Showing posts with label Faith. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Faith. Show all posts

Monday, July 15, 2013

Antone Shenanigans

I spent an amazing weekend at the Antone Ranch! I don’t know how to describe how crazy wonderful this place is! It is a 40,000 acre ranch in central Oregon. Last year I described it as a cross between Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones, Hey Dude, Wildhorse Canyon and Disneyland. We barrel around the curvy rocky roads in jeeps, ride horses, shoot guns, boat, eat, play, pray and camp. And by camp, I mean glamp. That is glam camping. There are beds in the tents… so the word camping is quite misleading.

A line-up of our weekend transportation! You know we took those bad boys through creeks! 


So country! 

Everyone likes boats and sunshine! Not to discount the wakeboarding and tubing!!

Sunset from the fire tower

No filter! 

I am majorly sore and tired from such an awesome weekend! I’m sure you all feel super bad for me. I hope your weekends were equally amazing!

Sami's Shenanigans

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

An Urban Playground

I had a great weekend that happened to go WAY too fast. It was here and gone in a blink of an eye. There was some good stuff in it though, including spending my entire Saturday in workout clothes, renting a surrey and getting my picture taken at a blogger meet-up. Wait, maybe it went too fast because we lost an hour? No, that can’t be it.

Do you ever feel like your city is your own personal playground? Marina and I spent Saturday jogging and hop-skipping through downtown. I mean this literally. We rented a surrey, walked to Portland City Grill for happy hour, decided to go to a movie and ran and skipped to Pioneer Place to make it in time to catch the 7pm of OZ. Marina referred to downtown as our concrete jungle gym. To top off the kid like behavior we grabbed slurpees on the way home. It was awesome. If only we could have played a game of tether-ball or something. When we are roommates we plan to have what we will call, “yoga clothes days.” This is a day where you stay in workout clothes all day, even if you go to fancy places like PCG. Believe me, you won’t care what other people think when you are that comfortable!

That was my weekend, ‘twas great. Then yesterday was just painful! I have never been so ready for a day to be over. I am exhausted for some reason. I think I am actively fighting off sickness. I got over that lame cold, but now there are some new fun things like an ear ache. Not that you care about that… Whatever.

Honestly, the real reason I think I am dragging is that I feel stagnant in my spiritual life. When I get like this I tend to question EVERYTHING. I start to figure that my short-comings as a person are abundantly clear to everyone around me and that they can’t possibly even want me to be in their lives. E.g. she is probably my friend because she feels obligated; my parents probably think I’m pathetic because I am so incompetent about my taxes. I could write an entire post on my negative self-talk and how all of my relationships are false, but no one is tryna be brought down around here! I promise I will not do that to you today. I will say this though, awareness is the first step right!? Kinda like addiction… but kinda not. I need to spend more time in the word and less time believing the lies that are popping into my head.

Obviously the reason I hear all of these lies is because I am not actively listening to the truth.

Wow, this post about my weekend sure took an interesting turn. Have a great Tuesday! I hope you are listening to the new JT album on iTunes today.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

My Love is Your Love

Whitney Houston taught me that. Happy Valentine’s Day friends!

I hope you are all celebrating with some glitter, hearts and chocolate! I for one will be hitting up the store tomorrow to get some good chocolate on sale. 40% off baby!

Obviously love is complex, but today I want to discuss a specific concept about love.

Love isn't love until we give it away. 

We talked about this at my bible study this morning. We have love. We feel love for others. More specifically we receive love from God. That love from God is real because He expresses that love to us through scripture, prayer, words from others and by romancing us with His creation. We are also commanded through scripture to share that same love with others. (Side note: Jesus is God, God is love, and we receive Jesus… scriptural word play!)

Let’s reflect that in our lives! This isn't just a religious concept. It is straight up reality. When we feel love for someone and don’t share it with them, that emotion becomes void. Unless we express to people that we care for them, it is not real to them.

So take this sappy holiday as an opportunity. You don’t need to send a card or candy. It can be a word, a call or a text. Tell them that you cherish and appreciate them!

Note that this does not only apply to Valentine’s Day. Remember it daily, love isn't love until you give it away and it becomes real for the other person!

PS. I think that is a song lyric… but we are just going to pretend it is an original thought from my group this morning. Okay? Great.


Monday, December 17, 2012

Happy faces and heavy hearts.

Hello to you all. I have noticed the blog shift today as people decide not to post normally and instead talk about their heavy hearts, gun control and mental health services. I don't have a lot to say politically, nor do I have eloquent words about the happenings in our fallen world. So...

This poem was emailed to me and I'm sure it is viral on Facebook or something, but I don't really care. It gave me joy so I want to share it too!

