11.14.2011

Day 5: "Back to Reality"

Day 5. Bed rest is officially over. Tomorrow I enter the real world of clocking in, lunch breaks, and interacting with more than my Macbook and iPhone. Even though the mandated bed rest is over it doesn't mean that I will stop with the resting. I will be doing my absolute best to not over exert myself and really continue taking the time to heal up completely.

These past five days haven't been easy. I will say though, that they have been a huge blessing. From Wednesday night when I got home from the Dr to this moment right now I feel like a new person. I am able to walk more than I was,  I am not in constant pain, and my spirit is much higher than it was. My daily doses of steroids and pain pills will continue on until November 28th so there is still so much more room for improvement. I am not 100% better but I have faith that soon I will reach complete healing.

For anyone who has followed along in this adventure with me you would have read my previous blogs about what God has been teaching me. Journaling everyday has been really good for me. I'm a processor. If I don't actually sit down and write out my thoughts I feel as though they float around in my brain and never get addressed. This time alone has really allowed me to focus and realign myself with Him.

One of the top things I felt He reminded me of is that He is more concerned about my relationship with Him, than He is about what I'm doing for Him. It's classic really. I always end up doing things FOR Him instead of with Him. And I always find myself getting caught up in the work of God, and not so much in the relationship with God. It felt like it was a reminder to me that all He wants is me. Yes, I'm sure He's happy with me in that I do what He asks of me, but I know he is more concerned with what He and I share.

If I ever had any doubt that I was loved and cared for this experience would have proven me wrong. I am beyond blessed with the family and friends that I have as my support system. The person that I am always wants to give and has a hard time receiving. These past days have been amazing to let others take care of me. I am a very independent person, anyone who knows me at all knows I like to take care of myself. Even when it comes to God I feel as though I say "Hey God, it's ok, I got this" when really I don't.

It almost feels like me letting my friends and family take care of me was me letting God take care of me. I thank Him for that. I thank every person who called, texted, visited, hung out, picked up my slack at work, and held down the forte at Remnant. I sit in awe of how many blessings I have.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving I urge you to really look at what you are thankful for. If you woke up tomorrow with only the things you thanked God for the night before what would you be left with? Just something to think about.

Please continue to pray for my 100% healing. I believe He can, I believe He will, all in His timing.

Day 5: It's over :) 

11.13.2011

Day 4: "Fragile Handle with Care"

Bed rest day 4. Today I think has been the most difficult of days for me. Sundays are usually my day to be at the church, spend time with friends, be out and about enjoying life. I instead was home from sun up to sun down. I guess you can say I got the fever, the cabin fever. I broke the rules a bit and stood outside to catch a breath of fresh air. The weather was absolutely gorgeous today. 

Through this entire process I have to be very careful with all the things that I do. Getting in and out of the car, posture, the way I twist, bend, pick up things, etc. It's exhausting just typing it as I'm sure it's exhausting to read. I was telling Gretchen and Justin last night that it's hard because it's not like I have a cast or a brace that people can see there is something physically wrong with me. 

I constantly have to be telling people (nicely) to handle me with me care because I am fragile. As much as I love kids jumping on me, or students giving me bear hugs, for the time being I have to refrain and be careful. 

Gretchen, being the thought provoker that she is said to me "I wonder how true that is of people who are broken on the inside?" you don't know that they are broken because there is not a physical hurt, cast, brace etc. How many people are walking around with an invisible sign over their hearts that says "Fragile Handle with Care"

How many people do we talk to on a day to day basis that are hurting or broken on the inside? Who are we taking the time to minister to in order for us to really know and get to see what's going on underneath? 

It's easy for me to fall into the trap of feeling like the victim who feels sorry for herself, but the truth is there are just as many other hurt people out there right now. My situation doesn't make me any more special, it just makes it unique to me. I thank God that I am surrounded by those willing to help and walk through this with me. But it pains me to know that others don't have that same support system. 

My challenge to myself and anyone who reads this is to reach out, you never know how it could change someone's day, let alone change their entire life. 

Day 4: Rough start, thumbs up ending!



11.12.2011

Day 3: "The 5 Love Languages"

Some of you may be familiar with "The 5 Love Languages", if I were you I would suggest reading the book and taking the test. I personally believe that it is an incredible way to find out how you give and receive love. I think for anyone, regardless of whether its a romantic relationship, family, friends, that it is important to know how your heart works. 

Words of Affirmation

Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important—hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten.

Quality Time
In the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says, “I love you,” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there—with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby—makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful.

Receiving Gifts

Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous—so would the absence of everyday gestures.

Acts of Service

Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter.

Physical Touch

This language isn’t all about the bedroom. A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face—they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive.

I've realized more and more over the course of this year that my TOP Love Language is quality time. To me there is no greater gift you can give me than to spend time with me. Don't get me wrong, a gift here and there is always nice too.


Through out these past few days I have been blessed to spend quality time with some of those I love and care about. Through my journaling time today I was writing about how I love and value quality time because it is priceless. You can't take it back. You can't put a price on it. I value when others take time out of their day to just be with me.


As I was writing this out to God, as if He didn't already know what my love language is. I heard him say "that's mine too". If I want quality time with those I love, how much more does God want quality time with me? My biggest thing with this love language is that I never want people to feel forced to spend time with me, I would always want it to come from a place of genuine excitement to spend time together.


I would imagine that God feels the same way. That He would want quality time that is not forced, but that comes from a place of yearning to be in His presence. The thing about me with quality time is that to me it doesn't mean that every second of every hour has to be spent talking. It could easily be sitting in a Starbucks across from me doing work on your laptop. Or sitting on the couch watching a movie. It's the sheer act of just being with me.


It really got me thinking about how much does God want that? To just BE in His presence. Not always talking, but also just listening to what He would have to say.


We make time for things we value, if God is a value and a top priority to us, then we too should be making time for Him. Not out of obligation or because we feel forced, but because I truly believe we could be loving on Him the way we expect others to love on us. We can't expect others to do things for us that we aren't first willing to do for them.


Day 3: Still trucking. 




11.11.2011

Day 2: "Thorn in the Flesh"

Day 2 of bed rest. This is what has been rattling around in my mind.

2 Corinthians 12:8-10 


"Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong."


