I taught the Junior Highers this morning about God's grace and it was such a good morning. I have been praying for couches because we are trying to get the vibe going in J.high, and on Thursday, a lady walked into the church and said, "Hi, I have a free couch, do you want it?" I was so excited. But I was even MORE excited when I saw all the kids faces this morning. It was like Christmas in September! They were so stoked! I will take some pictures and post them up here soon.
I watched "Facing the Giants" this weekend and bawled my eyes out. So ridiculous. If you don't know about this movie, it is basically a bunch of Christians trying to copy a secular football, winning, story. But everything in it is over-dramatically Christian. The same people that made this one just came out with another one this weekend (or so I hear...). My favorite part was when a revival broke out at the school, and everyone started repenting of things, and praying in groups ;) ...the football coach is talking to the players and he says, "We need to start glorifying God all the time...in our relationships...on the football field...in the classroom...and when we are alone at home on the internet..." - then the shot pans to this one guilty faced kid...I was laughing so hard...not that that issue is funny...it was just so randomly out of place.
I picked up a hitch-hiker this weekend. I was on my way home at around 10pm and I saw a young girl standing in the middle of nowhere (on Oso) with a backpack and 3 bags full of clothes. She looked like a run-away so I turned around and asked her if she was okay. Long story short - I gave her a ride to a friends house (she was 20...), and was able to share the Lord with her. I randomly had some extra bibles in my car (seriously, it was random that I had them sitting on my dashboard...thank you Lord) and I gave her one and my phone number. She was suuuper receptive to hearing about the Lord, and it seems like God is really trying to hunt her down because she said that I was the third person this week that had shared the gospel with her (but she didn't say "gospel) ;) Pray for her...
The alkaline cleansing is going reeeally well. I already feel so much better. And I am serious.
Itunes is having a GREEEAT deal on Fernando Ortega tunes right now. They put together a sweet 2-CD set (34 songs!) for only $10! If you haven't started your Fernando collection yet, NOW is the time.
My life is kind of whoozy right now. I don't even know if whoozy is a word, but that's what it feels like. Half of my life is awesome, steady, and consistent. But another half is just completely out of control. I don't think I have ever had a time in my life where I have literally been trying to picture God in the center of my life. People always say, "Keep your eyes focused on the Lord..." Sometimes I used to get annoyed by the statement, but right now I know that there is nowhere else I can look unless I want to fall. If I can just keep my eyes focused on Him, I know He will bring me through this time.
So, there are these 2 gals who go to my church, and I had dinner with them the other night (thanks for cooking Melissa!). Right away I noticed there was something different about these girls, because they brought everything that were planning on consuming! They had these bottles of water, and tupperware full of organic food. They explained that they only eat organic, and try to keep it to alkaline foods, including their water. The told us how they have this special filter which makes your water alkaline, and not acidic. I was skeptical at first, feeling like I was listening to a scam, but then I became intrigued. They are completely convinced that they will not get cancer because of this special water they drink and alkaline diet. Plus, they are just healthier all around.
Well, I thought, what the heck? I might as well try this thing. So I went to Mother's Market (which I am kind of loving even more than Trader Joe's right now), and bought my poly carbon water bottles, and all natural pills of some sort (they don't believe in taking supplements of any kind), and tonight I am going to head over to their house to fill up my bottles with their "miracle" water as I am going to start calling it.
I told them I was stoked about this because I was definitely planning on blogging the process. That way, if it flops, the whole world will know. ;)
So for the next couple of weeks, I am going to head over to their house every 2 days (because the water expires after 2 days), and fill up my water bottles. For the first week, I am not really going to change my diet and see how the water effects me. Then for the second week, I am going to change my diet to an alkaline based diet (See chart below), and monitor those results. If all goes well, then I am investing in an Alkaline machine. Please let me know if you have heard of this at all, sketchy or not sketchy...I want to hear your thoughts.
I spent a lovely day at the Getty on Saturday, with good friends - AJ, Stefanie, Camyron, and Jon - and we had a great time!
