Saturday, February 7, 2015

Changes Ahead!

Oh hey blog world. Let's just jump in, shall we?

In the last week, I accepted a job I never thought I'd take and quit the job I thought I was going to be at for years to come. In two weeks, I will be moving up to the Bay Area. I will most likely be living in a hotel for a couple weeks until I get settled. I need to pack up my life and say "bye for now" to my friends here in Santa Barbara. I am terrified, but maybe not for the reasons you would think…

I'm going to be working for the property management firm exclusively for Facebook. I NEVER would have thought I would be working in Silicon Valley. But God knew. By a string of incredible circumstances, I already have a beautiful community of friends waiting for me in the Bay Area. I'm SURE that I have amazing experiences awaiting me at Facebook. And as far as a place to live, I have no doubt that God is lining that one up too. [but sooner rather than later would be great, thanks!]

So what is so scary then? Well, I realized that I am losing so many of the things I have been using to define myself. 

I loved the image that I had created for myself. I know a "good Christian" should never find identity in anything besides Christ. But guess what… that is hard. As much as I tried to keep that truth in my heart, I realized that I let every other thing define me. And my image became an idol to me. 

I was an engineer… but now that's no longer in my job title

I was a part-time wine pourer… but I had to quit that job 

I was a belly-dancer… but I had to leave my troupe

I was a kickboxer… but I had to quit that too

I was a roomie at The Hideaway… but I am moving out

hi roomies

So now I am going into a cool, new job… but I have never felt more "starting from square one" I no longer have "busy-ness" to hide behind. What do I say when people ask me what I like to do?

I don't have some great epiphany to end this post on. Honestly, I'm still scared. But I have complete faith that God is going to use this empty-ness to create something beautiful. I can't wait to document the changes that are going to happen in the months to come. Welcome to the new journey.

Monday, November 3, 2014

And The Greatest Of These, Is Love

Wooooo, finally made it to the last fruit of the Spirit. And it's a pretty important one. 

There is not a single person on this earth that doesn't long for love. Lucky for all those people of the earth, love is universal. Because God permeates all pieces of this universe, love can be uncovered everywhere. I found it in an orphanage in Honduras. 

One of the most famous descriptions of love is found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. I'm sure you're familiar. 

Can't argue with a description like that! It's all true and all so beautiful. Still, I'm going to add on to that.  My life has taught me a few things on true love..


Is security

Is done in faith

Is not easily swayed

Is not always clean or pretty

Rejoices being pulled out of the "easy zone"

Always works to be others-focused

Always brings joy

Always wins

I felt all of these descriptions so strongly over there at Orphanage Emmanuel… that I KNOW them to be true. I got to witness the incredible patience of the volunteers with the children of special needs. I got to see how messy and dirty love can be when you're trying to care for 25 four year old boys. I got to feel the deep hearted laughter that develops when you just focus on bringing joy into someone else's life. I felt the freedom the children have when they realize that the people around them are there to love them and keep them safe. I gained the reward of pushing myself out into the mercy of love. 

There are a million different ways we show love and experience love, but they all come down to the same core values. It's because of the Spirit! The same Spirit that creates joy, patience, self-control, faithfulness, gentleness, kindness, peace and goodness. Love wraps them all up into one!

I'm just a 25 year old girl who has never been married or had kids. I am SURE I will have so much more to add to this conversation once those events happen! But for right now, that's the best definition of love I discovered over in Honduras. Need some more proof? Just check out this smile on my face…

Monday, October 27, 2014

Oh My Goodness, I Went To Honduras

So at the beginning of this month, I took a little break from my hectic life to find some peace and goodness at Orphanage Emmanuel in Honduras. Now, if you are anything like me… you may need a quick geography lesson.

Just to really brag about my awesome geography skills. I got a little surprise on my first flight. I thought I was flying from LAX to Panama City, Florida, then from Florida to Honduras. Which would totally make sense if you thought about it! So you can imagine my surprise when I landed in Panama City, Panama. Check your itineraries!

