Wednesday, December 30, 2009


I never thought that I would even come close. I knew what a healthy balance was. But over these past 2 months, work has been so crazy that I have shut out many other areas of my life.

I was off work on Dec 24th, but decided to go pick up a check at the church office. While I was there, I went into our communication directors office and asked if I could borrow one of his books. I had seen it laying around, but never looked closely at it. Which is why I am not even sure why I asked for it (now I know).

"Mad Church Disease:Overcoming the burnout Epidemic" by Anne Jackson was the book.

I started reading it on the 26th on our way to Urbana, and finished it early on in the flight from LAX to St Louis.

These past 2 months, I have given 120% at work. There has been so much to do, and knowing that it needed to be done "now" didn't help.

It is extremely easy for me "to do" for God, that I forget how "to just be" with Him. To sit at the feet of my saviour. To rest in Him.

And it turns out that if I don't change my lifestyle soon, I am going to burnout.

I recommend that every church staff member and every church leader should read this book, if only for the knowledge of what it may look like if they are beginning to burn out or if someone they work with and know well may be experiencing this.

So while at Urbana, although there is lots to do, experience, and see, I am trying to reconnect with the Lord of my life, to figure out again what it can look like to slow down and just be in his presence.

When we get home, Blake and I are going to begin implementing some lifestyle changes that we have already begun to discuss.

This book has a lot of good information, helps you reflect on your situation, and gives you steps to changing all areas of your life (spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical).

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Healthy LifeStyle

Its confession time...

I love sleep. I use to know how to have a balance in my life between work, friends, boyfriend (at the time, now I sleep with him...because we are married!), and family. I use to have a healthy lifestyle. Exercise. Eating healthy (most of the time). Taking time to journal.

These past 3 months, well, it hasn't quite been like that. Shoot, it may be longer than that.

This past week:
I worked 46 hours in 4 days this week.
I got little sleep, until last night, when I slept for 11 hours. When my body was telling me to go to sleep at 7:30 last night, I knew something wasn't quite right.
I have eaten a bunch of crap this week.
Ice cream every night.

And my body feels it. It knows the stress. It knows that I am not feeding myself what I should.

And I feel...


So this weekend, I am going to try something different. I am going to rest. I am going to eat healthy. I am going to give my husband my undivided attention (some of the time at least). I am going to spend time with friends and family.

What do you do to maintain a healthy balance in your life?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Birthday Week!

I have had the best birthday week ever, thanks to my wonderful husband and friends.

I went to dinner with my friends and walked Christmas Tree Lane on Saturday night.

Sunday we went to Pasadena where I was surprised with a gift from Tiffany & Co and dinner with my sister and best friend.

Monday we went to Disneyland.

I was surprised with a second day at Disneyland on Tuesday.

We had a great time with my parents at dinner on Thursday night. I was surprised with an awesome bike and some other rather cool gifts.

And tonight Blake had something planned, but due to the whether I think it is being postponed.

I received a card each day from my wonderful husband...some sweet and some really funny.

Blake has made me feel so special this week. I am so glad that I have such an amazing husband who loves to show me how special I am to him.

Can't wait for all the birthdays I will get to share with him in the future!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Relevant Life

I want my life to be relevant. I want the topics I blog about to relevant.

What does it mean to lead a relevant life to you?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Dressing up our Dogs

Just because we can :)

Crazy Life

My life has dramatically increased in stress and business the past couple weeks. Although I am excited for the challenges, I am overwhelmed. I am feeling it now more than normal since I haven't had a day off in 10 days. I am tired. I am finding things that wouldn't normally bother me definitely rub me the wrong way lately.

I need to get away. Be with Jesus. And no one else. Even if it is for a couple hours. I am no good to myself or in ministry if I am serving out of a puddle instead of an ocean of God's love and mercy.

A Two Dog Family

Last Saturday, we got another puppy. Sammy is a lab mix, which we have discovered that he is mixed with Great Dane (he is a big boy). We thought it would be good for Sammy to have a friend at home. It has been an interesting transition, but overall we think he likes her.

Maddi is also a lab mix, but she is part terrier. I am glad that she is not going to be as big as Sammy, but right now, she is tiny compared to him.

