fun when you don't have people to help you do it. I'm not sure how many times I pricked my finger, yelled a bit, and downright gave up. BUT I pushed through, and here she is. Also, a tip for those watching their pennies, I got all of my ornaments at the 99cent store. They have some really great buys! Don't mock it till you try it.



12.01.2010

Emotional Rollercoasters

I'm going to India! No wait, no I'm not. I'm going to Haiti! No wait, not going there either. Just a tiny glimpse from my past few weeks, the makings of my emotional rollercoaster. As of Monday morning the trip to Haiti has been postponed due to the rioting going on because of the elections. It was decided that it was not safe for us to be out there at this time. To date, this is the third trip that I was completely set to go on, money paid, flight booked, time off work etc. and was postponed just weeks if not days before departure. I don't know why they all fell through, but I do know that I can't frustrate myself trying to figure it out.

The past couple weeks have been me trying to make sense of all of it. Its been "i KNOW God wants me to do this..." or "it's working out so perfectly it MUST be God's hand on it" to "I don't know what the heck is going on". I think the common thing I've come to is that it's not my job to understand, it's my job to obey. There's a chance that all of this was just a test, maybe God wanted to see how faithful and obedient I would be. Maybe it has nothing to do with any of that and maybe it's just a bad time right now.

What really keeps hitting me is that regardless of the ups and downs of my emotions through all of this is, its that the people that we were set out to help are still suffering. My emotional meltdown doesn't help the fact that people still need homes, still need someone to reach out to them, still need to know God loves them. I know that I have a God that I find my identity in, I know that when I feel the way I do right now, that He'll give me continuous joy. Not just happiness, but joy, happiness comes and goes, joy is a choice. I wish I could say that for everyone.

The enemy knows how to work anything and everything against me. Because immediately I started blaming myself for all of this, and making it all about me. To be completely honest, I wanted to leave the country and get away from the everyday routine of my life so that I could have God rock me so hard that I wouldn't be the same. Reality is, God can do that from anywhere that I am. I pray that He still does.

To add to the emotional madness, I gave up Fargo last night to a wonderful family who I know is going to love him unconditionally. The car ride there felt like an eternity. I felt like the entire time he knew exactly what was happening. All throughout the day I had been telling myself that I would be fine, that it's not a big deal, that I wouldn't get upset. Well, insert emotional breakdown #2 for this week. I'll admit it, I cried, and even now just thinking about it I get teary eyed. The family loved him, and I'm sure he will be more than fine with them.

I guess I just wasn't expecting to get worked up about it. The dog has been with me for 13 years, maybe it was the fact that my dad got him for me, or that he was his favorite. I'm really not sure. But I am so thankful that God was able to find him a home with great people who want to love him all day long.

It's only Wednesday, what else could this week bring? Hopefully not meltdown #3.

11.25.2010

Happy Thanksgiving!


















Meet Fargo. He has been in our family for 13 years. Fargo was given to me by my dad on my 13th birthday. When I moved out of my house I couldn't take him with me to the apartment I was living in so my sister kept him. Well, my sister just moved out and so I needed to resume motherly duties. He has already gotten a bath, new blankets, clean kennel, and a tummy full of food, and treats! He's napping now, must be the Thanksgiving food coma, just kidding.

I am so thankful for so many things. Thankful for my friends, my family, my church family, the roof over my head, the food in my stomach, the clean water I get to drink and bathe with, the promises of God, I could go on. I hope that EVERYDAY you give thanks for all the blessings that God has given us. Thanksgiving shouldn't be the only day we are reminded of how good we have it.

P.s. YOUTH CONVENTION tomorrow! I can.not.wait. to spend three days straight with the best students and leaders in the world!

11.20.2010

Send Brenda To Haiti!


















When: December 2nd (Thursday)
Where: The Baxter Domain
Time: 6-10pm


Tired of fundraisers yet? Ya, me too. I promise this one will be different. This is an excuse for our friends and family to come together, eat, hang out, have fun. And helping me out in the process!

We'll have spaghetti dinner and tasty treats for a small donation of $10 dollars! I leave two days after so I'd love to see YOU. Your money isn't just going to fill your appetite, it's going to change lives and make a difference.

11.19.2010

Wild Goose Chase
















Today I woke up in awe and disbelief. This week has been rocking my world in so many ways. I'll start with an update on India. As of November 14th the Remnant India trip has been postponed to March, April and possibly even November of 2011. We were having issues with the embassy issuing visas and also the cost of the plane tickets had gone up radically. Our missionary didn't feel it was the right time to go. I fully back up and respect the decision that was made. I believe that if God wants us there He will send us on HIS time not ours.

With all of that said, here comes the wild goose chase. A few months ago, I had a dream that Chris and Es Kretzu and myself were on a trip together. I ended up texting Chris the next day and telling him about it, his text back was "well I'm leading a trip to Haiti in December" consider my mind blown! So then I thought "how cool! We'll be out of the country doing trips at the same time!" but it still stuck with me, why was I in the dream? and why would God show that to me? Anyhoo, fast forward a couple months to my trip being postponed and me texting Es the next day asking if they have room for one more person. Turns out that someone can't make it, bummer for that person, but worked out well for me.

