Thursday, November 11, 2010

Trip to the gym

I went to the gym today for the first time in a couple of weeks to "blow off some steam". It's been a frustrating couple of weeks; I've been feeling overwhelmed, I've got a shooting pain up my right side and I'm pretty sure my neck is out. I haven't seen Jacob in over a month, I miss him terribly, I'm unhappy with most things going on in my life.....And really, after spending time in South Africa, with people who are really suffering, I have no right to complain. I'm not complaining, really. Well I'm trying not to. I'm just frustrated with things that are out of my control and I really just need to turn them over to God and place them in His hands. Because really, that's the correct person who has all the control.

So, back to my experience at the gym. I basically dragged myself there because I've been saying "I'll go tomorrow" since last Wednesday, and I figured the pain hasn't gotten any better so, why the hell not just go! I'm on the elliptical in front of a TV screen that is showing an episode of Beverly Hills Housewives. Ok, why the hell do they get their own show? This whole "housewives" pandemic has gotten out of control. I know I don't watch TV, but when did this show air? And why? This particular episode was about a 4 year old girl's birthday party and a spring break trip to Hawaii. The mother of this 4 year old decided that 4 is a good age for your first piece of really expensive jewelry. Seriously? What happened to My Little Ponies and Barbie? Oh wait! The jewelry she purchased was from the Barbie Jewelry Collection. Yes, such a thing exists. As if that Bitch doesn't have enough already. Not only did mom by a $1,700 sapphire Barbie necklace for her daughter, but she also purchased 25 "favor" Barbie necklaces for the 25 girls that will be attending her 4 year old girl's birthday party. The total spent was over $5,000. Ridiculously disgusting!
I attended a birthday party in South Africa for a 6 year old little girl. Her party consisted of a "lavish" spread of chips, sweets and hamburgers. The play room and patio was decorated with princess streamers, missed matched party hats, plastic lawn furniture and balloons. None of this mattered to any of the kids. They were so thrilled to be celebrating and to be able to eat sweets. Her birthday present, which would have been considered to be outdated and unappreciated by most children, especially in Southern California, was a generic, plastic beauty vanity set. You should have seen the look on her face. Priceless. She was beaming and overwhelmed with joy. I'd give anything to see that face again. She was so gracious.

And the trip to Hawaii was all about the stress of calling up the house manager at their home/condo in Hawaii to make sure everything was working. Oh, and getting their driver to pick them up in the morning. Seriously, this woman was sitting with her friends talking about how busy all their lives are and her biggest issue was whether to heat the pool or not. Her friends decided not, because it was just a waste and her response back "thank you for helping me. I couldn't have done this without you." Now, maybe there was more to their conversation and media made them look like a bunch of stupid women who have nothing better to do than travel and spend money...... but that's all it appeared to be.

I know this post sounds very bitter, resentful and angry. To honest, I'm all those things except for bitter. Yeah, the money they have would be nice. But I would not use it how they do nor would I buy my 4 year old and her 25 "friends" diamonds.
My apologies (sort of) to any of you who watch these types of shows. I just really cannot stand shows that portray a lifestyle that the majority of the population cannot afford to even come close to. It upsets and disturbs me.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Journey to Joburg: Day 6: Mangwanani

Journal Entry: Thursday, October 14th, 2010

I've held off for a bit on posting this entry. Mostly because I've been really busy, but also because of some remarks going around about my intentions with my trip to South Africa. We spent Thursday visiting with Oasis board members, staff, house moms, children, visiting a local hospital, and yes.... enjoying a night at Mangwanani Spa. With that said, here is my experience on Day 6.

Today we attended the SA staff meeting. Beth wanted both teams to get to know each other a little better; how long we've been working with Oasis Haven, how we got involved, our role, etc... It was great to hear from those who work directly with the children. How they were called, their struggles, the love they have for each child.

Serena is the house mom at Bou. Bou is our first Oasis Haven Family Home. She has two assistants that help her during the week from 8:00-5:00pm. They alternate days at the home and will help on the weekends as well. The assistants at Bou are Caroline and Minki. Both very sweet, loving, incredible women.

Maggie and Veronica are currently sharing the role as house mom at 54. 54 was recently donated by the local church that supports Oasis Haven. This church, name I cannot ever remember, is our lifeline. They donate often and will always be our line of support if we're ever in a bind and need a helping a hand.

