Saturday, March 30, 2013

Prayer Chain // Week 5

Happy Easter!!


Praise Jesus for His transforming, life-saving love. There is nothing like it in this world. I hope today, you feel His love like you never have before. 

Prayer Request

This week, I ask that we join together to pray for those people who commit their lives to Christ this Easter. 

I am sure there will be those that feel the overwhelming presence of God growing inside of them each and every day. 

But, I am also sure that there will be those that feel the overwhelming attacks from satan that are sure to follow an incredible movement such as this. The doubt, the "I'm not good enough" lies, the pressure. Anything that could possibly deter them from sticking with the decision to live for Christ, let's pray against all of it. 

Let's come together to pray for these lives, that are sure to bring tremendous glory to the kingdom of our Savior. 

I love you all! Happy Easter, my beautiful siblings in Christ :)

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray.
Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praises.
Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them
pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.

James 5: 13-14
Sweet Home Santa Barbara

Friday, March 29, 2013

2013 Bucket List - Progress Check

March was a big month, people. It started with moving, and big things kept'a coming. 

Let's take a look at Bucket List progress, shall we?

1. Run at least 3 races (any distance 5K and over)

Done!! With the Run or Dye 5K and the Hot Chocolate 15K both completed this month, I get to cross this bad boy off!

But now, I've caught the racing bug. So Half Marathon, here I come!

-10K Coronado Valentine's Day Race: Feb 17th / DONE! 54 min, 8:30 mile pace




-5K Los Angeles Run or Dye: March 9th / DONE!



-15K San Diego Hot Chocolate Race: March 24th / DONE! 1hr 26min, 9:14 pace




-Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Marathon: May 11th / registered!


2. Read 30 books

So far, I've read 3 and a half books.

...

Yeah, looks like all that time I've spent running has taken away from the reading, ha!

Even though I've been majorly slacking, I can say that I've liked all of the books so far. Hoping to pick up the pace, but also realizing that the main focus is to read for enjoyment, not numbers. 

Keep up with my reading progress here.

3. Get a passport

Welll, I said I'd be submitting my app this month, and I definitely did not. Whoops.

It's officially moved from my room to my car, though. So I'm like half way there, right?



4. Travel outside of the country (preferably missions related)

No updates here. Honestly, this one is in God's hands. I've officially decided that if I'm meant to go out of the country this year, He will make it clear to me. 

Hey Kerrie, you just let me know when you and Wade are ready for visitors! ;)

And if not, 2014's where it's at.

5. Cross off at least 2 states

This is for my 50 State Challenge.

No flights booked, but I'll be crossing off Indiana when I go to The Influence Conference in September. 

Who wants me to come visit them to cross off my second state? Any takers?

6. Meet a blogger friend IRL

I will officially be meeting so many of my closest blog friends at Influence, and I can. not. wait. 

7. One spontaneous trip

Tahoe: Back in January


8. One random act of kindness per month

January: gas station

February: check! 

March: check!

I spent the majority of March hearing nothing in regards to what my random act should be. It made me realize that some months will be an overwhelming sense of THIS IS FROM THE LORD! and others might not be like that. 

But isn't that just how faith is in general? Sometimes, you feel an overwhelming wave of His presence. And other days? Not so much. But regardless, we walk steadily on towards our goal of meeting face to face with our Savior. 

Anywho, He did come through guys :) Yes, He did.

9. End the year with 0 balance on credit card

Revision: Maintain 0 balance on credit card


BAM. 

This was by far the most radical part of this month, feeling called to take out a significant chunk of my savings to pay off my credit card. And you can read all about that here

10. Double my savings

Revision: Rebuild my savings

As I said, a significant chunk of my savings was used to pay off my credit card. And I have absolutely zero regrets. There is so much peace with knowing I have not an ounce of debt. Thank you, Jesus!

All of that being said, I want to be as real as possible on this blog here. 

Why? To track progress. To watch what happens now that I have surrendered my finances to God. 