Long story short. I'm going to Haiti December 5th for 6 days with two of my favorite people on the planet! My Wild Goose is in reference to the Spirit, when it leads it leads and it's leading to Haiti for millions of reasons I'm sure. I'm fully believing and trusting God that this is where He wants me. I'm trying to do my best to prepare myself for the need and devastation I am sure to witness. And with that, this trip is more money than India, so I will be having a fundraiser on December 2nd at the Baxter domain. If you feel lead to donate, please do so, your money is literally going to build up the country that was completely destroyed just close to a year ago, and almost one year later looks almost exactly the same. Let's change the world together!!!

11.15.2010

Two Weeks Later

Two weeks later and I have my results of my heart monitor test. Turns out that the entire time I wore the stupid thing my heart was acting completely fine, therefor there was nothing to show on the test. At this point they are saying that if I am not having chest pains and if I am not experiencing dizziness or shortness of breath that I should be fine. So it seems as though all of this is one of two things: caffeine related, or stress related. I'm thinking that it's a combination of both. If only I could cut out stress from my diet.

Thank you to everyone who has checked up on me, and prayed for me to get better. I appreciate you all so much <3

11.01.2010

The Next 24hrs


















For the next 24hrs I will be hooked up to this Halter Monitor. I have five cords, three to the chest and two to the stomach. They are all taped down and I have the monitor in my pocket, not exactly the most comfortable thing. It will monitor my heart beats to see if it's "normal" or not. For the past few months I've been struggling with heart palpitations, the cause is unclear but the consensus seems to be stress. Hopefully this test will pin point exactly where the problem is.

One Year Anniversary

November 1st marks one whole year that I have been living by myself in my little studio apartment. A WHOLE YEAR?! Where did the time go?! It has by far been one of the best decisions I've ever made. I still miss late night conversations in the hallway with the ladies, but I'm thankful that I still get to talk to them on a regular basis.

It's been a really great year, I learned to fully depend on myself for everything. Setting up accounts with At&T (I hate their service) setting up Edison, and all the other household things you need. If the bill doesn't get paid I'm the only one to blame, I can't say that one of the girls forgot. Thankfully I haven't had any issues in this area.

I learned a lot about myself in the process, I learned that living alone has really made me ok with me just being with me. I embrace that I am an independent woman who can take care of herself. God has blessed me tremendously, I always want to make sure that I thank Him for it. I learned that I am incredibly particular about everything. I have a hard time with letting things get messy, which I guess is a good thing that I'm not messy. But at the same time I should leave a little room for life to take place.

I love that I can have people over whenever want. I love that I can invite students over and have family dinner nights. I love that it's a place that I can call my own. One of the only things that I've had an issue with is walking to my door late at night. It's my own paranoia that gets the best of me. My sister got me a mini airhorn and my mom got me some pepper spray. I asked for a tazer gun but my sister said I would probably taz myself so she didn't want to get it for me. I suppose I can solve these issues by coming home at a decent hour. But what's the fun in that?

I just had a conversation with a friend tonight who just moved out on his own, he said "it gets lonely at times" I totally understand that. I encouraged him and told him that it's usually just at the beginning, because once you realize how great it is to just be able to come home and know 100% that you can have alone time when you want it is such a huge blessing. I love that I can come home and nap without interruption, or come home and watch tv and know that no one else will be watching something. I know that I can come home and know that the leftover dinner will still be in the fridge. I know that the temperature in my shower never needs to be adjusted because it's perfectly set for me. It's the little things that really get me.

I'm excited to see what this next year brings...

10.26.2010

I need new jeans...
















From my previous blog titled "Real Women Have Curves" I talked about getting back into the healthy lifestyle. Eating better and exersising has definitely been paying off. So far to date I have lost 20lbs! Which is why I need new jeans. It's almost bittersweet, I don't want new clothes, but when you're constantly pulling up your pants up because they're falling off, it's time for new clothes. It's been a slow process but I would much rather lose it slowly than lose it quickly and gain it all back and then some. As the saying goes, I didn't gain all my weight overnight, so I shouldn't expect to lose it overnight either.

The photo above is me kicking it up to the next level. Protein shakes :( gahh. This is not going to be easy for me. I am not a shake person, nor a chocolate lover. I had my first one this morning, it didn't taste bad, but I know it will be a struggle for me to drink these on the regular. I'll keep you updated on the progess. I still have about 12 more lbs to go for me to reach my December goal. Six weeks and counting...

10.22.2010

Fan Friday























Today's Fan Friday pick is Brent Allan! I'm excited about this one because I've been wanting to post it since Monday. Brent you are by far one of the most stand up guys I've ever met. I appreciate how encouraging you are to your team, a day never goes by that I don't see you lifting someone up. You have always been a tremendous help to me, and also to Remnant as a whole. Your whit and humor are always appreciated, I know I can always count on you to make me laugh.

Thank you for always being open and honest with me, I value your opinion and sincerity. I tell you all the time "we couldn't do this without you" reality is, we really can't. You have shown so much strength in your leadership over the past few years, I can only imagine how much more you will learn and grow as the next few years come to pass. You truly are gifted in what you do, keep striving to be better, never settle for mediocrity. It is an honor and pleasure to have you as a team member.

