Friday, November 18, 2011

The Incline

  I just realized that I never told you guys about my experience climbing The Incline. You might be wondering, what exactly is The Incline? It is a very difficult hiking trail in Manitou Springs which is just outside of Colorado Springs. The trail goes straight up the side of a mountain. There are railroad ties for you to place your feet on when walking. The trail is only 1 mile but in that 1 mile it goes up vertically 2000 feet. It is SO intense. And SO worth it. I LOVE the view. Along the way and at the top. Supposedly at the top you can look out and see as far as Kansas.
   I read about the trail after I attempted to do it and seriously laughed at this websites' description of the time it takes to get up the trail.
Time: 50 minutes for Olympiads. 2-3 hours for mere mortals.

   The Incline has signs that say it is closed to the public. Not true. Coloridians hike up the trail ALL the time. If you are ever in the Springs area I would recommend hiking The Incline. Just know though, it is not for the faint at heart. You must have endurance. There is a false summit about halfway up. You can't see the true top from the bottom so when you reach the false summit you think you have arrived, only to realize how much farther you have to go. The very end is the steepest part as well. It's so rewarding though!!

At the bottom of the Incline
The girls I went with the 1st time.

It's kind of intense! ;)
View from the top

More of the incredible view.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Great Romancer

  I told you I would write this blog again. The Great Romancer. I just can't not do it. I have someone who is deeply in love with me and me with Him. Why would I not share my experiences?
  Think about it. If you have someone that you are madly, passionately in love with, your natural response is to talk about that person. In my experience, when I have liked a boy, I've talked about him with my friends. So much to the point that I annoyed my friends. Well Jesus is my focus I can't help but talk about relationship with Him. ;)
   I told you before about my decision to ask Jesus to open my eyes to the ways that He is romancing me. I asked a simple question and my life feels so completely changed. I am on such a journey. God loves me, He really does!! I asked some friends to partner with me on this journey and now I am asking you to join me.
   I have devoted a journal to which I am simply writing down the ways that God is romancing me. The ways He is showering His love down on me.
   Some things are big - God gave me this image: I was thinking about how loved I felt because my friends saved up money for me to come home and God  showed me that in these acts of love by friends/family God is running to the front of them, pushing them out of the way to say "Me, Me! I love you More! They gave you _____ but I DIED for you. I am Jealous for you. You can't forget me!"
   Some things are little - Wednesday night I went to another late night prayer meeting. I lost 1 of my gloves during the day so when I walked out to my car at midnight in the freezing cold I was so excited to see that there wasn't frost on my car. God was helping me out....I didn't have a way to cover my hands so He "scraped" my car off by there not being frost in the first place.
  I am titling my journal The Love Story of Jesus and Stefanie (copying The Story of Gabriel and Stefanie!). I am going to treasure this journal for life. I just know it!
  My challenge to you is to do the same. Write down the ways that God is romancing you...because He is! If you feel distant from God, this will bring you to a greater awareness of Him in your every day life. He is working. Some times we can't feel it. He loves you. Sometimes we forget it. I pray this journey, if you choose to take it with me, changes you.

"If our belief system never leads us to encounter with the person, if it doesn't leave our hearts changed, what good is it?" Mike Donehey, Tenth Avenue North

Date with Jesus
KS sunset on my drive back to Co ;)

Thursday, November 10, 2011


  I was going to write another blog on The Great Romancer. I am probably going to still write it. But first I must take a rabbit trail....
  One of the guys in DLA, Paul, is from Germany. He speaks English very well but there are still some words he does not quite understand how to say the American way. The word adorable is one of them.
  According to adorable means 2 things.
     #1 - very attractive or delightful; charming
     #2- worthy of being adored
   As Americans we tend to use the word adorable via definition #1. If I am describing a little kid I use the word adorable...a lot. ;) Well, my friend Paul is one of the nicest guys you will ever meet. Seriously. One day someone told him that he was adorable and he said, "I'm not adorable. Only God is adorable." Now, this totally threw me off because, really, when have I ever called God adorable? Probably not very often. I love God, I think He is pretty wonderful, powerful, fantastic, and so many things, but adorable? Paul continued and said, "Only God is worthy to be adored." Oh, wow! Have you ever thought of God as adorable? He truly is the only one worthy to be adored.

   Think about that. Change your opinion of God today. God is adorable!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Why I Love Kansas

  I had the blessed privilege of going home this last weeked. My friend Chelsea was getting married and I got to be there to celebrate!! She looked SO beautiful!!
   I call it a blessed privilege for several reasons. #1 - My friends who I lived with at the XA house last year payed for my trip home. I told them I didn't have the money to make the trip and so they decided to raise the money for me themselves. What an act of love!! They are so wonderful. So wonderful indeed!! #2 - I got to see my friends and family. I love DLA but it was SO nice to make a trip home. God has been romancing me a lot lately (I've been more aware of it) and my drive home was truly amazing. I have never noticed KS being quite so beautiful. I probably never will again. It had something to do with the fact that I love fall. God knew that when He planned this trip for me. Ah...I love Jesus SO much! Seriously. I keep falling more in love with Him every day. Every time I think about Him. And that's the way it should be! I was home I kept thinking of all the reasons why I love home. So now I am sharing them with you. They are in no specific order.