So today, I stand with my savings account at 44% of what it used to be. Goal: get that number to 100% by the end of the year.

11. Cut and donate my hair

Crossed off in January.


11. Take Milissa on a sister weekend getaway

This will be taking place this summer :)

12. Get a blog makeover!

Amy, from the Charming blog, and I have began this process! I am so excited about it, and can't wait until we have the final result!

If you're ever considering doing a blog makeover, I'd highly recommend Amy! One: she's got an awesome name. And two: she is a fabulous designer! And a breeze to work with!

So there you have it!

My progress, a quarter of the way in!

Did you make New Year's Resolutions? How are yours coming along?

<Bucket List progress tracked here>

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Looks As Of Lately

Spring is here!

And you know what else is here? Old Navy sales!


After a wonderful coffee date last night, I headed back to my car only to find that Old Navy was still open. 

So yes, I walked in. And yes, I walked out with nearly an entire new wardrobe. 

Hello Old Navy, welcome to my life. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

On Dating

Disclaimer: This post is on my heart, but I really have no idea where it's going to go. So expect a lot of babbling, and few pictures.

You okay with that? K cool. Here we go. 


Dating. 

Even just thinking about how old Amy used to approach dating stresses me out. Like stresses me the eff out. Because that's all it was for me: stress. 

And now that I've sufficiently stressed you the eff out with my usage of the word stress (okay, done now), I have some good news. 

In case I haven't mentioned it enough, God has been making some major changes in my heart lately. 

He's been shifting my view, teaching me, molding me into the person that He designed me to be. 

And with those changes, the stress that used to consume so much of my life has turned into the kind of peace that can only come from Jesus Christ, Himself. 

Recently, I had a break through with my dating life. 

You see, when I realized last year that I needed to surrender my entire life to Christ, the main thing I knew I was holding onto was my dating life. 

But guys, I was gripping on for. dear. life. 

We all have those things that we look to for security, right? The things that make us feel important, wanted, validated. 

Maybe for you it's your job, your role as a Mom, or your friendships. 

Maybe it's your leadership role in your church. 

We are constantly seeking approval, and fortunately, Christ releases us from that. He shows us that we are important. We are wanted. And that can never be taken away from us. 

But is it just me, or do we tend to smile at Christ and nod our heads like "Yes, Lord! You're right!" while secretly one hand is reaching out towards our security blanket here on Earth. 

That's how it was for me. And my security blanket: dating. 

I loved being someone's girlfriend. I honestly don't think it mattered who, as long as he had some good things going for him, I was thrilled to assume the position of girlfriend. 

And as I was hearing God cry out to me "I can give you what you're looking for!", I smiled and nodded, but couldn't ignore the voice in the very back of my head that said 
"No God, you can't." 

I think acknowledging that voice was the first step to my redemption. 

Doubt.

It was there. And it was controlling my actions, and my thoughts. 

Even as I was growing closer to God in a way that I never had before, releasing things that I had been holding onto for so long, that doubt caused me to keep one finger's grip

And one finger's grip makes all the difference, doesn't it? 

You see, the thing with the Christian life, is there is no middle ground. At least for me, there wasn't. I was either surrendering my whole life, or I wasn't. Point blank. 

And for a long time, I wasn't. 

But now, I am. 

Now, I have looked God in the face, with my hands extended out as far as they can go, and said "Here God! My dating life, you take it."

And I said it in reference to my financial situation, and I'll say it again:

You know what comes along with following His lead?

Peace.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Hot Chocolate 15K Recap

I'm not gonna lie guys, I was actually pretty nervous for this race. Something about it being 2.3 miles more than I had ever run before, and the first race I would be doing by myself left me feeling a lot less confident than I did for my 10K

When my alarm went off at 5:15AM, I hopped out of bed, grabbed a protein bar, threw on my running clothes and headed for the door. 

