The perfect little solo Saturday.

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Let me preface this by saying: I love people. I love hearing stories. I love a good chat. But I also really really love spending time allllll by myself. Today started with brunch with my parents & a whole pot of french press to myself. They went off to the furniture store (they still have a giant empty room in their house…which will now be full in 8-10 weeks.) I wandered off to the Gilbert Farmer’s Market. I zig zagged across aisles, grabbed local produce, and put it all in my cute yard saled basket.

Then I ran around the mall for a while, window shopped, people watched, & picked up a few essentials. When you’re by yourself, you can go back to the same store 3 times and try on fringe ankle boots 3 times and decide you can’t justify the purchase 3 times. This is just not a luxury afforded by group shopping. Then, I was tired (I have a rough life), so I went home and half napped, half Netflix-ed.

When I woke up, I ran a brush through my hair & headed to my fave grocery spots: Trader Joe’s for fun stuff, Sprouts for the good stuff, & Walmart for the random essentials. I came home & cooked all my food for the week. I talked to Bets until my phone died. And now I have a moment to recap the day. My soul NEEDS days like this…not always…just every once in a while. It helps me reset my brain & be fully engaged the rest of the week. I have been trying really hard to work rest into my schedule & consciously choose my schedule instead of letting it run me. Today was a great start. <3

Good Eats: Gilbert Farmer’s Market!

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My parents recently moved to AZ and we’ve really been enjoying doing simple things that we could never cram into their short visits before. For the last few weeks, we’ve met up at the Gilbert Farmer’s Market on Saturday for an 8am breakfast. It’s fun to eat locally made food and spend time together! Here are some of our fav finds:

1- Jamaica from the Shrimp-viche Man
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If you’ve never tried this delish drink made from hibiscus flowers, you should. Said “man” works the booth but he told us his wife makes most of it. (See?! The fun of eating local is learning things like that!) We also got shrimp crab cakes from this guy and had them for lunch. They were perfect- not fishy at all!

2- All Thai-Up from Luncha Libre
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We loved this one! It was a Thai style quesadilla that had the perfect combo of sweet & spicy. Mag & I also ordered churros & horchata from this truck that were both great. Their drinks come in these HUGE mason jars- which sort of adds to the fun.

3- Stuffed French Toast from Uprooted Kitchen
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This all vegan food truck has so many options full of fresh fruit & baked goods! Their french toast is topped with coconut yogurt- yum! I had been following them on Instagram for a while so it was cool to a-meet them & b-try their food!

Honorable mention goes to Nutwhats Bacon Pecan scribble & Coppercreek Cheesecakes! IMG_5726.PNG

My dad also loves Waffle Crush. It’s a fun little family tradition…and there are new choices every week!

 

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Tired & Thankful.

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I had this thought today….

“I am so tired. But if I was on like a mission trip or something, I’d value where I am right now and give it everything I got!”

My life is like a mission trip. Hahaha I frequently say “My life is church!” (A phrase I’m pretty sure I stole from Renee Hammond. Haha)

Despite how crazy my schedule feels, I’m learning to find joy regardless of circumstance. These are just a few things I’m celebrating about from yesterday/today:

-Great Pita J dinner with Christina yesterday. I just love her.

-Seeing God move so powerfully today & break some chains off a dear, dear friend.

-Getting to pray for people!

-Feeling like God was so so tangible. Believing what I say I believe.

-Being challenged by Paige, Shawn, & Tyler to press into prayer.

-A great job where I’m surrounded by people of passion & talent & creativity & who value mentorship.

This was just like yesterday & today! I’m tired, I’m thankful, and I’m so thankful I’m tired. My life & heart are full.

Sin, Secrets, & Circle K

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The other night, I waited until the last second to get gas. It was like 1am by the time I made it to Circle K. I went inside, gave the girl my cash, and passed a man as I exited. He looked sort of biker-ish. As I walked to my car, I noticed there weren’t any other cars parked anywhere. For some reason, my mind all of a sudden jumped to,

“Oh my gosh…what if that biker guy came to hold up the gas station? What if he comes out here and shoots me?”

I never have thoughts like that…thus the reason I didn’t think twice about going to a Circle K after midnight. But then my next thought was even more surprising to me..

