Friday, December 25, 2009

what Christmas means to me

Wow, another Christmas has come and gone.  It's hard to believe how fast life seems to fly by!  I've thought a lot lately about what Christmas truly means to me and I've come up with this answer.  Christmas means everything and without the birth of Jesus there would be no reason to live or no reason to have hope.  Even though some people may argue that December 25th wasn't really the day when Jesus was born, to me that doesn't matter - the date isn't what's important.  Because Christmas, December 25th, serves as a reminder to me that Jesus did come and that through his birth we have a reason to hope and to find purpose in this life.  God sent his son Jesus to this earth in order to be the Savior for all.  God knew all that Jesus would have to endure while on living on this earth and yet, no amount of pain or suffering stopped God from choosing to send us a Savior to free us from our sins.  We were given the best gift ever.  And the gift of salvation is for every person.  It's completely free and you don't have to do anything for it.  No amount of good works can get you into Heaven.  Knowing that I need Jesus as my Savior and that it is through His death that I am able to freed from my sin is what this season is really about.  God gives me strength and comforts me in the hard times and it is through this that I have hope to face each day.  I've been thinking about the people in my life, both friends and family, who haven't yet received the gift of salvation and my prayer is that in this coming year I would take more time to share with others about what I believe and why it's so important. 
I hope that everyone had a wonderful time with family and friends! Merry Christmas!!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My dream house

I really love Craftsmen style homes.  They seem so warm and inviting to me!  My dream home would have a porch all the way around the house, lots of windows with shutters, a dining room that I can have a beautiful dining table in, and grass & tress in the front yard.  Ok maybe this will never happen but I can sure dream, can't I?! Oh and I would have my dad build the house.  He built the house that I grew up in and I've always wanted him to build me a house someday.  Here are a few pictures of some lovely homes that I found! (The last 2 pictures are the same house and it's by my parent's place up in Prescott.  I always have to walk by it when I'm up there)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

on receiving a scholarship

I write with a happy heart tonight as I just found out that I am the recipient of a scholarship from Banner Health.  I applied for this scholarship back in September, was called in for an interview and then had to wait a couple weeks before they told us who they were going to choose.  I was hanging out with my family tonight when I got the email saying I was chosen.  It was wonderful being able to share my news with all of them!  And the amazing thing about this scholarship is that it's not just tuition reimbursement but it ALSO means that I "owe" them once I graduate by working for them for 3 years, in other words--a guaranteed job when I graduate.  How awesome is that?! I am so happy and I still can't believe that I got it! I feel so deeply blessed and I am truly grateful to God for all He has given me.  I can't wait to be a nurse and now I have assurance that I will have a job when I graduate!!! For those of you who knew about this while I was in the process of the application, thank you for praying on my behalf!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

recycle OR self-compost

Ok I think ASU has taken this whole "go green" thing a little too far.  At the downtown campus, there are hardly any regular trash cans.  Everywhere you look there are recycle bins that have special compartments for paper, plastic, glass, or aluminum.  But you have to seriously search out the whole building just to find a regular trash can!!  It's like, "well if you're trash doesn't fall into one of these categories than you shouldn't be throwing it away and we'll just let you hold onto it"...or at least that's what I imagine them saying (haha)!  I've even found myself stashing my trash into my backpack and having to walk around with it because I know it's not worthy of being thrown away.  But at least it's provided a topic for conversation and sometimes a few jokes amongst us students, so I guess I shouldn't be complaining after all. =)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Pray for Kate

Kate McRae is a precious 5-year old girl who is courageously battling a rare brain tumor.  Her family attends Cornerstone and her dad is actually one of the pastors there.  They discovered her tumor back in July and ever since then have been journeying through the awful world of "life with cancer."  Kate underwent brain surgery initially and now she is on round 4 of her chemotherapy.  I think the most amazing part of this whole thing is that people all around the world have heard about Kate and her story - people that her family has never met and probably never will.  Because people understand the power of prayer and the power of supporting others when they can't do it on their own.  I know that God is doing incredible things through little Kate's life and I believe that this is only the beginning.  We pray for complete healing from this brain tumor but also that the rest of her body wouldn't be harmed by possible side effects of the chemo.  I ask that you join along in praying for Kate and her family.  Her mom keeps a blog and you can read it to keep track of Kate's progress and specific prayer requests as they come up.  I firmly believe that God never wastes pain.  He uses all of our weaknesses and trials for His glory and He promises to not give us more than we can bear.

