Thursday, November 29, 2007

Cardboard Boxes and Fabuloso...

...are my best friends. I've never been more thankful for the invention of the cardboard box! They are hard to find, and are very expensive if you can't find any for free!

If you aren't in on the KNOW, we're moving in with Steve's sister for our last four weeks in San Diego before we head out for North Carolina. So... this week, we've devoted our lives to PACKING and CLEANING.

After being absolutely repulsed by the price of even the smallest cardboard box, I've been up early every morning for the past week, scavenging the earth for anyone who might be throwing away any type of usable box. For your information, and just because... here are a few tips on finding cardboard boxes.

1. Warehouse flower shops have great boxes with sturdy walls and even handles. Perfect for packing all of your delicate everything that's in your junk drawer!

2. Boxes left in the back of restaurants are deceiving. They usually look like the PERFECT boxes for just about anything, but unless you don't mind your car smelling like Thai food on the way home, I wouldn't advise you to use any type of food boxes for packing.

3. You'd think big retail stores would have an endless supply of boxes. And although places like Costco and Albertsons unpack thousands of boxes daily, they usually don't have any to give away. Lesson - the huge robotic looking dumpster thingin the back of the store is a CARDBOARD BALER. Stores who can afford this machine, use it to crush boxes for easy disposing. You could call and ask them to save boxes for you, but usually someone who "didn't get the message" throws them away.

4. Keeping all of my recent learnings in mind, I decided to look in back of a Ross - Dress for Less store behind my house. There was a sign leading to the back receiving area that said "VENDOR'S AND DELIVERIES ONLY", but the gate was open and I was desperate, so I proceeded through. As I drove around the corner to the back of the store, I swear I heard angels singing as I saw this sight:

Not quite as beautiful as sunset at the top of Mount Helix, but definitely more useful! And there were even MORE boxes on the other side of this road. It was like an OCEAN of cardboard! Both dumpsters were FILLED to the brim with broken down boxes. I loaded all I could fit in my car, and thankfully never had to search for boxes again.

As Steve started taking things to his sisters and to our storage space, I started cleaning. If you've never used FABULOSO, you're missing out. It smells really good and cleans really well. It works better than any other industrial cleaner... just don't misuse it as mouth wash, like my dad did a few years ago.

As we officially say goodbye to our apartment today, I am really starting to get excited about our move. I can't WAIT to be a resident of Raleigh, North Carolina. I can't wait to meet new friends. I can't wait to do church in a different setting...

But right now I'm going to sit here and be thankful for cardboard boxes and fabuloso. 2 items that have helped us tremendously in our efforts to get to the next leg of our journey!

Thursday, November 22, 2007


I didn't really want to post a list of things I'm thankful for (especially because I'll have to do that at the dinner table tomorrow), but...It's kind of depressing to me that I don't express thanks regularly throughout the year. So...the following is a list of things I'm thankful for at this very moment...the day BEFORE Thanksgiving (kind's almost 1AM). Oh Well... Here it goes:


2. My husband working his TAIL off in the middle of the night while I update my blog.
3. My kids...SLEEPING
4. Judge Judy
5. A clean house
6. 3 loads of laundry DONE tonight
7. Our Cabins in the desert
8. Mom and dad
9. Good Friends
10. Thanksgiving FOOD
11. My bed
12. Church at the Triangle and Journey
13. Music
14. Family health
15. Dr. Pepper
16. Karen Nunez
17. The Mother Goose Parade
18. Ellen DeGeneres
19. Warm house

And the MOST IMPORTANT thing I'm thankful for today is GRACE. I am humbled every time I think about God's continued grace in my continually failing life. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

I woke up this morning and it wasn't a dream!

I love taking road trips. One of my favorite road trips is to a taping of the Ellen DeGeneres show in Burbank, CA. Yesterday was my 4th visit to Ellen. Some of my friends give me a hard time, but I love Ellen. Something about her wit, sincerity, charitable heart, and just the way she cares about people really humbles and inspires me.

Every time I've had tickets to the show, it's always been on a first come first serve policy. I haven't been extremely lucky getting good seats, so when the intern called me to tell me my tickets were GUARANTEED for the studio audience, I was STOKED. I invited my friends, Sue, Deanna and Steph; 3 girls I used to play softball with growing up. They had never been to the show, and I LOVE being around them, so I organized and made it a ROAD TRIP!

Stephanie drove, and we were able to get in a good amount of "catch up" time on the 2 hour drive up. As we approached NBC studios we noticed a LARGE amount of people standing on the sidewalks with picket signs. "Oh yeah...that writers strike!!" We all forgot about the news of thousands of writers in LA walking out on their jobs in hopes of a better contract. Since Ellen shares a studio with Jay Leno we thought they were probably just protesting the "Late Shows". We decided we should ask. So I rolled down my window at a stop light and asked a lady holding a sign who they were picketing... she said "everyone in the studio". I said "EVEN ELLEN?" She said yes, and then proceeded to tell me that the Ellen show was canceled due to the strike. We pulled away, my road trip mates shared a few expletives, and I decided to call the show to see if what the picketer told us was true. Thankfully she was lying, and just trying to prevent us from crossing their picket line! Being part of the grocery strike a few years back, I did have sympathy for the writers on strike, but there was NO WAY we were going to pass on our guaranteed tickets to Ellen. Once we found the studio, we grabbed a bite to eat and headed to the line that formed outside Ellen's studio. I cannot tell you how excited I was to NOT be in the "standby" ticket holders line. Soon after we received our seat numbers, we were escorted through security and placed in a holding area where we watched Ellen Show reruns on flat screens. A Starbucks van was parked in the parking lot serving free drinks for all of us. After quite a long wait and lots of coffee, it was time to be escorted into the studio. We had seat numbers 39-42. We weren't the first ones into the studio, but we were VERY excited when my group of four was escorted to the FRONT ROW! We had the absolute BEST seats in the house! The show interns came out and gave us instruction on cheering, and after a few dance contests, out came ELLEN! Everyone went crazy. She greeted us all before they started taping and then she began her monologue. She let us know that Hayden Panettiere from Heroes would be on the show,

as well as Allison Sweeney, host of The Biggest Loser.

