Monday, September 24, 2012

100 things about me... (I stole my sister's idea!!!)

So after reading my sisters 100 things you wont know, it occured that a) I did not know a lot of things about my sister and b) It would be fun to do it myself.  So here goes.

1. I believe in God.
2. I like trucks.  Not just regular trucks, big lifted trucks!
3. In the last election I voted for McCain.
4. If I had the choice I would take Mint N Chip ice cream for $1.68 from Rite Aid over a $3.50 scoop anywhere else.
5. I was Golfer of the Year my Senior year of high school.
6. I am obsessed with the color pink!
7. I would love to write a book at some point in my life.
8. I  have been to 33 states and Canada.
9. The first time I flew was with my two best friends at the time to Maryland to see my exboyfriend.
10. I am severely closterphobic which my sister used to love to provoke by trying to cover my head with a pillow.
11. When my family moved into our new house, my sister and I created the bobsled, where we would run down the hall and slam into my bed.
12. My sister is responsible for breaking one of my arms (Don't worry I forgive her, it was partially my fault.)
13. I have been in the Budweiser blimp, like the one that flies over the superbowl.
14. My first major surgery was getting my tonsils removed and it was an absolute nightmare.
15. I didnt like my now brother in law for a few months after meeting him.  ( I love him to the moon and back now)
16. Everyone says I came out of the womb talking up a storm.
17. I am really good with computers.
18. I used to get made fun of my 8th grade year for having bangs.
19. My first car was a Toyota Cressida.
20. My dad used to call me spider monkey.
21. My first kiss was from a boy who was my best friend from kindergarten to 8th grade.
22. Ive dated more guys than I had ever wanted to, still not willing to settle.
23.  I used to be able to fit my whole body through a coat hanger, I have pictures to prove it.
24.  I invented the halt caboot way of stopping. (dont ask)
25. I was offered a scholarship to CSU Monterey Bay for golf and turned it down.
26. I have only been spanked once in my life and I think it hurt my dad more than me.
27. My moms parents always accused my sister and I of leaving butt prints in the back seat of their dodge on long road trips.
28. I absolutely hate getting gas because everytime I fill up my truck I could buy a pair of expensive MissMe jeans.
29. I have broken two toes from running down the hallway and catching them on door jams.
30. I have had more concussions than anyone should ever experience.
31. I played softball in high school but am actually really terrified of the sport. (1 concussion came from softball)
32. I think my sister is by far one of the most incredible people I could have ever been blessed with to be my sister.
33. I am beyond close to my family.
34. I once got grounded for shoving peas down the bathroom sink so I wouldn't have to eat them. (It got clogged and my dad was pissed!)
35. I have chronically chewed gum for so many years that I medically cant chew it anymore because my jaw muscle is "tired" and cant handle it anymore.
36. I have only gotten in two minor accidents, one, the lady parked illegally in an exit driveway, (the cop said it still didnt give me a reason to hit it, well obviously!) The second was when I backed into my mothers beautiful diesel truck.  Yes both times I hit parked cars. :(
37. I'm notorious for driving to the country when i'm upset.
38. My fifth grade teacher tried to fail me and have me held back because I couldnt go on the annual 5th grade trip to camp green meadows, he was even aware the reason I missed it was because my grandma was battling cancer and that same year lost her fight. 
39. When I was little my dad would let my sister and I was his hair in our Fisher Price sink and i'm confident that is why he is balding because we were anyting but gentle.
40.  I was the 36th kid in the US to be diagnosed with a rare auto inflammatory disease which attacks your muscles, at the age of 11.
41. My sister used to call me a big pile of poop when I was a baby, I think she meant well, not sure haha.
42. I once got stage 3 bronchitis from mowing the lawn.
43. I honestly dont know if I want children.
44. I popped my knew out while walking to the shower then a month later proceeded to climb Mount Rushmore in a leg brace that went from my hip to my ankle.  My father had to carry me down because I was in so much pain.
45. Last semester was the only time in my college career that I have not gotten a C and only got A's and B's.
46. I was denied by my parents insurance at one time for having acid reflux.
47. I used to be glued to my mothers hip when I was a child. 
48. I hate to read and the only things I ever enjoyed reading were Bernstein Bear books. 
49.  One of my most prideful moments is when my parents renewed their wedding vows and my dad let me hold the rings.
50. I dont like eating coconut.
51. I have a bad habit of exaggerating the size of a spider just so my dad will come rushing in and kill it.  Then harass me for my size comparison later.
52. I had a security blanket when I was a kid and it was called my lovey.
53. I have only ever lived in two houses.
54. My grandpa taught me how to drive out in Firebaugh, in his old scout, right next to a river. Mom was not happy.
55. I was terrified of rollercoasters till my dad convinced me to try and get on one, he had a very difficult time peeling me off of it because I fell in love with them.
56. I hate swimming but am proud I know how. I would consider myself a glorified floater when it comes to water.
57. I used to want to be a professional ice skater.
58. I am a very friendly person and can find something to talk about with almost anyone.
59. I am better at helping others communicate than I am with applying it to my own life.
60. Half the time when I talk I talk too fast and my grandpa can never understand what i'm saying.
61. I love being on stage singing and acting.
62. I was brought up with the knowledge that it is completely acceptable to eat dessert before dinner.
63. I dont like fish sticks.
64. I love quads.
65. I hate cleaning my room.
66. My favorite lines that I quote from movies are, "Its okay, I make lamb" and, "So you were in the shower?"
67. I have few close friends and most of them are guys.
68. My dad and I have a handshake that we do almost everynight before I go to bed.
69. I am a manager for a major corporation.
70. Once while fishing on vacation I accidently hooked my sister on to the line while winding up to cast out.
71. I have a crush on Tim Tebow.
72. I believe God is why I am alive and well right now.
73. I have my Notary commission and have had it since 6 months after I turned 18.
74. I will own my own 5th wheel one day.
75. I have only towed our trailer once and it was not a pleasant experience, a squirrel ran out in front of me and immediately my dad told me to NOT hit the breaks.
76. I have been on television.
77. My sister and I used to have enough barbie accessories that we would build a barbie camp in our living room.
78. I have been told by a teacher that he feels sorry for me that I was passed along in school and was told I was a good writer.  Thats funny because I have received spots on television, in magazines and awards for my writing. Just saying.
79. I was brought up knowing you are not entitled to success you have to make it happen on your own.
80. I used to have a play house that had the same address as my house but had 1/2 after it.  (It really did have an address on the side of it, it was legit.)
81. My dad never questioned whether he should show my sister and I how to shoot, fish, golf or camp and I am so grateful for that.
82. When I get my feelings hurt you will hear about it within an hour of it happening.
83. I hate being upset for more than a day.
84. I can't go to bed angry.
85. I am obsessed with sunflower seeds.
86. My parents met on a blind date, my sister and her husband met on a blind date so apparently that might be an option for me..
87. I love wearing cowboy boots.
88. My first concert was Keith Urban, my second was Rascal Flatts and Jay DeMarcus bent down off stage to hug me. I cried.
89. I dont like raw fish, or fish at all besides shrimp.
90. I have no patience for people who merge onto the freeway doing 45 miles an hour, Get it together people!
91. I begged my dad to get a dog and a month later lost interest in taking care of it.
92. All the girls in my family drive trucks and my dad drives an expedition.
93. I love Disney movies and Disneyland.
94. I dont like to party or drink.
95. I was raised to be a respectable, responsible young lady.
96. I love make up.
97. I would rather buy a purse than a shirt.
98. I now own more red and khaki than I ever thought I would.
99. My parents always said to be a leader not a follower.
100. I would do anything for my family and friends that I love so much.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Reasons to shop at Target!

