Saturday, December 26, 2009

.christmas treats.

i shot some Christmas cards this year. it was really fun because i'm related to or really like all the people i worked with and at that point, it doesn't feel like work :)

here's some day after Christmas treats for you:

my cousin jeanna, her husband steven & the world's most lovable kid - gerrit

one of my best friends, sarah - her husband justin & their kiddos anna & john. i'm missin' them in california these days, but they're loving calling texas home.

my aunt & uncle, peter & dana in bakersfield and their awesome kids - grant, isabella & gwyneth. i think this was the most fun to shoot because they live in such a cool spot and their kids are bigger. i think big kids are easier and plus, i just like their kids :)

and a new friend - carrie and her husband john & really fun kids - jacob, justin, carson & katherine - i LOVED her style and their rad shoes.

THANKS YOU GUYS for letting me be part of your Christmas :) I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Friday, December 25, 2009

.the break up.

this is how i feel today. i need you to just work with me as i figure this out.

- there's a sense of freedom
- there's also a sense of loss
- you like it at first, but when you really try to live with it it's harder than you think
- you keep thinking about how things were "back when you had it in your life"
- you are really frustrated for the first while and just wish for it back
- you don't feel like yourself without it, you've gotten so used to having it in your life
- you're a little insecure and sometimes don't feel like going out of the house for a while
- it takes people who love you saying, "no, it's totally fine. you just have to get used to it. i like you better without it."

you're gonna laugh and i'm secure in that. laugh away. i've decided that:

the first week or two with a new haircut is really similar to the first few weeks after a break up.

why am i blogging about this on Christmas you may ask? well, this happens to be the first day i've tried to do my new do since the haircut. and that's when i realize it. so if you see any pictures of me on Christmas day, don't judge my hair, have some grace and tell me i'll get used to it. i just hate that i can never do it like the person who cuts my hair (my cousin or Sarah). that's the worst part.

i know i'll be fine just like the last time and in about 10 days, my new do will be embraced. MERRY CHRISTMAS to all of you. may we remember today that it's about Jesus and the life he came to offer and our haircuts are pretty much irrelevant ;)

Monday, December 21, 2009

.music mondays - follow you.

i first heard this song yesterday and i knew it was the one for music mondays. it's called "follow you" by leeland - who happens to be a pretty great band :)

You lived among the least of these
The weary and the weak
And it would be a tragedy for me to turn away.

All my needs you have supplied.
When I was dead you gave me life.
How could I not give it away so freely?

And I'll follow you into the homes that are broken.
Follow you into the world.
Meet the needs for the poor and the needy, God.
Follow you into the World.

Use my hands, use my feet
To make your kingdom come
Through the corners of the earth
Until your work is done
'Cause Faith without works is dead
And on the cross your blood was she'd
So how could I not give it away so freely?

And I'll follow you into the homes that are broken.
Follow you into the world.
Meet the needs for the poor and the needy, God.
Follow you into the World.

I give all myself.
I give all myself
I give all myself... to you.

as i start my new job in january with an organization called IMPACT out of santa barbara (ish), this song speaks volumes about what we've been called to do. we are sending people to the "homes of the broken and meet the needs of the poor and needy." i love what the organization does and i love that i get to set people up to play a part in his bigger kingdom! man, i'm excited about this job and i can't stinkin' wait to have the opportunity to point people to Jesus and give them an opportunity to get off the bench and in the game. i love this song because it motivates me. it reminds me what really fuels me in my life and it renews my passion for Jesus and for expanding his kingdom. it reminds me of who our Jesus is and what he's about and dang it - he's about the homes of the broken and the needs of the poor and why should i not give it away?

so, Lord - i give all myself... everything i am to you to see your kingdom come. let's do this thing.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

.#7 - the getty.

i'm first going to apologize to those of you who wanted to go to the getty with me... i'm sorry it didn't happen. it was one of those late night conversations that turned into a "hey, we should go to the getty tomorrow" things and so we did. and it was worth it. it's a place i've always seen up on the hill and thought that i needed to someday get there. i have a cousin who lives in the LA vicinity with her husband who's an artist and she's recommended it to me numerous times and that's how it ended up on the list.

it was really one of those days where you sit back and say, "now that day couldn't have been more perfect."

9:30 - kirsten got to my house to pick me up

9:45 - we stopped at trader joe's (a.k.a. heaven) and picked up a little picnic lunch

10:00 -we got our starbucks on - because every good day begins with coffee
11:00 - we arrived at the getty and did the little tram ride i'd dreamed of for so long up to the museum
11:30 - we unpacked our picnic lunch, wine and all and ate in the gorgeous getty gardens (those 3 "g" words would be 3 points in scattergories for those of you who are word geeks like me)

12:15 - we headed into the photography exhibit that was really amazing - this man named Irving Penn took photographs in his studio in the 50's and 60's of everyday people wearing/carrying what they used for their everyday jobs, for example if you were a butcher, you wore your bloody apron and held your butcher knife in your hand for the picture. he calls it "Small Trades." and it was truly amazing. go here - to check it out. i heart photography so it was pretty awesome to see. reminded me a bit of an amazing thing some quasi-friends are doing right now called Help Portrait - go here to see that - okay so i'm on a tangent now. back to the getty.
1:15 - we walked outside to this view of the ocean... honestly, even if you go to the getty and look at no art all day, it's worth it just for the gardens and the sheer beauty of where they chose to build the thing. LA skyline + ocean = a bit of gloriousness (is that a word?)

