Saturday, December 13, 2008

Overwhelming Everyday

Have you ever had that feeling of being so completely overwhelmed by the everyday that you literally feel "out of body"? How about those days that you wake up in the morning bombarded by the issues and problems that have dominated your life for so long? Or, what about those evenings when you finally hit the pillow only to find your mind racing with worry and doubt, questionning why on earth you're going through what you're facing?

The funny thing is, I think all of us are way too comfortable with being fake - convincing ourselves and those around us that we're "okay". Okay with the overwhelming issues of the everyday. Okay with the fact that we feel like we're going nowhere. Okay with the idea that we may never get to where we dreamed of being. Okay with the idea that we can do everything on our own. We're just okay - right?

Wrong. The second that we convince ourselves that we can get through life on our own is the second that we lose our faith in Christ as the leader and sustainer of our life. God never said it was going to be easy, in fact He said it would be quite the opposite. It's interesting to me that we as humans compare ourselves to one another so frequently. Why in the world does it matter if we can keep up with the Jones'? Why is it such a big deal for us to worry about what others think? Why can't we just get in touch with ourselves - the person that God has created us to be - and accept who we were called to be? What is so difficult about living life, ups and downs included, as joyful - accepting - loving followers of Christ?

It's called society.
It's called gossip.
It's called peer pressure.
It's called "generational".

It's called... Sin.

Those times when we doubt the power of the Lord to completely bless us and carry us through our trials and tribulations is when we falter the most. The times we decide to plan our lives on our own. The time when we think we know best - and tell God how things should be.

I bet God laughs at us constantly.

Why in the world are we so smug and arrogant to think that telling the God of the universe, of all Creation, of every life, breath, and blessing - that we know best? Who do we think we are??

Recently, I've been frustrated with the fact that no matter how much I pray, ask, and even complain to the Lord about the happenings in my life and those around me - I still get nothing of an answer from God. Then I'm reminded by Him - almost silently - that God has three answers to prayer: 1. yes, 2. no, 3. It's not the right time/I have something better coming. It's when we lose patience that we become dissatisfied, frustrated, depressed, confused, and downright angry.

Love is patient. And if we love Christ, shouldn't we be patient with His timing and listen to what He has to teach us along the way?

I know in my own life, when I'm most frustrated I'm also the most selfish. What I should be doing is looking around to the needs of others. It's amazing how staying busy and building into the lives of others when we're struggling the most allows us the freedom, love, and joy that only Christ can bring. So I encourage each of us (myself included) to see the needs and fulfill them in any way possible. And I bet while we're at it, we'll also find the peace that passes all understanding.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean NOT on your own understanding." -Prov. 3:5 NIV

"Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don't try to figure everything out on your own." - Prov. 3:5 The Message

“I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.” Charles Swindoll

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Again with the music my friends! I just can't get enough it. This week... playin' on my local iPod is some seriously rockin' Country love! WOOT! And yet again Carrie Underwood has taken my attention. Her most recent song to just throw me for a loop is called "So Small", which I think I may have blogged about in the past. However, this song is so incredibly true. Take a look:

What you got if you ain't got love
the kind that you just want to give away
It's okay to open up
go ahead and let the light shine through
I know it's hard on a rainy day
you want to shut the world out and just be left alone
But don't run out on your faith

Cause sometimes that mountain you've been climbing is just a grain of sand
What you've been up there searching for
forever is in your hands
When you figure out love is all that matters after all
It sure makes everything else seem so small

It's so easy to get lost inside
a problem that seems so big at the time
it's like a river thats so wideit swallows you whole
While you sit around thinking about what you can't change
and worrying about all the wrong things
time's flying by
moving so fast
you better make it count 'cause you can't get it back

Sometimes that mountain you've been climbing is just a grain of sand
What you've been up there searching for
forever is in your hands
When you figure out love is all that matters after all
It sure makes everything else Seem so small

Sometimes that mountain you've been climbing is just a grain of sand
What you've been up there searching for
forever is in your hands
When you figure out love is all that matters after all
It sure makes everything else
Oh it sure makes everything else Seem so small

Recently, I've looked back on my life over the past year. It's been a rollercoaster and I've faced many challenges and struggles. However, as I sit here and look back on everything that's happened I seriously feel like it not all that bad. At the time my break up and school struggles seemed like something so overwhelming that I couldn't even make it through the day...

And I remember having arguments with the Lord, pleading that He would take it all away. The great news is that He did take all that pain away and replaced it with His eternal grace and love. It didn't come all at once and it took TIME to get to where I am today....but even in my darkest hours, I was able to press forward

Simply with the love of Jesus holding me up along the way... and giving me little tid bits of grace.
And as Carrie says, "Sometimes that Mountain you've been climbing is just a grain of sand." In the grand scheme of things, those devastating months of my life were just that - a grain of sand. And that grain of sand has made me stronger, more aware of my needs, and in the long run a much happier and appreciative person. Thank you Lord for carrying me through the trials of life and teaching me along the way - for I know that the mountains are often a grain of sand that you use to bring forth your blessings and future hope.

Just remember when you're in the valley, there's always a mountain of hope and blessings for you on the other side - much greater than you can ever even imagine. It just takes TIME to get there....

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, pleans to give you hope and a future." - Jeremiah 29:11


Saturday, November 8, 2008


Recently, I've come to the realization that I'm surrounded by people, yet there is an overwhelming feeling of disconnectedness that comes while living in today's society. How is it that we can be standing right next to someone in an elevator yet lack the ability to even say "hello"? Or how do we work day in and day out with dozens of people yet know nothing about them? Where they live, who they love, where they go outside of the office. . .

We are disconnected from each other. But, we're also disconnected from God and from the physcial world in which we live. Currently, I'm reading the book "Sex God" by Rob Bell (thank you readers for the suggestion!) - and it's amazing how many quesitons come up out of one little book. In Chapter Two (Sexy on the Inside) Rob specifically describes the disconnect we as humans have with the world around us. As the chapter concludes, he says, "You can't be connected with God until you're at peace with who you are." How true is that?

I know in my own life when I surround myself with standards that the world puts in place, I struggle with being myself and the person the Lord has called me to be. It's when comparison becomes a part of my everyday life that I see not only my relationship with the Lord crumble, but also my human connections. Society around me would have me worried about what I look like, what size I am, what kind of designer purse I do or don't have. The world would have me judge others so that I can pick up and praise myself. How selfish is that? What in the world gives me the right to sit on my high and mighty throne and point the finger at everyone around me? The truth of the matter is the more I point and judge, the more depressed and disconnected I become. And when I'm disconnected, not feeling and living and encouraging towards/with those around me, I've lost myself in the oblivioon of this life. Unable to sustain relationships and live for the one who created me.

Wow... "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." - Hebrews 12:1

Here's to choosing to live a life of connectedness with those around us. Loving, living, and enjoying life - together.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Love me some Jesus Love

Jars of Clay, one of the most epic Christian Bands of our time, have a song called "I need You" and through the years it has become one of my life's songs. Have a listen/read

Strangely out of place
There's a light filling this room
Where none would follow before
I can't deny it burns me up inside
I fan the flames to melt Away my pride
Do I want shelter from the rain
Or the rain to wash me way?

[chorus]I need you, I need you, I need you
I need you, I need you, I need you
You're all I'm living for

I might sound like a fool
But I think I felt you moving
Closer to meFace to the ground
To hide the fatal cutI fight the weight
I feel you lift me up
You are the shelter from the rain
And the rain to wash me away

I need you, I need you, I need you
I need you, I need you, I need you
(All I'm living for)I need you, I need you, I need you
You're all I'm living for
All I'm living for
You're all I'm living for[

Face to the groundTo hide the fatal cut
I fight the weight
Feel you lift me up
Can't deny it burns me up inside
I fan the flames to melt away My pride
Only had a second to spare
But all the time in the world
To know you're there
You are the shelter from the rain
And the rain to wash me away

I need you, I need you, I need you
(All I'm living for)I need you, I need you, I need you
(All I'm living for)& I need you, I need you, I need you
You're all I'm living forAll I'm living for
All I'm living forAll I'm living for
You're all I'm living for

Amen and Amen! There are so many times that I get distracted by the frustrations and mundaneness of everyday life that I forget who I'm living for - who's purpose I'm here to do. Not my will, but God's will be done within my life. Too many times life gets in the way of eternity - and taking the time to reflect on the important, eternal goals is vital to my overall faith and trust in the One and Only. Why let the busyness of everyday life take me from the desires the Lord has laid on my heart? Why is it always so much easier to say we're going to trust in the Lord and not lean on our own understanding, than actually living it daily? What is the deal?

I need You Lord for you're all I'm living for....

