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Janet's Planet

God, music, and philantrophy!

August 24th, 2016

"...fear might be a key indicator that you have accurately identified the thing..." @ 07:03 pm

Current Location: Library
Current Mood: scared scared

That’s when moment when fear finally strikes.  There it is, right in front of you, a moment of panic really, because you realize what on earth you got yourself into.

You worked so darn hard for this.  You stayed in and studied, missed games, said no to certain opportunities, gave up time with your precious cat, and worked everything to be exactly who you needed to be to make this come true.

And now, there it is, it’s real, it’s happening.

But can you do the job?  Will you succeed?  Will you get anything done?  Can you actually change the world, or least, the community you will be a part of?  You thought you were applying for a simple job, but you somehow you got the harder, way more competitive assignment…say what!? So now, there’s that fear not just that you can’t do it…that you’re not good enough.

Then it hits you, it’s a two year commitment, 27 months to be exact.  You’ll be gone.  You’ll miss out on birthdays, celebrations, weddings, games with your friends, and just time will your loved ones.  Will they miss you?  Do they even care?  What will you be missing out on?  But….isn’t that exactly what you wanted?

You read the safety manual, well, does that scare you or what?  You have to be both prepared and alert, and so many things can happen.  Well, so many things can happen in the States too, right?

You’ve handled 1-6 weeks trips without the comforts of home, without the modern technologies you’re accustomed….but this is now 27 months, this is a whole other ballpark….

Random….but I just realized what that saying is referring to, all ballparks are constructed different.  Some are pitchers ballparks, some are batters ballparks, some have really large foul grounds, some have weird hazards (that hill at Minute Maid Park anyone), and some have weird crevices where a ball can get easily stuck…and let’s not talk about the ivy at Wrigley!  The point is, no two ballparks are alike.  I never paid too must attention into that saying until this very moment.

And I guess that’s the point, you still play baseball there, right? You still need 8 position players and a pitcher.  Sometimes you have a designated hitter, sometimes the pitcher bats, but at the end of the day, baseball gets played, but you adjust to these things.  But, you always go home, right?

OK, that was a really weird tangent, but in a deep, poetic way, my love of baseball fits right in, at least, I want it to fit that way.  Or maybe, just maybe, God planned that love of baseball in me so many years ago, knowing that 20-some years later I would speeding 27 months at a place that lives and breathes baseball!

Yes, I’m panicking right now, but in a way, I think it’s good.  A few years ago I read a great book by Dr. Dave Martin.  A quote that stood out to me read “If you are truly afraid of failing at something, then the presence of that fear might be a key indicator that you have accurately identified the thing you really need to be doing with your life.”  I read that book for years ago and that quote stood out to me, and now it makes perfect sense.

Yes, excitement has turned to fear, it has turned to panic, but if it didn’t, when why would I have gone through all this?  Why would I have done homework in the most random places?  Why would I have arranged my schedule in such a way to have the proper day off to teach a class?  Why do any of that if you didn’t care enough to panic just a little?

It’s here, and it’s so stinking real that it’s scary now, and that’s a good thing!

Now back to the mountain of paperwork I have to complete.


June 30th, 2016

Living life makes those God given dreams a reality @ 10:05 am

Current Mood: accomplished accomplished

I keep looking at the e-mail and I simply cannot believe it.  You wished for something 8 years ago, but when you looked into it you saw how it was bigger than yourself.  The movies made it seem so easy, just make the decision and pack up your bags and go the next day, but it is truly more elaborate than that.  So, you simply set that dream aside and continued with your life.  Here’s the thing though, when you have a dream, and I truly believe it was a God given dream, living your life leads you to that very dream coming to fruition.  I volunteered at so many events because I like serving people; I taught and mentored students because I love working with adolescent children; I went on mission trips to other countries because I love traveling, experiencing new cultures, meeting new people, and addressing their needs; I tutored women striving for their GED because I love teaching and making a small different in people’s lives.  Again, I simply lived my life, and a couple of years ago my friend saw all that I do in life and asked me, “Why don’t you just join the Peace Corps?”  He brought back to the forefront that dream I had so many years ago.  There was a difference though, living my life had brought me really close to making this dream a reality.  So, I went to informational events and researched as much as possible.  I then met with a recruiter…and then a second recruiter; they both mirrored the same sentiments: I’m almost ready.  They both told me what I needed to do and I did those things.  They suggested additional activities to enhance my resume and I took their suggestions.  They told me how my resume should be formatted and what the content of my essay should be and I followed those guidelines.  So, two and a half years later I met with a third recruiter to go over my documents before submitting and all she could say was how perfect and ready I was.  She could not believe I went back to school just for the Peace Corps, she told me she know the hard work it takes to format your resume properly and she congratulated me for that, and then she commended me for being serious enough about this to meet with recruiters and then taking two years to do exactly what they told me to do.  At this point, there was nothing more I could do but submit everything.

The deadline was July 1st, it is June 30th and I already have my interview scheduled for 7:30am on July 8th.  Things are moving fast!  My recruiter told me the hard part was done, the rest was a brownie (I don’t like cake, so I’m going with brownie here).  She had so much confidence in me that it was reassuring, but then it also made me cry.  It's just, I had worked so hard for this, and according to her it was completely evident, and also according to her, I am finally ready!

