Tuesday, April 20, 2010

new blog site...

The blog has moved. Please click here to visit the new site!


It's been ten months since I began blogging and it has been such an awesome experience. In the past couples months I've listened to your suggestions and tried creating a blog that was more user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing.

I'm so excited to announce that tomorrow I'll be moving to a new spot!

Here's a small snippet of the promo video that will be on the page as well:
The video was produced by the ever-amazing Drew and Chad from Shade Tree Films. They are totally amazing and if you need any video work, they are the best visual storytellers I know. Check them out! (Note: the video that made me fall in love with their work is actually a wedding video but they did such a good job at capturing the feel of the moment that I wanted to use them for my personal video. Check out this page on their blog and watch The Kidds wedding. Uh-maz-ing!)

Thanks for your continual support and love. I look forward to more conversations, debates, and comments to push us about thinking differently and living wisely.


Monday, April 19, 2010

guessing leads to caffine fix...

I'll be posting about the awesome conference in San Jose later, but I have something to announce!

If you can guess what it is, you'll win a $25 giftcard to Starbucks and an eHug ;)

Happy guessing...

*Edit to post: AP from Los Angeles and Suzanne from England have tied :) Both answered the correct guess: a blog design! Email me your addresses and I will send the crack cards, er, I mean coffee cards your way ;)

Friday, April 16, 2010

post-it project...

When we compare our lives to others, it may be disillusioning. But there is a healthy introspection that comes from acknowledging what you have in light of the blessings God has given. Therefore, give back.

In the midst of the craziness of life, I don't want to forget my commitments to serving a cause greater than myself. As I've mentioned in a previous post, I have been invited to go to Africa this summer to partner with Mavuno church in Kenya. This adventure is exciting and nerve-wrecking all at the same time. In order to be a participant on this trip each member is required to fund raise 100% of their financial support.

There's a nasty little monster that hangs on my shoulders and his name is Pride. I hate asking for help--especially financial help. But the premise and core ideology of Outreach is to invite others to join in on our journey. With your financial help you're able to participate in this adventure with me. The Post-It Project will give you a small way to be where I am.

For ten days a group of youth from Orange County will join with a group of youth from Kenya for total world domination! Well--something like that. Here's some vision for the trip:
If you want to help and support the trip, here are some simple steps:
Go to http://www.marinersoutreach.org/giving

Click on the link that says "Give towards a Faith Adventure"
Step 1: Fill in your information.
Step 2: Designate Faith Adventure Donation
Team Member Name: [Bianca Juarez]
Trip Name: [Kenya, June 2010]
Step 3: Fill in your account information.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

100 words on the granola syndrome...

Beware of the Granola Syndrome in church. Yup, you heard me, thee Granola Syndrome. People walk into church as a fruit, a nut, or a flake.

A fruit: healthy, alive, bearing other fruit.
A nut: enough said. (We know those people so we'll just stay PC on this one.)
A flake: tried God, didn't work, gave up. Yes, a flake.

Here's hope for the nuts: nuts can bear fruit! But they need to be rooted, grounded, and watered with Living Water.

Our responsibility is to spread health within the walls of our church. For the building is not the church; we are the church.

So--what are you? A fruit, a nut, or a flake? Keep it real.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

rituals, check lists, and burnout...

May you experience the love of Christ, through it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God. --Ephesians 3:19

There needs to be a followup; an explanation of sorts. After reading yesterday's comments (I read every single comment), I couldn't help but feel an addendum had to be added. Though no one said it, perhaps I was too harsh. My intention was not to add one more item to your checklist of holiness nor was it my aim to compare our "performances" against other Christians. My goal was to simply say, Life is hard. Hang in there and you'll see results.

Desirous of encouraging us complainers, I think I may have perpetuated the failure cycle we as Christians fall victim to:
Performance --> Rituals --> Checklists --> Failure --> Guilt --> Withdraw --> Emptiness*
We don't need to do more "God-stuff," as Doug Fields would say, we need connect with God.

When we connect with God (John 15:15), we can admit that we are jacked-up sinners who will fail and complain (Romans 3:23), and come boldly before Him to ask for mercy and grace (Hebrews 4:15-16a). Doug also put a list together about connecting with God that I would feel selfish for not sharing it with you.