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

This lot is full

Parking Spaces. Really? How is it that the Lord can speak to someone's life with something as simple as a parking spot? Seriously? It's amazing to me that Jesus is found in the small, simple things of life, just as much as he's found in the devastating tragedies of this world. Parking... Spaces... of life.

Recently, I've been struggling with my prayer life - wondering if God is even there and answering my prayers. So many times in my life it seems that He's just not listening to my requests and kind of forgets that I'm around. Then, one fine Saturday afternoon I was running errands around town and was completely exhausted and having a tough time even functioning. As I pulled into the Costco parking lot (gosh, I'm beginning to sound more and more like a mom!) I just sat in my car, Coldplay playing in the background, and said, "Lord, I'm so tired today, and I know this is a stupid request, but could you please just give me a parking space close to the door?" You know where this is going.... I pull down a row and low and behold the first parking space just so happens to be the closest to the door is open and waiting for the Tenacious mobile. All I could do is sit there and laugh/cry at the same time. He does hear my prayers!

That Saturday afternoon I was reminded of the faithfulness of the Lord, even in the little things of life. A parking space, for heaven's sake, is what it took for my simple mind to realize that God is standing beside me, hearing my calls to Him each and every hour of each and every day. That means he hears just about everything I talk about - my complaints, my needless worry, my frustration, my fears, my everything. And the funny thing is - he not only hears my requests, He answers them as well. The point is that often he says, "No" to my requests simply because they are not appropriate for my life that certain point in my life, or they are requests that He cannot answer because I'm unwilling to act...

Push me into action Jesus when you press desires and issues on my heart - that I may hear your calling. Let me accept the "no's" you send my way as blessings and times of growth, and help me to appreciate the value of the "yes'" you so freely give - that I may be a better light to You, Your Kingdom, and Your Faithfulness.


Monday, September 8, 2008


Nooma is coming. Have you heard? It's the Christian worlds newest phenomenon which encapsulates a typical hour long sermon in a few short minutes. Nooma is coming, it's almost here. Have you heard of the impact it's making within our generation? This one organization is making the gospel reachable to young people throughout the United States and world. Nooma is coming... it's actually here!

Did I get your attention? I certainly hope so... today instead of hosting our typical team meeting at the local GFC, my boss brought in one of the Nooma series videos by Rob Bell. You may recognize his name.. he's the author of Velvet Elvis. A new wave or way, rather, of teaching the gospel to those around us is found in the short, concise video series called Nooma. Today's video, titled "breath" shared the depth and power of each breath our human bodies take. Within that breath there are options. Options to see others as God sees them - and our ability to be aware of those people and things around us so that we may better reach out to one another.

As the short film continues Rob reminds his watchers of the fragileness of life and how vulnerable we truly are as humans. From dust we come and to dust we go. There are no guarantees for tomorrow - just today - just this moment - just this breath. As it says in Romans 8 - breath = the Spirit. So where the Spirit of the Lord is there is breath? Interesting concept here... I would say that God's Spirit is in each and every breath he gives us. He gives us a choice with every breath we have - to serve Him, to serve the needs of others, and love on those around us - or to misuse the gifts and talents he has bestowed on each of us.

How often do we waste time worrying about what happens next? How frequently do we question our purpose? Instead, maybe we should take life as it comes - and let God lead us with each breath we take. Not worrying about what lies ahead- for God is our compass and our master planner. And not letting the past hinder us from moving forward in here and now. But using every breath that the Lord gives us to glorify Him and His purpose while we're here on earth. Easier said than done - that's for sure...

But seriously... why do we hold ourselves back so much? Why is it so hard for us to appreciate the simple gifts in life? Why do we make everything so much more complicated than it needs to be? And how do we glorify the Lord with every breath we take?

Why does anger, frustration, sadness, anxiety, confusion, and so much more plague our lives with uncertainty? Why can't we grasp a hold of the negative and throw it out of our lives.. and let our lives shine the opptimism and grace that only the Lord gives? Wow... I don't even know where to begin here... lots to work on, much to challenge my daily life by, and so much growth to do... - check it out - it's pretty gosh darn revolutionary! :-)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

California Dreamin'

Disneyland is 100% correct in their slogan "the happiest place on earth". I mean, how can you go there and not be like a kid in a candy shop? Seriously though... I love that place! This week has had quite a variety of ventures for Jenny and I. Sunday started with Church in the am (love her Church - and I'm so glad that she has found a home for herself here). After Church we hopped in the CRV and headed down to Santa Monica for lunch. No joke, quite possibly the best salad I've ever had in my life was eaten at a place called Urth Cafe. We also enjoyed some desserts from there, which ended up getting all warm and icky by the time we got to our next destination - Malibu. This state is truly one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. I love just driving up and down to coast and seeing what's around. The beaches are packed on the weekends with travelers and locals just wanting to cool off on the surf. The water is the most amazing blue color you have ever seen. And the sand is pristine. I can't imagine a more beautiful drive than that of hwy 1 down the coast of Cali. Amazing!

Monday came with some seriously amazing times. Disneyland!!! We arrived at Disney to a pretty empty parking lot which made us super excited because that meant that park was not that busy. We had to wait in line for our tickets, but once we had them in hand, we literally started walking onto rides. The best part was that we would randomly get these little fast passes from Disney people at the start of the lines so we could again, just walk right on. Jesus loved us! We hit up Star Tours, The Matterhorn (Jenny's Favorite), Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mtn. Railroad, Indiana Jones, Buzz's Astro Blasters, and so much more. The funny thing was that the one line that was the longest was for the random little submarine venture of Nemo. It was like an hour plus wait. We didn't wait for that one... :-)

For lunch we went off to La Brea Bakery in downtown disney. So good! Then it was back to California Adventure where I took Jenny on Tower of Terror for the first time ever. She LOVED it! Then California Screamin' and then back to Soarin' over California. I loved it. We went back to disney that night for the fireworks show and some shopping (LOVE me some Roxy garb!). Dinner was had at Naples Italian. SO Yum-O!

Anyways.... all this rambling to say, I'm having the time of my life here. I often contemplate just up and moving down here as there is nothing holding me back from doing so at this point in my life.
Quote of the day: "Don't dwell on people from your past, there's a reason they didn't make it to your future"

AMEN!! :-)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

California Life

California is such a place of wonder and awe. I don't know why it is that each time I come down here I realize how drastically different it is from my home-state. Driving down the freeway the road sides are full of advertisements and billboards. People are in their own world and it seems to be a culture of pure selfishness. However, there is another side to Cali that is just as normal as home for me. The interesting part is the fact that there are literally pockets of people everywhere - everything is very segregated. There are the towns for the asians, towns for the hispanics, and then the white cities. Just crazy that these people can't just live together. Which makes me think, "Hm, racism is still a pretty huge thing in this world."

Okay, so day one in Cali was totally chillax - Jenny and I went off to the grocery store, and Golden Spoon (quite possibly my most favorite frozen yogurt place ever!). Then we came back to the apartment and had dinner, chatted, and went to bed. We were exhausted - poor Jenny still had Florida jet lag! It was a great start to the vacation...

Now day two is where things get interesting. We drove out to the coast and Huntington Beach (it's kind of tradition) and layed on the beach, rented beach cruisers, cruised down to Newport Beach, and then back to Huntington for shopping and dinner. Now normally, we would have been cat called like literally 30 times or more just on our bike ride- but this year no such luck. Are we getting too old? YIKES!! We did have 3 comments, and then a 5 year old hit on us. It was HILARIOUS! Fred's was the place to be for dinner that night and it was SO good after our 11 mile bike ride. After Fred's we came back to the pad, got ready for an outing, then hit the local Pasadena night life. It was so fun to spend some time with Jenny out and about. We went to this fun little lounge called Neo Meze at first, then we hit up another dance club down the street.

This is where things get interesting. So Jenny and I are on the dance floor just hanging out with us. Jenny then bets me that I can get us free drinks in the next 10 minutes. To which I say, "no problem". So we head up to the bar... and sit down looking all pretty like. And sure enough, just about 10 minutes later this older guy (prob around 40) asks us if we can have some drinks... and we're like, "sure". Turns out it was his friends bachelor party (surprise, surprise) and he asks us to take pictures with this poor guy. So we do... and then we're like "we're outie boys". So we leave... and who do we run into on the street? This guy from the club named Jordan. He's totally married... and just chatting it up with Sam and Danielle (our prospective code names). Then he invites us out again with the boys to this ultra exclusive restaurant and bar. Notice that it's about 1am at this point... and we're like ,"sorry, we have to get home". So after telling him and his friend Stewart this like 5 times - we leave. BUT - not without an invite to some pool party/out of control fest at Stewarts house the next day. SO Funny... and SO fun! I loved every minute of it! And I am so loving the California Adventure... more stories to come I'm sure! Love to all of you!

