Saturday, March 28, 2009


Last weekend was my first trip to South Lake Tahoe, NV and it was fabulous! The drive up there was gorgeous and coming down into Tahoe was amazing...however, the steep drop offs next to me...not so cool...

It was also the first time that I went to an overnight women's retreat for church. Aside from the grocery store, I don't think I've ever seen so much chocolate in one place!

There were 4 of us to a room in a little cabin and the first that I noticed - no TV. I thought it was 'weird', but then I realized why I was there in the first place. We were able to take in the sights at a ski resort called Heavenly and to also walk around our little area before dinner began. I took some pictures of the lake, mountains in the distance, and the sun setting - it was breath taking, to say the least.

Our Cabin

We spent Friday night in a worship service with 240 women, had small group time, and then played some games afterwards. Needless to say, it was late when we finished and even later before we went to bed. I think I ran on about 4.5 hours of sleep the first night....zzzzz....


Saturday we got up for breakfast and hit the sermons again - the theme was called 'Wide Awake: Fulfilling your God Given Dreams'. You know me and how I love my dreams... well, this wasn't about the 'weird' dreams we have at night, but the dreams that God sets in our heart - those nagging feelings/ideas that won't go away no matter how you try to shake them. Circumstances arise where we're not able to reach our dreams, be it financially, the wrong timing (starting a family), and most commonly out of fear. We fear that we will fail and we fear that if we pursue our dream, it won't be what we dreamt.

Me at Sunrise

I actually learned a lot from the retreat and not only am I living my dream out right now by being in California, but I have had a dream placed on my heart since I was a child. Now I need to open my mind and my heart and try to pursue it. However, fear has set in.

Do you know we're born with two natural fears? Falling and loud noises. All other fears are learned (I learned to fear spiders after watching my mom jump around and blow on them before she killed them). So for any of us to fear stems from a 'lie' and it becomes a battle within our mind: False Evidence Appearing Real = FEAR.

Anyway, I attended three really good workshops, was fed really well, and loved the worship music and sermons that were spoken. Coming back to reality was hard though. You're in such a beautiful place, listening to women's stories, and reflecting on your own and then we all got puked back in to the real world really fast. But it was so worth it.

The last night we were there, it snowed. I hate snow. But for the record, it was beautiful. The pine trees were weighed down with it and for a second, it felt like home again. It was quiet, the wind was blowing, and then the sun would peek through for a brief time. It really was pretty.


Me in the snow

What is your dream? Does God have something placed on your heart? Dream big and let your light shine.

Mountains across the lake

Clearest water I've ever seen

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Another Year

Well, another milestone has two year California anniversary is tomorrow and in thinking back over just this past year, a lot has definitely changed!

I feel more 'comfortable'living here now and the homesickness has definitely died down from that first year. I'm not saying that I don't get it or still think about home, but this has become my way of living. I've gotten into a routine, made new friends, and continued to expand in so many areas of my life that I never thought would have been possible. Ask me how I'm doing in a few more months and maybe that will all change!

You can easily track my whereabouts and what I've been up to through reading older posts on here, but the major changes have taken place within myself. Sometimes I didn't realize how strong I really can be and at other times, I find myself at my weakest and not knowing where to turn or who to turn to. It can be a very lonely place.

I continue to grow in my small groups at church and being with this amazing group of women (whom I definitely can call my friends) they encourage me, lift me up, and challenge me at the same time. I have been awakened to some characteristics and qualities that I have held on to and need to focus on changing and they're always there for me... I've met some struggles and have freely spoken about them, and again, they give me their 'mom' and 'best friend' perspectives on the subject. I honestly don't know what I would have done had I not met them, but I firmly believe that God had His hand in this all along and knew that I would need people like this in my life while I'm not around my core support group of family and friends back home.

All in all, it has been a good 2nd year here, though some obstacles were thrown in the mix! I've had break-ups, health concerns, family and friends who have passed away and I wasn't able to be home with everybody during those times, and of course the nagging feeling of missing my niece and nephew growing up - this is the one that really chokes me up... However, I have been able to still do new things (hello, rode a bike for 8 miles - which is FAR for somebody who hasn't been on a bike in years!),I've been to places that I probably wouldn't have seen or experienced, and all of the little things that make my life here enjoyable - mainly my friends.

I appreciate everybody's continued support over the last 2 years and can't thank you enough for the constant prayers, emails, cards, and phone calls. You've been just as much of my journey as I have and it's been a fun ride :)

On a side note, for those who have asked, I'm still holding strong with my Lent quest of one hour of tv a day... I did falter during the finale of the Bachelor, but I didn't watch any tv the following night! hee hee... I have found that I don't 'crave' tv any more and it's almost liberating not being tied up for hours on end. I have read some incredible books the last few weeks and have finally devoted that extra time to the One that this is all's been very healing for me, to say the least.

My BFF, April, is coming out here next month and I can't wait for some girl time! Oh my gosh, it will be so much fun! I know I'll be a crying fool when I pick her up at the airport, but it's ok - she knows I'm an ugly crier :) I have a few things planned, but mostly, I just want to spend some time alone with her to get reconnected! Wee Hoo!

Well, two years of learning, growing, experiencing, and spreading my wings has definitely gone by fast...this has been the best journey I have ever been on!

Cheers to another year ;)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Season of Lent

The dictionary gives us the following definition of Lent:

Lent - noun
(In the Christian religion) an annual season of fasting and penitence in preparation for Easter, beginning on Ash Wednesday and lasting 40 weekdays to Easter, observed by Roman Catholic, Anglican, and certain other churches.

This is the first year that I am truly in observance of the season of Lent and I'm finding it difficult, yet rewarding at the same time. I say this after only five days.

Last night in church we learned that Lent is also a season for becoming holy. It's an appeal to God for a clean and good conscience. If we can choose something to offer up to God that would put our focus on Jesus instead, it would be part of a process of sanctification. Other processes might include prayer, fasting, and self denial.

This year I'm offering up TV... I know some people don't have lives consumed by their television, but I do. I am only limiting myself to one hour of tv per day intead of the normal five that I can do during the week and who knows how many hours on the weekends. I started 'practicing' last Sunday and did pretty well and then kept on going through the week. So far, so good.

I bought a lot of books off of Amazon to fill up my time and am going to start journaling some thoughts on paper again. I used to journal ALL the time, but then stopped. Blogging sort of counts, but all of my deepest thoughts and emotions can't be put down on here for the whole world to see!

We also learned that Lent is not a law or a rule that is stated in the bible (I always assumed it was in there under fine print). We had an uneven exchange with Jesus - he died for all of our sins and the least we could do is spend 40 days with a good faith appeal for a clean conscience and to just seek Christ... it really is all about your heart.

We were told not to judge the sacrifices of others - if somebody is giving up chocolate, I shouldn't go to them and be like, 'Big whoop! Chocolate... that's lame!' because we don't know what the one (or more) 'things' are that keep people from knowing Jesus. Maybe their lives are consumed with chocolate? Who are we to judge?

I also learned not to focus on the loopholes... and I found a loophole - movies. My friend and I were having a discussion about that this morning and then another friend brought up the same thing! We're not sure if this would count or not. I said 'no' because for myself personally, tv is mind numbing. I find myself staring at it, but not really watching it or I'll just have it on for background noise. Movies you would be focused on and learning the plot... see, loophole. I can justify anything.

I feel like I'm going to be transformed in the next 40 (or less) days and am excited for what lies ahead. I just hope that I can meet God where He wants me to be and that I will be able to focus more on what kind of person I want to become with His help.