Eight years ago I had a crazy notion, and it’s now so close now to being real.  I need to prepare for my interview, but more importantly I need to pray that God is in control of this all, because if it was truly a dream from Him, He has me there already and there’s nothing I can do about that!


March 28th, 2016

Be Careful What You wish for (aka why I love Mr. Hector Santiago) (aka Angels Fan Cruise Recap) @ 03:55 pm

“I want to be friends with Hector Santiago.  Like, just friends.  He seems like such a cool person. I would love to just chat with him and be his friend.”
I can’t tell you how many times I said/texted/wrote/tweeted something to this effect.

But then, in a particular conversation, I got way more specific.  My friend and I were discussing the Angels Fan Cruise we were about to embark on.  This would be my first cruise ever, and add on the fact that it was the Angels Fan Cruise, well, you bet I was beyond ecstatic!
Me:  Wait, do we get to have dinner with the guys?
Mariana: I don’t know; they might have a private room or something.
Me: Oh man, I hope I get to sit next to Hector Santiago during dinner.  I would totally hog him and pick his brain asking him soooo many question!
Mariana: And I’m going to have to apologize, “I’m so sorry Esther!”

Seriously people, be careful what you wish for!

I guess I should first start by explaining why I wanted to talk to Hector Santiago and wanted to be his friend so badly.  I wish I could tell you I know all about him when we got him.  Let’s be real, I may have been a little disappointed.  While we got him along with Tyler Skaggs again (we drafter Skaggs, traded him to the Diamondbacks for Dan Harren, then got him back here), we lost one of my loves Mark Trumbo.  (I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU MARK TRUMBO!!!!!!!!!!)  He was a fairly inconsistent pitcher for us in 2014, and well, he did weird things.  Like when he beat up the water jug, or showered in his uniform, or shaved his head, yeah, a little weird.  One of my friends (not naming names) did not like him at all (just being real).

One thing that everyone knew about Hector though, was that he was very nice.  He was always willing to meet a fan, give autographs, and even interact on social media.  Hector Santiago just seemed to keep growing and growing on me.

One thing I did learn about him right away is that, well, he’s kinda one of us!  What do I mean? Well, he’s a big sports fan, not because he plays the sport, but because he likes the sport.  He goes around collecting player’s autographs because he’s such a fan.  His collection is just so drool worthy.  It’s amazing really, and that’s kinda what made me think initially, “Hey, I guess he’s kinda cool.”

In 2015….OK, he started off weird too.  Like driving straight home after a game and jumping in his pool, uniform and all!  But, well, we saw a lot more of Hector Santiago in 2015.  He seemed to be at so many events, and charity events, and he was very active with his fans on social media.  He was always known as the guy to sign autographs or talk to fans. See, he’s such a big fan, so he understand how important a simple wave, an autograph, or even a “like” means so much to us.  He gets it!

And can we talk about his season.  Man, he was a stud.  I wish I could remember his ERA before All Star Break, it was one of the lowest in the league.  We all thought he was completely cheated out of the All-Star game…that is, of course, until he made it onto the All-Star game.  It is still such a flipping cute picture when he found out he made it.   Sadly, he didn’t actually get to pitch, but he made it, and he is officially an All Star pitcher!

Prior to him making it I tweeted him that he was robbed, he tweeted me back saying that he had bigger goals, like the World Series, I tweeted him back, “I love your attitude Mr. Santiago,” and he liked that tweet.  I remember hearing that when he came back from the break he stayed two hours signing autographs for all those that we there waiting for him.  I also then learned that at one of his singings he made sure to stand up for every single person who wanted a photo, i.e. no awkward leaning over a table.  I also learned about his charity “Santiago’s Soldier’s” …and this was around the time I just simply really started to love him, both as player and as a person.

I loved him so much that when we went to #HalosSocial day and HE was the special guest, well, I started jumping up and down from both happiness and excitement.  I’m convinced that’s why I was picked first to ask him a question.  I had so many questions for him, but I picked one and went with it.  He was right in front of me, looking right at me, answering my question, SAY WHAT!?

Mariana took this pic of me asking Santiago a question.  I was so ecstatic!

My selfie with Hector

For these reasons and more, I just loved Hector Santiago.  He seemed like the coolest, nicest dude whom you just want to be friends with.  Needless to say, I was very excited that he was going to be one of the guests at the Angels Fan Cruise.

Of course, just like anyone (especially this ENFP over here), you start day dreaming about all the great things that could possibly happen at an event.  And, of course, like the JP that I am, I dreamed about becoming BFFs with Danielle Shoemaker, telling Matt Shoemaker about how he squirted champagne all over me at my favorite moment at Angels stadium ever, chatting with Carlos and Karla in Spanish, picking Dino Ebel’s brain, and sitting next to Hector Santiago during dinner and get to ask him questions. 


Munchies helping me pack. I obviously did not have appropiate clothing for an Angels Fan Cruise.

After a massive countdown, the day finally arrived.  It was not the easiest morning getting to the cruise.  I had a last minute change up with school so I had to complete a few extra assignments, and then due to a health concern our boarding was delayed.  Eventually we got on board to our nice room with a sweet balcony, oh man, I was ESCTATIC!!


GiaBEARtella in excited to enter his room.

Mariana, GiaBEARtella, and me posing in front of our balcony.

