Thursday, January 17, 2013

Brave.

I don't feel very brave.

In fact at this very moment I feel:
unsure...
a bit nervous...
tired of painting... packing... and moving...
happy to be sitting...
hesitant about China...
painfully aware of my weaknesses...
and curious as to how Taza is always able to look so perfect in every blog post.(If you don't know who Taza is, that's okay. She is a beautiful blogger with a fantastic blog. You can google her.)  

Back to brave.

I was thinking about having a theme for my year. Like a word... or a phrase... something I frequently refer back to as I make my decisions. (PS. This idea was inspired by a lovely friend of a friend. Her name is Megan Romeo and her blog is www.partyforthree.blogspot.com)

After praying, thinking, and talking to Shaun, I have decided that my word will be... (drumroll please...)

brave.

Interesting though. Because it reflects so little of my personality.

I'm the girl who reeeeaaaaallllllllllllyyyyy thinks things through.

I'm the nervous girl.

I'm the girl who snuck out of the house in high school with my best friend Angie to meet some older boys. By the time we made it out of the house, into their car, and half-way down the street, I convinced them that it would be better to turn around and drop us off. Angie agreed. We went home. (And those boys never asked us to hang out at night again.)

I'm that girl.

But this year... that girl has decided to be a brave girl.

And this brave girl has some plans for the year.
She will not bore you with all of them...
but mainly this brave girl has decided to take risks with God.

She will trust God.

I will trust God.

As brave girl, I will believe that God will be faithful.

Even when I am afraid. Even when I'm unsure.
Even when everything points towards failure...

I, brave girl, will rest in the love of God.

Like Peter in the gospels, who was willing to step out of a boat and walk on water when Jesus invited him...

I, brave Jessica, will trust in Christ's invitation to me, to step out of the boat of my own comfort and abilities, and walk on the water of faith--- believing that as I keep my eyes on Him, He will meet my needs and glorify Himself in awesome ways.

So where will this brave girl start?

I will start by getting fully moved out of our cute little house and into our room at a cute not-so-little church. This is where we will be living for the next 6 months.

Where will we go after that? We don't know. But that's okay. Because bravery means I am trusting that God has a plan, even when I don't.

Then we will go to China. In fact, China doesn't even know what's coming.
This brave girl is going to bless China's socks off. (assuming Chinese people wear socks....hmm... I'll let you know.)

Then where will brave Jessica go? Well, I already told you in a recent post that I'm going to New York City. But honestly, in that post I was more thinking that nervous Jessica was going to New York. But guess what? Nervous Jessica is not invited.

BRAVE JESSICA IS GOING TO NEW YORK.

How can I be brave in New York?

I can be brave by trusting that I am exactly where I am supposed to be when I'm there. I can trust that when I am backstage at Fashion Week the Lord will give the me the words AND the skills to do a great job. I can believe that He will provide me with the needed funds, food, and faith to have an amazing outreach. I can believe that even in the midst of picture perfect runway models..
I am beautiful. 

Not like... my-blind-grandma-in-a-rocking-chair-thinks-I'm-beautiful 

BUT like

Victoria's Secret va-va-voom, can't-help-but-look-twice-because-God-did-a-good-job-on-me kind of beautiful. 

Why would I call that "bravery"? 

Because friends, it means going against what I might feel.
It requires faith.

And living by faith is brave.

Hi. I'm Jessica. && I'm brave. 
Welcome to 2013!



Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God, and I trust him.
For he will rescue you from every trap
and protect you from deadly disease.
He will cover you with his feathers.
He will shelter you with his wings.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
Psalm 91:1-4






a story of healing. bulimia && alcolohism.

This is an entry that I am reposting from my good friends, Shane and Christina Nearman. ((They are the International Directors of Models For Christ and are currently living in England (hopefully they will return to California soon!! and hopefully they will have adorable THICK British accents too!))

This is one of the most powerful stories of God's healing and restoration that I have ever been a part of. 

Robin Curuz (the author of this post) is a good friend of mine. 

