Monday, May 13, 2013

Bottlerock 2013

I have to take a minute to say how blessed I am!

So a few months ago I heard about this festival in Napa. It was suppose to bring in thousands and thousands of people and make loads of money for the city. Some of my favorite bands would be playing there, but the problem was that it was $140 a ticket per day. So of course I gave up on the hope of going. There was no way I would be able to spend $140 on a ticket to Bottlerock when I am leaving for New York next week and then to Oklahoma. There is just no way.
So I dreamed, and looked at the band lineups and wished I could go, but I worked on being content without going, because I just didn't have the money.
The concert was a five day event and each day my coworker and I would discuss all of the bands that were playing that day, and how busy Napa must be with all of the people. One day my other coworker (who also happens to be the mother of one of my best friends) jumps in on the conversation.

"Oh my husband is working that!" She says. I remember that her husband is a police officer and would be working the concert that weekend. My jaw drops to the floor. He gets to spend five days listening to incredible music, while making money.
"I bet he can get you tickets!" Again, my jaw drops.
I try not to get to excited! These tickets are ridiculously expensive, how in the world would he be able to score us a pair of tickets. So I go about my day, trying to not get to excited over this slight possibilty of going. Then, around 5pm in the evening a get a text from my coworker.
"I scored a pair of tickets for tomorrow!" The text reads. I am sitting in rehearsal trying to contain my excitement, but a huge grin spreads across my face without even realizing it. Of course everyone is asking my what happened and I recount the details.
My friend and I were able to go to Bottlerock for FREE and see way to many good bands. It all worked out perfectly, and we even got free parking. We were sitting in the parkinglot line and a guy in the car behind us runs up to our window and hands us a free parking voucher.
So by the end of the day I had seen Carolina Chocolate Drops, Jackson Browne, Allen Stone, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Iron and Wine and Kings of Leon.

It was such a beautiful day, and I got to enjoy it with one of my best friends.
I am so blessed!!!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Don't Waste Your Life

Three weeks and two days from now I will be in Tulsa, Oklahoma kicking off my summer of serving the Lord. I know serving the Lord should be something we do all the time, and it is something I try to do all the time (although I often fail miserably.) The difference is that I will be spending all my time this summer serving the Lord. My job will be working at the church, sharing the gospel, caring for people and showing them Christ's love. Life will be centered around serving the church, and ministering to others in the community. I wish I could say that I have already been doing this as much as I can, but unfortunately I have seen myself living for me lately. I have found myself pursuing worldly things and not Godly things. It is so sobering to realize how weak, selfish and full of sin I am.
Ever since I was a child I dreamed of getting married. I have always been someone who wanted to have a husband and a family, and spend my time taking care of them. Other thoughts have crossed my mind like, "maybe I could be a teacher," or, "maybe I could go to school for music," but my desire has always been to be a wife.
The pre-summer reading list for Oklahoma is a book called "Don't Waste Your Life" by John Piper. This morning I sat reading through the book and I got to a section called "I bless you, mono, for my life." It is definitely a funny title, and as I read the section it was kind of a funny story. John was getting read to start medical school and as the semester started he didn't show up to chapel or any of his classes. His wife, Noel, wondered where he had gone and found him in the health center, lying on his back, diagnosed with mono. He spent three weeks recovering, which meant he had missed the beginning of the semester and there was no catching up. During his time of recovering he listened to many sermons and christian radio stations. All of the sudden his eyes were open and he realized he was lying in the hospital wing for a purpose. He had mono for a purpose that God had planned. He asked his wife what she thought about him going to seminary instead of medical school and she said,"if that is where God is leading you, I'll go with you." He had never regretted his decision to go to seminary and become a pastor.
Suddenly I thought back to the book by Kevin Deyoung "Just Do Something." I have had this dream of getting married, but if that is not what God wants for me I can't sit around and wait for my will to come true. So I am going to do something. I am starting school in the fall. I will get my general ed done and pursue a degree in english so I can become a high school teacher. I want to travel to a foreign country and be a missionary and a teacher.
Pursuing God's will is just doing something and doing it for His glory, not sitting around and waiting for Him to reveal His "big plan."

Yeah, do it for Christ!
You're trying to figure what to do with your life
If you make a lot of money hope you're doing it right
Because the money is God's you better steward it right
And stay focused
You ain't got no ride
Your life ain't wrapped up in what you drive
The clothes you wear, the job you work
The color your skin naw you're a Christian first
People get to living for a job
Make a little money start living for a car
Get 'em a wife a house kids and a dog
Then they retire they're living high on the hog
But guess what they didn't ever really live at all
To live is Christ and that's Paul I recall
To die is gain so for Christ we give it all
He's the treasure you'll never find in a mall
Your money your singleness marriage talent your time
They were loaned to you to show the world that Christ is Divine
That's why it's Christ in my rhymes
That's why it's Christ all the time
See my whole world is built around Him He's the life in my lines
I refused to waste my life

