Tuesday, September 3, 2013


You ever have those days when all you can do is cry?

Like there are no words for the way you feel, or thoughts to explain yourself, or even sounds to convey what is going on in your heart...only tears. Gushing out of your eyeballs.

Yeah. That was today.

Good news is, there are people who are willing to just sit next to you as your liquid words do all of the talking, and just love you even though they don't understand anything in the same way you don't understand either. They aren't afraid of how messy you are. They are present and embrace it. And embrace you.

Feeling grateful for those people tonight.

Thoughts on marriage... [Reality]

Here I am.  Turning 30 in twenty-three days and contemplating marriage. Only this time, another human being is contemplating marriage at the same time as I am...he is contemplating marrying me.

*I know how odd it sounds that I am openly posting about marriage even before I am engaged, but I am pretty sure this is as honest and vulnerable as I can be on here about the current state of my heart.

For the first time in my life, getting married is not some lofty dream or unrealistic expectation. It is a very real possibility. So real, that it kind of slaps you in the face instead of gently caressing you.

Praying, thinking and talking about marrying my best friend is lovely, exciting, thrilling, and overwhelming in the best possible way.

But what nobody ever told me is how the very real possibility of getting married is also terrifying, intense, emotional, bittersweet and life changing.

I hope this doesn't sound like a single girl complaining about finding the man she wants to spend the rest of her life with and how the "grass is always greener" and all that crap...because it's not.

I really believe that what I am trying to say is that contemplating the idea of sharing a life with another human being is a really big decision. Not only for me, but for him too. I used to only worry about my experience in marriage, until I landed here and began to think about what his life will look like with me in it all of the time.

The moment that Edgar and I began discussing marriage it seems every single one of my relational flaws started starring at me in the face. And sometimes, it scares me to think that he is choosing to spend the rest of his life with me, a significantly flawed individual. These are the times when it all gets very REAL.

I find that this essay fills me with an odd sense of comfort. And so does this excerpt from 'Sacred Marriage' by Gary Thomas:

"A wedding calls us to our highest and best - in fact, to almost impossible - ideals. It's the way we want to live. But marriage reminds us of the daily reality of living as sinful human beings in a radically broken world."

Monday, September 2, 2013


I was born and raised in Los Angeles, California.

Not the Los Angeles many are familiar with. Growing up, there was no 'scene' in West Hollywood, no hipster-filled Silverlake, no Bottega Louie in Downtown. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate and partake in all of these things. But what I am trying to get at, is that my love for LA runs deeper than the latest hot spot to visit. I love the people, culture, food, art...even the metro.

THIS article made me love it even more. Check it out.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Just listen.

I have been a youth pastor for a while now, almost 10 years (a few years as a volunteer and now - so weird to think about - on staff at a church for even more time than that). And there have been times when I think I've figured it out. Not all of it, but parts of it...you know? Those moments when you finally run a great event and you get a positive outcome. The times when a student makes a great life choice after you loved, prayed for and mentored them. Those moments made me feel like I got it right. And that felt so good.

Then you start going to seminary and major in spiritual formation and you begin this crazy journey where you begin to realize you know very little and everything you thought you were doing really well wasn't necessarily an act of worship to God but more a character booster for you that made you feel like you were fulfilling your life's calling. You know? Or is it just me? For a long time I thought I had to diligently force spiritual growth when I met with students (ask the right questions, do the right thing, work hard, keep praying, memorize Scripture with them, give them action steps, go. go. go.) And by force, I mean having this mentality that it was up to me to make things happen in students' lives. You know? Not that you shouldn't do those things because they are wonderful and beautiful things, but is that all? In my recent learning, it isn't.

Here is what I failed to see.

Just listen.

Listen to the Spirit of God. He is at work all of the time...even when I am not at church or with a student. And so if He's at work, I don't have to necessarily work. I can trust Him and follow Him and develop my ability to discern His voice as I pastor students who haven't yet developed the ability to listen for themselves. He knows what He is about, and I want to know what He is about.