Upon checking in and receiving our credentials we were saddened to learn that Carlos Perez had Visa issues and would not be joining us on the cruise.  Awww, talk about a bummer!  We were told we would be getting his autographed picture in the mail though because he felt so bad.

GiaBEARtellaCruiseBanner.JPGGiaBEARtella in front of the Angels Fan Cruise sign.

After checking in we had to do a muster drill so that we would know where to go in case of emergency, and afterwards we went to our first Angels event, which was our social hour.

ShoeMeSelfie.JPGMariana and I sat front row and I got to ask Hector Santiago yet another question.  We also got to briefly meet the guys and take pic with them.  I finally was able to tell Matt Shoemaker how my favorite moment ever at Angels Stadium was being there when they clinched the AL West in 2014 and how HE squirted me and completely covered me in champagne.  He was so funny and told me how happy it made him to be part of my favorite memory.  I also got to meet Danielle Shoemaker and give her some cute little onesies for Brady (they were R2D2 and Yoda themed from the park, WAY TOO CUTE!).  She was super sweet, hehe.  (We didn't take any pix with her, booo!)

DinoMe.JPGSomeone offered to take my picture with Dino.


Then someone also took my pic with Hector.

I had to get in there when they were taking pictures together. We're all so happy, and it makes me happy, hehehehe.

KoleHats.JPGAfter the social we went back to the room where ALL OUR ANGELS SWAG WAS THERE!!!  We were having a blast looking through everything and trying out everything we got, hehehe.

Trying on some of the swag we got. Yay Kole Calhoun visors!!!!

We then went to dinner…or tried to!  Due to the health concern everything was so hectic and we got to dinner WAY late.  The good thing is we got to sit on a table amongst super cool Angels fans.  It was funny, it was a table full of 5 women and 1 man, and all the women were discussing all sorts of sports and the one was like, “Duuuurrr.”  LoL!  It was great.

Really love this shot! Amist the chaos of trying to get to dinner we looked up and thought, "This would make a great picture!" 

After dinner I wanted to go to the 70s dance party, which we sadly missed due to dinner being served so late, BOOOO!  We did do some shopping, explore the boat, and wound up at the dance club.  How the heck we end up dancing with the Giants fans on the Angels Fan Cruise is beyond me (but not as funny as the one guy being SOOOO gone he couldn’t tell me whose jersey he was wearing.  He was wearing #12 and told me it was Buster Posey, ummm, NO!  He’s 28!  I even knew that!).  Oh, and we also made a new friend, YAY!  They had a great mix of music and we just danced the night away. 

SunriseMe.JPGThe next day I woke up like super early and saw the sunrise over the ocean on our balcony.  Being on the west coast we don’t get to see the sun rise over the ocean, so I was so happy we were positioned just right where I could see it.

HectorLotsOfHats.JPGAfter I had breakfast I headed out to Bible study and then went to our Q&A with the guys.  This time I got to ask both Hector and Shoe a question.  Mariana also got in a question.  It was great because we got to learn so much about the guys and saw their personalities, and may, they were so funny!  After the Q&A we got to get autographs.  I had the guys sign GiaBEARtella and these cool pics I had bought of each of them at OC Dugout.  Mariana was only getting the posted signed, so she was able to get some of my trading cards signed as well.

We were going to head out and explore the boat when we saw Esther and her daughter.  We went up to them and them some little candy jars I got at Disneyland for them, just wanted to share love with their girls too.  They were so grateful that we thought of them.  We also complemented Esther on her beautiful wedding and how stunning she looked. After that we explored the boat some more and had lunch.  We then went back to play heads up with the guys.  OH MY GOODNESS!!  Freaking Shoemaker had me cracking up the entire time.  Like, seriously yo, he was freaking hysterical.  Dino still steals the cake though:

Dino: Rite-Aid
“Three letters”
Dino: “WAL-MART!”
Dino: “Walgreens”

Ahahahahahahahahahahaha! Afterwards we got to take a group picture, and through whatever weird coincidence, WE ENDED UP STANDING RIGHT NEXT TO THE GUYS!  Oh yeah, saying that we were giddy is an understatement.  Several selfies were taken, lol!



Hector was being a ham and just loving posing for all my stupid selfies, lol!

This last one was taken by a guy named Eddie, and apperantly we were in a few Angels groups together. It was funny just seeing a picture in one of the groups I'm going, "HEY, that's ME!"  LoL!  I love this pic!

After that we went to explore, rest up some, and then have dinner.  This time dinner was much more organized and we were seated at our proper tables right away.  Sadly we were in a table for four and we were seated alone…

All alone!

Which under normal circumstances would have been fine…had Matt Shoemaker not been seated at another table directly behind my left shoulder…and Hector Santiago not been seated at another table directly behind my right shoulder.  And I have no clue why, but I just got so upset.  I guess I just really wanted to chat with them, and it was one of those, “So close, so ridiculously close, yet so far” moments.

Mariana and I ordered all our courses and decided to just make the best of the situation, when next thing we know freaking All Star pitcher Hector Santiago is standing right in between us and asks us, “Would you ladies like to join us for dinner?”

SoupDrink.JPGMariana and I just looked up and starred at him for a while, just stared, in complete awe.  I don’t know how long it took Mariana to answer yes, but SHE was the one who answered, I seriously could not speak.  After she said that we would love to, I remembered looking down at my soup drink (look at the picture, I can’t explain. I ordered soup and it looked like a drink, complete with a straw!) and water and all my silverware and thought, “What do I do with all this?”  Seriously, I was that, just, well, in shock, lol.