Quote for today: "You're only young once!"

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Believe and be Satisfied

Hi Friends... so I came across this little saying I used to have posted in my dorm room long ago and thought I would share it with you. SO Good! And AMEN to it!! :-)

Believe and be Satisfied

Everyone longs to give themselves completely to someone,
To have a deep soulful relationship with another.
To be loved thoroughly and exclusively.
But God says to us no, not until you are satisfied, fulfilled, and content with me alone.

Giving yourself totally and unreservedly to me.
This means having a personal relationship with me alone
And being happy with just that
I won’t give you something that will take you away form me
I love you my child.
You will never be united with another until you are united with me, exclusively
Without any other longings or desires
I want you to have the best
Please allow me to bring it to you.
Just keep learning and listening to things I tell you…
You must wait.

Don’t look around at the things you think you want,
Just keep looking off and away to me,
Or you’ll miss what I have to show you.
When you are ready I will surprise you with a love,
More wonderful than you could ever imagine.
You see I am working at this very minute to have you both ready at the same time
Until you are both satisfied exclusively with me and the life I’ve prepared for you,
You are not ready.
Only when you are ready will you be able to experience
The love that exemplifies your relationship with me…
And this my child is perfect love.

And dear one I want you to have this wonderful love.
I want you to see in the flesh a picture of your everlasting union of beauty,
Perfection, and love that I offer with myself.
Know that I love you utterly.

Okay, so seriously... this is such an encouragement to me. The amazing thing is that the Lord does know better than any of us what we need and when we are ready to have it. He brings every blessing into our lives at just the right moment - and He is faithful to His promises to us.

"Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this." - Ps. 37.4-5

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Youth of Ages

If you had to figure out generational issues and the disconnect that happens between childhood and adulthood... where would you even begin? How do the little, innocent, children of the world turn into full grown, mature adults with so many issues and problems? For me, I believe that the influences around a person from a very early age are extremely important. However, more so than just childhood, one particular part of life is intregal to the overall happiness, success, and freedom of a child to live the adult life they so desire and deserve. This period of time is called adolescence or just plain being a teenager.

Over the years, I've begun to realize the great impact certain people have had over my life in the most important years to my spiritual, mental, physical, and emotional growth. As with many teens today, I struggled with everything from divorcing parents, abuse of a parent, depression, anorexia, the extreme desire to just run away from everything, and even suicide. What is it about being a teenager that causes one to struggle so much and how is one able to get out of the nasty cycle of self-deterioration? Hormones, changes in friendships, changes in family dynamics, just changes in general. During the teenage years it seems that everyone in one's life is taken and just thrown upside down and then things are supposed to somehow just go "back to normal". This makes absolutely no sense when someone's entire world is changing constantly. Insanity... I might add, to ever expect a teenager to be perfect and without fault or confusion at any time.

Anyways, all of this to say, it was the people within my life during my adolescence that changed my life and helped guide and shape me into the person I am today. People like my mother who would constantly have to tell me no, and then have to deal with me pouting, crying, yelling, or being plain rude - just because she was protecting me. Then there was the McNeely's who stepped in to teach me the things of life that my single mom could not - like the love and devotion of a husband and wife - or softball 101 by Daddy Dan. The Woodwards were another great part of my life because they allowed for me to have a safe haven to run to when my world was crumbling, and Mama Woodward would always have a listening ear for me to just ramble on and on for hours. I always knew that I would be prayed for and encouraged just by being there. My brother was also another great influence that was able to show me the importance of having fun and living life to the fullest - not being afraid to try new things and go on new adventures.

Then there were the teachers and leaders within my life that never allowed me to doubt my abilities and to strive for the absolute best in life. There was Miss Yeazell - my high school Math teacher who helped me achieve more out of math than just a grade - she saw the diamond in the rough, and polished it until it shined. Amazing! Then there was my softball Coach, Gregarious, who flat out knew I wasn't the best player on the team, but always made sure that I was a valueable member of my team. He challenged me to work harder, and push myself further. To this day, this is a man that I go to for advice and guidance with my own Cheer Team. Such a huge blessing! And Mrs. Bailey - who could forget her? This woman saw the talents in each and every one of her students and made sure she told each student how loved and appreciated they were.

Okay, so all of this to say that people influence each other and what kind of influence or legacy to I want to pass on to the next generation? I have the greatest opportunity in front of me with my Cheer Girls. These girls are in such a time of transition and I'm so extremely proud of each and every one of them. But what do I need to do within my life to help encourage, grow, and love on these girls that I've been blessed with? Do I lead by example, or do I lead by faith and words, or do I just live my life and hope that I do my best? No, I would say that my example and my actions are far more important than anything else. I need to encourage and support these girls, challenging them daily to take up their crosses and just loving them through the tough times in life.

I have always had a great passion for youth, and I'm amazed at the opportunities that are laid before me to love on them. I'm being constantly reminded of my ability to change lives just in my friendships right now. A couple of my friends are really involved with Young Life, and I'm seriously touched at the incredible things that happen through this organization. There are teenagers everywhere looking for love in all the wrong places, looking for acceptance in the pits of destruction, and struggling so hard just to survive each day. How can we help them? By walking with them through the darkness and bringing them into the light. My prayer is that my life, my home, and everything about me will be open to the youth of the generations - that I may be able to touch lives while here on earth. God is so good!! :-)

Sidenote - I am LOVING my Jesus loving music on my local Pandora these days. Such an encouragement to sing along to the songs of faith. So good!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

My Stupid Mouth

There's this John Mayer song that just reigns so true in my life sometimes. He literally depicts how the things he says gets him in trouble all the time, and it's not until after something happens that the utter realization of what was said sinks in. Let's just say that's so Tenacious, it's not even funny. There are so many times on a daily basis where I just start rambling off into the sunset about any given subject, and then I just have this urge that I have somehow offended someone.

Why in the world am I like this? I guess, to a certain degree, I like drama or maybe it's more of an attention thing. I hate the fact that I'm admitting this to the general blogging community - but it's the truth :-( - forgive me please! I have never been one to like being a part of drama or causing drama, but for some reason I'm causing my own drama simply by opening my mouth and saying something stupid before thinking things through.

I get so frustrated because this is truly the sinful nature in me. I hate the sinful nature!!! I wish I could just be rid of it. The Lord knows how much easier my life would be without me talking too much or doing things that are against His good and pleasing will. Why is it that humans thrive off of such nastiness and why do we like watching and putting others through torture for our own enjoyment? What's the point? Are we not here to lift each other up and make way for the Kingdom of Christ? How then are we supposed to do these things with the sinful nature? I would suggest that the only way we do it is to admit that we are wrong and try our hardest to move past the area in which we struggle.

Non-Christians hate "Christians" simply because for some reason, we all think we're high and mighty. When in reality, we are all fallen creatures that lack the ability to ever be anything but imperfect. We will constantly disappoint. We will never be flawless - and we may as well be willing to admit our faults and move on with our lives - and not lead lives of hypocrisy. It's the Christians that are real with people, that love people no matter what, and that are big enough to admit they are wrong that are able to gain friends outside the Christian community. And the more people like this the merrier - simply because we will meet with success in helping others by being truly genuine ourselves. Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles - and let's move on with our lives - leaving the past as the past and living today for all it's worth. WORD!

"When words are many, sin is not absent; but he who holds his tongue is wise." - Proverbs 10:19

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Random Thoughts and Questions

So recently I've kind of been looking over my life and I've been asking myself a series of questions that I thought I'd share with everyone here... as they are true in most of our lives, and are good to give us direction and focus on our purpose in life. Here we go....

2 Corinthians 4:17

17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

* Look back at your life- what do you truly remember? The good times or the bad, and over the grand scheme of things - how do the memories shine out in your whole life? Do you still hold on too much the hurts and pains of your past, so much so that you cannot live for today and have the joy and the freedom you have needed for so long?

* What are you achieving in heaven during your time on earth? Are you working for eternal goals or worldly goals that will fade away? Wouldn't you rather have an eternity of blessings for a life on earth of trials, than an eternity of trials, pain, and tribulation and a short life on earth of blessings and everything you want? He with the most toys loses at the end of his life - because all the toys in the world cannot buy your salvation. . .

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Blessing of Friendship

Recently I've been spending a lot of my time with friends from my past - mainly friends from High School and College, and it's amazing to me how so many years can go by, yet we are still able to just pick up where we left off. Throughout the past couple of months I have seen people that I haven't seen in 5 years or more, and it's been such a blessing to catch up on their lives and where they are at these days. I'm staying up late, going out every night, and just truly having the time of my life. I feel as though I'm back in my Senior year of High School again - just living life to the absolute fullest. It's such a relief to be able to live without the worry and the pressure of the everyday, and live life within a community of quality, Christian people. Just amazing!

