Tag Archives: God

learning to be fearless.

I am not what you would call “outdoorsy”. I like being outside, going for walks around the park, sitting by the waterfront with my book. But I’m not “outdoorsy”. I have come to accept this about myself and while many of my closest friends identify themselves this way, I do not.

For the past eight months, transformation, change, challenge, and discipline have been a part of my life in a big way. And it has been like nothing I have ever experienced. Much of it has come from a dear friend who has found a gentle way of pushing me out of my comfort zone. And that’s just it, I don’t like feeling uncomfortable. I don’t like change, I don’t like failing or looking foolish. I don’t like trying things I may not be good at. It’s this thing called Perfectionism and I’ve dealt with it for many years. I hold back on things that seem adventurous because I’m afraid of the unknown. I like structure, predictability, and control.

This friend of mine understands this about me and relates in many ways. In her understanding, she has found a way to convince me that trying some scary things would, in fact, be okay. This began with exercise. Crossfit. “YEAH RIGHT” was my response. There was no way. But somehow, I was getting up at 5:45am to work out in the garage of her & her husband’s house. It was HARD. I was ridiculously out of shape and it showed. Instead of feeling foolish and disappointed in myself, I chose to feel proud about a positive change. This of course was encouraged by the others at the “I Street Gym”, as we called it. And slowly, I was actually becoming stronger. Next was the food challenge- 21 days without sugars or grains. Again, “YEAH RIGHT”. But by the grace of God, I managed to get through that too and even continued most of the eating habbits. This was the most structured and disciplined I have ever been in eating well and exercising regularly. And I felt good! Imagine that!

Next, the gym. Join the crossfit gym. You can guess my response- it was a bit more like this, “HELL. NO.” This would be a place where I would surely be the only girl who is out of shape and unable to do the exercises. Plus, the trainer wanted us to take measurements every month. Yeah, not interested. But, something crazy inside me made me decide to try it. And in some strange way, I liked it. The exercises were incredibly challenging (and that is an understatement), but they were difficult for everyone. I wasn’t alone. I didn’t feel like a fool. I felt like I could actually hang with the rest of the gym rats. And soon, I found myself there 4-5 days a week. Crazy.

And then, hiking. People from the gym are going. Oh no. This is where I draw the line. I am not “outdoorsy”, remember? I will lift weights at the gym till the cows come home, but I am not hiking. I don’t know what the trail will be like. Your version of an “easy hike” and mine will most certainly be different. It might be raining, it’s the day after “leg day” so I will be too sore, I have too much on my to do list for the weekend- I could come up with EVERY kind of excuse. But, I have pushed myself this far. I have been at this new gym consistently for three months and am seeing results! So this “easy hike” just might be do-able. It might actually be fun. And it might be awful. But most things I thought would be awful have been do-able and sometimes actually enjoyable. Okay, why not?

So I went for a hike with a group of people from the gym. Rattlesnake Ridge in North Bend, WA.  Rated “easy and family-friendly”. Okay, a good place to start. I mean, I have been on a handful of hikes in the past, but I’m not “outdoorsy”. We got there and it was cold. Like low 40’s cold. And damp and muddy. But we started hiking and it was beautiful, so green and completely surrounded by trees. But then, my calves were burning, there was this heat in my chest, and I felt out of breath. I started to wonder why I agreed to this “outing”. But we kept walking, no stopping until we reached the top. I simultaneously thought, “I’m done with this” and “It’ll be worth it once we get to the top”. After an hour, we made it. And it was stunning. Breath-taking in a different way than the journey up. Four friends were already there and the fun began. We all laughed and talked, took pictures, ate snacks, and waited for the rest of the group. Okay, I may have been having a good time… wait, what?! I was having FUN on a hike?! An hour of being in the warm sun, with a crisp breeze, and a gorgeous view- that angst I was feeling may have been worth it. And the hike back down? Easy peasy.