But not before my 8 year old sister crawled out of bed to give me a good luck hug :)

I drove the 30 minutes it took to get to beautiful downtown San Diego.


The Hot Chocolate 15K is the third race I've done this year (heck yes, I can cross off a 2013 Bucket List item!). I can officially say that the organization for this race was outstanding. And the main reason for that is because of how efficiently everything was communicated.

It was made very clear to us that traffic and parking were going to be a nightmare the morning of the race. They suggested that we plan to arrive significantly earlier than our start time due to this. And because I was informed of this, I didn't mind waiting in the long row of cars to get to a parking spot! It was anticipated.


When we registered for the race, we were asked how long we thought it would take us to finish. Using our projected paces, the race crew organized us into corrals where we would group up to start the race. 

We were made aware that each corral would be starting 3 minutes after the one before, to ensure for a smooth run. Again, perfect communication!

Not only could we guess when our actual starting time would be, but the planning paid off. The flow of the starting line (and the entire race) went great! Even as we were waiting, everyone was in great spirits. 


Now I mentioned that this was my first race alone, but I quickly found that that wasn't the case. 

Running has become a huge source of intimate time with the Lord for me. With worship music pumping me up, and His beautiful creation surrounding me (San Diego and Santa Barbara are not too shabby of places to run, am I right?) it's hard to not be filled with His love. 

Everything about this race had me feeling God's presence. And for that, I am thankful. 

It was a beautiful reminder that we are never alone.


This race was packed with hills. 

And you know what guys? I loved it. I loved the challenge. 

Running is really an amazing thing. You get to feel how strong your entire body is. Your chest perfectly pacing those deep breaths that keep you going. Your arms, just the slightest bit tense, briskly moving to keep up with your legs. 

And your legs? Man. There's nothing like it. Going up a hill and feeling every muscle from your thigh and hamstring all the way down to the tips of your toes pushing you further and further towards that peak that you're dying to reach. 

And knowing that you can stop and walk, but hearing God tell you Just a little farther, darling. You got this.

It's beautiful, that's what it is.

Crossing that finish line and knowing I had just completed my longest and most challenging run to date? 

Amazing.

Not to mention, this was waiting for me:


Is that not the cutest/most delicious looking Finisher's Mug?

For those remembering I gave up chocolate for lent, I only had the banana :)


I am so thankful that I have taken up a love for running. 

But I want to tell you something, if you're reading this thinking I'm a natural runner, I'm not.

Case and point: this post.

"I'm gonna be real though, if I can do this, anyone can.

I went for 2 runs this past weekend, and I am literally in horrible shape.

I'm talking can't even run a mile straight without stopping to walk.

Total speed with all of the walking is about an 11 minute mile.

Looks like the break from the stress fracture took a toll, huh?

So here goes nothing!"

That was a little over 3 months ago guys. 

In 3 months I went from being unable to run a mile straight, finishing at an 11 min mile, to running 9.3 miles straight at a little over a 9 min mile. 

It's true, what I said. If I can do this, anyone can.

Monday, March 25, 2013

I Made It!

Made it through the race, guys! 

It was wonderful. Thank you so much for your prayers, they were felt!

I'll have a full recap coming soon, but for now, I'll leave you with this.


Some truth and beauty for your Monday. 

Make it a great one :)

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Prayer Chain // Week 4

Happy Sunday, friends!
 
I hope you have all been having a wonderful week. I'm excited to be back for round 4 of The Prayer Chain!
 
First off, I want to extend a huge thank you to the lovely ladies who have been linking up every week. It has been a joy to pray for you, and I have loved getting to know your hearts better and better each week.
 
I also want to thank my wonderful cohost, and the master mind behind this beautiful idea, Melissa Jo. The Lord has truly blessed me with your friendship, girl!
 
And now the sappy stuff is out of the way, on to my prayer request for this week!
 
Mine is mainly for today, because chances are, as you are reading this I will be running my very first 15K.
 