In spending more time with my friends, I've found a deep admiration for those who have stood beside me over the years, and walked with me through some of the hardest steps in my life. One of these friends is Caitlin. This girl is seriously the one person that is able to get my out of my comfort zone and into some great adventure. She has challenged me through the years with her constant ability to try and do anything you can imagine. Hike and camp outside for days? No problem! Go skydiving? Why not? This is truly her mentality and it's so encouraging to me to have her as a part of my life. This last weekend her dedication to life's adventures came into light as a group of us were attempting to go on a hike. Let's just say the trail to get there was a little more hardcore than we originally anticipated. And here's Caitlin - smile on her face, just diving right into the face of the challenge and giving it 110%. I was SO incredibly proud of her and her courage to get through this borderline dangerous off roading adventure. She is truly my little adventurer that encourages me to get out of my bubble and she will always be one of my best friends. I love it! :-)

Jenny is another friend who is home for the summer from school in California. This is the girl I can seriously talk about anything with, and know I'm not going to be judged for it. She gives the absolute greatest advice ever and is always such a great listening ear. I don't know how I could ever repay her for all the time and energy she has poured out into my life over the years. I truly consider her to be my best friend and am so blessed by her friendship on a daily basis. We always have such fun together and just get each other better than anyone else. She is just amazing!

Then there is Schu - oh bless my Schu! What an absolutely amazing woman of the Lord this girl is. She is the one that keeps me grounded when I get a little out of control. She helps me see and realize the consequences to my actions and challenges me on a daily basis to be a better woman of the Lord. I love our talks and how we are able to support each other through some pretty awkward and difficult situations. And the best part is that our friendship has lasted through some pretty interesting issues... and yet we are still so close. Love this girl to pieces!

I could seriously go on for days about everyone in my life. There's Jenna who is just the most laid back, easy going girl around (yet seriously driven!) - which is such a great breath of fresh air! And Elise is just an absolute doll who cares and loves everyone around her so much. And Jane is my fiesty friend that gets me out of my comfort zone and into my romantic side. There are so many more that I wish I could just chat about, but that will be for another day. :-)

On a side note, I've also been realizing the importance of having patience. The Lord has definitely been challenging me in this area for awhile now, and I obviously still don't get it. Through the past months I've been faced with challenges work wise, relationally, spiritually, physically and I get so frustrated sometime with every area of it. I wish things could just go the way I expect them or want them to go all the time. However, this is where the Lord is telling me to calm down and surrender any and all issues I'm facing to Him and Him alone. Not to my friends, not to my family, but to Him. This is not an easy thing to do, but I know it's what I need to do. Just let it go... just let it go. That was the phrase of my life 8 months ago, and it's definitely becoming the phrase of my life for right now as well. Just let it go - release it to Jesus. I'm sure he knows better than I do what to do in each situation. Patience Tenacious... Patience. For the Lord has many blessings to show you... but it all comes in time. Good stuff!

Good night! :-)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

If we are the Body

Hello one and all! Happy Thursday! So recently I've been listening to my little Pandora at work during the day, and one specific song has been played a few times now, and I have forgotten the power of the words. It's by one of my favorite Christian bands - Casting Crowns. Here are the lyrics:

It's crowded in worship today
As she slips in Trying to fade into the faces
The girls' teasing laughter is carrying farther than they know
Farther than they know

CHORUS But if we are the Body
Why aren't His arms reaching
Why aren't His hands healing
Why aren't His words teaching
And if we are the Body
Why aren't His feet going
Why is His love not showing them there is a way
There is a way

A traveler is far away from home
He sheds his coat
And quietly sinks into the back row
The weight of their judgmental glances tells him that his chances
Are better out on the road

CHORUS But if we are the Body
Why aren't His arms reaching
Why aren't His hands healing
Why aren't His words teaching
And if we are the Body
Why aren't His feet going
Why is His love not showing them there is a way

Jesus paid much too high a price
For us to pick and choose who should come
And we are the Body of Christ

If we are the body
Why aren't His arms reaching
Why aren't His hands healing
Why aren't His words teaching
And if we are the body
Why aren't His feet going
Why is His love not showing them there is a way

Jesus is the way

Okay, so if we take this song literally, it's time for me to shape up! The world around me so often takes my focus off of things eternal and throws them on myself. This song just goes to show how important our actions are and how incredibly vital it is for Christians to be loving towards anyone and everyone that comes into our midst. God calls us to love one another, forgiving each other whatever grievances we have. Living a life of faith and trust in the Lord, and having His light shine through each of our lives, so that we may impact the world around us. If we are the body, why aren't our arms reaching to those in need of Christ? Let's get on the band wagon and reach out to those around us.... for we are Christ's earthly hands used to touch lives.

Monday, May 19, 2008


Wow, an entire month has passed since I last updated the local Tenacious Insights! I'm so sorry! Over the past month a lot has changed in my life, and I'm so grateful for the amazing growth and insight that I've been gaining during this time. Recently, the Lord has really been showing me the importance of serving those around me. Even if it's just opening the door for someone, saying hello, or just being nice to someone each day - I'm called to be an optimistic, happy, encouraging person.

This past weekend at Church, pastor Mike spoke on the importance of being aware of our abilities and putting our abilities to use in our daily living and serving. Of course, this got me to thinking, "what am I good at?" and "how can I use my abilities to serve those around me?". At this point I know that I'm good at coaching and mentoring young women in their footsteps - hence the Cheer Coach position. Everyday I spend with these girls I'm extremely blessed by their joy and innocence. It's amazing for me to see them grow throughout the year, and see the women they have become at the end of a crazy year of challenges and excitements. What a blessing! However, I know I can do so much more, and I truly want to!

Pastor Mike reminded us that our abilities are God Given, our abilities can be used to please God, and our abilities reaveal God's plan for our lives. Luke 16:10 comes to mind here "Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much". AMEN to that! This verse really caught my attention - it reminded me of the few things God has given to me to take care of within my life - work, cheer, family, home, etc. - but how many times do I let things fall through the cracks and get forgotten? The Lord calls me to be aware of and thankful for the "little things" in life and to strive to make them better. If I can't even handle taking care of the necessities of life, how am I ever to be trustworthy enough to do great things for the kingdom? Let's be honest... it comes with perseverance and hard work!

So how do we serve sacrificially? By evaluating what your ablilites are (are you good with people? Do you like working with kids, youth, or adults? Do you enjoy the outdoors or more inside stuff? What are you most passionate about?) usually these questions will help us at least find a few answers as to what our abilities may be. Another suggestion was to ask those around you what they see as your skills/assets and how you can use those in service. . . good stuff! Once we've figured out our abilities - Dedicate them to the Lord and then activate your abilities. This is the toughest part of the journey. How many times do we think we should do something but never act on it? I know for me it's daily. Instead of letting those opportunities fall away - why not act on them immediately in some way?

Going along with all of this chat about serving, my boss took the local GFC team for a day in the City to see in which ways we - as a company and individually- could be better used in our own backyard. We went everywhere from soup kitchens, Korean Churches, Refugee Placement Companies, Youth outreach projects, to Churches in the most dangerous parts of the city. It was one of the most incredible events I have ever had the opportunity to be a part of. Seeing the amazing dedication each of these places had for their tasks was so encouraging, and seeing our amazing city from a whole new place was fantastic. Even riding in the bus all over the city, and really taking in surroundings that I so often just pass to get to my desitnation - really made me think about the ways in which I can serve.

So over all, there was one place in particular that I really thought I could be useful in. It was a homeless youth home in downtown that offers a place to hang out, food, clothing, toiletries, etc to those kids living alone in the city. AMAZING! Even if I were just able to serve a meal every now and then or fill their shelves with food would be such a blessing to me and to them. I could even get my Cheer girls involved with it, and make it that much greater. I'm really praying what exactly my role could be for this... and how to get started. But, as I said earlier, sometimes we just have to step out in faith knowing that the Lord place this desire on my heart to further his plans for our city. I LOVE IT!

Okay, now I'm getting really excited! Until we meet again my friends... upward and onward! :-)

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Excellence. What does that word mean to you? To me it's near perfection, when the negative things in life cannot keep you down, and you're always racing for increased success. Today, while I was rummaging through more stuff in my house and packing more of the junk I've accumulated through the years, I came across this quote that I haven't seen since I was in High School. It reads:

"Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise; risking more than others think is safe; dreaming more than others think is practical; and expecting more than others think is possible."

I remember when I first got this quote. My mom has always been sentimental with little sayings and the like. At the time I was really frustrated with my Cheer Career and trying to figure out why I was injured so much and why it just seemed so hard to get along with everyone. My mom just gave me a card with that quote inside. I cried - of course! But it the words within it are amazing.

