Thursday, January 26, 2012

My Moral Dilemma of the Past

I'm still friends on facebook with a girl I was close with from 4th grade until I graduated high school, although we haven't talked in more than a year. When I became passionate about God the fall of my senior year, things changed between us and I saw the distance grow further and further. However, I decided to message her just now because I genuinely am interested in how she is doing. As I clicked on the message button on her page, I saw some previous messages we had exchanged from two years ago. One message, from the fall of 2009, was a copy of a paper I was to turn in for an AP Composition class on a moral dilemma in my life. I just read it and smiled. I want to share it on my blog, mostly to have it somewhere where I can look back when necessary and see how God was always there, but also to maybe reach someone going through a hard time who needs a reminder of how God rewards when you trust in Him. The moral dilemma I wrote about was choosing Heavenly love over earthly love. I changed the name and a location in it because I thought it to be more appropriate. This piece reminds me of my trust in God and my love for writing. Anyways, here it is:

"He Who Gives Me Strength" (My Moral Dilemma Paper)
My faith is my life. Sure I’ve had my questions and my doubts at times, but overall, my faith and relationship with God is what makes me who I am. Until recently, I had traded what I knew God wanted for me for my own personal desires. Summer 2007 was when everything changed for me. I was an impressionable fifteen-year-old girl hoping for a summer romance, such as the ones I had constantly read about in my novels. Every summer my family traveled to a resort in Wisconsin. Summer of 2007, I told myself, would be different. I wasn’t going to be the same shy, naive girl anymore.

When I spotted Noah down the hill upon my arrival, I knew my dreams of obtaining a summer romance would come true that week. I was not planning on maintaining anything serious with this boy from Michigan. Everything about him seemed to be a foreign concept to me: he was the varsity football player and I was the girl that sat quietly in class with my head buried deep in a book, he was the extrovert and I was the introvert, he loved talking while I enjoyed listening. As different as we seemed, it was hard to deny our similarities. We both enjoyed learning, nature, museums, laughing, food and music. For as many differences we had, there were at least twice as many things we shared in common.

After departing from our Wisconsin haven, I back to Minnesota and him back to Michigan, I felt something strange going on inside of me. I was shocked to find him constantly on my mind. We continued to talk over the phone daily. In the spring of 2008, Noah took a chance and asked me to be his girlfriend. I was terrified of the way he made me feel because I was unfamiliar with such feelings. I had never been on a date, yet alone had a boyfriend!

We reunited in our Wisconsin sanctuary in the summer of 2008. Everything felt right there, like nothing could ever possibly go wrong. That week, Noah gave me a small ring. To the eye, it wasn’t anything grandiose and I’m not sure exactly what significance it carried with it, but it was extravagant to me. Looking down at that shiny ring on my hand got me through the long months we would spend apart. It made me feel whole in some way, as if it was the missing piece, filling the gap in our disconnected puzzle.

In total, I saw him a few times a year. It was painful and my heart was constantly aching. I never questioned Noah’s faithfulness to me. He was my best friend. We knew everything about each other. The more serious we got, the more he talked about the future. I wasn’t sure what I wanted for myself. I knew that I loved him and that I would do anything for him, but I was also reminded of our differences in religion from time to time. I loved reading the Bible and growing in my relationship with God. I had grown up knowing Jesus and loved learning more about Him. Noah did not have much knowledge on the topic and didn’t seem as interested. I constantly wondered how difficult it might be to remain faithful and keep my promises to God when the boy I loved did not know of this greater love that I had for my Heavenly Father. “Maybe,” I thought, “I can tell him more about God and he’ll start to grow!” Deep inside, I knew that I couldn’t change Noah. Noah respected my beliefs, but would not learn to love God through me. If he wanted to grow, he would have to do it on his own.

As the summer of 2009 slowly passed, I started to see more differences appear between us. I sometimes questioned why these things were becoming more apparent, but I tried to put them aside. In the last week of August, I could not ignore my feelings any longer. Noah was frequently talking about our future together. I believe that God put feelings of distress and doubt on my heart with a purpose. Because my faith is so important to me, I’ve always known that marrying a Christian man would be in my cards. I’ve always dreamed about marrying someone who could help me to grow in my faith everyday. Along with the fact that Noah was my first boyfriend and that I am only seventeen years old, I also recognized that Noah could not provide me with the growth that was necessary for my relationship with God.