Signed,

"HD"

10.20.2010

Worship Night

Last night Remnant had an all worship night. We always want the students to understand that worship is not just about the music, worship can come in all different forms. From the picture you draw, to the poem you write, to the way you live your daily life. We had different stations up through the room, "what's your story?", "Chase the one", and "prayer petitions". I always love to sit back and people watch. Every one is so unique in the way they worship God. Some people sit, some stand, some raise both hands, some raise one. Some people jump around, some sit quietly in the back. Neither way of worship is better than the other. I think we a lot of times compare ourselves to others when it comes to this, we are all so unique that it would almost be boring if we all worshipped in the same way.

I found a corner, I sat in it, and I just let the words of the songs sink in. I had this flashback to the first time I came to South Hills, it was the first night I attended Furnace college night. I remember feeling what I felt back then. The confusion, the hurt, the hopelessness. It was back before I gave my life back to God, and before I fully understood what worship meant. What I got from that flashback, and what God reminded me of, is how far He's brought me. He also let me in on the fact that this isn't it, that there is so much more way to go, and that He would be right there with me. I sat there and just cried, not tears of sadness, but tears of joy. I've had a lot of those lately, mostly because God is doing big things and I am so fortunate that He lets me be apart of it. That He's using me to reach out to others.

One of my students whom I've blogged about before, Alex aka baby bear, saw me crying and stopped and asked if she could pray for me. I told her that to believe it or not but that my tears were actually happy tears. She prayed one of the sweetest prayers I think I have ever heard. She thanked God for me in her life, thanked Him for the gifts He's placed in my heart. Oh man, if I was crying before, I was balling at this point. These students are why I do what I do. I know a lot of people don't understand the passion I feel for our students, and that's ok. I know God does, because He placed that desire there. I am just so unbelievably grateful, and humbled at the opportunities I get to be that light that shines bright from Him.

10.19.2010

Pet Peeves

Disclaimer: I am not perfect. Clearly. I understand that these are my issues, not yours. I also understand that I'm sure I do things that annoy you as well. Feel free to share with me if it should make you feel better.

What exactly is a pet peeve? Well, I looked it up. "A pet peeve (or pet hate) is a minor annoyance that an individual identifies as particularly annoying to him or her, to a greater degree than others may find it." Thank you Wikipedia.

I realize more and more that I get irritated by the simplest of things. Here are the top five:

-Repeating myself
-Empty toilet paper roll w/new roll sitting on top
(how hard is it to change the roll?)
-Hearing people chew gum (especially if they pop it)
-Hearing people chew food
-People being late (without communication)

These are BY FAR my top ones that I get super irritated with. They all have one thing in common: me. They are all things that annoy ME and no one else. So does that mean it's my issue and I need to deal with it? Probably. I understand it's not your fault that I get irritated when you're not listening and I have to repeat myself over and over. I understand that you like to pop and smack your gum because you don't know any better. I understand that no one taught you how to chew with your mouth closed. Haha, man, I sound horrible.

The one I'll never understand is the last one: people being late. If you're going to be late, a quick text, a phone call, a "hey I'm running five minutes late I'm sorry" would be just fine. I can't tell you how many times I've sat around waiting for someone to show up on time and I'm sitting there waiting counting the minutes. It's inconsiderate and it implies that my time isn't valuable. Yes, I've been late to things, but yes I also communicate if I am going to be late. I suppose it all falls under the umbrella of "not everyone feels the same way I do". I understand there is grace, but I'm running empty on this area.

10.16.2010

High School's Rough

Last night was Santiago High School’s Homecoming football game. I went to support some of our Remnant students who played in the game, danced at the half time show, or produced the event.

I sat in front of two of Santiago’s finest students who couldn’t have been more than freshmen or sophomores. I say this with so much sarcasm that I wish you could actually hear me. It is by the grace of God that I didn’t get into a fight last night. The entire game these boys were spouting off curse words, talking about girls and how “slutty” or “skanky” they are. Talking about who slept with whom, or how “hot” the dance teams routine is. They continued with this for at least a good hour, I don’t do well when it comes to girls being spoken about like their pieces of meat. Curse words I can handle, talking about a girl in any other way than positive and I’m done.

I turned around and told them that they have Jr. High girls sitting in front of them and that their conversations were inappropriate. They of course did not care. Funny thing is that I was that kid in high school. I was the kid who didn’t care what anyone said to me, adult, teacher, parent, you name it, I was talking back. I understand kids will be kids, but there comes a point when enough is enough.

I wish I could say that that was all I saw that night. I watched a kid yell at a red head that he didn’t know “hey Ginger! What’s up!” clearly the boy didn’t know who they were because he just looked up with a horrible look on his face and kept walking. Or watching a “jock” slap popcorn out of a kids hands as he walked back to his seat. I might sound like I’m overdramatizing this but I honestly felt like I was in a teen movie.

Just yesterday I was reading the cover of a magazine where the top story was “Teen Suicide” it’s not a joke. I know we talk about it all the time but the rate is getting higher all the time. These kids are silently begging for someone to take notice, begging for someone to care, all the while they are acting like they’re fine and don’t need anyone or anything. It’s why we preach till we’re blue in the face about loving on people. I don’t preach it to guilt you, I preach it because if we don’t do it, who will?