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Whole New World

There are many things that Blake was not able to experience as a kid since he came from such a large family. I come from a family of 2 and my sister. During Halloween time, I remember going to McDonalds and getting a Happy Meal. During this time of year, the Happy Meal was given in a plastic pumpkin. Blake did not have the joy of experiencing this as a kid. Friday night, he took me to Ruths Chris to celebrate six wonderful months of marriage. Sunday night, between meetings and class, I took him to McDonalds for a Happy Meal!

I had him meet me at the McDonalds at Willow and Nees, which is connected to a Union station. I told him to meet me at the Union 76 station at 5:15 (to throw him off!). I got their early and ordered the Happy Meal, put it in a pumpkin that I got at Target, and waited for him to show up. When he got their, he loved it! Of course, it wasn't quite the same as if he were a kid, but he sure did enjoy it!

Oahu 2009

Blake's brother is in the Coast Guard and is stationed in Hawaii. This is where Blake proposed last September. We had the opportunity to go out to visit Drew, Vanessa, and our nephew Tommy a week ago. We had a blast! We were upgraded for free to first class on the way over and were given a free upgraded convertible to drive while there.

A free place to stay+airline miles (free flight)+vacation days+bulldog football=Us going to Hawaii!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


I read Shaun Groves blog. I like what he has to say, even though I don't always agree with it. He is usually pretty insightful and makes me think.

I have been struggling with what it means to rest, to have a sabbath. Life is so busy that when I have an evening off, I am not quite sure what to do with myself.

Here is a portion of Shaun's blog from today:

"I’m always working because I’m never satisfied. At night I stay up dissecting the day and fretting over the next, sifting through the moments I wish I could do-over, prognosticating tomorrow’s troubles. Even when my body isn’t in motion my mind is still working away, tweaking the past and perfecting the future before it even arrives. I’m a bundle of anxiety and regret.

It’s good? Good enough to leave alone?

Taking a sabbath requires me to be satisfied with myself, with my reputation, with my income and the amount of stuff I own, with the finished and half-done and not-even-started. With God. With the life he’s made me – so far."

Am I not truly satisfied with life? Is that always a bad thing?

Do you struggle with taking a real "sabbath"? What do you like to do to rest?

To read the entire blog, go here.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My All-In-One Man

My husband is awesome. He can pretty much build, install, or fix anything. It is amazing.

His degree was in construction management at Fresno State, but he graduated from COS with his certificate in HVAC. He grew up watching his dad build custom cabinets and watching his grandpa fix/work on cars. Along with that, he has picked up many skills along the way, such as electrical and plumbing.

Last week, he built us a closet organizer.

Check it out!

If you ever need anything done, let me know!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Trip to the Big City

When I first met my husbands parents, I was deemed as the "city girl". Not sure if that is becuase I lived in DC for a bit or the fact that I was Fresno (which come on, it is a city but not a big city).

This past weekend Blake and I went to visit our good friend Berger in the Bay Area. We had a blast. One of my favorite parts was watching Blake as he experienced public transportation for the first time (I LOVED the Metro when I lived in DC, so BART wasa welcome experience). The first time he had been in a taxi was with me in DC.

Here are a few pics from our weekend!

Being Thankful

As an American, and as a daughter of parents who are middle class individuals, I never went without growing up. I wasn't spoiled by any means, but I was provided for.

I have been married to the love of my life for 5 months (exactly, tomorrow :) ) We were married one month to the day when my husband came home, and told me that he had been let go from his job in construction management. Not exactly something you want to hear when you just got married and just bought a house 4 months previously.

As hard as it has been, I admit that it has been wonderful.

It has put so many things into perspective.

The Lord has provided for us in so many ways. Thus far, we have no financial troubles. We have a roof over our heads. A warm bed to sleep in. Food in the cupboards. An awesome dog. And most importantly, we still have each other.

I am so thankful for the little things. I hope that as we continue on this journey, that I am reminded of all that God has done for us and how he has blessed us.

And right now, my heart is extremely thankful.

Under the Overpass

I started reading a new book on Tuesday, titled Under the Overpass.

It is written by one of the two guys who decided to take a 5 month journey into homelessness. Upper-middle class guys with a college education. They left everything that they knew.

I started it on Tuesday and I am almost done with it. Because it is good.

They encounter so many people, Christians, who look at them and automatically discount them because of the way they look. Dirty. Stinky. Sitting on the corner of a street playing guitar for money. And the reaction of Christians in this book is appalling.

And I pray that I am never the person who discounts the homeless person that walks into the church that I attend because they don't look or smell like I would like them to. That I would treat them as Christ would want me to treat them.