Maggie and Veronica work one month on, one month off at the home. The goal of the month on, month off system is to help provide stability in the home for the children. Rather than having one week on, one week off, or weekday versus weekend... It seems to be working right now. Our goal is to have houseparents for 54 by the end of this year.

Maggie and Veronica also have assistants to help from 8:00-5:00 and on the weekends. Their names are Juliann and Boukley (not sure on the spelling) They too are incredible, loving, kind women.

It was wonderful just to be in the same room as these amazing women who love God and his children. To add to the amazement, we started our meeting off with some worship. Minki led us in the most beautiful worship I have ever had the pleasure of listening to. Most of it was sung in Sutu. Although difficult to sing along to, it was absolutely beautiful to listen to her incredible voice, along with the others, sing with such passion.
After our meeting we went to pick up more paint supplies and paint for 54 (our other home) and then headed to Helen Joseph Hospital where we met with virologist and Med Researcher, Francesca Cordobain. (not sure on exact spelling) Meeting with Francesca was an incredible experience. She is such an amazing women. She is extremely intelligent, passionate about what she does, and has a great sense of humor to top it off. Helen Joseph HIV/AIDS center specializes in ARV meds; anti retro viral. ARV medications are fairly new to the med world. It's not a cure for HIV/AIDS by any means. I learned while sitting in her office, that once you're infected, it's not something that can be cured. It's in your DNA. However, that doesn't mean that some day there won't be a cure, but ARV isn't a cure. It allows someone who is infected with HIV to live decades longer than they might have. It's no longer a death sentence.
It was wonderful to speak with her and learn from her.

After our visit with Francesca we we ran some errands and heading to enjoy an evening of relaxation at Mangwanani Spa.
Oh my stars!! Our experience at this spa was phenomenal. I've never experienced anything quite like it in my entire life. We were greeted with a glass of champagne, or delicious fruit cocktail, taken to our table where we nibbled on yummy snacks like biltong (beef jerky, but so much better!) After which we were led to dressing rooms where we changed into robes and slippers for our first treatment. Also, during our "snacking" we were entertained South African style. After changing, we were led down a wooden, bridge like pathway through trees that crossed over a creek. The pathway also had little hut-like rooms that jetted off to each side and stretched into the starry night. We were coupled up in these little huts for our hot stone massage. Tuliswa was my massage therapist and she was fantastic. As a lay there in the warm room, with the hot stones rolling down my back, I could hear the sounds of bull frogs and crickets. Or were they grasshoppers? I think they were locust!? Whatever they were, they were loud! As most things do, our session came to an end, and we were lead back to our table where we enjoyed a light meal with wine, sweets and more beautiful South African singing.
After dinner we were led back out to the pathway and into a larger hut with comfy Adirondack chairs and basins filled with warm water. We each sat in a chair and dipped our feet in our own little basin of warm water decorated with rose pedals. We sat there for about 50 minutes for an amazing grape seed extract foot and leg massage. I left there feeling wonderful and completely relaxed. I'm so grateful to have had this incredible experience thanks to Lori Kimbell and Paula Gillig. I later learned that Mangwanani supports Women's Rights in South Africa and they play a major role in Lead SA which is a campaign/NGO about getting South Africans to step up and take charge in their own country. Not accepting bribes from officers, trying to put an end to corruption..... I was thrilled to find out that our visit to this spa was not just for our enjoyment, but helping women in South Africa. Oh, also, Beth said that every employee, as far as I could tell they were all women, becomes a share holder of Mangwanani after a certain amount of time. That's so awesome! I've included the link to their website if you'd like to check it out.


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Journey to Joburg: Day 5: Renovation!

