Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Love Project 2014: Grand Adventures of 2014

Last December, Jesus told me that my car was going to die. And die she did. She died hard...

It was one of the best things to happen in a long time.

Why? Because the adventures began when Lucy bit the dust.

And as I sit here and reflect over 2014, I wonder why it seemed more packed with adventures than other years.

Maybe it was the push to get outside my comfort zone.

Maybe it was because Jesus dumped love on me ALL THE TIME.

Maybe it was because I was looking for the awesome to happen.

Regardless of the reason, 2014 was an epic year, and I am pretty sure that 2015 is going to be even more fabulous, filled with grand adventures and shenanigans.

I thought it would be fitting to use photos to reflect over the past year. 

But, Facebook.... no  offense, your year in review is crap.

You limit my pictures and give me no place to tell awesome stories... #solame

And so I march to the beat of my own drum - per usual.

In no particular order and in every sense of the word awesome, I present...

 Elizabeth's Grand Adventures of 2014

It's always good to start the year with #SuperHeroFriday

Which morphs into this....

And closes out the year with this..... And yes, our staff meeting was Super Hero Themed. And there were capes. Lots of capes.


If you travel to Vegas with your bestest, you should always wear Minion hats. Always.

When visiting Jessica in Cali, make sure you visit grand museums, eat sketchy Thai food and have a spiritual awakening at TBN.


When your sister comes to town, you should ALWAYS practice your duck face and find Captain America..... Because, you just should.


If you find yourself without a car, and the bus system decides to fail you, be creative.

Then tweet about it...

Because if you do, U-Haul might just put your photo on the side of 64 trucks that are currently in 58 cities across the USA..... #uhaulfamous


Speaking of the bus.... I met some pretty sweet folks and overheard some seriously disturbing conversations.

Once again, the MS Walk blew my mind and got me super pumped for next year!


At the beginning of the summer I enrolled in a program that will certify me as a holistic health coach. I am halfway through the program and I am totally stoked to see where this path will lead me!

Two of my dear sweet friends got hitched this year, and being apart of their special days was incredible!

Meet Penelope Rue #nuffsaid


I get to work with the most fabulous people ever, for the best organization ever and with the best department ever! Life is awesome!


Also got to see not one, but TWO oceans!


And my beautiful 97 year old great grandmother <3

Ending it all with a white Thanksgiving and some epic time with my best friend.

As I timeline my year with photos, I am totally blown away with how many cool opportunities the Lord gave me this year. 

He totally blew my mind on so many different levels.

He loved me through some really challenging moments. He gave me laughter when I needed it most. Comfort when my heart was hurting. Lightness when the reality of life was bringing me down. And hope for the future.

Because no matter how crazy life gets or how complicated we make it, HE always brings light, laughter, hope, adventures, shenanigans and whatever other term you use to describe your life.


He loves us. 

Always has and always will.

Happy New Year Everyone - it's been incredible!


Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Love Project 2014: Salad, Poinsettias and a Prayer

Christmas Day 2014 is winding down to a close. I am sitting on the most comfortable couch in the world, eating cheezy gluten free noodles and watching “Man of Steel.”

My phone rings.

It’s my landlords.

I should interject they are basically the cutest EVER.

Because, this morning they brought me a plant and were singing “Merry Christmas” to the tune of “Happy Birthday” as they came down the stairs.

***kill me with all the cuteness***

Tonight they offered me leftover salad and dibs on any and all veggies in their fridge since they are going on vacation.

They also asked if I would I water their poinsettias. Of course I said yes.

Better yet, how about they bring them downstairs so that I can enjoy the plants for them while they are away? So, they brought them down and helped me put them all around the apartment…

***Seriously, can these people be any more adorable??***

Before she left, I shared with Mrs. M about my mission’s trip, asking her for prayer. She asks to pray for me right then and their.

Talk about feeling the Holy Spirit come down and wrap you in a fuzzy blanket….

I started to tear up as she prayed, because I realized the loneliness I had been feeling all day long was being soothed and comforted in a most unexpected way.

When we talk of loneliness, we so often think of people who have no one. But I have family. I have a lot of friends. Wonderful, inclusive, delightful friends.

I also have an incredible job, and all sorts of shenanigans and grand adventures on a fairly consistent basis.

And at the end of the day, I come home to an empty apartment.

Sure, I get to watch whatever I want, eat when I want and choose NOT to fold my mountain of laundry.

Most of the time, it’s kind of nice.

Then at other times, being alone makes the loneliness really glaring and super uncomfortable.

The thing about loneliness? It is not a respecter of persons. It strikes all of us.

(It is also not a respecter of living status. You can feel lonely while being alone or while being surrounded by crowds of people).

So the Lord and I chatted about it. The loneliness thing.

I also talked to one of my mentors about it yesterday.

I came to the conclusion that allowing yourself to feel lonely isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

In fact, in can be a really healthy place to hang out.

I used to avoid the feeling.

I would pack my life full of duties responsibilities, people, jobs and projects in order to avoid feeling the pang of loneliness.