Okay, so I did it. I’m doing it. Eight months of change, challenge, discipline. And crazy transformation. Transformation of my mind, my strength, my body. Not to mention, serious conviction that if I can be disciplined in these areas of my life, I can also be disciplined in reading God’s word and spending time with the Lord! Health and strength in all areas. What a journey it’s been. I write this only to give glory to God for the way He is challenging me to trust Him. To put my identity in Him, not in my abilities or inabilities. To realize the potential of this dwelling place He gave me. To be yet another reminder that I am not perfect, that I will fail, that things will not go my way- but His way, His grace, His goodness is so much greater. I don’t have to be “outdoorsy”. I can be strong, healthy, and choose to go on the “easy hikes” if I want to. This blog was titled “this adventure called life” five years ago. I hope to continue learning about adventure and choosing to participate in it. And thanks to Jesus, I’m learning to participate fearlessly.



dinosaurs bring hope & God smiles.

i have been in washington for 2 months. i have finished week 7 of my internship. and completed 272 of 600 hours. i have been been with families through numerous pokes, tests and procedures, deaths, ah-ha moments, new diagnoses, and too many success stories to count. the kids and families i have spent time with have left a lasting impact on me. i will forever carry their faces and those tough conversations, in my heart. while trying situations and circumstances are ongoing, i found that i have to focus on supporting the child and family in the present, here and now moments. if i think about the long-term, the future, the prognosis of each child– i will not survive in this field. i have learned to take each day as it comes. because let me tell you, each day brings something new. prognoses take turns for the better, patients are discharged early, and kids that have been lying in bed for days or weeks are smiling, playing, and walking. holding on to hope is key.

the kids truly give me hope. i love that the hospital setting can’t stop them from being kids. on friday, i had a 6-year-old kiddo who attempted to use “the force” to bring his mom’s purse closer to him. i had to try so hard not to pee my pants in laughter and was immediately reminded of this great commercial:

this past week i switched to the outpatient clinics (hematology/oncology, endocrine, GI, neurology, & orthopedic) which is a completely different environment than the hospital. for the most part, the kiddos are feeling better. they come in for a period of time and then get to go home. one of my favorite parts about outpatient is watching the kids interact with each other. they play together- just like “normal” kids do. i have had the honor and pleasure playing with some of them- dinosaurs that fight lions, cities and mountains built from legos, holding baby dolls, magnadoodle drawings, and creating an immaculate road for Hot Wheels. i was lucky enough to meet a stuffed animal bunny named Snow White and was able to do a lab draw on the bunny. in turn, Snow White’s human counterpart felt much more comfortable for her own lab draw after seeing how well the bunny coped.

these are the moments that give me hope. and i am so blessed. each day, i’m reminded that i am exactly where God wants me to be. i sometimes wonder what my experience would have been like at the program i was also accepted at in SoCal. and then i am reminded about the opportunities i’ve had, the people i’ve met, and the perfectly laid out path that God has lead me on over the past 6 years…

decorative windows at the outpatient clinics.

“Behold the One who is beholding you, and smiling.” -Anthony De Mello

i can just imagine God listening to my questions and my doubts, and He is smiling. He has never let me down. He so clearly has a plan for my life. but as I begin to think about the next step in life, i wonder what a real job in the field looks like for me. my humanity forces me to ask questions that sometimes lead to doubt. will i even find a job? will it be here, in Washington? or at home, in California? will i have to wait months before i find one? or will i be lucky enough to find one right away? i don’t have answers to these questions. at least not right now. but God sure does. and i know He is grinning, from ear-to-ear, at the plans that He’s got in store. He smiles as He knows how my tender, worrisome heart gets caught up in planning details, attempting to grasp control of the future. and oh, how He loves us- despite all the questions, doubt, and disbelief.

so today, i choose to rest in His peace and His plan, with His warm smile shining down on me. and i pray the same for you.

the old and the new.

my “once-a-month posts” skipped November and almost missed December.

