Marks One Year

Today marks one year….

This is draft three of this post, so let’s see if I can find the words to mark this occasion because so far in this past year I haven’t… Today marks one year since the doctor officially declared the lump in my dad’s chest was a malignant tumor. I have never found the words to write upon this event. There are no words that I can say that can do justice to how I have felt this year. Not only with the news we received that night, but that same night my friend’s father passed away. Then another friend’s mother passed away, a few months later and another friend has had two miscarriages. Which all in all really makes my issues seem so minuscule.

While there has been so much pain and suffering, I have seen joy. There have been marriages, new babies, new homes made, new jobs. There is growth, love, and hope all around the pain. Without the pain, how could we truly know grace, feel joy, and have compassion? How could we truly understand the utmost dependence we have upon God?

My emotions have been on a roller coaster. I can actually feel the change within me when I am in the word and in the Spirit rather than living in the flesh. There is a joy that is not of this world.

We can accomplish nothing apart from God and I know that more than ever—even though I need a little reminding every now and then (read: everyday). I know that God is good and He withholds no good thing, so I continue to trust in Him and place my hope in Him. And this has become my mantra. God is good. He is faithful. All of this has happened for a reason, a reason that will give God the glory for it all.

Trust in Him at all times, you people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us. Psalm 62:8

And to all those who have been praying for my dad, I ask that you continue to do so. Not only for him, but for my mom as well. She truly has had to be the strongest person through all of this. And I thank you all for all that you’ve done for my family, whether its just been a hug, a hello, a prayer, or a smile.

P.S. The above photo was taken this past summer while we were in Colorado. Isn’t my dad handsome?! I love how his hair has grown back in! Sorry Dad, but I do!

P.P.S. I found this on Pinterest yesterday and thought it would be appropriate here as well! As I didn’t get to say above (not in this draft anyway), the women who I mentioned earlier in this post are the most beautiful faithful women of God who have kept the faith throughout the pain, and I am proud to have them as friends.

Women’s Luncheon: The Ultimate Fruit

Every May, our Women’s Ministry at church hosts a women’s luncheon, head up by Jessica Williams, of J Rose Photography. For the past two years, I was asked to design the bulletin flyers to announce the lunch and the tickets to the lunch. In addition, I have been putting on my crafty pants and, with the help of my mom, making a shadow box inspired by the printed collateral. It’s always been a fun —read: a uber feminine— project as I design in a way that I don’t normally get to on a day to day basis.

This year, Jessica, chose the theme of “The Ultimate Fruit.” The name was taken from one of Pastor Josh’s Sunday messages and she used the following verse from Galatians to center the theme upon:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

She planned to craft a lot of the decor and favors with different kinds of materials like fabric and felt. I was inspired by her choice of fabrics and in turn scanned them into the computer and used them as design elements. It was so fun and in turn, the luncheon had a very cohesive look to it between the decor and the printed materials to go along with it.

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David Crowder Band

Andy first introduced me to the David Crowder Band back in 2005. A group from our church was going to be going to one of their concerts that October so in preparation for the concert, I listened to their music… does anyone else honestly prepare for concerts? That just sounds weird, but I totally did! Listening to their music on c.d. was nothing compared to seeing them live. It truly is an amazing experience of worship, unlike I have ever seen and participated in. To be surrounded by fellow Christians all singing and worshipping God together in such a massive crowd is so amazing.

SonShine

In May, they announced that the band will be having one last tour together as a band. I am so heartbroken! I have never loved a band so much! I hope some of you can feel my pain over this… but until then I will continue to listen to their last 5 albums, looking forward to their last album Requiem. And I am so excited to see them [one last time] in October while they tour through San Diego on The 7 Tour with Gungor, John Mark McMillan, and Chris August. Andy and I are going on October 7 to see them at the House of Blues, the same place I saw them on my 21st birthday 4 years ago! If anyone wants to join us, let me know so we can all have dinner together before!

If you haven’t ever heard of David Crowder or even if you have, I am posting some of their music videos here. I love how these videos truly proclaim how nerdy they are! Enjoy!

Shine

How He Loves

Foreverandever

Everything Glorious

Oh Happiness (Live)

Neverending (Live)

These are not even my favorites, well a couple are, but I just couldn’t find enough videos. I guess you should just come see for yourself!