1:25 - we headed into an exhibit called "Rembrandt and his Pupils" - i of course, being the crazy dutch girl that i am so appreciated the dutch names, dutch towns, dutch everything about beloved Rembrandt. but as a whole we were impressed with how much of what he'd chosen to draw was from scripture. it was pretty awesome the way he portrays many of the stories we'd heard our whole lives. for me at least, it amplified the way i saw things like "the prodigal son" and "the angel telling mary of her pregnancy." it was awesome.
2:00 - back on the blessed tram and into the parking garage to head back to the oc.
3:00 - home sweet grandma's house.

here's some "extras for you from the day. the fall leaves were gorgeous, the water fountains were pretty rad and it was just one of those days when you get to just be with someone you think is really great and do nothing but exist and enjoy. so that's what we did. we existed and we enjoyed. and then the day continued with a great coffee chat/hang out with some old young life kids who are now college sophomores - NUTS! and then sushi with a friend and a conversation with my cousin who's in the ukraine with her husband, getting their little girl (read about them here - day was perfect. off to texas tomorrow.

oh getty, you are just glorious. thanks for an awesome day. mission #7 - accomplished.

p.s. - i also got a yosemite date on the calendar - progress people... progress

Monday, December 14, 2009

.music mondays.

i’ve decided to try something new for this next season of my life. a little ditty i’d like to call “music mondays.” it resembles something we used to do from time to time when i was working with youth. we’d take some song lyrics and dive into them and chat about why those lyrics spoke to where we were at in our lives. so i thought i’d revisit that the next month or two with “music mondays” and see if we like it. and plus, it gives me a reason to blog on mondays instead of just when i feel like it, which turns out to be not all that often. :)

This hot jam is called, "Ordinary Day" by a guy named Griffin House. It's brilliant.

All of my life

I’ve been a fool

Breaking myself 

To follow your rules

And I beat myself up

When I can’t find the strength

When I can’t seem to change

The harder I think

Let me get this straight

Let me feel the weight of an ordinary day

‘Cause I’ve tried to heal this thing

But you let me slip away

When I run away

You just let me run

And I take it too far

By the time I am done

And I understand
I’m thick in the skull

But I’m learning to love
The sound of your call

Let me get this straight

Let me feel the weight of an ordinary day

‘Cause I’ve tried to heal this thing

But you let me slip away

I fear rejection and I up my defenses

I look for healing in the human touch

When will I learn to face the consequences?

Of trying to love you and failing so much

I’m trying to love you but I’m failing so much

Let me get this straight

Let me feel the weight of an ordinary day
Cause I’ve tried to heal this thing

But you let me slip away
Let me slip away

Over and over and over again

I’m biting the hand that’s pulling me in

Over and over and over again

Believe in the hand that’s pulling me in

to me this song speaks volumes of my relationship with God. there's this push and pull - this internal struggle, this way that I try to do things my way but yet i know it's never gonna work. ever. i resonate with the part where he says, "when i run away, you just let me run. and i take it too far by the time i am done. i understand i'm thick in the skull, but i'm learning to love the sound of your call." that is just so much of how my life operates and i want so badly to break those habits of running from God when i don't know what to do. i want so badly to not be that "thick in the skull" person and i am learning to need Him and i am learning to love the sound of His call but not as much as i'd like to be.

this is my typical reaction - "i look for healing in the human touch" and as a result "i'm biting the hand that's pulling me in." the truth that's tangled up in these lyrics is a bit close to home at this point. i do try to go to my tangible "human" friends before i let God handle what needs to be handled. i don't often go to him first because for some reason He seems so distant and unable to help in the immediacy. i want to change this, so badly. i want to as griffin says, "BELIEVE in the hand that's pulling me in" instead of constantly being stubborn and putting up a fight.

and even now, i find myself more frustrated with how i do this than ever before. it's like writing about it gave me a renewed sense of being mad at myself. perfect. not quite what i was going for today. is it only me? am i the only crazy one whose tendency is to run and because God is good he just lets us and doesn't force us to do what we've known all along is best? food for thought...

Friday, December 11, 2009

.best news i've heard in months.

