Along the Way

None But Jesus

I could listen to this song all day. This song is my prayer. Here are some of my favorite lines…

“In the secret, of your presence, I know there I am restored”

“In the chaos, in confusion, I know that You’re sovereign still…
In the moment of my weakness, You give me grace to do Your will!”

“All my delight is in You Lord, all of my hope, all of my strength!”

Hello, again…

Well, I would say my absence from this blog has to do with the fact that I have been busy and lazy. In order for me to try and keep up with this blogging thing again, my overly-detailed-self needs to do some sort of a recap on the past few months before I can blog about anything else that might inspire bore you😉

Soooo…two days after graduation the greatest thing in my life (so far) happened, I became an Auntie! Riley Grace was born on May 9th and has been a continued source of joy for me. She is such a fun baby and I love spending time with her whenever I get the chance!

The rest of summer I felt as though I was living the life of a celebrity with all the pictures I was a part of at the many wedding celebrations! I had 3 weddings that I was a bridesmaid in throughout the summer. One in May for my dear sister/friend Erica Saarloos, now Elmenhurst. One in June for my other dear friend Shauna Stoughton, now Miller. And last but certainly not least, one in August for my dear twin brother and new sister-in-law, Jace and Lisa Prins!

As far as traveling, I had an eye-opening experience in Spain on an ISP trip with a group of students from my alma mater, CBU. I would not trade that experience for anything, although at many times it challenged me physically, mentally, and spiritually, it was well worth it. Then, in early August we took our annual family/friends vacation to Lake Tulloch. I love that vacation and dread the day when I have to say bye to it.


This summer I was lucky enough to have covered for Jenna at Resource Building Materials while she was on an extended maternity leave. I worked up until September, until I went “under the knife” to get my tonsils removed. After two weeks of being my mothers favorite tolerable patient😉, I finally felt back to normal and that leads me to now….currently trying to find a job and realize that I’m not a so called “student” anymore. Hard to grasp, but it’s a fact of life! I keep telling myself to embrace it, but I’m not sure if I have welcomed the change yet.

This coming year I look forward to growing, developing, searching, loving, and many other verbs including SAVING money…so that I can figure out how/when/where I am going to get my masters degree. Now I’m off to go eat dinner with my parents who are so glad that I moved back home so that they wouldn’t have an empty nest…right Mom and Dad????

The End.

Well, it’s time to say “good-bye” to CBU. The past 4 years have been great! It is hard to accept that this is all coming to an end. I have soooooo many memories with great friends and the community here at CBU and I wish I could go back and relive each one.
If you know me well at all, you know that I have never been a huge fan of change. The end of anything causes me to get quite emotional and sentimental. I don’t know why, I guess it is just part of my personality. I hate saying good-bye to people, places, things, and memories. Maybe it’s the unknown of the future? I guess I don’t like looking towards the future when it has no clear direction. Instead, I find myself looking back at all the things I know and have experienced. Some people are energized by the unknown (I know, seems like a mystery to me), but I, on the other hand, am completely flipped upside down when the path ahead is waiting to be planned.

God has proved to me over and over again of His faithfulness and care for me. Although CBU has been full of fun and growth, there have been some challenging times as well. That’s life though, isn’t it? We will always close a chapter of life with its ups and downs. No matter what, I have loved my past 4 years here, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

Bye Riverside, Bye Calbap!

surrender

This week is “seek week” at CBU. “Seek Week” happens once a semester. Although our school is always trying to seek Christ, “seek week” is a special week set apart where the Office of Spiritual Life offers more opportunities for worship, chapel, and prayer. This semester “seek week” is based on the theme of SURRENDER. We are challenged by the questions of “what is Christ wanting us to surrender?” “What do we need to let go of and let God take control of?”

I really like this theme. I think it is very applicable to peoples relationships, finances, careers, and future plans, among many other areas in life. Surrendering requires sacrificing control. Surrendering requires courage. Surrendering requires fully relying on the Lord. Surrendering takes effort.

Right now, I need to surrender some things to the Lord. I need to surrender my next few months after graduation, and maybe even the next few years. I tend to be a person who thrives on plans and schedules, but I need to give up my planning of my next year and instead surrender it to the Lord and His plan. Sounds so simple, but yet it’s hard to follow.

I have had to surrender other areas of my life lately and in the past year. Sometimes after surrendering an issue, we expect things to change and get better. We are anxious for a response. This leads us to start trying to take control again. I have to trust the Lord that in His timing, things will come to restoration. It’s hard to be patient and trust that God has a great plan in store for me regarding this area, but like my wise friend told me today, “Christ is in this somehow, you just need to search for Him.” I have definitely taken that statement and grasped onto it. Christ knows what’s best for me, and He is on my side. He is for me, whom shall I fear?

So anyways, this “seek week” is very challenging for me, but also special to me. I know that Christ has called me to surrender my worries, my relationships, and my future to Him. What has he called you to surrender? Just a thought…

t.w.e.n.t.y – t.w.o.