Don't Waste Your Life - Lecrae

Monday, April 22, 2013

Put to death what is earthly in you

Today is the first day of my family's adventure living the paleo life. We orginally decided to start it because it is really just a healthy way of living. We try not to call it a "diet" because it is more a choice to live healthier and eat better. Basically we are eating all naturally, in the hunter-gatherer kind of way.
Throughout my entire life I have struggled with food being an idol. For a long time it was my desire for food that was an idol. I love cooking food, going out to eat food and enjoying things that shouldn't even be defined as food (processed, unnatural junk.) I was and am overweight (although I am working diligently to change that.) When the desire for junk food became an idol and I knew I needed to change I worked hard to create a healthy lifestyle. The problem is that I allowed eating healthy to become an idol as well. I was constantly talking about eating healthy and spending hours cooking healthy things. Now I am not saying that spending time creating a healthy diet is a bad thing, in fact I think that is great. The problem is when we allow eating healthy and creating delicious healthy meals to take up all of our time. I started shortening my quiet times so that I could make a delicious "healthy" breakfast. I spent hours in the evening making tasty, healthy dinners and lunch for the next day, when I could have been spending that time with my family. I was constantly talking about how to be healthy, far more then I was talking about God or spending time with Him. That was when it really become an idol.
So I am really excited for this Paleo thing because it is the way God originally created us to live. I am going to stop focusing on "healthy living" and start focusing on "God living."
We weren't meant to fill our bodies with refined sugars and processed foods, we were created to live off the land and what God provided for us. So as I step into this new experience I am going to get away from the idea that it is a "diet," and I look at it like I am eating the things God designed our bodies to live off of. I am trying to destroy my food idol. It's time to let God take over with this problem and live how he created us to live.

Here's my challenge to you... what is your idol? Maybe it is something that you don't realize is an idol (in my case, food.) Give it to God and ask Him to show you how you can change it. Be proactive and destroy that idol in your life. It won't always be easy, but it has to be done.

1 Corinthians 10:13-14
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry

Monday, April 8, 2013

God uses crooked sticks to make straight lines

7 months ago our congregation received the news that our Pastor was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Throughout the following months he never complained about this trial God had given to him. His family attested to the fact that he was nothing but joyful and thankful. We saw him slowly losing his physical strength but he was not losing his passion for Christ. God continued to give him the strength to preach from his wheelchair at the front of the congregation each Sunday. Eventually that ability left him, but he was not done exalting Christ and showing the congregation God's glory, even if he could not do it from the pulpit.
He faithfully showed up to church each Sunday to hear Christ preached and to worship louder then anyone else in the congregation. Eventually he did not have the strength to go out anymore and he lost his ability to walk, talk and see, but he did not lose his ability to exalt Christ.
A week ago, on Resurrection Sunday, we got the news that our pastor had passed from life into death. What painful joy it was to hear that he was no longer here on earth with us, but to know that he was worshipping at the feet of our Heavenly father. He was finally doing the thing that he had spent his entire life longing to do.
At the memorial service so many memories of him were recounted. His passion and zeal for Christ, his desire to constantly exalt Christ in everything he did and his faithfullness to the church and the congregation. 32 years ago he had the desire to start a church in Vallejo and since then, by God's grace, he has built a Christ exalting church of over 1,000 attendees and is the president of the Church's adjoining seminary "Cornerstone." He would constantly pray for the Lord to make the next years of his life more Christ exalting then his previous years. He traveled around the world preaching at church's, sent men out all of the world to plant church's and strived to show the importance of supporting those who went out to preach the gospel among many nations. So many people were blessed by his faithfulness and I am thankful to have sat under him as my pastor for the last 7 years.

I remember that day in 8th grade so clearly. I sat in the congregation during evening service listening to Steven speak of Christ's faithfulness and love towards his people. He spoke of hell and the blessings of Heaven and I sat in awe of the things I was hearing. I was saved but I was living a shallow life. I was eating baby food and not growing to the meat of the Word. I went home that night after the sermon and cried out to God, asking Him to give me the fire and passion that Steve had spoken of in his sermon. As the next few years followed I saw myself growing in my walk and striving to be a women after God's own heart. Before attending CBC I had not experienced a solid church full of such strong Biblical doctrine, elders and believers. Under Steve's preaching and sheparding I could see myself in a body of believers that was moving, breathing and living for Christ.
I can recall so many Sundays where I sat in the congregation listening to Steve preach and I felt like he was looking right at me, saying the very things I needed to hear. When I was struggling he would just happen to say something in his sermon that made me think "woah, who told him about my struggle," but I know it was just Steve being used as a vessle for God's glory.
Steve Fernandez blessed so many people with his Christ exalting life and I will forever hold a place of thankfulness and loving rememberence in my heart for the way he impacted my life.
God used that crooked stick to draw a straight line. God sent Steve, that former drug dealing, authority hating, angry man, to complete a Christ exalting mission and once it was done He took him home. I will miss him dearly, but I know we will see him again in Heaven as we worship before the Most High King.