It was my first time at the museum, and I had no idea that so much beauty could all be wrapped into one little (FREE!) place. I was very motivated to get out more. I told Camy, "You know, there has to be a reason people want to vacation in Southern California."
I have lived in So Cal my whole life, but I don't think I have ever really enjoyed it. Sometimes I want to move away to a big city like DC or Chicago, just so I can see new things. Well, there are new things all around me here too! I just need to find them! I want to be more dedicated to doing fun things on my days off. I am so committed to this dedication, that I am even making a new label for my blog - "So-Cal Adventures". Hopefully that label will fill up with fun stories and great adventures!!
I highly recommend taking a trip to the Getty if you've never been. From the little tram ride, to the free umbrella's, it's a lovely place to go with friends, on a hott date, or an afternoon alone.
So I have been a little under the weather lately, which has been good and bad. Bad because I missed out on helping Melissa move yesterday, and Blythe's birthday...bummed about that. And, I missed church this morning, and Kendra's event where she was showing Invisible Children. Plus, I have been locked in the house for almost 48 hours now, and I have officially watched all of the "Bring it On" sequel movies. There are 3 of them. I am so pathetic. I hate how I never want to read when I am sick...is anyone with me on that one?
On the positive side, I have been able to watch a lot of CNN (yes, I do watch CNN and not Fox News...my advice - Watch CNN's coverage of the RNC, it's hilarious), which has been quite eye opening. Plus, I am sick, so I am much more emotionally sensitive to what I have seen. There were three specials that I watched. One on Biden, one of Palin, and one on the hurricane's that hit Haiti. For your sake and mine, I will only talk about Haiti in this blog.
If you don't attend my church, then you you probably haven't had the pleasure of meeting Stephen. Stephen is a baby who came from Haiti to Southern California to get surgery for Spina Bifida. Stephen is currently staying with the Worrell family.
The Worrell's are amazing. Ted and Fayanna are the parents, and Ted sits on our financial board at the church. Ted and Fayanna both sing on the worship team, and Fayanna is very involved in women's ministry, teaching once a month. Aubree, their oldest daughter, is a senior in high school, and she just returned from a mission trip from Germany. She wants to be a nurse...specifically would love to share her skills of nursing in Africa one day. She sings and plays keyboard for the high school worship team, and is a leader in the junior high. Nick and Brody are the boys of the house. They are in Junior High, and Nick plays the drums, while Brody leads worship on guitar, for the high school/junior high/children's worship team.
I am telling you, if there is any family that I would like to imitate my family off of, it would be the Worrell's. Not that you have to be involved everything to be awesome, but the Worrell's can't help to be involved because it is just genuine fruit coming from their genuine lives. They genuinely love Jesus A LOT. :)
So, the Worrell's took in Stephen, and provided him with everything he needed during his time of need before, during, and after surgery. Stephen is better now, and the surgery was very successful. But now, he is supposed to go back to Haiti. The Worrell's would love to adopt him, and there is another family in Texas that would love to adopt him (long story I won't go in to...), but the rules say he must go back. It has been a roller coaster journey for the Worrell's as they have come to love Stephen so much, and know that they could provide a better life for him here. Fayanna recently sent out an email informing us that the president of "Mending Kids" (the organization in which all of this went through) said, "If you can get the US Embassy in Haiti to agree that this type of adoption is the way to go and that Mending Kids will not be held responsible, I can agree to that." This is pretty good news!
Aubree and Stephen
Stephen with his doggy after surgery
As Stephen is perfectly safe in his warm bed at night, his family and friends are not in a very good situation a few thousands miles away. Hurricane Hanna, which hit Haiti a week ago, comes as bittersweet news. Bitter because of the massive pain and suffering in that country, and sweet because this could be the event that keeps Stephen in America. There is absolutely no reason to send Stephen back to country that is in total disarray. Here is an article that speaks about the most current condition of Haiti. The special I watched on CNN today had me reaching for a box of tissues, as even the news reporter seemed at a loss for words. There is this heavy burden and guilt that overcomes me whenever I see these situations on the plasma screen TV in front of me. Though it is not my plasma TV, and I would most likely never buy one, I can't help to feel overwhelmed by my circumstances. These people in Haiti do not have food. Most do not have homes anymore. They have to wade around in knee high inches of water to go from place to place because they do not have a sewer system.