Journal Entry: Tuesday, October 12th, 2010
Today our plan is to head out for some paint supplies, primmer, paint clothes and suitable spa/swimwear. Most of us didn't pack a swimsuit or clothing we didn't mind getting some paint on. The suit was considered, briefly, but then I decided it wouldn't be needed. (which, we didn't end up swimming anyhow because it didn't work out for us to take the kids with us to Bakubung for Safari)

We went to a mall/shopping center in Johannesburg to get our clothing and supplies. It was interesting to see how very similar and different our stores are. After purchasing what we needed, we headed to Bou (our first Oasis home) for a little painting. We would be painting the boy's room, children's bathroom (which currently is a hideous shade of orange), and the house mom's room. Each room had previously painted by volunteers, much like ourselves. Unlike the previous volunteers, we consulted the house mom before painting rooms awful colors and covering the walls with giant bugs, Snoopy and Garfield. My thought, by looking at the rooms, was that whoever painted these rooms was doing a very kind act of service, however, I kind of felt that they just figured their work to be good enough for orphans. And this was NOT good enough for us! We planned to give each room a simple, fresh look, that they can enjoy for quite some time...... with no more bugs!
Our first task was to prime each room (in order to cover up the bold bright colors of the insects). It was a difficult task, maneuvering around furniture, trying not to die of fume inhalation, but we got the job done.
After priming, we cleaned up, had lunch and headed back to Pepperwood Lodge. But....not before a visit from the little ones as they returned home from school. We were greeted with hugs, questions of "what's that smell?" ...."what are you doing?" ...."Are you leaving? When are you coming back?" and boasts of what they did at school.
We were able to escape the loving embraces from the children at Bou to make it home to shower and get ready for Rotary. Laura is involved in the RB Sunrise Rotary here in San Diego. Rotaries like to get involved, partnered up with, other Rotaries from around the world. I'm still not entirely certain on the exact roll that Rotary plays, but I do know that they are city funded, they fundraise for other organizations and they are extremely supportive of education.
My experience at Rotary was pretty pleasant. It was not for Paula and Lori though as they had the pleasure of being in the company of an extremely racist man.... who by the way is German. My thought is, if you're living in a country where you are among the wealthiest, living in the company of those far less fortunate, in extreme poverty, making money of their exploitation, then you have no right to complain. Johannesburg is a city founded by the Dutch as a mining town that used the exploitation of local South Africans (Blacks) to gain their wealth. And then, they were being forced to become "like them" to speak and be taught in their language. Men like this German guy will sit and complain about the corruption and poverty of the country, however, they will remain there, versus going back to their country, because they can live for cheap and bank on other's suffering. I'm grateful to not have had the pleasure to engage in a conversation with him. Sitting at the next table, hearing his wealthy, well fed mouth speak, was more than enough.

Tomorrow is another full day. We will however, get some relaxation in. We'll be ending our day at Mangwanani Spa. Beth has arranged for an evening of pampering. A full body, hot stone massage and a grape seed extract foot and leg rub. SOOO excited!
Before our spa-scursion, we'll also be attending a morning meeting, picking up the paint the kids decided on and visiting Helen Joseph Hospital.

For now, I'm off to bed. Hopefully the birds outside our window, and the barking dogs, don't wake me up again at 5am.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Journay to Joburg: Day 4: Soweto

Journal Entry: Monday, October 11th, 2010
Our visit to Soweto was pretty intense. Only our second day here in SA and we're starting off with a packed day.

Laura and I started our day a bit late. Our phones hadn't switched over from London time, so when her alarm went off at 7am, it was actually 8am. So, needless to say, we were in a bit of a rush. However, we still managed to enjoy a lovely English breakfast, sip some tea, read a bit of scripture and pray before we set out to the Oasis Haven SA office. We meet the SA team, took a brief tour of the office, and then headed to Soweto. Soweto is the largest township in South Africa. It is home to 4 million people. FOUR million!! This area is quite large, but not nearly large enough to house 4 million people. Not comfortably at least. I still need to get the square mileage for Soweto. I asked a couple people, but they were unsure. When I do find this bit of information, I will most definitely come back to it in this post. It's worth knowing.
I also learned that Soweto is abbreviated for South West Township. I also was informed that Soweto is a township home to primarily black people and of those 4 million people, alone about 4 people living there are white.....and they are witch doctors. I wouldn't classify them as good people to be around. We definitely stuck out as tourists. It's rather uncommon for white people to visit Soweto.
It's pretty difficult to describe in detail what I saw and felt. It's a culture shock. There were corrugated tin metal houses built up against brick homes, run down homes, rubbish and rubble, dumps, etc... There were people selling fruit and other items along side the roads. Little shacks were set up called tuck shops, which sold items like chips, soda, etc.... There aren't a lot of opportunities for work in the township. People work in the city, Johannesburg, or they create their own informal business...such as the tuck shops or fruit stands on the side of the road.