Go buy this book.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Human Trafficking in the US

The Lord continues to do a work in my life, and sometimes, I confess, I don't like it. The Lord speaks clearly on injustice and how he loathes it. And as a follower of Christ, I am to care for the oppressed, the widow, the orphan.

As I continue on this journey called life, Jesus is teaching me about his heart for people. And sometimes, it can be very heavy.

I have become passionate about human trafficking. Did you know that there are 27 million slaves in the world today? Did you know girls are kidnapped, sold for money, and then forced to have sex with men for money? Did you know that "child prostitution" is in fact a form of human trafficking?

I came across a blog post today that gave more specific numbers on human trafficking in the US. Check it out here.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Eating (right) Too weak....I mean 2 weeks

From my dad.....

Hi. My name is……………. not too sure anymore. Hershey, Baby Ruth, Junior Mints, all are familiar but somehow don't seem quite right.

I am a carboholic.

It's been 1 and 2 days since my last carb (do 24 sweet potato fries and 30, maybe 92 potato chips really count). I have given up on getting that one year button and have set my sights on the 32 count box of Skinny Cow. My body now has sugar GPS. I can sniff out a Baskin Robbins or Coldstones blindfolded.

Tonight is weigh-in and it is weighing heavily on my mind and of course, still on the rest of my body. I fear that the desired outcome of two weaks (sic) of changed eating habits and barbaric exercise (walking ) will not be realized. The goal is to lose at least as many pounds as the week before so as not to have to endure a longer death march each night. If only Sue would not make me carry the sandbags when we walk, maybe I could walk farther than two blocks.

If I see my shadow tonight at weigh-in, it will be two more weeks of phase 1 of eating right. Hopefully 6 down, 10 (or as much as I can hold out for until I succumb to a low blood sugar coma) to go.

More soon, unless Sue keeps twisting my arm to walk and I am unable to type due to having another rotator cuff surgery.

Your's in carbs,
Brent (carb whisperer)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Pet Peeves

A coworker and I were talking about pet peeves today. He asked what mine were. I could only come up with three. Most of the time I forget that something bothers me until it happens.

Here is what I came up with today:
-I hate it when tape (packaging tape especially) sticks to my fingers and can't get it off. It kinds freaks me out.
-I can't stand it when people are driving slow in the fast lane, especially on the freeway.
-People clapping when a movie ends. There is no need for this. It is not a live performance. You have been watching a screen for a couple hours. The actors don't feel appreciated because they aren't there!

Something that isn't really a pet peeve, but I think is hilarious, is when I am driving, look over, and see an adult picking their nose. Do they think that when they get into their car an invisible shield goes up around them? It cracks me up every time.

What are some of your pet peeves?

Santa Cruz

Blake and I are lucky to have families that either live in really cool places or own vacation homes. My Uncle's family owns a house in Santa Cruz.

We love going to the coast. We haven't been to Santa Cruz in almost a year, but are so looking forward to it. I have worked lots of hours and weekends, so we are taking off tonight and coming back on Thursday.

Along with the beach and boardwalk, we are going to go to Monterey on Thursday...I haven't been to Monterey in years.

Looking forward to spending some quality time with my love without the distractions of home!

Eating (right) 1 weak

This is from my father:

Hi. My name is Gary (name changed to avoid repercussions at home) and I am a Carboholic.

One weak and one day has passed since I was mislead about diet and exercise. It has been 4 days since my last carb. Will I ever get that darn one year ice cream…..errrr, I mean button.

Another forced march last night. This time we went to the north and west so that we would be in the shade. Who knew that neighborhood had a ban on trees? How do I explain my sunburn to the dermatologist tomorrow? Sue is a ruthless tyrant.

I fear that lack of carbs is keeping me from lasting through the day.

Again weakness is playing a big part in my ability to function. I was unable to get out of my chair at work. After repeated attempts, I realized that I was sitting to close to my desk and the reason I needed to loose weight was preventing me from getting up. With great effort, I amassed all the strength left in my weakened state and pushed my chair back, thus allowing me to call for help to assist me out of my chair. Decided not to get up after all. Need to save my strength to be able to go home after work.

One weak weigh-in last night. Only lost 3 pounds. I could have done better with an exacta knife and my shop vac while eating Cold Stone's.

Sue assures me that things will improve. I will lose more weight, feel better, and my internal organs will not hurt from wearing clothes that are too tight.

