Sunday, August 29, 2010

Fix the Curtains, Eat Dinner Alone, Run 10 Miles

Check. Check. Check. I am really racing to finish my list before my birthday comes! In the last week I've done several of my birthday resolutions.

First, I fixed the curtains in the living room. Last year I put up some blinds, but didn't realize they were unfinished on the other side, so from the outside of the house it looked like we had white sheets hanging in the window. FINALLY I found some sheers to put up behind the blinds to solve the problem.

There is this tiny Mexican food restaurant right on the corner by my house and after my entire life of living here, I have never eaten there. One of my resolutions was to eat dinner at a sit-down restaurant alone--since I've never done that before and wanted to see what it was like. The meal was yummy. And it was fun to eat alone.

The most I've ever run at one time is 8 miles. I wanted to challenge myself, so I decided to make the goal of running 10 miles. On Saturday morning I woke up at 5:30am and set out to run 10 miles. It was going pretty well, but after mile 6, my hips started to hurt and my legs were hurting too. But I pushed it through and made it to the end. My hips were a little sore the rest of the day, but I feel good today. I think I'm ready for a 1/2 marathon!

My Adventure to Hearst Castle

Hearst Castle is nearly 4 hours from where I live, so I thought it would be fun to make a road trip of it and go with some friends. Since my birthday is so soon, today was my only free day to accomplish this task. It just so happens that all of my friends were busy today and no one could go with me. Something in me dreaded the thought of going alone, so I almost didn’t go. But something even stronger in me told me that I had go—even if it meant going alone. I wanted to have this experience, I wanted to have this adventure. I couldn’t let my singleness keep me from it.

So I went. I enjoyed the beautiful drive down the coast and I had a wonderful time touring the castle and learning the fascinating facts about Mr. Hearst and his party abode. It was a gorgeous day. The sun was shining, but not too hot, and a slight wind cooled the air without being too gusty. The scenic view from the top of the castle was astonishing and made me imagine what Hearst’s guests must have felt like as they drove up the long, winding, road in their limousine. And I met a few really nice people who were on the tour as well--2 girls and a guy about my age. They were very friendly.

The nice girl at the snack shop gave me a free croissant and later a guy working there gave me a 1/2 price coffee. Don't ask me why...I guess they are just nice people.

Before I headed home I went on a brief walk on the beach and let the freezing air blow through my hair until I couldn't take anymore and got back into the car and headed on my trip home.

I had the best day I’ve had in a long time. Yes, at times I did feel lonely and wish I had a friend or better yet, someone special, to share the experience with, but I didn’t. And that’s okay. I feel more empowered and confident because of today.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Oxnard or Bust

Have you ever been “at a loss for words?” In the last week I’ve experienced that feeling in ways I’ve never known before.

I spent the week in a chilly but beautiful beach-town called Oxnard. Hundreds of missionaries from around the world sent out from my church gathered together for a time of refreshment, encouragement, and challenging seminars and sermons. The theme? Marriage.

I was part of a team of about 25 people who helped watch all of the missionary children so the parents could take part in the conference without distractions. I was assigned to the 3-5 year old group. And as you can imagine, our room was busting at the seams with an intense energy and vivacity. I love how some of the boys were all boy! They just had to run and jump and wrestle and hit and pull. It was a task calming them down. And it was fun to cuddle and comfort the shy crying girls who missed their mommies.

A peek into our classroom might reveal a puppet show, or singing time, coloring, or story time, Bible time, potty break, or perhaps snack time. Or you might find us at the pool, doing craft time, or watching a video. We had a blast—and I think the children enjoyed themselves too. I was also able to spend a significant amount of time with a precious disabled missionary child named Hannah. Hannah needed some special attention, so I was able to stay close to her for most of the week to attend to her needs. Hannah had her 14th birthday in the middle of the week—the same day as our zoo field trip, so I was able to take Hannah to the zoo and do my best to make her birthday a special one.

Now that this exhausting but incredible week is over, I am truly at a loss for words. I learned so much this week about myself—my selfishness, my hunger for personal comfort, my flirtation with materialism, and so much more. I was challenged and inspired simply by being in the presence of devoted, faithful, missionaries who willingly and sacrificially devote themselves to ministry.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Go horseback riding

I fulfilled another birthday resolution while I was at camp the other week! One of my resolutions was to go horseback riding. I had the opportunity to go horseback riding with Deja (who I mentioned a couple of posts ago). We had a lot of fun. It was so beautiful and serene, and I felt like I had to be quiet the entire time and just take in the beauty. The sun was shining and warmed my cheeks and the sky was blue and unblemished by clouds. I could smell nature--the freshness, the dirt, the trees, the flowers, the moisture all combined to give off an amazing fragrance. Of course it helped that we were out of the state in Glorieta, New Mexico.

As I sat on the back of a strong, powerful horse named Garry, I thought about how quickly this year passed. I can't believe how soon my birthday is! I'd better jump on these last resolutions before my time is up. Wish me luck!

Monday, August 02, 2010

Home Again, Home Again

Hey everyone! I'm back from summer camp. I'm tan, I'm sore, and I'm tired. :)

We had an 18 1/2 hour bus ride to Glorieta, New Mexico and then 5 days of intense preaching, small group, and the craziest games you can imagine, then a 17 hours bus ride back home. But not before eating breakfast at Cracker Barrel! It was a blast. My favorite part was talking to the kids who were on the sidelines, not into the games--those are always my favorite students--and we had some great conversations. I praise God for the opportunities I had to talk to students about the gospel and to tell them about how God saved me. I'm so glad I was able to go this year.

I was the official camp blogger, so if you want to read more about camp, check out