Friday, October 2, 2009


I was walking to my car today after class and I walked through something that changed my whole day.  I go to school at the ASU downtown campus and I have to walk about 7 blocks to get to my car from my classes.  I often walk through the Arizona Center, which has lots of restaurants, business offices and a nicely landscaped courtyard area.  It's usually pretty quiet with not much going on but today it was really crowded.  As I was walking through all of the commotion and looking around at all of the people, I suddenly felt happy.  There were people laughing and eating lunch together on the restaurant patios, people reading books on benches, a grandma playing with her grandson, several guys throwing a football back and forth, and other people just sitting and enjoying the nice weather we've been blessed with.  I felt like I was walking through a movie or a postcard where everyone looks so happy and everyone gets along with each other and you feel like the world is at peace.  It was so cool because I was in the middle of downtown, with cars driving by and the whole city busy at work, and yet everything seemed so calm and safe.  I think there is so much negativity in our lives and it becomes too easy to look past the beauty of each day and to celebrate each day for what it is.  If I had been focused on what all I needed to get done today or too busy thinking about other things, I might have missed the beauty of that moment.  Walking through the Arizona Center made me happy because I saw people, some probably strangers to each other, getting along and enjoying life together.  I think we have to create hope and happiness in our lives and encourage others when they're feeling down.  I thank God for each day that He gives me...I don't want to ever take my life for granted.  In the words of Shauna Niequist (author of Cold Tangerines - great book!!!), "I want my everyday to make God belly laugh, glad that he gave life to someone who loves the gift, who will use it up and wring it out and drag it around like a favorite sweater."  Being joyful is contagious...have you spread any around today?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Loves like a hurricane

So the past several weeks I've had these song lyrics in my head. It's Kim Walker's "How He Loves" song and if you have never heard the song then I highly suggest it! I could listen to the song for hours.  Here is a link to her singing it live at a concert.  The David Crowder Band also sings a version of the song that is just as good!  I especially love the lines..."He is jealous for me / Love's like a hurricane, I am a tree / Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy." I have heard & sung this song sooo many times but when you actually stop and think about the words, it's really kind of overwhelming. To think of God loving me so much, being jealous for me...wanting me and ALL of me.  The God of the universe, who created all of life, wants a relationship with me.  He doesn't want me just on Sundays or when things are going bad or when I remember that I need Him in my life.  He wants to hear from me all the time.  Christianity is so much more than just going to church and having head-knowledge about the Bible. It's about walking & talking with God on a more intimate level, sharing with Him about your fears, joys, struggles, sadness, & excitements in life.  And yet I still find it so hard to grasp the idea of God actually being jealous for me. Why me? What would make Him care so much?  There are 6 billion people on this earth and yet He wants to know little ol' ME.  Wow. 

Then the phrase about God loving me like a hurricane - I've never experienced a real-life hurricane, I've only seen them on the news or heard them described. But I've been trying to get my thoughts around the idea of a love so strong that it can be described as a hurricane.  I was in Prescott a few weekends ago and on that Saturday we had almost 3 straight hours of pouring rain - rain that was actually a result of the hurricane coming up from Mexico.  I was sitting on the couch, watching the rain pour and pour and pour and I started thinking again about those lyrics.  It was so cool! Obviously it wasn't close to being an actual hurricane BUT even with the pouring rain that I experienced, I was overwhelmed when trying to compare it to God's powerful & strong love for me. I've known my whole life that "Jesus loves me" and all that stuff that you hear so much but sometimes I don't fully appreciate it.  Seeing the rain come down and the trees blowing over in the wind that weekend was incredible to me because I was actually able to get a small, very small picture of what God's love is really like. It is that strong! Wow.

