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...


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.




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.


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.


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.


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$!


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.


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.


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.


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.