I was doing some studying and came across this. I honestly couldn't have written it any better. 


"Paul prayed to Christ who knew physical suffering and could sympathize with him.
Paul prayed specifically, "that it might depart from me". He felt it was a handicap hindering his service to the Lord. He was asking for immediate healing.

There are a number of things we know that are according to His will. There are a number of things we know that are not according to His will.
However, there are a great number of things which we do not know the will of God until He reveals them to us. God reveals them to us most of the time through events in our life.

The Lord gave Paul an answer to his prayer in 14 words.
"My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness".
All prayer is answered. God either says YES or NO. Sometimes the YES is not always as we expect or want it. Many times God says, "If I do not rid you of the trouble, I will give you grace for victory over it". Denial of Paul's request did not mean destitution but deliverance. The weight was not lifted but greater strength was given to bear it.

Paul was given something better than he asked for.

Would it have been better for Paul to have gotten rid of the thorn? Surely not, for without it he would have, "exalted above measure" Spiritual pride would have robbed him of his humility and he would then be a despised teacher instead of a greatly loved teacher. God couldn't have used him in the writing of NT scripture.



Someday we will see that the prayers of ours that were not answered according to our asking have brought to us the richest things in our spiritual walk. We ask for strength that we might achieve; we are made weak that we might obey. We ask for health that we may do greater things; He has given us infirmity that we might do better things. We ask for riches that we might be happy. He has given poverty that we might be wise. We ask for power that we may receive the praises of men; we are given weakness that we might feel the need of God.

Many Christians miss life's greatest purpose until they learn that there is divine guidance in pain, edification in illness, blessing in suffering and a whole lot of heaven in our handicap. Our need is never greater than His grace.
God can heal our infirmities and sometimes does, but often He supplies the grace sufficient to endure, and strength to carry the burden with victory.
BUT--THERE MUST BE THE RIGHT ATTITUDE ON OUR PART.

When Paul was told he must carry the thorn to the grave, and Christ would help carry the burden of it along the way and it would be a blessing to him, he began to sing this song.
Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."



Day 2: Complete. 





11.10.2011

Day 1: "The Big Thing"

Today has been my first official day of bed rest. Being home alone all day really makes you think about anything and everything.

One of the top things that stuck through my head through the day was this idea that everyone waits for "the big thing" to happen in their lives in order for their lives to change.

I've come to realize that I personally don't believe that its ever just one big thing so much as a lot of little things through out our day to day lives that encourage change. The different routines that we create for ourselves that would in turn shape our future.

For example-- you want to lose weight? It won't happen overnight, because the reality is you didn't gain it overnight. It happens every time you make a choice to eat something healthy or unhealthy. It won't take a two hour one time work out, it will take several 30-60 minutes a day to see results.

You want to be closer to God? Spend time with Him everyday. Don't wait for that one time a week that you go to church and expect your relationship with Him to be stronger because of the one hour you spent in the 168 hour week. Don't wait on a convention or conference for "the big thing" to happen to you in order for your life to be better.

Everything in life worth doing take steps.

These thoughts started flooding my mind as I sit/lay in my current state. Some have been saying that this may be my "big thing" to really show me that I need to slow down before I run myself into the ground.

It will only be my big thing if I allow myself to STOP and learn from it. Applying everything I learn through this and making necessary changes for me to not end up in this situation again.

Don't get me wrong, some of the biggest things that have happened in my life have changed me for the better. Losing loved ones, break ups, physical impairments. They have forced me to really push myself into making better decisions for myself. But just like any event in our lives, they are only as good as what we learn and apply.

"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it"

If after my "big thing" I go back to making the same choices, same routines, same everything, what good is the event that took place? The event itself didn't change me, but choosing the positive steps after did.

I'm taking the next five days as a blessing. A forced vacation if you will. I'm taking this time to really STOP. LISTEN.PRAY. Seeking God's wisdom and guidance. I know that it may seem silly, but these next days will be a revelation from Him, but only if I seek it.
Day 1: I made it. 

11.09.2011

Bed Rest


I just got back from the Dr. and while the thoughts of said visit are still fresh in my mind I decided to jot them down.

I am going on six weeks now with the same issue. I decided to go back to the Dr. because my pain pills haven't been working as well as they used to. Ever since starting physical therapy I feel as though I am progressively getting worse. It's a concern for me when I literally can't walk more than a few steps.

The Dr. said that he doesn't think it was a good idea for my previous Dr. to put me in physical therapy so soon. His thoughts behind that were that my sciatic nerve didn't have enough of a chance to lower the swelling, therefor the therapy inflamed the nerve. Thanks Kaiser.

I have been put on bed rest, or better yet, couch rest for the next five days. I have also been put back on steroids for the next 20 days. Steroids and I have a love/hate relationship I love that they make me feel better, HATE that they make you gain weight. The combination of gaining weight, not being able to exercise and having a massive appetite aren't a good mix for a girl. C'est la vie, right?

On the bright side, he says that surgery is no where in my near future. He says if I have surgery I am looking having chronic back pain the rest of my life. That at this point I need to rest, and work through it with steroids, and then rehab once my swelling goes down.

10.27.2011

Physical Therapy

Yesterday I began treatment with my Physical Therapist. I didn't go in there with high hopes and I left with even smaller ones.

The Dr. did her protocol exam where she examines my muscles, my spine, my reflexes, etc. She says my muscles are weak and we need to do everything we can do get them strong again. She also stated that my spine and posture are crooked. Really? I hadn't noticed.

The plan: to do daily exercises to strengthen my muscles. Visit one time a week for 6-8 weeks. Ice my back every two hours for 10-15 minutes for 4 weeks.

This part of my post may be kind of a stretch, but track with me while I process.

Last night I was laying in bed reading about Jesus feeding the 5,000. The disciples had suggested that they send the people away to go eat but Jesus said "You feed them" to which they replied that they didn't have enough to give them. So Jesus told them to go and see what they did have. At that time the young boy gave them five loaves and two fish. Jesus then used that to multiply and give to eat to everyone, including left overs that filled up twelve baskets.

Here's my thought, Jesus didn't perform the miracle without first getting something from the disciples to work with. I think this past month I've been waiting for God to perform a miracle and completely heal my back to 110%. I'm not saying He can't still do that, but as I was laying in bed doing my exercises I thought to myself "this physical therapy process could be my loaves and my fish" as in, I really felt like in order for me to get better I need to do my part.