I met her 3 years ago... she was dying... 
I had breakfast with her 3 days ago... and she is healed. 

I pray you are encouraged by her story. 

Being asked to write about my healing process is funny because, in treatment for an eating disorder, my first session with my counselor ended with him asking me to consider whether I wanted to be saved or healed. He told me those were two very different things and that while I might desperately want relief he wasn’t sure I was willing to go through the process of healing, which would require patience and work.

It HAS been a process, but relative to the 11+ years I was enslaved by my addiction to food and my appearance, this time of recovery has been like the blink of an eye. More importantly, all those years I had been so afraid because I thought I was alone. These past three years, though extremely challenging and uncomfortable at times, I have known Help and Love are with me always.

When I called Christina for the first time I had been brought to my knees by bulimia and didn’t believe there was any hope for me. I don’t remember much of our conversation, but one thing I remember clearly was saying I didn’t want to say the name Jesus…I didn’t know why, but I didn’t want to. She helped me by letting me repeat a prayer after her. When I went to Models for Christ for the first time I was moved to tears by the worship but didn’t understand much of what was being said. I was baffled that people prayed for other people (I had always only thought of myself!) and, though I didn’t understand why, I really believed the love and joy in their eyes was sincere. A few women prayed over me my second time there and when I said I didn’t want to pray to Jesus because I didn’t know what that meant and I didn’t know Him, one said something along the lines of “isn’t that exactly what the enemy would tell you…that you don’t know Him enough to pray to Him”. That set me free.

Soon after that, a man from Remuda Ranch called Christina just as her speaker for that week was cancelling (wow!) and so, ended up speaking to us about eating disorders, image and who we are in Christ. He told me after that meeting that I would probably need to be separated from the behavior cycle I was in so an impatient treatment would be helpful. When I went for the physical he suggested I get, my doctor told me he didn’t know much about eating disorders and that I should see a specialist. The nurse came back in with a list of references and on top was a little blue post-it that said “Remuda Ranch” (whoa!).

A woman who had been healed of an eating disorder was also brought to me at MFC and it was her and a bunch of amazing people at YWAM LA who prayed with me before asking my family for financial support and helped me move everything out of my apartment. The way I saw it, they didn’t know me and had no reason to love me or help me…but they said they did it because they loved Jesus. I struggled to believe them…but still couldn’t wrap my mind around it (now I can!!).

One of the most pivotal experiences I had at Remuda Ranch was when the body image counselor explained to me that I had inherent worth to God; I could do nothing to make Him love me less and nothing to make Him love me more. I am STILL meditating on that and trying to really embrace it. It changes everything! 

My aunt and uncle came to see me there for family week and during one of the sessions I thought “what if I moved to Miami to live with them?!…well…I’d never ask them…so, God, if you want me to go to Miami they will have to ask me”. The next break my uncle looked at me and said “Rob, what do you think about coming to live with us in Miami?” (wow!…the prodigal niece!) I had so many ties to my addictions in LA and was such a slave to appearances, so I knew I needed a change but I was also very afraid of moving away from the people and giving up everything I knew…everything I thought I had. Really, I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. Making that move was the first time I did something I was afraid to do because I believed it was what God wanted, so it had to work out.

At that time, I was on 3 different psychiatric medications and had a treatment team of five different professionals. I had been in therapy since childhood, was put on antidepressants at the age of 16 to treat my anorexia and had been on 10+ other medications since. My body had not functioned properly in over a decade and I had never eaten regularly or had a healthy relationship with food.

I began working at a gym on South Beach, where I was tormented with thoughts of self-pity, envy and suicide constantly. Mornings, I woke to a fear that was nearly paralyzing and I slept as often as possible to escape the way I felt. My depression and anxiety were not responding to any of the treatment and my psychiatrist was recommending electroshock therapy. One of the most beautiful things about that time was God gave me coworkers who spoke to me about Him and the things He had promised me in His Word. The ONLY time I had any relief was when I talked with others about Jesus and when they prayed with me. This increased my faith so much because I had tried EVERYTHING to find relief.