Philippians 1:21 For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain.

Or as Steve would say, "To live is Christ and to die is more Christ."

"A brain tumor and exalting Christ"

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Hebrews 12:11

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it."

I made it through my 10 day Daniel fast and I felt so encouraged and blessed by it. Afterwards I had the treat of taking a trip to Disneyland with my friend and her family. It was a nice break from the real world, but now I am back to the grind.
After completing the fast I felt so healthy and strong and it motivated me to get my life in check. I was living in such an unhealthy manner, and because my body is suppose to be a temple I knew that it was time to treat it that way.
Currently I am working on completing day 3 of my new lifestyle. I am not on a diet, and I am not banning myself from enjoying good food, but I am getting healthy. I have been working out for about an hour every day, and trying to eat half the amount I use to, as well as filling myself with a lot more fruits and vegetables.
Although this lifestyle is currently pretty painful I know it will produce good fruit and get easier as I push myself further.

Monday, March 11, 2013


Things were okay on day three. Because I was so busy I blended a strawberry-banana smoothie for breakfast and took it to go. Lunch I ate some left over broccoli-butternut squash salad and a slice of sweet potato. Dinner was just a half of a sweet potato and some green tea as I headed for Vallejo to work at my Church children ministry.

Day 4 has definitely been more dificult. All I want is cheese and bread. For breakfast I ate a strawberry and banana smoothie (they are getting kind of old.) My friend asked me to get lunch with her, and since we haven't seen each other in quite some time I thought we should get together. The problem is there is hardly anything I can eat. So I head to the place next store to my work, expecting to ask for a plain green salad with no dressing or anything. As we sit down and begin perusing the menu I see that they have plain potatoes grilled with olive oil and sprinkled with seasonings. Starch and olive oil are both on the "okay" list. So lunch turned out to be pretty tasty!
Dinner was pretty delicious. I took some yams and cut them into small slices. Then I tossed them with olive oil, garlic, and various seasons and set them in the oven to cook. When they were done I had some delicious sweet potato fries. I grilled up some veggies and dinner was served.

Day 5 was fairly average. More fruits and veggies and a struggle to avoid all the junk food at my friends birthday party. I succeeded :)

Day 6 (Saturday) was probably the hardest day so far. I spent the night at my friends house Friday night so on Saturday I woke up and didn't eat. It was no big deal as the day went on until everyone decided we should go to Mary's for lunch. Okay, bread and pizza are my weakness! So I ended up ordering a spinach salad, which ended up being mostly spinach with a few walnuts and cranberries sprinkled on top. Lunch turned out to be basically spinach leaves. Afterwards I headed home and had to hurry and get ready because my family and I were headed to a show. We planned to get dinner with the group we were going with. Obviously my experience earlier that day did not make me think wisely before we left the house. So I left the house, still hungry, and assumed I could eat a salad at whatever dinner place we went to. We ended up in Napa... at a pizza place... are you serious!! They ordered a salad for everyone to share, but all it had on it were a few pieces of chicken and some cheese. Again, something I totally couldn't eat. By the time I got home that night I was so hungry it was ridiculous. I ate an orange and went to bed. That was certainly a trying day.

Day 7 was pretty average. I actually treated myself by making some homemade protein cookie things. I boiled apples and cinnamon to make apple sauce and dates, water and cinnamon to make date honey. I mashed bananas, fresh ground peanut butter and crushed almonds together, mixed in a little date honey, apple sauce, cranberries and oats and rolled little balls to make cookies. It tasted kind of like an oatmeal bite. Pretty tasty and satisfied my sweet tooth with a healthy, all natural solution.

As day 8 begins I can't help but be proud of myself. This has had it's ups and downs, but the Lord has definitely given me strength to succeed. I know even when this is over I want to continue with a healthier life style.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Day 2, 3/05/13

Day two wasn't awful, but it was definitely harder then day one.
In the morning I enjoyed a banana-strawberry smoothie, which included: bananas, strawberries, almond milk, and fresh ground peanut butter.
Lunch was a little harder as my coworkers enjoyed pizza and I was munching on my dry salad, but a few pears, carrots, onions and dates in there to give it some flavor and it wasn't to bad. I rewarded myself when I got home from work with a snack of celery and fresh ground peanutbutter.
For dinner I grilled up a whole bunch of broccoli, butternut squash, black beans, onions, cranberries and carrots in an olive oil, lemon, garlic, parsley and basil dressing.

The hardest part about all of this is that the cooking takes a lot of work and I miss bread and cheese. Other then that I am doing okay. My body is already starting to feel healthier and I have more energy.
I am definitely learn that I can't do anything without Christ. He has definitely been giving me the strength to overcome challenges and avoid temptations, and I know He will continue to do so.