People wading through the waters
Houses surrounded by water
People trying to get to dry land
Two precious little girls
Men made in the image of God
Looks like three generations to me...
A young family
The hundreds of people who are living nowhere because it's dry
Waiting in line for food
In one of the "Bring it On" movie sequels, the basis of the story was the head cheerleader's parents lost their jobs, and had to move to the "ghetto" of Los Angeles. At one point, the head cheerleader walks into class and realizes that she has to copy a huge amount of sentences off the chalkboard because they can't all have books. She then asks the teacher if she can just "have an email sent to her", and the teacher lets her know that if they could afford computers, they would have books. This young lady comes to the quick realization that she has been pretty lucky all her life. And though this situation should be not taken lightly, because not all schools are as equipped as the Orange County schools (even in America), the not so lucky schools should also be counting their blessings because the majority of kids in this world do not get any education. And even if it was offered, they wouldn't have time to go because most of them are just trying to survive.
I am contuinuily reminded about how I am "the rich". I am the "upperclass" of this world. I may not be the 1% (of which I currently live with...), but I am definitely in the 10%.
So what now? Should we sell everything we have, give it to the poor, and have nothing? Well, I don't think I would go that far. But I do believe that we need to start being waaay more generous than we already are. And I don't want to limit generosity with the giving of money. Though giving money is a great thing, we can also do other things as well. A prime example of this is the Worrell's taking in this young fella. They have a beautiful home, and a lot of love to give, and they are being so generous in starting all over with a brand new baby. Diapers and formula and wake ups in the middle of the night. They thought they were all done with these things, but God had a different plan.
I love that history tells us that the Christians stood out in Rome, back in Jesus' day, because they would adopt babies and not treat them as slaves. Usually if people didn't want to keep their newborn (usually females), they would leave them on the steps of the pagan temples. More often than not, people would drop by and pick up the baby, and raise them to be slaves for the rest of their lives. Well, when Christians came about, they would take the babies and raise them as family members. I can only imagine the "light" this must have been to the world around them.
We can be this modern day "light" too!
Even I am a prime example of a girl who could have grown up in foster care, but was so lovingly taken in by my parents at a young age. Born as a child out of wedlock...out of two people who didn't love each other...only to be raised and provided for, and saved by the Blood of the Lamb.
Please take away a few things from this blog:
1 - Pray for Stephen, and for God to keep him safely in the arms of the Worrell's.
2 - Consider adopting when you are at that stage of your life.
3 - Pray for the people of Haiti. They are hurting so badly.
4 - Check out the link to "Mending Kids". The organization doesn't require you to adopt, only to take care of children as they get their surgeries.
5 - Ask God how you can be more generous with your money, time, and talents. Lets go on this journey together.
For all my far off distant friends, you can listen to it here for a bit...and then correct all my "ummm's" and "like's"...I was too comfortable that night. I need a speech professional to train me! Ah! ;) Because I do want to say, the "umm's" and "like's" aren't that big of a problem for me...I don't know what happened...
I taught the high school kids at my church a few weeks ago and my "tough question" was - "How do you have a pure relationship?" I came up with some "ABC's" for a pure relationship -
A = Accountability
B = Boundaries
C = Commitment to God
But even through all my umm's and like's, I felt the Spirit lead me to an "altar call" at the end of the message. God helped me with the words, and three young people gave their lives to the Lord that night! I am daily amazed at how God can use this broken and sinful vessel (myself).
I love teaching. I have a lot of work to do to refine this "love", and I am blessed to have the opportunity to teach on various occasions.