Well I have finally come off my summer vacation and if you havent noticed it was a 3 month long hiatus from blogging! I did a lot of traveling and a lot of working but most of all I did a lot of thinking.  I was blessed to receive an internship opportunity with Target and I honestly had no idea what I was in for.  I really did think in the beginning of the summer that I was going to gain work experience, however now almost at the end, I gained so much more than that.  Target is a great company to work for, shop at and get involved with.  Over this last summer I was able to get involved with the community and give back in so many ways.  People either love or hate Target, personally I do not know how anyone could hate it but thats just me.

I was a devoted Target shopper long before I started working there and sadly working there has only fueled the fire.  That being said, I am even more proud to shop there after this summer I just experienced.  Target cares! Thats the bottom line.  It is not all about money and selling products for them it is about giving back and helping people in the communities surrounding Target stores.  Not only do we care about the community, we care about education! Target is on goal to have donated 1 billion dollars to education by 2015. Thats INCREDIBLE! At least you know your money is going to good use when you shop there. 

What prompted this blog post of mine might you ask?  Well yesterday I had the priveledge of being apart of a community event with Target.  We partnered with the Salvation Army to help children who were less fortunate have a mini shopping spree at Target! Each child was given $80.00 to use for school supplies, clothes and even food for their lunches.  I was fortunate enough to get partnered with a 6 year old girl who truly touched my heart.  She was so grateful to get a new pair of hot pink shoes and some new clothes for school.  Everything that came out of her mouth could have easily brought me to tears, and after it was all over with it did bring me to tears.  I am beyond grateful for the life that I have been given.  I was given two healthy and able parents who worked exceedingly hard to provide for my sister and I.  I never had to know what it was like to never have had a new pair of shoes or a jacket to wear to school.  It is a humbling experience to spend an hour with a 6 year old who has had so many trials in her life already at that age, then I have had to deal with for the most of mine. 