I also noticed that most people were on foot. The vehicles on the road were mostly tourists and taxi's. It made me both sad and angry seeing how many children were walking home from school alone. It's so dangerous. You want to offer them a ride but then reconsider when you think about how dangerous that is as well. You'd be teaching them to accept rides from strangers and putting them at risk of getting in the car with someone who doesn't have a kind heart.

Beth told us about the transportation in and out of Soweto. Most walked a few blocks to get a taxi which would take them to a stop where they would then take another taxi, or more, to get to their final destination.....which they usually had to walk a few blocks to get to. The taxi's here are not like our taxi's in the States. They don't pick you up and take you to any destination you'd like. If you're walking and a taxi is driving by, the honk, you then give a sign, which is a symbol of the destination/part of town that you're needing to get to, and if that's where they're headed, they'll pick you up. If not, you keep walking, or waiting, until another taxi comes by that is going in your direction. Another form of transportation is the train. There are two railways that run through Soweto. And both are very dangerous. I think the train is like the last resort. Women are often rapped on the train. Beth said that it is rather common for women to put on 3 pairs of underwear before leaving the house in hopes to slow a rapist down. I couldn't imagine going through what these people face and live with everyday.

During our visit in Soweto we went to the Oppenheimer Tower which was built to honor Ernest Oppenheimer. He was an architect from Germany who came to Johannesburg during the time it was settled as a mining town, and built 1,400 matchbox homes for the men working in the mines.

We also went to the Nelson Mandela Family Museum and the Hector Peterson Museum. Both were very informative about Apartheid, the forced segregation among whites, coloreds and blacks. I really should post more information about these museums, but right now I can't locate the information I received while at each museum. However, if you do want to know more, you can google Apartheid, Hector Peterson and Nelson Mandela. And, as soon as I do find those pieces of literature on the museums, I will post it in this blog.

Oh, side note.... I also fainted at the Tower. Yeah, how could I forget about that!? lol
It's sort of comical, really. I mean, it is now but it definitely wasn't at the time. I'm not really sure what exactly happened but all I know is that I felt an anxiety attack coming on while we were at the top of the tower, then my vision blurred and then I was on the floor with both the US and SA team surrounding me. Thank God for Paula and Lori who caught me and kept me from tumbling down the curvy set of 49 stone steps. Phew!!

After our adventures in Soweto, we went back to the B&B to freshen up before dinner. We went to dinner at the Chairman of the board's home. He and his wife made us a delicious South African meal of bibotti and pavlova for dessert.
Our day ended at 10:00pm and we were all surprised to have made it up so late.
These first couple of days have been amazing. I thank God for this wonderful opportunity.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Journey to Joburg: Day 3: OR Tambo

Journal Entry: Sunday, Otober 10th, 2010

So, apparently the trick to good sleep on a plane is lots of walking prior to the flight, Dramamine, a couple glasses of wine, a neck pillow, eye mask, my cozy blanket, eye mask and my stuffed animal puppy, Love. Oh.....and head phones.
I slept about 8 hours of the 11 hour flight. It was awesome!! I literally shut my eyes within minutes of sitting in my seat. We hadn't even taken off yet and I was out.

Our arrival into South Africa seemed pretty surreal. It still hasn't (hadn't at the time) fully hit me yet that I'm actually here. I'm not just taking about going or dreaming of being in South Africa. I'm here! Well, I'm somewhat here.... I'm still out of it from the flight.

Beth picked us up from the airport, we rented a car, loaded all of our luggage into the back of Beth's boyfriend's truck and then went to breakfast. After breakfast, we headed to our B&B, the Pepperwood Lodge, where Donovan unloaded all of our luggage. We had an hour to shower and freshen up before we headed off to one of our homes.
Today I met Amanda, Fifi, Thandi, Caroline, Banelli, Nicholas, Leroy and Kia.
They're all so sweet and cute. And of course they have awesome accents which just melts your heart a bit more. It was so great to finally meet them. I'm excited to go back when I'm well rested and have more energy. They all just want you to play with them, push them on the swings, climb on you, play with your hair and ask A LOT of questions. Question after question after question. They're like every other child I've ever met. They're so incredibly loving and trusting of complete strangers. It was amazing to me. What a blessing they are.
Tomorrow we head to Soweto, the largest township in Joburg. But for now, I'm going to bed. I'm spent.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Journey to Joburg: Day 2: London