High School can be the best time of your life or the worst depending on your circle of friends. I seriously pray for my students ALL the time because of this. I pray that we have equipped them with the necessary decision making skills to make the right choices. I remember high school being cliquey, and I remember struggling to find a place where I fit in. I also remember thinking that high school was everything and that I couldn’t imagine not being in high school. The idea of “there is more to life than this” just wasn’t in the picture.

High school is but a speck in your lifetime. It’s a four year time period of your life where you’re figuring out who you are, think you know who you are, and still realize you have a lot of growing to do. I look back to when I was 17 and I just laugh at myself. I thought I had it figured out, I thought I knew what I wanted, I thought I knew who would be there for me. I thought I knew it all. Actually, even looking back just a year ago I thought I had it figured out, makes me wonder what life will be like when I’m 30.

10.15.2010

Fan Friday























Today's Fan Friday is none other than Brenda Harrell. If you don't know this woman, I mean it when I say that you are missing out. Brenda you are by far one of the absolute sweetest women I've ever met. I admire how sincere you are, how big your heart is, and how supportive you are. On top of being gorgeous on the outside, you are gold on the inside. I mean it when I say that I admire you, I strive to be as open and honest as you are. You always have a smile on your face that warms my heart.

I always want to make sure you know that I support you in everything you do. I can't imagine working, doing school, running a ministry, and as if that wasn't enough, bring married! You have so much more strength than I think you even realize. I think you are incredibly talented, creative, and gifted. So full of love and compassion. I am beyond blessed that I get to do life with you by my side. I know I can count on you whenever I need you, and please know that you've got me whenever you need me. Love you, B$!

10.13.2010

The Widows Offering

Last night myself and some leaders from Remnant went out after service for our usual late night dinner. While at dinner we noticed a homeless man eating inside, the students and I started conversation asking how he was, nothing out of the ordinary. While going to order our food one of our students said he didn't have any money to eat but he was hungry. Without even hesitating this homeless man took out a dollar and some change and said "here, it's not a lot but you can get something". I was floored.

I know a dollar and some change may not seem like a big deal, but to someone who has nothing, you would think that he would be hanging on to every last penny that he has. It reminded me of this story:

The Widow's Offering
41Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins,[a]worth only a fraction of a penny.[b]
 
43Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on."

He didn't know it, but I had already told the student I would buy his dinner. To me, buying a $2 dollar meal for someone is no big deal, to everyone else I looked like the saint. But honestly there was no real sacrifice on my part. But this man on the other hand, it was all he had. My favorite part is that He was still saying "God bless you" as we left that night. To have nothing, or at least in the eyes of society to have "nothing" and still be praising God's name is powerful. I didn't think that walking into Taco Bell for dinner would have left a long lasting impression on me, just proof that God can reveal His beauty wherever I am.

10.05.2010

India Update






















As recently said in one of my previous post "India" I wanted to update you on the progress we have made so far. Myself and our team had the privilege of meeting the family that we will be traveling with to India. Such a beautiful husband and wife and their two kids. We couldn't have asked for a better group to travel with. We were able to have an authentic Indian meal with them and watch a documentary on India and it's culture.

We have been told that we will be working with youth camps, prisons for women and men, and also working in the church that was built up by our missionaries family. Working with the youth is already something that tugs on my heart. We have been told that they want us to recreate the experience of being in the Remnant family. From our understanding, we have been told that people out there claim to be Christian, but they don't fully understand what it means. They don't fully understand that Jesus came to die for them, just like he died for you and me. Our goal is to bring hope, life, and rejuvination.

I can't get over how exciting this trip is going to be. God really has hand picked the most amazing people to go out there and spread the love! Looking forward to the 18 hour plane ride, the culture, the people, the experience. Another update, I have been blessed with donations for the trip! Praise God! I'm on my way to making my goal, but I am definitely not there yet, there is still time for you to contribute, if you should feel lead to donate to myself or my team I would be forever grateful.

10.03.2010

8 Days Later...

8 Days later and I am officially finished with reading "Redeeming Love". You read in a previous post that this book is quiet the hefty read. I never thought I'd finish it, let alone finish it within 8 days of picking it up. This book will forever be one of my favorite reads. Last I left off reading was towards her finally starting to let her guard down and let this man love her for her. She finally let herself get to the point where she admitted that she too was falling in love with him. Slowly letting herself open up more and more, she found herself getting more emotionally attached to her husband. The way a wife should be with her husband, correct? Well, through the timeline of her letting down her guard, she ended up turning love into infatuation and idolization.

Through the process of her realizing she loves him, she feels she isn't everything in a woman that he deserved to have. She comes to the decision that she should leave him, that he should find a woman who believes what he believes, a woman who can bare his children. She gives the ultimate sacrifice, she sacrifices her happiness for the happiness of the one man she ever really loved. She ends up leaving him, this wasn't the first time she had left him, in fact, this was the third time she had left him. The first two times he went after her and brought her back. This time was different, he knew he wasn't supposed to go after her. He cried out to God asking "God why would you tell me to love her if you were just going to take her away". And this hit me like a TON of bricks when God spoke and said "Beloved, let me have her". God spoke to him and said "Let no other gods be before me" to which Michael was confused and couldn't understand what God meant. He cried out to God and said "but I never put any other Gods before you!" and God spoke "but she has".