I also love the line "If grace is an ocean, we're all sinking." God's grace is another thing that I have trouble comprehending sometimes. Why would God choose to give me grace and to forgive me when I screw up time after time after time?  Because He loves me.  His grace is amazing and none of us deserve it.  But He still gives it to all of us freely and straight out of love.  We can't earn it or do enough "good" things to get it from him.  He simply pours it out on us.  And comparing grace to an ocean gives me an image of how deep His grace & love really are for us.  It completely surrounds us.  Wow. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

nine things that make me HaPpY

9) Kenya. I went to Kenya last summer with my church, Cornerstone Christian Fellowship.  I went with 25 people and we stayed at an orphanage (Huruma Children's Home) for 21 days.  It was one of the best experiences of my life by far and I can't wait to go back someday - hopefully next summer! I think that everyone should go to Africa or some other third world country at some time in their life so they can see for themselves what it's like outside of the US.  The kids at the orphanage knew the true meaning of being joyful and it was contagious! They were so much fun to be around and I learned a lot from them.  I also found that I have a passion for mission trips and I hope to someday do medical mission trips (once I'm a nurse!).  Here's my trip in a snapshot...
8) Big white fluffy clouds! I absolutely love days when the sky is filled with those big, cotton ball-like clouds! Don't they just make you happy?  They sure make me happy - it's like no matter what else is going on in my day, if those joyous clouds come rolling over the sky, I am a happy girl! 

7) I have a new obsession with the starbucks doubleshot drinks...ok obsession probably isn't the right word but I do enjoy them! They're caffeine AND energy bottled up together! I'm normally not a person to drink energy drinks because they don't really do a whole lot for me so I feel like they're a waste.  But I love the taste of the doubleshots and I really can feel a difference from them! Mmmm! And now that I'm in nursing school, i.e. tons of reading, homework, being up early, I think they're going to be my friend for the next year or two! If you're an energy drink person - you should seriously check these out! A-mazing.

6) My orange stethoscope! I started nursing school 3 weeks ago and I am officially an owner of a stethoscope.  I could sit for hours, ok maybe only minutes, listening to my own heart! The human body is extremely fascinating to me so I think it's quite amazing that I'm able to hear my own heart pumping inside me. Why the orange? Well I want to work with pediatrics someday so I thought the little kiddos might enjoy the orange rather than the usual black! I would have loved it if I could have got a pink one but they didn't have any :( 
I've been trying to think of a name for it...any ideas?

5) The way flower stems look in a clear vase. I don't know why I like this so much but I just really like the way it looks, it reminds me of "freshness." Is that a word?!

4) Cool, not cold, water...those of you who know me really well know that I don't like ice in my water. Yes, I'm weird.  But it runs in my family (on my dads side) so that must be where I get it from! And you'd think that living in AZ would make me want to drink the coldest water there is - but nope! Not me!

3) Running. I really wish it was cooler outside! I'm going to start training for the Rock n' Roll marathon that's in January and I'm getting anxious for it to start cooling off so I can get my run on! I have a couple of friends & possibly both of my sister-in-laws doing it with me so we'll be able to encourage and hold each other accountable to our training! The longest I've ever ran was a 10K (loved it!) this last July so I'm anxious to see how I'll do in a longer run! 

2) Scrapbooking & making cards! I love love love scrapbooking. The only problem is I don't have anything to scrapbook right now! I made my best friend, Carissa, a huge scrapbook of all of our photos from the past 6 years or so and gave it to her as a gift for her wedding in April.  I like scrapbooking an actual event or theme, and not just day to day stuff so recently I haven't felt like I have anything to do.  So a couple of months ago I started making cards instead! I love it! I need to start actually using them because I've been making so many of them.  Scrapbooking relaxes and helps me forget about my worries...I think everyone needs a hobby that they enjoy and can de-stress while doing it.  Ok and speaking of scrapbooking, I just found out that Hobby Lobby is opening up a new store near my house very soon! So excited!

1) My family.  Everyday I am reminded of how blessed I am to be a part of my family.  My parents have been married for (almost - in December) 30 years and I have two older brothers who are both married.  I love my sister-in-laws!  I always wanted a sister when I was growing up because I was always left out and I drove my brothers crazy trying to get their attention (oh the stories we have!).  So it's wonderful to finally have two older sisters that I can hang out with & talk to! I feel like I've known them for years! And one of my brothers has a little baby girl whom I absolutely adore!  She's the only grandbaby so far, lucky for her, so she gets ALL of the attention whenever we're together! It's kind of funny to think about what we ever did before she was around! Haha!  Time with my family is the thing that I cherish the most. 
who wouldn't want to be us?! 

Monday, September 7, 2009

Check, check. One, two, three...

I have ventured out into the blogging world.  I've thought about doing this for a while so we'll see how it goes!  I enjoy reading my friend's blogs and hearing them tell about different events, small or big, that are going on in their lives.  So I thought I would do the same.  Enjoy!