So one of the pastors at my church and his wife are going to Honduras this weekend to take a mini "vision trip" for our church. Hopefully we will be able to "adopt" a portion of Honduras, and support everything happening there for the rest of our church life. Well I was so excited for them to go, and Tatum (the wife) was a little nervous about leaving her kids for so long (only 5 days..), so I offered to babysit one of the nights they needed help. Somehow, anytime I end up watching their kids, something crazy happens. For instance, the one time I was watching Cade when she was a baby and I didn't think to heat up the bottle of milk. No wonder she wouldn't drink the ice cold milk! It's not like I don't know what I am doing. I was ten years old when my twin sisters were born, which meant I learned a lot about little kids for the rest of my life. But I think just being solely responsible for THREE kids, all by myself, can make me nervous. The Normans always give me a hard time about messing things up when I watch their kids. I always reassure them - what could really go wrong when I have so much love for them? Right?.... :)
Weeeell, last night started out fine. The kids were already in bed and I was just hanging out reading. Right around 11pm I heard Cadence start to cry. She had been sick with a fever all day, and Tatum did not want to leave her. I told Tatum that her ticket to Honduras was too expensive to ditch out on. So I run upstairs and give Cadence her medicine and some water, and then she fell asleep again. Thirty minutes later I heard her crying again. But these weren't just any kind of cries, these were like panic attack cries of wanting her mother. I felt so bad because I would have to tell her that her mom was thousands of miles away in a third world country flying on little planes that could possible crash. Okay, I didn't tell her that, but nonetheless, she wasn't happy about her mother being gone. But who would be happy about that?! Even today when I am sick I want my mom to come take care of me. There is absolutely nothing more comforting than your mom's presence when you are sick. Cadence was so sad, she was making me want MY mom. But seriously, I didn't know what to do. I felt so bad. She was sick and crying, and so then I started to cry because I felt so bad! I just kept praying for God to give her comfort. :(
Finally she went to sleep again and then at around 12:30am she started crying again. It went on like this the ENTIRE night. Every time I would try to convince her to come sleep with me so she didn't wake up her sister, but she refused. I asked her if I could sleep on the floor with her (because I was tired of getting up and walking down the hall), but she also refused to let me do that. The worst was at 3am when I had to give her her next dose of medicine. It seriously took like 20 minutes and 20 sips. She did not want to drink her medicine. I was bribing her with everything. Juice boxes, toys, dolls, a twenty-dollar bill...anything. Finally she drank it and fell asleep again. So the half-hour increments kept me up all night, and it was just insane. Finally at 7am I got up and gave her her medicine again. Ryah was already up and so I put a movie on downstairs. I packed Elias' lunch, made him breakfast, and helped him get ready.
Finally I get everyone outside and head to the car. I shut the house door and then quickly realize - I forgot the house key inside. I locked us out! At that point I just wanted to collapse, but quickly realized that I had left the slider door open because I had just let the dog (Denali) outside to pee. Looks like I was going to be hopping the fence when I got back. I load everyone in the car and also realize that the Norman's driver side door is broken. So I climb over the passenger seat into my seat, and we are finally on our way. We drive to school and I am trying my hardest to have Elias explain to me where he needs to be dropped off at. They are not telling me any information other than, "Don't park in the red! There are cops everywhere! My mom gets tickets all the time! Don't park in the red!" I was saying, "Okay! Okay! I am not going to park in the red...just tell me where to go, pleeeease." They don't know what to tell me so I just get in the line of cars that drops off the kids on the sidewalk. I pull up and I see Elias' neighbor friend, and I am like, "Elias, there is your friend, jump out and walk with him." Elias was adamant that he was not allowed to get out at this point. I keep trying to convince him that it's okay, he won't get in trouble, just get out and walk to class (because I can't park because it's red!). People were honking at me and getting all angry because I was sitting in the "drop-off zone" for so long. Ryah was convinced that Elias could get out there, so I believed her. Finally, Ryah said to Elias, "Elias, Carrie is the boss, you have to listen to her!" So Elias was like, "Okay, I will get out...but I have to walk FAR!" And then proceeded to slam the door. Naturally, I didn't believe him, but I yelled out the window, "Don't worry Elias...I will follow you to your class in the car." Oh, did I mention that I was trying to avoid getting out of the car and walking because right before we left Cadence was telling me how she needed to throw up. I really didn't want her to throw up all over me while walking Elias to class.