The amount of times I counted my blessings yesterday was truly remarkable.  Every single thing I did yesterday reminded me of how lucky I am.  I am blessed to work for Target and am thrilled that I get to help contribute to making a difference in kids lives just like that 6 year olds yesterday.  I have a heart to give and a day like yesterday reminds me of what it is all about! GO SUPPORT TARGET!!!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Investing in our Youth!

Well finals came and went and by the grace of God I finished out my Junior year of college!!!! Woohoo! I'm officially a Senior! On the last day of my classes I had a really interesting topic come up in one of my Communication classes.  It revolved around technology and our youth, which really got me thinking.  How much do we actually invest in our youth?  Sadly I think the answer is not what it should be.  How often do we actually try to connect with our youth kids these days, and not through Facebook or Twitter?  Not that often. 

I had the opportunity to speak with high school students at a local high school a few weeks ago and let me tell you how incredible it felt to connect with them.  Not via Ipad or cell phone, but to actually sit in front of them and talk one on one.  It made me realize the potential that kids these days have, and that all they need is a bit of guidance.  Everyone likes to complain about how our youth is corrupted and impolite, well yes I might agree with you in most cases, but are we doing anything to try to help that issue resolve itself?  Not really.  One of my biggest pet peeves is when a child is disrespectful.  You can only imagine my frustration considering a large part of the population does not understand the meaning of respect.  However after sitting down with these high school students, they rejuvenated my hope of a better tomorrow. 

One of the biggest areas that is lacking is parental support and discipline.  If the parent is not polite or respectful, how do you expect the child to be?  I do not understand how we have transitioned so much from the 50's and 60's where kids were terrified of their parents to now the parents are terrified of the kids.  Last time I checked, you were the parent, act like it.  It all starts at home and I think people have taken that lightly.  I commend my parents for never trying to be my friend, they were first and foremost my parents, then after years of respecting them, they became my friends. 

Our youth is the future for tomorrow and although people love to criticize and say it is bleak, we can actually contribute and change it.  If we invest in education and activities more, we will occupy their minds with good things as opposed to all the recent trash on the news.  Even if you have a good relationship with your child, maybe reach out to their friends and help build them up.  I know in my house, my friends needed to be as respectful as I was and if they were not, my parents had no problem putting them in their place to let them know it was unacceptable.  Parents need to not try to do their kids a favor by being their friend.  Do them justice and be a parent! Children will not understand the positive effects of discipline till they are my age, but let me put your mind to rest, they will realize it and thank you!

Have a great day and God Bless!!! :))

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Wishful Goal, Turned Into Reality!!

What a wonderful day today has been! Got to see my family, a solar eclipse and am slowly getting to rest.  I am so very excited to be finishing up my junior year at school and it is finally sinking in that BIG things are happening.  So it only seemed appropriate that tonights post be about gratefulness.  I know I always talk about how blessed I am, and tonight is no different. 

When people say persistance pays off, they truly know what they are talking about.  I never really understood that until recently.  Mostly because I have hit more brick walls and dead ends than anyone should ever humanly have to.  However tonight I come to you as a very confident and excited woman! I remember the last week of my high school career, my business teacher asked us what our main goal was when it came to working.  I remember answering, "To be an executive at a leading corporation." How incredible is it for me to sit here and write that the very thing I wanted the most my senior year is happening and all at the age of 23. 

Words can not express my gratitude for this company to take a chance on me and build me up in so many ways.  I never thought in a million years my dream would come true and so soon! However I think God's timing was perfect.  After being beaten down a million times and told numerously that I cant accomplish a certain goal, I am finally proving everyone wrong.  I do not take this responsibility lightly however.   

I can honestly say every tear, sigh of frustration, scream of anxiety and slammed door was a stepping stone to get me to this opportunity today.  I meet my new team in about two weeks and am completely excited to be apart of this adventure.  I have to thank my family for being there for me.  This last year especially has taught me so much and I have grown an unbelievable amount.  Obviously every family has crazy moments but they have never left my side and always pushed me to pursue bigger dreams when I accomplish even the smallest of ones. 

Being pushed to the limit is a blessing because I know what I can handle and know just how tough I can be.  I want to even thank the people who told me a couldnt accomplish everything I wanted.  You not only put fire in my eyes but drive in my soul, I can honestly sit here and say I no longer hold grudges toward you. I have the best family and friends and even my followers on Twitter who have been more than uplifting! Hopefully I can still bring inspiration to all of you and you continue to return the favor on a daily basis.  I am blessed, happy and will never take any of this for granted.  Thank you to everyone who has contributed big or small.  Blessed would not even sum up my emotion right now.  I am beaming! THANK YOU!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Motivation and Leadership!

