Jan 22, 2011

California or Bust!

Hey everyone! Well, it is finally above zero here in good ol' Wisconsin. Yesterday morning, it was -27 degrees...um....is that even possible? Apparently! Lol. But thankfully, by midnight last night it had climbed up to a whole degree! This morning we reached 4 degrees!! Ah, the joys of living in Northern Wisconsin. Haha! Oh well, I can't complain too much; I just got back from a 10 day trip to Southern California (compliments of my incredibly generous brother =). The trip was a huge blessing in many ways, I wish I could tell you everything! But since I can't, here's a few of the highlights from the trip:

Somehow, in all but the first two flights that I have ever taken, I have always had a window seat. On my flight from Denver to Santa Ana, we flew over the Rockies & the Grand Canyon. It was a stunning view & a great reminder of how amazing our creator God is.
I went to see one of my best friends in the world: Ashlee!! We met during our freshmen year at Northland & became close friends. Even though Ash wasn't able to come back to Northland this year, we have still remained close. I am so thankful that God has given me a friend who is a lot of fun to be around, but yet is very serious about her walk with the Lord & is always an encouragement! 
On one of the days of the trip, we went to Disneyland! Amy, Ashlee's older sister (& also a great friend) is on the right, & to the left is Susanna Smith & her older bro Nathan is behind her. Their family goes to the church that Ashlee's dad pastors. Their dad has worked at Disneyland for 30 years, so he was able to sign us in for a day of fun!
We had an amazing time! We stayed from 10am-9pm. It was one of the most fun days ever =)
Thursday we went to Balboa Park in San Diego & it was GORGEOUS! The sun was out in full force & it was about 78 degrees....loved it =) Also, the park had a lot of Spanish architecture & beautiful art. We took lots of fun pictures =)
One of many photos by the really cool doors we found. Lol!
We also met another friend from school, Allie, who happens to live in San Diego. She is so sweet & it was great to be able to spend the day with her! After Balboa Park, we went to Coronada & played at the beach for a while, walked downtown for ice cream, & then went back to the beach to watch the sunset. It was beautiful!
I think I took about 300 pictures of the sunset that day...I couldn't help myself. Lol!
Yeah, Ashlee & I are dorks...no denying it. But it was fun =)
On Sunday we went to LA to visit the other Church that Mr. Fox pastors. It was another gorgeous, sunny day!
The church is part of a mission right at the heart of skid row. My heart broke to see all of the homeless lining the streets, but I also felt hope being a part of the church service. People who were once lost are now accepting Christ & turning their lives around. I had the privilege of playing piano for part of the service & it was just such a blessing to see that God can use me even in a small way. I'm so thankful for God's grace!
On Monday we took one final trip to the beach, this time it was a beach called Crystal Cove in Laguna.
I miss these girls already!! They are so much fun & such a blessing.
Ahahaha! Inca Kola!! For anyone who has had this soda, you may understand my enthusiasm. It is a very popular drink in Peru & I hadn't had any since I had been there about 2 years ago. But I met a very sweet Peruvian lady named Mila on Sunday at the Foxes church. When she found out I had been to Peru we got to talking about all of the things we loved about it. She had to come to America 17 years ago because of her health, but it hoping to return to her home in Lima, Peru this December. . Later that evening, she brought a ton of Inca Kola & some delicious Peruvian cookies! Mila is a strong Catholic & also struggling with Lupis, so please pray for her salvation & her health.
I love this pic. Amy was watching the sunset & the silhouette was so cool! 
Birdie! Another breathtaking sunset, even the birds were enjoying it =) After watching the sunset, we walked up to Trader Joe's & got some food, then drove down to Hunnington beach & had a picnic on a lifeguard stand. It was soooo much fun!
It was an incredible week, & I am so thankful for the people who made it possible!! 

Well, it's back to Northland tomorrow. Please pray for me as another semester begins. Last semester was insanely intense & I'm not sure I could handle another like it. God's grace is sufficient though! I hope that you all are having a great year so far!! God bless.

Jan 8, 2011

Little Blessings

Isn't it so amazing how God gives us little blessings each day? Mine came in the form of a seat mate on my flight from Minneapolis to Denver VERY early this morning. I settled into my window seat & a middle-age couple filled the two seats next to me. I don't know about you, but I think that flights are awesome opportunities to share the gospel! So I was praying about talking to Lynn, the woman next to me when I noticed that she was reading something about C.S. Lewis. So I mentioned that I love C.S. Lewis & we started chatting about our trips & life in general. Turns out she was headed to Okinawa Japan with her husband to visit her daughter & her family. She asked me about college & I told her that I attend a Christian University called Northland. She got this surprised look on her face & then started laughing. Turns out her niece is in graduate studies at Northland, & I actually know her! Small world, huh? We both agreed that it was a blessing from God to have been seated next to each other & then we got to talking about how good our Heavenly Father is. We exchanged information & I promised to say hi to her niece for her. Anyways, I thought that was so cool & such a blessing! What a great way to start out a trip =) So now I'm drinking a peppermint mocha in the Denver airport, waiting to board my flight to Orange County California to spend 10 days with one of my best friends. I'll be sure to update when I can & share pictures. I hope that you all have a wonderful, relaxing weekend!

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in Him.” ~Lamentations 3:22-24

Jan 6, 2011

Who Are You Living For Today?

There's a saying that I've heard that may seem trite, but it is definitely true: "There are only two choices on the shelf, pleasing God or pleasing self." It's so easy to start out the day by choosing to live for ourselves. Little decisions that don't seem significant: putting off devotions to watch TV or surf Facebook; ignoring someone with a need because we "don't have time"; putting up with inappropriate entertainment because we don't want to seem "uncool" if we object. There are opportunities everyday to show the world who we are serving. So I just want to challenge you to make an effort to choose to serve God today. Be selfless & Christlike in your words and actions. You can serve Christ, or serve yourself. It's your choice, but only One is worth it.

"He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross." ~Colossians 1:15-17