Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Time for another change

Here we go again! I'm moving in a few days and I couldn't be any happier!! This past year has been extremely difficult with my (soon to be ex) roommates. This has been a learning and growing experience, a test of my faith, and a test of character. They have lied, been hateful, manipulative and downright catty. They have tried to belittle my character, belittle my faith and belittle my integrity. Even today they are trying to be in control of my life and making me to be who they think I should be and putting me down all the while for it.

God has tested me, molded me and taught me through it all. I have drawn closer to God and bolstered my faith in a way in which I rather wish I wouldn't have taken this road to get to that point but God uses the right paths at the right time.

I have learned that I am not a horrible person because a human tells me so. I am wonderfully and masterfully created by God. Every inch of me. He designed who I was. He uses my character to mold me and be a tool to others in my life. And just because someone else doesn't like doesn't mean I need to take it to heart. Only what God thinks of me matters. I learned that the hard way but nonetheless I have learned it.

In two days I get to move into a new place with two new amazing woman. One is not a Christian and the other one I don't know. I know this will present all new challenges to me but I'm excited to be an instrument in the lives of these girls and develop our friendships. I am excited to not be living in a house where two "Christian" girls are constantly judging me but rather living in a house where I can live my faith freely but still answerable to God and show my Christian light to them (which ironically enough my current roommates have backed me into a corner and accused me of not being a Christian light to the world).

I'm excited for change. Nervous but still excited! I can't wait to see what adventures and lessons God has in store for me this next year :)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The value of real friendship

It never has and never will cease to amaze me the way God has a magnificent plan for our lives that we can't even imagine. He has doors and windows of opportunities to guide us through. He takes people in and out of our lives at just the right time to teach and to mold us, to give us strength, to give us exactly what we need.

This last year has been trying and hard. I have gone through so many ups but so many dreadful downs. Everything from family feuding, relationship problems, scholastic troubles to massive roommate problems. This year has been one of trying and hardship. But also a huge lesson to continue to remind me to lean on God. It took me awhile. I kept thinking there's no way the Lord has time for me, that my thoughts/feelings/hardships were stupid and petty. I felt as though I was responsible for my own life and had to clean up my own act. I've been working through many self-issues, none of them easy to deal with. I've been told so many negative things about myself in so many ways that I had to mentally combat that. I have struggled with questioning God why he made me the way I am if everyone around me thought I was such a horrible person, a bad friend. Why would God make me that way to only have others hate me?! I've had to work through those questions. I've had to work through combatting negativity all around me when all I needed was a desperate word of encouragement from family or friends or even a strong hug to remind me that I'm not alone.

I have struggled with knowing that my absolute best friend I will never hug, I will never touch physically. I can't walk up to God and fall into his arms literally. I can figuratively but not literally and being human sometimes all I have needed was that.

But it's amazing how He teaches us and just as we start to understand and get it right, He blesses us in incredible ways!! I have an amazing financial opportunity that though I have to work hard at, could one day allow me the freedom to focus on the giving and charity I long to do. No longer have to worry about paying for rent....but instead have more than enough to give to those around me! How awesome would that be.

He has brought a peace back into my heart and mind to help me combat Satan and my own corrupt mind on bad days when all I want to do is think down upon myself or others.

He has also brought some amazing people into my life. I have a group of strong, genuine, God-fearing, encouraging faithful women that not only will help me with this business but that I am establishing wonderful relationships with!! How incredible to be able to pick up the phone and hear words of encouragement and praises of God flowing both ways across the phone or to simply receive a humongous hug everytime I see them. Or better yet, women that I can pray with.

The value of a real friend is completely irreplacable as I have learned these past few months. Those that I thought were friends backstabbed and turned against me. Using my own God in a sword of anger and deceit. Blaming me for things I had not done. That is not a true friend. But yet here I have genuine friends who I just met. Who will tell me like it is, bolster me up in my faith and encourage me every day if I need it. And vice versa.