Today I got the opportunity to go back to high school. Thankfully it was only for an hour because I dont think I could handle it being any longer than that.  I am in a leadership class this semester and had the assignment to create a project that reached out to the community.  Luckily I am blessed with knowing a BUNCH of people in my community because when it came to decide the project for my group, I knew just who to call.  Our group decided it would be most beneficial to reach out to students, more specifically high school students.  I remember when I was in high school and preparing for college, I was beyond excited, but that was because I was living in a fantasy world that revolved around always listening to what was being said but never investigating it on my own.  Today I got to change that vicious cycle and actually contribute. 

Ever since I started this leadership class it has really expanded my knowledge of what it means to be a leader.  I always considered myself the leader type however over the last couple of months I have noticed that urge to lead become more strong.  It was really moving to talk to these high school students because I remember when I was in their shoes and was getting ready to face the world.  They were very interactive and responsive which  made the meeting that much more fun.  Today really made me realize that I would love to do that all the time.  I love talking to students and am beyond comfortable in front of a crowd. I know its hard to believe, for those that know me, that I like to talk but its true. (haha) 

How many times a day do our acitivities require a leader?  Whether it be at home or at work, at least 1 time through out the day you have to make a call and make a decision that has to do with leadership.  Do you respond with disgust or anger, or do you realize that this is your chance to make a difference today.  I have really been thinking differently lately and with that comes conviction of what i'm doing with my life.  I know my goals and I know i'm accomplishing them but are all my actions leadership like? Probably not.  In fact I can think of countless things that are very unleaderish that I do.  However today really hit me that I need to make this an everyday thing. 

My friends always like to make fun of me that i'm normally the mom of the group and I consider that a leadership quality.  I want to encourage you all to be a leader.  We have too many people in the world just following the group and being a part of the crowd.  Stand up and stand out! Make wise decisions and take others into consideration before you act.  Have a great day and God bless!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

12 Years Without Her...

Today is a very bittersweet day for me.  I am completely excited it is May 1st and my birthday is in 10 days, however 12 years ago, this day was the worst day of my life.  I can't believe when I stop, sit and think about it, that it has been 12 years.  For 12 years ago, I was a little girl, a girl with huge ambitions of seeing the world and chasing every dream that came to mind.  Everything was perfect, then my world shattered into a million pieces.  Trying to figure out how to cope I took my anger out on God.  I disliked him for years and really did not know how I would ever have peace with the situation.  A little girl who was more confused that she ever knew was possible. 

I was incredibly close to my grandma, I saw her almost every weekend and loved her so much it still hurts to this very day.  I lost an angel in my life that day, and feel blessed to know that she is up above watching me.  She has seen me accomplish so many of my life goals and is probably laughing at how much I haven't changed and am still very much like that little girl.  The girl who could not go ten seconds without speaking and would sit in front of her for her to scratch my back for hours on end.  It is hard to believe how fast time flies when you aren't paying attention. 

The word cancer wasn't even mentioned throughout my life because I never really knew anyone that had it, and then when she got it, it was terrifying. How could this disease take a persons life without any regard to that person or her family.  I never hate anyone or anything but let me just say this I HATE CANCER! I will be honest though, even though I only got to know her for 10 years, those 10 years made an impression that will last a lifetime. 

She taught me so many valuable lessons about life and what is truly important.  She had a way of putting everything into perspective and making the world shine around her.  I am beyond sad that she had to leave, but feel beyond blessed I got to know her at all. You never realize how precious life is until you lose someone.  Then you realize just what matters and who matters the most. 

I finally got right with God and realized that everything happens for a reason and although I may not understand that reason, it is worth trusting Him and knowing the He does.  I know everything is a part of the big picture so therefore I will continue to believe in His will. I hope you all go and hug someone today and realize how special they are to your life.  Maybe you should thank them for contributing in a small or large way.  Have a great day!! God Bless!

Gwen Goodwin you will forever be an angel watching over me and for that I am grateful.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Ready, Set.... FINISH!

Let the countdown begin... School is out in less than a month and my life has officially become all about group projects and finals. Although its been hard to make time for other things, like life, its the sweet little reminders that make me remember to come up for air.  This week has been beyond hectic with being sick and trying to coordinate 4 group projects, yes that's right 4 groups with 4 sets of different people. Let me just say, organizing is not one of my strong points and this week it had to be. Anyway, this morning I got to sleep in and enjoyed every second of it.  As soon as I woke up immediately I remembered everything I have to do today, and then looked at my phone...