At 17 years old, when my mother died of alcoholism, I was living like an animal. I was binging, purging, drinking myself unconscious as often as possible and stealing from and stepping on anyone who got in my way. I was set free from the alcohol addiction at 18 but for the following 8 years, used my eating disorder, destructive relationships, therapy, medications, shopping, chanting, hypnosis, self-help…ANYTHING I could get my hands on, to try and fix what was wrong with me. In ignorance, I criticized and stayed far away from anyone who spoke the truth and surrounded myself with those who supported my addictions.

THIS is why I am still in AWE of how Jesus drew me to Himself. He NEVER gave up on me. Now I am grateful for every moment that brought me closer to knowing Him.

In the months after Remuda, I began to accept that my problem was spiritual and that God was my ONLY hope. I learned how to take inventory of my thoughts and combat them with the truth, started daily practicing prayer and meditation and worked hard to stay focused on who He is and what He has done for me. I was guided through examining my past with a new perspective to heal resentments, identify harm I caused and make amends wherever possible. I was given all the support I needed in friends and family and also learned how important it was for me to be of service to them and all those around me.

Slowly, I became abstinent and found a joy and a peace I had never known possible. My mind became quiet enough to hear the guidance that I was promised and I found that when I let God direct my paths things go MUCH better in my life. People often asked me if I was in love or had “met someone special” (YES!) or how I always kept a smile on my face. I still find myself amazed that a life free of fear is even possible. The old way of living had seemed SO very real. It really is true – God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7)

Six months ago I slowly began making art again. I had failed out of art school because I could not handle any kind of pressure without self destructing. Without knowing my worth in Christ, I had always believed it was determined by my art, my appearance and the attention I got from others. The pressure to succeed and the fear of failure had been unbearable. I still don’t know how some people seem to “pick themselves up by their bootstraps” and live life. I can’t do anything without God.

My first experiences with drawing again were incredible. I had no question in my mind that it was what I was supposed to be doing. I had moments outside of time where I felt more complete and content that ever before. When I made time and space to meditate and ask for guidance I was FILLED with inspiration and ideas for many days in a row. As I began to take further steps to start painting again, I first had almost unbearable headaches and, when that didn’t stop me, I was filled with the tormenting thoughts again…of doubt, insecurity and fear of failure. I kept showing up and putting in the time and I still pray before every time I paint. Without that Help, I would not have been able to keep going. Those first few weeks taught me so much! I would have thoughts about how impossible it all was…and when I’d take those thoughts to God He would remind me “I’m God!”….and I’d feel so silly!

I have been abstinent from my eating disorder for over two years now and God has healed everything in my body and my mind. When I had my closing session with my dietician she told me she had not believed that recovery would be possible for me. She also said that she knew it was my seeking help from God that made all the difference (sooo cool!).

NOTHING and NOBODY is beyond His Grace, His Healing and His Hope.

I am so very grateful to Christina, Shane and everyone at MFC LA and Miami for telling me that I have a Father in Heaven who loves me. I’d go through it all again and again to never live another day without knowing.

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. -Matthew 7:7


reunited for the first time in 3 years! we used to meet at this coffee shop in Montrose, Ca often so I could teach her more about Jesus and pray for her healing! now three years later she is teaching me about Jesus and praying for the healing of others! God is so good!! 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The itinerary.

It's been a week since we returned home from Michigan and its almost time to hit the road again!
So where in the world are we headed now?

China!



It's my first time and I am EXTRA excited! 
Shaun has been twice already. He LOVES it!. 
We have the incredible opportunity to go visit our team of skaters that have been holding it down in southeast China since early December . 
(They will be there three months in total- just sharing the love of Jesus with skateboarders!)

Shaun will stay for a month. I will leave midway through to come back to LA.


To unpack.
Repack.

And head to New York City for another Fashion Week outreach!



The opportunities we have been given are beyond comprehension. In the natural we should NOT be able to do any of this- but with God, crazy things can happen. 
(Like being given 2 round-trip plane tickets to China!!)