It was then that Michael realized that this whole time his wife was idolizing him and worshipping him as if he was her God. All the goodness she knew from the world came from the one man who loved her unconditionally, not understanding that the love he felt for her was a reflection of the one who IS love. He had to put full faith in God that He would take care of her. Fully believing that if God wanted him for her, that she would return on her own when she was ready and had made a decision. They were apart for three years. She ended up making a life of her own, a life that she knew God had called her to. She ministered to prostitutes and helped them learn new trades so they could leave their old life behind. She was bringing women and children out of slavery. She found God to be real, and finally made the decision to follow Him with her whole heart. She heard God say that it was time for her to go back to him. She was ready to go back because she had accepted and embraced who she was in Christ. Fully understanding that she was worthy of His love and also worthy of her husbands affections. She wasn't just Mrs Hosea, she wasn't "Angel" or "Sara" but she was and is His beloved.

She realized that God needed to be at the center of her life. That she couldn't look to this man to fulfill her every need. Something that I think every girl should realize, something that I came to the harsh realization of not long ago. We as women, and even men, need to know that we cannot rely on someone to fill the God size yearning that we have for completeness. We expect our boyfriends, husbands, girlfriends, and wives to be our all and all, when in reality, we need God to be our all and all. He is to be our #1 and not our #2.

This entire part of the book hit me so hard because I found myself in the same situation not long ago. So ready to let go of everything God had for me in order to follow the dreams of someone else. Not finding my own identity in Him, not realizing that I wasn't giving Him the full attention He deserved because my attention was focused elsewhere. I realized that I needed to keep focus on where God wants me to be, focused on what God wants me to do, as opposed to changing my life and the plans He has for me to fit anothers. I know that if I keep Him at the center of my life, and I trust in Him, that He would do what's best for me, and by doing that I can't go wrong. He will never wrong me, never forsake me, I am His beloved.

10.01.2010

Fan Friday

Fan Friday has seemed to be MIA for quite a while. I'm not sure if it's the bussiness of life or just plain procrastination that gets the best of me. That said, today's entry is a double feature. I'll start with Aly Phipps, the birthday girl. This beautiful young woman is literally a ray of sunshine. Aly is incredibly talented, filled with an immense amount of potential to succeed in no matter what she does. I am blessed to know her, she is the younger sister I never had. Aly Phipps, this is YOUR year! Praying that God shows you just how much you mean to Him. This year will be one of the best of your life, keep seeking Him in ALL you do and He will begin showing you things you never thought possible. Remnant J. High as a ministry is blessed beyond belief to have you as part of the team, and I am honored that you let me speak life into you!


















Second, and most definitely not least or last. Sir Scottie Belli Malec. Scottie, you're one of the most gifted people I know. The fire and passion you show for Jesus is something that makes me want to seek God more. Your unwillingness to compromise who you are in Him is encouraging. You radiate who He is just by hearing you speak to others, watching you interact with those you love and care about. He has HUGE things for you, and I know you know that. I am fortunate that I get to be a small part in helping make those things a reality. You are doing such a great job! Our ministry would not be the same without you, our church family would not be the same with out, and lastly, I would not be the same with you. I am looking forward to seeing all of the things that God does through you, I know it will be nothing short of amazing, because YOU ARE GOD'S FAVORITE.

9.28.2010

Pg. 242

DISCLAIMER: If you haven't already read this book and you feel I will ruin it by giving some of it away, do NOT read this post.

I purchased the book "Redeeming Love" on Friday night, it is now Tuesday morning and I am on pg. 242. I don't usually have much time to read, so to be able to read 242 pages in such a short time is a success for me. From the first chapter of this book I was hooked, I cried through a lot of it. Which these days doesn't come as big shock to anyone. The story begins with a young girl living with her mother, mother was a single woman having an affair with a married man who had his own kids to worry about. She comes to the realization that her father doesn't want her, nor did he ever want her. Finding out that she was supposed to be aborted. Father ends up leaving mother and mother and child move out to the docks of New York where mother takes up the oldest profession alive: prostitution.

This young girl is forced to see her mother sell herself for money in order to keep her family alive. Her mother ends up dying when she was just 8 years old. At this point she is left alone in the world with no family to call her own. Her mothers "friend" thinking that he's doing her a favor, ends up selling her off into prostitution, he thought he was selling her off to be with a good rich family. This girl has grown up to believe that she is only good for one thing, and one thing only. She doesn't believe that any man would want her for anything more than what she can do for them. She's used, abused, and emotionally dry. For 10 years she spent her life selling herself for food, shelter, and protection.

Enter Michael Hosea, the epitome of Godly man. He sees her out while she's taking a walk and immediately feels God saying to him "that's her, your future wife". Amazed by her beauty he can not wait to meet her. Until, he finds out that she's the most expensive prostitute around. He can't get over the fact that God would call him to marry a woman of her profession. He obeys, paying money for endless nights just to be able to talk to her and convince her that she can lead a better life for herself and that he can make her happy. This girl doesn't understand how any man would want to give her a good life, how any man can possibly love her, for her. He ends up physically taking her from the brothel she was in, she was one more beating away from being killed when he came to rescue her. Before he takes her he says I'm not taking you until you marry me, she answers "why not?" and so, a marriage began.

