Sunrise yesterday morning

After last weeks torrential, continual downpour, I am SO welcoming this week long sunshine! Today was blue skies, sunny, and 75; and I took every advantage of it. I took the kids I nanny for to feed the ducks and play at the park. During their nap, I took twenty minutes to soak up some rays in the backyard. I do believe I got my first tan of the season! So odd that the "season" is starting in January. NOT normal for me!

Sunset this evening

This evening instead of going to the gym, I ran outdoors. I had enjoyed the day so thoroughly, I couldn't be indoors just yet. I was running, running, running, and then I just stopped and turned around. It was as if I needed to, and I'm so glad that I did! The sunset was beyond beautiful, and completely breathtaking. It seems as if the Lord has been showing me more and more of Himself to me through the Great Outdoors as of late. How incredible is this? I know it's just an iPhone photo, but it still captures some amazing goodness.

Speaking of running...and just be...different (ok, weird)'s my running playlist for this evening:

Spaceman-Dave Matthews Band
She'd Be California-Rascall Flatts
Pickin' Wildflowers-Keith Anderson
Viva la Vida-Coldplay
You Give Love a Bad Name-Bon Jovi
Separate Ways-Journey (don't hate!)
Fireflies-Owl City
Super Massive Black Hole-Muse
Lovers in Japan/Reign of Love-Coldplay
Set Me Free-John Legend
Straight Away-Mat Kearney

and...because I loved it so much, I ended my run with
Lovers In Japan/Reign of Love-Coldplay--again. It's amazing.

Bryan, Julie, Luis, Myself, Manny, Marcos and Malachi

Yesterday my dear sweet friend Julie arrived in Orange County! She's here on business, but I get to keep her for a few days at least! Last night I picked her up, and we headed straight for LA to meet up with Manny. We all used to be interns and on staff at the same church in Nashville over the past six years or so. We made it to LA in RECORD time for Friday evening traffic! It only took me about an hour or so from the O.C. to Hollywood, where Manny lives.

We decided on a restaurant (or so we thought...) and set off on the adventure of the night. We drove around in circles for about and hour, with two guys in the backseat driving me CRAZY with their lack of knowing where they were! Julie and just laughed and laughed, but I'll admit; I was getting a little frustrated! After changing our cuisine many times, (Mediterranean, Italian, Brazilian, Vietnamese, Israeli..) we finally met up with the others and decided on a little Thai boutique place in Silverlake. It had a great vibe, the food was the best Thai I've EVER had, and we had an absolute blast. Laughed and to know one another, it was so fun.

The not so fun part of the evening was losing my wallet! For anyone who knows me, knows that I don't lose things. I'm a very particular person, and normally keep account of my belongings. We searched and searched, to no avail. I was confused, because there had been no fraudulent happenings on my accounts, but no wallet to be found. After returning to the gas station this morning, and calling every place I can remember; I was giving up. Then, this morning I was at the farmers market and I received a phone call from my bank. My heart sunk. I thought for sure she was calling to report fraudulence on my account! Oddly enough, she was calling to say that whoever found my wallet, called the bank!! She three-way connected me to Fred, a dear sweet soul who picked up my wallet last night. I was SO very thankful that an honest person picked it up, and not some thief! Thank GOD! He was definitely looking out for me, that's for sure.

So, an eventful last twelve hours, but the sun is shining, my sweet friend is in town, I see snow covered mountains, and my wallet was recovered. What else could I ask for?

Oh yeah. A date. ;)

Jenni, myself and Katie

Katie, Jenni and I spent the weekend in San Diego last weekend and had a BLAST! They flew in a few days before I was able to drive down, but once I got there it was go, go, GO! Friday evening we had fun in Old Town, then drove downtown for dinner. We stayed at the fabulous Hotel Indigo right in the Gaslamp District. It's a new, cute, quaint boutique hotel that even had a water fall wall in the lobby! So very cute.

Our awesome hotel! It even had wood floors!

Saturday we drove to Coronado Island. For those who know me know that I have a terrible fear of bridges. It's the strangest thing....but I was able to drive over just fine. There may or may not have been a few moments of panic. I plead the fifth. We toured the Hotel Del, which I vow that I WILL stay in sometime in my life! Being friends with two personal trainers has its benefits, and one of them is working out until you feel you will die. We ran intervals for almost an hour on the beach! After my legs felt like a combination of fire and jello, we rested at the Hotel Dels' beachfront bar and grill. Katie had the most expensive Mimosa ($12!), and Jenni and I enjoyed the sunshine.

Katie and I at the Hotel Del-pre run.

After freshening up at the hotel, (and getting interrogated by the valet), we decided on lunch in Pacific Beach. We did a little walking around and shopping, then ended the afternoon with the sunset at LaHaina's. I know I've talked about this place before, but it really is one of my favorite places in San Diego! It's a small bar/grille tucked in between a few buildings with a great deck overlooking the ocean. It's standing room only out there while the sun sets, but we were able to snag front row seats! I'm amazed every time I see the sun rise and set. God is an incredible Painter.


View from LaHaina's

Sunday morning the girls had early flights (booo!), so I was on the road home by 6:30 am. I watched an incredible sunrise while driving next to the ocean. The more and more I'm near the ocean, I truly believe I was created for this! I love it. I love the culture, the relaxing attitudes, the beach hair and of course... the surfers!

My girls for life!

I won't see my sweet friends until May, but at least this was an awesome trip, and hopefully will tide us over until Preston's wedding!

My friend from Nashville, Colin Benward, made it through the Atlanta auditions and onto Hollywood week! To see his interview, click here.

He is such a great guy, has a great voice, and most of all, a true passion for the Lord. I hope he makes it far! Good Luck Colin!!

