Sunday, March 31, 2013


It's hard to believe another month has gone by so quickly - already one quarter of 2013 is lived and gone! That's crazy! They say that every year you get older time seems to fly by that much faster, and I am starting to agree with that sentiment. But anyway, even though this month went by FAST, it was still very full and just leaves me with a thankful heart for all the great experiences, people, and opportunities God has given me here. I'm not going to say I didn't have some ups-and-downs this month too, but at the end of the day, God has remained faithful, even when I have not. He still has a great plan for my life, even when I try to form my own plan and convince Him that mine is better (embarrassing, but true!). And He's gently but firmly showing me how to continue in Him, even when I honestly just "don't feel like it," but deep down I still know He is and always will be everything I need...I just need to keep moving forward. this month ends and April begins, I've decided to read a proverb a day starting tonight through the last night of April and journal some type of response to each chapter. I just finished reading Joshua over this last month and it was such a great combination of encouragement and challenge to me - it just really showed me some areas of compromise in my own life that need to be dealt with and motivated me to keep digging deeper and not be afraid of living the way I know God wants me to. 

"Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord! And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether it be the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

In my Bible, the little forward for the book of Proverbs says that "the key word in proverbs is wisdom, "the ability to live life skillfully." After reading the account of Joshua and seeing everything he went through with the Israelites and God, even up until his final days, I would definitely say Joshua had some wisdom. He trusted God and His Word, and He fought the good fight without giving up, even when people around him wanted to give up and the odds were against him. He took a stand for what he knew was right and encouraged those around him to do the same, which made a difference in the lives of the people that God put around him. He lived life skillfully. 

I want to do the same! Sure, my life is completely different than Joshua's was in almost every possible way, but the God he served then is the same God I serve today, and the struggle is still the same: trying to live a godly life in an ungodly world. And this is why we NEED wisdom, because on our own we're just imperfect humans that will yield to our fleshly desires every time. I need God's guidance and strength to do what's right, because for the most part, I'm naturally inclined to the wrong thing. Not proud of that fact, but it's just reality and I think the sooner we can just accept that, and embrace God's forgiveness and grace and power...the sooner we'll be able to live the life God has intended for us all along. A life of victory, peace, and completeness. Not an easy life necessarily, because how could we know true victory without first knowing struggle, or peace without first turmoil...or completeness without first knowing what it feels like to have something missing? And I can look back in my life and see those times where it was hard and it hurt and I didn't have peace...and see how God was faithful when I decided to look past that momentary struggle and turn my focus on His truth and His promises. He came through. But the thing is, I don't always turn my focus to Him in the struggle. Sometimes I look to other things, or I just wait so stinkin' long and fight so hard...and it just gets worse...and then eventually I come crying back...and it's like I keep having to relearn the same lesson over and over again. So...that's a little frustrating, but it's also serving the purpose of showing me where I'm truly at in my walk and helping me see where I need to go from here. 

James 1:2-8 pretty much gives a good summation of it all: "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways." 

Yeah, I definitely don't want to be the unstable, double-minded person sucks. So I guess that means I'm working toward being a joyful, trial-bearing, live-life-with-skill person. And I can only be that with that means I need to continue in His Word and not let myself get drawn away by all this other stuff out there. And there's a lot of stuff out there, peeps! No joke. But just because it's out there doesn't mean you have to get all caught up in my question now is....what type of person are you? Are you the one tossed back and forth by the wind, unstable, double-minded? If you are, don't get discouraged, because the good news is that first of all, you're not the only one, and second, there is HOPE. Hope in Christ and His sacrifice for you - He wants to make you new...just like He's making me new every single day. It's a process - a journey if you will. And the beauty of it is that He's already set forth the right path for us to walk on - we don't have to make our own way (and believe me, when we ends up baaaad). AND He promises to be with really, it's our own fault if we find ourselves on the wrong road and all alone...I've tried to blame God for things so many times but then realized it was really just me being stupid and stubborn and allowing myself to be put into those yeah. I'm going to try to put all that behind me, and seek the wisdom from God that I know I desperately need in order to live a life that will be blessed and fruitful. Will I still make mistakes? Oh yes. Do I still have the tendency to be ridiculously stubborn and rebellious? Unfortunately, yes. But I trust in God's promise that He's not finished with me yet. 