as i looked through photos on my iPhone, i realized that a lot that happened in two months. telling you about all the details would take far too long and let’s be honest- no one wants to read that much. so without writing too much, i’ll just say that November and December consisted of writing my thesis. and working. and turning 23. and Hayley & Matt getting engaged. and having Thanksgiving in SoCal for the first time. and working Black Friday. and drinking LOTS of coffee. and surviving a crazy windstorm. and buying a Disneyland pass. and going to Disneyland in the rain with my roomies. and finding the perfect rain coat. and spending time with friends. and spending at home, without friends, just me & my thesis. and saying goodbye to some lovely co-workers. and finally making it home for Christmas. PHEW. told you it was a lot.

okay, let’s back track for a second. finishing my thesis was a huge deal. in fact, i almost cried while it was printing. realizing that i was truly done was a great feeling and absolutely surreal at the same time. even after turning it in, i was still thinking about what was on my to-do list. it was a joyous feeling to remember that every single thing on that to-do list had been crossed off! i praise GOD for carrying me through that journey. there were days i felt like i hit a wall and couldn’t write another word. i felt stir-crazy and cross-eyed from sitting in the same place, staring at my computer. but with the God’s strength and mercy- it’s done! i could not have done it without the support from my family, amazing friends, and roommates (now i feel like i’m giving an award speech…) but seriously. i finished my Master’s Thesis. and i couldn’t be more thankful, happy, and relived.

after finishing my thesis, i had one last week of work at Sephora. the Old Town Pasadena Cast will always have a special place in my heart. working there has always been a dream. (afterall, i did my senior project in high school all about makeup!) i feel so honored to have been part of the grand opening of a brand new store, to understand some of the behind-the-scenes of such a well-known company, to have learned SO much, and to have met such incredible people. i very much loved my time there. and will definitely miss it! even the 5am “ops” shifts! so, holler to my Old Town crew- you guys are awesome. miss you already. i promise i’ll be back to visit! <3 Tristen

and now, i have approximately 2 weeks until i am in Washington. my mom, sister, and i are headed to SoCal this week to pack up all my stuff. then i’m back in the Bay for a few days, and off to the Northwest for a little while!! i can’t believe this time is actually here. i’ve been thinking about it for a few months and now, it’s REAL. i’m feeling a bit nervous and definitely excited. i also feel confident that Tacoma is where God wants me to be for my internship. that confidence and peace is what i’m holding on to. if i let doubt creep in, i start to panic and wonder what i’ll do without my community of friends and comfort zone. but i know that i’m gonna be okay :) and that it’s 4-5 months of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. so let the packing and driving begin!! with that said, i’ve been playing with the idea of having a pen pal or two. i’m thinking, hand-written, snail-mail notes. they don’t have to be pages long. but i think it would be something fun, just like a little piece of home to find in the mailbox. anyone interested? :)

via Typeverything

well, that’s all for this… year. wow! i am thankful for the adventure of 2011 and can’t wait to discover what God has in store for 2012!

Happy New Year!!

here comes the sun…

what a crazy week and a half it’s been! but i’m happy to say that it’s been a REALLY great week and a half… last weekend, i had the opportunity to go to Las Vegas with my closest girls and we had the time of our lives. three of the girls are now married and two of the girls live in northern california- so needless to say, we don’t get a lot of quality time together. but spending the weekend in lively, Las Vegas was the greatest get-away. it would take too many blog posts to re-cap the whole weekend, so i’ll just highlight a few favorite moments:

we were so excited to finally be in Vegas- we had been talking/planning for weeks and i can’t tell you how many times we said, “i can’t believe we’re actually in Vegas?!”. we walked around a few hotels on the strip and did our fair share of people-watching. there are some CRAZY people in Vegas!