I jumped on this trip with my friend Suzanne. Suzanne works for World Orphan Fund. They provide assistance to orphanages in need around the world. That can include medical assistance, clean water, housing, anything to help meet basic needs for the kids. They are an amazing organization that is 100% staffed by volunteers. Their most recent project with Orphanage Emmanuel was a water filtration system. I was personally so thankful for that! If you had seen this post of mine, you know much strongly I feel about staying hydrated. Over the years, Suzanne has developed a relationship with this orphanage and I was honored to join her on this most recent trip. 

Here we are with some of the small boys

That little guy in the green sure was a charmer!

A lot of people asked me "So what did you do there?" I never had a good answer. I guess the short one is… we played with kids. We lived on the orphanage grounds, so we got up every morning to the sound of kids playing at 6am. Who wouldn't want to wake up to this view!?

This was called "big circle". Every Friday morning all 500+ kids get together to worship before school. 
After drinking the most amazing coffee I've ever tasted, we spent our days running around with kids. Orphanage Emmanuel is the largest orphanage in Honduras. They fluctuate between 500 and 600 kids, from infants to seniors in high school. I was amazed to see how well these kids were taken care of. Outside the gates in Honduras is a scary place. It is filled with political unrest, gangs, poverty, prostitution, and general fear. But inside, every child is taken care of and loved. And this whole place started because one couple from Oxnard, CA heard God call them to Honduras. They started with 5 kids in a barn without any electricity or running water, and now they take care of over 500 kids. That is 500 kids being taken off the streets and out of pain. That is 500 kids being able to hear how much God loves them and see it in the works of the staff. That is 500 orphans that are orphans no more. 

And what could I possible call that, but good? It's just all so good. 

We live in a topsy-turvy world, so it's easy to try to complicate it. We think in order for something to have movement, it needs to be complex or hard or take a while to explain. But what if it's simpler than that? The best things on earth and in Heaven are not complicated, but that are good. The Spirit is just good. And it's fruit is just goodness being spread around. 

I could have, and probably already have, used every single adjective to describe my week at Orphanage Emmanuel. Everything from challenging to amazing to humbling to magical. But in the end, it pretty much comes down to two…

It was beautiful. 

And it was good. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Patience Has Never Been My Strong Suit

Three more Fruits of the Spirit to talk about, and this one is a toughie for me. I have never been a patient person. Sometimes, I like to blame it on my strong will. Or maybe my confidence in gut feelings. Either way, I like to make decisions quick and jump right into them. The world likes to tell us that this is a good thing. You find something you want and you RUN after it.

So why is patience a good fruit of the Spirit? 

Because it is directly connected to faith. Many times, when I jump right into something, it is because I am afraid it will be taken away from me if I don't make it happen. I am doing it out of fear that my life will be "less good" if I don't do that thing… whatever it may be. I am so afraid of losing a "what could have been" that I miss out on the TRUTH.

TRUTH: If it is meant to happen in my life, there is nothing I could possibly do to mess it up. No matter how much I suck, God is bigger and better than my mistakes. 

Right now, I am re-analyzing my life. I feel restless. So much of me just wants to just take a 180 and make some life-changing decisions.
And I might. 
Or I might not. 

But for right now, I am just [working on] being patient. I am being prayerful and waiting for the right opportunities to arise. I have to choose to have faith in how the Spirit moves in me and in my life. With that faith, comes peace. And when I am at peace, I can be patient.

So what's a girl to do? Just sit around and be patient for something to just magically fall into her lap. Heck no! I am going to work hard. I will continue to seek out new opportunities and grow. I will be content with the place God has me now, while I get ready for the new adventures to come. And believe me… there WILL be adventures! Not a single one of us was created for a mediocre life.

Speaking of adventures, here is a little taste of my recent one. I got back from Honduras a little over a week ago and I am soooooooo excited to tell you all about it soon!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

She.Is.Beautiful 2014

I'm going to detour off fruits of the Spirit for a post (or two) because we have finally made it to the moment this all started. On Sunday, September 21st, I ran the

2014 She Is Beautiful 10k!!!

So we finally made it! After 133 days of training, laughing, crying, traveling, dancing, learning and blogging (not  nearly everyday, but we'll get to that later) I ran 6.2 miles surrounded by a bunch of beautiful ladies and inspiring quotes. 