I grabbed my soup drink and went to the table, I was debating where to sit where I wouldn’t seem so, I don’t know, overbearing fangirly.  Hector pulled out the chair right next to him and I sat there, right freaking next to him.  There was another couple at the table sitting with him, Esther, and Camila, and we all introduced ourselves to each other.  Hector extended his hand to me and said, “Hi, my name is Hector, nice to meet you,” as he winked at me.  I honestly don’t think I told him my name, I think I just laughed at him winking at me.  Esther said, “These were the girls that brought us the candy, right girls.”  I said, “Yes, we thought the girls deserved some love too!”

We then all engaged in conversation with the each other, including the other couple.  The topic of where we worked came up, the couple shared, Mariana shared, I shared, and then I turned to Hector and asked, “SO what do you do?”  He was taking a sip of his whine and I made him chuckle to the point of almost spitting it out.  He then returns with, “Oh, I take this big, white, round thing and chuck at it guys.”  Dude, I was laughing so hard at that.

The rest of dinner was so amazing.  I got to learn so much more about him, what he loves about baseball, about his family, how he and Esther met, how Esther deals with him being gone, his game day rituals (he’s VERY picky), how slow the day goes for him when he has to start, how he has coffee to get himself energized, how he had eaten most of the girl’s candy (lol).  At one point we were even speaking Spanish with Esther about the specific type of coffee found in Puerto Rico.  He was telling us about the other guys, about certain games (like Latos beating up the wall and then rejoicing during the crazy comeback in the 9th in Texas…we all know what I’m talking about),  I mean, there I was, sitting next to Hector Santiago, having dinner with him, picking his brain!  He even asked us questions, and yes, they found out about the Giants fans from the night before, lol!  He also told me how I should wear half Angels and half Cubs stuff, and  even at one point I was telling Hector and Esther about my mission trips to Panama, explaining them about the Kuna Indians and showing them pix of my mission trips on my phone, I mean, SAY WHAT!? 

At one point someone from the Angels’ front office came and sat with us and was chatting with Camila. Everyone was making fun of Dino for, “Three Letters.  WALGREENS!”  LoL!  The lady (whose name escapes me) was also telling us other stories about working with the Angels.  Well she has a fun job, lol! 

After we were all done with dessert the other couple excused themselves first, then Hector and Esther excused themselves.  I was still not finished with my desert (too much talking, WHO HAD TIME TO EAT!?) and at point it hit us, WHAT JUST HAPPENED!!!!!????  We were freaking out, we were two giddy schoolgirls all of a sudden.  The staff and asked us and we were like, “That was Hector Santiago….he’s one of my fave pitchers, AHHHHH!”  The staff was so cute, they were asking us questions, and the one server that brought our drinks over was so happy for us, lol.  Oh my gosh, I bet we looked like we were on cloud 9!

Afterwards we went back to the room for a bit.  I went to do some karaoke and then we went dancing again (it was funny, a guy would not let us leave the dance floor, lol).  This night the dance floor was much more popular, but I still threw down my disco moves.


The following morning we got up and went down for breakfast.  Mariana was going to stay on the ship to watch some game or something (football, whatever) and I was going to get off the ship and do some shopping.  While I was trying to figure out how to get off the boat I passed Hector and Camila on the stairway.  Hector said, “Are you getting off the boat?”  I said, “Trying to.”  And Camila waved and smiled at me.  Uuuuh, that was surreal!

They had this free messaging system with the Wifi on the boat and this was a screen shot of a message I sent Mariana about the odeal.  LoL!  You can see some of the other things that happened, lol!

TeaShopInEncenada.JPGI got off the boat and found a tea shop (of course I would!) and sat down and just enjoyed a nice cup of tea for a while.  I also did some shopping and got some cute gifts for our Jr. Ducketters (that’s what I’ve decided to call Faith and Sammie) and a bag for myself.  I headed back to the boat where I got in the spa and had a lovely chat with a hockey mom from back East.  I went and took a nap and then went for my awesome massage.  That was a great way to end the trip.  I also bumped into Hector yet again!  LoL!

On out last dinner we were seated with someone from the front office.  Ok, he was a blast to talk to.  Don’t get me wrong, sitting with Hector and getting to hear his experience was amazing, but it was also really cool to hear the perspective of someone from the front office.  Bobby kept teasing me though.  Like when he told me I was “One of THOSE!” I was like, “One of those WHAT?”  “Just very passionate is all.”  And he laughed at me.  He also told me I had “too many teams,” to which Mariana corrected, “PLAYERS!!  The Angels are her team, but she likes certain players in other teams.”  He then went on trying to guess my favorite players in other teams, and he was pretty spot on.  After he guessed he told me his opinion on each guy.  “But you don’t have a favorite A’s player, YOU CAN’T!!!”  “Oh, I don’t, I CAN’T!!!” and we laughed.  Then he explained how mad I would get every time Lawrie went up to the plate, “But he’s a White Sox now, so that’s OK!”  LoL!  He also told me he wished we had McCutchen, and how I couldn’t coach first base because I would faint.  LoL!