During the last week of August, I broke Noah’s heart. Neither of us saw it coming. It happened in the only way we could communicate, over the telephone. I listened to him cry and said my last goodbye. It broke my heart to know that I was causing him such pain. In the weeks following, it was hard to remain positive. Looking back on it, I know I gave up a huge part of who I was for two years. I lost a best friend and my first love. Looking at what I gained for my future though is something that keeps me motivated. I know that although it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, it will be worth it in the future.

I have never felt so strong in my faith and I thank God daily for the strength He provides me with to keep me moving. Although my moral dilemma may seem somewhat cliché, I believe that nothing is more important than my faith and I know now more than ever that I would sacrifice anything to remain close to God.

I could cry thinking about how amazing God is! Well, I often do cry about it haha! God completely rewarded me for following His will and I know with absolute certainty that He placed those thoughts on my heart and mind so that I would find a man who loved God first, and me second. I am so happy for choosing the hard road to pursue God's will for my life! It has been almost three years since I wrote this and I am able to see the wonderful growth I've had in my relationship with God and with others! As I said at the end of the paper..."it will be worth it in the future." It has been and has made ALL the difference in my life :) Josh is truly my gift from God as he puts God first and helps me to strive to do the same! I hope this serves as a great reminder to someone today that even though you may have a hard decision to make or you may just be so hopeful for a guy that you'd be willing to settle for less than someone who is crazy about Christ, God will ALWAYS reward you for following HIS will above your own. He is the most faithful and loving God and my story is a true example of this! Hang in there my single ladies! God is looking out for you and your future husband! I hope you all have a great night! :)



Sunday, January 22, 2012

First Weigh-In!

Today was my first official weigh-in day for weightwatchers. I set it up so I'd weigh in every Sunday because I felt like that was the best day for me! Because I had started the program on a Thursday, I didn't weigh in that first Sunday. I've been excited all week to weigh in because I've felt the difference with my clothes (it's not often that women are excited to get on a scale hahaha) but my excitement wasn't for nothing....

I've lost 7.2 pounds!!!

AND I'm bloated because of my period so it may even be more but I am SO happy with my progress so far. 7.2 pounds is equal to 29 sticks of butter. I'm smiling imagining those 29 sticks of butter dropping off of me! :) This has been such a great start to a total lifestyle change and I can't wait to reach my goal in the end so I can ultimately have a healthy BMI and not have to worry about getting diabetes later on in my life (which is genetic in my family and something I've always been concerned about).

I've also been considering running a half marathon--the OC half on May 6th! It's the day after my sister's graduation from APU so my whole family would be there to cheer me on :) I looked at a 12 week training schedule for it and it looks VERY do-able to me! I'll keep you posted on if this becomes a reality because I am in no way an avid runner, but would definitely love to have this activity goal for myself along with my weight goal! 

Well, it's homework time for this girl! School = my main job haha! Thanks so much for reading! Have a lovely Sunday!



Tuesday, January 17, 2012

When You Have Jesus...

When you have Jesus in Your life, there is something different about you. Something that others might not be able to pinpoint or put into words, but something that you know sets you a part. Jesus changes everything. The more I do ministry, the more I see this to be true.

Today we had another hour of tutoring. Younglife is the best part of my week/month/year/etc. I'm not over-exaggerating. I cannot say enough good things about it! The relational part of the ministry is SO effective! Example! Tutoring was great today! I met some new kids that seemed excited about the idea of our younglife club that will be starting in 17 days! As we were leaving, I saw a girl I've seen every time I've been there, her name is Ely (Elysia). I went over to offer her and her friend cookies (gotta come with a bribe haha)! And she said to me, "You're always so happy." It wasn't a question, or even really a statement. It was more of a confused thought. It really moved me. I mean yes, I won't lie, I like to be known as someone who is generally upbeat. But this girl that I've only known for a week and only spent about 60 minutes with can recognize this joy in me. Now I don't know what she thinks of it--maybe she thinks I'm crazy, maybe she thinks I'm a psycho or a druggie! Haha! Whatever the case, she sees something in me that makes me different. And it's not that I'm happy, I'm joyful! The difference to me is that joyful is a permanent thing that I have because I choose to follow Christ! He gives us JOY that isn't fleeting! Does that mean that I can't get sad or lonely? Of course not! I'm a human being with emotions and feelings! But I can ALWAYS look to God to fill me up with His joy that He freely gives!