So this week we are just getting ready to go.

Oh yeah... AND WE ARE MOVING THIS WEEK.

We aren't moving far from where we were living. Its just a fifteen minute drive. 
But moving in itself is a BIG job!

Not to mention all the other things we have been squeezing into our time here in LA... 
Like leading some meetings... throwing a baby shower... getting visas... painting... cleaning... 
you understand.
(PS. PLEASE pray for me... As wonderful as it all sounds... 
Sometimes I secretly just want to crawl in bed and sleep until my to-do list disappears.) :) 

With all that said, it's a total gift to follow Jesus 
and I'm deeply thankful for the doors He has been opening for us. 
Thank you to everyone who has been a part of providing for us this year. 
None of this would be possible without you.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

For the Christian who is making big decisions.

A lot of times when I see Christians trying to make decisions there seem to be two extremes...

ONE is relying totally on self to figure it out- using all brain. logic. personal desires. finances. wisdom. and circumstances- to point us towards the right choice.

THE OTHER is totally relying on a "move of the Spirit"- using scriptures. feelings. peace. emotions. things other people say. and circumstances- to tell us where to go.

Both of these processes are motivated by great hearts, but they are unbalanced. 
God definitely moves through both of them, but neither method is my favorite.

The other day my friend Jesse and I were talking about this. 

Jesse used to be the guy that relied totally on an almost mystical move of the Spirit to show him what to do next. Essentially he would try to turn "off" his logic to hear from God. He viewed critical thinking as unbelief... by thinking critically he felt like he was doubting God's ability to function supernaturally. But God has been teaching him some awesome things that have revolutionized the way he makes decisions. He shared with me 5 things that he considers when he is making choices now, 
and I liked them so much I thought I should share them with you.

They are balanced. They are Biblical. They are fantastic.

When you are faced with big decisions in life- 
look at these 5 things to help discern God's will: 

1) The Word of God:
If the thing that you are considering does not line up with scripture- it is NOT God's will. If it does line up with scripture move directly to #2.
Example: If Shaun (my studly husband) meets a girl and feels like she is actually God's choice for his wife and he made a mistake in marrying me, the he wonders if it is God's will to leave me and marry her... Well, lucky for him, scripture tells Shaun clearly that God hates divorce and in marrying me, Shaun is not to be separated from me. Easy as pie. 

2) Peace from God when praying:
Peace is one of the fruits of the Spirit of God in us. If we don't have peace about something, it is worth reconsidering. God speaks to us in prayer so take note of things you think and feel.

3) Counsel from mature believers:
Find people who: love God, love you, and have wisdom. Their input will be helpful. They will see things that you don't see. Listen to them. 

4) Wisdom and careful thinking:
Ask God for wisdom and knowledge. He likes to give it and is glorified when we use our brains and think. Compare the positives and negatives when thinking through the options. Our lives are like a story book- it is okay to reflect on past pages as we decide what we will put on the next page. When we don't use our God given ability to think, it is like treating everything in life as a new book... and every past experience is its own book too. It's like if we were considering going into the Army... instead of looking backwards and saying, "Wow, ever since I was a little girl I have been interested in the military"... we disregard the past and try to face the decision as a totally new and separate thing. It can bring unnecessary confusion. Look at the big picture. Consider the past and the future. Factor in things like finances. Don't be afraid. You are smarter than you know.

5) Providential circumstances:
What doors are open? What doors are shut? Are there any awesome opportunities that have been provided? Any obvious supernatural provision? Factor those things in.


Sip on a lovely hot drink, 
write in your journal, 
read your Bible,
pray, 
& be ready to make some excellent choices. 


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Hi! I'm Jess.

In case you'd care to know me a bit better...


1. What time did you get up this morning?
8:00 in the am. My alarm was set for 7:30... but I made use of the trusty "snooze" button.