I GOT THE JOB I REALLY WANTED. well, to be more honest - God hooked me up with a job He really wanted me to have :) as of january 4th, i'll be the director of an organization called IMPACT out of Santa Barbara County. go here
to check it out.

this girl is real excited y'all. real excited. now the race is on to find a place to live... should be an interesting roller coaster of a week. man, did i say i'm excited?!?!?!?!

i really think that's all i've got for today. i have no other words. so glad this season's soon-to-be over. i'm sure they'll be a teary-eyed post about leaving orange county soon enough, but for now soak in the joy of job-ness with me because it's darn good and i can't wait to tell stories :)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

.#6 - Jesus convo.

this is one of my 30 that i honestly was a bit concerned about because clearly i could choose to be "crazy Jesus girl" and force a conversation about my faith and my Jesus on somebody, but that's just not how i roll, nor do i believe it's the best way. leave it to Jesus to have the person i was talking to go ahead and bring him up in conversation - he would... he's cool like that.

so one of my dearest friends got married last night (yay emily & ed - beyond stoked for you guys!!!)

and what happens after the wedding and dinner? a dance party, of course. i was out on the dance floor, busting my amazing white girl moves with some other young life peeps with amazing white people moves (along with the de la llave family that actually has moves) and started hangin' in a group of cousins visiting from new zealand. now that's a good time.

so... on the dance floor, corona lime in hand at one of my best friends' weddings, one of the kiwi cousins, james asks me point blank,

kiwi cousin: "so what's with you guys and your religious deal?"
me: "what do you mean by "you guys" and "religious deal?"
kiwi cousin: "well, you're drinking a beer, but aren't you guys all religious and work for some organization about Jesus and aren't religious people not supposed to drink?"

at this point i begin to explain to him the difference between a religion and a relationship and that for us it's much more than just subscribing to the "laws" of a religious code so that we can be part of the club. (some of you may disagree with this and that's fine. let's chit chat about it. please.)

it's here that he suggests we move off the dance floor so we can stop yelling and we actually have this 15 minute conversation about Jesus. about how Jesus didn't come to condemn people or not let them be part of a "club" he was starting. he came to include not exclude. he came so that we don't have to live by laws and so we don't. we choose to live a certain way and make certain choices because that's how we feel is the best way to live based on scripture and our individual relationship with Jesus, but you're not "excluded from the cool kid Jesus club" if you don't agree - God didn't create puppets, he created people.

he asked some questions about the difference between what new zealand deems "religion" and what us crazy young life people see as a "relationship" and then explained to me that where they live it's a you're-in-or-you're-out religious society. if you go to church and subscribe to a certain set of rules, you're in. if not, you're out. and i got to tell him that with Jesus you're never uninvited or "left out," you just have to choose to be in. i got to tell him that we are also church people and that those people probably aren't bad people and they probably really do care, but many of them are just scared to go outside of what they know and have these conversations with people who don't.

and i got to tell him that a life with Jesus brings so much freedom - the freedom to choose whether to have a beer or not and celebrate at a wedding with Jesus-lovin' people, the freedom to have these conversations and walk away with neither of us feeling condemned by the other, the freedom to love people where they're at and respect them for that and the freedom to choose a life that is truly life because we believe there's just a better way to live.

something had made james curious about the way we live. our lives demanded explanation and that's just how it should be if we're livin' for Jesus. maybe it was the golf game earlier that weekend with scott, the YL regional director who he said was one of the most interesting and kind people he'd ever met or maybe it was the way we lived life and celebrated ed and emily with such joy and reckless abandon without needing to drink too much (or not drink at all) to have fun, but he saw something different. i don't know what God's going to do in james' life but i'm grateful for our dance floor chat and i'm grateful that my having a beer with him while being a Christian was what allowed to feel comfortable enough to bring up the conversation. and mostly, i'm grateful that i got to share the Thing that means the most to me with a perfect stranger.

mission 6 accomplished. thanks for that one, Jesus.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


i just had an epiphany. i have had more time than i know what to do with lately (mostly consisting of the hours i spend choosing to not work on editing photography stuff because i get "over it" quickly). don't misunderstand me, it's not that i have nothing to do - not that at all. it's that i'm choosing to do nothing over doing the things i should be doing? ya, that's it...

anyhow - i had realized today that i have always LOVED to bake and i never do it anymore. maybe because the house i live in is not mine and i don't feel like i can just take over the kitchen for hours at a time with my messiness (because i'm far from a neat cook). but one of my best friends is getting married this weekend and asked me if i could grab something for "wedding day breakfast" for the all of us girls while we get ready. i thought about all the things i could pick up and then i thought - "Bree, why are you being do dumb?!?!?!?! You love to bake." so here are the reasons i will bake some award-winning scones instead of picking up breakfast.

good reasons to bake:
1) it's cheaper
2) it will be a good use of my time this week while i sit on pins and needles waiting to hear about a job
3) i miss baking
4) it will taste better -it always does
5) my kitchenaid mixer is needing a little tlc these days
6) i love to bake

good reasons not to bake:
1) i eat while i'm baking, always

6 perfectly good reasons to take matters into my own hands and 1 good reason not to. so here i go... now to find the perfect scone recipe since the one i want "can't be shared." wish me luck!