More soon, if I can just remember what's going on in my weakened state.

Your's in carbs,

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tethering my IPhone to my Computer

We don't have internet at our house yet. Which is really inconvenient and great all at the same time.

On Saturday, I discovered something new. I can plug my IPhone into my computer via USB, and I can get on the internet.

Most of you probably already knew this, but I don't usually plug my phone into my computer at home, I only do it at work.

I am amazed by technology.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Heavy Information: Human Trafficking

Our lack of internet at our house has not allowed me to blog as often as I would have liked to. Thus, I sit in my office at The Bridge after reading more information about human trafficking. And I don't even know what to say or do or think. The injustice that takes place on a daily basis is indeed overwhelming.

I often wonder how gaining this information is helpful there is no action on my part. It has been on my heart lately to talk to whoever about trafficking. More often than not, I find out that people have no idea that there are 27 million slaves worldwide, which is more than the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade in the 1800's.

The current slave trade consists of: bonded slavery, illegal detention, organ trafficking, child labor, illegal property seizure, and the ever so sickening sex slave trade.

And I can't get away from the information. Last night, while lying in bed, I changed the station from the show I was watching (because it was a commercial and I am impatient) to Law and Order. And you want to know what the show was about? You guessed it. Human trafficking. Individuals were "adopting" Haitians and once they were brought to the US, they were treated as slaves, lived in squalor, given very little to eat and no education.

There are so many different organizations, websites, and articles about human trafficking that it can be overwhelming at times.

The one thing that I realized in all of this, is these people are taking action in ways that they can in their context.

And if you don't think that human trafficking is taking place here in Fresno, you are wrong. If a girls is 17 years old and is a prostitute, she most likely isn't there because she wants to be. She has been coerced by this individual who promises a better life. Once it is too late, she is addicted to drugs and stays on the street. Federal law defines trafficking in persons as “sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age.” And I will tell you this much, the age of prostitutes in Fresno continues to become younger and younger. According to this news report by abc30, they are as young as 12.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

"Revolution in World Missions"

I am reading Revolution in World Missions by KP Yohannan. Yohannan is the founder of Gospel for Asia (GFA), a missionary organization that raises up native missionaries to reach their own people.

At first, I was intrigued by his story of how God brought him to this place of starting such an organization. Then I was a little annoyed by what seemed like a plea for those in the US to give away all their money (which I think speaks more to the fact that I am materialistic, even though I try extremely hard not to be). Today, what I read was extremely convicting.

He wrote on the social or humanistic gospel. That for years, organizations go in and speak only to the physical needs and not the spiritual needs. And how in China, organizations built hospitals, schools, etc, for a hundred years, which added to their life here on earth, but millions of people never heard the Gospel. So although they had good health care and good education, they never heard the gospel. First and foremost, as Christians, we are suppose to be preaching the Good News of Christ.

Yohannan states "It is a crime against lost humanity to go in the name of Christ and missions just to do social work yet neglect calling men to repent-to give up their idols and rebellion-and to follow Christ with all their hearts"


"Substituting a bowl of rice for the Holy Spirit and the Word of God will never save a soul and will rarely change the attitude of a man's heart"

He isn't saying that you shouldn't care for the physical well being of a person, but "What good is it for a man to gain the whole world but lose his soul?" Mark 8:36

Jesus had compassion on the multitudes, but it was a compassion having to do with their spiritual condition first, and their physical condition second. He fed them with the bread of life, and filled their stomachs with fish and bread. He not only opened up the eyes of peoples hearts but he also made the blind see.

If we, as Christians, as missions organizations, do not proclaim the gospel, then feeding an empty stomach will not save them from hell.

Reading this book has me thinking about which missionaries and organizations we support and how strongly or effectively they are sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Yarcel...take 2

This post, with the picture, is authentic. As in, I was driving in a smaller valley community, and couldn't help but take a picture.

Now, this is extremely funny. But I couldn't help but start thinking about the fact that this kid thought that this was how you spelled "yardsale". And nobody corrected him. Which leads me to believe that his mom doesn't know how to spell "yardsale" either.