2. What was the last film you saw at the cinema?
Les Miserables. It was BEAUTIFUL. All about the grace of God.
(PS. My husband cried. It was the second time I have EVER seen him do that, since I have known him!!! But shhhhhh... don't tell him I told you.)

3. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
I'm grateful to be living in southern California... but it would be fun to live even closer to the ocean. :)

4. What did you have for breakfast?
Vanilla Greek yogurt. Delish.

5. What foods do you love?
I am a huge fan of food. Italian- I can eat wayyy too much pasta in one sitting.
Thai food. Sweet potato fries. Sushi. You make it... I'll enjoy it.
However.... you should know... I am TERRIBLE in the kitchen. I'm workin on it... but its God's grace to me that I married a man who is an incredible cook.

6. What kind of vehicle do you drive?
We have a '98 Corolla. We bought it from my sweet Grandma Mary with 26,000 miles on it. I had a fantastic red jetta too, but we gave it away to our awesome missionary friend Mike Ausherman.

7. What are your favorite clothes?
Basically everything I wear was either bought for me as a gift or given to me second-hand. It's so fun. My favorite is when I am given adorable clothes that also happen to fit perfectly. Its the best feeling.
PS. Speaking of being given adorable clothes!- Yesterday I opened a gift from my sweet friend Hillary (www.lifeonsugarhill.blogspot.com). It was an extra cute shirt from her clothing line "Project Love" (www.projectyourlove.com).
I'll post a photo at the bottom of this!

8. Where would you visit if you had the chance?
Well... if I could go today... it would be home sweet home to see my friends in Colorado.

9. Favorite time of day?
Mornings. Love them.

10. Where were you born?
Great Falls, Montana.

11. How many siblings do you have?
One little sister, Meredith. She lives here in LA with me.
One older brother, Steve, from my Dad's first marriage. He lives in Montana with his sweet wife and daughters.
Two older step-brother, Matt and Nick. They are in Colorado.
Two brothers-in-law, Jason and Ryan.
Their wives, my sisters-in-law, Megan and Theresa.

12. Do you have any pets?
No, but my sister has a black lab named Lucy and she is often destroying living in our house.

13. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share?
My sister-in-law Megan is in labor RIGHT NOW. So excited to find out if it is a boy or girl!

14. What is your best childhood memory?
There are so many... but off the top of my head... one Christmas morning every gift we opened was something that had to do with traveling- like suticases, towels, a new outfit, toiletries... etc. It didn't make sense to my little self that was looking for something slightly more exciting... but after we finished opening gifts there was one envelope left on the tree for us to open. Inside was a picture of Cinderella's castle in Disneyworld and it said that in a couple of days we would all be going on a Disney family vacation! I cried. It was the best ever.

15. Any pet peeves?
I'm not a huge fan of people "verbally processing" everything they DON'T like. A bit of complaining is understandable... but excessive complaining drains me.

16. Favorite drink?
Hmm... on any given day it would be a grande two pump white chocolate mocha.

17. How many tattoos do you have?
Two technically. I got a white ink tattoo on my foot when I was 18 but it is mostly invisible now. And I have the one on my right arm.

18. What are you going to do now?
I am going to sit here at Starbucks a little while longer and set things up for this weekend's Model's For Christ leadership meeting. Thank you Lord for free wifi.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Bart and Melissa are gettin hitched!


Melissa and Barty got engaged! 

You know what I love most about their proposal? It was PERFECT for them. Bart knows Melissa's heart, he knows what she loves, and he did everything he could to make this moment perfect for HER... not perfect for any girl... but perfect for Melissa Danley. 

Reminds me of the way God loves us and how intimately He knows us. 

Psalm 139:1-4 (NLT) says,
 O Lord, you have examined my heart

    and know everything about me.

You know when I sit down or stand up.
    You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
You see me when I travel
    and when I rest at home.
    You know everything I do.
You know what I am going to say
    even before I say it, Lord.



God loves everyone.
And yet somehow He has the capacity to love each of personally. He knows us personally and delights in us personally. 