My amazing sister called.  Normally when she leaves a voicemail its either seriously important or some random thought she had.  Today is was more hilarious than normal.  She called to tell me that this was the anniversary of when Beethoven created my favorite song Fur Elise (the only song I can play on the piano from memory).  This random voicemail made me crack up with hysterical laughing because she always gives me a hard time about never memorizing any other song, and because she had a giggle in her voice that took me straight back to when she was a little kid.  What Steph did not realize is how much I needed to hear that message.  I have been so stressed and worried about school that I have pretty much forgotten about everything else. 

Which brings me to today's discussion topic.  Family, where would we be without them? The beauty about being in a family is that they are genetically tied to you from the point of birth to the rest of your life.  Whether or not you actually get along with them is another story.  I am beyond blessed to have my family because they have supported me through every single thing I ever wanted to do.  It is easy to get caught up with everything in life and forget to remember that without people to share it with, it would have no meaning.  I can't remember how many times I told my family I wasn't going to college after high school, and now I am pulling better grades than ever and will be starting a VERY exciting internship in June. Do not be one of those people to be so concerned with life and its "stuff" that you forget who you are and who you have. 

My sister means the world to me and I can honestly say that although we may have had our arguments over the years, there is not one single thing I would not do for her.  From long road trips across the US and crazy nights, to bobsledding down the hall and random adventures chasing transit buses, she is my very best friend and love her dearly.  God is so great and merciful, He has given me so much and put people in my life to remind me of His grace.  Who is the person who keeps you grounded? Have you thanked them today? Do me a favor and give them a hug! Have a great Friday everyone, be safe and be blessed! :)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Better to give than receive!!

Well, that was an interesting month! I can't believe I have yet again fallen behind on my blogging, its like I have a life or something haha.. Lets see this week is spring break (thank goodness)!!!! Although I am beyond thrilled to be on break, this cold that has taken up residency in my lungs is really getting old, fast! Last month I received quite a bit of incredible news and cannot wait for it all to unfold next month. I feel so grateful to have people and opportunities in my life that allow me to pursue my dreams. I worked hard and sacrificed a lot and come the end of May it will all be paying off.

Today's topic of discussion is the lottery. Now unless you've been on a deserted island or living under a rock recently you probably heard about the ridiculous, world record setting amount of money that the lottery was up to. Now ill be honest I never play the lottery, mostly because I work too hard for my money just to blow it on some ticket and probably never win. However seeing as that it was a world record amount I figured id buy a ticket. Well the lottery came and went and obviously I didn't win. However for that week of pure madness surrounding the lottery it showed a lot of peoples true colors. I flat out laughed at some people's responses about what they would do with millions and millions of dollars and I was saddened by others.

It seemed like every one's brain was thinking about the lottery and how much crap they could buy with all that cash. However you want to know what I would do if I wont the lottery and won millions of dollars? Donate it! Simple as that, now sure I would pay off any bills my family had, and set up a nice LITTLE retirement fund, and allow myself to have enough to live on, but I would definitely not live a ridiculously luxurious lifestyle. Everyone who asked me what I would do with that money was shocked at my answer. I told them that after taking care of my family, I would continue working no matter what and donate the rest to cancer research or give it all to a hospital like Children's Hospital in Madera, CA.

I am sorry but it is not humanly possible to need all that money. Children's Hospital never turns a child away. No matter whether their parents can pay or not, so why wouldn't I want to donate to that? I mean how could I enjoy my millions knowing that if I would have given that money to researchers they could have possibly come up with a cure for cancer or AIDS. People were irritated that I just wouldn't stop working and live off my riches. Um, Hello? Seriously? I would rather have peace in my heart knowing I may have helped save a child or helped save their parent from cancer, than have millions I DONT NEED! What would you have done? I found that a lot of people feel differently than I do, which is fine, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but would you rather have a full bank account or a full heart? I'm pretty sure that it would have been one or the other, not both.

I don't want to hurt any one's feelings or upset anyone, I simply want to provoke some thinking for you. Life's greatest gifts are not the ones you receive but the ones you give. You can spend your whole life slaving away to make millions for yourself but if you have no one to share it with then where does that put you? I would be happy to win the lottery and donate to every cause that I see fit. Life is not all about designer jeans and handbags (although I do love them) it is about making sure that we try to help others and give back. Have a great day everyone and God bless. Remember He put you on this Earth for a purpose, probably time to start figuring out what it is if you do not already know. Lets pour grace today!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

"Well at least i'm not as bad as them"

Everyday we go through life thinking that as long as we are somewhat better than the next person then we are in good shape. I got to thinking about the statement above and it really took me back to a lot of my childhood. When I was a kid my sister and I were always getting into trouble and trying to bail each other out. However on the rare occasion we were bailing ourselves out we often said, "Well Stephanie did this..." or "Michelle did this..." My parents classic response was, "we are not talking about her right now." They always made sure to remind us that we were accountable for our own actions, what the other person did or did not do didn't matter. Today that applied to church.