This was a really funny interaction between us.
Me: So, you guessed my favorite players from all the other teams, who’s my favorite Angel then…
*I was going to clarify he couldn’t say Mike Trout, but he interrupted*
Bobby: Johnny Giavotella.
Me: *My jaw dropped to the floor* How did you know that?
Bobby: I just knew
Me: Seriously, how did you know?
Bobby: You look like a Johnny G fan
Me: What does a Johnny G fan look like?
Bobby: You….and she (meaning Mariana) just told me.


HectorShoeJersey.JPGDuring dinner we could see the other tables, and for some reason Hector put on Shoe’s jersey and then Danielle went to hug him and went, “Oh, I’m sorry, I thought you were Matt.”  Everyone started busting up, it was so funny!  She’s so funny.  They are ALL so funny!!!  I love them all!! 

That is clearly Hector, yet he's in a Shoe jersey!

After that super fun dinner I went around and gave thank you cards to all the players.  Danielle promised me she would take pictures of Brady with his onesies and tweet them to me (which she has) and Hector told me how he had eaten all the candy.

Esther: I told her she brought US that candy (pointing to her and Camila).
Hector: Yes, US! (pointing to her Esther and himself).
Then he winked at me.  Boy likes to wink, lol! 

We went back to our room and packed everything up, went around and listened to some good music, and then went back to the club for one last night of dancing.  The next morning I actually woke up sick, but we headed off and got back home.

The Angels fan cruise was such a freaking great experience, one I would love to do again. 
But back to my original point.  The guys proved they were great guys and I just loved them completely more. 

I always said I wanted to be Hector Santiago’s friend, and I specifically said I wanted to have dinner with him and get to pick his brain.  Ummmm, these things happened.  A crazy day dream actually happened!  Yeah, be careful what you wish for!!

DanielleTweet.jpg(And I also even said I wanted to be Danielle’s friend cuz she just seems like a super cool chick on twitter, and although I wouldn’t say we are actually friends now, she did try to comfort me via Twitter as I mourn the loss of my Munchies…that’s also pretty crazy!) 


February 4th, 2016

Don't take fractions for granted! @ 12:06 pm

Current Mood: grateful grateful

There are so many things I have realized that I take for granted…

Now, I know that I have been to mission trips to a few different countries and have seen how others live.  I’ve gone to build houses for people without one, have gone to rescue children from the streets and taken them to school, have even gone into the jungle and seen how people still live without electricity and running water.  I am not trying to diminish those experiences for they really made me grateful for the little “necessities” I have at home, however, it always felt like this is how “other people” live.  That is probably not the right mindset to have, but all these years that’s how it felt.  These weren’t problems necessarily, the people of Ikandi were used to hiking 8 minutes to use the restroom and 5 minutes to shower in the river, and I seriously don’t know how hammocks are comfortable to sleep in, but it’s how they lived, and it showed me how much I take for granted being able to walk 15 seconds in the middle of the night to use the restroom and not having to worry about demon bats attacking you (that was my problem every night in Wagandi, I still hate you demon bats!!!).

But I’ve recently realized, I’ve taken my education, specially my ability to do basic math, for granted.

About four years ago I left my familiar, cozy little church and started attending Angelus Temple, the Church of the Dream Center.  Instead of less than a 5 minute drive I now drive 20 minutes on Sunday morning and over an hour every other day when LA traffic hits to get to church.  Instead of being a leader where everyone knew my name I now attend a gigantic church where nobody knows my name…well, Pastor Matthew does, although all he uses it for is to tease me for being an Angels and Ducks fan, lol (that’s how we show love to one another…we tease each other’s sports teams)!  I still don’t know why I did it and how exactly it happened.  I read Pastor Matthew Barnett’s second book “The Cause Within You” and it changed my life; I wanted to attend the church that literally changed the city of LA.  For whatever reason I have a heart for human traffic victims and I wanted to be part of the ONLY organization in LA that helps women who have been trafficked, so one morning off to Angelus Temple I went.  From the moment I stepped into that church I was hooked with the dynamic way Pastor Matthew preached.  He always managed to both enlighten me and challenge me.  The one day his wife, Pastor Caroline Barnett preached, and I fell in love with her kind demeanor, bright mind, and heart for helping others.  I’ll never forget my first Easter at Angelus Temple, with Stevie Wonder (LEGIT STEVIE WONDER) playing a worship song, Pastor Matthew dressed as Willy Wonka and swinging from the roof, and thousands of children being given a ton of candy and gifts (I am not exaggerating, all of this happened).  That’s when I knew, this is my new home!

Not only that, but the church, the surrounding area, including Echo Park, well, I dreamt it all.  I’m not joking, I dreamt that location.  I don’t believe I had ever visited there before, but I had a vivid dream with that church and location, and when I saw it there in person my jaw dropped and I knew something was calling me there.  It took me a long time to ever speak to Pastor, or anyone really, and it took me five months before I ever got involved…in the media team (I love running camera).  Even though I had no friends there and only knew my camera, I continued to attend.  Mostly because I admired both Pastor Matthew and Pastor Caroline Barnett so much…and then Pastor Tommy Barnett, and I so believed in the cause of the church, even though I wasn’t really part of it.

I tried to get involved in a few ways, such as my failed attempts with the Young Adults and cause groups, but schedule and distance wise, it just never worked out.  I faithfully went every Sunday to run camera, one Tuesday a month to run camera for Women’s meeting, and every Thursday that I could for our guest speakers.  And of course, I participated in every #Serve24 event, which was basically a childhood dream come true.