Journal Entry: Saturday, October 9th, 2010
We arrived in London around noon. After not much sleep we headed out into the city. We took the Heathrow Express to Paddington, then took the circle line to Hyde Park. We had tea at The Orangery at Kensington Palace. It took every last ounce of energy in me to keep from falling asleep in my tea. My equilibrium was seriously off. I felt like I was spinning. I'm guessing it may have been due to the fact that we had travelled by car 2 hours, at the airport for about 3, on a plane for 10, had some, but not a lot of restless, uncomfortable sleep, and quite a bit of free wine!! I had to excuse myself from the table. I kept having this vision of face planting into the table. I had to get moving! I walked around outside, took some pictures, watched the brave, cheeky little squirrels come right up to people in search of food. The pigeons were ballsy too.....and not on the petite side either. The other gals finished their tea and we killed the time by wearing ourselves out by walking all around Hyde Park. I slowed us down a but by stopping for random pics of trees, flowers, and swans (I've included a few in this post) And then we headed back to Heathrow Airport via underground and the express train to endure our last leg of journey to Joburg. But not without buying some Dramamine.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Journey to Joburg: Day 1: Travel

Journal Entry: Friday, October 8th, 2010

It's amazing to me how much I've grown just in the last few months alone.
When I first spoke of my plans to go to South Africa my family was not too thrilled. They brought up questions like; What? When? Why? What about your job, your career? How about your future? Your life with Jacob? Aren't you planning to get married? Can't you just send money? Why do you have to go?
And I have to admit, they were all very valid questions.
At first, I didn't know how to answer those questions. They all hit my like a freight train.
Not having to give it much thought, I answered, "Well, I know the strong passion I have for this organization, I'm not sure yet how the rest of my life is going to pan out, I'm not quiting my job, and I strongly feel called to go." Let's just say that it didn't put their minds at ease right away, but they definitely had a change of heart.
And as I sit here today, currently on an airplane headed to London, all those questions are still there. They haven't all been answered entirely and I'm at peace with that. I have faith and trust that God will take care of all of that.
My journey thus far, the idea of going on this trip alone, has drastically changed. As I left for the airport, I departed with the full love and support of my family. God has used my passion for Oasis and philanthropic adventures to bring my family closer together. He has blessed me in so many ways. I am so excited to see how God is going to use me and where he leads me.

Return from Africa: Day 4 of being home

Now what? What's my next step? I thought I had a clearer picture. I had a better idea of what my purpose is. But being back at home now, I feel even more lost than ever. What am I supposed to do with those experiences? What does God want me to do with what I saw, what I learned, what I felt....? How do I tell others. How do I open their hearts like mine has been. How do I change the hearts of those who just don't understand; both believers and non- believers. They don't know what South Africa is like, what the people are like, their circumstances, what real poverty is. I can't expect others to go through the change I did. They didn't get the opportunity that I did. I've changed, I've grown, and I come back and everything is still the same. No one else changed. And it's ridiculous for me to think that they would have.
What's God's purpose for me? What is God doing through me? How am I to fulfill what He wants of me when I don't know what that is? Am I on the right path? I'm unclear of the direction He's pulling me in. Can I get some help, please? Something, anything so that I can better serve you, Lord.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Skinny Jeans: Every woman has a pair

You women reading will completely understand this.....especially if any of you have seen the movie Eat Pray Love.
I'm sure all of you have a pair of jeans that you just LOVE. You wear them all the time, they're your absolute favorite....... maybe these jeans might even be a pair that you haven't been able to fit in for a while but you just can't seem to part with....? Is anyone able to relate?
(Just a side note, when I say "skinny jeans" I mean the jeans you can no longer fit into....)