Wow. 22 years old? I definitely don’t feel 22, but it’s kind of a fun age. It’s my favorite number too! This is bound to be a good year😉

Whether it’s my favorite number or not, this year ahead is full of MANY exciting things for me and new beginnings. I’ll go in chronological order…

March 26 – one of my VERY best friends, Alyssa Nyenhuis, gets married!! I can’t wait to celebrate this special day with her. We have talked about our future husbands and weddings since we were little girls. I’m so excited and happy for her as she begins this new chapter in her life.
May 7 – GRADUATION. I’m graduating from California Baptist University. I cannot believe it! Time has flown by so fast and it is literally mind boggling for me to comprehend that I will be a college graduate, thrown into the “real world”. CBU has been a WONDERFUL experience for me. I have made amazing friends, been inspired, had fun, and most importantly have grown closer to my God. This has been a crazy journey, and I’m sad to be done with it, although I look forward to what graduation brings…
May 8 – My little niece is expected to arrive! I’m so eagerly anticipating the birth of little girl Struiksma! Each time I see Jenna and see that her belly has grown, it reminds me that I’m one step closer to being “Auntie Julie”. I cannot wait to hold my little niece and spoil her🙂
May 21 – my “other” older sister, Erica Saarloos, gets married! Yep, another wedding! She has been my friend and like an older sister to me since I can remember and I’m soooo looking forward to her beautiful wedding and to celebrate her big day!
June 11 – My very good friends from high school, Shauna Stoughton and Cody Miller, are getting hitched! Yes, ANOTHER wedding! I’m so excited to see this couple get married and to see God use them at Emmanuel Church with their ministry. I am very blessed to also be apart of their wedding party! 3 weddings, in one year, crazy!
June 22-July 12 – SPAIN! I’m going to Spain on an International Service Project with 9 other students from CBU. We will be leading some sports camps in Madrid for the youth and just trying to engage people and build relationships in hopes to share the true gospel with them. This will be the longes that I have ever been away from home without communication, so I’m a little nervous to leave, but I know it will be an amazing experience. I can’t wait to learn so much while I am there!

These are some of the main events that are going to be happening while I am 22 years old. I anticipate other exciting things, such as trying to find a job, looking into grad schools, and getting involved in some type of ministry. God has blessed me so much and I have my whole life to offer to Him in this next year…actually forever! I have learned much A LOT in the past few years, and I look forward to learning much more in the year ahead!

You know you’re out of shape when…

Okay, I’ll be the first to admit that I passed out at the gym today. Yep, working out at the gym. Go ahead, laugh. Ha. Ha.

I feel the need to write this story out so that I can always remember the most humbling day of my life. Okay, I got a gym pass last week to L.A. fitness. I had only been 3 times so far. I went this afternoon at 2:30. Started out by running for 20 min on the treadmill – not long at all! After I was sick of running, I made my way over to the weight machines, you know, trying to tone up the leg muscles. Haven’t really worked them out much since senior year of high school with soccer and track. So anyways, I precede to do some leg extensions. One of the very nice trainers made his way over to me and asked if he could show me a weight machine exercise. I of course agreed, and headed with him over to the leg press on an incline. Hadn’t done that before. Anyways, I preceded to do a few sets with him. He was very nice and encouraging me. Reassuring me that I will soon “be in shape again with strong soccer legs”.. haha (I just kept shaking my head and agreeing while looking at the flabiness) Next, after that, he brought me to do some lunges. He was very intense with these and kept pushing me to do more and more. Now, for those of you who know me, you know I’m not much of a quitter. I just gritted my teeth and kept working out hard, not letting him know that I was dying inside. After that was done, we started walking over to his desk area to make an appointment for me to meet with him again. While walking over there, I found myself feeling as if I was going to pass out. I kept thinking, “I am not about to pass out at a gym! How embarrassing!” Well, next thing I know I was laying in the arms of my trainer, I HAD JUST PASSED OUT. Within seconds there was 3 guys standing around me trying to figure out what to do with me. They tried to help me stand up a couple minutes later, and I PASSED OUT AGAIN – this time I was out longer, and when I came back to conciousness, they informed me that they had called the paramedics and I would have to go to the ER and get checked out. I laid there just agreeing with them, as I didn’t have much energy to argue about it anyways. I guess my blood pressure was too low.
The fireman and paramedics soon arrived within minutes and yes, I was put on a gurney…IN front of many people..IN a gym. Like I said before, VERY HUMBLING EXPERIENCE. The whole time they kept telling me that I was a trooper and making me laugh. The ambulance brought me to Parkview Community Hospital by CBU and they gave me an IV, took some bloodwork, did an EKG, and took a urine sample. It was a fun 2 hours sitting back and watching the madness of the ER and having fun with the nurses. I got to talk with some of the people I encountered about church and many asked me about my purity ring on my finger, which they thought was an engagment ring (are you serious? it’s so small!). All in all it was a good experience. The cause of it was obviously dehydration, didn’t eat enough, and my monthly visitor is here. haha. They discharged me two hours later. The end. And go ahead – laugh – I still am.🙂

Winter Break.