Designing for Calvary Chapel Canyon Hills

Designing for my own church, Calvary Chapel Canyon Hills, has always been something that I have dreamed of doing, but as our church was so small, there were never very many opportunities for it. I was able to design our Wednesday night service logo many years ago but there hasn’t been much since. This Easter, Pastor Josh, wanted to promote our Easter service to the local community to raise awareness of our little church nestled in the hills. We met exactly one before Easter to plan out what he wanted designed: implementation of a new color scheme, business cards, a welcome flyer, updated web graphics, newspaper ads, and then finally, a poster design for his sermon messages which is still to come. Now that Easter has come and gone, I finally got around to photographing these pieces…

Our new business cards feature the new green color scheme with a map to the church. Justus, from Western Fluids Engineering, and a member of our church, printed both the business cards and the welcome flyer.

The welcome flyer features photography of Canyon Hills, provided by Esther Culp. She actually went out to take these at sunrise just to capture the sun rising over the hills. Thank you Esther!!

Then lastly, two newspaper ads were created for the Friday Flyer, distributed in Canyon Lake, and for the Press Enterprise, distributed throughout Southern California. I never got my hands on a Press Enterprise, but here is the 10×15 ad that ran on the back page of the Friday Flyer. Having such a large area to design, I wanted to utilize a lot of white space, giving the design a strong focal point, the cross. This allowed it to stand apart from the more cramped ads normally seen in the paper. A strong white on top and black on the bottom allowed plenty of contrast for the type to stand out and remain legible. This is the biggest sized ad I have ever had printed and it was so cool to see it! Thanks to everyone who got me copies of the paper!

Please view the church’s website to see even more work that we have been producing from the page header graphics to the homepage slides that are updated on a regular basis.

Oh and happy belated Easter!

God With Us

So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”

Matthew 1:22-23

Finally after almost three years I have reached the New Testament. I tried many different methods and systems to get myself to read my bible each day, if only a verse or two, but want to know what worked the best? Actually wanting to read. Actually wanting to spend time with God each day. Wanting to know and understand the promises in Jesus and truly understand the depth of His sacrifice. Yearning for the Word. That is what worked best. How did I get to that point? By humbling myself and seeing the greater picture. Knowing that not a sparrow falls from the sky without God knowing. Knowing I am nothing apart from Christ. Knowing that I will stumble and I will fall but without Christ, how will I rise up again? I can feel myself changing as I spend time away without God and without reading His word. How easily we are swayed without His guidance. And He always takes us back. No matter how long we stray.

This verse in Matthew is a verse most of us have heard before but in David Guzik’s commentary (enduringword.com) he quotes a man named Clarke…

“In what sense then, is Christ God with us? Jesus is called Immanuel, or God with us, in his incarnationGod with us, by the influences of hisHoly Spirit, in the holy sacrament, in the preaching of his word, in private prayer. And God with us, through every action of our life, that we begin, continue, and end in his name. He is God with us, to comfortenlightenprotect, and defend us, in every time of temptation and trial, in the hour of death, in the day of judgment; and God with us and in us, and we with and in him, to all eternity.”

“God with us” is truly a remarkable promise. As Clarke expounded on this phrase that I have read so many times, I am convicted of my feeble faith and my insurmountable doubts. How blessed is the life of a Christian? Our Almighty God is with us at all times. He never parts from us. We only part from Him. He never changes. He is the only true constant in this life. As all else passes away, God is with us.

God is with me. And for that I am thankful.

The God of My Salvation

With just having finished the book of Micah a moment ago, I really enjoyed the final chapter. Keeping this short, I just want to call attention to Micah, chapter 7…

Therefore I will look to the Lord;

I will wait for the God of my salvation;

My God will hear me.

Micah says these words after preaching about the downfall of Israel’s relationships with others. I know that no matter what let downs I receive on earth, our Father in heaven will never leave us.

Micah then goes on to warn his enemies not to rejoice over him when he falls for God will lift him back up and God will be his light.

Micah then closes with these verses:

Who is a God like You…

He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy.

Micah 7:18

The “idols” people place their trust in will fail if their trust does not lie in Jesus Christ as their Savior. There is no God like our God. He reaches down to His people and lifts them up from their despair. He is merciful. He is love. He is the God of my Salvation.

Dios Le Bendiga

Mexico gave me a gift that I can never return, nor would I ever want to return.

Mexico took a struggling, prideful, and terrified woman and changed her heart of stone to a heart of flesh. Rather, God used Mexico to do so in my life.