I have several pairs of jeans in my closet. Most of these jeans I don't wear for many different reasons; they're too long, too tight, they've got rips in certain areas, etc...etc.
But this one particular pair of jeans I have in my closet I really love but haven't worn in over a year because they're just a bit too, ummm.....well, they're snug and they started to create this sort of muffin top situation. I think it had to do with the combination of being unemployed for several months, boredom, falling in love, being wined and dined ........ It's a good thing I continued to workout because it kept me from gaining too much weight. But I sure did fluctuate quite a bit during those months.
Like most girls/women, we're never really happy with our body. We are our worst critics. And my wonderful, loving boyfriend is probably going to want to smack me for this post, because he thinks I'm the most beautiful woman to walk the face of the earth, but I have to do it.
The other day I was getting dressed and dreading it like I do most days trying to figure out what to wear, when I came across that pair of jeans in my closet that I haven't worn in over a year.
I decided to attempt to put them on. This is where Eat Pray Love comes into the picture because the scene that went on in my room was much like the scene in the movie when they're trying on bigger jeans due to their muffin tops. I was hopping up and down, sucked it in, did a few squats, got them wet.... everything possible. But lo and behold, I got those suckers on. Now they didn't fit perfectly, they were still snug, but I'll be damned, I was going to wear them. I felt so proud. And I lasted all day in them. I'll admit though, at the end of the night, I did have to unbutton the top button. I was just so thrilled to be able to get into them again.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Heart of Gold

I went to visit some of my family in Palm Desert this weekend and as I was heading back home, my little sister Ashton did the most unbelievably heartfelt act of kindness I have yet to witness.
She knows of my trip to South Africa, she has a basic understanding of my reason for going and she is aware of some situations these children have experienced. But at 10years old, how much can she really understand? How much of the reality of my trip should she really know about? She's just a child. And yet, she completely understands serving God, giving and being kind to others.
As I was saying bye to everyone, along with a few others that were heading out, she was saddened to find that I was also leaving. I explained that I had to get back home because I have work the next day. And this is the conversation that followed .... "why? who cares? why do you have to work" ..... "well..... because, apparently I'm a grown up and that's what grown ups do. I've got to make money. " ... "oh" ...... "Yep. Stay a child for as long as you can. Don't grow up too fast" ..... "ok". And now that I am typing this, I believe I know the reason behind her next action.
I've got my bag packed, purse, phone, everything set by the door. I was saying bye to my friend Megan as she heads home, my step mom and little brother as they head down to Tot Stop, and my Aunt Dena as she leaves. I realized that I forgot my phone charger so I head back inside. At that very moment Ashton's friend Emily is telling me that I can't leave yet, "Ashton has something to give you." .... I turn aroun to head towards the front door and there is my beautiful little sister standing there holding a handful of money which she had taken from her piggy bank. She doens't really say anything, but I said "you're not giving me your money. Ashton, no, I can't take it." She still held it out and said "for your trip". I took the money out of her hands and with tears in my eyes I hugged her tight. I told her that she was the most wonderful, amazing little sister anyone could ever ask for. I looked at my dad and said "your littlest daughter is awesome". My dad had no idea she planned to give me money, so now his eyes are beginning to water. I asked Ashton why she was crying, she wasn't really sure why. I'm not sure why either of us were, but we were having a moment. A moment like I've never experience before. I couldn't believe her. I'm so completely touched by her act of kindness.
I took the money, not because I needed it, but because I didn't want to deprive her of giving. She obviously felt called to give and it was on her heart to do so. She gave with money that she had been saving; money given on birthdays, money earned by doing chores, her own money. I wouldn't dare takt that away from someone. Especially from someone so wonderfully, beautiful as my littlest sister. I felt God's presence around us during that moment and I will never forget it.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Change in Direction

I was just reading some of my past blogs....from March and before, and it's funny how things change. I mean, I'm not even going in that same direction. I'm on a completely different path. God has changed my course yet again. And I'm so thrilled!