Listen to students. This seems so simple, but it's actually pretty stretching. Sometimes I come in with an agenda when I meet with a student. I know what they need to be challenged in and so I want to take them there, but that day all they want to talk about is something totally unassociated with the issue they're secretly dealing with.

In this moment, I just need to listen.

Listen to the story of how their mom annoyed them, their friend who gossips all the time, the class they can't seem to get a B in (don't C's stink?), that cute guy who they wish they could ask to go to Winter Formal with them.

Just listen.

Don't be passive (offer your thoughts, challenge them when they are wrong, encourage them), but don't be like I was. I had such a plan (because I knew what they needed) that I failed to listen to them. Really listen. Because when they are ready to talk about their parents' divorce or their broken relationship with their boyfriend or a terrible mistake they made, they will know that if you took the time to listen to the most simple things in their life, you will most certainly listen to the hidden parts of their hearts. And sharing life with students in an honest and meaningful way beats feeling good. It is good.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Heaven is a Place on Earth

And this heaven comes in the form of Burke Williams Spa.

As a "congratulations-you-made-it-through-fall-launch"gift, my boss gave me a very generous gift card back in October so I could celebrate my hard work with a massage! I know, crazy! I waited a few months in anticipation of the perfect trip to the spa that would make my gift card go a long, long way. And waiting paid off.

Two nights ago, my three friends (some of my favorite people: Rachel, Kayla and Katie) and I experienced the most delightful evening together. Here were my favorite parts of the night:

- An early dinner at Nordstrom Cafe.
- Extended amounts of time in the Burke 'Quiet Room' where no one is allowed to speak, you get your own recliner, cashmere blanket and dimmer to control how much light you want for reading. Sheer bliss.
- An hour long, full-body massage.
- A 'way too long for an average day' shower with just the perfect amount of water pressure.
- Using every lotion, cleanser, toner, hair product, etc in the vanity area.
- Getting to wear my brand new flannel PJs home from the spa (the BEST tip from Katie for night trips to Burke).
- A Mc Donald's stop on our way home (small fries and a vanilla cone, the perfect combination).

I mean, really...how much better can it get that that?!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The longest holiday post you'll ever read...

I don't think I have ever craved or needed Christmas break as much as I did in 2012 (well, at least since my days as an undergrad student). With my growing role on my team and an intense grad school program in full swing, this past season proved to be one of the hardest I've ever experienced. And so, I milked every single ounce of rest and fun that came with my 10 days of vacation!


This year traditions switched up a bit as the Torres crew migrated over to celebrate Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at my sister and brother-in-law's new home (my parents have ALWAYS hosted). It was completely low-key and so fun!

I was so in love with our church's Christmas services - I cried during all 5 services that I attended - that after dinner & cookie decorating (to leave for Santa) I convinced all the grown-ups to watch Saddleback's service online at 11pm...they loved it just as much as I did!

Christmas morning has to be one of my favorite days of the entire year. Mostly because I love seeing everyone's faces as they open gifts. My favorite gifts to give this year were concert tickets. I got my parents tickets to see their favorite Mexican singer who is retiring this year. The gift was ridiculously expensive but SO WORTH IT. I bought my sister concert tickets to Boyz II Men (I get to go with her!). Their reactions were priceless.

We spent the rest of the morning eating leftovers, playing Just Dance and toasting Christmas with our tiny, bottled Cokes.

I met up with friends later that night for dinner and a movie (a Christmas tradition that is 8 years strong). We saw Les Miserables and encountered some divas in the audience: When asked if the seat next to him was free (in an almost-full theater), the movie-goer next to us responded, 'It is, but my friend will probably move over a spot to not have to sit next to you'. Still, it was so good.