   1. Walking around Washburn University with Kaci Eccles.
   2. Running around Wasburn Uniersity with Rachael Ortega.
   3. Classic Bean - Chai Tea Latte!
   4. Lifeway....Barnes and Noble....
   5. Coffee Dates at World Cup, Classic Bean, and Barnes and Noble
   6. Working at Billy Vanilly Cupcakes and all the people there
   7. Late night coffee runs to Billy Vanilly Cupcakes (I'm starting to sound like a coffee addict)
   8. XA House - Ari, Kaci, Taylor, Kelsey, Christian, Erin...late nights full of laughter!
   9. Thursday Night Live
  10. Worship Jam Sessions with Christian, Ben, Christian, and Phil
  11. Hugs from Ari
  12. The many many different laughs of Ariona Taylor
  13. German Chocolate made by Adam Stauffer....German Chocolate Frosting shots!!
  14. Fall in KS - the trees are SO SO SO beautiful!
  15. Walking in my favorite neighborhood...surrounded by trees.
  16. Friday Night Pizza/Movie nights with my sister and her kids
  17. Sunday dinner at my parents house - with the whole family!!
  18. Good News Church
  19. Hearing the many wonderful quotes from my paster - aka Gordonisms ;)
  20. The Good News Worship Band
  21. Concert on the Lot!!
  22. Spring in KS - it is just SO SO beautiful!
  23. Walking around WU....knowing the perfect amount of people yet still not knowing so many...
  24. Eating lunch in the Union - I like to people watch! ;)
  25. WU Business classes - I am a nerd - Microeconomics, Business Stats, Financial Accounting...
  26. Being 5-7 minutes away from my family.
  27. Sleepovers with my nieces/nephews
  28. Bathroom conversations with Ari...and Kaci...
  29. Riding my bike around Shawnee Lake with my dad
  30. Shunga Trail - walks/bike rides/ picnics
  31. Sand volleyball at Sonic
  32. Shawnee Lake - so beautiful!
  33. Watching the Vaughn kids
  34. Study parties in the hallway of the XA House
  35. Family dinners at the XA House - the delicious creations of Christian and Wesley
  36. Driving on Highway 40 to Lawrence....I love the country!!
  37. Lawrence - best city ever in KS
  38. Driving past places so full of memories
  39. Driving down Burlingame (between 27th & 29th) in the fall
  40. Fall in KS - I might have already said it, but I love fall. ;)
  41. The country...vast prairie lands
  42. Corn Fields
  43. Good News Church productions: Gameplan, Welcome Home, Happily Ever After...
  44. Annual GNC picnic/baptism at Lake Shawnee
  45. Thanksgiving dinner at GNC
  46. Wednesday night dinners at my parent's house with Shaun and Mikaela joining in.
  47. Topeka Shawnee County Public Library
  48. Being greeted every time I come home by my dog - Bella
  49. My Friends
  50. My Family

  To break it down....I love where I was born. I have so many memories. Good and bad. It is mostly the people make me love Topeka. I am such a people person! Don't get me wrong though, Topeka has been a beautiful place to live. Yes, sometimes you might have to search hard to see that beauty - only in the summer, ha ha! In the fall and the spring, Kansas is just Beautiful! No questions asked. Pictures don't do justice. I am greatful for the 21 years I have been granted to live in Topeka, KS. I wouldn't trade it for anything.
  It has spurred me on to having a love of traveling. I can now say I love Colorado! I am greatful for my time here as well. I'm not sure what my future holds....except I do...slightly. ;) I love when God reveals His plans piece by piece.

One of the MANY reasons I love XA!!

Heaven in a cup!

My favorite women...

Fall in KS :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Great Romancer

   I have a wonderful update on my car!! The person who hit my car was going to pay 100% for the dent in my car. I got an estimate and was all set to bring my car in to the shop when someone wiser than me shared their fantastic wisdom with me.
   Instead of getting my car fixed I can keep the money and have a dent in my car. Body work is expensive. This means I could get a lot of money back. I don't have a job this year. This means no earning money to put into a new car fund. My car still gets older each day. I'm not making money. Only God could and indeed did provide me with money to start a new car fund when I am actually not making any money. I think I'll keep my dent. ;) Everytime I look at my dent now I am reminded of how awesome God is. He blessed me through a strange circumstance. I like it. A lot.
  God continues to romance me every single day. How wonderful is He! :)

"Every good and perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of heavenly lights,
who does not change like shifting shadows."
James 1:17