Reading those posts made me realize that I had been focusing on ALL the wrong things. Things I thought would make me happy. Things I felt I needed. And definitely looking for a future in the wrong career choice.
I've never been one to care about designer labels and brands. I'm not current on the latest trends and fads. I really can't stand Louis Vuiton (is that even how you spell it?) and I strongly dislike Juicy Couture purely for the reason that they call themself "couture". You can't be a ready to wear, mass produced clothing line and call yourself couture. What the crap!? And since I used to work for corporate, I know first hand that it's not worth the price. Oh, if you only knew!
And another thing....I don't give a flying leap about celebrities or reality TV. Not in the least. It makes no difference to me who they are, what they wear, drive....etc. I don't care who they're dating, sleeping with, divorcing, gossiping about.
So, I've come to the conclusion, with the help of God and the lack of response from the countless number of potential employers I emailed, that a career in fashion, is just not in the cards for me. And I am 112% okay with that =)
Sure, I still love clothes, accessories and shoes. Don't get me wrong. I am female. One look in my room/closet, which spills into the coat closet and garage (those of you who know me well have seen it) and you know it's still a love of mine. But it's just no longer a deep passion for me to be successful at. I'd much rather be spending my time doing God's work, serving others, living a fullfilled life. Not a life focused on me. Not one that relies on social status, someone else's opinion of you and your work, who you know and what you wear. But one that thrives on serving God. Being passionate about those He loves the most. The Fatherless.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Blessing in Disguise

Here's another thing..... I recently turned 26. How the hell did that happen? 26!? I mean, that's almost ancient!! lol
When I was months away from turning 25 I was freaking out. Literally. I was a wreck. I remember my dad asking me "what's going on with you? you're so short lately on the phone, I can hardly talk to you without you getting all snippy"
Well, what was wrong with me.... I was unhappy with my life, that's what!
My response "well dad, I'm about to be 25, I moved back home (with mom and step dad), I hate my job, I'm nowhere near getting married and I thought for sure I'd be married by now, I can hardly support myself, I'm a re-born born again Christian, in which you'd think life would be easier, but it's not, life is far more complicated, way more difficult, and it just raises a whole other set of questions ....... I really need to do some soul searching.... I'm a mess. What am I doing with my life.....?" My father saying that, really asking me what was wrong, was a huge eye opener for me. I can always count on my dad to be the voice of reason.
Just a few months later, God answered many of my questions, in different ways.
I met a boy. Well, I met a man.......but since we techincally met at Disneyland, I think it's more accurate to say I met a boy. (love you Jacob)
He changed my life. No, I'm not saying that he completed me, because no one can do that. But, he's exactly what I was missing. He added to my life in a way that I never thought was possible. Unfortunately and fortunately, I lost my job just about a week after we became "official" so that added to stress of our relationship. Oh, I think I failed to mention that he lived in Los Gatos, which means I entered myself right into a long distance relationship. Oooo, fun!
I hated my old job anyhow, but it really was not how I wanted things to go. It would have been nice to end things on my own terms but since I had spent 2 years just sittin there being miserable God decided "well, since you're not going to look for another job that would make you happy, and you'd rather sit here wasting your life, guess what? I'm going to pull that right out from underneath you". And yes, that's exactly what He said.
I spent about 9 months doing a lot of soul searching, crying, falling in love, dealing with depression, trying to break things off with the love of my life, crying some more, job searching, more soul searching, sending resumes, flying up North, driving to and from San Diego airport (both joyous and depressing) missing my boyfriend, some more crying, loosing myself, finding myself, and really figuring out who my true friends are.
During the time of crying, applying for jobs and soul searching, I stumbled across an amazing organization called Oasis Haven. Long story short, we put on a concert, formed a small group which became our board and now we're going to South Africa in just a couple of weeks. Life is completely sureal. I had no idea this is where my life would lead. Life is full of surprises.
Stay tuned..... I plan to make this more of a regular habit.
Those never stick though,'s hoping!!
After thought....... 26, ain't all that bad ;)



......currently watching Julie & Julia I found motivation to write.

If there's anyone out there that has been reading/following my blog you already know about my plan to go to South Africa with a few other Oasis Haven board members. Well, you'll be happy to know that it is no longer a plan. It is official!! I am in fact going to South Africa!! Yay!!
I am filled with excitement, a little bit of nervousness and some anxiety. I know there is nothing for me to worry about. I've got God on my side, the love and support of my family and friends, a loving and supportive boyfriend, what more could I ask for!? How about a sign.....? Some direction maybe....guidance?
I know that this trip is going to change my life in a HUGE way. I feel it in my very core that when I get back from South Africa, my life as I know it, will have completely changed. And it is going to be so wonderfully amazing I cannot wait!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Yes, I'm still here....