I wish I could just look at it and laugh, and look at it again and laugh some more (because I have done that numerous times) without feeling sorry for this kid and wondering what his future holds.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Yarcel. You know, the thing you have when you try to sell your belongings outside your home.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Friday, June 5, 2009

Having Family Over

On Monday night, my brother and sister in law, Garrett and Becka, and their family came over for dinner. They drove all the way up from Exeter. We had a great time with them. Ate some great food. Played some RockBand. They have 2 small kids and a baby. We weren't really prepared in the toy section. Blake did have a bunch of old stuffed animals that he kept "for the nieces and nephews", which he had never had a chance to use, until Monday night. Tomorrow at The Bridge Community Yardsale, we are going to look for some toys.

When they first got out of the car, my niece, Bethany, gave me this

which is proudly sitting on our ledge in our kitchen. It was a super sweet idea (thanks Becka and Bethany!)

Driving the Van

For those of you that don't know, we are now the proud owners of a
1991 Plymouth Voyager. Today, I'm going to let our 6 month black lab,
Sammy, drive.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


I'm a sucker for romance and flowers, I'll freely admit it. My husband
knows this. He is a smart man and uses it to his advantage. He stopped
by my office and brought me these

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


There have been quite a few changes in our lives recently. It is funny how in a moment, everything can change. And although we don't always see how it is a good thing at the time, we understand that we serve a God who is loving and just. I have seen over and over again how His timing is perfect. I don't always see it at the time, but looking back, I would not have it any other way.

This is another one of those times. Blake and I have been given a blank page so to speak. And we will see what God has in store for us to fill the pages with.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

My Sister...

Graduated from USC on Friday. She now has a Masters in Physicians Assistant. She has the boards in June, and I know she will pass with flying colors.
Looking forward to free medical advice the rest of my life! :)

Monday, May 11, 2009

My Wedding!

On April 18th, 2009, I got to marry the love of my life. The weather was perfect. The location was perfect. It was an extremely care free day, with no worries on my end. Everything was as it was suppose to be and it was seemless. I had the type of wedding day all girls should have!
Here are some of my favorite pictures from the worlds best wedding photographer Ken Kienow.

We have been married a month, and life with Blake keeps getting more and more fun. I am looking forward to spending the rest of my life with him!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

In 3 days....

I get to marry the love of my life.

I can't wait!

Our New McCaffrey Home-Take 2

On March 3rd, Blake got a phone call from Brent McCaffrey. Apparently, he read my blog, Our New McCaffrey Home, that I posted on February 1st, and wanted me to update my blog. You see, he did come out to smooth everything over.

The funny thing is, he didn't ask about our previous experience with McCaffrey. When he came out on February 18th to look at all that was still not right with our home, he didn't ask what our experience had been like.

If he had, he would have learned that their sales representative lost her cool and yelled at us when we called her on a mistake she had made, one that benefited us. He also would have learned more in depth how the arm doesn't know what the leg is doing in the McCaffrey organization. He would have learned that it took us calling the designer numerous times to get ahold of her, and sometimes she never called us back, we just had to keep calling.

And, he mocked us. When he asked if this was our first home, and we said yes, with a smirk he said "God Bless you". And it didn't feel sincere.

He wanted us to start over, wipe the slate clean, on February 18th. Really? Without anything being done?

I appreciate what he is trying to do. He said they would fix the problems, and I believe him. The problem that I have with the phone call to ask me to change my blog goes in this order:

1. He called Blake and asked him to ask me to update my blog. I'm sorry, but Blake isn't the boss of me. I love him. I respect him. But Blake thought it was funny that Brent McCaffrey just didn't call me himself. As do I.

2. I think it is funny that he had the audacity to ask me to change my blog. A blog, by definition, is considered an online personal journal (definition here). This is the place where I get to share my thoughts and what is going on in my life.

3. He asked me to change my blog 4 days before they even came out to start working on all of the things that were wrong with our house.

We love our home. McCaffrey's subcontractors have been out most weekends since March 7th to fix all of the problems, and we greatly appreciate it.

In fact, 2 weekends ago the tile contractor was out to take out all of the grout in the kitchen on the tile since they messed up the first time, and when they tried to fix it, it made it worse. And we appreciate them making that right for us. The only problem is they made a dent in our wall, so now another contractor has to come out to fix that, which will be a couple weeks after we get back from our honeymoon.

So when this is all, and they have fixed everything that they are suppose to, I'll write a blog update...letting you know if everything was indeed smoothed over.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Last Pre-marriage Counseling

Josh Hawley, the Pastor of Student Ministries and Young Adults at The Bridge, is marrying Blake and I. He and his wife played significant roles in our lives when we were in college.