10 inches. That’s the amount of rain that the greater Los Angeles area has received in the past 2 weeks! It’s been a wet break, but it’s a nice change.

Winter Break started off great. The first week I had the opportunity to work a little bit at WestCoast Sand and Gravel with Jenna, and then enjoyed a lot of Christmas parties. Here is a picture of our annual “Friemily Christmas Party” that we have with the Saarloos’, Struiksma’s, and Santa Cruz Family. It’s only our 4th year, but it’s a great tradition!

Quelf = Fun

I also enjoyed a wonderful Christmas Eve Party with the Beebe side. Almost all of us could make it this year, around 35 people! I don’t get to see this side of the family as often as I would like, but it was such a blessing to catch up and see the different ways of how God is blessing the family.

Christmas morning was great. Mom did a great job of playing Santa and shopping for all of us kids. I think she liked her gift too…we surprised her with some new pots and pans and an iPad! Probably my favorite gift of all this Christmas, though, was Jenna and Brad’s announcement that they are expecting a GIRL! I was so happy I screamed! I can’t wait to meet my little niece this coming May. She’s going to be so cute, just look at her parents!

Since Christmas I have just spent the last week running some errands for mom, relaxing, and hanging out with a few of my friends. I seem to have become quite the “dog/house sitter” too. So far this break I have “dog/house sat” for 3 families. Here is a picture of little Barbara Bush. She’s the Leffler’s new puppy. I enjoyed watching her for a few days.

Oh, can’t forget to tell you all (whoever’s reading this)..how I rang in the new year..haha. I pretty much hung out with little Barbara Bush (the puppy) til about 11 o’clock and then decided that I could not let myself be alone when the clock struck midnight. So I went over to hang out with my cousins, Marissa (12) and Garrett (10), who were home alone while their parents were gone and rang in the new year with a glass of Martinelli’s with them. It was a calm end to 2010 and beginning to 2011.

Well, I have one week left of break. Time to process the new year and figure out some “resolutions”…God knows I need some!

Thin Places

Summary of the end of my fall semester::: passed all my classes…squeezed by with just the right GPA to keep my scholarship, phew! watched one of my dear friends and roommate, Hannah Price, get married….now I’m relaxing, working a little, and enjoying christmas break! I don’t have to go back to CBU until January 10th!!🙂   (not sure why i gave that summary, but whatever…..just did it.)

One of my dear friends, Kristen DeBie, gave me a book for Christmas called Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist. I was reading a chapter tonight titled “Thin Places”. Here’s a little excerpt from the book:

“Thin places: places where the boundary between the divine world and the human world becomes almost nonexistent, and the two, divine and human, can for a moment, dance together uninterrupted. Some are physical places, and some aren’t places at all, but states of being or cirumstances or season.

Christmas is a thin place, a season during which even the hardest-hearted of people think about what matters, when even the most locked-up people loosen thier grasps for just a moment, in the face of the deep beauty and hope of Christmas. The shimmer of God’s presence, not always plainly visible in our world, is more visible at Christmas.

For some people, this Christmas is, if I can stretch the phrase, doubly thin. Maybe it’s the first Christmas without a family member or dear friend, and your heart has been so wholly battered that it allows God’s presence and voice to seep into it at every turn. Or maybe a relationship broken this year hangs over thes eason like a veil. I don’t know what you’ve lost this year: a life, a friend, a child, a dream, a job, a home. I don’t know what has broken your heart this year, but I do know that whatever it is, you may feel the loss of it even more acutely at Christmas.

There are years when the Christmas spirit is hard to come by, and it’s in those seasons when I’m thanksful for Advent. Consider it a beautiful way of being present to this season. Give up for a while your false and failing attempts at merriment, and thank God for thin places, and for Advent, for a season that understands longing and loneliness and long nights. Let yourself fall open to Advent, to anticipation, to belief that what is empty will be filled, what is broken will be repaired, and what is lost can always be found, no matter how many times it’s been lost”

I really enjoyed that part of the chapter and just felt like sharing it. I hope it registered with you in some sort of way! Merry Christmas!

O The Blood

VERSE 1 — O the blood, crimson love, price of life’s demand. Shameful sin, placed on Him, the hope of every man.

CHORUS — O the blood of Jesus washes me, O the blood of Jesus shed for me. What a sacrifice that saved me life. Yes, the blood, it is my victory

VERSE 2 — Savior son, Holy One, slain so I can live. See the Lamb, the great I Am, Who takes away my sin.

CHORUS

BRIDGE — O the blood of the Lamb (x3) The precious blood of the Lamb. What a sacrifice, that saved my life. Yes, the blood, it is my victory.

VERSE 3 —  O what love, No greater love. Grace, how can it be, that in my sin, yes even then, He shed His blood for me

CHORUS

It’s Beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

Yay! I can’t be even more excited! I love the Christmas season and the many blessings that it brings.

I really enjoyed going to the Grove in Los Angeles and walking around with some good friends!

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