Through the years since then, many, many people have asked me why I have such a good attitude even in the more negative and disappointing circumstances. I guess it partially comes from what is said in this quote. I care about people when others give up on them. I risk things and relationships in my life for the betterment of someone else. I dream bigger than anyone I know. And I expect more than many people this is even possible. Wow... that really just made me seem conceited. But that's not my point. I try my hardest to prevent or my own personal laziness from holding me back from achieving and being the person that I've always dreamed I would become. I've had SO many huge goals thoughout my life... and yes, I may never gain each and every one of them. However, I hold true to the saying "Shoot for the stars and land on the moon."

Why not dream big? Why not become the person your soul is calling you to be? Why not risk your life or your comfort zone for the betterment of someone else? Why not care or have the compassion for something that makes your heart sing, or even break? What is holding us back from achieving all we've ever dreamed of doing?

Honestly, it comes back to fear... the paralyzing, lying, prevention feeling that overtakes so many. I challenge us to rise above the fear and start achieving more, dreaming more, risking more, and expecting more. We will be met with success because we did.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

He Ain't the Leavin' Kind

Concerts are one of the many highlights of my life. I always love going to see a band play and interact with their crowd. It's just fantastic! This weekend I went to the Rascal Flatts concert with two of my co-workers and to say it was great is putting it mildly. I don't know what it is about their music, but it serisouly just strikes me in the deepest part of my heart. I have so many wonderful memories of songs like "These Days" and winning the State Championship for softball. I remember "See Me Through" as I was going through a tough time with a special someone in my life. The words of "Dry County Girl" give me hope of a fantastic future with the love of my life. "Take me there" let's me dream about the next guy that comes into my life who is able to truly love and care for me, and want me to show him my life. And "No Reins" is my life story at this point - an amazing song of re-defining oneself. I LOVE RASCAL FLATTS!

One of the most moving songs of last night was "He ain't the leavin' kind" off of the album, Me and my Gang. I don't even know where to begin with this song.... FANTASTIC! Truly. Every single time I hear it I start to cry because I realize how great and awesome our God is. Even in our darkest and most depressing hour, where fear looms in the corners of the soul - this song reminds us that God is NOT the leaving kind. He will never leave us or forsake us. He is standing beside us through each and every step of our life. And I love the fact that Rascal Flatts - who are not a proclaimed Christian Group discuss the power and importance of God in our lives.... here are the lyrics - enjoy! :-)

They tried their best to drag him out
of a courthouse down in Montgomery
And now they wanna kick him out of school
and take him off our money
they can take those words off of paper and stone
But He ain't gone, no

*Chorus*He ain't the the leavin' kind
He'd never walk away
even from those who don't believe
and wanna leave him behind
He ain't the leavin Kind

She stayed mad at Him for a lot of years
for takin' her husband
started losin' her faith
and thinkin' that her life meant nothin'
But when she looks at those kids she raised all by herself
She knows she had some help,yeah, she knows

*Repeat Chorus*No matter what you do
No matter where you go
He's always right there with you
Even from those who don't believe
And wanna leave Him behind
He ain't the leavin' kind

No, NoHe ain't the leavin'
He ain't the leavin' kind
Woo, woo
He ain't the leavin'
He ain't the leavin' kind

Enjoy your weeks! And don't forget that our God is not the leaving kind!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

One for the world

This week at the local church house Easter was in the air. Amazing worship, families decked out in their Easter best, and time with Jesus that -for some reason- is far more powerful than every other Sunday. Something about Christianity that many people don't really realize is that people who die normally don't come back to life. Therefore, Jesus' resurrection was distinct, unique - a life and death had differently than every other human on the earth.

Pastor Mike taught that our questions about faith are appropriate for us to ask. Often we are afraid to ask the quesitons - especially about our faith, simply because we think questioning authority is bad. However, Christ wants to answer our questions and give us the knowledge and understanding of our faith. So questions are accepted daily and openly with Christ. Pastor Mike also encouraged us to seek the answers to our quesitons through Biblical teachings and texts. And lastly he encouraged us to be rid of our doubts after our answers are found.

Now all of this teaching was great- and I so appreciated it. But my mind could not stop thinking about how often the world disappoints me. It's amazing to me that so many people I come across are terrified to let their faith rule and guide their lives. They are victims to the world and the powerful, negative influences it has over people. And I can honestly say that I have been there and done that. The world is my constant disappointment. The place where TV, the internet, and media in general are my prophets. When I'm in the world -the place I go for answers is the TV, the internet, the media, and people. And how often are the teachings of the media and human nature much more detrimental to the overall wellbeing of all of us?

Honestly, it's hard to grasp the idea that Christ and faith can give someone so much peace and overall confidence in life. This is especially true when someone has never experienced the freedom of the Christian faith. It is through Christ that an unexplainable peace comes over you even in some of the most difficult times of life.

This has been true in my life over the past six months or so. I was in a relationship with someone for about 2.5 years - and that's a lot of time to spend with someone. I got to know this guy on a very personal basis and I truly believe that we know more about each other than many people know about us. Our relationship was not what it was supposed to be, and we ended it. I'm not going to sit here and lie to you - it was awful. You can't even put into words the feeling of heartbreak. It was through this time that I called out to Jesus like I never have before and He met me where I was - devastated, alone, and truly scared. It's been a few months now since that all happened- and I can say that I'm stronger now than I ever have been before. I'm more confident and focused than I have been in over 3 years. I'm happier now than I have been in a long time. And I'm beginning to find the true me that has been pushed aside for so long.

I wish so much that I could share this astounding joy with everyone I come into contact with. I wish I could just walk up to everyone and give them the freedom and the peace that I feel. Yes, I still hurt over the break-up, and yes I'm still frustrated and confused and hurt because of what happened. However, I had a choice to make when that break-up happened - and if I chose the world - I would NOT be okay right now. Honestly, I would probably be in a severe depression, contemplating ending my life, and constantly reminding myself of the bad parts of my life instead of the good - beating myself up over the failure of a relationship. And I could almost bet, that I would be trying to fill the void that my ex left in my heart with someone else. But I didn't choose that path....

With Christ and his prophets (of David, Solomon, Paul, Billy Graham, etc) there is freedom, peace, love, joy, compassion, everlasting hope, and strength to get through each day. Choosing Him is a hard choice to make and a terrifying one. It's SO hard to give up our power as humans and put aside our pride. But it's one of the most powerful and amazing feelings in the world to know in your heart of hearts that everything is going to be okay, and that Christ is standing beside us, picking us up when we fall and carrying us home. Sure, it's no walk in the park being a Christian - but the overall calm and encouragement we receive in Christ is....AMAZING!

So which will you choose today? The way of the world and constant diappointment and depression. Or the way of Christ and eternal life, joy and hope? Choose life my friends - you will never be disappointed that you did!

Footprints (SO TRUE!)

One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.
Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.
Sometimes there were two sets of footprints,
other times there were one set of footprints.

This bothered me because I noticed
that during the low periods of my life,
when I was suffering from
anguish, sorrow or defeat,
I could see only one set of footprints.

So I said to the Lord,
"You promised me Lord,
that if I followed you,
you would walk with me always.
But I have noticed that during
the most trying periods of my life
there have only been one
set of footprints in the sand.
Why, when I needed you most,
you have not been there for me?"

The Lord replied,
"The times when you have
seen only one set of footprints in the sand,
is when I carried you."

Friday, March 21, 2008

Lessons Learned

Hi all! Welcome back to the local Tenacious Insights! So this week I've dug back into the local Country Music that I LOVE so much! In fact... some of my good girlfriends and I are going to the Rascal Flatts concert when they're in town. LOVE THEM!!! Anyways, I was listening to a Carrie Underwood song called "Lessons Learned". Here's how it goes:

There's some things that I regret,
Some words I wish had gone unsaid,
Some starts,That had some bitter endings,
Been some bad times I've been through,
Damage I cannot undo,
Some things,I wish I could do all all over again,
But it don't really matter,
Life gets that much harder,
It makes you that much stronger,
Oh, some pages turned,Some bridges burned,
But there were,Lessons learned.

[Chorus:]And every tear that had to fall from my eyes,
Everyday I wondered how I'd get through the night,
Every change, life has thrown me,
I'm thankful, for every break in my heart,
I'm grateful, for every scar,
Some pages turned,
Some bridges burned,
But there were lessons learned.

There's mistakes that I have made,
Some chances I just threw away,
Some roads,I never should've taken,
Been some signs I didn't see,
Hearts that I hurt needlessly,
Some wounds,That I wish I could have one more chance to mend,
But it don't make no difference,
The past can't be rewritten,
You get the life you're given,
Oh, some pages turned,
Some bridges burned,
But there were,Lessons learned.