However, you have to go through pre-marital counseling with them. I think we met 4 times, plus one other time with another person on finances and what not.

Tonight was our last one.

I think we passed.

Which means in 10 days I will be Mrs. Stephanie German.

And that makes me happy :)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


It was one year ago this day that I got back from Haiti. I struggled a lot when I got back from Haiti. After seeing that kind of poverty, I don't know how anybody is the same ever again.

I have so many thoughts and feelings about my trip last year that I am not even sure where to begin...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Those who have not heard....

I receive the Missions Catalyst eMagazine each week. Its purpose is to "inspire and equip Christians worldwide for global ministry" Each week, different stories are shared about the work going on all around the world.

This week, from the Joshua Project, this was shared:

"Joshua Project, a collaborative missions effort that focuses on unreached people groups, reports that an average of 160,000 a day hear the message of redemption in Christ for the first time. Every hour, 3,000 more people decide to follow Jesus Christ.

In 1800, those who had never heard the gospel were almost 75 percent of the globe's population. Today the percentage of those who have not heard is 28 percent. That means, however, that about 1.5 billion people have not heard the gospel message even one time! "

3,000 decisions for Christ every hour.....1.5 BILLION people...that is a lot of people...

Those are some fascinating numbers.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Daily Email Devotionals

I have signed up to receive 2 daily email devotions. One of them is going through Romans. And it seems to be just what I need everyday.

Today, it is on Romans 12:1-2-being a holy and living sacrifice to God.

And it made me that what my life exhibits? That is the desire, but do I really do it?

And this is a quote that really hit hard....

"Thus the Christian life is not a heavy burden, but the light yoke of Jesus, lived in joyful acceptance of God’s daily mercies. "

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Slowing Down

Blake and I are trying something new...we are trying to learn to slow down. This is extremely hard for both of us, as we like to do stuff and be with people. However, with planning a wedding and settling him into our house, we have just had to cut certain things out.

Last week, we canceled our plans for Wednesday night and Thursday night. Then plans seemed to go away for one reason or another on Friday and Saturday night. And it was so good.

With that said, we are trying to continue on this path of not overplanning, but it is hard when there are still so many things to do and so many people we want to hang out with.

We are going through 1 Corintians right now (we started it on Monday), and both chapters 1 and 2 talk about God's wisdom. And I was reminded how God's foolishness is wiser than my wisdom. And this made me begin to pray more fervently for wisdom, something I know I definitely need.

Extreme Home Makeover, The Bridge, and DeYoung Properties

On Sunday night, The Bridge was the host site for DeYoung Properties community party for Extreme Makeover Home Edition. The Riojas family was present, as well as Jerry and Paula DeYoung (who were extremely nice, down to earth people), many from DeYoung Properties, Dr. Welty from Fresno State, and those that contributed significantly to the building of their home.

I had a really hard job on Sunday....I got to hang out with the "celebrities" and be was a daunting task but somebody had to do it :)

It was a great night, filled with food, fun, and much laughter. We watched the behind the scenes show at 7 pm and then the show, Extreme Makeover Home Edition at 8 pm. It was a lot of fun to watch the show with those that put in a lot of their time, effort, and resources to help the Riojas family.

It kind of makes me wonder if Blake and I would have bought a DeYoung Home if all of this had taken place in the fall....

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Not just tired like I want to take a nap tired. But the tired that is deep down within. I feel like I am running on empty. And when you are in ministry, running out of a place of emptiness is not good.

I just want to get away for a couple days. And spend it with the Creator of the Universe...spend it with My Redeemer... spend it with the lover of my soul.

So that I may be refreshed.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A Cup of Coffee and the Bible

Tonight, after I sat at home for a while as my parents helped Blake pack, (I mean, did stuff for the wedding and house, yeah....whoops...but really, I stuff....) Blake and I went to Starbucks.

One of our favorite things to do is just to be able to sit and about life, talk about work, talk about our day, talk about the future, talk about whatever. But lately, our lives have been so crazy that we haven't been able to do that.

But tonight, we made time. And it was wonderful. We were able to stop and just be. And nothing else in the world mattered. And we connected. And it was good.

And after we sat for awhile and talked, we opened up our Bibles and read Amos 1 and 2, and talked about its significance back then and our lives today.

And it was good. So good.

Some of my favorite times have been when we were able to stop our lives, sit down, and just enjoy life together.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Our New McCaffrey Home....