Part of the lesson today was the concept that we are responsible for our own salvation. We cannot base our relationship with Christ off the next guy. So often we look at other people's lives and make it known we are in good shape because we are not as bad as them. Funny thing is, God doesn't care who is worse than the other, he cares about your relationship with Him and that's it. All the outside noise and distractions mean nothing unless you have a one on one relationship with Christ. I am no exception to this post, I catch myself ALL the time saying, "Wow, at least I am not that bad." Today I felt completely convicted because just as a child that gets in trouble, we are responsible for the actions and comments we do and make. If we constantly base our life off of others, where does that get us? An empty life with false hope of going to Heaven? No thanks! Lesson learned!

I am beyond proud of my walk with Christ because of how much it has flourished over the last few months. I want to be a role model for young women who are around me and make it clear that it is perfectly okay and fabulous to be a woman of God. I will never sit here and say I am perfect and do not struggle with temptations but I can say I am honestly working on keeping myself in check instead of being concerned with everyone else. We have to remember, certain people are in a certain place in their lives and although we may view ours as less chaotic and crazy, it is all the same because my struggles and fears might be another's strengths. Focus on God above and what he has planned for you, no more thinking that you are better than someone because you do good works. Just an FYI good works don't get you to Heaven! Have a great night! God Bless and lets make this a great week!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

I am a follower of God, not a follower of religion...

As a serious attempt to procrastinate my paper that is due tomorrow I find myself having time to write a new blog! Yay team! It has been one heck of a week, let me tell you. Sadly I have become one of those people who now take naps. I hate it, but hey when you juggle as much as I do, any sleep is fabulous! Sunday I went to church and was so excited because our new series is God vs. Religion. This topic is so very dear to my heart, purely because I have struggled with religion since high school. I think as kids we have a habit of adapting to whatever we grow up around and although my parents never said I had to belong to a religion it was a necessity to attend church. The older I got the more I started to realize that religion had quite a few hiccups. The famous quote by Gandhi has always been one that I have respected for a million reasons. "I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ."

I never really stopped to think about that quote until high school. Now that being said, I still went along with religion and used it as an answer to every question when someone asked me about my faith. However recently my answer has changed and I am beyond proud that it has. When people ask me what religion I am, I answer with, "I am a follower of Christ and a daughter of my Savior." I feel like that is better than calling myself a Christian, because although I am, I feel like that can often affect their view of me. After the sermon on Sunday I was so empowered because my pastor hit it right on the nose. Religion gets in the way of your relationship with Christ. If you are so concerned with fitting in with your church and if you are doing things correctly, you are missing the concept of church. Obviously attending church builds your knowledge of the bible and God, well it should at least, however if we become so concerned with the, "protocol," of that church then aren't we missing something?

I have gone through such an enormous transformation in the last 4 months it is incredible. I feel so much more at peace than I used to, I know that although my life is far from easy I have God to guide me and lead me to the cross. All my belongings and accomplishments mean nothing without thanking God for all he has provided. I find myself worrying less about what people think of me, or what they say to me or about me. My God is a merciful God and as long as I am right with him all else will fall into place as it should. I strive to be a follower of God not a follower and conformer to religion. I think the idea of religion is a great one, however the interpretation is up to the follower. If you worry about doing things right like closing your eyes when you pray or standing to worship, I think that is missing the point. The point is to glorify God and pour his grace to everyone you possibly can.

I no longer surround myself with hurtful and fake people. No disrespect but I would rather have you be completely imperfect and real than flawless and fake. Think twice before you associate yourself with religion, it is not always a bad thing and it might be just what you need. However do not let it cloud the path to God. Have a fabulous day and God bless!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Women and Respect

Ahh it has been so long since I have been on, that's what I get for a crazy work and school schedule. This last month has been filled with everything from chaos and excitement to irritation and sadness. The good thing about it however is that this month is almost over! :) Today's topic of discussion is women and respect. Sadly these two words rarely go hand in hand. I have always been a very respectful person, my parents did a really good job at making sure I was, however it saddens me that other parents apparently missed the boat. I live by the saying, "How do you expect a man to respect you if you do not respect yourself?"

