Hello to all you not experiencing 98 degree heat. Yes, Redding is quite hot, however I have been told that this summer is one of the most mild summers they have had in a while. Usually it's around 110 every day. We could have moved here later in the summer instead of June, but we have had such a great time meeting people and preparing for our upcoming school year.
Serving a Funky Monkey drink
Some of you have asked what we have been doing to keep busy? Jessica has been working part-time at a wonderful restaurant called Grillabites. It serves mostly organic and whole foods; it's so perfect for her! She really enjoys working there and has made a great impression, already with her hard work and great personality (does this surprise anyone?). She mostly works the juice/coffee bar (pictured). While she works, I usually find a friend to hang out with or use that time to read and play more guitar.
There were 5 more like him!
So with my free time, since I am not working yet, I have really been enjoying my time out here. I went fishing with my roommate, Trevor, and my neighbor, Jay. Although I haven't fished in a creek before, unlike my partners, I was the only one to catch some fish that day! I really enjoyed being by the creek and away from people in the woods. Something about the solitude really filled me up with God's presence.
I also had a great time growing out my first full beard. I was really surprised, as was Jessica, that I could manage such a nice beard (you be the judge). After a while, I shaved the beard and now am left with a handsome mustache. It is true what they say, the mustache makes the man!
Jessica and I have had a couple of adventures since we've been up here. We went floating down a local river, hung out at the local lake, and even jumped off some rocks into a natural lagoon (pictured). We try to get out of the house as much as we can but the heat is so crazy that we lose the motivation to hike or bike much. We find ourselves, at times, at Starbucks playing cards or reading and meeting new people.
Personally, I have really been falling more in love with God. The free time I have, I try to spend it worshiping on my guitar or just sitting with Him and "hanging out". We are always meeting new people up here, and many of them are doing amazing things for God. Two guys we just met had just returned from Nicaragua the morning we met them. They decided to go on a 7 day trip, by themselves, after hearing God whisper the idea. A few days later they had bought the tickets and were on a plane. Their mission while there: bring heaven to earth in Nicaragua. Their coming made such an impact that within one hour of landing, because of some contacts they had there, they were interviewed by the national TV station. They saw amazing miracles while they were there and brought the message of hope and love to the people. After meeting these guys, my own age I might add, I was filled even more with a hunger to see God use ME to change people's lives using the message of hope with miracles and impossible acts of love. There are times, recently, that I get physically hungry in my body for a greater realization of God in me and around me. It is this hunger and desire that is being built and cultivated in my life, right now, that is marking this season of my life. It doesn't mean I get to neglect my other responsibilities and relationships, but it does mean that I am accountable for stewarding this passion and making sure my time and focus are being guarded and directed in the right places. It means I can't waste my day on video games and watching TV. Not that those things ever interested me too much, but I know my future is not guaranteed. The grandness of my "destiny" (my destination in the coming years) literally requires me to focus on what God is doing in my life, right now. I still have a blast every day being with with Jessica and around our friends, but there is a definite intentionality in everything I do.
I am sure I will expound on these thoughts more as time goes by. I apologize if that last paragraph was a bit too much vulnerability and information for some of you. I decided, when we started this blog, that I was going to allow my friends and family an inside view of my life, instead of only revealing the surface. I want you all to know my internal battles and victories so that you know ME and not just another friend on Facebook, and so that you know how to love and pray for me and Jess better. Lastly, I want you all to be able to learn from what I am learning and grow from my mistakes and victories. My prayer would be that my hunger for more of life and more of God would make you more hungry for what YOU were designed to do and be. I can always use your encouragements and prayers, feel free to email Jess and me.
Bless you guys, and may His truth and abundance blow your mind as you see Him in new ways every day!