The rest of my week was spent drinking horchata lattes at my favorite coffee shop in L.A., having dinner with best friends, shopping with my mom, chatting with my dad, and even taking a solo afternoon trip to the Norton Simon Museum to see this beauty who is visiting from Washington, D.C.


This New Year's Eve was quite possibly my favorite one to date. The afternoon was spent in Little Tokyo having sushi, followed by a Starbucks run that then led my great friend and I to Angel's Knoll in Downtown L.A. We sat and chatted as we reflected on the past year and shared our hopes for the year to come. I loved being able to relax in a quiet moment before the shenanigans of the night. And Angel's Knoll is so lovely in its own way (as we sat, sipping our $5 Starbucks drinks, a homeless man slept on the patch of grass 5 feet away from us). I appreciate how Los Angeles houses people from all walks of life. But that's a post for another day.

My parents hosted a huge NYE party this year and so the craziness began early on at our house. By 7pm, the house was filled with family and friends :: eating, dancing, chatting, laughing, joking...but a highlight was definitely my aunt's famous buñuelos.

We rang in the new year with dancing and hugging and Martinellis...it was the best! As soon as the excitement mellowed down (1am), I quickly got my overnight bag and made it over to one of my best friend's (Damaris) houses for her annual NYE party. As part of tradition, we stayed up all night long. We ate, karaoked, played Scrabble in Spanish and then headed to Manhattan beach to have our first Starbucks of the year and see the morning sun. It was perfect.

2 out of the 5 of the all-nighter crew couldn't hang and so went straight to bed after the beach. Damaris, Dory and I headed to iHop for a delicious breakfast. The rest of the day was spent on my parents' couch, napping on and off with meals in between.

Seriously, the best break ever.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Excuses, Excuses

I haven't posted on here in over a year. And here's the deal, I just didn't have any time or motivation to do so. But, as a resolution for 2013 I decided to begin posting regularly! For anyone who's interested (maybe 2 or 3 of you who are left!).

There's tons going on in my life right now: I am in full-time youth ministry, I am a part-time graduate student, I am a full-time daughter, sister, friend, you-name-it. Most importantly, I am on a new and crazy journey with the Lord (I'm sure you'll hear more about this as the year goes on).

While all of these things used to be reasons not to post on my blog ("I have so much to do", "What would I write about?", "I need to get things done and not add another thing to my to do list!") I really think that , more than ever, I need a place to process tons of my new experiences and learnings.

So, here we go...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Travel Time

If you're wondering where I'll be during the next 9 months, read below...

6 days visiting one of my favorite families on the east coast
3 days scouting our PEACE trip to Costa Rica

3 days of Staff Camp at Thousand Pines

11 days traveling to and being in Kitale, Kenya

4 days in Louisville, Kentucky for SYMC

4 days in Palm Desert for Staff Retreat

5 days at Summer Camp
11 days in Costa Rica

So, so excited (and so thankful) for the months to come!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My Boss Made Me

A few weeks ago, I ran a cross a blog post that wouldn't let me go. So I prayed, thought, and wrote. I sent my team at the church an email about this blog post in hopes that it would challenge them too. And, of course, my boss asked me to post the email here. My hope is that it would stir something in your heart, the way it did mine.

Hey team!

While reading Doug Fields’ blog the other day one of his posts made me think and more than that, challenged me.

Please read it if you haven’t already done so. Here it is.

Here's what I felt God was stirring in me as I read and prayed about this post:

Doug’s statement: “I’m assuming you all struggle.” In most of my daily ministry interactions I assume and hope for the best. I am , after all, the person who is supposed to encourage, strengthen, and believe that God can do anything, right? I oftentimes don’t ask the hard questions or assume that a student is struggling through things but that it’s not that bad. BUT, what if I should assume students are struggling with major issues? This post is about porn, but really we are capable of struggling with ANYTHING. The other day one of the girls in my Life Group told my co-leader, “I’m so glad that our group doesn’t struggle with drinking, guys and sex…we can just come and learn about the Bible.” Really? They aren’t struggling with anything but school and stress? I don’t believe that. I am pretty sure that once I begin assuming that there is more under the surface, I will find it.