The rest of what I've read is where my heart aches, such a good man trying his absolute best to show this woman that God really does exists and that he thinks she's the most beautiful creature created. Showing her that sex and love come together, that sex doesn't just have to be something you get money for. He slowly shows her that he is the man he says he is. Strong, reliable, passionate, provider, listener, loving, etc. The list goes on. I think it restores a bit of faith back into the male species, that a man like this can actually exist. I know a lot of people will say "well that's just a book" well, in my half full glass of water I believe men like this can still be around, I've seen it and experienced it. My heart aches for women who have been so hurt by men in their life that they aren't able to let themselves relate to God in that way because they've never experienced it from any earthly man.

I identify with her because growing up I never had the Godly man to show me that God can really love me the way the bible says He can. I never had those strong male figures in my family to show me that men should take care of their wives, just as women should take of their husbands. It's why till this day I'm still in aww and shock whenever I see men supporting their wives, loving them to no end, and reminding them daily that they love them. A word to the ladies, don't settle for a man because you think there is no one better. I'd rather be alone than in a bad relationship and be miserable. Have faith that God would provide your very own Michael Hosea.

9.26.2010

Surprise!

As if my birthday wasn't amazing enough, the beautiful Brenda Harrell asked me to have dinner with her because she wasn't able to celebrate with me on my actual day. I was under the impression that it would just be her, Candice, and I at dinner. As we started walking towards our "three party table" I hear "surprise!" none other than some of my most favorite people. I was not in the least bit expecting to have everyone at dinner. If you didn't already know, I LOVE surprises! I love that someone would go out of their way to think of me and do something that they know I will love. And as if that wasn't enough, everyone had a turn to present a gift and an encouraging word to go with it. Thank you to Brenda, Jolene, Aly, Jesse, Candice, Kelsey, Andrew, Christina, and Stephen for making my birthday that much more special. PCH, you were definitely missed, but we all know you were there in spirit. BEYOND blessed. I am God's favorite.



9.24.2010

Redeeming Love

What did I just get myself into? A couple of my favorite ladies who's opinion I value incredibly, suggested I read this book. It's a HUGE book! All 462 pages of it, I'll keep you posted on my progress. Also, I realized that the way I took the picture with my Macbook that the words are backwards, good thing I titled the blog.



9.23.2010

Girl Power!

Ok, so the title of the blog is incredibly cheesy, but I realize the older I get the more I value my girlfriends. For the past few months I have been apart of what the leadership at the church calls "Eagles Nest". We have been getting together every few weeks to discuss the book "The Next Generation Leader" by Andy Stanley. I really enjoyed the book, and I really felt like I got a lot out of it with the situations I was facing as a leader. I went into this group thinking I would just be getting together to discuss a book, but what I got was so much more than that.

These women are all so completely different, and yet we all have a common bond. A yearning to be the women of God that we have been called to be. Women who want to make a difference in this world and the people we encounter. We all strive to continue learning and bettering our lives. I am incredibly thankful for these women that I have met. I would have never been able to get to know them for who they are, I would have just gone on with my perception of who they are, which was completely wrong. I am learning that I can't just assume that people are one way, I need to really stop and get to know someone for who they are.

Tonight was the last night we all met as a "Eagles Nest" group. We ended by having dinner and just catching up on what has been happening in our lives the past few weeks. I am thankful that I really feel I have a group of women that I can count on should I need them. The beauty of all of it is that we are all in such different places of our lives that it's nice to be able to look to someone who may have already gone through what I am going through and get the advice or encouragement I need to keep pushing through. And also the other side of it, that I would be able to pay it back in my own unique way.

My hope is that the relationships continue to strengthen, even if we don't see each other every week, or get together every three weeks, but that we would know that we shared something special for a certain time. And that we would make time for each other in our crazy busy lives, filled with meetings, kids, husbands, jobs, ministries, etc.

9.22.2010

Goodbye 25 Hello 26

It's official: I am 26. Wowza! What an incredible few days of celebrating. Dinner at my favorite restaurant, relaxing and funny movie, late night flapjacks, Happiest Place on Earth, rode my first roller-coaster, lunch with my sister and nephew, carrot cake from my coworkers, flowers galore, dinner with my grandma (it's her b day too), In N' Out with my church family, ended with reading the beautiful cards I received. I am. loved. Thank you to everyone who text me, facebooked me, emailed me, called me, twittered me, gave me a card, gave me a hug, wished me happy birthday, and anything in-between. And a special shout out to those who endured walking all day, getting their clothes wet, and conquering the fear of heights with me. I appreciate you all more than you know. Twenty five, you were good to me, but it's time I move on to 26.





















9.21.2010

Enough Is Enough

In one of my recent post "4am Adventures" I talked about how I had to take a rush visit to the ER in the middle of the night. Well, since then I've been back to the ER twice for the same reasons. I feel like I should start reserving my own bed there. Trips to the ER have not exactly been on my "To Do" lists, but sadly it's been making it's way into my schedule. Yesterday morning is when it finally hit me that I believe God is trying to get my attention. I'm not able to take care of my body the way that I should, I'm not allowing myself time to rest, I'm not taking the time to make sure I am 100%. This pattern of get sick, rest a bit, get back into crazy life, sick again, no rest, crazy life, sick again, isn't working. Something's gotta give somewhere.