Due to changes at my work I now have a solid schedule, and even though I’m busy finishing up my degree (I should be done this fall, EEEEEEPPPP!), time opened up for me to be able to serve consistently at the Dream Center.  My Peace Corps recruiter suggested I tutor so that I have more opportunities available to me when I apply, so I began to research where I could tutor.  After an amazing guest speaker had me crying like a baby, the congregation was invited to some down and sign up for the various ministries that the Dream Center has to offer.  One of them was adult GED tutoring.  This was funny, because Pastor Matthew kept saying, “Come sign up for GED tutoring…we need teachers…come tutor…come teach at the Dream Center…you can help my sharing your knowledge.”  He would mention other ministries, but kept repeating the adult learning ministry over, and over, and over again.  When I heard of the opportunity I wanted to come down and sign up but my shyness was keeping me away.  Pastor Matthew kept repeating it over and over that I eventually headed down there and was like, “I get it God, I get it Pastor, I’m coming, I’m coming.”  I signed up that Thursday, exchanged a few e-mails and phone calls on Friday, and Saturday morning I found myself at the Dream Center to “check it out.”

 I quickly met with the director and assistant director, got shown the curriculum (“Yeah, I can totally do that!”) and sat in to see how it works.  The director was helping out a girl when he looks at me and goes, “Do you want to help her?”  I hesitantly said yes; in reality I was thinking, “Oh my gosh, CAN I help her?”  I walked over there and saw she was working on ratios.  Ratios, that’s simple, I can do that.  I tried to explain her with words, she didn’t get me.  Then I was like, “Well, let me show you how I would do it.”  I pulled out a scratch sheet of paper and showed her I would set up the problem, by making a little chart.  “Then you cross multiply and solve for X.”  Her eyes lit up, “I get it!  That makes so much sense!  I like how you set it up.” She then went to work, solving every problem on her own.  Another girl was working on the same problem, the first girl called me over, “Show her how you taught me, that makes so much sense.  It helped me out a lot.”  So I did…the second girl took a little bit more time and explanation, but eventually she got it as well.  When that session was over the first girl thanked me for helping her understand and gave me a hug.

Well, that was amazing!

And hey, my nerdy ways came in helpful for something!

I now look forward to tutoring and hate when I have to miss a day; it’s seriously something I look forward to so much.  The things I work with the girls are simple stuff, simple geometry (I had to explain to a girl what perimeter and volume are), simple algebra (solve for X), percentages, just simple stuff that I learned by like the 6th grade.

On my last session I was paired up with a girl working on fractions… fractions…simple fractions…she was simplifying fractions…she did not understand.  I was trying to help her add and subtract fractions, nothing super crazy.  She was fine when the fractions had the same denominator, but when they had different denominators she panicked like crazy.  I told her it’s OK, there’s a way to do this.  I was trying to teach her how to find a common denominator…she didn’t understand; I was trying to explain how ½ is the same as 2/4…she didn’t understand.  I busted out the dry erase markers and started drawing pie charts…she started to understand; I showed her my method of how I convert fractions to have the same common denominator…she started to understand; I showed her my method of simplifying the fraction…she started to understand.  Then she told me, “I love the way you teach me.  I know others try to teach me, but their ways are too hard.  You make it easy; I can remember what you taught me.”

Guys, she wasn’t struggling because she didn’t want to learn, she was struggling because she just legit didn’t get it; she was struggling because no one had taught her before; she was struggling because she never had the opportunity to learn basic fractions before.  Out of all the girls I’m tutoring, she’s definitely the furthest behind.

I don’t know each of the girl’s stories, but I know they each have one, and based on the testimonies the Discipleship women share during service, I know they are there due to harsh upbringing.   There are just so many reasons why these girls didn’t get the education they so much deserved, some of the reasons may be are poverty, abuse, rape, parental neglect, prostitution, drugs, and an array of other reasons.  In fact, last Sunday one of the girls I have been tutoring shared her testimony and rape was at the forefront as to why she didn’t get to finish school and is now in Discipleship trying to turn around her life.

I’m not qualified to be a teacher by any means; I’ve had absolutely no schooling or training, but I know how to do basic math, and that’s enough to help these girls.  The director told me I’m a good teacher once, and if anything I think it’s more that I get these basic concepts, plus I am patient and take my time to explain to the girls, in various ways if needed, and allow them to grasp these concepts.

But I’m just blown away, ratios and fractions, something I learned before the 6th grade; something I use all the time, I’m teaching adult women these basic, everyday mathematical concepts.   I work with women at least 18 years or older, and there are women that age who don’t know these basic concepts, right here, in the Unites States…in my city of Los Angeles.  I have taken my basic education for granted all these years, but now I’m glad it’s coming in useful for something.

Don’t take your education for granted!  I'm not talking about any fancy degrees or even a college education; I'm talking about your basic education, the one you learned before the 6th grade, the one you use every day at the grocery store, be thankful and grateful for it.


January 1st, 2016

2015...it was 15...it HAD to be good! @ 01:09 pm

Current Mood: sleepy sleepy

Oh 2015, you were so good to me.  It almost had to be, I mean, it was 15!!!!  Teeheehee!  This was definitely a different year, where I did different things, but I loved it and had a blast.