When I started this blog, I had every single intention to write about beauty everyday. For the first two weeks, I held on to that. But then something shifted. The blog was turing from a sweet journey into a stressful task. So I gave myself a break. I'm pretty sure you've noticed that I don't have 133 posts. That's because I could have said 133 things about beauty, but they would have held NO SUBSTANCE. What's the point of writing if it's not worth reading? I didn't have to write something every day in order to have something to say. 

So what was the point of this thing if it shifted so much from its original intent? 

It was probably to learn a whole bunch of stuff…

  • I like writing stuff out for you guys.
  • I am capable of pushing myself harder than I thought.
  • When I work out, it's not to be skinnier, it's to feel better when I wake up to take on the next day's adventure.
  • Having a positive spirit is one of the most beautiful things you can do. It shines through physically and spiritually. 
  • Beautiful is not about one thing. It is everything, all equally important, wrapped up into someone's presence.
  • Beautiful will always be changing and growing. And I want to push every day to get there.
So maybe I didn't blog every day, but at least I made it to the finish line
So what now? 

Well, the blog doesn't end here. And neither will my focus on beauty. I think that is always going to be a passion of mine. I'm going to keep on writing and keep on learning. And eventually, I'll make it to 133 posts. I'll just be older and wiser when we get there :)

So thanks for sticking around with me. And I hope you'll continue to do so! 

So here's to the next adventure!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Error On The Side Of Kindness

This one seems obvious, right? Kind people are beauties! I don't think I have ever known someone and said "Gosh, I would really like that person more if they weren't so kind…"

This is something that I strive for in my every day life. Sometimes it's easy, like when I'm hanging around my best friends. And sometimes it's hard, like when I'm dealing with frustrating people at work. Or worse, when a good friend hurts me. But no matter what situation I'm in, it is equally important to approach it with kindness and compassion. And sometimes that means laying down my own wants & needs (or pride) in favor of someone else's. So why?

Well, the way I see it… life is not about the little battles we can "win", it is about love. 

I had the honor of meeting Gary Parsons a few years ago. [Actually, like almost six years ago. Dang… time flies!] He is very involved in the YoungLife community and one of the most inspirational men I have ever met. One thing he said has always stuck with me…

"When in doubt, error on the side of love. You can't go wrong"

Kindness. It's that simple and...
So. Freakin. Beautiful. 

So this one time, two of my best friends put up with me and walked around lost in London for an hour all because I wanted to find this underground coffee house I saw once on the Travel Channel. If that's not an example of beautiful kindness… I don't know what is!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Choosing Self-Control

It's been a while. And I am sorry. Between life and distractions… I just couldn't fathom taking an hour out of my night to be vulnerable right here. Because this right here… is terrifying. The last thing I want to do is be less than 100% real here. We all have our own stories to tell. And when told with honesty, they can change minds, hearts, and lives.

Perhaps another reason I have been putting this off is that I am secretly terrified to be talking about the Fruits of the Spirit. I feel so unequipped. It's because I really am. We all are, and we need to accept that. We all fall short of these beautiful things. We will never achieve these attributes without choosing what's really important, and what is really worth it. You have to choose to listen to the Spirit inside of you. You have to choose it today and you'll probably have to choose it tomorrow. Actually, let me rephrase that…

I have to choose it today, and I will have to choose it tomorrow. 

The world is full of brokeness and beautiful temptations. 

I will choose to live in the Spirit that is within me. I will CHOOSE self-control. It's okay to deal with things differently than the rest of the world. It's a "me" generation these days. Doing what makes ME feel good or doing what I want at the very moment I want it. 

But there is a reason self-control is a beautiful thing. Because it leads to patience. And patience leads to peace. We don't need to live in the fast lane. There is something really beautiful about a girl who makes her choices with prayer and control. She will not be easily swayed by this world.