It can't be replaced.

I'm also so grateful for my relationship with Scott. If for nothing else, the friendship I have with him. We started off as friends before and he is truly one of my best friends. I had so many anxieties with him coming home; would be truly be able to make it, can I do a relationship that's not long distance? Will our troubles continue to grow as he comes home or will we actually be able to grow together instead of apart? Amazingly enough, the fighting, the arguing and the tension has stopped since we have been together. Being able to have a conversation face-to-face, those important conversations and even every-day conversations when I can actually see his face, his expressions, read his eyes....those have played a huge part in our relationship mending instead of destructing. We've had some troubles but we've gotten through them. And it's cool to be able to walk out at the end of the day holding the hand of my best friend.

The value of a real friendship is irreplacable. God is teaching me that....and He's blessing me along the way as I learn these simple, basic yet important aspects of life.

No man is an island, we can't make it alone. We need to have others around us, ask for help. But in turn we must also give love, support, guidance and help to others.

I'll leave you with a verse I read today while I was eating dinner that jumped out of the page at me.

Isaiah 7:9 "......If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all."

And it's true, if we don't stand true in our faith to the world, eventually we won't stand at all.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The start of something wonderful

Well this past weekend I went on my first ever business trip for Arbonne. We had our nation's manager's retreat and it was amazing. The woman in this business are nothing short of miraculous, wonderful, giving and downright amazing :) AND the entire trip was centered around God and His blessings and relying on God to make it through in this business.

"You have not because you ask not" reverberated with me greatly.

It was awesome to get to expand my friendships with two of my uplines, Mattie and Emilie! It's always great to love and have a great relationship with those that you work with. People you can call and talk to anytime, pray with or whatnot. Or someone who is just there for you when you need it.

One of the Executive Vice President's from our nation started a philanthropic program for inner city kids with her residual income from Arbonne. It's taken her over a decade to get where she's at but now that she has a great income, she has the time and resources to make a dream of hers come true. She started a program called Life Change Ballroom in which she teaches inner city kids how to ballroom dance. But it's so much more than that. These are kids who were about to be kicked out of elementary school (yes you heard me right) for anger issues or being so behind on their work due to not having anyone who has been there for them. Every saturday she spends time tutoring them and after school they learn to dance. During summer they attend summer school to catch up. The kids are bright but just need help and guidance. One little boy got an 80% on his test....for sixth grade....and he was only a fourth grader!! They were marvelous to watch, in their adorable outfits and watching them go for it. I want to make a difference like that in the lives of others. Arbonne will allow me the vehicle to get there in a few years.

It was the most amazing weekend. How wonderful is it to know that the company you work for centers itself around God and His blessing; where woman who have known you all of ten minutes hug you and genuinely tell you they are proud of you; to work in an environment where everyone encourages, supports, and helps out one another; to be in a company that above all else believes we ALL deserve the best and puts God first before anything!!!

Alright, well I DID miss a bunch of homework this weekend so I have to finish studying for my exam tomorrow. I mean as much as I love all this I still have to work on school stuff ;)

Oh how I'm ready to take this world by the horns and run with God's blessings :)

Monday, July 14, 2008


If there is one thing I have noticed in my life, it's that I thrive in optimistic, supportive, enthusiastic, fun atmospheres. Right now I have all of this in one work place and not so much in another.

I'm starting this little Arbonne business of mine and already my "co-workers" have been so supportive and positive and enthusiastic. I was literally basking in it this morning coming into my other job this morning, ready to tackle everything I needed to and excited about the projects I am working on here. Only to have them shattered when the negative unsupportive energy came flowing my way.

I don't work well with people who aren't optimistic or happy about their jobs or driven to put forth 150% towards what they are doing, whether it is the most menial task or the biggest presentation of their lives. 1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us "3So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." I honestly believe that you should do everything to your best, not just for you but because you are glorifying God when you do it!! Colossians 3:23 also tells us the same thing "23Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men."

