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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

It's a Little Bit Funny, This Feeling Inside...

My poor mom has been SUPER sick the last couple of days. She's been able to keep a tiny bit of food down today but is still achy and miserable. We're not really sure if it's food poisoning or if it's some sort of really nasty bug, but I'm paranoid that I'm going to come down with it, too (which is why I personally hope it's food poisoning). Ben and I are supposed to be going to Apple Hill on Friday. It's Nevada Day which means we're both off work (woo hoo!) and I would REALLY rather spend my day off enjoying the fall weather and chowing on some scrumptious apple crisp than to end up stuck at home tossing my cookies.

Here's half of our Mexico team sitting at the US/Mexico border.
This was the last picture I was in before I got slammed by the bug.
I think even here I look a little "green." It was not a fun night...
This afternoon I keep wondering if my tummy feels a little funny, and I honestly don't know if it really does feel slightly off, if I'm just a little hungry, or if paranoia is simply sabotaging my senses. But I'm having flashbacks to our Mexico trip in April, when our missions team passed around some sort of 24-hour bug and I was constantly analyzing the inner workings of my tummy and whether anything sinister was going on in there. Unfortunately I DID get hit with that bug on our way home, shortly after our vans crossed back into the US, and I missed our team dinner at Cracker Barrel that night in Phoenix -- TRAGEDY! This time I'm really hoping I'll just be able to chalk my fears up to my melancholic overly analytical tendencies and that my paranoia amounts to nothing more than that! I suppose time will tell... Stay tuned!

In the meantime, feel free to say a prayer for my poor mother! Get well soon, Mom!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Happy Birthday Ben!

one of Ben's multiple "photobombing"
efforts in Santa Cruz in 2009 and
one of our first pictures together
Today one of my favorite people in the entire world is celebrating his birthday. I first got to know Ben a little over two years ago when he went to Santa Cruz with our church youth group. My first memories of Ben are mostly of him attempting to "photobomb" as many pictures as possible. I quickly found that he has this off-the-wall, goofy, completely unique, HILARIOUS sense of humor. I wish I could convey something of his humor by writing about it, but my attempts to describe it would fall flat in comparison to the riot that he is in person. You simply need to spend time with him in order to understand.

After coming home from Santa Cruz Ben became part of my core group of friends that lasted through the next two years, but as time passed I found a special quality in my friendship with him that set him apart. Ben has been there for me through some of my most difficult times, he has received my encouragement with more appreciation than almost anyone else I can think of, and he has made me LAUGH harder and more often than probably anyone else I've ever known.

Best of all, Ben has a heart for the Lord like few I have ever seen -- so genuine, so sincere, and so eager to be a part of what God is doing in the world. Cassidy once referred to him as "the Billy Graham of his school" because he had such an evangelistic heart and influence. His best friend Alex came to Christ about a year and a half ago as a result of Ben's friendship, and Alex has grown by leaps and bounds in his faith to the point that he and Ben remind me of David and Jonathan in the Bible. It has been a JOY to witness Alex's faith journey and the part Ben has played in that. Ben has been an ENORMOUS inspiration to me and to many others who know him.

Our friendship, like any, has seen its rough patches, but Ben remains one of my favorite people I've ever met in my entire life and there just aren't words to describe how grateful I am that God has given me the privilege of having him in my life. I am SO THANKFUL God created this dear friend of mine!!!

hiking at Donner Pass this past July

Monday, October 24, 2011

Thanksgiving All Year: 91-100

I am officially a pathetic blogger. No posts since my last weekly list of thankfulness, which was late, as is this next list! Good grief! I had 3 separate house sitting jobs within a two-and-a-half week time span, plus the overnight trip to San Francisco, and only spent 3 nights at home in between, so with all the back-and-forth things have been a little discombobulated!! I am officially back home now, as of last night, so hopefully I can get back on top of things!

This week I am thankful...

91. To be back at home, eating dinner and watching TV with my parents, and sleeping in my own bed at night!

92. For the snowboarders on this season of The Amazing Race and for the way their faith in Christ was highlighted in this past week's episode!! SO COOL!!

Andy and Tommy have been my favorite team from the start of this season simply because
they are so laid back and easy going... I was STOKED to find out they're Christians --
and that Andy's hometown is Truckee, California, just up the hill from Reno!

93. That God delayed me in completing a photo book on Shutterfly last week so that I not only got free shipping (which was supposedly to have ended the previous night but was apparently extended) but also 20% off on the book!