and here's the final product - chocolate chip, cranberry orange and apple cinnamon scones (and an extra long run - see my good reason not to bake) either way, mission accomplished!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

.#5 - makeup-less.

i'm going to be brutally honest with you today, i knew this would be one of the harder ones for me, but i also knew it would be a good challenge. you see, when you live in orange county where everyone gives the appearance of being "put together" 90% of the time, you fall into the trap of thinking you also can't leave the house with 48029385045 layers of mascara and every flaw covered up with concealer. and i realized that the last couple months i have fallen prey to that mentality - that what God made my face to look like isn't enough. interesting how quickly our mind tries to convince us.

*now before i continue, i must put this disclaimer out there that lipgloss (or at least the one i use) doesn't count as makeup, so when i say no makeup, i am very likely still wearing lip gloss. don't judge me or try to convince me otherwise, this is just the way i roll. i'm rarely lipgloss-less, but have decided it's better than being addicted to something more harmful. :)*

so i have been doing this makeup-less-ness once a week for the last few weeks and it has been really good for me. the thing is when you leave the house you're TOTALLY aware that you have no makeup on so sunglasses are appropriate, even inside a building ;) for the first hour or so. but then you forget and you are just you - make up or no make up, you are still you.. the one day i chose last week, i happened to run into approximately 6 people from church i haven't seen in a long time. initially i was totally aware of it, but after about 10 minutes, i was just me. and i'm pretty certain that even if they noticed, they weren't thinking, "what's her problem? why would she go out without makeup on?"

so here's the deal...

with no make up on (and a darling girl to hang out with)

or with loads of make up on (and bridesmaid duties to perform)

i. am. still. me.

now i may look 12 without it, i may feel not as pretty without it, but that doesn't change how God sees me, how i should see myself or even necessarily how others see me. i have a feeling that as i continue to do this, i will be writing another post about it, but it's in full effect and there are days when it's hard for me. i said it. there are days when i literally have to force myself not to wear makeup because i genuinely feel like people will look at me differently if i don't. i'm working on not believing this lie and believing that who my God created me to be is just plain good enough. a work in progress for sure.

and speaking of progress...5/30 - 1/6 of the way there. movin' right along...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

.#4 - cowboy boots.

so i'm a girl that delivers on my promises and follows through with my commitments probably about 96% of the time, especially when i'm determined. so i will conquer this list...

on my birthday, i went to nordstrom because it just seemed like the right thing to do on your birthday, ya know? it's one of those "make you feel good" kinda things to do on a day when you're supposed to feel good about your life. and then i thought, "i have some birthday money, maybe i'll go check out the cowboy boots." so i mosey on over there and lo and behold - i find some boots that i really really liked. sad part is, the size they had available was 1/2 size smaller than mine. bust!

so i settled for a "charge send" which for those of you who have worked retail, that's all-too-familiar and for those of you who haven't, it's just what it sounds like - you charge them to send the item. so unnecessary to explain that, but it just brought me back to my days in college at GAP Kids which may actually be getting a phone call from me if i don't get a job soon :)

anyhow, boots have arrived.

i wore them today for the first time and they are GLORIOUS! they make me wanna zip back to texas and do a little two-steppin.'

they're real comfy and real nice and i'm dang glad that i had birthday money to spend on one of the greatest investments of all time.

in this segment, i'd like to take the time to thank nordstrom for excellent customer service and charge-sending skills, my grandma for giving me the birthday money with which to buy my ever-so-coveted boots, texas for raisin' me up to love me some cowboy boots and jessica simpson (don't judge me, i didn't know they were hers until i saw the box, swear) for making boots that i deemed worth buying. and my parents, of course, my parents for bringing me into this world so that i'd have a reason to buy birthday boots.

whew... i need a tissue.

4 down, 26 to go. i...will...not...give...up.

Monday, November 9, 2009

. #3 - photography - SOLD.

mission 3/30 completed. 1/10th of the way done - yay for me! this weekend i was entered into 2 art shows in lubbock, texas and had to bring some of my photography printed on canvas. the first one was at J&B coffee shop where my work gets to hang out this whole month and grace studying college students with its presence :) i also was part of a "visions of art" show at ransom canyon - the lake community where my parents and grandparents live (as well as a large handful of geriatrics).

*disclaimer: my parents are NOT geriatric. in fact, they are only in their early 50's, but they just like to live on a nice peaceful lake and enjoy a quieter life, i guess years of raising us wore them out!*

but all this to say - mission 3 has been accomplished - i sold, not 1, not 2, but 7 pieces of photography this weekend - fair and square art fair sold them... and there's a few more that are going to my family and close friends but they don't count.

so here's what sold.

THE FIRST PIECE SOLD - "December's Reflection" to a quirky German anesthesiologist named Bettina. She was awesome!

