Monday, April 30, 2012

On fitting in and why my hair's pink

I spontaneously went a little hair-dye-happy this weekend and this was the end result. What say you? Can I pull off the pink? But anyway... more on that in a moment. 

First, I want to share with you about something that Rene and I have been talking about a lot recently. See, coming from about as far west as you can go to about as far east as you can go on one continent, we've experienced some changes. I would call it a culture shock. 

California is a place full of variety and individuality. Sure, you have your conservatives and your business people... but you also have that man in Santa Cruz who spends his days promenading the streets in a pink tutu and parasol. And then there's a million and a half sorts in between. If you're from CA, or any of the west coast states for that matter, I'm sure you know what I mean. 

Not to say that Pennsylvania doesn't have it's variety of people. It does. But it's such a different type of variety and such a different range of lifestyles than what we've always known. 

I've always felt like a piece of the personality puzzle that made life so interesting, nestled perfectly into my proper little place. California just fit

And we've yet to find our fit here in Pennsylvania. There are so many aspects of our lifestyles that are foreign here. Part of it has to do with allowing ourselves the time it takes to get settled and find our place. But I think there's another part to it. Because Lancaster, PA is not California. It is very, VERY different. And we will not just fit in with the majority naturally. It takes a little more work. 

So with all of that rambling... what does staying true to ourselves look like in a place that's so foreign in so many ways? 

Both of our reactions seem to lean towards not conforming to the different culture here. In fact, I think we sort of did the opposite. Hence the pink hair...

So there are my thoughts for you. And here's my pink ombre hair.

How would you remain yourself in a place and culture so different?



Friday, April 27, 2012

But also do.

It’s really easy to say and say a lot. That one phrase that pops up when you don’t know what else to say and the conversation gets real.

“I’ll be praying for you.”

And we pray for them. And then that’s all.

Someone tells us you about a rough patch in their life and sometimes that’s the default response… prayer. And it absolutely should be. I’m not questioning the need for or effectiveness of prayer. We should bring our issues and the issues of others before God and ask Him to act. But then what?

I think that so often, we can pray for God to do something all day long and still be entirely oblivious to the fact that we might be the way he wants to do it.

“If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking daily food, and you say to them ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things the need for the body, what good is that?” 
James 2:15-16

What good is it if we pray for God to do the very thing that we are capable of doing but still don’t do? 

…If we pray that God would provide for someone struggling financially, but don’t help them ourselves? If we pray that God would free someone from loneliness and depression, but don’t take the time to befriend and encourage them? If we pray that God would show His love to someone, but we never love them? What good is that?

Pray, yes. But also do.



Thursday, April 26, 2012

In the Meantime

"In the Meantime" is a song Rene wrote with his friend and coworker Michael Ferrari for LCBC and I'm really excited that I get to share it with you guys today. I'm a proud wife.

Below are the lyrics. We'd love to hear your thoughts.

In the morning 
In the evening 
In my doubting 
In my believing

In my winning 

In my losing 
I'm still choosing 
To believe in mean time  

Where I wander 

Wherever I roam 
Wherever you are 
Is where I'll make my home in the meantime  

Keep these eyes up 

Keep this head straight 
Life is like a game of hurry up and wait 
There's nothing I can do 
Except believe in you 
I don't know how you do it 
But you always pull me through  

In my waiting 
In my leaving 
In my asking 
In my receiving

Though I wonder 

What you're doing 
I'm still choosing 
To believe in the meantime  

Whatever eyes see 
Whatever hands can hold 
I'm trying to believe 
You see and hold my soul in the meantime

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

hello Baltimore

Also on Easter weekend, we went to Baltimore. Specifically, the Inner Harbor. Home to the Baltimore aquarium. Dragon-shaped paddle boats. The coolest Barne's and Noble store in the world. And about a bazillion tourists.  
We had an amazing dinner at this Italian place called Brio just across from the harbor. I'm pretty sure that the raspberry cheesecake we had for desert is one of the top ten things I've ever tasted.

Friday, April 20, 2012

A Surprise

Some of our good friends from California told us they'd be sending us a gift for Easter and that we should be home Saturday morning to sign for the package. 

Well, the "package" that was going to be "delivered" turned out to be them. At our front door. In Pennsylvania. 


For the weekend. 

They are Crazy. And the only one's we know who could pull of a scheme like this. 

Here's a little preview of our reaction Saturday morning...

...We may have been a tad surprised. Just a little.This was the first time we've had friends/family from CA here in Lancaster. And it was wonderful. A weekend full of great conversation, laughs, and hugs. They even got to come to a few of the Easter gatherings at LCBC and see Rene play. 

Hernandez family... no matter how well or long we've known you, your generosity, spontaneity, and genuine love for others still never ceases to surprise us. Thank you for the best possible Easter we could have had here in PA. We love you guys. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Everyday Theologian

What comes to mind when you hear the word theology?

Is the thought, or emotional response, positive or negative? 

I know for some us, moving past our connotations to the word theology and getting to the concept of theology can be challenging. For one reason or another, theology either scares us or makes us want to check-out mentally. That was my experience with it, and maybe yours too. 

In my mind theology was nothing more than the deep conversation (or debate) about something spiritual or God-related. A concept, I thought, that was irrelevant to my life; even my Christian life. I thought knowing that Jesus came to die for my sins was enough to help me live the Christian life. I've been discovering though, that if I want to "get better" at doing the Christian life (or even know what it means to live the Christians life), I simply need to know more. Think about how this concept works in other venues.