"For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus." 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Seasoned Tomatoes of Progress

So I had quite a few title ideas for this post: "Season of Progress," "Changing tides," "The Goal," "Progress: re-defined," "My life as I'm living it," "Why can't I just like tomatoes?" And I really didn't know which one to pick because they all had their own little thing going, so I just randomized and ended up with what you see above. Yep, I know it doesn't make any sense....but just flow with it.

ANYWAY, I've just been pondering things a little bit lately... don't worry - I'm definitely not going to get too deep here - but I just have found it interesting how our ways of thinking and seeing things change over time. I've been noticing that quite a bit in my life lately... You know, those things that were just so super important and basically consumed you....but then, suddenly, are now not that big of a deal anymore? Or how certain goals and objectives start to fade away and then are replaced my seemingly opposite goals and objectives? What is that all about? But anyway, I feel like I just went through soooooo much random change last year with attending a 2nd semester of Bible college, coming home to a regular job, returning to school, getting a new job and quitting the old one, meeting new people....and so entering 2013 I kind of had a huge question mark over a lot of areas in my life. Seriously, like a bazillion random thoughts and questions have literally swirled around my brain concerning the future and how my life needs to progress: What things should I continue moving forward in this year? What things should I let go? Should I pursue this new interest? What about what so-and-so's doing...maybe I should be more like them? If I return to school to go into nursing, which school should I go to, how much will it cost, what will my schedule be like, how soon can I finish? Can I still work and go back to school?What if I don't go back to school ever and just work? Is that bad? Will I ever actually finish anything important, or just be stuck in the middle the rest of my life, not necessarily regressing but is failing to progress from a certain point actually a form of regression? Can I force myself to like tomatoes? Why am I trying to like tomatoes?

Yeah, sometimes I scare myself. And it can just go on and on and on...and I don't mean to get all wigged out inside over trying to decide things and plan and make sure I do the right thing...but sometimes that's just my reality. And I kind of got tired of it recently, because I felt like I was just making goals for the purpose of having goals and going back to school because I should be achieving more and just feeling pressured and overwhelmed and then I an effort to make so much progress, am I actually getting NOWHERE? I don't want to spend so much time mapping out my life and making sure to hit each mile marker on schedule that I miss out completely on what the real point of it is. There's nothing wrong with continuing school, achieving personal goals, and "having a plan"...but if it keeps me from spending time with my family and friends, makes me feel distant from God, stresses me out, and keeps me from appreciating the "little things" in life...then I just don't know.

So I kind of did a 180...Not sure if some people have noticed. I think my family definitely has. I just decided that I really want to live life better and not be so uptight and goal-driven. Yes, I still work a full-time job and sometimes I am "busy," but I actually love my job and the people I work with, plus I took off from school and didn't sign up for any classes this semester. Just needed some time to breathe on that one. Booked a trip to Kauai & Kona for a few weeks this summer to spend time with family and friends. Booked a separate trip to Ireland for September to spend time with another friend - a very special, awesome one whom I love extremely and am so excited to share some new adventures with. I started sewing - which is not normal for me! I've been baking and cooking new recipes, which I've found that I actually enjoy a lot! Never really had time to do it before, though...And just a lot of other things. Taking Swing lessons, hanging out with the girls, going with my mom to a concert...Changing my attitude towards certain people/things...learning to let go more while also remembering to hold onto what's important.

Basically I just don't want to miss out. And in choosing to not make any "progress" right now, I'm finding that I'm making more progress in things that matter and things that I feel I should be investing my time and energy in. I'm rediscovering the joy and fulfillment of reading God's Word (kind of lost it for awhile back there)...loving going to work in the morning because I'm not just clocking in to just get a paycheck (even though I do need that, too)...laughing more....going on walks to enjoy the fresh air and watch the sunset...realizing some people's opinions just don't matter and I can't live my life worried about they might be thinking of me....