MOST POPULAR PIECE - "Faithful" - I'm ordering 4 of these babies this week, it's my favorite photo from Africa

needless to say, photography - SOLD! good news. 3 down, 27 to go.

if you haven't seen enough, go to for more.

p.s. - i have a rockstar friend, john who went out of his way this morning to purchase us U2 tickets while i was on an airplane so that i could get another one off the list - THANKS JOHN - look forward to that post June 6, 2010!!!!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

.#2 - horseback riding.

team, mission 2/30 has been accomplished today. here's the story: i have this sweet part quasi-cousin/part friend/part pure amazingess person who goes to college at texas tech and is on the rodeo team. her name's olivia and she's rad. now i'm here in texas for a few days, visiting the fam and some dear friends and doing 2 art shows this weekend, which is actually amazing and will be another post for another day, but back to olivia.

olivia rides horses, well one horse more frequently than others... his name's LT (which i find awfully appropriate considering i went to college with the guy!).

so yesterday we're talking about hanging out and i say,
"wait, i should come to the barn with you tomorrow and see where your horse lives and hang out with you. better yet, i should RIDE YOUR HORSE because that's on my 30 before 30 list."
so what did we do? we pulled out the old jeans that have some cow $*#@)$*( on them from a former texas adventure and we pulled out the old tennis shoes and we made it happen.

this picture below is a bit deceiving because if we're honest, LT did not enjoy the ride much and neither did liv or i. clearly he doesn't look happy... i had a runaway horse who was acting like a teenager when his parents go out of town for the weekend. man alive, that guy tried everything he could because he knew i wasn't the boss of him. so... a couple times around the arena, a run away horse and a raw, swollen bruised hand (from pulling on the reigns so hard), i smiled for a photo to prove i was there and called it a day on the horseback riding.

whew. liv then took him for a bit of a non-joy ride and reminded him of who's boss. good thing because not only did he run for the hills, but he also tried to drink my starbucks. this guy gave me a run for my money, but as is the theme of the list - it made for a good story.

onward soldier... 2 down, 28 to go!!!

Monday, November 2, 2009

.#1 - vino.

2 days down - one mission completed (well at least begun because this one's a work in progress). so this may be news to some of you young ones after you turn 25, no one throws you birthday parties anymore. so that leaves it up to who to throw birthday parties? you of course. so this year, my homegirls and i went wine tasting on halloween because 1) we're amazing like that and 2) why the heck not and 3) i can get a check mark (i have this obsession with completing check lists!).

so here are a few pics of our adventure...

me and my homegirls - this is our album cover, no big deal...

and here is the final product and mission #1 - VINO

the collection has begun and i will not, i repeat will NOT open this wine until after my 30th birthday. i am up to 8 bottles, thanks to the parents of my friend who gave me a "wine of the month club" membership for graduation! whew, this one might be easier than i thought. thanks to all you peeps who wanna play, i guarantee that it'll be a great year and we'll have some stories to tell :)

(secret - i also have another one done but no photo to prove it, so you'll have to wait a few for that post, stay tuned)

fighting on to victory... one mission at a time.

Friday, October 30, 2009

.30 before 30.

here you have it team... i am going to do these 30 things before i turn 30. exactly one year from right now. here's how it works:

at Donald Miller's advice, i will: write a good story, take somebody with me and include God in the process :)

- i have 30 things to do
- i have tried to pick things that will challenge my mind, body and faith
- i will blog about them all today and then as i do them, so my hope is that this will keep me accountable to doing all 30 in the next 365 days. stay tuned if you wanna watch these stories unfold!

so here, on my 29th birthday, is my 30 before 30 list!!!!!!

1) Attend a U2 Concert
2) Go to Joshua Tree (mostly for some sweet picture taking)
3) Run a 10k or Half Marathon
4) Get my car detailed
5) Host a really really great dinner party at my house (when I get one)
X6) Go to the Getty Museum
7) Climb Half Dome at Yosemite
8) Visit a friend who lives somewhere I've never been
X9) Buy new cowboy boots
10) Take a photography/photoshop class
11) Go to Monterey/Carmel
X12) Shoot a deer
X13) Sell a piece of my photography
X14) Have a Jesus conversation with a complete stranger
15) Wear red lipstick for 3 days... just because
16) Read one book per month
17) Have a ticket booked for my next international adventure
18) Go on 2 dates
19) Purchase a really great dress
X 20) Go approx. one day a week without wearing makeup to appreciate how Jesus made my face
21) See George Strait in concert
22) Go to Oregon & Idaho
X 23) Start a wine collection and NOT drink it all right away
24) Spend 2 nights and 3 days somewhere in solitude
25) Learn to surf
X26) Go horseback riding
27) Give away 10% more of my income
X28) Start somewhere, flip a coin, if heads - drive to the left 30 miles, if tails - drive to the right 30 miles and see where I end up
29) Ride the bike trail from Angels Stadium to the beach
30) Have a killer 30th birthday celebration :)

now, there's 2 that i'm not sure are possible, but fear not - i have alternates.