Doing my part would include going to my weekly visits, doing the daily exercises, and doing my best to keep myself healthy. That is all for now.

Still a work in progress...

10.25.2011

Update

Today marks one month since I've been experiencing back pain. I wish I could say that I am 100% better but the truth is that I'm about 20% better. Since my last post I have seen my primary care Dr who sent me home with steroids, muscle relaxers, norcos (pain pails), and a referral to a back specialist.

Upon meeting with my back specialist she recommended I give physical therapy a shot. She also advised me to stop going to the chiropractor because she feels they cannot fix what I have. It is suspected that I have a herniated disk that is effecting the sciatic nerve. Once the sciatic nerve is involved it inflicts pain through out the entire leg, also causing numbness to a certain degree. I am currently experiencing all of these symptoms.

Being that this has been going on for a month you can imagine my frustration with not being able to do things at full capacity. I still struggle with standing for more than a few minutes at a time, and I still can't walk far distances. It's a helpless feeling for an independent person like myself to know that I can't do everything I could before. My mother as amazing as she is, recently came to my apartment to clean and wash my clothes while I sat on the couch working on my laptop because I couldn't do any of it. Her being there to help me is of course a huge blessing, but it's also frustrating.

Emotionally-- I am better. Well, I don't know if it's better, I think if anything its turned from being emotionally teary, to emotionally angry. My patience is limited and my temper fuse is shorter. Is my pain a reason to lose my cool? No. I would say that it should extend grace when I don't respond in a manner that I should. But I also know that regardless of how I'm physically feeling it shouldn't dictate how I act and treat others. A work in progress.

If you read this, please be praying for God's healing power over me. I know that surgery is my last resort, but it's looking more and more like something that I need to consider.

B.

10.06.2011

Twelve Days Later

For the past twelve days I have had the most excruciating pain in my lower back, my sciatic area to be exact. I’ve had back issues ever since I was kid due to a bad car accident where I wasn’t wearing my seat belt. I’ve known chiropractors and physical therapist most of my life.

The pain normally flares up and last no more than a day or two. This pain that I feel now is more than I ever have before. The fact that it wasn’t going away really started to concern me. With a visit to my primary care Dr and a bottle of Ibuprofen later the pain is still there. I finally gave in and made a visit to a highly recommended Dr for chiropractic treatment.

After my first initial exam and x rays it was evident that I have a severely damaged disk that is directly linked to my sciatic nerve. If you know at all what this feels like, I’m sorry. I would never wish this type of pain on anyone. I will be going to the chiropractor for the next month three times a week for adjustments and electric stimulation. If that doesn’t work we move on to decompression that costs 7,000. If that doesn’t work then it’s time to consider surgery. I am putting faith in that I won’t need to go past doing weekly adjustments.

It may not seem like a big deal, but its effecting everything that I do. As easy as it used to be to get in and out of my car, in and out of my bed, walking from the parking lot to my office. These are all things that I now I have to add extra time to because I don’t move as easily as I used to. I risk ripping ligaments so I have to take it slow.

I can handle pain pretty well so the fact that this is effecting me as much as it is can show you how much I am not exaggerating. I would say the worst part about all of this is the emotional toll it’s taking on me. I’ve come to realize that I am emotional person. I think it comes from years of pushing my feelings to the side because I didn’t grow up with a family who embraced feelings and emotions. We were taught that we’re fine, and to move on.

The emotional drainage that I am experiencing is exhausting to say the least. I get frustrated when I can’t walk from my room to the kitchen without stopping because it hurts. Frustrated that I can’t stand for too long. Frustrated that I can’t properly stand up straight.

I know things can be worse. They can always be worse. I’m reminding myself that I am truly blessed that this problem isn’t something bigger. Blessed that it is treatable. Blessed that I can afford to pay for the treatment I am receiving. And finally blessed that situations like these always remind me who cares about me and who is willing to take care of me when it’s needed.

I don’t do well with depending on others. I always feel that when situations like this arise that God is teaching and reminding me that it’s ok that I get taken care of for a change. I’m used to being the one who takes care of everyone. But the reality is that I can’t take care of anyone, if I’m not first taking care of myself.

9.02.2011

Fan Friday



















This morning I read a blog post from first year LSSC student Jessi Pestana. You can find her blog here http://hummingbear2.wordpress.com/

If you know anything about Jessi its that she is a unique young woman with a heart of gold. After reading her blog this morning I thought to myself "wow, she's come such a long way!" I always love seeing the beauty in the work of God when he transforms hearts. Jessi has made her heart 100% available for God to mold it however He sees fit.

Jessi,

You are such an incredible person. From where you were to where you are is night and day. One of the things I love most about you is your ability to be transparent. You putting yourself out there is giving us a first class seat to watching God paint his masterpiece on the canvas of your heart and soul. It continues to fuel my fire watching how you have let yourself be changed by Him. It gives me that much more reason to want to continue going after students in our community.

You have been blessed with so many gifts, writing being one of them. I encourage you to continue using that gift because I guarantee it will change lives! It has already impacted mine. Know that you have so much to offer this world, I believe you are just beginning to scratch the surface of all that entails.

I'm honored that I get to be a small part in your journey, keep seeking after all He has for you with everything you've got! I'll be here if you ever need anything from me, guaranteed.

7.15.2011

Fan Friday


















Today's Fan Friday: Brooke Vande Vegte!

It's really been amazing watching you from when you were singing in Kidzone, to singing on Mondays, to Tuesdays, to then singing on weekends. You are not at all the same girl you used to be. You are now a young woman ready to start taking on the world. I remember telling you sometime last year how it's been awesome watching you transform. I think back to that moment to now and I'm blown away by how much you've grown in your ability to sing, play, and lead. You are a natural born worship leader.

I look forward to the day when I get to see you recording your own songs, and even maybe singing with Phil Whickham ;) Don't let anyone stop you from what God wants to do with your life. You will always run into people who want to extinguish the fire inside of you and your dreams. Don't give anyone the power to be negative in your life. Surround yourself with supportive people who are going to continue pushing you to your fullest potential. Keep seeking after God and He will continue to open doors for you to use your influence for good.