Marriage was created by God to be a picture of His love and commitment to His people... the Bible calls us "the bride of Christ". We are supposed to be able to look at married couples and be reminded of the wonderful, faithful, love of God. A God who will never leave us nor forsake us...

When Bart sent me a facebook message to inform me of his plans to propose to my childhood best friend... I was not only TOTALLY IMPRESSED by his plans... but also thankful... because through hearing about his love for Melissa... I could see, once again, the love that God has for me.

Bart adores Melissa. 
My God adores me.
Bart wanted Melissa to know that he would sacrifice himself for Melissa.
My God sacrificed Himself for me, in Jesus Christ.
Bart loves to do things that make Melissa happy.
My God loves to do things that make me happy.
Bart knows Melissa. 
My God knows me. 

So awesome.

Anyway, I am EXTRA excited to have Barty as my brother and CAN'T WAIT for that wedding! 

Here is part of the message that Bart sent me on Facebook before he proposed, so you can know how he did it.

He popped the question this past weekend... and let me tell you...
IT WAS PERFECT. Like a dream. :) 


Me and Mel are hanging out at her place till 4:10 or so when I'll tell her that I have a surprise for her. We jump in the car and start heading north. A friend of mine, wearing a black ninja mask and driving a vehicle that she won't recognize, will immediately follow us out of the neighborhood tailgating us and following our every turn. I'll keep turning around and make mention of it to make sure she notices. When she starts feeling uneasy about it, I'll pull into another neighborhood just to make sure that he's definitely following and not just a coincidence. Once it's confirmed, (we should be near or in black forest at this point) I'll tell her "There's a little sheriffs office on the north end of Fox Run Park. Let's just drive up there!" Once we get into the park, I'll suddenly "remember" that the road doesn't connect, and it's rot on the other side of these trees... Let's ditch the car and run over this hill to the station!!! Once I convince her to leave the car with me, we'll make it 20 ft on the trail when all of a sudden...... 20 of my friends dressed as ninjas jump out of the trees and bushes, surrounding us! The boldest of them will jump out and say something to the effect of "Give us the girl, and no one gets hurt!" To which I bravely reply "Over my dead body!" 
At this point, my friend with a guitar jumps out and starts playing theme music while an epic battle ensues! After I quickly defeat all the ninja assassins, I take her arm in arm and sing The Way You Look Tonight as my friend plays it on guitar. We walk around the lake, and finish the song as we reach the final location where there's candles and and lanterns hanging from a tree. Under the tree, she'll find a sheet draped over a table. Under the sheet, is a glass jar covering a single rose (just like in beauty and the beast:) attached to the rose is a love letter from her father essentially giving his blessing for the 2 of us. When she finishes reading the letter, she turns around and sees me on my knee at which time I make my great proposal 
We then head back to the car, which will be decorated with window paint and a bouquet of flowers waiting for her. We then go back to her parents house where they want to spend a little private time with her. And from there head to my house where a big party will be waiting for us 
I've got a friend taking pics of everything and another friend taking video of it all so all our bases are covered!

How awesome is that!!
PS. The men we marry are meant to love us in the same way that God loves us. If you are dating someone, or are interested in someone, and they do not resemble Jesus in their actions toward you... marriage alone WILL NOT change that. 








Wednesday, January 2, 2013

It's okay.

It's okay to gain a bit of weight at Christmas. It's a special time of year and enjoying homemade treats are a favorite part! (Don't worry the extra fluff will go away in January anyway!)

It's okay to get a pimple. Despite how tragic they feel, they are actually quite normal. Nobody notices it the way you do. Besides... you make up for it with your striking good looks and sparkling personality. :)

It's okay to over-eat at a meal. It's not ideal and shouldn't be done at every meal... But no need to panic when it happens. You won't get fat. You haven't ruined anything. In fact you probably had a great time with people you love and food you love. Be thankful for that meal. And IF you over-ate because you feel out of control with food... STILL don't panic. As a girl who has battled my own bundle of eating disorders, please trust me when I tell you that everything WILL be okay. Take a deep breathe, pray, and drink some water. God created you and He created food, He can restore you to a healthy mindset toward all things edible. He continues to do it with me everyday.