Not to put myself on a pedestal but seriously? What are women today thinking? My heart feels sad for some women these days. I have found that there are no boundaries in their heads between right and wrong, just and unjust and a simple concept of how to be a decent human being. I am no perfect person however this month has been truly appalling. As most of you know every blog post is sparked by a person or event and this one is no different. There is no point in even describing the event because she does not deserve 15 minutes of fame at my expense. However let me say this. Never cast the first stone and call out judgment on those you have never met and do not know. As Christians we have a duty to wear armor and protect people from as much devil as possible. For the last few weeks I have been the focus of this, "Christians," attacks and I have got to say, the beautiful thing about God is he always shows you the way. Yesterday I went to church and once again the sermon is just what I needed.

At the end of the sermon my pastor stated, "some people wish to bring harm to others, there is punishment for the wicked." Although this, "Christian," has done everything in her power to call me out and accuse me (a complete stranger to her) that I am NOT a follower of God I find peace in knowing God makes the final judgment. I am a firm believer that God brings events and people into your life to make you stronger and if that is the case, I should be the next Hulk. I am sending out a peaceful reminder to all who struggle with casting the first stone, be aware that God views every type of sin as all the same. There is no sin greater than the other, so before you let your tongue and emails wonder you should probably put yourself in check and pray. Everyone makes mistakes and just as I he will forgive you, however at the point you continue your antics, that is between you and God. I have washed my hands from this situation and it will go no further. I answer to God and I can say I am honestly excited to be surrounded by His love.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Things could always be worse...

As with most of my blog posts something sparks my attention and gives me good food for thought. The other day I was sitting in my truck eating ice cream when I noticed a handicapped van pulling into a parking spot in front of me. I watched intently as the driver of the vehicle pulled out the wheelchair ramp and a young disabled girl rolled her way on out of the van. I was taken back by this and really started thinking how blessed I am. Generally I am a very optimistic person however after the last few weeks I have felt my optimism fade. To give you a little background as to why, here goes.

I was diagnosed with a rare (very rare, super rare, like 1 in a million rare) disease in my bones at the age of 10. It truly affected my life and altered it in a pretty big way for being so young. It is described as an auto inflammatory disease. When I was diagnosed I was the 36th kid in the United States to ever have it. Scary! Anyways, it affected my way of life and made it incredibly hard to walk, run and even get out of bed in the morning. I was devastated at the thought that I would possibly be confined to a wheel chair at such a young age. It truly took an emotional toll on me and my way of thinking. Luckily it only lasted half a year and went away. It was considered a miracle because almost every other kid diagnosed was still unable to walk. I was told there was a 99.9% chance it would come back and come back worse, however a miracle happened for it to go away so I didn't really listen.

Now everyone knows I have continued to live life like I have nothing to lose. I stay optimistic and encouraging to everyone around me. Unfortunately over the last few months I have been feeling that pain that I used to know all to well. Not only is it in my ankles like it was before but now in my knees. I am terrified. However after seeing that girl in that wheelchair, I know that it can truly be worse. I have a gut feeling this disease has come back, and if it has, I know that God will get me through it. I know that God never gives us more than what we can handle. He must know I can handle a lot!! I appreciate everyones prayers and happy thoughts! I have a great support system and fabulous family. I consider myself very lucky and even though the pain can often bring me to tears, I am greatly comforted thanks to my faith in God. I hope everyone takes the time to realize that things can always be worse, and although I have struggles in my future I am still very grateful that it is not worse. Have a great day everybody and God bless!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Courageous... its the new thing to be!

First off, after talking to my sister she brought to my attention that my mass posts with lack of paragraphs is hard to read and irritating so I am trying something new... Here goes, if only I can remind myself to end a paragraph. Anyways, tonight I watched the movie Courageous. Let me just tell you, I used to not like watching films that were Christian based because they seemed to be done so cheaply, tonight, totally not the case! Such a well made film and with such a good story. After sitting there balling then laughing then balling again, it reaffirmed my foundation for life. God is good! One thing that is weighing on my heart tonight is that I do not think people realize how gracious God is. Although I am no expert and I definitely am not well versed with the bible, I still feel the need to break it down.

I want people to realize that it is never to late to ask for forgiveness for the wrongs you have committed. People get so caught up in feeling like they have done so much wrong in their life that they will never be able to make it right. That is so not true. Everyone has sinned and made plenty of mistakes and by me proclaiming I am a Christian, I am no different. These last few weeks have been a huge eye opener for me. I was put on this earth to be heard and although few may listen at this point, I pray that it will not always be the case. However if only one person hears me and it changes their point of view than I am in pretty good shape. I struggle a lot just like everyone else. My faith has not always been as strong as it is today. I dealt with your typical junior high and high school drama. I swayed my opinions because I wanted to fit in, and made unwise decisions because of the ones who surrounded me. Normally people get embarrassed while talking about things they have done wrong in the past, however with God I am proud of my imperfections and I embrace them because that is what got me to where I am today.