“What if tonight is the night I die? What if I have unconfessed sin?” And the scariest Bible verse I know came to mind: Psalm 129:23.

It says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!” Terrifying. As a probable extrovert with introvert tendencies, I have a lot of thoughts I keep to myself. For my whole life (since I was very very small), I have had the inclination to hide things: feelings, thoughts, actions, mistakes. If I could keep them to myself, if they could stay anonymous, I would stay “safe”. It brought to mind a dear friend. She has encountered just about every hide-able thing you can image- but she lives so vulnerably, she’s so open. (With the right people, of course. #boundaries)

You know how she can live this way? I think I do. She is fully confident that The Lord is a good father who gives good gifts. She really believes He loves us as His children with out restraint or condition. With a God THAT good, THAT tender- why wouldn’t I want Him to search my heart? He is safe to know. I recently watched Dead Poet’s Society and there’s a part where Mr. Keating says to his student who is fighting with his dad something along these lines, “Have you shared your passions with your dad? You’re not his indentured servant, you’re his son.” Dang. I am not God’s indentured servant trying to pay my way with my own righteousness. Jesus already paid that on the cross. I am His daughter who is loved, whole, & free. I can be confident that when I ask Him to search my heart, it may be uncomfortable, but it will be worth it. I have far fewer secrets than I used to…freedom is coming one step at a time. Being in the family has its privileges.

**Disclaimer: I don’t recommend going to Circle K at 1am. I also don’t endorse judging people as murderers just because they are wearing a bandana and shirt with an eagle on it. I’m working on being less judgmental. ;-)

Screenshots and Heartbreaks: Revelation via iPhone.

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So my top button on my iPhone had been broken for…..like ever. It was annoying, especially as a social media sultan. Let’s just say, a lot of my job involves taking screen shots. I adapted though, and used that little white dot thing that let’s you take screen shots manually. It takes a couple extra steps but it gets the job done.

Just a few days before I was headed to Cali, I shattered my screen. (Horror of horrors!) I took it to get fixed and she offered to fix my button and my battery. Done deal! It would be like having a brand new phone. Now I have a working screen, better battery life, AND I can take screen shots. I was laying in bed with my phone this morning and went to take a screen shot….but I did it with all the extra steps. I didn’t use the button. Okay so WHY am I blogging about screenshots and iPhones?! BECAUSE THIS IS MY LIFE, PEOPLE! I DO WHAT I WANT. (I club baby seals. Mag- that was for you.)

But seriously, I feel like God gave me some revelation as I was screen shot-ing nail art. Sometimes, even when God brings healing to an area of my life, I still do things the way I had adapted to do them when I was broken. If I don’t walk out my healing, take some risks, test out my new freedom, it’s like I was never healed. With my phone, it was like my button was never fixed even though it was 100% working. It also makes me think- what healing has God done in my life that I have not taken hold of? What promises has He given us in His word that I’m not believing…just because I’ve adapted to the broken ways of the world?

I took the adaptive touch off of my phone and now am free to screen shot what ever I’d like. I’ll let you know what other developments, iPhone or otherwise, this brings to my life. Xoxo

WCXA Weekend:The Kingdom is All About Relationship!

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What a privilege it was to spend the weekend in SoCal with West Coast Chi Alpha leaders from across the country! Just like my trip to SD…I was just overwhelmed by how fun it is to see the Family of God! Revisiting all these friendships is just so recharging to me! (Is that a word?!) We had great speakers, great food, and great worship…..but at the end of the day it’s all about these great people. How fun. The Kingdom is just so fun.

#redwhiteandbetsy: Fourth of July ’14

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Fourth of July in Arizona is rough for midwestern girls. Where are the parades? The random fireworks watching spots? The relief from the heat?! Last year, we threw a going away party at a house I was housesitting at. (I had permission!) This year, Mag and I decided to visit Bets in sunny San Diego!20140712-104447.jpg

The drive was pretty uneventful….but we did see fireworks from the road! Fun surprise and a great kick off to America’s birthday. (Oh and I got new red lip stick for the occasion from NYX’s Butter line. Love it- smooth, matte, and CHEAP!)