Blake and I are fortunate enough to be purchasing a home right now. It is a new home, as we found we could buy a new home for the same amount that we could buy a 20 year old home.

McCaffrey is who we are buying from. They act as the seller, the builder, and if you let them, the lender.

We have had so many problems, it is ridiculous. The house itself is very well built. They produce a great product.

But nobody in their organization seems to know what the other is doing.

For example, when trying to figure out closing costs, we had to call three different people, and they were telling us to call the person we just got off the phone with. The funniest part is when the appraiser said the same thing, without us even mentioning it to him.

Our house was painted the wrong color. The interior designer never returned our phone calls, as well as giving us the wrong information, or misleading us on numerous things.

We had our walk through on Saturday. There are numerous minor things that need to be fixed before we close on Wednesday. But my favorite is they installed one of the wrong appliances. We were suppose to have a microwave/hood combo installed, and they didn't install it.

We are extremely blessed to be able to live in our new house once we are married, and I don't want you to think I am complaining, but if I never had to deal with anybody from McCaffrey ever again, I think I would be ecstatic.


On Friday night at The Bridge, we had our annual Missions Month Kickoff. This year, we had a Haitian Duet and Shaun Groves perform.

We had a great turn out. Everything ran smoothly. 1/4 of the congregation was able to hear about the month of February and how we will be partnering with Haiti.

Shaun Groves is a phenomenal performer. On stage, he was comfortable, he was funny, he related to the crowd...he made those in the audience feel like they were sitting in a living room swapping stories. And his music was outstanding as well.

But the best part of the evening was when he stopped to speak. Since he works with Compassion International, he does a concert and then shares his heart and scripture, and then asks the audience to sponsor a child.

The scripture Shaun used and the words he spoke were powerful. I have seen poverty. My heart breaks every time I think about it. But it is so easy to get caught up in life here, in the US. To always want the next great thing, there is always something bigger. He spoke on Exodus 16, how God instructed the Israelites to take only what they needed (quail and manna) for the day, their daily bread. And to not take more than they needed, as it would rot. In 2 Corinthians 8:13-15, Paul speaks to the church in Corinth, asking them to give to the Church in Jerusalem who is hard pressed. If they give from their plenty, those in Jerusalem will not go without. And everyone will have just enough. The word equality is even used. And Paul quotes Moses from Exodus 16.

God desires for their to be EQUALITY. We don't live in a world of equality. Not when the wealthiest 20% of those in the world consume just over 76% of the worlds resources. Not when a billion people entered the 21st century not being able to read a book or sign their name. Just over 1 Billion people in developing countries have inadequate access to water and 2.5 billion lack basic sanitation. 1.6 billion people live without electricity.

As a Christ follower, what do I do with this information? There are over 2,000 verses in the Bible on the poor, the widow, the orphan. Jesus says "Whatever you have done for the least of these you have done for me"

So although I won't be wondering where my next meal is going to come from, or if I will be able to drink any water today, let alone clean water, there are billions in the world who will ask themselves those questions today.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Missions Month 2009-Haiti

This Friday night is the kickoff of Missions Month at The Bridge. This year we are going to be raising funds to help our brothers and sisters in Christ in Pignon and San Raphael, Haiti.

As I have been preparing for this month, I can't help but think back to my time in Haiti last March. And I can't help but long to go back there. To fellowship with them. To try to establish positive cycles of income.

If missionaries go into a country and create dependency, then something has gone terribly wrong. That is one reason I am extremely excited about this years project. We desire to create ways for the Haitians to help themselves, only first by providing the main resources, and then having them take over. 2 sugar cane machines and 2 dug wells so that syrup may be produced, and either used or sold, and water to be able to grow crops to eat and sell. If they are able to sell their product, they can buy other items...and the money goes on and on.

And my heart longs for simplicity. It is easy to get caught up in the busyness of life here in the if it is a status of importance if you are busy. I long to be able to slow down. To be able to serve. To be able to invest in people.

And although I have seen how they live, I will never fully understand their way of life...even though I desire to know. To know what it is like to depend on the Lord for everything...what it is like to wonder where my next meal will come from...

And again I am reminded of how much I have, what I have been given, and how I should be giving away what I am able to.

And once again my heart is breaking for the injustice that takes place all over the world. But not only for those that are in the midst of the injustice, but for those in the US who are ignorant to what goes on in other countries. If only people knew...

Growing Up...