Believe me, I am so excited! But I would be lying if I said I wasn't nervous, because I am.
 
This will be the longest that I've ever run, and I'm just praying that God be with me every mile along the way. I'm praying for good health, and a strong body. 
 
And no injuries!



 
I can 100% attest to feeling your prayers last week! I was able to run 7 miles on Thursday, which is the longest I've run since my stress fracture back in September.
 
After foam rolling, my knees felt sooo much better! No pain at all, which was wonderful.

 
Thank you so much for praying for me, I am so thankful for you all!
 
How can I be praying for you this week?
 
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray.
Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praises.
Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them
pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.

James 5: 13-14
 
Sweet Home Santa Barbara

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Debt Free!!

Finances.

It can be hard to talk about, am I right? How much you make. How much you spend. Where you spend it. How much you give back

Talking about money can get pretty personal. 

Recently, my Community Group leader brought up the importance about being open about your finances with other people. Opening yourself up, perhaps humbling yourself, and letting an outside party take a look at your spending habits. 

And with that: accepting the advice that you get back. 

A few weeks ago, I blogged about my decision to start tithing. I wasn't going to bring up finances on the blog, but when God went out of His way to prove His word true, I couldn't help but share. 

When I began tithing, I wasn't just surrendering 10% of my income to the Lord. 

I was surrendering all of my finances

What does that mean exactly?

No, I am not giving everything I own back to the church. 

But I am praying significantly over my money. Praying that I would be given discernment on how and where to spend it. 

And when I started praying, I had no idea the dramatic action that God would take. 

He likes to be radical, doesn't he? :)

9. End the year with zero balance on credit card

10. Double my savings

Those are two items on my 2013 Bucket List. If you've been tracking my progress, you might know that these have been two items that I've made minimal progress with. 

Well, this month, God took over. 

He had His ways of showing me what He wanted for my financial situation, and you know what comes along with following His lead? 

Peace.

It's a beautiful thing, really. 

So my bucket list items have changed a bit:

9. End the year with zero balance on credit card

Revision: Maintain zero balance on credit card

10. Double my savings

Revision: Rebuild savings.

Yupp, I'm guessing you used your analyzing skills to figure out that I took a significant chunk of my savings out to pay off my credit card bill. 

Maybe you think I should have done that a while ago, and I would say that you're correct. 

But it's funny, when we think of things on our own, stress gets in the way. 

But how could I drain my savings that much? 

What if I need to dive into that money? 

What about all my hard work building it up?

You know what God told me? 

I will take care of you. 

And BAM. The peace set in. I knew it was the right thing to do. 

So I write to you today with the wonderful news that I am 100% Debt Free today!

I never even considered myself in debt to begin with, but God showed me that He doesn't want His children in debt. 

And He showed me through my mom, who doesn't want her children in debt either :)

Thank you, Mom. I love you. 

And thank you, God. For your peace that only comes from surrendering my life to you. 

"And this same God who takes care of me
will supply all your needs from His glorious riches,
which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.
Now all glory to God our Father forever and ever!
Amen."

Philippians 4:19-20

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Thankful on a Humpday

Last night, after a wonderful phone convo with this girl, I hopped into bed only to be joined by the sweetest cuddle buddy I ever have seen. 


I found myself feeling quite thankful. And figured it was only appropriate to continue the thankful spirit to get through this Humpday. 

What I'm thankful for:

This tea // It's friggen amazing. Seriously. Thank you, Coffee Bean, for making a zero calorie tea that tastes nearly as awesome as a chai tea latte. 

It's rocking my work week. 

My job // The fact that it challenges me, uses my favorite parts of my major, and no matter how stressful things get, my coworkers are always hilarious.

Oh, and I'm most thankful for our flex day schedule. Especially when this Friday is a flex day, yahoo!!

Almond butter // I treat this stuff like it's frosting. Have officially come to the conclusion that I can only buy it on special occasion, because I can eat the entire jar in one sitting. 