so... wish me luck and hit me up if there's an adventure you'd like to join in on!!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

.get ready world.

prepare yourself for friday's post. i will be posting... esperalo, esperalo...

my 30 BEFORE 30 list.

that's right. on friday, i will be 29, so i thought it only appropriate and felt a little convicted after reading the amazingess that is Donald Miller's new book (A Million Miles in a Thousand Years) to write a 30 before 30 list that i will have exactly a year to complete. more details to follow, but it's comin' up in approximately 36 hours. i'm actually really excited about it and hope blogging will keep me accountable to doing it!

nite nite termite.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


that, my friends is the only word i could come up with to describe the situation at starbucks this morning. many times over - this is sweetness...

i went to starbucks for a latte and a little chat with Jesus while i waited for spin class to begin (because Jesus is at starbucks you know...) and in walked this old couple. she had a walker and a brace around her torso. he helped her in, sat her down, got their coffee and went and sat next to her (next to her, not across from her - sweetness #1)

she turns to me as she's waiting for her husband and says hello, i say hi. she then says, "i hope you have a really, really good day." my goodness, how could you not after that?!?!? (sweetness #2)

and THEN i see this:

and i realized what was happening - her husband was reading her a chapter from "Chicken Soup for the Older and Wiser Soul." are you kidding me? and he'd stop and explain when he knew she wouldn't understand something... and they laughed at the funny parts. (MAJOR SWEETNESS #3)

this seriously made my day and i thought to myself - "this is love... this is the kind of love i want to have in 50 years, when i'm in my late 70's and i am struggling to do life, i want to love this way - to read books to each other, to help each other walk when we can't, to laugh and to stop and tell the young girl at the next table that i hope she has a really, really good day and for us to be more like Jesus than we were 50 years ago because we've loved each other." that's what i want.

anyone know any eligible bachelors of this caliber? ya, me neither ;)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

.james 1:27.

the beginning of james 1:27 says this: "religion that our God accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress..." and i am thrilled to say that my cousin and her husband are on their way to the ukraine as i write this to embark on a 5-6 week journey to pick up their kiddos :) it makes my heart smile.

they have a cool back story and process on how God's led them to this place and walked them through this season. if you're into following blogs as people walk through adoption journeys, check theirs out -, if you're not, just pray for them if you think of it. their names are janelle and casey and i know they are crazy grateful for anyone wiling to join the prayer train at this stage in the game - there's much to figure out and so many details that have to go "just right."

while i'm anxious for the weeks ahead, i'm even more excited to see the little ones God's had picked out for 2 years while they waited to get all the paper work perfect. He's up to somethin' good over there.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


there's this thing on iphoto called "faces" and if i'm brutally honest (which i usually am), it has become a slight addiction for me. i've probably spent 3 hours today tagging people and then clicking on pictures and seeing who my computer would tag people as without my help. it's hilarious. for instance, it thinks that my cousin is my mom. it thinks that me and my brother's girlfriend are the same person, honestly, it's a good time. you should try it. this is one it never messes up :)

but here's something that seriously, seriously struck a chord with me tonight. as i was tagging people, this is what came up when this picture was next in line...

and i stopped everything i was doing. i stopped and i stared and i started tearing up. because it's true. these kids are "unnamed." they probably have been given names at some point, but many of them have parents who have died because of aids, malaria or another disease and it's likely that no one knows their name.

but i do have hope because they have a Jesus who loves them, knows them each by name, sees their tears, knows when they're hungry, lonely, scared or sad. He knows. to him, they are not unnamed. and i'm grateful for the part that i got to play this summer - in learning names, hearing stories, healing bodies, capturing moments, building cultural bridges...

"We put the walls up, but Jesus keeps them standing.
He doesn't need us, but He lets us put our hands in.
So we can see, His love is bigger than you and me"
(Caedmon's Call - Two Weeks in Africa)

thank you Abba, that tonight those kids are yours. they are not "unnamed."


if you read this... please pray for daisy. add this sweet 5 year old girl and her amazing family to your prayer list in this dark, dark season they are walking.

go to...

her dad is a pastor in carpinteria (by santa barbara). he preached a sermon about "when my heart is overwhelmed" a few weeks ago when they found out - it's on, scroll down until you see it.

their faith will astound and challenge you.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

.audience of One.

i have lately (and likely have most of my life) found myself doing all i can to please the people around me. i wouldn't view myself as a "people pleaser," but am recently discovering that i may be wrong. right now, in this season, in this moment, i just want people to let me be weak, broken, crumble and not perform, but yet i need something or someone to perform for or i lose myself in me.

i know i should be performing life for an audience of One - who knows me by name, calls me beloved and welcomes a broken heart. but something in me longs for affirmation, loves the "good job"s and "i think you did the right thing"s. but my Audience says "when nothing satisfies you, hold MY hand." and to be brutally vulnerable i'm having a really hard time doing that right now because i want to be strong. i want to be enough.

so for now... i keep being the strong one. i keep walking the tension of rising and falling, pleasing others but rarely focusing on my audience of One. i need a change. i need a paradigm shift and i need my life to look different in 6 months, 6 weeks... better yet 6 days than it does today. i need to give myself permission to be the weak one so that i am forced to hold His hand. i need you, audience of One.