The thing that moved me the most about this encounter, was that I had this almost prophetic movement. As she said it and looked at me, I knew that Jesus was showing me she was a girl I will get close to and that she will also find the joy in Him that I have found. I get emotional as I type because I'm so amazed by God! He's just so awesome and I'm so excited about younglife at this school! These kids are so hungry for love and for real relationships! God is going to do HUGE things here and I can hardly stand to wait because I'm so excited!!!

To close, I want to share something from Mark 5. Today at our senior leader meeting, we talked about Mark 5:1-20. I suggest you read it and interpret it however you like! But something I took away from it was this: Without God, we can't do ministry. But with God, we can do ALL sorts of things! We must remember that man alone can't accomplish any kind of effective ministry. God is the healer, lover, giver, etc. Everything we pour out comes from Him! We cant give without receiving :)

I hope this week, you all can find some way to pour out God's love to others!



Weekend Catch-Up!

This past weekend was packed with fun things!

On Friday, I left for a YoungLife leader bonding trip to Palm Springs! We combined our group (Sierra High School) with another group (Claremont High School) because together we only had 11 leaders there! We stayed at one of the girl's grandparent's vacation home! Let me tell was the most beautiful house I've ever seen! Here is a picture of the backyard, where I was most of the time!

We had such a fun weekend getting to know each other better and brainstorming great ideas for our teams for the semester! We have our first club ever for Sierra on Friday, February 3rd (almost 2 weeks from now!) We are crazy excited and continue to tutor twice a week in the meantime! :)

Another great thing from the weekend was celebrating a whole year with Josh! :) He planned out a fun day filled with surprises for me :) First, we went to breakfast at Flappy's (my favorite)! Then, we went to a cute little downtown area and he had me pick out anything I wanted! I got a super cute necklace from a handmade store with matching earrings (I'll wear it soon and post a photo)! Then, we drove up to Mt. Baldy! We had planned on watching the sunset and dancing (we like to dance!) but it was too cloudy for the sunset/too cold to dance haha! So we took some pictures and headed out! Here are my favorites :)

The view was gorgeous!

We don't do PDA haha (besides hand holding and maybe a peck every now and then, but I just love this picture because of the background and because it makes me smile!)

Happy :)


hehe :)

After we drove down, we went to his work (because it would be warm in there haha) and tried to watch this beginners salsa dancing was still hard! But we had fun trying to act like we knew what we were doing haha! Then we went to a cute little Italian restaurant that had great food and a great atmosphere! Overall, it was a super fun and great way to celebrate one whole year of lots of smiles, laughs, tears, great conversations, hard conversations, love, God, etc. So blessed to have Joshua and for our wonderful relationship!

Martin Luther King Jr. day was great too...NO SCHOOL! haha! Nichole and I decided to hike to the cross (Garcia Trail) right by school! We got about 5 minutes up and her altitude sickness/anemia/whatever other problems she has (hahaha just kidding!) kicked in :( She told me to keep going...she ended up throwing up soon after I went on :/ Poor girl!! But then she felt better :) ha! I made it to the top in about 40 minutes! I was panting (it's a VERY steep hike the whole way) but I felt SO happy when I got to the top!

There's a cross at the top that overlooks the city! I felt God and it was so cool! I talked to Him a lot of the way up and down, thanking Him for a fully functioning body that can do such a thing like a strenuous hike and for His beautiful creation that we get to enjoy! I'm so thankful for all of it! Especially since starting my lifestyle change, I've realized more that my body is a temple and I need to treat it right--meaning giving it what it needs (through healthy food and exercise)! It felt so good to have that talk with Him :)

After I got down the trail, Nichole and I headed to the grocery store and got some things to make a nice healthy dinner! I made us a strawberry and spinach salad with red onion, feta cheese, and fat free raspberry vinagrette dressing (so easy, healthy, and yummy!!!) Nichole made a recipe from one of my new cookbooks! It was a chicken with brown rice and veggies recipe that was delicious! We had a great day! :)

This weekend made me feel so blessed to have so many people in my life that I can have meaningful conversations with about God! Just another reminder of God's abundance! Couldn't be happier! :) Hope everyone else had a great weekend as well!