It's okay to want to strangle people from time to time. Jesus never promised that our neighbors wouldn't make us crazy, He just told us to love them. So sure, you might feel yourself hoping they get vigorously stung by a swarm of bees... But just don't act on that feeling. Instead, look for a way to express love to them out of obedience to God. When you do it He will change the way you see them.

It's okay to want alone time.
It's also okay to want friend time.
We need both.

It's okay to think he's cute. That in itself is not romantic or sexual or sinful... It is merely appreciation of a good thing. It just might be wisest to keep the thought to yourself.

It's okay to sometimes feel yucky after having been on Facebook for a while. That usually happens because everyone on there is posting the highlights of their life... Marriage, dating, babies, job success, beautiful photos... And if too much time is spent looking at other peoples' "highlights" we can start to feel that our own lives don't compare. It's not true lovely ones. Other people feel the same way when they look at your page for too long. Comparison makes us feel bad. Recognize it. Shut it up. And praise God for the life He has given you.

It's okay to tell people about Jesus even if you haven't read the whole Bible or haven't studied theology. In fact it is good. Jesus told us to do it. When Jesus healed the blind guy, other people asked the guy how Jesus could have done it and he responded saying, "All I know is that I was blind and now I see... And Jesus is the one who did it." Its amazing how God can work through something as simple as that.

It's okay to miss your ex, even when you know he isn't right for you. It's a normal part of healing.

It's okay to wonder if you "should be" somewhere else, with someone else, doing something else. It happens to all of us at times. Just don't linger in those thoughts too long because they can be destructive... Try to refocus on the gifts in your life and all of fun the opportunities to grow where you are at.

It's okay to love God but still feel sad/mad/bad sometimes. You are not crazy. You live in a fallen world. Sometimes it just stinks.

It's okay to celebrate silly things... (says the girl who STILL believes in Santa) Actually I recommend finding ways to celebrate as often as possible. Life is short and best lived with large doses of laughter involved.

It's okay to make mistakes.
It's okay to apologize for the sake of unity, EVEN when you weren't totally wrong in what you did.

It's okay to not love something your friends love. I don't love cats...
There... I said it.

It's okay NOT to complain when you don't like something.

It's okay to lovingly confront someone when they have made you feel bad.

It's okay to NOT please everyone. The sooner you lay down your need to be everyone's favorite, the better and more free you will feel.

Alright... There's more to say but...

It's okay for me to stop here and go to bed.

Goodnight moon.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year with the Neighbs!

Happy New Year!
It's 2013! It still feels a bit like 2012 but I'm sure the adjustment will come soon!

Last night after having a wonderful New Year's Eve dinner with Shaun's fam and some good friends we picked up Jeff and headed over to Dave's!

Who are Jeff and Dave?

Well they are a part of Shaun's circle of like 10 best friends, better known as "the Neighbs".

The Neighbs grew up together... literally... All of them living next door to one another since they were just young bucks.

And now 25ish years later... They are all still best friends.

And actually I am a neighb now too! As soon as Shaun and I got married, I was officially made a part of the neighborly family.

I love it.
Friends like that are a rare gift.

So it was only right for me to watch the ball drop with Jeff, Dave, Mama Mac (Dave's saint of a mother), and Shaun (my saint of a husband).

We rang in the new year with Dave's annual family tradition of mini meatballs with his mama's chips and homemade dip. He also whipped us up some Irish coffee and hot butter rum! He even made fresh whipped cream for us on the spot!

2013 is off to a good start. I'm so thankful for the warm welcome into this new year.

God bless you! Thank you for being a part of my blog!

Here are some shots from last night! I particularly loved watching the guys play frisbee in the basement... I caught a glimpse of their childhood, I'm sure of it. I also wanted to be sure I got a photo with Mama Mac's stockings. Each one is a handmade masterpiece and I am delighted to see them each year we visit!