94. For extra money made by house sitting.

95. For being caught up on tracking my finances once again.

96. For a SUPER fun sleepover Saturday night.

me, Rebecca, Cloe', and Kelly in back;
Emily, Jess, little Sadie, and Mickayla in front

97. For my friend Rebecca who provided some delicious sourdough bread for the sleepover dinner, a ton of help preparing the dinner, and lots of encouraging conversation while we cooked!

98. For a scary/hilarious late-night visit from Ben, Alex, and TJ during the sleepover.

the girls reenacting their fright when the guys
showed up in the back yard without warning lol

99. That God is continuing to work in my heart in life, bringing growth to areas that have been lacking.

100. For the story of Onesimus and for Philemon 1:15.

Here's hoping for better blogging from me in the week ahead! Have a great day, friends!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Thanksgiving All Year: 81-90 - David Crowder Concert Trip Edition

Well I was beginning to wonder if I'd ever get items 81-90 posted... I missed getting it written on Friday, worked on it Saturday morning, somehow lost internet connection where I'm currently house sitting on Saturday afternoon, and just finally got a chance to work on it again this afternoon. And after battling once again with the formatting I have finally found the html code I needed to post photos side by side, so at long last here is my list of thankfulness for last week - David Crowder Concert Trip Edition!

This week I am thankful (or, rather, last week I was thankful)...

81. For time with my family and friends in beautiful San Francisco.

downtown next to the Powell Street
cable car line

waiting to tour a naval ship
during Fleet Week

82. That God orchestrated all our transportation after arriving in the Bay Area last Sunday:

- a free shuttle from our hotel to the Oakland Coliseum BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) station

on the free shuttle

at the BART station

- BART to get us into San Francisco

waiting for our train to arrive

Here she comes!

- a cable car to Fisherman's Wharf, where we met up with Cassidy and Erin who had arrived earlier in the day

dinner at Bubba Gump's

- a bus to ride to the concert

SO GLAD to be sitting down!

enjoying the ride

- Cassidy's Jeep to get us back to our hotel after the concert

Ashley and I got the special seats in the back...

83. For David Crowder* Band and the opportunity to worship with them in person one last time on their final tour.

acoustic set

Love these guys!

84. For the uber-talented band Gungor. I already knew of them but had no idea how incredibly talented they were till we saw them open for DCB. They sort of remind me of Nickel Creek and/or The Swell Season.

See them playing "live in the forest" here...

85. For crepes at Pier 39.

Ham, egg, and cheese
or strawberries and chocolate?

Decisions, decisions.

86. For my brother and sister-in-law who remained in good spirits and helped us to have fun even while standing in line -- in the rain -- for a really long time while waiting to tour a naval ship.

playing Ashley's finger game
that blows my mind every time

totally reminds me of a
Cassidy and Jon picture

87. For Boudin's sourdough bread.


88. For routine stops at Chick-fil-A when traveling to/from California.

last stop before Reno
89. For fun new memories with my mom, my dad, Cassidy, Erin, Ben, and Ashley.

I love them all so much!
90. For my brand new windshield... It's been over three years since I had one free of cracks!

Yes, my last item is unrelated to the rest of this week's list, but it was pretty significant so I had to include it. It is wonderful having a CLEAR view while I am driving now!! Hope you all are having a splendid week!!

Thursday, October 13, 2011


On my church e-mail address I regularly receive a "prayer prompts" e-mail that I am somehow automatically subscribed to. Since it's not something I subscribed to myself, I rarely ever open the e-mails. But yesterday I noticed the word "patience" in the subject line, so I decided to check it out since I am currently in a season of "waiting on the Lord." I liked that these prompts blend being content where we are, seeing that God has something for us to do while "waiting," not giving up hope that there is change ahead, and trusting His timing for that change. I pray these prayer prompts might be an encouragement to someone else who may be in a similar season of "waiting on the Lord!"

·   Ask God to show you the size and fullness of the box that He has you in.
·   Ask God to make you understand that He wants you to stay in His box without cheating your way out.
·   Ask God to keep you from becoming despondent or depressed when the box doesn't open or expand.
·   Ask God to keep you energized with the tasks you are to complete in the box.
·   Ask God to remind you to allow God the time He wants or needs to open or expand the box.
·   Ask God to show you all the adjustments to the box you can make.
·   Ask God to show you clearly why the box is the size it is and how to endure its size.
·   Ask God to cause you to keep pushing forward and seeing if the box will expand or open... not give up.
·   Ask God to deflect and strengthen you to resist temptation in the midst of the sameness.