We got in late Thursday night, grabbed some Mexican food, and crashed. The next morning was the Fourth. I always envy toddler style on Independance Day…it’s just so fun and patriotic. Between my American flag bow, necklace, and little girl dress ($7 from H&M with a cute tie back!), I think I got close to 3 year old swag. Betsy was the adult and refused to cheese it up with us.

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Obvi, I had yelped a million delish restaurants in the Gaslamp Quarter area of SD. We decided to head to Cafe 21…it was packed. The hostess was adorable & efficient, though.

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I ordered the Cafe 21 Shrimp corn cakes and we ordered the sangria flight. OMG! Local bread, butter (!), and it was topped with edible flowers! Brunch of my dreams!

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We spent the rest of the afternoon at the pool at our hotel….which was packed. There was good people watching though and a gorg view of the ocean. That night, for the fireworks, we posted up at a restaurant at our hotel and ordered apps & zerts.

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We had our beads on, patriotic wear on, and watched fireworks go off all over the bay. Happy Birthday, USA! <3

 

The next morning, we decided to take the ferry over to Coronado.

 

 

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Our friend Chris met us over there and we wandered around the island for the afternoon….

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We did everything vacation-y- dipped our toes in the water, snapped pictures, ate ice cream… everywhere was PACKED, though. Everyone else got out of AZ too.20140712-104553.jpg

 

These two….the best sisters I could ask for! Even though they made me sit at the front of the boat. :)

20140712-104604.jpgThe sun sort of zapped us, so we took a litttle nap because we had late dinner reservations. Our hotel was doing a movie by the pool (The Sandlot!)- Bets & I watched for a little bit before we walked to Seaport Village.

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We ate at Puesto…amazing tacos. I ordered a Strawberry Mint Agua Fresca. I’m not usually a huge mint fan, but it was perfectly refreshing!

 

The next morning we went to Betsy’s church! They invited us right in and I got to meet my Facebook friend Laci for the first time in real life! (While Marina was meeting Rihanna in real life AT THE SAME TIME!) Angelique was there too!  Church was great, obvs I balled my eyes out, and it had a gorg view of the coast.

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Obvs I took a creeper pic to text Marines. It makes me really happy to know that Bets is a part of a great community in SD. :) Plus it’s just so fun to have friends that are family through the Kingdom of God! <3 I just kept thinking about that…it’s more than just having friends ALL around the world, it’s about having people “get” you on a spiritual level. I don’t really “know” Laci, but we hit it right off. I haven’t seen Chris in forever, but he was such a great bro to me and my sisters.

It was a lovely weekend, and I’m already thinking about where we should spend our next 4th! Shout outs to: my dad for hooking us up with a baller hotel, Chris for being an amazing host, Bets for letting us play tourists, Esther for leading a great church…service? (That seems like the wrong word haha), and Mag for driving the whole time. Here’s to another great year, America! I pray you’re richly blessed!!

it’s a celebration.

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On Mondays, we go and feed the homeless. It’s especially weird to go from super luxurious North Scottsdale to a parking lot to serve hot dogs and day old cake. Not that either one is better or worse, but it’s certainly a contrast.

We laugh and see new friends, check up on old friends and try to practice that “pure & undefiled religion” James talks about. We eat, learn about Jesus, and sing. Oh and we laugh. Loudly. Tonight, the lady was preaching and I was sitting next to one of my small friends. She pretends to be shy, but she’s not really. She wants to be a police woman when she grows up so she can protect people. The word tonight was from Jeremiah 29:11. I looked at my friend and said, “You know she’s talking to you right? He has big plans for you!” She stared. She usually does, but she smiles too. “The Bible says God will give you the desires of your heart- what do you really want?”

“A birthday party.”

Dang.

Growing up, I had the best birthday parties and this was way before Pinterest. Every year. My mom never missed one. Birthday parties are more than cake and decorations and presents- they’re about being celebrated because you are just you! You didn’t do any work to be born, you didn’t earn it…you were just you.

I want that little friend to know how celebrated she is. Of course, I want to throw a birthday party, but more than that I want her to know how over the moon Jesus is for her and there are plans for her life. Big ones.