I honestly believe if everyone thought this way, a lot more would get done and in a more friendly, positive and enthusiastic way.

It just kind of hit me today that a lot of what I'm being trained about for Arbonne falls along the lines of everything I believe. Which I love coming from a business that puts God first. I absolutely love it.

Watch out world, this Christian girl is working towards the top!!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Officially Arbonne

Well here I am, officially an Arbonne Consultant!! My first party is July 26th and I am hoping that in the next couple of months I can promote up to Independant Consultant - District Manager. That would be SAWEET!!

I have noticed that I do have a certain fear of commitment in a way. But when I find something I love and feel comfortable with I go with it. Here is what I absolutely LOVE about Arbonne:

1. It's a Christian company. God first, family second, business third. They even have a six-day schedule, as in setting aside for the seventh day, the day of rest. The company is not afraid to tell about its Christian ethics and have even said that God has blessed the company because without it they would not have grown and prospered like they have.

2. It's all botanical. Everything is natural, made from nature, from plants...which means it's almost organic. Which means it is healthy for your body!! I have been told I'm transforming into a hippie but I honestly believe in recycle, reuse, renew and using things that are all natural, how God made them.

3. The people involved in this company are SO fantastic and enthusiastic, it's absolutely amazing!! I couldn'thave asked to have such wonderful people as uplines.

Anywho, I would really appreciate everyone's prayers as I start in this endeavor. Yes I am doing it for personal reasons, to have a supplemental income so that I can pay my bills and not have my parents have to pay my rent again. I would love to start paying off my debt and have a little bit more financial freedom, so I don't have to live off peanut butter and clearance items. But I am also doing this because I think God put it in my heart as something I could and should do. I think this is a great way for me to do something to glorify God. If I am successful it's solely because of Him. If I fail it's because I didn't get His blessing, plain and simple.

I have come to realize that if something does work out, it's because God led me to that part of my life, He supports it and blesses it. If I am at a point in my life where something isn't working or is just incredibly working against me, well I think that is God's way of saying I took a wrong turn somewhere and wasn't listening to what He was telling me.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The Memory Keeper's Daughter

I have a REALLY long list of books on my "to read" list. Some of them are Christian life books, others light reading, historical fact, historical fiction, or basic novels. I really wish I could spend more time getting lost in my books. I love to read!!

Anywho, I just got done reading this book The Memory Keeper's Daughter. If you get a chance to read it, I suggest it. It's a great book. Not very climactic in one sense but a great storyline. It definitely draws you in with lots of emotion. It's easy to read and overall a good book.

The story starts out with a doctor who delivers his twins in a blizzard. The first born is a healthy baby boy, the second is a baby girl who has the obvious signs of Down Syndrome. The book starts in the 1960's. In that day and age it was common practice to put the babies with any genetic defects in institutions, especially Down Syndrome. Little was known about the disease back then and the "perfect family" image was definitely a huge part of society. He gives the baby girl to the nurse and tells her to take the baby girl to an institution, meanwhile telling his wife that the baby girl died at birth. The nurse takes her to an institution but upon seeing the conditions of the place, she runs away and raises the girl as her own daughter. All this can be read on the back jacket so I'm not ruining a single thing.

Like I said, fascinating book. This last weekend, as I mentioned before, Scott and I stopped in Kingman, Arizona on the 4th to spend it with his Uncle Pete, Aunt Bonnie and his cousin Jeff who has Down Syndrome. Jeff is somewhere in his 40's or 50's. This puts the time Jeff was born around the same time period that the story takes place. Pete and Bonnie raised Jeff and never sent him away. I know not everyone did this, but it was fascinating to be reading this story at the same time as realizing that we were spending time with a family who had gone through the same thing!!

