Sunday, July 24, 2011

Updating the List!

I'm SO incredibly excited that I will be heading back to California in just over a week! It will be so great to see old friends, my old parish family, and the beautiful state of California that I love oh so much! As I am planning my itinerary, I naturally came back to my infamous California Bucket List. It was then that I realized I have not crossed some items off the list on my blog that I have indeed accomplished in real life! So here goes!

Grand Canyon

On our road trip back to Missouri last year, Dan and I stopped at the Grand Canyon! I was there once as a small child, and the only memories I have are of the pictures I have seen. We weren't able to spend much time at the Canyon, but we were able to take in the beauty by seeing the sun set over the canyon. It is a memory that I will always hold dear to my heart. While we were there, we decided we would definitely come back someday for a hiking trip!

San Francisco

On one of my last weekends in California, I decided to take the trip to San Francisco. A good friend of mine was staying in San Jose, so I had a place to crash and a friend to go with me on my first day to San Fran! We had a blast on the first day! We walked along the piers and went to drive across the Golden Gate Bridge. We checked out the Haight/Ashbury district, went to the highest point to view the whole city, and even found the "Full House" house! The next day, on my own, I walked around the whole city. I found the crooked road, ate in the Italian neighborhood of north beach, and even got some pictures on a trolley! I fell in love with San Francisco! The buildings and landscape have such a distinct personality, and the weather is perfect. I loved not having the extreme hustle and bussle of LA! I ended the trip by driving down the PCH all the way back to LA! It climbed the charts as one of my favorite trips of all time (right under Europe!) 

The Crooked Street
The trolley driver allowed me
to take a picture on his
trolley. He was more into it
than I was!
Saints Peter and Paul Church
at Washington Squre in
North Beach
Bixby Creek Bridge near Big Sur
along the Pacific Coast Highway
Move Back to Missouri

It was with sadness to leave a home I loved dearly and excitement to start a new life as a wife in the midwest that I began my journey back to Missouri in June 2010. I will never forget those that became my family there. I miss them every day. But God has great plans for us, and no matter where He leads me, I will follow. I secretly pray that he leads me back to California someday! ;-)


The California Bucket List

1) Learn to Surf
2) Swim with the Dolphins at Sea World
3) Visit and hike Catalina Island
4) Hollywood
5) Malibu
6) Santa Barbara
7) Dodgers Statium
8) See a movie premeire
9) Hike to the Hollywood sign
10) Stay at Hotel del Coronado
11) Channel Islands
12) Lake Arrowhead
13) Joshua Tree
14) Palm Springs
15) Yosemite
16) Vegas
17) Disneyland
18) Grand Canyon
19) Sequoia National Park
20) Drive Pacific Coast Highway
21) Huntington Library
22) San Francisco
23) The Missions (Fulfilled in Santa Barbara)
24) Kayaking caves at La Jolla
25) Hearst Castle
26) Sailing
27) Death Valley
28) Hollywood Bowl
29) Whale Watching
30) Grunion Runs (with my Dad)
31) San Diego Zoo
32) La Brea Tar Pits
33) The Ghetty Museum
34) Griffith Observatory
35) Universal Studios
36) Santa Monica Pier
37) Eat at Planet Hollywood
38) Venice Boardwalk
39) Santa Monica Promenade
40) Be an extra or in the studio audience of a TV show
41) LA County Museum of Art
42) Pantages Theater
43) Tommy's Burger
44) Canter's Deli
45) Philippe's French Dip Sandwich
46) Fashion District
47) Olvera Street
48) Tijuana
49) Move back to Missouri

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Tune for . . . EVERYday! Hold Me - Jamie Grace

This is the best song for a drive home from work, or when you get home and need to wind down from your day. Isn't it so true that God holds us through each and every crazy day. There's really not much more I could say about this song. It's just a joyful and uplifting song! Listen to it!

"Hold Me" by Jamie Grace (feat. TobyMac)

I’ve had a long day I just wanna relax
Don’t have time for my friends, no time to chit-chat
Problems at my job, wonderin’ what to do
I know I should be working but I’m thinking of You and
Just when I feel this crazy world is gonna bring me down
That’s when Your smile comes around

Oh, I love the way You hold me, by my side You’ll always be
You take each and every day, make it special in some way
I love the way you hold me, in Your arms I’ll always be
You take each and every day, make it special in some way
I love You more than the words in my brain can express
I can’t imagine even loving You less
Lord, I love the way You hold me
Whoa oh oh oh oh oh oh, oh whoa, I love the way You hold me
Whoa oh oh oh oh oh oh

Well You took my day and You flipped it around
Calmed the tidal wave and put my feet on the ground
Forever in my heart, always on my mind
It’s crazy how I think about You all of the time
And just when I think I’m ’bout to figure You out (figure You out)
You make me wanna sing and shout
I’m so grateful and thankful for all You’ve done
Wish I could tell You in a short story or poem
But, all I have is my voice and this guitar
And You have my heart

Sunday, July 17, 2011


Praise be to God! What a wonderful and beautiful weekend!

I just returned from Steubenville Mid-America (week 2). I hadn't been to the youth conference since I was an intern in 2006, but I'd gone three times prior to that as a teen and Young Apostle. It was such a blessing to see so many of those in my youth ministry family that I hadn't seen for quite some time. It always warms my heart to see those that were a huge part of making me who I am today. In particular to see Greg, my own youth minister, and those that attended the youth group I drove 90 miles to experience in high school. It says alot about a youth minister when years later, so many of his teens are leading groups to the same conference, working with the conference staff, sporting a sister's habit, or playing music for the weekend. I counted more than 10 of us serving the youth of Our Church at this conference.

You want to know a secret? . . . God has a plan . . . yes, I know you already knew that, and it's no secret, haha. But isn't it wonderful to see it in action? It is a great joy to see in retrospect how beautifully that tapestry is woven. This weekend, I didn't see his plan, but I learned in a renewed way how to trust in it.

I will soon be returning to youth ministry, and I couldn't be more thankful and happy that the current chapter of my life will soon be finished. It was a hard one, but I must say, it has made me appreciate the gift it is to lead teens closer to Christ. It's not a chapter I'd wish to re-live, but I appreciate the lessons learned. However, there are some apprehensions and fears as I turn the pages to the next chapter.

At the conference this weekend, God gave me the understanding and graces I need to not see his will, but trust in it. Three things in particular stood out: 

1) Matthew 14:23-33 was a constant focus throughout the weekend. Christ again reassured me that if I keep my eyes on Him and not the storm, that I will be able to come out on top, not sinking because of fears.
2) That I've "still got it". Yes, this seems ridiculous, but after being away from ministry for months, I feared I may not be easily liked by the teens anymore. Praise God for the many teens I encountered this weekend that allowed me to minister to them in each small way!
3) God showed me that I could face whatever situation I walk into at my new parish by showing me the example of my own youth minister's "success". It seemed that no matter where I sat in the arena, I could see him. And what I saw was a man praising Our Lord with his teens. I am confident that he was praying for them during these times. I saw a man who's heart was wrapped in the heart of Christ. A man that understands that it is impossible to lead teens to Christ without a strong and constant prayer life. I saw teens that loved him because he taught them truth, and teens turned Core members because of the love of Christ they learned from the ministry. Most of all, I saw the faces of leaders throughout the crowd that had been changed by Christ through Greg. That is the kind of minister I want to be. That is the kind of youth minister God needs me to be. And as I take up this yoke, I know He will be there to help me and give me strength along the way.  
May we all be "ROOTED" in His love! So that when the storms come, our foundation will be strong!