When I went to summer camp, the counselors did this skit around the camp fire. Someone would pretend to have a present and talk about how awesome it was. The more they shared the present with people, the bigger it got. One person decided not to share the present and it shrunk until it disappeared.  In the end they revealed that the present was love: the only thing that grows the more you give it away. The really amazing thing about celebrating other people is that it doesn’t mean you are celebrated less. It means you get to experience more joy. The more you embrace being loved and celebrated yourself, the more you can celebrate others.

I want to live my life in such a way that I let other people be celebrated so they can be introduced to the One who dances over them. Jesus- let me embrace more of who I am so I can help people embrace more of You.

“Enjoy this time, girls…”

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This weekend was so fun. I went to new restaurants, rapped my heart out with the windows down, laughed, had a day full of hot tub musings, went to a festival, and ate bacon off of a stranger’s plate. It was just so fun.

As I was thinking about my single ladies today, I couldn’t help but be so happy with this season of my life. It’s spontaneous. It’s joyful. And it would have been a totally different weekend if we had boy friends or husbands or kids. Not less fun, necessarily. But it would have been different.

A few weeks ago, Abby and I were at this conference at our church. There was a greeting time and we started to chat with a woman in our row. She asked us if we were college kids. (There are lots of Chi Alpha kids who go to our church.) We laughed and told her we were like super old. She said to us,

“Oh enjoy this time girls. Have fun being single. Being a mom is great- every season is great, but enjoy this time.”

She was so genuine. So encouraging. So RIGHT! Usually the message to single ladies in the church is (whether it’s blatant or just implied) that our lives must be just so sad/incomplete because we aren’t married. Someone once told me that he/she felt like single women in church should be treated and taken care of like widows. Someone also once told me I must feel like I’ve been “put on a shelf.” Yeah…..nope. Never felt that way! Mostly because I’m living my life to the fullest in the season I’m in, and I’m having a blast!

So right now while I’m single and later when I hope I have a family and later when I’m super old, I’m going to have fun and enjoy. To the new moms, to the grandpas, to the young professionals, to the high school kids- you are hereby released to be content in the season you find yourself in! You’ll never be in the same season ever again!

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:12-13

Let me tell you how I got this shave ice…

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It all started when we decided to go to Scramble’s new Scottsdale location after church on Sunday. Have you been there? I love that they say, “Eat healthy or comfort food- it’s up to you.” The perfect place to go with a group. I knew when I saw this sign on the wall that I had found the perfect place:

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Sigh. Definitely one of my life philosophies. I love bacon. My friend Chris sends me frequent pictures of bacon themed items. Between my mom and Rae’s mom I’ve received every bacon novelty gift on the planet. (Bacon mints anyone? What about bacon floss? Yep. Had both.) Naturally, I ordered what our server called the “vegan not so vegan”- vegan French toast (amazing) and bacon (double amazing) for my side. We enjoyed a pleasant breakfast discussing things like what the opposite of “hood” is, Rick Ross, and more. (Sorry Abraham…)

We decided to head to the Aloha Festival in Tempe. But before we left the restaurant we had to go to the bathroom. Like every group of girls since the beginning of time. It was a one stall set up. As we were waiting in line, a family got up from their table and left. Abby LOVES betting me money to do things I’ll never do. (Mostly talk to boys.) This time though, I was up for the challenge. She bet me $10 that I wouldn’t eat the lone piece of bacon the family had left on one of their plates. I upped the bet- one shave ice for eating the leftover meat candy. She agreed and I grabbed it and shoved it in my mouth. Victory.

We headed to Tempe Beach Park and waited in line for the the prized Shave Ice. Oh and BEFORE we got to the booth, Abby bet Claudia a shave ice that she wouldn’t take a picture with this random dude. Obviously Claudia did it. Here’s proof:

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We were behind the cutest family in the shave ice line. Obviously, I had to tell them that I thought they were cute and I could tell that they really loved each other. Abby bought us shave ice- watermelon flavored. It was an homage to Beyoncé. (If you don’t get it, you just don’t get it.) We enjoyed it while watching several beautiful hula dances:

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And that is how I got shave ice. The End.