Now, instead of filling my empty hours with tasks and to do lists, I embrace feeling lonely.

Even if I don’t want to. Even if it’s uncomfortable. Especially if it’s uncomfortable.

But why? 
  1. It’s normal. We all feel it. Single or not.
  2. It is an area of anxiety for me, and I want to overcome it.
  3. Jesus and I have some pretty epic prayer parties when I camp out here.
  4. It causes me to be really honest with the Lord about my life and the direction it’s headed.
  5. It’s one more avenue through which Jesus shows me His marvelous love.

This year has been a year of Jesus showering me with love. Showering me with the affirmation that He wants, desires and delights in me.

He does it in crazy, creative and sometimes random ways. But it is always evident the love action is from Him.

Tonight it came to me in the form of salad, poinsettias and a prayer.

Christmas can be a hard time for a lot of people. A lonely time, a painful time and a trying time.

So tonight, seek HIS heart and ask Him to overwhelm you with His love.

He will do it. Because He loves you. Always has and always will.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Beauty at Son Jardin

I'm sitting in a rental car outside the home my great-grandmother has lived in her entire life.

I'm sitting outside in the car, not because she isn't here, but because I'm charging my cell phone.

And to be perfectly honest, I'd rather let it die.

I sat in the living room with both my grandmother and my great mother this afternoon. 

Just sitting. No tv. Not much talking. 

Just sitting. 

Watching the birds. A little napping (to catch up from jet lag). 

Comfortable silence amidst random moments of laughter.

Three of five generations just existing peacefully in the same space.

When I woke up from my nap, I walked into the kitchen to grab a snack. 

And I just stood there. Looking out the window.

The simplistic and intense beauty of this moment hit me. It almost completely overwhelmed me. Totally surrounded me in a blanket of warmth and security and peace.

Life feels simpler here at Son Jardin. And I like it. A lot.

It is quiet. One can think. And from the tone of this post, one can also feel inspired to write.

I don't know about all of you, but technology sometimes puts me a little on edge. 

Don't get me wrong, my iPhone is what I'm using to write this post, as well as checking in to my flights and taking photos. 

But the rapid pace that it requires me to operate at can be completely and overwhelmingly exhausting.

So as I sat with two of the most incredible women I know this afternoon, it hit me again. That two entire generations did amazing things and lived their lives in incredible ways, all without the modern technology I have become accustomed to using on a daily basis.

So, I challenge myself today. I challenge myself to remember to breath. 

To be okay with complete silence. To enjoy the company of my own thoughts. 

To stop checking FB every ten minutes just because I don't want to engage. 

To complete submerge myself in the experience, instead of thinking which filter to use on my photos. 

I will still use technology, for I think it is one of the most amazing platforms we have as a society to connect and socialize. 

However, I find it equally important to be completely comfortable with the falling leaves and a good book as my companion. 

If this is my greatest lesson on this adventure, then I pray I learn and live it well.

"I have never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude." - Henry David Thoreau

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Love Project 2014: Comparison vs Compassion

Today I heard one of the most compelling messages I have heard in a very long time.

A message that both inspired me and filled me with conviction. At the exact same moment.

Two words. Two scenarios.

Each similar, but oh, so very different.

Scene One: A mother opens the car door for her small child. The child gets out of the car, and the mother closes the door. Right as the mother slams the car door shut, the child lets out a blood curdling scream. Their hand is stuck in the door. The mother drops everything in her hands, fumbling for the keys to unlock the door. She unlocks the door, freeing her child's hand. Then she gathers her child into her arms, comforting and soothing the damage done by the car door.

Compassion: seeing a need and meeting it 

Scene Two: A mother opens the car door for her small child. The child gets out of the car, and the mother closes the door. Right as the mother slams the car door shut, the child lets out a blood curdling scream. Their hand is stuck in the door. The mother stops, looks down at her hands and says to herself, "Wow.... I am so thankful for my two working, healthy, non-damaged hands." She takes one last look at the child, who is writhing in pain and sobbing uncontrollably, and walks away.

Comparison: seeing a need and being thankful it isn't yours

Now, for those of us with common sense, this second scenario is wrong on so many levels. 

What mother would do that to her child? 

Who could see someone in such agony and not do something about it? 

But, is that not what we often do when we see someone in need? 

We sit back, breath a sigh of relief and say, "Man, I'm glad that's not me."

Such a mind blowing and powerful thought!

Am I truly showing someone compassion, or is it merely a situational comparison?

Maybe, instead of focusing on how much better I have it than other people, I can get out there and do something to change their situation.

Instead of talking about loving people, I just go out and do it. And by love I mean act.

And as terrifying as the reality of that statement is, it also lights a fire in my soul.

Because to quote one of my favorite authors, "love does."

To add to that? So does compassion.

Two words. So similar, yet so different.

Which one will you choose today?

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Love Project 2014: Those Who Love

Today, I heard the story of how Jesus totally got a hold of someone's life and changed them. For good.

Tonight, I sat through a memorial service that honored a woman of devoted and fervent prayer. Someone who I was beyond blessed to know and have been prayed over.