[Chorus:]And every tear that had to fall from my eyes,
Everyday I wondered how I'd get through the night,
Every change, life has thrown me,
I'm thankful, for every break in my heart,
I'm grateful, for every scar,
Some pages turned,
Some bridges burned,
But there were lessons learned.

And all the things that break you,
Are all the things that make you strong,
You can't change the past,Cause it's gone,
And you just gotta move on,
Because it's all,Lessons learned.

Okay, I know I say this alot, but I LOVE music!! It's able to put emotion into words and describe the feelings of life that happen everyday. This song is amazing to me simply because it says exactly how I feel. Over my life, I've made mistakes. I've diappointed people. I've hurt those closest to me. I've broken hearts and mine has been broken. Bridges have been burned far more than I would have liked. However, EVERY single problem, trial, issue, challenge, whatever you call it that I have faced has made me who I am today. Yes, they broke me and devastated me, but they have made me so much stronger and so much more able to see and have compassion and love for those around me.

Yes, I've been extremely hurt and disappointed through the years, but I've just got to get up everyday happy for the day I have ahead of me. Looking to see how I can help those around me, and seeing the needs in others - that's why I'm here. These lessons... although harder than anything sometimes to get over - are lessons truly learned and incredibly life changing.

So here's to disappointments, trials, heartaches, and sufferings - for they are Lessons Learned!

Monday, March 10, 2008

A Word on Socialized HealthCare

If you think health care is expensive now - wait until it's free!

Hi Everyone! So most of you know that I'm currently a licensed Insurance Agent and I work for an amazing company. I have a girl in my office that was writing a paper on the issue of Universal healthcare. In my job, she asked me a bunch of questions relevent to the topic and whether or not I believe in what I do. So what exactly do I do? I work to get Small Busineses and Individuals Medical, Dental, Long Term Care, Disability, Life Insurance, as well as Financial Planning. I thought I would share with each of you my concerns about the idea of socialized or Universal Healthcare. These are the answers I gave my friend:

1. I absolutely agree with and believe in what I do for a living. I'm not the type of person that enjoys having a job just to have a job and pay the bills- I value the fact that I'm helping people understand the whole Healthcare system and finding the best fit for them. I truly believe that I'm helping others through my work and I know that my clients very much value my feedback and advice. So I LOVE being an Insurance Agent! :-)

2. The Current Healthcare system is definitely flawed- however, every system in this country has some kind of flaw somewhere. Overall, I think we have a pretty great Healthcare System working for us - definitely one of the best in the world. Often times, As Americans, we forget how blessed we are to have the things we do - and we begin to de-value everything within our lives. This is also true of our healthcare. Since we live in a "now" mentality we are impatient to wait for change or won't work together with the Insurance Companies with any issues we have - we just throw our problems to the government and expect them to take care of us.

**Strengths of current system- FREEDOM OF CHOICE! You can choose your own plan to best fit your Medical Needs. Overall GREAT healthcare where you can see any doctor and have the freedom to get a second opinion at any point. Costs are another plus - most Businesses will pay for their employees health insurance costs - thus keeping the costs low. And higher risk people (AIDS, cancer, Coronary Artery Disease) are placed in a different payment pool so the healthy people don't have to be penalized in cost for the unhealthy.

**Weaknesses- Cost- The costs are increasing due to Increased Technology, New ways of doing procedures, increased Doctors Costs (they have to insure themselves for malpractice suits), Prescription Drug Cost, Hospital Services, and Increased Usage. What MOST people don't understand is that most Medical Insurance companies are NON-PROFIT organizations - which means in essence that legally they are NOT allowed to keep more than 3% of their annual revenue. That means the money is NOT going to the Insurance Companies but DIRECTLY to the consumers, doctors, hospitals, etc. for their increased everything (see list above). So the cost is a good thing in that we get better coverage overall - but it's a bad thing because it costs so much.... Talk about a conflict!

*BTW - EVERY governmentally supported Medical system is broken and barely functioning. We see this most greatly in Medicare. The system is running out of money because the Baby boomers are retiring and they didn't populate the earth enough to pay for their high cost Medical Bills (that's us - they didn't have enough kids to pay it forward). :-) HA! But serisouly, Medicare is a dying system that is a MESS To work with and no one in the government has any answers on how to fix it. Payments are not paid out according to the bills sent for patients. Medicare does not pay 100% of everything and does not pay for Preventive Care at all - and if you want good coverage for your Medicare you WILL have to buy a public Market "Supplement" or "MedAdvantage" Plan. So the government is proving left and right that they cannot support their own "Universal Healthcare" for old people. And you will still have to pay HUGE amounts of money out of pocket for the quality care so many are looking for.

3. Universal Healthcare is problematic simply because we lose the ability to CHOOSE. The government begins to make our decisions for us. With Capitalistic Medical (what we have now) Doctors, Hospitals, and Pharmacy's have the ability to "compete' for clients and usage. This encourages better growth and better care by the Hospitals and Doctors to keep people coming back to them. However, with Universal Healthcare competition is stifled and thus doctors will all be paid the same for the services rendered.

Another problem with Universal Healthcare is COST. People have this notion that the government has extra money lying around just waiting to be spent on us, the people. I'm not sure if you know this, but our national DEBT or DEFICIT is like at 7 trillion dollars at this point - and rising everyday! I would say that we don't have ANY extra money lying around. So then, how do we pay for everyone's healthcare? Oh simply by taxing the people more of course. And everyone likes having more cash in their pocket instead of paying the government more money - wouldn't you rather get the whole $1 instead of only $.70 cents of it? I think so.... :-) There are conservative estimates out there that if Universal Healthcare comes into effect many people can see their taxes rise up to 50% of their total income. So if you make $50,000 a year, $25,000 of it goes directly to the government and probably about $15,000 of it will be for healthcare (regardless of age and health history).

Yet another issue is FORCED participation. This means that with most of the plans out there you won't even legally be able to get a job unless you are enlisted in the Governmental Medical Plans. So if you don't want to pay for the cost of Insurance you will still be FORCED to pay for it anyway. And you lose your freedom of choice in the meantime.

We see another problem that has to do with ETHICS - because competition is stifled Individuals getting care are often placed on waiting lists for care (see video below). A great example of this is found in Canada where many Canadians are coming to the US for care because their doctors are overworked so much that some terminally ill people are turned away for care. So if you want to live America is the key to freedom from illness. For example, the Doctors in Canada see two patients one is 60 and one is 40. The 60 year old is in great health and takes care of his body, but has prostate cancer. The 40 year old also has cancer, but he is inactive, overweight, and diabetic. The Doctor can only treat and heal one person - and he sees the 40 year old as having more years to live because he's younger. So he treats the 40 year old and the 60 year old dies. Why in the world should doctors be making the choice of who deserves to be treated or who gets to live another day?? I don't think that should be the choice of the doctor but the choice of the PATIENT. Ethics my dear Watson... Ethics! :-)

I'm a little passionate about this -if you haven't noticed. :-) I've had many conversations with friends and family members about this. And in all honesty, Socialism is the way to demolish a society. We see this in Germany, North Korea, France, and many other countries. When we rob the rich to pay for the poor we are stifling economic growth and encouraged Small Business and Competition. Hopefully this little informaton has shone light upon a topic that is greatly influencing our world today.

Example Video!:

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Light and Momentary

Okay friends, I came across this verse the other day and had to share - and it's especially true in my life right now.

"For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all." - II Corinthians 4:17.

So lately my life has seemed pretty much non-existent. I wake up every morning realizing that my day won't even end with me at home before 10pm. Often I am overwhelmed by the extreme amount of school work, business work, Cheer work, and personal relationships - and it gets to the point that I feel as though I can't even function. There are days that I sit in my bed and think, "whats the point of me even waking up anyways?" or "What do I have to look forward to?" I even sometimes despise the fact that I'm an adult now and can't have all the fun I had in my youth. It's frustrating and scary and often just plain annoying to be at this place in life.

However, this semester I'm taking an International Film class that is throwing me back into reality and making me be GRATEFUL for the life I lead. In the past two weeks we've watched "City of God" and "Innocent Voices". Both films depict the lives of children who are either thrown into armies at the age of 12 and told to beat, rape, and kill their own family members or are turned to gangs for their own survival. These films show the extreme poverty of 3rd world countries like El Salvador and many African countries. I can't even put into words the emotions that come over someone when they realize that innocent children are living lives of "normalcy" - which to them means someone close to them either dies or gets hurt everyday. There is no value in human life and the poverty just makes things worse for them. They hide on their rooftops or in trees from the army officials who are coming to steal them away from their childhoods. The cycle is never ending and each generation keeps it going. The children get younger and younger when they are recruited and seeing an 8 year old kill his 5 year old brother will definitely give you a wake up call. It's devastating and it's happening more now than ever before. But as Americans we always seem to put a blind eye to the "problems of the world".