Remnant, Kidstudios, and South Hills are blessed to have such a beautiful heart leading in our ministries. Thank you for all the hard work you put into each and every single thing you do. Love you, Brookey!

7.08.2011

Fan Friday
























This weeks Fan Friday features: Christian Amador aka Chef Christian from Kidnation Studios.

Christian,

When I think of you I think of that infectious smile that brings so much joy to my heart. You have the ability to change the temperature in any room just by walking into it. Your positive attitude is something I admire and strive for.

I know I tell you this a lot but I always feel like I never say it enough. Thank you for always putting forth 100% effort. Your positive attitude, your heart, and your willingness to serve are the ingredients (see what I did there) of an incredible leader.

Know that I fully support whatever avenue of ministry you choose to pursue. Remnant and Kidnation are blessed to have you as part of the team. Your influence continues to make waves through out our students lives. I love that you aren't "too cool" to hang out with the younger kids and students. It's rare that you find someone who can serve in children's, youth, young adults, and main services. You have a gift of being able to relate to any age.

I can't say it enough how excited I am to see what God has to do through you and with you. I don't think you realize how truly gifted you are. One of the most amazing qualities about you is that you have a humble heart. Being humble doesn't mean thinking less about yourself, it means thinking of yourself less. I know you have confidence in yourself that you are an incredible guy, but I also know that you shine that onto others.

Lastly, I love how thoughtful you are. Thank you for always being willing to take care of any need I have. Whether that's bringing me coffee, making me laugh, making sure things are done, or just plain smiling to make my crazy day better. I appreciate all of it. Thank you for choosing to be part of the Remnant team. Love you, Christian!

P.S. When you're famous, don't forget about me ;)

7.05.2011

End of an Era































There she is in all her beauty. The first car that I have ever purchased on my own at a car dealership. My old car pictured up top was the car that I had been driving for 3 and 1/2 years. I originally had a Toyota 4Runner that was costing me a cool $560 dollars a month. Not including insurance. I decided that it would be smartest to sell the 4Runner and get something easier on the wallet. So I sold it literally the day before I left for Africa and when I got back I purchased my little red Civic for a whopping $800 dollars. Three and a half years and close to 2,000 in repairs later she decided to get hurt enough to the point where I wasn't willing to fix her.

Enter my new beauty. I purchased her on July 2nd and I could not be happier. It still hasn't fully registered in my mind that she's mine. From what I was driving to what I am in now, I feel like I'm driving a Lexus. Small things like the radio having more than one station that works. The windows rolling up and down like they are supposed to. My locks actually locking. The AC working is a HUGE blessing! I still look down at the odometer to make sure she's not going to over heat. I forget that this car doesn't have that issue. It's honestly just another reminder of what a blessing these small things are. I'm sure most people don't think twice about the fact that their doors lock or their windows roll up. To me, it's a luxury.

The crazy part about this whole car buying experience is that I did it on my own. I didn't go in their with a man like I was told I should. I went in there knowing exactly what I wanted, how much I was willing to spend, and what I was and wasn't willing to compromise on. When it comes to buying cars and negotiating anything financial my dad was the one who would be there for me. He was the one who would say what was and wasn't a good deal. He was a super intimidating guy, having him there with me would have been nice, but I know he would have been proud of the way I handled myself. Silly how something as simple as buying a car would make me miss him, and yet holidays like Father's Day don't phase me much anymore.

The car has not yet been named. When she is officially named I will share with everyone.

7.02.2011

Weekly Weigh In























Weekly Weigh In Results -0

I am happy to report that I did not lose, nor did I gain. Let me explain why I'm happy about that.Today was one of those days where I didn't want to step foot onto a scale, literally.

These past two weeks I worked out a total of ZERO times. I suppose I can't give excuses, but if I had to I would tell you that I was unable to get to the gym for lack of transportation. My car broke down late last Friday night and I was without a vehicle up until today.

The lack of vehicle also caused for not being able to go grocery shopping. Of course there are healthy options at fast food places, but when you don't have the opportunity to prepare meals beforehand your choices are limited.

And to top it off I had a friend visiting from out of town. This included trips to In N Out, Slaters 50/50, and a day at Disneyland. A day filled with corn dogs, pretzels, ice cream, and Pizza Port pasta.

It's easy to give excuses. If you want your desired results there is no room for excuses. All it takes is the will power and self control. Both of which I did not have these two weeks.

7.01.2011

Fan Friday















Fan Friday: Jesse Santangelo

AKA "Santangelo! Santangelo! Santangelo!"

Jesse,

This morning I was remembering back to Remnant birthday last year when you shared your testimony. Looking back to where you were then to where you are now has been so amazing to see. I don't think you realize that the growth you have experienced isn't something that just happens, it takes work. It's takes work that you have been willing to put in because you realized that God has more for you.

It doesn't take but one conversation with you to know that you are something different, someone special. I am honored and privileged to have you as part of the team. Knowing that you support myself and our team where ever we go, and whatever we do means a lot to me. Your leadership abilities have risen and so has your influence. Always remember "with great power comes great responsibility". In the role that you are in you have been given great responsibility. Not only to be leading yourself to higher ground, but now you have a team of people that are there to follow your lead.

Continue pushing yourself to grow and better yourself. I'll be here along the way to be your loudest encourager. Always know that I am proud of who you are and who you continue to become. Being a great leader doesn't mean you need to be perfect, but it does mean that you do your best to set the tone and example. Remember that you are constantly being watched, not so others can catch you doing something wrong, but so that others know how to be.

I start thinking about where you will be in five years, ten years, etc. I don't know exactly where you will end up, but I know that you will be successful at whatever you put your mind to. You are one of the most intelligent students I know, don't let your talents and giftings sit and get dusty. Keep seeking after Him and He will direct your path. No matter what, follow your heart. Follow after the dreams and desires He has placed in you.

Thank you for always bringing your joyful smile and attitude to Remnant J. High. I always love seeing you front row!

P.S. I bet they never thought you would get "Fan Friday". You know what you tell them? Never say never ;)

6.25.2011

Making A List, And Checking It Twice


















In the past few months I’ve heard more people talk about making a list of things they wish to find in their future husband or wife. I was in a conversation with a good friend of mine about relationships when I was told that I should write out a list of all things that are non-negotiable in what I would hope and pray to find in a husband.