If I want to lost weight, I need to learn (or study) how, so that I can apply it and lose weight. If I want to play the piano, I need learn (or study) to learn how to play. You're most likely going to school to learn (or study) how to do something or be something. What's my point? We study & learn because that knowledge hopefully will help us do something (either new, or to improve-upon). 

As Christians, we are called to be like Christ. That's an incredibly difficult thing to do if we have no idea who Jesus was while He was on earth, what He stood for, or what His words mean. The same goes for loving God & loving others. Those tasks are going to be difficult to complete if I know nothing else aside from the fact I'm "somehow" supposed to do them. 

How would you respond If your friend came up to you and asked "Hey, could do something for me?" but said nothing else after that? Wouldn't that leave you a little directionless? Wouldn't you respond with something like, "Yeah sure, what? or wherewhenhowwhy?" When we ask those questions, we are seeking-out more information in order to respond to our friends request to go do something. Otherwise, completing our friends request will be a guessing game, and we'll most likely not do what he or she wanted us to do. It's no different with God. 

God has called us to respond; to be set apart, to love Him with all our heart, soul, and mind. He's called us to love others as we love ourselves. He's called us to influence our world and culture, without falling for some of it's destructive patterns. If we want to obey God and live according to His standards, we need to ask questions and actually think about what He means when He speaks to us through the Bible. Otherwise doing the Christian life is a guessing game, and we're risking not doing what God has actually called us to do.

But being a theologian isn't something reserved for only those who enjoy reading history, greek or hebrew. There are those who consciously learn about God, but I would say there are even more of those who sub-consciously learn about God. The reality is we (Christians and non-Christians) are constantly being bombarded with questions, perspectives, insights, experiences, and reasons relating to, and about, God. What I want to point out is that these theological influences come from many avenues: songs, movies, television, tweets, posts, articles, books, etc. all of these avenues have the potential to shape how we view God in some way. 

Here's are some examples. You saw a movie with "gods," and so you connect the character of God with that of Zeus or Poseidon from Wrath of the Titans. You hear a song that mentions failing love, which could influence how you read "God's love never fails." You miraculously found a parking spot at the store, and someone you're with mentions God's blessing you. Through some avenue (books, media, conversation) you learn about starving children around the world and you hear the question "how could God allow that?" 

Because our theology is constantly, sub-conciously influenced, my hope and challenge for you is to consciously be getting accurate theology. Why do so many people have a different (and at times inaccurate) view of God? Because their theology only consists of their own experiences and influences. Where does good theology come from? A careful study of the Bible (to read out of the Bible, not read-into the Bible). Someone with good, accurate theology, is able to obey and follow God much closer, than someone who doesn't. Theology isn't just some foreign language or distant concept, it's what influences how we view God, and how we live out the Christian life.

(This post was originally written for LCBC's Saturate Blog. Check it out here )


Tuesday, April 17, 2012


I love hummingbirds. 
But then again, have you ever met a soul who doesn't love hummingbirds? didn't think so.
They're fascinating and beautiful. And one of my favorite bands wrote a song called hummingbird. Give it a listen and enjoy this gem of a moment I caught at last weekend's wedding. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

living faithfully

Have you ever read the stories of martyrs and soldiers, of those who have sacrificed their life for the good of others or the sake of the Gospel, and wondered if you would do the same? If in their shoes, would you make that choice, that same sacrifice?

Maybe it’s easy to say we would, from our comfortable lives that know no risk or danger. Or maybe we’re honest with ourselves, knowing full well that we would lack the courage needed. Or maybe we couldn’t answer that wonder at all.

But regardless of the answer, I would venture to say that we all hope to be there. We all want to believe that we would do the right thing. Put others before ourselves. Be the hero. Live courageously and faithfully.

It seems like the sort of thing we can only conjecture about, because most of us will never face the circumstances to test us in those ways. But I don’t think it is. I think that by claiming we’ll never face such a test, we miss out on a beautiful opportunity.

Living faithfully has very little to do with our circumstances, and absolutely everything to do with our hearts.

If our hearts our in a place of humility, selflessness, and faithfulness, our actions will follow. No matter the risk (or lack thereof).

In the words of Jesus, “He who is faithful in the little things is also faithful in the great things…” Luke 16:10

If we live faithfully right now, in the smallest aspects of our lives, we will respond faithfully should those big tests ever come. It starts with the small things though. The ones we can do right now. Today. That’s the beautiful opportunity.

For me… it means spending less time entertaining myself, and giving more of my time to people. It means staying up and listening to someone’s hurt when I’d rather go to sleep. It means keeping our home clean and beautiful so that we can open it to friends and strangers. It means putting our money where our hearts should be.

It means a lot of things that are sometimes difficult to do, but are infinitely worth doing because they shape our hearts to look more like the heart of Jesus: a heart that loves unconditionally.
What does practicing faithful living look like in your life? What are your “little things”?



Saturday, April 14, 2012

hello again

Hello again.

I'm sorry we've been away from our little blog for so long. Between being sick, working, and a very eventful easter weekend, we haven't had much time to keep on with the updates.

But the good news is, we'll be back on Monday.

With fun stories and lots of thoughts. Photos from Easter weekend and a trip to Baltimore. And soon a post from my best friend who just got back from a trip to Prague! I'm excited for that one. Her photos are almost as gorgeous as her writing and I can't wait to show off both.

I'm happy to be back.