Labor Day Weekend!

Hello all you beautiful readers!

This weekend was work work work for me! Yard House was suuuper busy, which was awesome, but it wiped me out! Completely.

I hadn’t seen Joel in like 4 days due to our work schedules, and being the awesome guy he is, wanted to surprise me on Monday with an all-day date. He said I had to choose either beach, or mountains. I was like, how can I choose between my two favorite places in the whole world??

After an agonizing debate in my head about whether I wanted sand or trees, I decided upon trees.

Here’s why:

Soooo Joel took me to Big Bear…but he wouldn’t tell me what we were going to do once we got there…

Of course, it rained. Which made me SO SO SO happy. Because water from the sky = beautiful clouds and cool weather. Two things I most ardently adore.

He took me on a walk around Big Bear Lake, about a 3.5 mile loop.

Because of the rain, all of these little brooks had been formed…

So pretty!

And then it started to rain…

Which was awesome! Running in the rain is so fun.

It was a great walk…I definitely needed a break from the heat!

After the walk, Joel took me to the Big Bear Zoo…

This place was AWESOME! It was never meant to be a zoo…it was a rescue shelter for animals on the mountain. Bears, mountain lions, birds…pretty much every animal you will find in California (besides seagulls πŸ™‚ ).

We got there at the perfect time because five minutes after walking in, they announced that they were doing a feeding tour! So we got to have a guided tour through the zoo and watch the animals be fed.

I learned so much about wild animal rescue. Apparently many of these animals are rushed into the treatment center from BB gun wounds, arrow wounds, and gunshot wounds. The unfortunate thing is that many of them are endangered. There were two bald eagles who had been shot (one was made blind!) and now have to live in a cage forever. It’s the saddest thing! The tour guide said they do not want any animals in cages. The ONLY way the animal goes in a cage is if it cannot fend for itself in the wild anymore OR if it is a threat to humans.

Like these grizzly bears… three time offenders up in Yellowstone. All three of them were going to be put down (every animal has three strikes to hurt a human/show violence before being put down) until Harley Davidson called the rescue center and said they would sponsor food (they eat over 180 pounds of food per day!!!) and a “cage” for these bears so they wouldn’t have to die. Pretty cool if you ask me!

Right before winter they weigh over one ton! Right now they were between 800 and 900 pounds. SO BIG!! The pictures don’t capture their size or scari-ness. At one point the big guy walked right up to the gate (which was onle two feet away) and was trying to sniff me. I was FREAKING out!

Some of these animals were just so cool…these wolves were awesome.

And some others…

All in all, it was a great visit. I loved learning each of the animal’s stories! It made everything I hear about endangered animals very real.

If you want to sponsor this zoo or make a contribution (they are privately funded…NO funds come from the government!!) their website is:

http://moonridgezoo.org/

Check it out!

After the awesome zoo date, Joel drove me over to Lake Arrowhead for an incredible glass of wine. He took me to BIN 189 (I forgot my camera!! How SILLY was I?) and we enjoyed this amazing pinot noir from Napa. Delish!!

Now, I’m on my break at work…eating a scrumptious sandwich and working on mailers and updating the youth group database…I bet you would NEVER guess how much work it is to run a fully-fledged church. SO MUCH. I’m just the receptionist and I am constantly working!

And of course, I will be finishing up my day with the very fresh and all-natural, gluten and dairy free monster madness by Bolthouse Farms πŸ™‚

Cheers my friends!

 

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Santa Barbara and the Zoo

Went to SB this Monday with Joel and his awesome family…

love him!

Entrance to the zoo was so cute! I love Santa Barbara for the super-cute architecture!

Joel’s little sis was afraid of the sunscreen!

Okay, so I was like, “Joel, WHY are you wearing your running shoes at the zoo?”

He said they were comfortable…

I will never fully understand the male gender πŸ™‚

Black Swans!

Joel wanted to feed them…he spent a dollar to feed the swans…

Cute architecture again!

These seals were soooo cute…they followed each other around and refused to break off and be alone…adorable.

I was very jealous of this runner…HOW could I have forgotten my shoes? The last time I ran barefoot I pulled my achilles…not fun.

Joel and his adorable sister.

I loved this sign…candy and…stuff? haha

The pier offered such a pretty view of the city! I am sad the resolution isn’t very good…it doesn’t capture the beauty of it.

Cheers!!!

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Wedding Weight

Okay, so here is some honesty.

I, as I am sure like many of you, am happy with my weight.

“Happy,” (of course) meaning, I don’t cry anymore when I look at myself in the mirror (like I used to many moons ago).

HOWEVER.

Trying on wedding dresses does something to a girl’s psyche. Or at least mine.

You try a dress on, and it’s absolutely stunning. You think, “wow, I feel so beautiful,” and you take a bunch of pictures and go home musing on the loveliness of it all.