My girls Heather and Melissa

Awkward Family Photos :)
Andy, myself, Phill and Melissa

Gorgeous sunset!

O Christmas Tree....

Twas a wee bit chilly...

Phill surfing in the sunset

How could you ever stand here and not say God is the Incredible Artist??

This past Saturday my friends and I decided to embark on a late afternoon adventure to the beach. We loaded up the car with blankets, chairs, snacks and firewood and headed for the coast. It's so strange living 20 minutes from the ocean, but I'm loving it. We were robbed by the parking attendant for $15 parking, but other than that, we had a fabulous time! We roasted marshmallows, ordered pizza, watched the INCREDIBLE sunset, saw Christmas trees go up in flames, laughed as Phill went body surfing.....Heather took these amazing photos all evening, and Phill vlog'd the entire time. Click here to see the video.

I'm so thankful for these precious new friends He has brought into my life. Each one of them plays an important role in my healing heart; and I'm looking forward to what 2010 has to offer!

I usually don't post about my personal spiritual life. Not for a lack of wanting...I just, don't.

Tonight was our weekly small group at church, and we had a great time of discussion. It was a little uncomfortable, but very revealing and left us in a place to build one another up. Afterwards, I was talking with our small group leader, Bryan. Somehow we got to talking about my past, the things that I've walked through this year. I was crying, sharing my heart; and he says "Can I stop you right there? Do you pray for them?" I lost it again. The feelings of injustice, deep heartbreak, and misuse of trust were suddenly right in my face, staring me down. I've been so hurt, so wrapped in my own pain that I've failed to do my right as a believer. To forgive. To give it wholly to Christ.

So tonight on my way home, I shut off the radio, rolled up the window, and took back my place in the Kingdom. Where I've been robbed, where I've abdicated my role, I've now done my part and reclaimed it. He has given me a new song, and I will not be silent!

Today I received news that my youngest brother Sam, would be joining our troops in fighting the war in Afghanistan. He deploys in March with the 10th Mountain Division of Fort Drum, NY.
I'm finding it hard to put words to how I feel. One moment I'm scared, sick to my stomach, anxious, and worrying about his future; the other I'm proud, and stand a little taller knowing someone who is fighting for my freedom. For the most part, I'm sad that my younger brother will experience far more life that I ever thought he would at 19.

So tomorrow, I'll be purchasing a large amount of yellow ribbon, a new yellow ribbon magnet for my car, and a new American Flag. It won't come down until he comes home.

Here's to our troops, veterans and enlisted, who serve bravely, with honor, duty, strength and courage. Now I know how it feels to send a loved one to war.

My two week Christmas/ New Year vacation is coming to an end. While I'm sad to see it go, I'm very much ready to return home to California. Warm weather, sun shining, my job, my routines. I'm a fairly structured person, I like to believe. I love new years, new months, new weeks to start fresh and crisp.

The past two weeks have been packed with family, friends, tons of food, and an abundance of laughter. I started my trip by visiting my dad in the city (Louisville, KY that is). We spent the week just relaxing, seeing movies, shopping, Christmas Light looking, etc. It was a great time. We saw Sherlock Holmes on Christmas Day, and I have to say-I LOVED it! I knew that I would, I've been looking forward to it since the first day I saw the trailer for it. If you haven't seen the trailer, click HERE.

My dad and I got to visit my oldest brother, and that was so rewarding!! He is doing so well, and I can't wait to see what 2010 has for him. I also got to visit my youngest brother, Sam. We thought that he wasn't going to be able to be home for Christmas, but the Army came through and there he was!! He is doing so well also, and I'm so proud to have a brother in the military. We'll find out soon where he is to be stationed next; I'm looking forward to know where he'll be! I can't wait to go visit he and his wife, Tiffany.

From Louisville we drove down to Gatlinburg, TN to the cabin that my mom and her husband rented for us. We had so much fun just chilling by the fire, making tons of food, laughing, playing games, and warming up in the hot tub! Saturday we went shopping ALL DAY. We had so much fun, and I scored some awesome sales at the GAP outlet. Sunday we visited Ober Gatlinburg and went snow tubing, rode the alpine slide (I thought I was going to die!!),the chair lift to the top of the mountain, etc. The alpine slide is this fiberglass slide that is almost 2,000 feet long; down the side of a mountain. You get in this "cart" of sorts with wheels, and you go flying down the mountain!! It was so much fun, but I was scared I'd fall off! It's so high up, you have to take a ski lift to get there.

All in all, we had a blast. It was so great to be with family. My mom dropped me off in Nashville, and I met up with all of my different friends throughout the week. I'm staying with Katie, and so far we have had so much fun! We've been to all of our old "spots", Dan McGuiness, Blue Coast Burrito, 9Fruits Smoothies, etc. For New Years we got all dressed up and went downtown to the Flying Saucer. It's in the basement of my favorite hotel in Nashville, the Union Station Hotel. They had a live band, great food, darts, pool and the like. We left shortly after we rang in the New Year and called it a night. To get a good table, we got there fairly early, so by the time 12:00 came around, we were pooped! After taking friends home, we finally called it a night at 3:30am. SHEW! I'm just not that girl anymore!! New Years Day we rented movies, grabbed some food and stayed in most of the day. We had to recoup (as did the rest of the world) from the night before.

Today we are keeping it fairly low-key as well. Visiting my friends who are personal trainers is fun, but it makes you very sore! So we are heading to the YMCA for a quick, but hard work out. Then, hopefully we are going downtown to the Boot store to get my new cowboy boots!! A girl can't have too many. :) Tonight is a sweet friends wedding at the Cheekwood Estates, so I'm looking forward to celebrating with them.

I'll be posting my new years "resolutions" in the coming days-until then, have a fabulous new years weekend!

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