Some time in the future I would love to sit down with Bonnie and talk to her about this experience. It won't happen for a long time if ever but especially with that book it's just absolutely fascinating to find out a personal experience of someone who is practically family. It's not every day that you get to read a story that hits so close to home.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

4th of July - Bringing My Marine Home

This fourth of July marked a special occasion - Scott's terminal leave from active duty enlistment!! Our mark of celebration?! Spending a couple days in a car driving from San Diego, Cali to Colorful Colorado :)

I flew out on Thursday and we spent the night in San Diego. Then first thing Friday morning on the 4th, we headed out and headed to Kingman Arizona where we spent the afternoon with his Uncle Pete, Aunt Bonnie and his cousin (who has Down Syndrome) Jeff. It was good....fresh-grilled steaks, asparagus, baked potatoes and fresh salad...yum!!

Then we spent Saturday, continuing on, stopping at the Hoover Dam for a few photos and because I had never been there. Scott and I being the history buffs had some fun. He was explaining to me a bunch of stuff he learned on the history channel. Especially things having to do with the architecture of the structure since that is his passion. We stopped in Green River for the night. That was an interestingly small town that was a bit overpriced being in the middle of nowhere....which is also the reason why it IS so overpriced; absolutely no competition for hundreds of miles around.

This morning we got up at the butt-crack of dawn and left. I slept a significant portion of the first couple hours. Colorado is hands down the most beautiful state. Absolutely. We stopped in Idaho Springs so I could treat Scotty to the original Beau Jo's....the best pizza place in the continental US :)

All in all we made it home ok. It's weird yet good to have him home. It will take some adjustment and some work to be in a relationship in which the amount of time we spend together equals more than an average of one day a month (what it has been since we started dating almost two years ago). We enjoyed some beautiful scenery, some good comedy on XM radio, and a few laughs along the way. Hopefully next time we'll be able to take more time and enjoy a real roadtrip.

On a brighter night, we celebrate our two-year anniversary in 17 days!! I will admit I have absolutely nothing planned. I don't think either one of us has too much money and the emphasis has been on him coming home. So I guess that is enough for me for our anniversary. The only time he'll have to leave again is if he gets called back from reserve duty to serve in Iraq.

Alright, I'm out for the night. Off to finish laundry and watch more of the U.S. Olympic Pre-Trials :) WOOT WOOT to Olympic swimming!!! My all-time fav!!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Thankful Thoughts

Lord, thank You for the gift of life. Honestly praise God! My brother Kevan was hit by a malicious motorist in a car while riding the MS150. It was a hit n' run and for the most part he is ok. He has a sprained shoulder and a cracked rib. His helmet was cracked, his left side where he landed pretty banged up all in all. He fell into the middle of the road after being hit.

This doesn't sound like much but let's keep it in this perspective. Had a car been traveling at any close distance to the car that struck him, that car would have run over Kevan, killing him in the act. Had Kevan fallen at a different angle or with a different force, his cracked rib may have turned into a broken rib and punctured a vital organ; worse yet his head may have sustained more serious injuries. The brain is a delicate organ in whose injuries most often are semi-permanent to permanent given certain circumstances.

Kevan turned 17 today. There is such a huge possibility that I could have been attending his birthday either in a hospital or worse yet at his own funeral. And I thank God I'm not. I'm not ready to lose anyone in my family. I'm a strong person but I don't think I'm that strong. I think God knows that. God was watching out for us that day. The whole race. Thank you Lord that I can celebrate Kevan's birthday watching him do the 'chapstick dance' and not watching him in a vigil of some sort.

One thing that has been on my mind a lot ever since I became a Christian is evangelism. We are constantly told we need to evangelize. That rewards will await us in heaven, riches awarded for every good deed, including evangelism. I'm not the sort of person to walk up to a person and ask them what they believe then immediately jump into the gospel. I'm not ashamed of my faith in the slightest. Every person I work with or interact with knows I'm a Christian. I'm not afraid to tell my beliefs in a conversation or go against the norm of college life by saying I don't believe in something because of what my God tells me on a subject. I will admit my own hypocricies, but will also remind people I'm human and the only person incapable of sinning and doing wrong is Jesus so to hold me to that same standard is ludacris. However, I don't share my faith a lot of times by words. I do it by acts. By choosing to not party and get drunk, by choosing to help those in need, to be the friend that someone can come to, to be the person that people can talk to without fear of judgment.