I have such a different mind set lately that I tend to just sit and day dream about all the possibilities out there for me. I used to want to be an actress or a singer and be rich and famous. When now in reality I day dream about starting a charity and being able to serve the Lord in one of many ways possible. I used to be terrified of children, while now I find myself wanting to make a difference in their lives as much as possible. It is really incredible how God can work in your life if you just give him a fair chance. That movie taught me tonight that being COURAGEOUS means standing up for what you believe in. Whether it is faith or values, or saying no to peer pressure, having the courage to be you is more rewarding than anything that anyone else can offer. Going to bed with a joyful heart and a great outlook. Can't wait for church tomorrow. God Bless!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tebow Time!

So the other day I was approached by a coworker saying that she saw that Tim Tebow has a book out. Now me being completely oblivious to pretty much anything concerning football, I had no clue. The only reason I even started following Tim Tebow on Twitter is because of what an incredible follower of Christ he is. He is so young and has such an incredible purpose on this planet it is unbelievable. Random, it was actually really interesting because I was in San Jose, CA a few days ago and my friend and I were sitting at the bar of this restaurant and after much small talk with the bartender we heard he was from Colorado, he then proceeded to tell me a story of how Tim was supposed to be an abortion, but because of his parents unwavering faith they simply could not take a life of another. Now picture this, two girls sitting at a bar talking to the bartender and here we are having a moment of fellowship talking about abortion. Talk about an incredible opportunity. Anyways, that inspired to do a little research and see if his facts were true, lone behold they were! For me this sparked a whole new wave of thoughts to rush into my head. It started to make me rethink all the choices I have made of the years and all the judgments I have passed, I'm not really sure why but a switch in my head was triggered and it exploded. I decided to purchase Tim's book and that sparked a whirlwind of midnight reading and early morning jam sessions. As proud of myself that I am for finishing it in three days flat, I am more proud of the person he is and what he stands for. I have never met him and have no idea if I ever will but let me just say, BRAVO Mr. Tebow, BRAVO! I have been on a mission to pour grace and set a good example for years now and sometimes that is one of the loneliest feelings ever. I am so refreshed to know that I'm not the only young person in my early 20's who actually is trying to achieve the same goal. Everyone can say what a good quarterback he is and how talented he is at football, but does it really matter? After the game ends, win or lose, he has a bigger platform for life than just being athletically talented. If I ever have the chance to meet him, the first words out of my mouth would simply be good job, not for being a great athlete but for being a great disciple of God's word. He has given so many young people the opportunity to see that being a follower of God does not mean that you have to lead a boring life, or spend every waking hour in church, or possibly any other of those ridiculous insinuations, but that leading a life that glorifies God is what truly matters. Perhaps you are reading this and are completely bored, or maybe you have already exited out of the page with irritation, but for most of you, you know exactly what I'm talking about. Whether Tim knows it or not, he has sparked yet another moment of fellowship for complete strangers. Just food for thought! Make today a great day! God Bless!

Monday, January 9, 2012

A pretty heart is better than any designer outfit...

For anyone who knows me they know just how big of an advocate I am for kindness and grace. Even if you just met me you will probably see how much I believe that people should be built up instead of walked all over. I would like to think that God put me on this earth to make a difference and I am quickly finding that, that calling is to be a woman of grace. Although I have always tried to live by this term, it is not always easy and trust me it can be down right frustrating some days but the beauty of God is that through the darkness he always seems to present a glimmer of light and lately its been just enough for me to act on it. I am not sure why certain things happen to certain people and why some have a harder time living in this world than others but what I do know is that if there are not people willing to stand up and speak up then things are only going to get worse. I am a true lover of fashion and purses but to be honest none of that matters when it comes down to who you are. Yes I love to shop and drive a nice vehicle but that does not define who I am. I am a person who is a friend to those who do not have anyone else. I am the one you will try to pick on and knock down but through the ashes I will rise. I am the person who has a heart bigger than Massachusetts. ( I compare everything to Massachusetts, not sure why either, is Massachuesetts even a big state?) I am the person who wakes up every morning with a slight pain in her joints but despite doctors professional opinions I can walk. I am the person who you can call stuck up and I will spend hours proving you wrong because that is not who I am at all. I have to credit my levelheadedness to my mom. She is fabulous at keeping me grounded and is constantly reminding me of how others might perceive that I am a particular way. I did not used to appreciate it till lately, although I can not change everyones opinions I am making it my mission to pour grace to those around me and to those I just meet. This is NOT a New Year's resolution but it is time to start a new path and encourage others to do the same. My faith in God is a huge reason for why I believe in making a difference, without the constant feeling of his presence I would be lost. Therefore if I am the only God a person will ever see, I want it to count. God Bless everyone! Make today a great day!