It’s almost hard to think about all the bad things that happen this year when just so many good things happened.  The year started off rough, very rough, with having to put Solo down.  Soon after we got Munchies, and those first few days with him were rough.  But he got used to us and now I feel like I need him in my life.  Then we got Tina too, and now, what, we have Daisy too!?  That’s just crazy.  I miss my Solo dearly, and it was such a harsh way to start the new year, but there so many good things to dwell on now.

There was more than one occasion in which I laid in bed and simply cried, just cried, because I was just so sad, hurt, angry, lonely, or whatever the case was.  But the funny thing is, when I looked back on this year, I don’t remember those times.  I really had to push myself to remember those sad times, they existed, but thankfully they didn’t overpower the year.

There was fun stuff at the beginning of the year, such as the BSB movie premier…with the Boys themselves!  That was a blast, especially the hanging out with friends during the whole ordeal.  Just way too much fun!

I went to a few Ducks games early in the year.  Not as many as I would have liked, but I did attend some.  We won every single game I went to, including playoff games.  I mostly went alone or had to BEG people to accompany me.  Then in June I basically got to meet all of our 2014-2015 roster.  Ryan Kesler was the first one I met, followed by Cam Fowler, and then the rest of the team.  I freaked out when I met Freddie, AND MAJORLY FREAKED OUT when I met Getzy.

I guess this year I leaned that athletes were real people.  Not that I didn’t know that before, but this was the first year I got to meet so many of my favorite athletes from my favorite teams.  The first baseball player I met was Johnny Giavotella, followed by Garret Richards and David Freese.  By the time the season was over I had met pretty much our infield and half the bullpen, haha!

I also attended so many games, I mean, people thought I was a season ticket holder (I wish!). But the best part is that, in reality, I only went to one Angels game alone; I always there having a blast with my friends.  The best part of this season wasn’t even going to games; it was the people I was with.  It was the people I texted while they were away and I needed to discuss the games.  It was those that freaked out with me, almost had heart attacks with me, and rejoiced with me.  They were truly the highlight of my season this year.

(Side note: Can we talk about my AMAZING birthday with 19 of my loved ones, in the Trout farm, watching the Angels beat the Yankees!  LOVE!!!)

And not only that, but I saw a lot of my fave NL teams both at Petco Park and Dodger stadium.  I became #SoCalHarperFan and a big champion for the Cubs (Jake Arietta’s no hitter, I WAS THERE!!! And Anthony Rizzo, I LOVE YOU!!  Can we be BFFs??!!??).  I saw all my fave MLB players with the exception of 3 (Eric Hosmer, Salvador Perez, and Jose Fernandez!).  And hey, got to meet MLB players from other teams too (and one team in particular hydrated me and became my BFFs, LoL)

Over the summer I also got to meet amazing Ducks fans, and once the season started I had so many friends to hang out with at games.  Now I don’t have to beg and plead for people to accompany me at Ducks game, contrary, I have people asking me to join them, and on more than one occasion, have been given free tickets to attend.  Watch parties and hanging out at someone’s house to watch away games have become the norm, and I am thankful for each of them that exist in my life.

Obviously, the year did not solely revolve around sports.  Actually, school took most of my time.  I took some super hard classes this year, thus Coffee Bean and the library were where I lived when I wasn’t at games because I was doing homework and studying.  As a result I should be done with school this year.  And you know what that means, PEACE CORPS!!

Work, well, that changed.  Honestly, work is an afterthought.  By the time the year ended I had changed positions and went through four managers.  Work is work, not the amazing place it once was, if I’m being honest.  But we won’t dwell on that…

I also kept right on serving, not as much as I would have liked since I did have a lot of school, but indeed kept on serving at my church, with volunteers, and in Panama.

Yeah, can we pause and talk about that for a second.  That was the most insane thing to happen this year.  I never thought I would ever go to Panama, yet God has sent me there twice.  The first time I prepared for six months; worked out every day, got shots, and bought so many supplies over time.  This trip was so sudden.  I truly didn’t know I was going to go until 6pm the night before I left at 7am the following day.  Yes, my plane tickets were purchased within less of 24 hours from my departure.  There was a stay-up-all night session to finish homework and a test, then a mad dash to Walmart for last minute supplies and packing.  I cuddled with Munchies until it was time to leave…

Honestly, Panama was the highlight of my year. I love being a Country Assistance because I get to serve everyone…the missionaries, the leadership, both team leaders and project directors, and of course, the locals there.  Dancing with Jenny and Lizette was just a memory I will never forget.  Getting my face painted by that little boy was amazing too.

I know I was meant to go there, more for me than for anyone else.  I was to serve these people, but above all, I was there to allow them to love me.

I honestly don’t think I can explain how much those two weeks meant to be, or what I saw God do there, both through me and through others.  But being there made me see just how much I truly belong out there doing His work like that.  It was like, it solidified that working towards the Peace Corps is the right thing to do for me.

(Side note: I’m seriously sitting here thinking about everything that happened and everything I did on that trip, and honestly, it’s too surreal.  I’m just cracking up!  It’s a shame my phone crashed and all those videos and pictures are gone, but they happened, and I am so thankful…but I am laughing, loL!)

I learned a lot about myself this year and how I relate to others.  I learned about love languages, how I feel most loved when people spend quality time with me, and how I show love through gifts and acts of service.  I also learned that Words of affirmation is the hardest way for me to accept love, but I worked at it hard, and in Panama I really saw myself blossom into being able to see other’s love through words.

