Sunday, December 30, 2012

Happy New Years 2013!




Happy New Year!


May you not be afraid to take risks, dream big, and find adventure
May you live fully, serve passionately, and love deeply
May 2013 be filled with Gods love, joy and peace

The best is yet to come....


Glory to God in highest heaven,
Who unto man His Son hath given;
While angels sing with tender mirth,
A glad new year to all the earth.
~Martin Luther


Whether we want them or not, 
the New Year will bring new challenges; 
whether we seize them or not, 
the New Year will bring new opportunities.  
~Michael Josephson










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Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas Cheer


Christmas 2012


I just got back from our Christensen family Christmas
I am sitting at home listening to my last bit of Kenny G Holiday
 Nostalgic feelings always surface around Christmas time
The longing to be home is strong 
Christmas "renews our youth and stirs our wonder"


Though Christmas is still all around me the "magic of Christmas" has come to pass
The presents are unwrapped
The gatherings and get togethers are done
The New Year parties being planned
The stores bringing out Valentines day decorations 

I will have to start taking down and packing all my Christmas decorations
I will have to start planning for my return to work and getting organized for the New Year
Everything the past two months leading to this season is over and done

However, this year is different for me
 Instead of being sad, bitter and horribly anxious that this season is over 
I am HOPEFUL

I am reminded that our true present is our Savior Jesus Christ
We don't have to wait just for Christmas to accept His gift
The Christmas season simply reminds us of this perfect gift 





"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, and Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

Isaiah 9:6


His Love
His Peace
His Grace
His Redemption
His Forgiveness
His Acceptance

We can be hopeful
All year long

So I will be! 

I am hopeful that He has amazing things planned for me this coming year
I am hopeful that my life is going EXACTLY how He wants it
I am hopeful that I am being made and prepared everyday for His glory

That is one GREAT gift!







 ---------------------My Christmas in pictures!

Mom and dad say that Chris and I have to take pictures "with santa" until I get married- Oh geez

It has been quite the holiday break for me!
It started with a wedding on Dec. 21st
My sister was my wedding date-or maybe I was hers? :) 


My sister and I have always had a great relationship
But I will always remember our time together before the wedding
We had an amazing talk that I will never forget

I was feeling pretty sorry for myself that day
I did not exactly know what I was longing for or why I felt so empty
That night was definitely an answer to prayer
Being able to talk to my sister and be completely vulnerable was such a blessing
She knew exactly how I felt
We talked for awhile about our dreams, goals, and the desires of our hearts


It was exactly what I needed

What I prayed for
Just some good ol' sister bonding
I am excited to grow closer and stronger in our walk together


Me. Beth, Jordan, Amanda, Bailey
Another NBC girl gets married


Seahawks! Dec. 23rd the Seahawks beat the 49ers in a HUGE Division game!
Jace was just as excited like his auntie  


Christmas Eve night
Christmas night

Reading by the fire with my mom and CHristmas carols playing
I am learning to cherish all the moments being home
The little blessings in life 


I am so excited to start reading these books!

Greater
The Reason for God


And I am so in love with Jace I cant even handle it!
Look at that smile!
One of Christmas's best presents
#onlysecondtobabyJesus


The both love me don't let this one fool you!

Christensen cousins- missing Jon and Joey 


Christmas 2012 you were one to remember!


"I trust in God's unfailing love for ever and ever. For what you have done I will always praise you in the presence of your faithful people. And I will hope in Your name, for Your name is good."

Psalm 52:8-9 



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Friday, December 21, 2012

Your power, Your Glory

I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.
Psalm 63:2
Dear Jessie,

My plan for your life is unfolding before you. Sometimes the road you are traveling seems blocked, or it opens up so painfully slowly that you must hold yourself back. Then, when time is right the way before you suddenly clears-through no effort of your own. What you have longed for and worked for I present to you freely, as pure gift. You feel awed by the ease with which I operate in the world, and you glimpse My power and My glory.

Do not fear your weakness, for it is the stage on which My power and Glory perform most brittiantly. As you preserve along the path I have prepared for you, depending on My strenghth to sustain you, expect to see miracles- and you will. Miracles are not always visable to the naked eye, but those who live by faith can see them clearly. Living by faith, rather than sight, enables you to see My Glory.