It's after seeing films or reading newspaper articles like this that I literally sit and look at myself - almost disgusted for even complaining that I have can go to school or I have a job. What gives me the right to complain when there are people whose lives are thrown away so easily? What gives me the right to whine because I didn't get enough sleep last night? There are children and mothers around the world who would give anything to sleep peacefully for one night. What gives me the right to be frustrated with the "overwhelming" amount of time I've lost on furthering myself? There are families all around the world that give their OWN lives to save someone they love. I'm beginning to realize that my light and momentary struggles with school, work, and relationships are absolutely NOTHING compared to the extreme fear that more than half our world deals with every day.

Praise the Lord for giving us the eyes to see and the ears to hear so that we may change our outlook on life and instead of being frustrated - being grateful and thankful for the many blessings He pours out on each of us everyday. For our struggles are "light and momentary" compared to our eternal life with Him after this world passes away.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Love Actually - Teachings from the Pulpit

Love actually is all around. It's in the glance of a lover to their love. It's in the eyes of a mother hugging her children. It's in the hugs of a father for his son. Love is everywhere - if you just look close enough you will truly see that it's all over this world. This week Pastor Mike discussed the love of Christ for His Church in his message entitled, "Stranger than Fiction".

Often times we find that we reject the love of another, and especially God's love because of our fear. Fear is a paralyzing emotion that forces everyone to freeze. Recently, in my own life I've found that fear has held me back from accomplishing the things I've always wanted to do. Looking back over the past two years or so, I've seen me go from a confident, enthusiastic girl into an extremely fearful, stressed, and emotionally drained woman. I feared everything from food poisening, to failing at something, to losing someone I loved, to bridges, even to the point that I was afraid to drive my own car. I don't know where the fear came from, but often times hindsight is better than foresight. I now realize that the reason I was so fearful was because I had put Christ out of the center of my life and into a closet somewhere. I started depending on people instead of God. I started trusting only myself, not Christ. And through that I went into a depression, truthfully loaded with crippling fear.

However, over the past few months I've begun to realize that I have nothing to fear except a life without God. Pastor Mike put it this way today, "Where there is sin, there is bondage". And I was sinning against Christ by pushing him aside and by my own pride deciding that I knew better than Him. Hebrews 4:15 puts it this way, "For we do not have a high priest (Jesus) who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are - yet is without sin".

The first step to get out of bondage is to 1. Recognize where you've falled short of God's Best for your life - get real an evaluate your life choices. "When I refused to confess my sin, I was weak and miserable, and I groaned all day long... Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide them. I said to myself, "I will confess my rebellion to the Lord." And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone!" - Ps. 32:3-5

The second step is to 2. Replace your agenda with God's - agree with God's plans for your life - not your own. Living with your eye on the past only hinders you from achieving great things in your future. "There is no fear in love. But perfect lvoe drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love." -I Johns 4:18

And third, we need to 3. Receive Healing by forgiving yourself. This is vital to being able to understand the great love of Christ. And before we can forgive ourselves we have to forgive those who have hurt or abused us in the past. For me, that's forgiving my own father who for years held me in bondage of emotional and physcial abuse and one who choose to find another woman to satisfy his "needs" instead of coming to his own wife. His addition to hurting us has made me so bitter towards men in general. It's made me not trust any man. However, bitterness is not an option - because it's only holding me back from living my life while my dad lives his without a care in the world. And often times when someone is abused for years we blame ourselves for the abuse by reciting things like, "it's my fault because I'm not good enough" or "he's doing this because I'm a disappointment". The questions roam in my head, even to this day, "Why doesn't he love me?" "Why am I such a disappointment?" = the fact of the matter is that it's not about me - it's about my father's insecurities and problems.

So finally, we need to realize that love covers a multitude of sins. Once we have taken the steps to get the healing we need - we need to "love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins" -I Peter 4:8 And God loves us always, unconditionally, deeply, and forever - We are loved!! :-)

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Teachings from the Pulpit

Marriage- we are gathered here together today to speak about Marriage. That's right kids, Pastor mike has discussed the institution of marriage and how we are to act within the sacred relationship between man and woman. There were some wonderful insights spoken today and new light shed on the importance of marriage and how we are to work together to make a marriage successful.

First off, each and every one of us has desires in life - owning a home, having a nice car, traveling, raising a family. Often times when we take the step into the convenant of marriage our desires turn into expectations. We expect our spouses to provide a house or a family or a car, instead of going into marriage with mutual goals and wants to work towards together. It's selfishness that leads to our expectations in marriage- because too often, as humans, we want what we want when we want it.

Selfishness - that is the number one reason that so many marriages have problems and fail in the world today. Selfishness. Isn't it incredible to realize that we have the ability to make or break any relationship in our lives by the amount of selfishness we carry into the relationship? What's the point of bringing someone else down for our own gain? There is none - we are here, as Christians, to build each other up and touch lives around us that don't know Christ - and how are we going to do this if all we can think about is ourselves? Interesting...

Now for the wives. We all know the scripture found in Eph. 5:22 - "Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands as to the Lord." What does this really mean? Is it that women are called to be men's doormats in the world -to serve them and clean up after them, in essence being their maids? No - absolutely not! What Paul is teaching us is that our of Reverence for Christ we are to submit to our husbands. Out of love and respect to our Savior we are called to love and respect the man we are given while here on earth.

And husbands - the verse for your lives is Eph. 5:25 "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her." What this verse means is to literally sacrifice your life as Christ sacrificed his life for every human on earth. That means loving your wives self-LESSly and communicating to her by your words and actions that she is a priority in your life and of utmost importance. This means, in essence, choosing your wife over the duties this world calls you to (work, sports, friends, etc). By loving your wife sacrificially you show your love not only for her, but for Jesus.

Mike closed with this question "What does your spouse owe you?" The answer? Absolutely nothing. Christ placed our significant others within our lives to display to His children His sacrificial love for us - so that we may understand first hand, all that He does for us.

The best part of the whole sermon was the example Pastor Mike gave about keeping our spouses on a "short leash". He literally had a leash on the stage and depicted how we treat our spouses on a daily basis "Oh, you got home on time tonight, good boy!" or "Oh, you actually were smart with the money I gave you - good girl!". We literally try to parent our spouses instead of loving them and working with them on an equal playing field. A good marriage is precious and it needs to be tended to and cultivated in order to flourish, especially in today's society. And prayer... prayer is a powerful tool at keeping any relationship alive and well today - a couple that prays together stays together.

Love and Respect. It what it all boils down to. Men love your wives, women respect your husbands. It's actually all found in a great book too - ironically called "Love and Respect". I hope that each and every one of you find the person that demonstrates God's love and Respect toward you. That we may each be extremely blessed in every relationship within our lives - and never take those around us for granted.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Treat her like a Lady!

Okay kids, it's been awhile, and my apologies for that... I've just found out that my life is pretty much going to be non-existent for the next 4 months or so. No Joke... literally NO life! But that's okay, by the end of it all I should FINALLY have a Degree... Praise God! :-)

Anyways, I've been thinking lately about the ways in which guys can win girls hearts over. It's honestly pretty easy, but you have to be diligent and keep her as a prized possession of yours. Here are a few good things to make a girl appreciate and love you for who you are..... enjoy!

1. Compliment her often- if you think she looks good or cute - telll her everytime. There is never enough compliments in a girls mind - and we LOVE them!

2. Bring her flowers frequently. We never tire of looking at something pretty.

3. Respect her always - this means opening all doors for her (even the car door), walking on the outside of the street, defending her when she is being threatened, and looking to meet her safety needs at all times.

4. Pray for her daily. Even if you don't even know who the certain someone for your life is right now, still pray for the right time and place for the two of you to meet.

5. Be on her side - you're a team - so why not work like a team, encouraging and supporting one another?

6. Take interest in the things that make her heart sing - that may be a favorite movie of hers, a pasttime she loves, books she enjoys reading, or organizations she's a part of.

7. Encourage her often to reach for the stars - know what her dreams and goals are and remind her often that she can do anything with dedication and focus. Be optimistic always.

8. When she's sad or scared just HOLD her for awhile. We don't need many words here - just a "it's going to be alright" and an "I love you". It's all we need - I promise - in a girls world a simple hug and one sentence can cure almost all woes.

9. Don't be afraid to apologize and admit you are wrong. We all make mistakes and it's not only the girls responsibility to apologize - swallow the pride here and fess up when it's appropriate.

10. Dance. Take her in your arms somewhere and dance to the music of your hearts (or the music on the radio) and just dance with her. Let her know of your love and your passion for her by gently dancing.