I will leave you with one of my favorite Scriptures:
I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the Lord.
Psalm 27:13-14

Friday, October 7, 2011

Thanksgiving All Year: 71-80

You know, I am glad I started this weekly "thanksgiving" list... It keeps me from neglecting my blog, which might otherwise sit here all but forgotten! Here in Reno it has felt as though we skipped over fall and plunged straight into winter the past couple of days... The mountains are blanketed in snow and it has been in the 40s here in the valley during the evenings! Yikes! I think this is just a fluke and hopefully Fall will return and grace us with her crisp presence for a while before we see too much more snow. We shall see!

In the meantime, this week I am thankful...

71. For a great time with my sanguine friend Ashley last weekend... Eating gelato & exploring at the Atlantis Hotel and Casino; having dinner at Olive Garden; falling asleep by 10 pm (as is customary at our sleepovers); randomly cleaning out the front of my car in the parking lot at Summit Sierra; making multiple stops between Reno & Carson City trying to decide on a place to get lunch; seeing "Moneyball;" stopping for frozen yogurt; etc.

enjoying our gelato
at the Atlantis
 72. For the GREAT film "Moneyball." (There is some strong language but it is not pervasive, especially for a sports film). It's a wonderful story that's as much about a man finding redemption and hope as it is about an underdog sports team. I saw it again with my mom on Monday and am itching to see it a third time!
73. For my mentor, Debbie, who has been pouring wisdom, prayers, and encouragement into my life for almost a year and a half.

74. For a hilarious dream in which Ashley and I met Zachary Levi.

75. For a great coffee date with my friend Kelly on Wednesday morning.

76. For good music... I've been living on Needtobreathe's new album "The Reckoning," Noise Trade's FREE fall sampler, a new mix CD from Ashley, "Put Your Arms Around Me" by The Hawk in Paris, "The Show" as recorded by Kerris Dorsey (who plays Billy Beane's daughter in "Moneyball"), and "Sigh No More" by Mumford and Sons.

77. For the HILARIOUS youtube series "Guy on a Buffalo" that my brother introduced me to this week. Go watch episodes 1, 2, and 3! (No, really. Go watch them.) (Seriously!)

78. That God faithfully sustains me through day after day as I pray fervently and wait to see Him answer.

79. For my dear friend Jessie; for our Thursday evening coffee dates at Starbucks; for the fun of seeing our friend Hannah each week because she is there working as a barista; for the fact that we've recently started praying together before parting ways after these coffee dates; and for Jessie's prayer last night which produced hope, peace, and encouragement in my heart.

80. For an overnight trip to San Francisco coming up this Sunday with my whole family plus two of my best besties, Ashley and Ben, to see the David Crowder* Band on their final tour. I am SO looking forward to enjoying a little getaway in one of my favorite cities, spending time with some of my favorite people, and most of all being part of a joyous night of praising our Savior!

good ole David Crowder
and his epic beard and hair...
with the fam and Ben on an overnight
San Fran/concert trip earlier this year

with the same two besties
on a super fun day trip
to Apple Hill last fall

If my list was eleven items long, my final item would be something to the effect of being thankful I finally got this blog post formatted the way I wanted to... Sheesh!! Haha... Well I hope you all are enjoying your October so far! Happy Weekend, everyone!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Every Melancholy Needs a Sanguine

It's been a long time since I've posted anything that wasn't either a weekly thanksgiving list or a synopsis of what's currently going on in my life and walk with the Lord... The past couple months (which encompasses the entire time I've been blogging, now that I think of it) have been pretty challenging and, being a melancholy, I just tend to become very introspective and (overly) analytical during such times. Someday I promise I'll write some more lighthearted posts... Hopefully this one will be a step in that direction.
an afternoon at Lake Tahoe

For some time now I've been thinking about writing a blog post about my friend Ashley, who has been there with me through some of my lowest times over the past couple of years. Ashley is a nut. And I say that with all the love in the world. She loves to have fun and be silly, and spending time with her is one of the best things I can do when I'm feeling overwhelmed or discouraged by things going on in my life. Ashley is a pro at distracting me and making me laugh in the midst of whatever I might be going through.