 Love,
Your father

Living by faith, not by sight

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The Holiday Magic


Life lately has been quite busy  
I am constantly reminded to slow down
The world is not going to end (pun intnded) if I dont get everything done on my "to-do list that happens to get longer everyday
It is OK not have every present wrapped perfectly
It is OK to not bake everything on my list
It is OK to just stop and soak up this special time of year
Enjoy the Holiday
Enjoy the Magic
Enjoy His Presence


Last night my roomate Candice and I went on a spontaneous outing to se Christmas lights
I knew a Starbucks that was opened 24 hours so of course we got our peppermint hot chocolates first
We drove to a place called Candy Cane lane in Seattle
We drove the street and day dreamed what we would decorate when we get our own houses someday
We stayed up late but it was just what I needed
A perfect holiday filled night



Who doesnt enjoy this classic?!



I realized baking stresses me out, yet I still seem to always find myself baking during this time of year


I was squeezing, hugging and kissing Jaceman a little extra last Friday






My brother, Doug and I at my uncles holiday party for Seattle Community Theatre. 


And of course Christmas candles, Christmas music
Filling my mind and heart with the one thing that always brings me peace






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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas in Heaven

We will never understand why things like this happen
We only can cling on to God all the more
Cling on to His promise
Cling on to His love

His evertlasting, never forsaking peace, love and comfort

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds
Psalm 147:3




--------------------------------------------


I am praying with and for the world
I am mourning with the world
But honestly, it has taken me a few days to really comprehend what happened
Last night as I was praying
My radio on low as usual
 This song came on

"Christmas in Heaven"
 Is there snow falling down on the streets of gold
Are the mansions all covered in white
Are you singing with angels silent night
I wonder..... what Christmas in Heaven is like
Are you kneeling with shepherds before him now
Can you reach out and touch his face
Are you part of that glorious holy night
I wonder..... What Christmas in Heaven is like

Instant tears
Tears of sadness
Tears of pain
Tears of frustration

Why?
Why another terrible tragedy?
Heavy Hearts
Mourning
Griefing
Questioning
All part of the process
But never really fully understanding

After some minutes of sobbing, God began to reveal something to me
Through the terrible sadness we all are experiencing
Through our human pain and suffering on earth
It is a reminder that we are not home

They are HOME

They get to dance on streets made of gold
Play in the mansions covered in white
They get to sing silent night with the angels
and kneel with the shepherds
They get to touch the face of God
and experience a glorious Holy Night

They dont have to wonder what Christmas in Heaven is like
They get to experience Christmas in heaven
They get to experience their best Christmas ever
How sweet that is!

Dancing with angels this Christmas!


I pray for the friends and families of the victims.
I pray that they will seek the comfort of Christ and that He may give them a peace and healing that only He can provide.



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Monday, December 17, 2012

He from whom all blessings flow


Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord.

Psalm 150:6
Come to me with your gaping emptiness, knowing that in Me you are complete. As you rest quietly in My presence, My light within you grows brighter and brighter. Facing the emptiness inside you is simply the prelude to being filled with My Fullness.
Therefore, rejoice on those days when you drag yourself out of bed, feeling sluggish and inadequate. Tell yourself that this is a perfect day to depend on Me in childlike trust. If you persevere in this dependence as you go through the day, you will discover at bedtime that Joy and Peace have become your companions.
You may not realize at what point they joined you on your journey, but you will feel the beneficial effects of their presence. The perfect end to such a day is doxology of gratitude.
I am He from whom all blessings flow.