Each time someone asks how was Mexico, I am not sure how to respond. Sometimes I would just give a simple statement of “It was great!” But within that statement hides many emotions, tears, and a love for los ninos.

To help me condense all these random thoughts of the trip down I made a list… with pretty fonts. Because that’s what I do.

Experiencing Fear

Going back to the beginning… I did not want to go to Mexico. Ever. The very idea of it terrified me. My palms would start sweating, like when I see someone use the font Comic Sans. And for this reason, I went. I purposely stepped outside my comfort zone to allow God to change my life. I gave everything up and over to God to allow Him to give me back a new life, a life whose purpose is to live for God. As I gathered with our initial group of thirty two in the Starbucks parking lot with our friends and family surrounding us in prayer, this verse came to my mind again,

If God is for us, who can be against us?

Romans 8:31

I was not facing this challenge alone. I not only had 31 other people to stand with me, I had the strength of our Lord and Savior. We could do this. Easy.

Experiencing Giving

There were many verses that I had to keep focusing on and one of those is found in Matthew,

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

No matter the fears that I had, and without God I would still have them, I have a gift and this gift needs to be shared. Our group went down to Mexico to share the gift of salvation with the people of this country. These people have little hope, but they have been given the gift of a small Christian church in their community. We were able to give our time to help this church not only expand their physical church building but also their church fellowship. Each day we went out amongst the people of the community and shared with them the love of Christ. We were invited into their homes to pray with them and comfort them with the words of the Scripture so they might have hope (Romans 15:4). Our gift was small but our group saw the over fifty people accept the gift of salvation during our week in the San Quintin valley. And that gift is eternal.

The light of our Lord overflowed through us and that light will not be extinguished.

Experiencing Love

Love is what I was able to experience the most though, for it is the result of my first two points. Through my fear, God showed me His love. Through my giving, I received love. Everywhere I looked I saw love… the love of the people running the mission camp, Mike and Angela; the love of my fellow missionaries who served each other; the love of Room 5, where our friendships were forever strengthened;the love of the people of the church when they welcomed us into their homes; the love of the children who welcomed us into their arms for a hug and then wouldn’t let go.

When Andy and I were married we asked Pastor Bob to speak on this verse, for it is the verse I wanted to base our marriage upon,

My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.

1 John 3:18

We were able to demonstrate this verse all week, demonstrating the love that Christ has shown us since the beginning of time. We weren’t just praying for these people in the comfort of our homes but we were working side by side with them in love.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8

Dios le bendiga… God bless you.

Jeremiah

This week I just finished up reading the book of Jeremiah. Overall I liked it but it was so depressing! But I kept on knowing that as in each book, God has given this book to us to learn from it and to reveal Himself to us through it.

This is the first time I have ever read the prophets so it is very new to me but it deepens the rest of history so much. It adds another layer to the historical books of the bible like first and second Kings. I first started realizing this when I read the book of Ezra and Nehemiah last year. To learn that Cyrus was named years before he was ever to proclaim the rebuilding of the temple and that Jeremiah declares Nebuchadnezzar by name and even dares to count the years of the captivity. The overwhelming proof that Jeremiah was a true prophet of the Lord is astonishing yet because of the bad news he brought to the Israelites, because of their own iniquities, they sought to kill him!

Mostly I have loved to place the verses that I have always treasured into context. Many people love Jeremiah 29, but to learn why and more importantly when God gives the people this promise is so encouraging and comforting…

For I know the thoughts I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord…

These wonderful verses are not given to the people on a happy day but rather this was given to the people through Jeremiah while they had been taken captive by King Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon. To place these verses into this context changed the way I looked upon it. To apply it to my own life, when I am feeling as though a ‘captive’ of this world, I think of this promise and know that no matter the trial or temptation that I am enduring, God has a future for me, a future of hope. And when I pray to Him he is listening to me. And when I seek Him out, He will be found. No matter what trial we are enduring, it is but a small matter in the grand scheme of our lives. And when we are able to look back upon those moments in our lives, we can see God’s hand upon each situation. He was there through every tear and every heartbreak. We are not alone in this world, there is a plan greater than ourselves.

Just as the captives had to wait seventy years, we also have to wait. Patience does not come easily for me. But it is always rewarding. God is building our endurance up. Each trial is important in building our character so that we can better endure the next and give hope to those who follow.