it seems as though there are two reasons to go to Vegas: drink and gamble. so, without any experience in gambling- i thought i’d give it a try. i had a few dollar bills in my wallet, so why not? i played penny and nickel machines and had no clue as to what the buttons meant, what credits were, how many lines i should be playing, etc. the only thing i did understand was: when there were still credits and i wanted money back, press “cash out”. so i played a dollar, hit a few buttons, and before i knew it- the machine is making noise, the number of credits goes ups, and i could only bring myself to hit that glorious button, CASH OUT! i won $5.50 and that was the highest of our group. after i won that, i played one more dollar and called it quits. i like the “play $1, win $5” ratio. not the “play $1, loose $1″…

another favorite moment was seeing LOVE (the Beatle’s Cirque de Soleil show). a few of us grew up listening to the Beatles- thanks to our dads. so not only were the acrobatics amazing and stage props and scenes incredible, but the music had sentimental meaning to us. it was tear-jerking as the songs we knew came to life through dancing, flipping and flying, colors galore, and creative energy bursting from the stage. the whole production was absolutely phenomenal. i would see it again in a heartbeat. as most of us have had experience as a performer, there was this deep appreciation for all that was happening- the coordinating of props, the timing of jumps, and the immaculate design of the whole theater. basically, i really enjoyed the show- if you couldn’t tell! :)

so if a vacation in Vegas wasn’t enough, while driving there, i got a phone call with a job offer at Sephora! in the last post, i had briefly mentioned a new potential job. i hadn’t heard much at that point and was hesitant to say anything. but now it is official!

 i am so excited to be working in such a fun and creative environment. working at a place like Sephora has always been a little dream of mine. i never thought it would be realistic, but at this exact moment in life- it’s perfectly fitting. i can’t wait to learn from my team and to dive back into the fun and diverse industry of beauty. here’s a picture from day 1 on the job, complete with newspaper nail art!

last but not least, we finally have our housing situation figured out! it has been quite the process, but thankfully the process is coming to a close. we have officially signed a lease, received our keys, and started moving in! tomorrow is our big move-in day! and while it’s going to be a long, hard day- it will be great to be in our new place! here it is:

well, that’s the lengthy update! i’m so thankful for a God that provides. and am continually reminded that i can’t do things on my own. as much as i try to control what will happen or how things work out- God shows up time after time with a plan that surpasses my expectations. where would i be without Him?! so while i’m not 100% sure of the meaning in the song by the Beatles, i feel that it’s completely appropriate at this point… here comes the sun and i say, it’s all right... i listen to this song and a peace comes over my heart in knowing that i am taken care of by the Creator of the Universe- no more stress, no more worry. little darling, the smiles returning to the faces… 

and that’s it for today- i’m off to Seattle at the end of the week! between packing, moving, unpacking, and repacking for vacation… life will be a bit busy! but after vacation will come the new home decor and DIY projects, so stay tuned!! :)

in loving memory…

hello blog world! hope you are enjoying a lovely week. this week has been a BIG celebration for me personally as i finished an incredibly long and tiring semester! i am so excited to relax and have some time and space to breathe this summer. i thank God for carrying me through each day. without His strength, mercy, and grace- i don’t know how i would have made it. honestly.

today, i wanted to update you a little bit in regards to the brief words and song from the last post…

almost 2 weeks ago (Saturday, May 14th), a dear family friend, John Wright, passed away. John had been battling leukemia for about 10 months and after putting up a tough fight, he is now with God. John and his family were members at the church i grew up in. i watched all 4 of his children go through stages of our children’s ministry program as i volunteered each week. John was also the director of children’s ministry for a few years. he had a heart FULL of love and passion for kids of all ages, and people in general. there truly are no words to truly describe what an inspiring and caring man John was. even as he battled a horrible disease, he sent emails asking how he could pray for us, as he had more time then ever to lift others up. he was a hero to many as he lived and loved life with all that was in him. with his lovely wife Stacy and their 4 children (6-13 years old), the Wright family has made a huge impact on so many lives in our church community and the community where they live now in Colorado. John’s service was held this past Saturday, our church family skyped into it (don’t you love technology?!). i was told that there were over 750 people that gathered to celebrated John. what a testament to his life… John was laid back and casual, so everyone showed up to his service in shorts, flip-flops, and the color orange- 3 of his favorite things.