I broke down crying with my nurse yesterday morning, well, I broke down crying a few times yesterday. The first though was when I was about to get shot up with morphine in my IV and I said to the nurse "Am I going to get a lot of that? Because last time I was in bed for two days and I have a lot of stuff to do today", WOW. As those words were coming out of my mouth, I thought "Really Brenda?" I'm laying in a hospital bed strapped to a heart monitor, an IV, and a blood pressure machine, and I just asked the nurse for little pain medication because I have a lot to do today. There's something wrong with this picture. I let her know what I do for a living and what I do at the church. She said to me "I know I don't know you very well, but I do know that in order for you to continue taking care of other people, you have to take care of yourself" that's when the first set of waterworks came. A wake up call that I really need to SLOW DOWN.

I think sometimes I forget that God never intended for me to be stressed, worried, frustrated, tired, worn out, sick, etc. I get so wrapped up in how much I'm doing FOR Him, when all He wants from me, is me. I can't tell you how frustrated I felt yesterday. Frustrated that I had ZERO time in my day to even schedule a lunch date with my sister because I was going to be in meetings all day, frustrated that I couldn't be 100% for my team, most of all frustrated because I LET myself get this way. To physically be making myself sick because I'm not slowing down enough to take care of myself is NOT what God has intended for me. As I was laying in the ER bed I worried about what I was missing in my meetings, texting and emailing those who needed to know where I was, I just thought to myself, I am ridiculous. Time to change some things around.

9.18.2010

Yay or Nay?

I don't take myself as seriously as this photo suggest, just wanted to make that clear. I am also not one to ask a lot of opinions, but in this case I'm curious. I've wanted bangs like this for years, but I never had the guts to actually do it. Yay or nay?


8.29.2010

Happy Birthday!























Today this beautiful woman, who happens to be one of my best friends, turns 26! Happy birthday, Candice! This is going to be one of the best years of your life. Looking forward to seeing what God has in store for you. Here's to another birthday celebration under our belts.

<3

Girls Night Out























Need I say more?

8.25.2010

Boy Meets Girl

What ever happened to:

Boy meets girl
Boy likes girl
Girl likes boy
Boy asks girl out
Boy+girl= happily ever after.

Bring it to 2010:

I'm interested- Translation- There is something about you that makes me want to get to know you better.

I have a crush-Translation- I feel like a little girl whenever I'm around you because all I can do is giggle at your jokes.

I like you- Translation- I could potentially have your baby one day.

I would like to date you but...-Translation- I have excuses for why I can't date you. Ex "I'm too busy", "I'm not sure God wants this for me", "I don't know where I'll be in a year", or my personal favorite "What if it doesn't work out?"

I won't down play those reasons, I just wonder why we have to make things so complicated. And be we, I mean me.

8.23.2010

India

















I'm going to India! Missions letters always seem a little difficult for me, the reality is that mission letters are sent out for 1 of 2 reasons: 1. I need your money 2. I need your prayer. I know people sometimes get a little weird when it comes to asking for money, but the reality is that it's needed. But I always feel prayer is overlooked as not being a big contributer. We NEED prayer just as much as money. Below is my letter asking for your help, please read...

Dearest friend,

I trust this letter finds you well, I am writing you to share some exciting news! As most of you may know I have accepted the position of Director of Remnant J. High. I am working with one of the most amazing group of people that I could have ever dreamed of. Remnant is redefining what "church" is. Our vision is to show others that the church isn't a place, it's a people. That church reached outside of the building walls, where community meets relationship.

I have been blessed with the opportunity to minister to the youth of our city. Not only are we reaching the next generation of our city, but we have been presented with an opportunity to minister to the people of India. I have been asked to be apart of this amazing team that has been assembled. We have been asked to minister to thousands of people in need. In need of knowing who the real Jesus is, in knowing that there is a greater purpose for their life. We will be visiting prisons, all day youth retreats, and being available to the needs of the people.

If you have received this letter that is because I trust you will keep myself and our team in your thoughts and prayers. Break off the cliche of missions letters where it states "We would like your money, but prayer would be just fine too". Prayer is just as powerful, if not more important. I believe we will be entering spiritual warfare more than ever before, and your prayers will be in the battle with us. On that note, I won't ignore the fact that missions trips do cost money. If God has laid it on your heart to help me, please know that I would be forever grateful. The money will be due fairly quickly, seeing as though the trip is coming just around the corner. This trip is being partially funded through an amazing anonymous person who believes so much in what God is doing through us that they have faithfully petitioned to help. However, I do still need to complete my part. I am looking to raise 1,000 dollars. I will also be taking an entire week off work without pay, this is an obstacle, but I fully believe God will provide. Please feel free to ask any questions, I will be updating you along the way,and also upon my return.

Please make checks payable to: South Hills Church
Memo: Brenda Medina "India"

South Hills Church
2585 S. Main St.
Corona, Ca. 92882

Partnering with you,

So there you have it. If you should choose to support me, I really would be forever grateful.