Twas’ 11 days before Christmas, around 9:38
when 20 beautiful children stormed through heaven’s gate.
their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the air.
they could hardly believe all the beauty they saw there.
they were filled with such joy, they didn't know what to say.
they remembered nothing of what had happened earlier that day.
“where are we?” asked a little girl, as quiet as a mouse.
“this is heaven.” declared a small boy. “we’re spending Christmas at God’s house.”
when what to their wondering eyes did appear,
but Jesus, their savior, the children gathered near.
He looked at them and smiled, and they smiled just the same.
then He opened His arms and He called them by name.
and in that moment was joy, that only heaven can bring
those children all flew into the arms of their King
and as they lingered in the warmth of His embrace,
one small girl turned and looked at Jesus’ face.
and as if He could read all the questions she had
He gently whispered to her, “I’ll take care of mom and dad.”
then He looked down on earth, the world far below
He saw all of the hurt, the sorrow, and woe
then He closed His eyes and He outstretched His hand,
“Let My power and presence re-enter this land!”
“may this country be delivered from the hands of fools”
“I’m taking back my nation. I’m taking back my schools!”
then He and the children stood up without a sound.
“come now my children, let me show you around.”
excitement filled the space, some skipped and some ran.
all displaying enthusiasm that only a small child can.
and i heard Him proclaim as He walked out of sight,
“in the midst of this darkness, I AM STILL THE LIGHT.”

- Cameo Smith

Have a lovely day my friends! Remember that just because evil is present does not mean that God is absent. When tragedy strikes our world like this, people begin to treat one another better. We are more tolerant, we smile each other more, we are less inclined to freak out at stupid drivers (sort of). We are somehow given perspective for a brief moment. Sadly, the perspective usually fades, but for now let's share our happy faces.

I will try and bring you a smile with an embarrassing story about myself later in the week. Be nice to each other!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A weekend of learning.

This weekend I went to a Portland Blogger meet-up. It was awesome because not only did I get to see my real life internet friends, I also learned stuff. Do you know what SEO is? I didn't either. But now I do! …kinda. I was a bad student in the back of the class talking to my friends (Linnea, Sam and Abby). I did take some practical notes though! I also got this super cute mug that Jenni made as our favor.

One thing I did learn that I will have trouble using, is the obvious point that your title and tags need to have key words and somewhat relate to what your post is really about. I struggle with that because I would rather have my title be eye-catching and weird rather than relevant. Meh, we’ll see how it goes.

Other things I learned this weekend are:

1. There is an Elephants going in down the street from my house. My heart is rejoicing but my wallet is pissed.

2. This is my favorite note from church this weekend. It was timely and lovely and beautifully put.

I hope your short T-giving weeks are as stellar as mine! Even with all this narst rain. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The F Word.


I know I have written about this before, but I think it is the kind of thing that needs to be mentioned regularly.

So many of us live our lives in fear. Fear of rejection. Fear of failure. Fear of commitment. Fear of the unknown. .. Just to name a few. The thing about fear is that it can be completely debilitating. It is an emotion that can completely take away all common sense and reasoning. Ridiculous.

The thing I know I have shared before is that the Bible tells us NOT TO FEAR.

Isaiah 41:10
Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.

Philippians 4: 6-7
6) Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7) And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

When people read and email and status update this verse from Philippians they are focusing on 7. Well… what about 6!? Read it on its own and get back to me.

On that note, let’s throw anxiety in there too. I get anxious about a lot of stuff. For example, these past few days for me have been riddled with anxiety, like having trouble eating and sleeping anxiety. Am I the only one who thinks excitement and anxiety are from the same family? Like fraternal twins maybe?

So many people use these verses as a comfort. “Oh! The lord is with me. Cotton candy in the sky, I feel comforted.” He is with you and if you are like me you can feel that comfort. Like, seriously physically feel it.  But He is also commanding that you not fear or be anxious. And when you do and stop trusting him, you are actively defying his will for your life. You are disobeying The Word when you live your life anxiously in fear.

But doesn't that enlist a little bit of fear and anxiety in you!? Haha. Vicious cycle. “Do not fear.” It isn't a suggestion! This post probably wasn't helpful for anyone… sorry for instilling an anxious fear of fearing.

I don't blame you if you read this and think, "Eff Laura and her F-word, she is a downer." (Pun!)

How thankful are you for grace!? Majorly thankful.

I leave you with this:
Matthew 6:34
So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

To Nicaragua and back.

As you know, I recently went on a mission trip to Managua, Nicaragua. Last summer I had an opportunity to go with a team from TX. Click here to read about that experience and get a bit of background info.

Anyway, this trip was super unique because it was not a “typical team.” Not only was it a women’s team, but it was also an individual team. Meaning that our group did not know each other in advance! We all met for the first time at the airport in Managua. Well, some of us met in Houston, but still. You get it.

It was an AMAZING experience. We were thrown into a situation where we needed to completely trust God and trust each other. Talk about bonding and making new friends fast!

The team

In Managua we serve in the city dump. There is an entire community within the city dump, La Chureca. Forward Edge has built a home for girls called Villa Esperanza. This home is a safe haven for girls God has rescued from the Dump through FEI. In La Chureca teenage girls are at risk. They are threatened by the garbage truck drivers, abuse, drug use etc. Many parents sell their daughters as young as 12 and 13 into prostitution either for money or for the first pick of garbage.