Thursday, January 12, 2012

New Year, New Me!

I am officially signed up for weight watchers!

No, it's not because of a "new year's resolution" or for the desire to look a certain way. I'm doing this to get fit and feel completely confident with myself!

I'm so excited to get healthier and to feel good! For a while, I've noticed a gradual weight increase (probably starting the summer of 2010 and on). However, I had been the same weight from about middle school until the end of high school! So I began to justify this weight gain by saying things like, "You've been the same weight for years! It's time you grew!" and "Oh, it's just what happens in college! Other people are way worse!"

I've been wrong. Haha I've been in denial for a longggg time but enough is enough! I've been eating so well this past week and have worked out twice for a total of about 2 hours! This is amazing! Haha! My motivation is unlike any other I've ever had! I'm so excited to get fit and on the right track for a healthier life! Diabetes is something I've been worried about because my dad developed type 2 (the kind you get from being unhealthy) when he was in his 30's even though he had been pretty healthy prior to this. His sister died from complications with type 1 diabetes. Diabetes is something else that has motivated me to get fit! I want to be healthy and around for as long as possible :)

I'm sure that in addition to my new younglife group, my journey to getting healthier and fit will be a common topic on my blog! 

Have any healthy recipes or tips to share? Let me know what works for you! :)

Until next time,


Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Younglife is always the best part of my week. I find that when I serve others, I feel more filled than when doing anything else! God calls us to serve and to make disciples! I feel God moving in me when I'm doing the work He calls me to do--such as when I'm at younglife!

For those of you who don't know, younglife is a ministry in which leaders (college-aged and older) invest in the lives of high schoolers who don't necessarily know God (here is some more info if you're interested)! I seriously think younglife is one of the greatest ministry programs out there because it approaches teenagers in a fun and loving way, without trying to shove religion on them. Younglife gets a lot of ridicule from people who say things like, "You're not really doing anything", "You're not really telling them about Jesus", "They don't care", etc. If these people became a leader and got to experience a teenager come to God because God chose you to be their friend and witness to them, I believe 100% that such ridicule would disappear! The way many of these kids get to know God is because of the time they spend with a leader...because when you encounter God, you're never the same again! He becomes so active and present in your life, that the rest of the world can't help but notice you're different! It is a VERY time-intensive ministry, but it has been so rewarding!

Anyways, a few friends and I started a new younglife group at a continuation school, a school where kids are typically a little more troubled and wouldn't graduate on time in a "regular" school. We are tutoring there twice a week, and will start younglife "club" there in just a few short weeks!! Club is the most inviting part of younglife! All kids that want to come will join us for about an hour in which us leaders put on skits, games, activities, music, and a short talk about Jesus (without trying to shove it on them)! We tell a story about Jesus and relate it to a story from our personal life!

We make ourselves so vulnerable by doing the most ridiculous things in front of these kids that are probably thinking we're crazy, but that's how they let us in!
We dress up as indians and pilgrims on Thanksgiving!

We dress up as old people to make them laugh!
We put on "Tacky Proms" and go to Goodwill to find the ugliest things we could possibly ever wear!

We do all of this for Jesus! Relationships form, they go deeper, and the kids want to know why you're different, why you care! And the answer every time is Jesus!

Watch this video of one of the leaders baptizing a student who came to accept God through younglife (it gets louder after a few seconds)! Such a great example of the amazing ministry that younglife is!

I'm so excited about this new younglife at Sierra High School and will be blogging about it frequently! Please be praying for the kids' hearts to be softened and that they would be open to the Lord, and that us leaders would put God first and speak His words! Thanks so much! Have a great evening!



Monday, January 9, 2012

Recipe of the Week is Up!

Go to my "Recipe of the Week" tab and check out my first official recipe...or follow this link Recipe #1!! Let me know what you think :) Have a wonderfully blessed day! :)



Saturday, January 7, 2012

Date Night, Best Friend Talks, & Vampire Diaries

I've only been back for three days and I already feel like I never left! So crazy how time works!