And I know I'm far from "arriving" and life will always have its ups and downs...I know it's likely that I will return to school in the future, but I just want it to be when I'm ready and when it's right...not just because. So in the meantime, here's me, just taking it a day at a time...finding some peace and enjoying the ride. For once I'm not so worried about the end goal...because I've realized that in just living and moving forward as God gives me time and opportunity - not putting a dead-line in front of myself and stressing to "stay ahead" - I'm actually shaping a better goal and getting closer to it every day. Or I guess what I'm saying is that God's will is best and even though we do have a final destination,  getting there wouldn't really be as rewarding if we just took the fast-track and missed out on the whole journey....and so if He says it's okay to chill out and linger in one spot for awhile...then I should just chill out and see what He's got in store. I know it's a whole lot better than anything I could come up with on my own. So here's to making progress, maybe not how I would have defined or envisioned it before...but progress all the same.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Welcome 2013

So it's pretty obvious from my post record that I am not a very consistent blogger, but seeing as it's New Years Day I feel that a post is in order to welcome 2013 and take some time to reflect on 2012. I have to say, 2012 was a good year. Looking back I can see that I have a multitude of things to be thankful for, and I'm excited to move forward into the new year from where 2012 left off.

Some 2012 highlights for me: 
- Living on Kauai for 3 1/2 months studying the Word of God in the Spring Semester at KBC!
- Getting to visit Northern California with my best friend. I almost froze to death, but it was an adventure!
- Surviving another hot Arizona summer!
- Getting a job at the local newspaper, where I now work full-time doing merchandising/marketing! I absolutely love my job and the people I get to work with.
- Making it through another college semester and still managing to keep my 4.0. Praise God!
- Buying a '97 Ford Explorer. It's so nice being able to take myself (and others) places!
- Meeting new people, deepening existing friendships, and just enjoying the random moments of life!

Looking forward... 
So I've never really been a big New Years Resolution person, mostly because every year seems to always end up the same. It's always such a big hype at the beginning: People start out pumped up and with a list of goals, and at first things go great...but 12 months is a long time and motivation can sometimes have a shorter lifespan. Also life happens. But what the heck - it's still fun to make goals and have something to look forward to, so here's some of my hopes/goals for the new year!

In 2013 I am going to: 
- Read 50 books. Last year I barely got any good reading in, and I want this year to be better (I'd love to say 100 books, but I'll start with 50).
- Exercise 5 days a week. This can be going for a walk, weights, circuit training, or whatever. I just want to purposefully be logging in work-outs more consistently so I can become stronger and healthier.
- Set aside 50% of every paycheck for my future travel fund. I need to be proactive about saving, otherwise I will never get to go anywhere! Ireland is the next goal....shooting for a September trip!
- Learn how to play my little ukelele!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Home Again

So it's been about 3 months since coming home from the beautiful island of Kauai, and things have been going really well. For starters, my family moved! We needed to downsize because of money, so we're in a smaller house now but still in the same town and I love it. Even though my new room is smaller than my last, I've somehow managed to fit more into it, and it's become a nice little dwelling. My two bookshelves turned into four and I bought a loft-bed so that I could have more floor space, which is now occupied by a futon couch and a desk. This picture is before the desk and rug went in.

I've also returned to the community college that I got my AA at to take a few more courses while I'm home. The tentative plan is to go into nursing, so I'm taking classes like Sociology, Chemistry, and Biology right now...but I still haven't fully committed to go through a nursing program yet. Even though I feel like that would be a great profession to enter and know that the Lord could use me in so many different avenues if I were a nurse, I'm not going to rush into any big decisions. I still have it on my heart to finish Bible college, and don't know what to do. Right now I'm committed to home for this fall....but after many possibilities await! So I'm basically praying and saving $$, because I have no idea where I'll be in 2013. I could be home, back in Kauai, or even heading to South Sudan! Wherever God opens the door I am going to go through it. But for now I am home, and it is sweet. I am so blessed to have such a wonderful, loving family. They are all so different but awesome in their own ways, and while I have the chance I want to cherish the time I do have with them. I also have a new job, working at the Newspaper in town. It's mainly office work and a little marketing, but it pays decent and the hours are good so that I can go to school and still enjoy life!