 -----------------------------------------------------------
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.
2 Corinthians 4:6
For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.
Colossians 2:9-10




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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Marriage and Mission



Since I have been on this blog journey of my own 
I have been fascinated by reading other blogs as well
I have my few favorites I like to read daily
I don't personally know any of them
but that is ok because in a weird, round about way I feel we are friends

They encourage me
They inspire me

They continue to give me hope for my future
They encourage me to deepen my faith
They inspire me to love deeper
And sounds like a good friend to me

For example, below is a post from a women about marriage
She and her husband are Christians who desire to serve Christ
Who love Christ with all they have

This post from Katie is exactly the kind of marriage I desire of my own someday

Read below and get inspired 


---------------

i preface this small and humble observation by merely pointing out i am no expert. 
that is, i've only been married one year to be exact. 

but in this one marvelous turn of the world,
where 365 moons have passed,
and we have only begun to learn the depths of care for each other,
a lovely truth has truly emerged so striking and so profound that I cannot deny it. 

ahh yes, and this is it:

we are better together, than apart. 

not just in the earthly sense which fills my most physical needs 

but in the most beautiful divine

when Kev and I began to talk about marriage, I began to wonder what the point of marriage was.  It wasn't because I had bad examples, far from that. Both sets of our parents have been married over 30 years and are unmistakably in love.

it was a deep sense of wondering how I could ever love God and people, more, being married.  
and then I got married and discovered that God's plan for marriage is just that. 
to work together as a team to radiate Christ's deep agape in a fuller expression. 

and herein lies the point of this small post. 
i so believe marriage is about mission. 

it's about being called by God as a team
to have a purpose higher than yourselves
to laugh and love and cry and journey with meaning
it's about fulfilling the great commission with your heavenly Love and your earthly dearest

and when we serve the Lord in tandem
and i watch kevin pick up a small child and swing him around
and read him stories
and pray with him
I am ever more in love with that radiant soul
because I am watching our Savior seep out of him

and that is glue. 
that binds. 

when we crawl out of our world
and together reach into the epic calling of Abba
is when we find life
and life together. 

henri nouwen says, 
"...marriage is foremost a vocation. Two people are called together to fulfill a mission that God has given them. Marriage is a spiritual reality. That is to say, a man and a woman come together for life, not just because they experience deep love for each other, but because they believe that God loves each of them with an infinite love and has called them to each other to be living witnesses of that love. To love is to embody God's infinite love in a faithful communion with another human being.

to say that we've attainted this fully would be foolish.
no, no, we struggle on. 
but last night as we both shared how we desire this next year of our marriage to look,
we knew it was to be centered around mission. 
that all who encounter us would be covered in a higher, deeper, richer heavenly love. 

because marriage isn't just about pleasing our earthly selves,
it is about serving a divine King and living out His calling on our lives
together

and boy is it one great adventure. 

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Dream BIG my Darling





I found this gem on Pinterest

I feel like it should read this...

"Jessie, don't you remember I am a God who can do more in a second than you can ever imagine? Dream big, my darling. I will give you the desires of your heart all you have to do is keep pursuing Me and dream big. Let Me rock your world."

Dream I will...


"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us."
Ephesians 3:20

"Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart."


Psalm 37:4


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Monday, December 10, 2012

Wherever You Go


Even though I walk through the darkest valley
 I will fear no evil, for you are with me 
your rod and your staff they comfort me.

Psalm 23:4




When the business of the season gets overwhelming 
When I get caught up in the worldly expectations 
When my dreams seem too big and out of reach
When my fear of failure overtakes my mind

I was reminded yet again to keep HIM my focus 
Keep HIM my on my mind 
Let Him lead me through this day
Step by step

Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

John 12:26

Those who know your name trust in you,
    for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.

Psalm 9:10 

When this happens, eventually I will learn to relax and enjoy this adventure of this journey together. 
As long as I stay close to Him, His sovereign Presence will protect me wherever I go. 

-----------------------


And what an adventure I am on
Sunday was a day full of Christmas festivities for our family



My brother and I LOVE traditions
A couple weeks before Thanksgiving we tag a tree
Then beginning of December we go cut it down
Every. Single. Year. 