Monday, September 28, 2009


something about this whole job search thing has left me feeling paralyzed. like i'm stuck in a New York City traffic jam with no way out,

or like i'm water that's meant to be rushing down a river and i'm dammed up because someone stuck a wall there.

that's a little bit how i feel. now, let me be honest about something if i can. i'm grateful for this time. stinkin' grateful to get the chance to work part time from home for an organization i believe in with my whole being - operation hope. i love that i get to have a small piece in changing one itty bitty corner of Africa and that they have trusted me enough to let me do it from orange county so i don't have to uproot my life. did i say i love it? because i do. it's fantastic.

but there's just something about not being able to move out, not being able to "go to work" everyday, not being able to meet new people and have a reason to get out of the house that has me paralyzed. (not to mention my car's in the shop all day...) i don't think this is the way my God created me to live. i don't think this is the "abundant life" he talks about in his word. i don't feel like my soul is being fed sitting at home on my computer looking for part time jobs and re-creating a website. maybe if i was a stay-at-home-mom, this whole part-time from home job thing would be just what i need, but i'm not and i'm going nuts.

i know that student ministry fills my soul, it gives me a reason to live beyond myself, it makes me recognize that the job is bigger than me and that i have a gracious God who loves to have his kids depend on him, so he makes it bigger than i can handle on purpose. i miss that. terribly and i want desperately for him to provide a job for me that will allow me to do student ministry, but they are hard to come by in these times because of the current situation of non-profits. so if you're reading this, pray with me.

i want out of the traffic jam, i want the dam to break and i want my life and spirit and soul to be set free to live and minister the way that God created me. i. love. Jesus. and i desperately want to take that love to kids who are without it. it fills my soul like nothing else can or will. so Lord, in your sovereign mercy, provide a way out.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

.i've come to expect it.

i am a good driver. i swear. i even have good driver status with my insurance company. but this last 4 months or so has really been a doozie for my fender-bender record. i mean they're fender benders, right? mmmmhmmmm... about $2000 worth of fender bender damage, $1600 of it - NOT MY FAULT. did i make that clear? just checking...

the three "not my faults" happened within 10 days of each other, somewhere in mid-june, also mid-grad school finals. those sucked with a capital S. i paid my dues (in graduation money), got over it and moved on with my life. now let's get something straight, i've spent the majority of the summer in other cities either not driving or driving other people's cars, so i'm not new to this whole, "it's not my car" thing. but yesterday, oh yesterday - thank God you're done with.

a little context. i'm staying in bakersfield (better known as "the armit of california") hanging out with my younger cousins while their parents are out of town. i'm also driving my aunt's way-bigger-than-mine car. there. context.

i'm in the pick up line at the kids' school yesterday, get all 3 kids and a 90lb chocolate lab in the car and get ready to go. i put the beast in reverse just in time to "not see" the lady who was behind me. as in the title, i've come to expect it... i realize i've tapped her car and proceed to pull forward and get out to deal with the situation, it's so not the first time this has happened. assuming the christian school mom would be able to handle it was my first mistake. here's a brief synopsis of the dialogue - we'll call her "loca" for now.

me: "ma'am, i'm so sorry i hit your car." (yes, i said ma'am, i was raised properly)

loca: "you did damage to my car. i can't believe this... i just can't believe this. i have so much stress in my life and you just did damage to my car."

me: "like i said, i'm sorry. i promise i'll take care of the damages, whatever they are" (likely a paint scratch, maybe a pinky sized push out of a dent, but you'd think i'd taken the life of her firstborn).

loca: "how did you not see me? i know that car has a camera, my daughter has one."

me: "the camera's broken. can't tell you why. it's not my car. again, i'm sorry."

loca: "how do i know you're going to take care of this? do you even have insurance on this car?"

me: "yes ma'am, we have insurance. like i said, this is not my car, it's my aunt's. i'm watching her kids while she's out of town, but yes we have insurance and trust me when i say i'll take care of it. i'll pay it out of pocket."

loca: "oh great, and you're not even from here? now there's a kid driving and doing damage to my car in the parking lot?!?! where's that paper? i need your aunt's name and phone number, right now. you know what, i need you to call her while i'm standing here and tell her what you did. i need to know this is going to get taken care of."

