Sunday, June 28, 2009

We're Baaaack!

This past Monday, 32 of us (25 kids, 7 leaders) loaded up into vans and headed to Big Sur & the American River for the annual youth summer trip. For those who are wondering, we came back yesterday with all 32 people. Quite an accomplishment!

In all seriousness, the week FLEW by and I'm bummed that we're not still there (although I do feel cleaner and less sunscreen-ish here in my house). My hope for the trip was to grow to understand and relate to the kids in the youth group more (particularly the girls) and after 15 hours in a's hard to NOT know them better. :)

I'm excited to continue working with them and to see them grow...not only in physical and emotional maturity, but in their love and desire for Christ.

Praise God for a safe, fun, and enjoyable trip!

"Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to be self-controlled and pure..." -Titus 2:3-5 (NIV)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Big 2-3 is Here!

#1: Fountain of Life Fellowship

IT'S MY BIRTHDAY!! I'm 23...eeek! It's already been one of the best birthdays, by far. At midnight, I was walking out of a hilarious comedy show with Scotty (who is seriously a CHAMP for putting up with so many birthday festivities...yikes) and this entire day has been exciting from the beginning. Definitely can't complain about a thing. Ever.

At the beginning of this walk down memory lane, I said they would be in no particular order. This one is the exception to that rule. This time last year, I was going to church because I knew I needed to but I was not spiritually fed as much as I was needing. To see the path that God took to get me to where I am now is incredible. I would've never guessed in 100 years that I'd leave the church I grew up in and take a leap of faith in this direction. I'm a huge fan of NEVER CHANGING ANYTHING EVER, so to uproot myself like this was definitely not in my plans. However, it ended up being the best thing that's happened. In August I began attending FOLF and the Lord has blessed me abundantly through the change. He has taught me that my plan is definitely not the way that's least not ALL the time. ;) I feel so so so blessed everyday for the church, the members, the lovely ladies in my accountability group, the relationships made during Life Together Group, the God-fearing leadership, the opportunity to be a deacon, the truthful sermons, the youth, the young adult group, the women's ministry...pretty much EVERYTHING that it entails. Praise God for his guidance and his plan, despite our best efforts. :)

Our Pastors, Matt and Scott, standing outside of our church in Fountain Valley, CA.

22 was definitely an amazing year and I look forward to what's in store for 23!


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

22 Memories of Being 22- (#2)

#22: My Job

As I'm writing this ON my actual birthday (cheating because I am a blog-slacker), I can't help but be overwhelmingly thankful for my job and my co-workers. I'm currently sitting in a heavily-decorated office (it's like the color pink exploded everywhere and I love it). I'm so thankful to have a job in this tumultuous time and even more thankful for the amazing people that I work with. We have SO much fun, SO many laughs, and we are a great team. As much as it can be stressful and overwhelming, it's just as equally fun and enjoyable.

Monday, June 8, 2009

22 Memories of Being 22- (#3)

#3: Bass Lake

A huge highlight, by far! My family (everyone-aunts, uncles, cousins, everybody) and the Atkins fam packed up and went to Bass Lake this summer. It was a vacation should be!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

22 Memories of Being 22- (#4)

#4: Angel Games

This is a highlight of every year, but the Angels had a good season so it was especially fun!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

22 Memories of Being 22- (#5)

#5: Wine Tasting

I'd never been wine tasting before and I was stoked when Genesee made plans to go for a bunch of people's birthdays! It was so much fun and I highly recommend it if you've never been. A party bus is also a great idea. ;) We went to four different wineries and it was a blast! We all definitely recommend "Hot Lips" at Faulkner!

Friday, June 5, 2009

22 Memories of Being 22- (#6)

#6: Youth Group Leader

In April, I started as a youth group leader at church. This has always been something I've wanted to do but never thought I'd have the opportunity for. It worked out perfectly and I'm so excited to get to know the girls (and boys) better. We are going camping on June 22nd, so if there are no posts after that, I probably didn't survive.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

22 Memories of Being 22- (#7)

#7: Some Not-So-Fun Stuff

As fun as it is to reflect on the good times of the year, sometimes it's the trials that make the most impact.

Everyone makes fun of me for taking the death of Angel's pitcher Nick Adenhart so seriously, but it really impacted me! I guess because it was so sudden and he was exactly my age. He had his whole future ahead of him and it was wiped out by someone who decided to drive drunk. I can't imagine being on top of the world and then being gone in an instant. It's such a reminder to take every day for what it is and to be joyful. We can be called home at any moment. Each day, each minute, each breath is a blessing.

Another tough moment was hearing that my good friend, Roy Atkins, was diagnosed with a very rare blood disease. There is a light at the end of this tunnel as the disease has no spread to his marrow or his major organs, so he'll be undergoing chemo to kick this in the butt. Genesee and Roy are handling this hard situation with joy and hope in the Lord, which is always encouraging. Roy is one tough cookie and will pull through this! However, it's reminded me that we need to keep our faith and hope in Christ regardless of the circumstances. Roy's website is if you want to check out his status!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

22 Memories of Being 22- (#8)

#8: Cara Coming Home!

My really good friend Cara was in Tokyo for 7 months of my 22nd year! She was working at Tokyo Disneyland as Jasmine, Belle, and Pochahontas. I'd post pictures of her doing it, but she would literally murder me and it's way too close to my birthday to be murdered.

Although we talked on iChat and all that fun stuff, it's not the same as having "car chats" (sitting outside of our houses in the car to vent) whenever necessary!!!

I'm so glad to have my friend back!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

22 Memories of Being 22- (#9)

#9: Holly the Highlander

I'm soooo excited about this one! My car was SUCH a blessing that I definitely was not expecting to get anytime soon. All the pieces totally fell into place and she's PERFECT!!! I'm such a lucky car-owner! :)

"Holly" is a 2006, 7-passenger Toyota Highlander! I've had her for a month and am still so excited!!

Monday, June 1, 2009

22 Memories of Being 22- (#10)

#10: Finding Out My Friend Was Pregnant

My dear friend from church had been wanting to have another baby for a long time--ever since I met her. She has an adorable son already and it's obvious that he's the light of her life. We were all praying for another miracle baby to come along and IT HAPPENED! A precious little baby boy is due in September and I'm soooooo excited! This is truly God's baby and I can't wait to meet him. It's no secret that I love this year also brought the blessed arrival of Katie Ford, Amaris Cabral, and Savannah Rustulka. I want to SQUEEZE all of their little faces. Babies are such a blessing!

This may or may not* be a dramatic reenactment of actually finding out she was pregnant.

(*It is.)