My mom stays home, turns on the music and makes coffee for our arrival
We go to the McNeely's tree farm just outside of Enumclaw 

I love choosing the perfect tree
I love getting bundled up 
I love listening to Christmas music on the way 
I love the hot cider and candy canes 
I love walking through all the trees 
I love the smell of the trees 
I love getting my hands full of sap
I love everything about this tradition

I will admit, every year I always seem to have just one moment of sadness
Just one minute!
I cant help but think when I am married 
Will this tradition stop?
Can I still come with my dad and brother?
I don't want to stop

OK, come back to the present Jessie
Why worry about that?
I am going to enjoy this tradition and the memories we made and are making


I received this ornament last spring and finally am able to hang it up
I decided to hang it at my parents tree because this is where I will be for Christmas 
It is a special ornament so it needs to be in a special place
My parents home


After decorating our tree we headed into Seattle for dinner and Elf the musical
Every Christmas season our family enjoys one night out to enjoy the festivities
We love going to musicals at 5th Ave.



Beth and Kevin were able to get a babysitter!
But don't worry we were getting updates on our baby
So it was kind of like he was with us right? 

Seriously, how cute is he?!






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Saturday, December 8, 2012

Saturday of Bliss



I slept past 10:30 which I haven't done in forever
It felt good to sleep in

I got out of bed
Lit some holiday candles
Ate breakfast, did my quiet time 
All on my own time

No pressing event 
No schedule that morning
Just me and Saturday



I say this all the time and I am sure my Instagram followers are tired of all my pictures
But I absolutely am in LOVE with Greenlake 
Every season I find myself saying "This is my favorite time of year!"
It is beautiful all year around
Something new, beautiful and exciting going on

This morning I ran around the lake 
Christmas music playing
Crisp, cold winter air
Trees turning from fall to winter
Leaves on the ground
The sun shining
It was pure bliss



I was planning on just hanging around my house with my roommates until the SPU mens game 
Then my friend Bailey called!

She was going to a store near my house
So we met up for coffee at none other than Starbucks!
We went to a Starbucks I haven't been too in awhile

A middle age man came up to us and started randomly chatting about how old he was and how he missed the bus

Lets just say I don't think he was all with it
It was quite an interesting experience 
We had quite the laugh afterwards

Nonetheless, we had a great time catching up and talking about upcoming events with our Bible study group!




Carrie Underwood one of my favorites!

I was driving back from Starbucks with Bailey listening to 105.3 or 106.9
Poor country music is totally getting the back burning
Even if there is a commercial on I put in a Christmas CD
Christmas music ALL THE TIME

It was one of those Saturdays where I woke up and felt JOY
Blessed
Thankful
Rested


Looking forward to getting our Christensen family tree today and then out in Seattle with dinner and  Elf the musical

LOVE THIS TIME OF YEAR! 
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Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Purpose Driven Life

Warning: LOTS OF READING AHEAD!

The dictionary defines PURPOSE as "the reason for which something exists or is done, made, or used."


Have you ever wondered what is YOUR purpose here on earth?
Why You exist?
Why you were made?

I always knew that life is more the basketball, family, friends, my career
I knew that I God has called us to serve and love
I knew God has a purpose and a plan
It says in the bible "For I know the plans I have for you.."
But I had a hard time finding that plan for me
I had a hard time finding something I was passionate about
Was I supposed to go to Africa?
Seriously, I was lost.
How do I find my purpose?

 
Fast forward 27 years, and lots of praying, self discovering, heart break, tears, anger and frustration and I am just now grasping that my purpose here on earth is not about me
Let me say that again, THIS LIFE IS NOT ABOUT ME
It is not about my family or friends
It is not about my career or even my wildest dreams or ambitions

If you want to know why you were placed on this planet
 you must begin with God
You and I were born by His purpose and for His purpose

"You were made by God and for God-and until you understand that, life will never make sense. It is only in God that we discover our origin, our identity, our meaning, our purpose, our significance, and our destiny"
-Rick Warren

Focusing on ourselves will never reveal our life's purpose
When we start looking outside ourselves, start living our life serving God by loving others is when we find our purpose

The easiest way to discover your life's purpose is to ASK GOD
This consisted of A LOT of praying for me
Praying for God to help me with my selfishness
Praying for God to show me how HE wants to use me
Praying that HE would guide me in the right direction 
Praying that HE would provide opportunities for me to serve
Praying for HIM to fire a passion in my heart to serve

I remember last January my roommate and I were talking about life
We both were in a rut in our careers and both felt we wanted more from life
This was the beginning of God tugging at my heart
This was when I knew I was created for more

My roommates mentor from high school sent her the prayer of Jabez that night
"Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil." 1 Chronicles 4:9-10

I thought it couldn't hurt so I started praying that prayer everyday

God is so good
God does answer prayers

Then came that spring
I had been looking for ways for our athletes could get more involved in the community
I was searching for random charities and events that the SPU athletes could get involved with
I didn't even think about myself serving with them 

God has another idea...