And God is good. In the dry desert land He is a stream of living water for my soul!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Be Still

Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side. Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain. 
Leave to thy God to order and provide; In every change, He faithful will remain. 

As this semester winds down to a close, I can't even begin to describe all the things that are bombarding my mind and heart right now. I feel so blessed, overwhelmed, excited, joyful, scared, thankful...torn. Part of me is so glad to be going home to my family and friends, but the other part of me is sad and uncertain to be leaving this place and the people I have come to love here behind. This life has become so normal to me that I almost feel like I am starting all over going back home, and the changes that God has been bringing about in my own heart are still far from being complete! I don't feel quite ready for this season to end...but I know that it must. It is out of my control. 

Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend, through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake, to guide the future as He has the past. Thy hope thy confidence let nothing shake; all now mysterious shall be bright at last. 

It was about two weeks ago, when I first realized that the time was really almost up, that i started to experience some anxiety and inner turmoil. I started to come up with a lot of "what if's" in my mind, and began to dwell on the uncertainties of the future, which is never a good thing to do! Questions, doubts, fears...I knew the enemy was planting these things in my mind but for some reason I didn't feel much up to challenging him. In fact, I didn't feel like doing much of anything. That's when this song came up. It was at church on a sunday morning, and as I read and heard the words...they just spoke straight to what I was going through, and the song has been ministering to me ever since. 

Be still, my soul: the waves and wind still know His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below
Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart, and all is darkened in the vale of tears
Then shalt thou know His love, His heart, who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears. 

Now, I'm not going to lie and say that I feel totally carefree and happy about the issues that are transpiring inside of me, but I can say that I am experiencing God's peace in this time, and I learning to trust Him more and more. I know that I can enter this next season confident that He will take care of everything that needs to be taken care of in my life. It's only when I waste my time worrying and trying to plan and work out everything myself that I get in a real mess. Whenever I just leave it to Him and trust in His provision, He leads me in the way I need to go, and He will never forget about me. 

Be still, my soul: thy Jesus can repay, from His own fullness all He takes away. 
Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on, when we shall be forever with the Lord. 
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone, sorrow forgot, love's purest joys restored. 

So...only nine days left here at CCBC. At least for this season. I sure do hope to come back to this place someday - the thought of leaving is proving very hard! Right now the plan is to go home for winter break, and then spend next semester in Kauai, where new adventures are sure to await! In fact, I don't even know why I am having these problems... I'm going to Hawaii in a couple months - I shouldn't be sad! But anyway, I am so grateful to have had this time here. God really confirmed that this is exactly where He wanted me to be, even though I was less than willing to come here at first. It's funny and amazing how God works things out! 

Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past; All safe and blessed we shall meet at last
Be still, my soul: begin the song of praise; On earth, believing, to thy Lord on high
Acknowledge Him in all thy words and ways, So shall He view thee with a well pleased eye.
Be still, my soul: the Sun of life divine, through passing clouds shall but more brightly shine. 

These are some of the truths that I have been meditating on lately, as I daily put my trust in Him: 
1. God will always provide
2. God will always remain faithful (even when I am unfaithful, or faithless) 
3. God will guide my future (He's guided my past!)
4. God is more than able to take care of any problem I am facing (Even the winds and waves still obey His voice!) 
5. Trials and pain are great opportunities to draw closer to God. It is through these times that I feel closest to Him, so I need to cherish and not shun them. 

"Unless the Lord had been my help, 
My soul would soon have settled in silence. 
If I say, “My foot slips,” 
Your mercy, O Lord, will hold me up. 
In the multitude of my anxieties within me, 
Your comforts delight my soul."
- Psalm 94:17-19