Many of you, all two of my followers, have probably been wondering where I've dissapeared to. Why I haven't written anything in months....what I've been up to, am I still alive. Yes, I'm still here.....
The truth is, I think I sort of lost myself....a while back. Or maybe I got lost recently, or maybe it's that I wasn't really sure, but now I'm more certain.... Who really knows. Only God knows.
Just to catch you up, I'm still searching for the job/career that I deserve and am being called towards. In the mean time I'm working as a Patient Coordinator at an orthodontist/dentis office. Basically what that means is I seat patients, pull charts when needed, clean chairs.... I'm a glorified hostess in the ortho world.
My mom happens to be employed by them, they needed someone, they like my mom, I needed money, my mom wanted me to work "soemthing, anything, just to get you out of the house".... you get the picture. They hired me!
Along with that, I have taken a permanent position on the board of Oasis Haven. A non-profit organization whose mission is to place neglected and HIV positive children with loving forever families. Our main "office" is located in Johanesburg, South Africa. Our US branch has been operating for just over a year now. We've officially filed for our non-profit status and the board is planning a missions trip to South Africa in October. All very exciting!!
This organization has been my main focus and has grown very dear to my heart. I believe that fashion will always remain close, but it's no longer what I'm most deeply passionate about. It's takes second...possibly third.
Along with my position on the board I will also be leading a post-college/career group called Ignite, with the Church at Rancho Bernardo and will soon be leading a small group study for young women.
God has great things lined up for me in the future. I'm so excited to experience each and every one of them!

I hope to keep current, at least weekly, on the happenings in my life.

P.S. I'm still very much in love with my boyfriend, Jacob. He gives me the support and strength I need to get through each day. Kisses, my love.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


I take pride in the fact that I'm extremely persistent .... The squeaky wheel gets the grease, right!? What I find most frustrating, however, is how very little common courtesy most people have. A response would be greatly appreciated, thank you!
I've been without a stable job for slightly over 6 months now and I've been actively searching. Persistence is key and I've definitely got that down. I'm not looking for just any old job and that might be a bit of the problem. I'm not the kind of girl to settle for just anything. I've had plenty of opportunities come my way, the trouble is, they're not for pay. I understand I'd gain experience, it's a networking opportunity, etc...etc.... But that doesn't pay the bills, dress me in fabulous clothes or cover the cost of a little bubbly now and then.... does it
I've had a couple of interviews, a few photo shoots, a temporary job as server/hostess/food runner....etc, at a mom and pop restaurant and have applied to a countless number of jobs in the last 6 months. I'm rather exhausted from it all. Searching for a job is a full time job in itself. Thankfully, I've done a good job at making sure I continue to go to the gym. It's about all I can do these days not to go crazy.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

My favorite image thus far

Photography by Robert Mendez
Make up by Elle Leary
Model Gen Marie
Hair by Travisean
Styled by yours truly

More recent 2009-2010

Photography by Gregory Gutting and Robert Mendez

More from 2008-2009

Photos from 2008- 2009

Most of the work here was with Gregory Gutting. Excellent Photographer to work with. Some of these were/are more favored than others, but each hold a special place in my heart.

Photography by Stefanie Ann

LOVE LOVE LOVE working my sister Stef. The first image, (which is actually at the bottom of this post) is with Alana in Pinetop, AZ...beautiful location, gorgeous scenery to work with.... I need to locate the other pictures, because I do have plenty more like this. Also worked with Tegan again. Photographs taken in my dad's garage and at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, CA.

How it all began

May 2008 - My first attempt at being a wardrobe stylist
Model and Friend: Tegan Elkins
Photographer: Stefanie Ann

Literally, one day while I was kicking my butt on the treadmill, I had an epiphany. I immediately text my friend Tegan saying "I need to get my portfolio started, will you do a shoot with me and be my guinea pig!?" Her response "Heck yes!!" .... I then text my sister Stefanie saying "when we're in the desert for Ashton's birthday, bring your camera. We're doing a photo shoot with Tegan!!" Thus, beginning the treacherous journey as a starving artist.
This shoot was one of the most gratifying for me. Not only did it serve its purpose as being a portfolio builder, but we got a lot of work done and covered a lot of looks. (I will locate others from this shoot to post, I have more where this one came from) We shot at the Bermuda Dunes Airport, Desert Sands, and my parent's backyard and guest bathroom. Tegan was a trooper... 6 or 7 wardrobe changes, hair and makeup and 9 hours of shooting. Thank you Tegan and Stefanie. I love you both!