Connecting with God...
It's not about ritual... it's about a relationship
It's not about performance... it's about presence
It's not about a "show"... it's about showing up
It's not about "have to"... it's about "want to"
It's not about guilt... it's about grace
It's not about form... it's about friendship

Love you. Pray for you. Grateful for you.

*Cycle produced by Doug Fields

Monday, April 12, 2010

life change hurts...

Life change hurts. But if you want change, deal with the pain. Period, the end.

It's no secret that I love to workout and strive for the great new exercises to try. I've found an awesome gym near my house that offers amazing cross training by a fitness coach who not only loves what he does, but loves his clients. He not only cares about changing what you look like, but he cares about how you feel.

At 5:30am a small group of women arrive at NextLevelFitness before the sun comes up because we want to change. We are committed to change. We are paying for a change. But there's a woman who habitually complains about every circuit we do.
Push ups? Come on! Run around the building? It's cold. Lunges? My ankle hurts.

A few weeks ago the workout was particularly challenging. As we switched from one station to the next, we were all tired. Kathie was so tired she crawled to the next station, I leaned over the ab bench trying to catch my breath, and the other women adjusted to their new station. The Complainer? Well, she refused to do the next station: push ups.

What I said: [inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale]
What I said in my head: Look honey, we all are hurting. We have a choice as to whether or not we want to change. If you don't like it, don't come. So just shut up and get do the push ups!

(Not only am I unsympathetic at 5:30am, I'm have a low tolerance for complainers.)

Hebrews 12:11 says, "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." I couldn't help but parallel her complaints with our own complaints in spiritual living. We ask God to change us, mold us, break us so we can be used, but when he does, we complain and fight back.

If we simply trust him and do what is needed to change our lives, Hebrews tells us it will produce a harvest of righteousness.

Today I saw the fruit. At the end of our arduous workout, Joe decides to kill us (aka give us one more circuit). Oh yeah, it had push ups. I was waiting for a comment from The Complainer, but she got on her hands and began doing push ups. Like REAL push ups. I watched her out of the corner of my eye and was so proud of her! All the workouts had paid off and she realized the instruction for our trainer was right and beneficial.

How can you daily submit to change? Are you The Complianer or are you a trainer? Whatever station you are at, keep at it! Whether your instruction comes from life coach, pastor, mentor, or daily biblical instruction, listen. I promise you--the results are worth it!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

friday video blog: imparting vision...

Imparting Vision to Gen Y from Bianca Juarez on Vimeo.

J. Vernon McGee says, You should never stand behind the pulpit without being able to say, "Thus sayeth the Lord." I wish I would have heard this quote before I responded capriciously during a recent interview.
Reason #829,827,410 why you should pray before you sit down and open your mouth.

If I am going to say anything, if I'm going to impart knowledge to anyone, if I am going to steal someones time, it should be under the auspice of giving away God's goodness. In an era of entertainment and diversion, how do we impart a vision and hope to our next generation that they are not forgotten.
We need to take ordinary and mobilize them to do extraordinary things because of an extraordinary God.

My words to the next generation are not to read a book or follow 10-steps, but rather look at my generation and the generations before and do what we COULD NOT DO. For the mistakes we've made or the foundation we laid, do your part.

For those in my generation or the generation before, what are we doing to live our and create a legacy? We only have on life to live and soon it will be passed. Only what we do for Christ Jesus will last.

What can we do? What are you doing? Do not fret. We are ordinary people serving an extraordinary God.

not sure i said yes...

Atop the veranda at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, Matthew Olthoff asked me to marry him. And I'm not sure I said yes.

Three weeks ago I started snooping around and asking subtle questions about my birthday. As coyly and coquettishly as possible, I tried discovering the master plan for my birthday experience. After a few days of failed discoveries, I flat out asked what we were doing for my birthday in an exasperated tone. Oh, that's right, he dryly stated without lifting his eyes from his computer screen. Your birthday is coming up.

Without getting into reasons as to why I ignored him for the full hour of Project Runway, I will say I was internally cooling off and trying to love him in spite of his lack of care, waning love, and overwhelming apathy. But I was so angry.