When I was younger, I couldn't wait to be in jr high. When I was in Jr High, I couldn't wait to be able to drive. When I was in High School, I couldn't wait to be in college. When I was in college, I couldn't wait to have a job.

Essentially, as we are growing up, we are being taught what it means to be a grown up. How to be responsible. How to act. How to function in the "real world"

I am in the stage of life where all of this is coming into play....

I am out of college. I have a job. I am engaged to the most wonderful man. In just about a week I am going to have a mortgage payment.

And apparently, now I am adult. Except, I don't feel like an adult. I mean, I am responsible, with my time, money, belongings, etc. I know how to take care of myself. I know how to function in the "real world". But I still don't feel like an adult.

And I am not sure if I ever will.

And I think that might just be ok.

One thing is for sure...if Blake and I can raise our kids (years from now) half as well as my parents raised me, I think we will have done a darn good job.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Let the Chaos Begin!

Today starts the end of my life for 2 months...going into high speed for missions month preparations. I am still going to try to have somewhat of a life in the midst of all the meetings, planning a wedding, moving our stuff into our house that will be finished the beginning of February for Blake to move into....

We have 2 extremely busy months ahead. Amidst the chaos, I am going to stay positive...these months will fly by, which means I am that much closer to marrying my love.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

My Winter Vacation

One of the things that still gets to me is not having a winter break, spring break, and especially a summer vacation. My mom works at a school, so she gets this time off. Every summer she almost has me convinced that I need to go into teaching or working for a school in some way...but not quite.

Since Christmas and New Years fell on a Thursday, and The Bridge was kind enough to give us half days and one of the two Fridays off, I used some of my vacation time. I left work on Tuesday Dec 23rd at noon and will be going back into the office tomorrow. Along with spending time with family and friends, Blake and I were able to spend some great time together and we got a lot of wedding stuff taken care of.

Here is a recap of this past week and a half...

Tuesday Dec 23rd:
Off work at noon
Appt with the florist
Christmas Eve Eve-Dinner and Bowling with the fam
Made candy for Blake's mom while she took care of embroidering something for Blake until midnight

Wed Dec 24th:
Finished making candy
Watched movies with the fam
Went to Visalia for Christmas Eve with the soon to be in-laws
Opened up presents with my family here in Fresno

Dec 25th:
Breakfast at Grandma's with one side of the fam
Opened up more presents at home
Christmas lunch with the other side
Played Rock Band
1st annual Ridgeway German Gingerbread House Buildoff

Dec 26th:
After Christmas shopping...bought Christmas decorations for the house next year!
Lunch with the parents
Movie-Marley and Me

Dec 27th:
Lunch with the fam

Dec 28th:
Awesome sermon on prayer
Brunch with my girls!

Dec 29th:
Coffee with Rachel
Wedding stuff the majority of the day with Ash
Hung out with the Phillips...Blake and I kicked 2 six year olds butts along with their parents! :)

Dec 30th:
Ran a bunch of errands with Blake
Movie-Bedtime Stories
Dinner-Elephant Bar

Dec 31st:
More wedding stuff with Ash and Blake
A group of friends went out for New Years and danced the night away!
Oh, and we had Denney's at 2 in the morning like we were in college again

Jan 1st:
Watched the Rose Bowl at the Phillips'

Jan 2nd:
Blake and I escaped Fresno for some sun on the central coast...there is another whole post with this one...

Jan 3rd:
Coffee with Ash before she left me again to go back to SoCal
Lunch and stuff with Blake's parents
We saw that our house was painted the wrong color (this too, is another post...)

Jan 4th:
Sermon at church was great...very thought provoking, allowing for great reflection time.
Lunch with Luke and Sarah Mundy!
More errands
And work....I got a lot done this afternoon and am ready to get back to work.

It hit me yesterday that there is less than a month before missions month starts. And instead of dreading it like I did before I was able to get away from work, I am looking forward to it. Don't get me wrong, I love my job and I believe in this years project 110%, but there is so much that goes into it, and when you are in the middle of planning a wedding and building a house, it becomes a little much. But the Lord renewed me today. I am ready to tackle these next two months, not because I can do it on my own, but because I know that Jesus is walking through all of this with me....all the joy and the frustration.

So although I don't get a "winter vacation", if I can have some time off like I did this year, I will be in good shape. And it looks like I will get a spring break this year too...2 weeks off, the majority of that in the Caribbean, is not too shabby....