(at this point, my 14 year old, half boy/half man (ban) cousin sees her psychoticness, gets out of the car and comes to my rescue)

me: "i'm sorry, but i'm not a kid. i'm 28 years old and i promise you i'll take care of this. my aunt will not answer her phone because she's out of town, but if it makes you happy, i'll call her."

(call my aunt, like i said, she doesn't answer the phone. she's in vegas. who answers their phone in vegas?!?!)

me: "she's not answering, but feel free to call her and leave her a message if it makes you feel better. but i'm responsible and i promise i'll take care of it."

loca: "how do i know you're responsible?"

me: (growing more impatient) "i'm pretty sure they wouldn't have trusted me with their 3 kids if i wasn't responsible."

loca: "oh don't get smart with me. do i need to call the police"

(was i getting smart? i think not... and the police have much better things to do with their time)

me: "i don't think that's necessary for a scratch. it will probably take about an hour to file a report and neither of us have that much time to kill."

loca: "whatever. you better take care of this."

me: "don't worry. i promise i will. just call my cell phone when you get a few estimates and i'll write you a check."

loca: "you didn't even ask me my name."

me: "would you like me to put your contact info in my phone?"

loca: "whatever." and gets in her car.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME? my cousin looks at me and says, "she was crazy. what the heck was her deal?"

we get in the car and proceed with our not-so-perfect afternoon (more for another blog) and i gladly said goodbye to yesterday. but the story continued this morning. on the way to bring the kids to school - in my car of course - i get a phone call from a number i don't recognize. i don't answer because that's how i roll if i don't know who you are. no message. i decide i should probably call back. so i call. again, here's the interaction -way more brief this time.

me: "hi, this is breanne returning your call."

loca: "oh hey sweetie (um, yes, she inserted sweetie right here) it's already been taken care of."

me: "excuse me? i'm happy to pay for it, it's my fault."

loca: "no, i talked to your aunt already and she and i are going to work it out. i mean, i know how it is driving an unfamiliar car with a bunch of kids and the parking lot at the school can be really confusing and hard to maneuver. i totally understand." (can we say bipolar?!!?)

me: "no honestly, i want to pay for it. it's totally my fault."

loca: "well why don't you work that out with your aunt when she gets home. is that okay honey?" (WHAT?!?! now i'm honey?)

me: "um, sure. i guess."

loca: "okay, have a nice day."

me: "you too, bye"

and that was that. and i still didn't catch her name. so the nameless bipolar loca and i are apparently now b.f.f. and so goes my life. the drama? the fender benders? i've come to expect it.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


"oh grace, she's never left me. i continually walk away and take advantage of it just about everyday. oh grace." - trevor davis

this week i have seen grace.

i have seen it in the eyes, voice and unexplainable understanding of my new employer who just somehow "gets it" and doesn't judge me or punish me, but instead just extends grace.

i have seen it in the attitudes of my parents who, though i've chosen something contrary to what they'd choose for me, they've begun to extend grace.

i have seen it in giving of a woman who i did missions with this summer who blessed my socks off.

i have seen it in the large group of people who showed up tonight to attend a fundraising banquet where Christ was lifted up and money was raised for kids in Africa to be fed and clothed.

i see grace all around me and fail to recognize it, but this week? this week i've seen it, named it am trying to extend more of it into the lives of others because i am 100% confident that's what Christ would do. So Lord,

"let me be open
let me be humble
let me find the joy of my salvation in your cross

let me be broken
whenever i stumble
let me remember the great mercy of my God." - caedmon's call

Monday, September 7, 2009

.who.what.when.where... and WHY?

so there's a battle being waged. it's in my soul. i think it's real. you may beg to differ, but it doesn't make it any less real to me.

who - me, my life, my existence, my friendships, my stability, my last 7 years

what - it's at stake, threatened to be uprooted, at risk of crumbling

when - sometime in the next 6 weeks (yikes!)

where - texas... the great state of texas

WHY - a job. a tailor-made, really great job bids me come and die to all i know

but it's what i DON'T know that is getting me stuck. i don't know what's better (or worse) at 28:
a) to LOVE your job and have limited stability and friendships for an approximate year adjustment period
b) to LOVE where you live and who you're surrounded by but dislike your job (or lack thereof).

now i've heard arguments both ways from people i both respect and trust, but truly have no handle on the situation. i feel like the more i wrestle with it, the more confusion sets in. should i just flip a coin? i mean, the heartache and headache and wallet-ache that comes with being an unemployed masters degree-holding girl is pretty intense and i've been feeling the weight of that lately. but... the heartache and soul ache and potential bout of depression that come with relocating everything i know just for a job is also quite the feat to willingly take on. but which costs less?

if i had to answer honestly in this moment? surrendering the job would actually 'cost less' to me. financially, not a wise decision, but the emotional and spiritual cost of moving are more than i can bear without immediately producing floods of tears. so which way do you turn? how do you make a choice like this in a matter of days? which one will i live to regret if i choose the other?

good gosh, i wanna go to sleep tonight and wake up in 6 months. please...