I dont know why 
I don't remember how
But those charities were placed on my heart 
 I needed to contact them, so I did
I felt like my heart was going to burst with excitement
With purpose
With anxiety
With fear
All rolled into one!

Flash forward to this winter, not even a year ago, and I am head over heels in love with dedicating my life to helping children with pediatric cancer and illness

I know now that St. Jude and Make-A-Wish had been charities that were placed on my heart for a reason 

I long to help 
I long to provide
I long to serve
I am sure of it

So whether I am organizing a toy drive, running a race, climbing stairs, advising fundraisers
I long to spread more faith, hope, love and joy to those children who are in need

You know those pictures of famous people going into children's hospitals and seeing the children with HUGE Smiles??
They light up!
Instant smiles

 Well, I have dream of having that ability one day
Going into hospitals and being able to make children smile 
Smiles of JOY
Feelings of HOPE
Sense of LOVE
Sharing FAITH

Can you imagine having that ability?! 
...one day



But right now I am doing my best to follow what God has placed in front of me, with the resources He has given me, and of course the passion He has placed in my heart

Is this my purpose?
I don't know but I am going to continue to ask God to show me
Use me for His Glory

AND guess what month is Childhood Cancer Awareness month?

September!

Which happens to be my birthday month 

Coincidence? 
Maybe another way God is reassuring me :) 

----------------------------------


On that note, here is a little girl who captivated my heart!
She was the CNN young Hero winner
 If you know me you know I do not cry that much
During her segment on CNN I was balling
Tears of pain
Tears of sadness for her family
But mostly for her strength and inspiration 

As you can see, Jessie passed away but her legacy lives on with Joy Jars
I am hoping to get our SPU SAAC involved and do a toy drive for her Joy Jars
I asked if we are able to deliver them, but only specific personnel...one day :) 



HER FAVORITE BIBLE VERSES WERE:

"I can do all things through him who strengthens me."
Philippians 4:13

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."
Joshua 1:9



Her message of hope, strength and perseverance has made its way around the world inspiring both young and old to stay strong and reach for their goals. 
Jessie’s motto to Never Ever Give Up will always be our message to kids and families across the globe.

I am excited to see how God is going to use me for Jessie! 

PS- could she have a better name?! ;) 
----------------------

Speaking of inspiring little children!
Meet Emma Joy!
Another little girl who has been such a blessing


This evening I participated in the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's Stair Climb!  
56-floors to the top of the WAMU Tower
My lungs burned
I thought my  throat was bleeding on fire
But I survived! 

Emma Joy is one my co-worker’s daughter 
who has brought so much joy, not only me but our office.




I have gotten to know her better the past couple years and have loved spending time with her. She may only be in 3rd grade but this girl is teaching me so much!



Emma is a servant

Always asking me how she can help me- in fact I thanked her one time for helping and she said “I love helping people!”
Emma is SO bright
She assists me during athletic events by counting money and tickets- Most events she is more accurate than my college workers
Emma is fun to be around
She enjoys “Can You See What I See” books and we read those whenever she comes into the office
Emma has tons of energy
Emma always thinks of others

Despite her first chronic airway issue, Emma is a thriving 3rd grader and she remains healthy enough, indeed blessed enough to ascend the 56 floors for the third time
This is the first year I climbed for the E-Team! Keith, the dad and co-worker, mentioned it was stronger than ever this year (I like to think because I joined) but it was probably just because we had more people :) 


Cant beat that smile!


Perfect gift from above





A fathers love


Life is not about discovering yourself, but becoming what God created you to be



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