I also stood and spoke with two people who changed my life probably more than they will ever know.

You know, we all go through pretty intense seasons in our lives. Sometimes those seasons seem hopeless, lonely and incredibly bleak.

For me, those days were primarily during high school, shortly after my dad died.

And while those days were challenging and painful, I was never left desolate or abandoned. Even if it felt like it.

Jesus blew my mind and my expectations out of the water and dropped a family into my life that I now consider to be my own.

I look back on those lonely years, and can honestly say that my love bank was constantly having deposits made by that family.

Those deposits propelled me through and kept me going.

Those who love us in our darkest hours are those who can also celebrate with us through our greatest joys.

Whose love bank are you filling up today?

There are those who talk about it, there are those who hope for it, and then, there are just those who do something about it.

Those who love.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Love Project 2014: The Wonder of Miracles


Rise up and walk kind of experiences.

Go and sin no more moments.

Speak Lord and it will happen type of trust.

Who is this man and how does He do these things awe and amazement.

That’s what I want to see. Be apart of. Know, experience, share and see.

My small group is going through the book of Acts. As we walked through chapter 4, and discussed the lame man who asked Peter for silver and gold, I had a thought.

Do I really and truly believe that miracles happen the way we read about them in the scriptures?

Do I truly believe that someone can rise up and walk when spoken in the name of Jesus with complete faith?

Or have I become so tainted and jaded by “false prophets”, that I miss it when it really happens?

To me it seems like such a delicate balance. A balance of the true belief in the Holy Spirit and those gifts, coupled with discernment for that which is not of the Lord.

Because I love Jesus and I know He hears me, I have no problem believing in the answered prayers I see coming to fruition in front of me.

But what about miracles?

Do I really believe they exist?

I want to. I want to see them, experience them, hear of them and believe in them.

I want my love for Jesus to be so strong and firm that I don’t doubt the possibility of miracles.

I don’t just want to read about them to believe in them. I want to believe in them and know them to be true.

True because the One I love has said they are so, and not only did them, but still does.

Thou art the God that doest wonders: thou hast declared thy strength among the people.
Psalm 77:14

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Love Project 2014: If You Give a Girl a Cape

When I was a wee child (no short jokes please), there was this book that I absolutely loved to read. It was called, "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie." The entire premise of the story is based on the hypothetical situation that will arise if  and when you give a mouse a cookie. You know, should he walk up to you and say, "Hey you. Yeah, you with the cookie. I want one."

The problems you then face (not counting a talking mouse as a problem) are as follows: he will probably want some milk. And then a blanket, and then a jacket and a bed. You get the idea. Sort of like the concept that says, "if you give them an inch, they will take a mile."

This philosophy says loud and clear, "STAY WITHIN YOUR BOUNDARIES! DON'T TAKE RISKS OR LET ANYONE IN!"

Granted, I am reading way more into this iconic piece of children's literature than need be, however, I am going to put on my cynical hat for a moment. 

The entire book is filled with what if's.

Growing up, I totally felt like the kid who wanted to give the mouse a cookie. Just to see what would happen. However, I got caught up in the what if's.

What if that person is upset with me.

What if they don't like me. 

What if they don't think I am funny.

What if someone goes down a wrong path because of the one thing I said wrong. 

Or my friends turn against Jesus.

Or that adventure I want to go on doesn't pan out. 

Or. Or. Or....

Most of the time, I was a free spirited kid, until I placed this unbelievably heavy sense of responsibility on my own shoulders.

Until one day, I decided enough of that. 

And even though it didn't rectify itself overnight, I made a conscious and focused decision to embrace life.

So, if a children's book were to be written about me, I would call it "If You Give a Girl a Cape."

Why a cape?

I am so glad you asked.

If you give a girl a cape, she will feel strong.

She will feel powerful.

She will be confident and radiate light and fun and laughter.

She will not shy away in the face of uncertainty or danger.

She will be brave and stand for what is right. 

She will love fiercely and be a support for those who need her most, while also allowing people to love her and support her in return.

I know most girls like princesses, and don't get me wrong, I do as well.

However, there is just something way cooler about have an invisible plane than having a crown.

As a kid, I pretended to be one. Wonder Woman was and is my favorite. Followed by Wolverine and Batman.

Because, there is just something about wearing a cape that makes things right with the world.

Especially on "Superhero Friday." When wearing capes to work is encouraged. Mostly by me, but whatever. Actually, wearing capes ANYWHERE is encouraged!

So, I wear my cape to work, frequently. 

People know me as Wonder Woman. 

And it's awesome.

What's more awesome is that Jesus used something as simple as a cape to teach me something powerful.

Something empowering and encouraging. 

Something that I want to share with everyone! And if wearing a cape on Fridays makes that possible, then bring on the capes!

Because my friends, you are precious in the sight of Jesus.

He fills you with His light, His power and His love. 

And that is greater than any super power and He is more powerful than any superhero.

He is the ultimate SUPERHERO!!!

Cheers to wearing capes, spreading joy and taking the love of Jesus everywhere!!!

Happy SuperHero Friday Everyone!