Okay, so there are many more things that can be done to make the love of your life sing... and I'd love anymore pieces of advice that anyone can give me. However, as a female, the things listed above are absolutely vital to the growth of a relationship. Sensitivity and patience are key to any successful relationship. Often times, however, we take our partners for granted and force them to the side instead of appreciating them for all they do in our lives. Unfortunatley, our world is exceedingly pessimistic about life and love - but for the success of any relationship we need to be constantly optimistic and continually growing the bond we have between one another.

My prayer tonight is that we would realize how we take our relationships for granted and how we can take simple steps to making sure that the important things in life are fulfilled. You can replace a car, a house, or a job. But we can NEVER replace the people in our lives. So let's work together at not taking them for granted.

One last note that I thought of today. If you had a second chance with anyone in the world - a friend, a parent, a lover, a sibling, a distance family member - what would you say to them now? And what is holding you back from making amends with one of the most influencial and important people in your life? We are not guaranteed tomorrow, and we are not even guaranteed the end of today.... but we have the choice and the opportunity to live each day of our lives to the fullest, and that includes with the people of importance in our lives as well....

Friday, January 4, 2008

Me in a nutshell

Okay, in one of my classes we had to take these Myers-Briggs personality tests to find out more about ourselves. Being the typical procrastinator that I am, I didn't really get that interested in it or anything until today. So, here's me .... in a nutshell:

I'm an ESFJ - which stands for Extrovert, Sensing, Feeling, and Judging. According to the book I have here this is the synopsis of my personality type: "Helpful, warm, cooperative, ESFJ's work well when they can meet the needs of people in a structured, timely, and practical way. They strive to make sure that people and tasks are organized harmoniously. Exercising determination and follow through , they work to achieve results that make things better for all concerned."

Some things ESFJ's do that don't work so well:

  • Take things said and actions done too personally.
  • Actively avoid conflict to keep things "harmonious"
  • Being a people pleaser - wanting everyone to get along.
  • Backing away from giving necessary criscism to others

Some things that you should know about ESFJ's and working with them:

  • We don't do well with "Devil's advocate" Role plays - just facts please
  • If you don't plan anything, we won't react well - either let ESFJ's do the planning for you or let them be involved in the planning processes
  • ESFJ's get irritated when people don't take seriously their causes or people that are important to them - the needs of others are our #1 priority
  • ESFJ's are very structured so "last minute" things or spontinateity often place a lot of stress and pressure on an ESFJ.
  • ESFJ's work on the words of others - it's important to make sure ESFJ's feel "important" or as if they "helped" in some way
  • Give an ESFJ a task - and they will complete it quickly, responsibly, and correctly.
  • ESFJ's need to be heard/listened to and find it irritating when people don't listen to them or think their ideas are "ridiculous".

Well, if that does not describe me... then I don't know what does. It kind of makes me sound like an uber intense person.... but what it boils down to is that everything I do in my life is for the needs and to help others within my life. I feel complete and as if I accomplished something if I am able to help someone who is in need. I guess I just like to feel "needed" in a way. However, the downside to my personality is that fact that I often times don't take care of myself because I'm so focused on the needs or wants of others. So that's a part that I'm currently working on changing because if i don't take care of me, I can't take care of others.

So if you're interested in looking into what your personality is and how you work with other's check out the Myers-Briggs personality test at the link below. It's actually REALLY interesting and it's pretty dead on to who you are as a person. This helps in relationships of all kinds because if you can understand your friends and where they are coming from or if you can understand your significant other's personality type - it will help you better communicate with the person and have a much more satisfying relationship.

Once you've found out your type.... check what the psychologists have to say about it.... I'd love to hear what type everyone is! Enjoy!

And if you want to know more about ESFJ's check out the link below....

Oh and one more on how I am in relationships:

Wednesday, January 2, 2008


Hi again blogging community! Happy Wednesday to you all! Well, today's ramblings will be on the topic of other people's opinions and influences over our lives. I know that for me I struggle on a daily basis with what other people think about me and whether or not I'm making the cut in this world. It's funny because I value the opinions of other's so much that at times I don't even know what my own opinion on a matter is. Instead I just go walking through my life by the orders and the thoughts of others - instead of forming my own opinions and living my life the way I feel it should be lived.

Case and point: Over the past few years I've been strangely influenced by my family members into believing that I was not the person that "I'm meant to be". I so love my mom and everything she does for me, but she can sometimes be a little, how do I say this, pushy? She gets an idea in her mind, and she will make sure that I follow through on it no matter what because it's "what I'm meant to do". I remember in High School a specific time when my mom got the bee in her bonnet that I was supposed to be a Civil Engineer. I asked myself and my mother at the time, "Do I even like math? No.... so what makes you think that I'd be any good as a Civil Engineer?" HA! You've gotta love her enthusiasm.

Okay, so back to our subject for the evening. I've just realized with SO many of my friends and family members that we are so swayed by other's opinions. We are literally paralyzed with fear of failing somone else that we are unable to act or react to our problems in the way our hearts and our minds are telling us to. It's frusrating for me because most of the time I don't even see the influence of other people until I'm so tangled in their bitter/twisted web to realize that the decisions I've made were solely based on someone else's opinion and not my own. I've had friend after friend come to me and say, "well I quit my job because my mom told me to" or "I broke up with him because my family influenced me to" or "I gave up on my friendship with her because my boyfriend thought she was a bad friend". Who is making our decisions anymore?? To me it's beginning to look like a lot more of other people's opinions are what goes these days, and we can't even find our own selves enough to realize and understand what our stance is on certain issues.

So, what do we do to combat these differing and constantly pressurized opinions? I think we need to take ourselves out of the pressures of the world and the influences of others and have a serious chat with OURSELVES. Listen to our own hearts and minds. What is our spirit telling us to do? Or better yet, why not go to God about these issues and come to Him with the questions or the issues we are struggling with? I think what it all boils down to is finding our own voice. It's inside each of us somewhere... it just takes time to find it sometimes. It takes energy, and it takes courage to take action with what we are telling ourselves, instead of the influences and things that other's are telling us to do. Let's just take time with US for once in our lives and have a chat with ourselves about whatever issues and problems are frustrating us. And maybe then we won't have such remorse, frustration, fear, or sadness - because we know we made the best decision for us - not them.


Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New Year, New Life

Well kids, it's that time again. Another year has gone flying by. I don't know what it is about time these days, but to me it seems like 2000 was yesterday, and now we're all the way to 2008. It's crazy to think that life is so busy and so hectic that we don't even see the time flying by our own faces. It all goes back to living in the moment or living in day tight compartments. Living for today- Carpe Diem. You know the lingo - so what is hindering us from living life that way? Maybe it's the hurried lifestyles we lead, the deadlines we have to meet, the long hours we have to work, the commutes we have to drive, the family pressure we have, the friendship pressures - everywhere we turn we are being stretched too thin and quite frankly we're being broken down into overworked, underloved human beings.

I don't even know how to change this pattern, other than to make people a priority in our lives. Nearly everyday I take my family and my friends for granted. I'd rather get one last project done for school or work before spending time with those I love. But let's be honest, there is always going to be more work or more projects - but life is precious and you never know when you will lose someone in your life, maybe even forever. Carpe Diem! I'm resolving this year to make my family, friends, and Jesus the priority of my life. For they are the one's that will be there through the thick and thin and will help me through some of lifes hardest challenges.

On one of my friends facebook pages this morning I found the following quote and it really caught me off guard:

"Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat. "

How true those words can be at times! It is one of the most difficult, lonely, depressing, frustrating, sad, devastating things in life to feel unloved, unwanted, uncared for, or forgotten. This quote really woke me up this morning and just reminded me that I need to be a better friend to those around me. One smile, one word, one hug has the power to transform a life - to take someone from depression and being "forgotten" in the world - to someone who is strong and courageous and able to stand their own ground. It's absolutely amazing. We can be the light or the strength in someone's life. We can be the influence that saves them from a life of destruction and leads them to a life of truth, love, compassion, respect, and unconditional love. Don't you want to do that for someone? Don't you want to just go out and just let this lost world know they are loved - truly loved? Oh my gosh, everything in me right now wants to just start hugging random people!

A few verses come to mind when I think of the above quote- on is from Psalm 34 - it says:

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those that are crushed in spirit"

Another says in Psalm 68:

"A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling."

So let's defend and protect the widows and the fatherless - let us love those that are struggling, that are hurting so deeply. Let us be the light in each other's lives, giving hope for a wonderful future and love to uplift them for today. I'm excited for this next year - it's going to bring some powerful changes, some amazing new opportunities, and just a time to start over and start fresh with life. Here's to a GREAT 2008!!! :-)