8.08.2010

4am Adventures
















Saturday morning I was woken out of a deep sleep from the most intense side pain I've ever experienced. This pain was making it a little difficult to focus on breathing. I realized it was only 3:35am and didn't know what to do. I quickly realized I should get myself to the Emergency Room, thinking I could drive myself there, false, wasn't going to happen. I text my sister but she was still completing her night shift at work. I didn't want to call my mom because A. she would freak out and B. She lives 30 minutes away and I didn't think I could wait that long. I thought calling 911 seemed a bit dramatic so I passed. Then I of course thought, Gretchen Baxter, first thing I said was "don't freak out but I have a really bad pain in my side and it's making it hard to breathe" haha how would you not freak out? Well, she didn't, no questions asked she came and swooped me up and we were off to the ER.

Thank the Lord that there was a bed available, and thank the Lord my copay is still only $5 dollars, one of the many perks to working for Kaiser. As soon as I got there I was given an IV, I don't like needles, but when they said they would give me pain med through the IV, I said GO FOR IT! I sounded like a woman in labor who wanted her epidurals. Whatever it is that they gave me sent me into dizzy land because I could not focus on anything. I had blood work done, and then I was wheeled into the x ray room for a CT scan. I don't remember much of it, must have been the drugs.

My sister came and met me at the hospital as soon as she was off her shift, relieving Gretchen from duty. The Dr. came back with the results that I do in fact have kidney stones, I have 1 and it is small. Is this what happeneds when you start to get older? I'm 25 for crying out loud. I did my research on kidney stones and all I can come up with is that there is no common thread on how to get it. Some say change of diet, lack of water, too much calcium, too much vitamin C. How do you get too much vitamin C? I suppose too much of anything is not good.

I can not stress to you enough how grateful I am for my friends and my family. I was literally brought to tears last night just thinking about all the people that either, text me, facebooked me, emailed me, called me, etc. just say they were thinking of me and if I needed anything to let them know. Gretchen, you are amazing in every way, thank you for coming to get me at that insane hour, and still managing to make me laugh on the way to the hospital. Kathy, I can always count on you to be there for me no matter what the situation. And to my mother, she's been here all weekend, getting me medicine, water, food, etc. I am very thankful to have her here. I am one blessed individual.

8.04.2010

Signing My Life Away















Ok so maybe saying I signed my life away is a tad dramatic. But I did renew my lease at my apartment complex for the next twelve months. I had this immediate fear of commitment. When did I turn into a commitment phobe? I suppose my thought was "What if God doesn't want me here a whole year?" but realistically, a year is not a very long time. And because God's timing is perfect, I know wherever I go or wherever I end up will be where He wants me.

The life of a bachelorette continues...

7.30.2010

Fan Friday























KELSEY De LANNOY: AKA K-TRAAAAIIIIN!

It's been a while since my last "Fan Friday" my apologies for depriving you all this time. Today's "Fan Friday" pick is none other than Kelsey De Lannoy. Kelsey is an incredibly gifted graphic design artist that works for South Hills Church. She is constantly blowing people away with how talented she is.

On top of the fact that she is beautiful, she has one of the most sincere hearts I've ever seen. Regardless of how long you've known her she will be there for you no questions asked. She's also fearless, don't let this girl catch you on the soccer field, she'll school you!

Thanks to Kelsey my blog has a beautiful new look, should you have graphic designing needs, hit her up! And you can also follow her on twitter: @kelsadilla.

7.27.2010

Parent Night














Last night was our first ever Remnant J. High Parent Night.We invited the parents of the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students. The goal of the evening was to invite parents into the world of what it's like to be a teenager in 2010. The night was nothing short of a success. We had close to 30 parents attend in support of their student. It was incredibly encouraging to see that so many parents took time to see what their student experiences each week.

At the end of the night we asked parents to stay back and do a few Q. & A's. My eyes welled up listening to parents say that our ministry has been a blessing to their entire family.Parents sharing that their child is making sure that praying as a family occurs everyday. Students who are realizing who they are in Christ and what His plan is for them. It's confirmation that we're doing what He has asked us to do.

We wanted parents to know that we understand that this is a partnership between parent, student, and ministry. We assured them that we understand the importance in making the transition from elementary to J. High the smoothest one possible. We know that it can be an intimidating thing taking that next step into spiritual maturity. Our vision is to be there every step of the way until it's time to cross the next bridge.

Thank you to every parent that came out in support of your student and the ministry. This is just the beginning of what God wants to do through Remnant J. High ministry. I truly believe God is going to bless us with more than we even dreamed of. Partnering together with parents is the first step at assuring our students will become the most spiritual, emotional, and physically healthy they can be.

7.26.2010

Weekend Update

This weekend has been one of my favorites by far! I got to hang with my beautiful nephew and mother (see prior post for pics). Then Saturday I got to witness two of my friends get married! Congratulations to Dan and April, she's my sister from another mother, and father for that matter. Fun times with some of my amazing friends, food, laughs, dancing, cake, and of course the bouquet toss. For the first time ever I caught the bouquet at a wedding, and you know what they say about catching the bouquet... I'll keep you posted if I get engaged anytime soon.

And Sunday the Remnant family took a trip to Huntington beach for a little soccer, empire, volleyball, bon fire, smores, and great company. I love these people like my own family. Loved being able to spend the day with them making memories. Summer is by far my favorite season, not in temperature, but all I can think of is beach, bon fires, bbq's, pool parties, and midnight premiers. Turning out to be a Summer for the books!