It felt as if he didn't care. He didn't love me. He had taken for granted who I was in his life and I was now officially part of his office furniture. And, if I'm being totally honest with you, this made me question staying in our relationship. If he can't love me the way I need to be loved or the way I love him, I confessed to my mother, I'm not sure he is the one for me.

Fast forward.
Tuesday, April 6th
Arriving to the Getty was like arriving to the Disneyland of nerds. And I felt at home. Matt and I sat on a bench with a pastry and hot beverage and talked about life, the blessings God has given me, and how special he made me feel. I still had no clue he was proposing.

After a few art collections had been viewed, he pulled out another present for me while we sat on the lawn of the Getty garden. It was a book I've wanted but couldn't find. Score! Under the golden California sun we read and laughed and chatted about things we loved. I still had no clue he was proposing.

He packed an amazing lunch with various cheeses, salads, drinks, and love. He insisted we move to a new location for lunch. Begrudgingly I complied, but did so while complaining about leaving the perfectly great spot by the tree.

Atop the veranda with the Hollywood hills, downtown LA, and the Pacific ocean as our backdrop, we ate lunch and spoke about what life in the future would entail while the wind blew lightly across our faces. As dishes were wiped off and food put away, Matt asked me what I wanted to do next. I said, Today has been perfect. But I would really love to go read some more!

In true movie script form he pulls out a book wrapped in clear cellophane and says, Well... I think you should read this. He created a book complied with old emails, pictures from the last year, prayers he wrote for me, personality traits we each possess, and through it all, I had no clue he was proposing.

As I turned each page of the book I realized how much he loved me, how well he knew me, and how much he cared. The entire month he belabored over insuring I would be surprised. The lack of care was a front. The apathy was a lie. The waning love was sheer acting talent. The last page had a trifold adhered to it, sealed with a sticker. Inside was the most beautiful letter he's ever written ending with the words, Bianca Juarez, will you marry me?

I'm not sure I even said yes. I think it was more along the sobbing lines of, I'mSoSorryIDoubtedYouILoveYouSoMuchAndI'mSorry. He kissed my forehead and slipped the ring on my finger as I cried like baby. I'm not even sure I said yes.

Matt, my answer is yes. A resounding yes! If I could marry you tomorrow and wake up next to you for the rest of my life, either in a hut or a mansion, I would. My life is better because of you and you constantly push me to discover who I am, who God is, and how I can change the world for better. I promise I will never leave you or abandon our new family and my commitment is for life... even when I want to give up and quit. Thank you for taking me back--twice. I love you more today than yesterday... but not as much as tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

news, hints, and incourage...

There's some big news I want to share with you all, but it'll have to wait until tomorrow. There's so many details I need to sort through and right now, I can't even think straight. Here's a hint: it starts with en- and ends with -gaged. Oh yeah, baby, you heard right!

In the mean time, it's my monthly post on (in)courage, a website of collected writings from different women from around the country. If you've never checked it out, take some time to check it out! The bloggers are amazing and I'm honored to write alongside of them.

To read the post in it's entirety or post a comment, click here:

The room filled will chattering girls, laughing boys, and shushing teachers. It was chapel time. The mandatory, one-hour service where all good Christian kids go and eagerly await a required bible study.

Tough crowd.

They were the Christian picture of scholastic perfection. Pressed uniforms, light makeup for girls, neatly combed hair for boys. I began to share on the given topic for chapel that particular day, but something was amiss. There was an air of hypocrisy creeping into the room and choking hold of the dark truth in hearts and minds.

I've turned off comments here so you can join the conversation at (in)courage!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

things i've learned in 29 years of life...

Today marks the day I'm officially... [cough, cough, swallow]... mature. Maybe this means I have to stop singing and dancing wildly in my car. Or stifling my raucous laugh with a dainty hand covered in a Victorian glove. Or wearing walking shoes. Or maybe this means I'm full of sage wisdom.

What God? What are you telling me? Oh, it means I'm full of sage wisdom? Greaaaaat! I'll impart my knowledge of the last couple years...