Where do you start when making a list of the so called “perfect” man? It almost seems like a joke to think that you would find someone that fits into this perfect mold of a man that you want forever. I fully agree that you should know what you like and dislike, and that you should know the things you are or aren’t willing to compromise. The thing about writing out the list isn’t so much that you are finding the perfect man. It’s that you are setting the guideline for the things that you know in your heart you can’t live without.

I won’t share my entire list with you but I can tell you that my TOP non-negotiable about a man that I desire (other than loving God with his whole heart) is that he NEEDS to be funny. Humor is too much apart of my life to be with someone who doesn’t make me want to laugh until I cry. After all, I can’t be the sole person with jokes in the relationship. To some people that may not be a big deal, to me, it’s a deal breaker.

The thing about lists is that when does it get to the point where it’s almost too nit picky. And who’s to say that it’s nit picky if it’s your list? For example: what if your list looked like this:

Potential husband: must be 6 ft tall or taller. Brown hair. Olive skin. Dark eyes. Must play a musical instrument. Must have at least two years work experience. Should have money saved in the bank in case of emergencies. Hair should never be longer than mine. No history of family diseases. Must love dogs.

When does it stop looking like a job description and start looking like you’re looking for someone to do life with?

I’m not an expert, but I think our list should start looking like this:

Loves God
Funny
Family Man
Supportive
Goal Oriented
Servant Heart
Wants Children
Challenges Me
Traveler
Intelligent

Everyone’s list will look differently. My thought on all of this is that sometimes things don’t always happen like you would think they would. Maybe you end up falling for a guy who is 5’7 and you always dreamed you would marry a guy who was 6’4. Maybe you end up with hot blooded Latina when you swore you would only date the typical girl next door with blonde hair and freckles.

My point to all of this is that God is much bigger than the lists we create. But I will end this with saying that God also created you for nothing but His best. Don’t settle for someone that doesn’t meet your non-negotiable. Make your list, and check it twice, but don’t be so rigid that you could potentially push someone away that could be the perfect fit even though they don’t fit into the cookie cutter you’ve created.

6.24.2011

Fan Friday
























Today’s Fan Friday is extra special. It goes out to none other than Nena Cornelis. Aside from being today’s pick, she is also graduating J. High! I specifically waited until today to post about her because I wanted graduation day to be extra special.

For those who may not know, I have known Nena since I was in my Kidzone days running the Jr. Leader program for Jr. High and High School students that wanted to volunteer in Children’s ministry. She quickly became one of my most dedicated leaders. I was also blessed with the honor of baptizing her just over a year ago.

Her servant heart has done nothing but continue to grow over the last year. So much so that she is now my assistant in the Remnant J. High ministry. Calling her a volunteer feels as though I am not giving her enough credit, hence the title that she has been given. I have never seen someone of her age with the ability to serve without caring who gives her credit. As much as I brag on her, I feel it’s not enough.


Nena,

I know you constantly say that I am a blessing in your life, but I don’t think you realize that you have been a tremendous blessing in mine. Not only do you serve with all of your heart to Remnant ministries and South Hills, but you have managed to take on a roll that even some adults cannot accomplish.

Your ability to know what I need, want, what I’m going to say and do is incredible. You being my right hand girl has empowered me to continue growing our ministry. What you do on a daily basis is a true gift to me. Thank you for treating me as well as you do. I sincerely mean it when I say I can’t do what I do without you.

You are so gifted, wise, talented, warm hearted, driven, funny, and intelligent, I could go on. I see so much potential in you that it blows my mind to think of where you will be in just a couple years from now. You being obedient to what God calls you to do is what sets you apart from every other girl your age. You have chosen to lead a life that builds His kingdom.

Today you graduate Jr. High. In a short four years I’ll be writing about your graduation from High School. Time will continue to fly by, don’t let it pass you by. Keep your head in the game and your eyes on the prize. Keep thinking about the BIG picture. Keep seeking after Him and He will continue to lead you where you need to go.

Your life story is already one that has impacted not only my life, but the lives of those around you. Can you imagine what your story will look like in ten years from now. When you write you book about everything you’ve been through and accomplished, don’t forget about me. I love you like no other, not just as a leader, but as my family.

6.18.2011

Weekly Weigh In
























Weekly weigh in results: -1

This weeks results I am actually quite shocked I lost anything. Big deal it's 1 lb. but to me it's still a win. Between In N' Out, Red Robin, Miguel's, and only working out two times this week, I thought for sure I would gain weight.

This week it's time to get STRICT!

6.17.2011

Fan Friday


















Today's Fan Friday: Ryan Dexter! AKA Ryan from "Ryan and the Dexters"

Ryan,

Where do I start? I knew from the first time I watched you lead a song that you would be someone special to our ministry. From the moment you strum the strings on your guitar you can feel the presence of God in the room. I can't help but smile watching you lead our students into a place of worship they have never been.

What I am always so fascinated by is the heart you have for worship. It's not always easy to find talented musicians who do it to please God, but instead do it to impress a crowd. I always love to see and hear that your heart and mind are in the right place. In the short time you have been with us you have brought us to a whole other level. You started taking out the "just" from it "just" being J. High and started going after it as if we were leading 1,000's.

Your ability to be a team player who is ready and willing to follow my lead sets you apart. To know that you are loyal to myself and our team means the world to me. Thank you for taking the vision and running with it. Every so often you get leaders that just "get it" and you are definitely one of those. I can't wait to see what God has for you. He's got some big dreams that are set out just waiting for you to go after them when the time is right. It's an honor to serve alongside you.

Love you, Dex!

"In an Instant"
















A few days ago in my previous blog titled "Pain Will Prepare You" I talked about how God can take you from your prison to your palace in an instant. Those words became real to me at 11:48 am Thursday morning. I received the following text from Pastor Chris Harrell "Can you get the 27th of July and/August 3rd off to speak to all the Jr. Highers at our A/G SUMMER CAMP!! In an INSTANT!!"