spaghetti noodles: official
snack of road trips
Early in summer 2010 after a super emotional day she spent the night with me where I was house-sitting at the time and somehow managed to distract me from my heartache with "arts and craps" (aka arts and crafts), Rockstar energy drinks, velcro ball, and a 2 am bedtime (which is unheard of for the two of us -- thank you, Rockstars). It was just the beginning of an entire summer filled with countless ridiculous laughs and memories. Ashley stayed with me many more nights while I was house-sitting. We listened to "Robots" by Flight of the Conchords a zillion times and SHE memorized the entire song. We drove around Lake Tahoe one afternoon just for the heck of it. We ate spaghetti noodles in her car while driving to our friend Luke's house to watch a movie and decided we would make them a staple snack for road trips (though we have never again eaten noodles in either of our cars).

at the Kris Allen concert

We spent hours coloring at a youth group sleepover, as if we were with toddlers instead of junior high and high school girls. We saw Kris Allen in concert. We ate frozen yogurt. We walked all over the wrong hospital trying to visit one of our youth girls who'd had a baby. We went to see "Toy Story 3" with a bunch of girls from church. We volunteered at the Crisis Pregnancy Center with the youth.

the picture that induced
uncontrollable laughter

 We saw David Crowder in concert in Santa Rosa. We spent an afternoon in San Francisco's Chinatown, drinking Chinese sodas that exploded when we opened them, taking pictures flashing peace signs, and watching the older men and women playing card games in the park. We laughed uncontrollably for about 20 minutes straight later that night while looking at a picture we'd taken in front of a giant macaroni noodle at Pier 39 in which Ashley's foot was in an odd position and it looked like one of her legs was short and stubby.

hanging out in Santa Cruz on "beach day"

We went camping in Santa Cruz with our youth group, which involved its own blog's worth of crazy memories. We floated down the Truckee River with Ben and Alex and Brett one Saturday morning, having 3 of our 5 floating devices deflate along the way, freezing most of the time because the weather turned unseasonably chilly, and huddling in Ashley's car for probably a half hour afterward trying to warm up. We went to see the Aces play baseball. And on and on it goes...

our pathetic attempt at
a human pyramid
in Jake's back yard

What started out as heart-wrenching ended up being one of the most fun summers I've ever had, thanks in no small part to my friendship with Ashley and all of our shenanigans. Our friendship hasn't been all fun and games; we've had our share of low times, too. But we always seem to get through the lows and find our way back to the fun-filled friendship we've shared for the past 6 years.
enjoying free gelato at
the Atlantis last weekend

With this latest challenging season in my life, Ashley has once again been providing me with fun distractions and comic relief. Last weekend while we were hanging out I told her I'd decided every melancholy needed a sanguine friend, particularly during difficult times when we melancholies tend to get trapped in our thoughts. We need someone who can pull us out of our overwhelmed minds and make us laugh.

Now I need my fellow melancholies, too. (Perhaps I will blog about them soon as well.) They help me process what I'm going through at any given moment, and I am so grateful God has also given me melancholy friends who listen as I pour out my heart, sympathize with my emotions, and encourage me. I need my melancholies AND my sanguines. One group helps me to sort out my thoughts; the other prevents my brain from exploding along the way. Ashley has been a God-send as one of the latter. I'm so thankful for her friendship~for all of our crazy memories and all of the laughs we have shared. This blog only describes the tip of the iceberg, and I know there is much more to come! If you're a melancholy, I hope you are as blessed as I am with a sanguine friend like Ashley!

Sigh No More

I had listened to a clip of this song on itunes a while back when I first discovered Mumford and Sons, but I wasn't blown away by the clip so I never downloaded it. However, while I was at Starbucks yesterday morning this song came on and after hearing the whole thing I decided I liked it a lot after all. I looked up the lyrics when I got back to work and they hit me right in the heart, so I purchased the song on Amazon yesterday afternoon. Here are the beautiful words (emphasis added to portions that particularly resonate with me right now)... And here's a link if you'd like to listen along.

Serve God, love me and mend
This is not the end
Lived unbruised, we are friends
I'm sorry

Sigh no more, no more
One foot in sea and one on shore
My heart was never pure
You know me

But man is a giddy thing
Oh man is a giddy thing

Love it will not betray you
Dismay or enslave you, it will set you free
Be more like the man you were made to be
There is a design, an alignment, a cry
Of my heart to see,
The beauty of love as it was made to be