*When you learn an American idiom, don't try it out. When someone says, It's like spitting in the wind, what they mean is, don't be stupid and try it.
*Don't steal gum--or anything--in front of my mother. Piety overwhelms her and she'll march you right on over to the manager and make you tell him you stole a package of watermelon flavored Bubblicious gum. Hypothetically, of course!
*Make friends who are better than you or possess strength in your areas of weakness. You'll be like the Greek phalanx; better together than separate.
*If at all possible, get a twin. You can blame them if you're wrong, play with them when you're bored, and steal clothes when necessary.
*Don't EVER date a lead singer in a band. They'll be more in love with themselves than you'll ever be. You're welcome.
*Date someone who is super clean so they'll take care of the household chores, while you watch trashy reality television. [Just kidding, Matt! Well, half kidding.]
*Do what you're inspired to do. Even if you think you're not good at it. It may not be a lucrative profession, but in the end, it's better to fail at something you love than succeed at something you hate. Truth.
*Read your bible daily!

If you have any advice to add, feel free to! For those older than I, pour out your wisdom :) I need it.

Monday, April 5, 2010

life is beautiful...

La vita e bella! Italian director Roberto Begnini directed one of the most amazing films where a family faced with horrific situations was able to find moments of beauty in the mundane and even painful. When all hope was lost and death triumphed, the characters whispered, Life is beautiful!

This week is a new week, I'm excited to be alive, and I didn't workout. Intentionally. I woke up eager to make moments beautiful. Instead of focusing on trying to save the world while balancing a 9-5 job, I want to chronicle what is beautiful.
Because really, if Clark Kent could save the world and manage a desk job, so can I!

Mom is cancer-free, Dad is sleeping, family is healthy. Life is beautiful.
Turning 30 and I have my health, wealth, and slept in until 5:40am. Life is beautiful!
Lost the Biggest Loser competition at my gym, but I lost seven pounds. Life is beautiful!
Jasmine's closet better than ANY store because she let me borrow anything I wanted for Easter. Life is beautiful!
Impromptu birthday dinners with amazing friends. Life is beautiful!
Food in the fridge, a roof overhead, water to drink, and a bed to sleep in. Life is beautiful!

King David and I have a lot in common. Okay, okay, so he was a king, had tons of money, and ruled people. I get that. But when I read his songs of praise in Psalms, I feel like he is writing from my mind and heart.

Psalms 16:11 You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
When we feel lost in life, lack joy, or desire pleasures, they can be found in the mundane and sometimes painful moments of life. But like David emphasized, it is through God that we can whisper out, Life is beautiful!

What is God doing in YOUR life that is beautiful?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

because it's my blog...

I need to write this out. I need to remember these feelings. I need to wrestle through the little and big things in my life. I need to chronicle this journey because if I don't know where I've come from, I will not know where I'm going.

Last week I had a breakdown in my office. No one knew, no one saw, no one needed to find out. It was just me. In my office. Alone. In a moment of pounding stress, I lost it. I literally spoke out loud to God [like a crazy lady from Venice beach with her 85 cats] and asked the questions every 20-something asks:
What am I doing? Where am I going? What do you want from me?

You would think I have this whole thing figured out. But I don't. As a ControlFreak who loves having my Garmin spurt out turn-by-turn directions, I want God to do the same. Because honestly, I'm going full steam ahead into pitch black darkness.

My life is unglamorous. I wake up at 4:45am to workout, blog, and spend time with God. Then I shower, put on heels, pack a lunch, sit in traffic, send 1,395,982,507 emails from my small office covered with post-it notes, sit in traffic again, lather, rinse, repeat. I'm exhausted. I'm tired. I'm wondering if what I'm doing is what God wants me to do.

Then I remembered the words I shared with Maxine over bread at dinner: So what? Just do it! Sometimes I give really good advice. It would be nice if I listened to myself. In those moments I know it's not ME, but the spirit of the Lord who is within me to share Truths.

As Public Relations & Media coordinator, I'm in the midst of launching our new church website, copy writing, planning Passion Week, facilitating our guest speakers and guest bands, oh yeah, annnnnd trying to study for Saturday's speaking event [which is bubbling over with whispers of people who are bothered that I'm speaking... so hurtful]. In addition to this I still don't have a dress to wear for Easter!

So this is me--broken and wounded. But I'm still the girl ambitious enough to think the world can change through the love and leading of Jesus Christ. My greatest desire is to round up ordinary people and have God transform us into fearless, EXTRAordinary leaders who want to save the world.
Yes, I will provide the capes.

Thank you for listening and loving me through this journey,


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