A few days ago I felt like quitting, a day ago I got asked to speak to 100's of students at a Youth Summer Camp. My mind can't process everything that has happened in the past 72 hours. I am beyond grateful for a pastor who believes in me, who continually pours into me and continues to guide me along the way. And who could forget his incredible wife, Brenda. She has been in my corner since day 1, no questions asked.

A year and a half ago I was running a leadership program for 5th and 6th graders in the Children's ministry. A year ago I started as director of J. High ministry. Months ago I started speaking weekly on Monday nights. In weeks I will be able to say that I am a "camp speaker". It amazes me how everything took growing steps to get here. You don't realize how pivotal the steps are until you get to a place like this. Funny thing about all of this, is that I'm sure God's looking at me saying "This is just the beginning".

This opportunity that I have been given is another launch pad into what He has for me. It's a open door that will elevate me to a whole other level of influence. As cliche as this may sound, I am honored that God would trust me with such great responsibility.

6.15.2011

Pain Will Prepare You

















At Remnant we are in a series titled "Pain Required" where we are following the story of Joseph. You can listen to the podcast at www.remnantfamily.com In this series our main focus is that your pain is a gift. The idea that the pain you went through can save someone else the same pain, and be a gift to them as well. And in turn giving that gift away blesses you in the process.

Last nights message titled "Pain Will Prepare You" may have been one of the most impactful messages I have ever heard. I felt as if I was having a one on one conversation, except I wasn't speaking so much as listening. The Spirit of God was ministering to my heart more than I ever thought possible, even now, typing these words He continues to do so.

I sat in the front row of the auditorium with my head buried in my notes, not just because I was writing like a mad woman, but because I felt this overwhelming vulnerability. As a leader you tend to feel like you should be the one who has it all together, be the example to the students around you, be there for them. Last night was the complete opposite. I felt like a mess, I couldn't keep my tears in long enough to wipe away the tears that came before. Me? Cry during a message? In the front row? Where all of my students and leaders were? Yup.

Before I get onto anything else I ask you this question: Do you ever feel like quitting?

Everyday I wake up to get ready for work, I feel like quitting. Everyday I clock in, I feel like quitting. Everyday I clock out, I feel like quitting. I'm sure at this point you understand that I feel like quitting my job altogether. This is the feeling that I have had for the past two years of my six years working this job. I have a great job that pays me well and has incredible benefits, I am incredibly blessed and I recognize that. My issue is when you know that God has more for you than sitting behind a desk for 8 hours for 40 hours a week.

Here's where last nights message got me, in one line, "God can take you from your prison to your palace in an instant".

A few months ago during worship I heard God say loud and clear "If I wanted you out of there I would have done it already" that literally did not click in my head until I started this paragraph. Amazing to me how He can give you a word and then come back around to remind you that He's in control, not me. Me getting upset that I am still here is a slap in His face that I don't think He's running my life the way He should be. This season of pain is preparing me for the blessing that is to come. He will never break His character to bless someone who can't handle it.

My goal for the past two years has been to quit my day to day job and be a full time pastor where I can do something that I love and feel passionate about. If I serve the almighty God who can change my life by the snap of a finger then why am I still here? I have fooled myself into thinking that it is man to blame for the reason I am still sitting at this desk. At times I have let myself get attacked by the enemy telling me that I should just go somewhere else, this is never going to happen for you, they don't appreciate you, they'll never give you the credit for all you do. No one cares or sees all the hours you put in. Just quit.

This pain is preparing me for greatness. How I choose to respond in these moments is where my true character is being built. This so called prison that I am in should be the place where I ask God to strip me of my selfishness, ego, and my pride. I need to be willing to let Him use me so that He can take out my imperfections.

The beauty of all of this is that God is still developing the plan to get me out of here. On the outside He's orchestrating this incredible vision for my life. I'll never fully understand how much He loves me. I'll never fully understand why He does what He does. But I will rest in the fact that He is in control, and I will thank Him for the pain that I go through, because I know that I am not going through it alone.

So again I ask the question: do you ever feel like quitting? How many 1,000's of lives won't be impacted if you quit now?

If I quit now I know I'll be quitting when I'm just three feet from gold. My time is coming. I look forward to the day when I can look back and say "Wow God, that's why you did what you did". Trusting and believing in Him like never before.

6.11.2011

Weekly Weigh In











Weekly weigh in results: -2


Yowza! I am one happy girl! Down 2 lbs this week putting the total loss in the past four weeks at 10 lbs. And complete total loss from when I first started last year is -23 lbs. I guess that just goes to show you that a little hard work really does pay off.

I am still exercising about four times a week and continuing to make healthier food choices. Cooking dinner at home has been a huge help to not eating fatty fast food all the time. Taking the extra time to prepare lunch, snacks, and dinner has made a world of difference.

The best part about all of this is that even though I am making healthier food choices, I am not depriving myself of the foods I like. I still have a burger every now and then except I either don't eat the whole thing and or I don't finish the fries. Everything in moderation is key. Even too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.

As far as my gym membership goes, I am locked in to my contract until August 1st, which happens to be the day I leave for Summer Camp. So until then I'll be at the same place. I may even change my mind as to canceling all together.

Can't wait to see the results of this next month coming up!

6.10.2011

Fan Friday























This weeks Fan Friday: Tawny Ainis

If you don't know Tawny, then I can genuinely say that you are missing out. She is by far one of the sweetest, funniest, sincere, and down to earth girls you'll meet. I love her like a younger sister and couldn't imagine my life without her.

Tawny,

Over this past year I have had the privilege of watching you "grow up". It's not to say that you were immature before, but senior year was a big part of your life. Getting to be apart of the decision making process for your future was and continues to be a blessing. Over the past few months is when I have really seen you step up your game in the area of leadership. I've watched you love on young girls while coming along side them to show them the way. Without knowing it you are setting the bar for our female leaders to follow after.

There is an underrated brilliance about you. It's as if you are a well kept secret. Now is when the world is really starting to see your gifts and talents come alive. Your servant heart continues to impress me. Thank you for always being available to seeing a need and filling it. True leadership begins with us as leaders being the model and the reflection of Jesus as we serve those around us. Jesus came to serve by the washing of his disciples feet, not to come and reign as a king that wanted everything done for Him. Great job showing the humble heart behind the daily tasks.