So of course I end up being wrong, and poor Elias with his recently healed limp foot has to limp all the way around the school. Now, I don't think he reeeally has to do this...I think this is just where Tatum likes to drop him off. He can actually go THROUGH the school, but for some reason, they go AROUND the school gate, all the way up this hill, and down this set of stairs. But still, I felt horrible because I dropped him off sooo far away. I am a horrible person.
So the girls and I get home and we walk around to the side gate which I realize is locked. The dog is freaking out, but I just thought she was excited. No. I quickly discover that she is trying to attack us as intruders when I lift Ryah over the fence and Denali attacks her. She is scratching her and biting her. Ryah is crying and I am just screaming at Denali trying to climb myself over the fence. But I can't leave Cade! Ah! Finally I grab onto Denali, and I am yelling at Ryah to go into the house and shut the door so Denali doesn't follow her. Ryah is trying to get the door open and it won't budge. I just keep telling her to pull harder and finally the door budges. I grab Cade and we start walking back. Apparently Ryah had let Denali out of the house, so she runs (super fast) by us and pushes Cade over on the ground. So now Cadence is crying like a maniac and the dog is running around the street like crazy and so I just get the girls in the house and shut the door because I am scared that Denali will come in and attack us or something (Tatum knows I am scared of this...) ;) and then the girls start crying saying, "Let Denali in...she is out there all alone." I am thinking, what the heck? The dog just attacked both of you! So I open the door and the dog comes running in. I yell at her to get in the backyard, and finally, we settle in again.
By this point I am so exhausted. I haven't slept. I haven't even gotten ready, so I just look a MESS. I make breakfast for the girls, and they eat and watch their show. I make Ryah's lunch and I get ready for school. Then, I have to do it all over again. Except this time I grabbed the house key, and no matter what, I was walking Ryah to class. Dropping off Ryah was easier, though she was adamant about letting her walk herself once her friends were in sight. I let her walk herself, but stalked her until she was inside the gate sitting in line. Ryah gave us a wave and smile and we were good to go. Cadence and I made it back (while climbing over and back over the passenger seat a million times I want to add...), and settled down to watch the Doodle Bops...or whatever the heck those creepy painted people are called. Now I am just waiting for Aunt Joyce to come here and relieve me. Oh what a relief it will be. I am so not ready to have children...
I wanted to take time today to remember two people.
The first - Lisa Frost. Lisa was a graduate of Trabuco Hills High School (my high school), and unfortunately she was on one of the planes that crashed into the World Trade Towers on September 11, 2001. She had just graduated college (she was a senior when I was a freshman), and was on her way to San Francisco to start her new job. Her life was just beginning when it was tragically taken from her. You can continue to pray for her family; they reside in Rancho Santa Margarita.
Secondly - Justin Pollard. Justin was a friend of mine who graduated with me from Trabuco Hills High School. After 9-11-01, Justin joined the army, and two years later was killed while in Baghdad. I often think of him, and how when we were in high school we didn't have a care in the world, and we all just had a great time. Justin went overseas and fought for MY freedom, and through that sacrificial act, he lost his life. I think of him and his sacrifice often. You can also continue to pray for his family; they reside in Foothill Ranch.
I just think it is really strange that right around election time, the oil prices decrease, so we can buy our gas for cheaper prices. Then all the Republican party talks about is drilling in America so we can keep our prices down like this. I must admit, even I have fallen for this! I hate paying high prices for gas!
But I realized something...they are probably just lying! Gas prices are going to go up again as soon as (if) McCain gets elected, and I will go back to hating my car even more. I got 2 tickets and 1 flat tire last week, after already paying about $100 in gas money (in one week alone!). My entire pay checks seem to go towards my car lately. So annoying.
Sarah Palin is great. She really is. I love her. I want to be her. I love that her being elected VP will help me, as a woman, have the ability to succeed even more in a political realm (if I ever wanted to do that).
But I just keep thinking about the last 8 years; they were kind of crummy. And I keep thinking about all the issues that were never brought up at the RNC; it was just a bash fest.
Stumbled upon this little gem of a website - yearbook yourself - where you can see what you would have looked like from the 1950's all the way until now. It's super fun, you should try it too! This last one is modern day and it looks pretty close to my hairstyle...funny.