my heart aches for the loss of John and for his family. i wish so deeply that there was something i could do to help. or some magical fairy dust to just make everything better. but unfortunately, this grieving will be a process that each person must go through in their own time.  while we mourn the loss of one of earth’s greatest heroes and role models, we also rest in the comfort and strength of our God. and peace in knowing that John is in Heaven and no longer in pain.

with all of that said, my personal calling to Child Life has been more alive and real than ever. as all of this is very much a part of what i will be doing as a career, my heart just aches knowing how difficult this whole situation is. as this transition and adjustment is one of the biggest and most challenging, i want nothing more than to check-in with all 4 of the Wright kiddos everyday. but because of this distance and the pure fact that it’s a little unrealistic, i’m trying to use that desire and tugging on my heart to pray for the Wrights. i made this bracelet with orange beads to remember John and to keep praying for Stacy and the kids…

John’s love for orange came from something called the “Orange Strategy“, here’s what they think: “What if church leaders and parents synchronized their efforts to fuel wonder, discovery, and passion in the next generation?” By combining the critical influences of the light of the church (yellow) and the love of the family (red) the Orange Strategy shows a generation who God is, more effectively than either could alone.

pretty amazing, huh? orange also happens to be the color that represents Leukemia.

the color orange will forever remind us of John…

so i wear my orange bracelet proudly and prayerfully. and cover each hurting heart with this verse :

Jane Farr Calligraphy

martha stewart and mother’s day

is it obvious that i’m ready for summer break?! 3 posts in the past 7 days!! well, God has brought me through another week. one step closer to a summer of freedom :)  check out the skinny on all that here… i’m thankful for His unending mercy and grace as i can only take things one day at a time in this program.

this weekend i’m looking forward to lots of celebrating! graduates, moms, and birthdays- it’s going to be lots of fun! without much time for homework… so maybe this blog post is making up for the lack of time i’ll have next week.

so, mother’s day is just around the corner and i’m sure none of you are as behind as i am in card-making, gift-getting, and dinner planning ;) but just in case you ARE a little behind, there’s hope! yesterday i picked up this little gem, filled with some crafty ideas…

confession: i have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Martha… she’s got some GREAT ideas, but she is WAY too perfect. some of her crafts and DIY stuff are ridiculously hard and they never turn out looking like hers. or her design team’s, rather… anyways, there were some mother’s day ideas in there:

this little newspaper is SO cute. maybe i could get by with doing one of these this year :)

coupon books were my go-to gift as a kid. my mom still tells me that “when i was a good daughter…”, i used to giver her coupon books for foot massages. she just recently found an old one that she’s taunting me with. mine, of course, never looked this professional- but still a great idea!

above images from Martha Stewart

okay. and this pop-up card?! RIDICULOUS. i would like to attempt this, but have a feeling that i would get frustrated and quit :) so we’ll see what happens when i make my card… probably later this morning!

all of that to say, Brett, a very good friend of mine, got together with some of his friends and made a mother’s day cards together… a card-making party?! why didn’t i think of that? these guys (and gals) are in a DPT (Doctorate of Physical Therapy) program, and therefore brilliant! just can’t compete with those docs ;) well, these lovely friends made amazing mother’s day cards and i had the honor of receiving text message updates on the progress of the cards. i have to admit, i loved that they were all together, hand-making cards. and i was VERY impressed by all their card-making-skills! check them out!

here they are! should have gotten a group picture, but here’s the outside of the card created by Brett. please take note of the three-dimensional flower and the weaved basket, this is serious business. i honestly think i’ll be taking these things into consideration as i’m making my cards!