Gchat // It gets me through my work days. Not to mention helps me keep in touch with some of my long distance besties, and helps me make new besties out of blog friends!

Ever see me on gchat? Say hello! I dare ya.

This lock screen // Or rather, learning how to make my own lock screens. I love being filled with truth every time I turn on my phone, and it's fun getting creative and making my own!


Worship music // Turns even a 7 minute car ride into the perfect worship sesh needed to get my day started on the right foot. 

And you best believe I'm gonna be needing that worship music to keep me pumped through the 15K that I'm running this weekend. 



You guys // All of you. I am so thankful for you all!


Happy Humpday, dears!

What are you thankful for today?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

9 Things I won't change my mind on

Excited to participate in this link up with Lauren and Tiffany!

The Austin Family Diary

Today's topics: 9 things I won't change my mind on. 

One // Jesus is my savior. 

And thank goodness for that! Because I for suuure need one :)

Two // Mexican food is always worth the calories.

I'm from Southern California, so I was basically born with a burrito in hand. 

Except this is probably legitimately true, considering Mama's last meal before I was born was at our favorite Mexican spot, Tony's. 

Three // A work out makes any day better.

No matter how I walk into the gym, I walk out happier. 

Four // Crazy or not, family is everything.

Some days we may all be a little crazy, but my family is my world. 

And I can't wait to see them this weekend :)

Five // I need the Bible. 

It tells me how to live my life. 

I might not always be good at following it, but I need the guidance. 

Six // Compliments go farther than you know. 

Compliment people. 

Friends, strangers, anyone. A little compliment can go a long way. 

Seven // Driving + loud music = perfect therapy sesh.

Works every time. 

Eight // A conflict takes two people. Apologize. 

Even if I don't feel as though I need to apologize, I always feel better after I do. 

Nine // Choose love. 

There is good and bad in every day. 

I need to choose to find the good. 

Choose to focus on the love. 

What are some things you won't change your mind on?

Monday, March 18, 2013

A Weekend Outdoors

Sometimes, you just need a weekend outdoors to appreciate how beautiful God's creation is. 

This weekend was one of those weekends for me. It was filled with almost all of my favorite people, and left me feeling incredibly grateful. 

Grateful that God put so much beauty in this world for us to enjoy. 

Grateful that I live in this incredible place called Santa Barbara. Where within 5 minutes, you can drive from the beach to the mountains. 

Grateful that I have so many incredible friends. And grateful that my friends are now becoming friends :)

And with that, I leave you a zilliontrillion photos. 

Because sometimes, no captions are necessary. 








Happy Monday, loves!

Have yourself a great one :)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Prayer Chain! // Week 3

Happy Sunday, lovelies!

I am so happy to be back for round 3 of The Prayer Chain, hosting with my wonderful friend, Melissa Jo

I'm gonna keep things short and sweet today, but I do have an incredible praise!


That's right! My aunt is officially cancer free. Thank you all so much for your prayers, and please pray that all check ups moving forward will keep showing the same good results!

As for prayer requests:

1) Please pray for healing for my roommate. You can read about her accident here. Recovery has been rough, and prayers would be much appreciated!

2) I will be running a 15K next Sunday, and please pray for God to keep my body strong through the race! This will be the longest that I have ever run, 9.3 miles. The last time I was running this much, I ended up with a stress fracture. Fortunately, I have not had any issues with my feet lately (yay!!). But I have been feeling it in my knees. 

Luckily, thanks to some wonderful Instagram advice (thank you!), my knees are feeling 100% better. Foam rolling has done wonders on my IT band, and I have had zero knee pain since!

Please pray that God would keep my body strong through the 15K, and as I continue to train for my Half Marathon in May. 

I cannot wait to hear all of your praise reports and prayer requests. 

Thank you so much for sharing your lives with us!


Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray.
Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praises. 
Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them 
pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 

James 5: 13-14

Sweet Home Santa Barbara