I cannot be more excited about this next season of your life. LSSC will be an incredible opportunity for you to continue growing as a leader and also continue growing as a woman of God. Give God the green light to work in and through you and you will be amazed at what He can and will do. We say it a lot that "God has big things for you!" I say it a lot about you because I know it to be true. Go into this next season of your life expecting BIG things. I don't mean BIG in the material world, but BIG in the kingdom world. What you do makes an impact in His kingdom. Keep seeking after Him and His heart.

I love you Tawn Bawn ;)

6.04.2011

Weekly Weigh In
















Weekly weigh in results: -2

Considering I worked out one time this week, I am beyond pleased with this weeks results! I am actually considering canceling my gym membership and or switching gyms. The one I go to has the most horrible hours to work around. Working out on my lunch break isn't the most ideal situation.

As Summer continues it becomes pretty disgusting exersising and then walking out into 100 degree heat. My thoughts recently have been, "why do I even need a gym membership?".

Realistically, I can do the same thing by running at the park or finding a buddy to play tennis with in the mornings. I'll keep you posted on that, I'm sure you're dying to know what I decide (insert sarcastic tone here).

6.03.2011

Fan Friday
















(not all graduates pictured)


This weeks Fan Friday feature goes out to all of the High School graduates!

Last night concluded my week full of graduations, three to be exact. If I could have gone to all of them I most definitely would have. You would think you've seen one graduation you've seen them all. But each one was unique in it's own way. Each one had Remnant students that are dear to my heart.

Students,

You have all accomplished a huge milestone in your lives. For the past four years you have dedicated your time and talents to completing classes, participating in sports, performing in plays, or being behind the scenes making things happen. These past years of your life will soon turn from your day to day, to memories of a time when things seemed so much simpler.

Now it's onto the "real world" they say. This next step in your journey will be exciting, scary, joyous, stressful, and amazing all at the same time. My advice to all of you is to hit the ground running. The world is full of possibilities and is waiting for someone like you to come after it. Surround yourself with positive people who are going to fuel your fire and push you to be the best you can be. I'll never forget this quote I heard years ago "show me your friends and I'll show you your future". Get around people who are going to blaze the trail with you.

I can't tell you all enough how proud I am of each and every single one of you. You are all so unique and special to me. God has a special calling on your lives to be the generation that breaks the mold. This calling comes with responsibility, don't take it lightly. Continue to share with the world what He has done in your life. Submit to His will and He will take you further than you ever thought possible. The possibilities are endless.

Lastly, thank you for letting me be a voice in your lives. Watching you all grow has truly been an honor to see. And don't think that just because you're graduates that you're too grown to seek advice or wisdom. Know that I am always here if you ever need anything. Love you all to no end.

P.s. Never say never ;)

6.01.2011

June


















It's June 1st and I am in shock. I know we often say that time flies when you're having fun. It also flies by when you're extremely busy. Being that we are six months away from 2012, it makes me stop and look at all of the goals I set out for myself this year. Am I where I wanted to be? Should I be working a little bit harder? Or should I be working a little bit less?

Becoming a licensed pastor is the big one for this year. I began the process in December when I sent in my request for my application. My application was accepted. I passed my background check. My forms have been completed and submitted. My next step is my first interview with my presbyter on June 27Th. I am the type of person that gets ridiculously nervous when it comes to interviewing. I feel I do a fairly good job at communicating and I am very much a people person, but I still get nervous. I think it's the pressure to say the right thing. I also think it's the fact that this person doesn't know anything about me except for what I tell them. I get one hour to basically show how amazing I am. I say that in the most humble way possible.

I have been given the green light to schedule and take my final exam. This one I am in no rush to get to. I received my study guide in the mail of all the things I need to have a basic understanding of, and needless to say I was speechless. It's not that it's difficult information, it's that I'm that type of person that can remember something perfectly one day, and then days or weeks later I could forget it. This is why I constantly take notes when it comes to just about anything that I need to remember.

I say all this to say that for the next six months I am going to be pushing myself harder than I have before. I need to make a conscious effort to take time out every week if not everyday to study for this exam. I don't take this process lightly, and I know AG doesn't either. Please be in prayer as I prepare myself for this next step in my journey. It's time consuming, stressful, and nerve wrecking, but I know it's going to be so rewarding to know that I worked hard for that license that will hang on my office wall.

5.28.2011

Weekly Weigh In




















Weekly weigh in results: -2

Oh booyah! Pretty happy with this weeks results. I'm surprised I lost anything. It's hard to stay on track with birthdays, bbq's, and especially when you throw in a trip to Roscoes Chicken And Waffles.

5.21.2011

Weekly Weigh In























Weekly weigh in results: -4 lbs.

Not bad for a week, I don't expect that same amount this week coming up. Usually the first week back to eating right and working out are the kick start. The goal for this week will be 2 lbs, but I would be happy with 1. Slow and steady wins the race.

5.13.2011

Let's Get Physical






















Starting Wednesday I brought my lazy butt back to the gym. When I checked in at the front counter I realized I hadn't been there since December 20th, 2010. Good Lord! Had it really been THAT long?! It didn't seem like that much time had gone by, but when I started working out I could feel it had been that long. Luckily I hadn't gained back all of the weight I had put off, but I could definitely see a difference in where I had toned up some. So why do I share this on here? Well, accountability for one, for two it helps me see my progress along the way.

My motivation for going back in the day was to be healthy (of course) and also because I had my India trip coming up so I wanted to be as fit as possible. When India got postponed I somewhat lost any motivation to keep going. With the combination of holidays thrown in, I didn't stand a chance. My motivation this time? Summer camp in August! That and the original reason of wanting to be as healthy as I can be. I know I'll never be a size 5, and I honestly don't want that. I want to be comfortable in my own skin, even if that means being a double digit size.

Feel free to hold me accountable on whether or not I've been to the gym. Shooting for at the very minimal 4 days a week. So far this week: 3. I just started going back, don't hassle me until next week ;)

5.03.2011

Sick Day

For the past week I have not been feeling well. I blamed it on the allergies, which is correct, except the allergies turned into a deathly cold that I couldn't get rid of. I gave in and made a visit to my favorite Dr. I was told that I have the following;Allergic Rhinitis. Asthma (I already knew this). Nasopharyngitis. and Conjunctivas. I was given a shot, an inhaler, nose spray, and eye drops. And an off work order till Thursday.