The cast of soap opera Days of Our Lives was there also.

If we weren't excited enough to be in the very front row, Ellen then informed us that the entire audience would receive:
"Scene It" - A Video Game for XBox 360


"Guitar Hero" - Another Video Game for XBox 360 guessed it...
she also gave everyone in the audience XBOX 360 Game Consoles! Sweet!!

I don't even remember what happened for the rest of the show, and I don't even play video games.... I was just so stoked to get a gift from Ellen! SOOO COOL.

After watching a few more segments, Ellen thanked us and said goodbye. I managed to ask one of the camera operators for a copy of their production schedule. He was totally cool and I was so honored to walk away with a show script in hand. We parked about a half mile away from the studio, so I'm sure the four of us looked pretty goofy walking through burbank in heels with XBOX 360, Guitar Hero, and Scene It in our hands. We piled our stuff and ourselves in the car, got some dinner to avoid traffic and then headed home. We chatted for a while longer and then in our giddy moods, blared the stereo and sang all of our favorite songs on the way home.

I really couldn't tell you what the highlight of our trip was because it was all amazing, but I can tell you that in a couple months, I'm definitely going to miss road trips and Ellen, and Steph, Deanna and Sue. At least I get to take my XBOX!

Oh...and if you're interested...the show we were on airs today, Thursday, November 8th at 3pm on NBC. We're sitting right next to "Stryker" the DJ in the front row.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

A New One...

It's a little rough it is anyway. Take a listen. Just click the "play button"

As I Am
Wherever I go
And whatever I see
I wonder what it'd be like
If life was up to me

If whatever want
Would be guaranteed
Would I still want it all
If it meant you were far from me?

You take my fallen heart
You take my broken life
And when I turn my back
And look around you're still there
And you take me as I am

How'd I get to this place
So out of control
I thought I could make it
All I did was break
The life you let me hold

You take my fallen heart
You take my broken life
And when I turn my back
And look around you're still there

You take my fallen heart
You take my broken life
And when I turn my back
And look around you're still there
And you take me as I am

When I'm not sure
If your really there
Will you help my unbelief
And take me as I am

Friday, November 2, 2007

Destination: Raleigh, NC - Packing Our Bags!

Steve and I met at Journey Community Church in La Mesa, CA in 1998. Back then Steve was on staff at Journey as a facilities team member. He also volunteered as the worship leader for Journey’s high school ministry. After a few years of volunteering as a worship leader for high school and middle school, Steve was offered a part time position at Journey leading worship for a new Friday Night Service and then also for Journey’s video venue. After serving a number of years in ministry together, we were married in 2003. Since then, both Steve and I have been heavily involved in the creative process for the Weekend Services at Journey. We both have found a passion for developing creative services around thematic message series’, and finding creative ways to connect people to God.

As our passion has grown for God, so has the importance of the calling on Steve’s life to become a full time worship leader. About two years ago, we began to earnestly seek God for such a position, whether at Journey or elsewhere. In those two years, opportunities arose but never with any solid confirmation. While on the search, Steve started picking up different side jobs to supplement income as he maintained his part time role at Journey.

In July 2007, we received a phone call from Pastor Lee Towns in Raleigh, North Carolina. Lee is a familiar face here at Journey and speaks at our July at Journey series almost every year. He told us about a calling he had to start Church at the Triangle. He shared with us his vision and dream for the church and asked us to pray about a possible partnership. After a month of praying, emails, and phone conversations, we decided to visit the community. There we were able to share in Lee’s vision a little closer. We met Lee’s awesome family, and were very intrigued by the pace of life and the surroundings in Raleigh. As we left Raleigh, We decided to lift this opportunity up in prayer and ask God for guidance as we went forward. After a few more long distance emails and phone calls, we started having nothing but confirmation in our hearts that God was indeed moving this opportunity forward.

So…long story short…
On January 2nd, 2008, we will start our 2,545 mile drive across the country to relocate our family to Raleigh, North Carolina to pursue Steve’s calling as a full time worship leader. I can’t tell you how excited we are to start working with the Towns family and the community that will become “Church at the Triangle”. This is a definite life marking moment in our lives filled with all the anxiousness, excitement, and even sadness that comes with change. We’ll definitely miss seeing our extended family and friends. We’ll also obviously miss Journey Community Church. I can honestly say that Journey has played a huge part of who Steve and I have become as people and as a family. We’d really appreciate your prayer as we, by faith, trust God for a smooth transition to Raleigh.

This is obviously, the first of many posts dedicated to our move. So check back frequently for updates!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

My Sweet Duck.

I hardly ever get pictures of Riley posing for the camera these days, so even though you already saw him as a duck yesterday, I just HAD to post this picture (mostly for you, mom!). It was taken last night at Journey's FFF. The boys had a GREAT time!