This team not only served women and children from La Chureca, but from other communities as well. Time was spent sharing stories, praying and pouring into each other.  We spent time at Villa Esperanza, a “new dump” in an area called Tipitapa, as well as at the children’s hospital.

This truly was a heart changing experience. Whether the team was bonding with those who are living in La Chureca or praying with the parents who have children in the hospital, relationships were built and time was dedicated to laughing, hugging and praying.

So many people think of mission trips and their minds automatically jump to “building something.” Well, we did just that. We built relationships. That was the mission, to share love, joy and Jesus.

This trip was extra special because I was there with my mom! It was beyond amazing to have my mom on this team. She was certainly out of her comfort zone, and it was incredible to watch her completely trust the Lord. She fully broke through any hesitations she may have had and she went for it! Her story isn’t mine to tell, so you should ask her about the experience yourself!

Here are some photos of the trip:

Manis, pedis and bracelet making at The Villa

My mom and Jane. Jane is like a second mother to me! You can imagine how special it was to have her there too. Not to make them sound old… but they have been friends for 40 years!

Playing with kids from La Chureca

Yard work at the Children's Hospital

Praying for the director of the Children's Hospital

My girls Kenia and Luisa. I love them so much! It has been a gift to see them change since they first started living at The Villa. The first time I met Luisa she wouldn't talk to anyone, now she doesn't hesitate to share how God has changed her heart. These girls and I DANCED! We danced and danced. They are my sisters. 

Kenia on the left, Luisa on the right

Perla and my mom dancing

If you read the post from last year, you will read about Perla. The day after we got there I was sitting by her at church and I told her that my mom was on this team. During the week, It became clear to me that she wanted to seek out my mom to show her love!  

If you have any questions about FEI, Managua or how to look so sweaty and haggard do not hesitate to ask! 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Adventures at The Antone.

Delayed post. I know… I suck. Honestly though, who has time to upload photos!!? It is annoying.

LAST weekend I was invited to go to the Antone Ranch. My discipleship leader, lovely lady Jan, took our group out there to “camp,” horse back ride, 4-wheel, boat, play, pray etc.

I place “camp” in quotes because is it really camping if there is a bed in your tent? I say not so much. BUT it was seriously the most fantastic place. It almost didn’t feel real. The ranch is a mix between Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones, Hey Dude, Wildhorse Canyon and Disneyland.

You know what? You can decide:

We made it! 

Everybody up for the sunrise.

Sunrise at the Antone.

Don't let the sunny smiles fool you. These ladies are speed demons!

Clearly, I do not look natural on a horse. 

Water sports 'til the sun goes down.

This was so fun! Out crazy driver, McCoy, decided to go as fast as he could on the windy roads back to camp.

Dust shield. So hood.

View from Antone point. 

It was special to be there with Lauren.

Sunset from the fire tower.

Lady Jan has a magical skill. She can do all water sports without getting her hair wet. 

Liz shreds.

Holding on for dear life! 

My favorite part about our time at the Antone was the fact that we really got to spend time getting to know one another. Before last weekend, we spent early mornings once a week, sharing our hearts and faith without having personal relationships with each other. Now we will start next year with fresh friendships and excitement. It is going to be a game changer for how we support each other in our journeys to follow Christ.

Who am I kidding… my real favorite part was playing in the sun! I can prove it. My nose is peeling.

How badly do you want to go to the Antone?!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Life is a collaboration.

Most of the people in my life are co-dependent. I mean this in the best way possible. For example, if something is going wrong, if I feel off, or if I just need to spill my guts and admit something, I have someone to call. Actually, if no one picks up or texts back I start to get anxious. Much of my life is done by collaboration. 

We can pretend that this only applies to real life scenarios like relationship qualms, career decisions etc. But in reality it also applies to “do I need this?” or “is this cute?” texts that get sent from the dressing room and occasionally from home.


The accompanying texts:  "Cute or not?" and "Cute? Not cute?"

The accompanying texts:  "Check out my cat! Checking out my pants too." and "Tell me or else."
Okay, embarrassing. But whatever. You know you do it too! 

Regardless, we need advice about a lot of things. More than that, we need accountability! When you share, ask and think, you are less likely to make a hasty decision and are more likely to pray about it.

Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise. - Proverbs 19:20

Thursday, April 05, 2012

He is risen!

He is risen indeed!

Easter is this weekend and I think we should reflect. I love Easter. It is my favorite of all holidays. It is a time to remember the greatest sacrifice there ever was and a love we don’t deserve.

Think about how many stories and movies carry themes with reflections of Christ’s sacrifice for us. It is a big deal. So let’s spend this Sunday thinking about ways we can honor and thank the one who gave His life for us. It’s not about eggs, bunnies or a honey baked ham. (although I do love me some honey baked ham.)

It is about Love.

Jesus is God. God is Love. What if we all had Love?
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. -John 15:13