Anyways, I often talk about the importance of the "little things" that just make life so much better. One of these things I enjoy is date night! Josh and I are both very chill people, meaning we would rather stay in on a Friday night, cook a nice dinner, and watch a movie. But last night, we mixed it up a bit...we went to Chili's--one of my favorites! Lets be real, who doesn't love the chips and salsa here?!

After dinner, we came back and watched Midnight in Paris. I was skeptical because it didn't seem like my typical movie, but I trusted Rachel McAdams (one of my favorite actresses who happens to be in the movie)!

It was a great movie! I definitely recommend it! Being the English nerd that I am, I loved Owen Wilson's character's interactions with different literary geniuses like Hemingway and Fitzgerald! It was definitely for those that appreciate literature/art a little more than the average person...some of the people his character meets I had no idea who they were so I ended up looking them up on wikipedia haha! But if you're at all interested in this story of an author trying to find inspiration in Paris (it was actually filmed there so there's beautiful scenery!), rent it from redbox! :)

Another little thing that has made my past two days so much better is that Heidi got home! If you don't know, Heidi is one of my dearest friends and happens to be the girl I share a room with!

We tend to have lotsss of deep talks and she is so real with me! She reminds me a lot of my sister (they have a ton in common!) so I think that's why we clicked right away! She's from Minnesota too and I got to see her twice when we both were home! But I was so happy when she came back yesterday! We've already had more of our classic best friend talks (often including talks about God, boyfriends, family, friends, hard stuff, and good stuff). So happy to be reunited! :)

A final "little thing" that you all should know about...I'm all caught up on Vampire Diaries!!! I hate how dumb that sounds haha! But Jamie, my sister, got me hooked on it two weeks ago so I watched seasons 1 and 2 on netflix (if you have netflix, go watch it right now!) and just finished the first 10 episodes of season 3 so that means I now have to suffer and wait for a week to pass to indulge in one of the greatest shows ever! haha!

That's a good looking cast! Ha! What I love about it is that it makes Twilight look dumb...which it is! Vampire things sound really weird and I honestly wouldn't have imagined me ever liking a show like this, but it has everything good wrapped up into this amazing show! NOT at all cheesy or predictable like Twilight! So check it out sometime!

I hope you all have a great Saturday night! Enjoy a relaxing weekend :)


p.s. Be looking in the "Recipe of the Week" tab in the next day or so...I'll be making my first recipe tonight! Pictures and more to come :)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

I'm Back!

I want to blog more...mostly because of my friend's amazing blog (Nichole's--check it out!) that I love to read! Haha! So I guess that will be a "New Year's resolution" for me :)

I got back to Azusa yesterday. I cant believe how fast Christmas break flew by. I had the most wonderful time with my amazing family! All I did was relax and have fun with the fam. It was MUCH needed and I'm so thankful for the almost three weeks I got to spend in my beautiful home state of Minnesota.

A fun thing this year was having Josh come visit! He flew out last Friday and we flew back here together yesterday. It was so much fun to spend time with him and my family together, because this is a rare thing! My family had met him before and loved him, but it's something so special to be able to have a nice home-cooked dinner at your home with the people you love most...I definitely cherished that time! And it was fun to show Josh off to my whole extended family at our New Years Eve party ;) hehe!

I'm in the apartment alone for at least another day, and I'm loving the alone time I get to have! For those that know me, I like my quiet time and it is so hard to find that when you live in a small 2 bedroom apartment with three other girls so I'm not taking one second of it for granted!!

I spent a fortune on healthy food at Fresh and Easy yesterday! Haha this is NOT a New Years Resolution! I don't care about losing weight, however I know that that is something I need to do because of my genetic tendencies towards diabetes. I feel fine with how I am, but I want to know with certainty that I am at a healthy weight to avoid something that definitely can be prevented! I'm really excited about the food I bought! Fruit, whole grain breads, string cheese, salad, veggies, etc. No more baking every week! I still will enjoy myself, but there is a limit to every thing good :) I'm excited to see how this goes, something I will definitely be blogging about I'm sure haha!

Well, it's time to start going through clothes to donate now...way too many things I never wear haha! Have a wonderful day!