And then it hits you, as you look at the pictures…

My waist could be sinched at least two more inches…

My “back skin” could pull a little tighter…

My chest could get a little smaller (who wants to look like a floosy on their wedding day?)…

My butt could be a little perkier…

And then the cycle spirals farther and farther into the black myriad of self-loathing.

Why do we (I) do this to ourselves? It makes no sense. My body in in great condition…I can run, lift weights, do yoga, dance, run hills, AND rock a dress. So what’s the big deal? What is 1/2 an inch of skin? WHY is it such a big deal all of a sudden, and WHY can’t I let go of it?

And the most ironic part is that I don’t feel depressed at all…just riled and motivated to DO something about this annoying thinking that sounds like “I must be the most beautiful and perfect bride Joel could have ever imagined.”

Because he already thinks that, and most importantly, I shouldn’t receive my body-image satisfaction from him…because it’s never enough.

No matter how many times he tells me, “You are the hottest girl I have ever seen,” and “I can’t believe God has blessed me with you…you are so gorgeous,” it never truly satisfies.

Ironically, when I was younger, I received most of my inner fulfillment and satisfaction from God. And let me tell you. It was MUCH more satisfying. His love never faded, it was always there, reassuring me and teaching me that beauty is something that resides so much deeper than flesh and bones…it is graphed into your blood and comes out from the heart. Cheesy, I know. But so real, and so incredible.

And now, I met the guy of my dreams, and he is incredible, but I think along the way somewhere my thinking has changed.

It has become less of what God has intended me to be on the inside, and more about how Joel sees me, and how I compare myself to other girls.

And the more this thinking has changed, the less satisfying my life is. The less satisfying my relationship is. And the less satisfying God is.

Because if I am looking for outward approval, I won’t find that from God. But I can find it from people and their “admiration”.

But the problem with the admiration is that it is likeΒ  a drug…

It feels so so good at first, and all you need is that one “hit” (a.k.a. compliment, reassurance, approval) and you’re fine…but soon enough, that one hit turns into two hits, which turns into three hits, and now you need four hits to feel the same high.

Hmmmm. Dangerous business.

SO, even though I do want to be super lean and perfectly toned on my wedding day, I am going to first and foremost aim for INNER BEAUTY, and whatever outward expression comes, then so be it! But that CANNOT be my focus. Not only does it become annoying to need people’s approval, but it in turn makes me miss out on the single-most important relationship…mine and God’s.

Amen to that, sisters πŸ™‚

Cheers!!

 

 

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Engagement Pics!

My best friend in the whole world…

took mine and Joel’s engagement pictures last week, and I got to see them today!

They are AMAZING. I am so blessed to have a friend like her. She is always there for me, gives the best advice, and has the most generous heart. She makes so many sacrifices to love and serve others. I look up to her in so many ways!

Not to mention her B.A. photography skills.

Thank you so much Lauren for letting me post these. I don’t know how I would get through life without your friendship πŸ™‚

Cheers!

 

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This Weekend’s FOOD

The food at Nicole’s wedding was scrumdiliumptous!

The rehearsal dinner comprised of the incredible Cafe Rio – a Utah specialty I would DIE to have in Cali! And the dessert bar was created by ladies that attend Nicole’s church…pretty amazing women! Those pies were delectable…melt in your mouth goodness!!
As for today…

How could I resist The Olive Pit? It’s only the best Mediterranean food in the entire North O.C. universe. There is just this beautifully magical thing about hummus, pita bread, salmon, and roasted veggies that make my body feel all warm and tingly.

Happy eating!

 

 

 

 

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Utah Recap

I LOVE UTAH!

I just returned from a great trip to Salt Lake for my friend’s wedding!

 

Nicole and I have been friends for seven, no EIGHT years now!

Nicole moved out to Salt Lake when she fell in love with this crazy guy named Ben…we thought she was crazy to leave So Cal for a guy, but he has actually turned out to be an incredible man.

I had the honor of playing “Thank You” by Hillsong United during their unity prayer!

Sooooo awesome.

It was so amazing to catch up with old friends…

And make new ones!!

Congrats Ben and Nicole!! Forge ahead and create an adventurous future!

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My first post EVER!

Hey guys!!

So good to finally be writing! I have had my blog site for ages but haven’t had the time to actually start it.

Wohoo!

Recently started my job at The Cause as the official receptionist…it is going to be so much fun working with my future hubby!

Here I am stuffing mailers for the youth ministry…

I’m also serving a TON, which means late nights (try 2 am!)-I’m not sure if these two work schedules will get along.

Something tells me this might kick me in the butt πŸ™‚

But I’m always up for a challenge!!

Won’t be able to work out today (sad face)…going straight from work to meet with a friend, then packing for my trip to UTAH for my great friend Nicole’s wedding…

I cannot wait for this weekend! Has anyone been to Salt Lake City? It is absolutely gorgeous! One of my favorite places! Not to mention some of my best friends live there…

And there are beautiful mountains…

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