We shouldn’t be afraid to assume that our students are facing deep struggles in their lives. You’re not being negative or lacking faith. You’re acknowledging that we live in a fallen world. BUT, we do need to continually believe and have faith in the fact that Jesus came to save us from the sin that binds us. In Romans 6 Paul says we were all slaves to sin, but through Christ we have been freed from it! As we tackle this, let’s remind our students that they DO have the gift of freedom in Christ, but the first step to receiving it is acknowledging the NEED for freedom.

Thanks for loving students…love you guys.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


I'm a sucker for a good love story. Especially one that comes from Brooklyn.

I spent a good 20 minutes crying at the office while watching (and re-watching) this today.


Monday, May 2, 2011

I Hate Dogs...

But a commercial for this show reeled me in.

Watch it with me.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Mid-Year Resolutions

The only New Year's resolution I set for 2011 was to workout. And I have been! Congratulations to me.

But seeing as how we are well into the new year I decided to set yet another goal for myself since the first was so easily attained (who knew I'd end up liking exercise?!).

I want to be smarter. Or just know more.

I always admire friends that say things like, "I recently read..." or "Did you know...?".

How can I be this person? What should I be reading? Listening to? Looking at?

Here's the thing, I don't want to search for information, I want it to be available to me with the least amount of effort on my part to attain it.

So maybe this is a resolution for any readers of this blog if you should chose to accept it: make me smarter.

Thank you.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

No Regrets!

Last Tuesday at our weekly Team Meeting something incredible happened: we found out we would not only get Saturday and Sunday off but also Tuesday as an Easter holiday since our regular day off is Monday and that's when the rest of the church would be taking their Easter observance day off.


If you've spent any time around me during 'school-off holidays' (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Spring Break, etc.) you know how much I LOVE feeling the break I once did when I was a student. I love it so much that I continually kept yelling, "Spring Break 2011 - No Regrets!" around the office for the past 3 weeks.

I got 4 days off in a row. A total surprise. And a total SPRING BREAK 2011.

Here's what I did as a 27 year old on Spring Break:

-Recuperated from a Life Group sleepover on Friday night.
-Slept in every day (at least until 10am).
-Spent time with family.
-Ate lots of food.
-Celebrated Easter...my WHOLE family went to church together!
-Fought a cold.
-Watched 'Water for Elephants'.
-Drank coffee and found out I only need 3 stars to get to the Gold level on my Starbucks account.
-Watched a lot of reality TV.
-Laughed with friends.

Not bad. And so far...no regrets.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Dating Tips

I had lunch with a dear friend on Monday. Great food, great location, great conversation.
As lunch progressed my friend recalled a super awkward moment she had with a guy from her grad school program. She attempted to flirt in hopes that he would see that she was interested in him...he never reciprocated. Fail. So she asked me for advice.

Here is some of the wisdom I shared from the peak of my dating days...

#1 When a guy ignores you, ignore him back.

#2 Always make yourself known.

For example, when I had a crush on the guy who eventually became my college boyfriend I always made a point of noting which door he would exit when leaving the worship center at church. I would pretend to casually walk by him as if coincidentally walking in the same direction. Just a little reminder that I was around.

#3 When you are in the same room as your crush, talk to people around you and when you notice your crush looking in your direction laugh and act as though you are having the time of your life. Guys like fun people.

#4 Make up random, yet believable reasons to be around/talk to your crush. "Forget" your book in his car, carpool to events, find a common interest and run with it (this one can take you a LONG way in sharing time with your crush).

#5 When he invites you places with others (not dates), don't always say yes. Decline politely, knowing it will make him miss you. This one has worked very effectively for me.

Disclaimer: These tips were used from 2003-2007 and may no longer be deemed useful.