I feel that I'm better able to share the love of Jesus if people see my kindness, my acts, my passion for God, my compassion and my own faith and then talk to them about why I am the way I am and what makes me who I am. I have been able to better share my faith with those of different lifestyles by telling them I that yes I am a Christian, I do not believe what they are doing is right; however my God tells me to hate the sin and love the sinner and that's what I do. I have a boss who is bisexual and a good friend who is gay. They both know that no matter how many times they talk to me about their personal lives, I will never condone their sexual lifestyle. I won't put them down for it. However they know I hate their sins. But interestingly enough, they continue to come to me, to talk to me in the open and befriend BECAUSE though I hate their sin, I still love who they are. I think that's the greatest thing a Christian can do.

It's amazing to me though how pushy some Christians can get to other Christians. In October/November I was going through a really hard time with life. Everything seemed to be acting against me and life was getting me down. God was my only stronghold in life, the only thing keeping me steady. However, when life gets really hard for me to handle, I have a tendency to isolate a little. I don't ask for help but I am nothing short of the person I usually am, just a little more quiet and nontalkative than usual. My Christian roommates had the audacity to back me into a corner and tell me how "bad" of a Christian I was being and saying things like "don't you want to be a Christian light to the world?" and "you can't possibly show a Christian attitude and be a light to the world" all because I wasn't conforming to their lifestyle and how they wanted to live together. Because I wasn't being buddy-buddy with them and they didn't have power over me, without even asking if anything was wrong, they accused me of being a bad Christian!! I wasn't being any less than the caring person I am, any less civil, any less compassionate or hardworking. I simply wasn't being the person they wanted me to be.

That to me is not being Christian. I don't understand how you can tell another Christian they aren't being "Christian enough" when 1) you have no room to talk down to me as another Christian and 2) they never even took the time to find out if anything was wrong. I have taken great strides in my workplace to spread my faith and share my faith. I may not attend bible study every week like they do but I DO LOVE to go to church and go every sunday. If I don't go, it's because I have a valid reason (ie this past Sunday doing the MS150) in which I'm usually doing something that includes me still showing my faith (as I did at the MS150 with my jerseys and prayers and encouragement with other riders). They still have the audacity to think they are above me, but yet I can't see how they are being Christian lights to the world with their attitudes towards everyone else.

Alright, enough of my thoughts. Nothing productive, merely thoughts that I wanted to get out.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

MS150 Pictures

Bike MS 2008. I ride for Deb Lawhead. I ride for Dan Lliteras. I ride for a cure. I ride for a world free of Multiple Sclerosis.
Bandana. Team Jersys
Starting Line. Front Range Community College - Westminster. 6:00am. Saturday June 28th.
Rest Stop #1. Minus Kevan. Saturday June 28th.
Up. Up. Up. To Carter Lake. Afternoon Saturday June 28th.

Carter Lake. Saturday June 28th.
Little Old Guy. Kicked. My. Butt. Saturday June 28th.
End of Day 1. D.P. Dough. Cold Stone Ice Cream. Sore Butts. Smiles. Saturday June 29th.
Last one in. Still smiling. Praising God. Saturday June 28th.
Lunch rest stop. Plethora. Bicycles. Sunday June 29th.

Hit n' Run. FLASHBang. God Blessed Him. Sprained Shoulder. Cracked rib. Unbroken Spirit. Sunday June 29th.
Team CFC. Our. Love. Can. Move. Mountains. Sunday June 29th.
Finish Line. Sunday June 29th.