the inside of the card- aren’t you impressed?! (sidenote, not that guys can’t have artistic ability, because they ABSOLUTELY can- but this was made by a GUY! i think that his mom will absolutely appreciate his handmade thoughtfulness) here are a couple others:

with a true love and appreciation for all that is handmade, i think these cards are awesome. i love the thought and creativity that has gone into them. and love that they spent time together in the process. way to go guys! (and it’s lovely to meet you via blog if you’re reading!)

i think my roommate kace and i are going to work on a few cards today. with all the celebrating- it’s a busy card season! hope you found a little card-making inspiration today. and realize that it doesn’t take expensive, intricate craft materials to do so. plus handmade card/note/gift, is much more heartfelt- don’t you think? i’m definitely inspired and ready to break open the craft drawers. and maybe read a little bit of this in the meantime…

all the talk about moms, had to give my mom a little shout out: mom- i’m celebrating and thanking God for YOU this weekend. you have been a beautiful example of a Godly woman to me. thank you for your tireless hours of work and constant love, support, and encouragement to me, dad, and lauren. you are simply amazing! i love you!!

times are a changin’…

okay, two more days of april and then it is may… WOW.

i feel like i have so much to share and i’m just not sure where to start! so here it goes- i finished a great big (worth 1/2 of my grade) project last week and i am beyond relieved! i won’t go into the details of it all, but i made these precious little journals as a part of the “take-home” portion of my presentation. it was probably a little bit of a waste of time, but it was fun for me :) love all the colors!

after the crazy presentation came the wonderful celebration of Easter! i didn’t have the chance to go home this year because of school, but all of us who were in the area made due. my roommate kace and i learned a bit about the Gustafson family traditions (one of our other roomies, holler Hay!). we dyed eggs and had a fun teasing each other and laughing a lot! the church that i have been attending for the past year, Christ’s Church of the Valley (CCV), had a beautiful Good Friday service that was filled with worship. and we actually attended a saturday night Easter service in order to provide more space for guests on the traditional Easter sunday…. overall, it was an incredible celebration of our Lord- the great pain and suffering He went through for our sake. and the HOPE and LIFE that He brought as He conquered death. my roommates and i celebrated with some other friends over a delicious meal. we cooked up some tri-tip (shout out to Matt!), mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and a fresh salad. i’d say we did pretty well!! i made some Easter cupcakes for dessert… although i think i’m in desperate need of some baking lessons from my brilliant cousin, Morgan (check her out!). after that, we all cuddled up together and watched my all time favorite- remember the titans- and rested in the joy of our Lord and the fullness of our bellies :)

lucky little me got a VERY special treat the day after Easter. my friend Sabrina and her family invited me to go to Disneyland with them for the day! it was MUCH NEEDED break away from school. and i had a blast with a family that i hold so close to my heart. with a top notch lunch at club 33 and front row seats to the firework show, it was the fullest Disney experience! there are so many great pictures, i’ll probably post some on facebook- but here’s a little preview…

after a great Easter weekend and a fun-filled day at the happiest place on earth, i soon felt like the world’s unhappiest, most stressed out girl on the planet. with a school semester that has been beyond overwhelming, leading me to daily visits to a little local coffee shop, i had a bit of a mental/emotional breakdown. this definitely is not the place to get into the details, but i will say that i believe God must sometimes break us to our most vulnerable and desperate state to get us to listen to Him. and on tuesday- that was me. and i realized that in my utter exhaustion, i am in desperate need of break from school. my path in completing my master’s is being delayed a semester and i am feeling great about that. God has lead me to a path that will allow for a deep breath and REST. (and family. and crafts. and friends. and vacation. and reading. and everything that has NOTHING to do with school!) i greatly look forward to the end of the semester and finally, a break from the insanity.

so that’s the latest and greatest. it’s crazy, but God is good. i hope you all are doing well! in the midst of all this, a friend shared this verse and i think it is perfectly appropriate. i hope it resonates with you as well. my prayers are with you as seasons of life change and grow into something beautiful…

The heart of man plans his ways, but the LORD establishes his steps.

-Proverbs 16:9