The best part about being sick, yes there is a best part, is that I get loved on by the amazing people around me. Brenda Harrell and the LSSC interns surprised me with my favorite flowers (Stargazer Lilly's) a card, and another favorite of mine, balloons. I am so blessed it's almost ridiculous, almost.

P.S. Don't be alarmed by the mask, its for your protection <3




video

4.22.2011

"Bumble Bee"















Sometimes I feel like my car is "Bumble Bee" from Transformers, and God speaks to me through music and lyrics. My car is not nearly as beautiful as that Camaro, but the idea behind Bumble Bee communicating through songs on the radio really made me think about how God communicates with me.

Everyone is different, therefor everyone hears God's voice differently. I was on my lunch break driving around Corona and "The Scientist" from Coldplay came on. Anyone who knows me well enough knows that Coldplay is my all time favorite band. The song goes;

Come up to meet you, tell you I'm sorry
You don't know how lovely you are

I had to find you
Tell you I need you
Tell you I set you apart

Tell me your secrets
And ask me your questions
Oh, lets go back to the start

Running in circles
Coming up tails
Heads on a science apart.

Nobody said it was easy
It's such a shame for us to part
Nobody said it was easy
No one ever said it would be this hard

Oh, take me back to the start.

I was just guessing
At numbers and figures
Pulling the puzzles apart

Questions of science
Science and progress
Do not speak as loud as my heart

Tell me you love me
Come back and haunt me
Oh, and I rush to the start

Running in circles
Chasing our tails
Coming back as we are

Nobody said it was easy
Oh it's such a shame for us to part
Nobody said it was easy
No one ever said it would be so hard

I'm going back to the start

Now this might be a stretch, but I really felt like the beginning part of this was what I would sing to God and what His response would then be. "Tell me your secrets, ask me your questions, nobody said it was easy, I had to find you to tell you I need you to tell you I set you apart..."

How do you best hear God's voice?

4.07.2011

It Goes On...























In the past 8 hours I have experienced a funeral, the birth of a friends baby, and the bittersweet good bye of a friend retiring from my office. The funeral was for a 13 year old boy who decided to end his life before God could make that decision for him. I sat there and stared at his photo that was being projected onto the screen and all I could think was "he could have been at J. High on a Monday night, he could have been one of mine". I won't go down the road of blaming myself for not being able to reach him, but I will take it upon myself to never give up on any student for as long as I have the ability to keep reaching.

The flesh part of me wants to ask God "why did you let this happen?!" or "why did WE let this happen?!". We constantly ask God to intervene on the lives that have been placed before us. Do you think God is maybe asking for us to intervene? We ask Him to do something, He asks us to do something. The prayer that we send up is the same His spirit sends back. The Spirit is always guiding us to make a move, always pushing, however gentle the push, still pushing none the less to step out and reach the people of God. So when we ask God why He didn't step in and do something, I'd like to ask myself the same question. When you ask God to send help for someone, did you stop and think that maybe YOU are that help that person needs? Sometimes we need to stop asking for God to move, and realize that we are the ones who can move Him.

Our ministry exists to love on Gods people. To be the example of what a true Christ follower looks like. To reach as many souls before the enemy gets there first. I don't want to get to the end of my life and feel like I could have done more. My prayer is that I would continue to listen when He is speaking. That I would continue to move when he says go. That I would continue to lead by example. And that I would love God with all my heart, soul, and mind.

Shortly after the funeral I received news that our executive pastors finally got to meet their new baby girl. And shortly after that a retirement party for a dear friend of mine that I have worked with for over five years. Life truly does go on. Time doesn't stop because we are going through something. Don't let life pass you by without soaking it in.

My pastor, Chris Harrell, said something that I believe will stick with me forever. He said "a dead nose smells no rose". Don't wait until a funeral to send someone flowers, send them when they can still smell them. Don't wait until a funeral to tell someone how much they mean to you. Make that phone call. Spend that quality time. Make the effort to love on the people you care about. It's amazing to me how a day like today can put things in perspective. Don't wait until it's too late. Above all else, make sure that the most important relationship of all, the relationship with God is where it needs to be.

3.29.2011

India Benefit Concert











CAUSE:
Remnant is hosting a summer camp in Hyderabad, India and its surrounding communities to promote discipleship, leadership development, and physical wellness. We need your support.

FEATURING:
Tyrone & Elina Wells
Local music artists
Spoken word
Local artist display

THE DEETS:
Tickets $10 (*find us & get yours pre-sale to avoid the line at the door)
Raffles
Food
Childcare provided

Spread the word!!

*Only 800 tickets will be sold! Tickets will be sold on a first come, first served basis.

3.25.2011

Five Years Ago...



















Five years ago today my life changed forever. Today is the five year anniversary of my dad passing, my life would never be the same. Every year that passes I seem to write about where I am, how I'm feeling, and how this tragedy still effects my life.

For those of you who know me well, you know that my relationship with my dad was not the healthiest. In fact, it was unhealthy and did not depict the Godly relationship between a father and his daughter. I didn't get to see what a Godly man looked like, I didn't get the father who would constantly remind of what I gift I am. Though I lost my earthly father, I gained my Godly Father.

With my dad passing came a ripple of things to come. We lost the house I grew up in. My mom and I moved in with my sister. We lost our cars. We lost whatever money we had. We lost family. We lost friends. But we didn't give up on hope that this was bigger than us, and that things would eventually get better.

It wasn't until a friend invited me to church, she said it would probably help me feel better. I went to a Sunday service and I never looked back. From that moment I was making the necessary changes to becoming who God wanted me to become. It became more about what He wanted for me, not what I wanted to get for myself. The journey still continues, I haven't "arrived". That's the beauty of God, when you think you've gotten to "that place" He reminds you that He has so much more to offer us.

My purpose to writing a blog each year on this day is to remind me of what my life was like before I was living for Jesus. To remind me of how He makes all things work together for my good. To remind me that only He was able to pull me out of the rubble. To remind me that even in the darkest of times He shines His light on me. To remind me that even when times become difficult that He will be right there next to me.

My prayer is that through my life God's power and beauty would be reflected. My hope is that anyone in a dark time can see that even in the worst of tragedies there is triumph lying beneath.