I also learned a lot about being an ENFP, what that means about myself and how I relate to others.  Basically, yup, I’m a weird, but there’s a reason why.  I guess I got to see myself through other eyes and every part of my behavior and how I felt was finally explained. I read a really good book about it and it explained how you interact and all the other types, and it was just so eye opening.

I did get to spend some time with family, and sadly a lot of it had to do with the fact that my Tia Blanca lost her battle with cancer this year.  We had our family reunion this year in her honor early in April.  (Ok, the fact that Mexico wouldn’t let me into their country is still hilarious!)  I went to go visit her down in National City/Hemet and this meant spending time with family too.  Sadly, she passed away in September.  I always say, funeral are hard because you grieve over a person you love, and in this case, the world lost one of the most giving and serviceful people there is, but it’s great to see and be with all our loved ones honoring that person.

Yes, this year had it’s ups and down, just like any other year, but I mostly remember the ups with all those that I love.  It was different year, I only worked two concerts and attended just a handful of other concerts, but I feel that just shows the direction of my heart.  Yes, #OnceAMusicNerdAlwaysAMusicNerd, now I am more focused on school, serving, and getting to the Peace Corps.

2015, you were great.  2016…let’s see what God has in store for you!

P.S. In 2015 I got to meet my two number 15s, Tim Salmon and Ryan Getzlaf.  I also saw Tim Salmon get inducted into the Angels hall of fame.  That was just amazing, teeheehee.

October 21st, 2015

Don’t Date An ENFP @ 10:43 am

Current Mood: amused amused

Found this and it made me smile so much!  Hahahaha! )Reason # 85415 why JP is perpetually single)

Don’t Date An ENFP

By Heidi Priebe

Don’t date an ENFP. You’ll never have the same day twice. ENFPs are a whirlwind of thoughts and ideas. They are bursting with plans for trips that you could take, things you could create, ways in which your lives could open up and expand and evolve. Monotony is not the ENFP cup of tea and they are constantly looking for ways to spice up life and keep things fresh. If you are looking for a dull, predictable partner who abhors trying anything new, you should run far away from the ENFP.

Don’t date an ENFP. They will challenge your opinions and thoughts. This type has a whirring, restless mind that examines things from every perspective. They will present you with new facts and figures. They’ll entice you with new points of view. This type isn’t one to sit back, nod politely and agree calmly with everything you say. ENFPs have a mind of their own and they will use it to invigorate yours. If it’s a lifetime of small talk that you’re looking for, steer clear of the ENFP.

Don’t date an ENFP. They will shower you with love and affection. This type possesses a heart so full it’s bursting – with love for the people around them, with passion for their chosen career, with the world that they’re lucky to live in and the people who make it all up. You will not wonder where you stand with an ENFP. They will flatter you with words and affection. They will rave about you to all their friends. They will readily remind you why they love you and they’ll fight to ensure that you’re happy. If you’re looking for a cold and distant partner, the ENFP is not for you.

Don’t date an ENFP. They’ll show you what independence looks like. This type goes for what they want unabashedly and pursues each of their passions single-handedly. They will not fit into the palm of your hand; this type has wings that they intend to spread wide, they have goals and they intend to aim high. If you are looking for a quiet, docile partner, do not go after the ENFP. They don’t expect a partnership to limit them and they don’t plan to place limits on you either.

Don’t date an ENFP. They will bring new people into your life. They will bring home the kooky and creative. They’ll befriend your community and neighbours. This type will love your family like they are your own, they’ll cherish your friends more than you know. ENFPs love everybody that they meet and if you want a judgmental, standoffish partner, you’ll be barking up the dead wrong tree.

Don’t date an ENFP. They’ll push you to reach your full potential. They’ll see the best in you, the brightest in you, the person you’re capable of becoming and they’ll challenge you to finally become it. You’ll never feel weak or incapable with the ENFP in your life. You’ll have no excuse to sit back, wallow in a pool of self-pity and let your true potential pass you by. The ENFP will bring out the best in you. And if you’re happy wallowing in your worst, you definitely shouldn’t date one.

Don’t date an ENFP. They will take you to go see the world. Life with the ENFP will be one big, never ending adventure. They’ll cook you foods you’ve never tasted, bring you to places you have only dreamed of, sweep you away into a world full of excitement and passion and growth. Life will not be small or unremarkable with the ENFP by your side. There will be no room for playing it safe, for keeping it simple, for letting life pass you by one slow, monotonous day at a time.

You should not date an ENFP. Because they’ll turn your whole world upside down. And you will never be able to go back.


October 2nd, 2015

I bet you never put two and two together, did you? @ 02:33 pm

I love this picture so much; it just speaks so many words. I am generally not one for the visual arts, but this picture just says so much.  I mean, look at it.  There’s Johnny, covered in in-field dirt with blue Body Armor, all signs of a game well played, walking through a dirty yet empty dugout; a dugout that moments earlier was filled with all his teammates and coaches whom not only played well, but welcomed him back with completely opened arms.  I look at this picture and wonder, “What is his thinking?”  That smirk on his face gives me a glimpse into his mind though; it’s a humble smirk, yet a happy smirk.  And then there are his eyes, there’s a spark in them that speak right through the picture.   It’s like he’s saying, “I did it! I’m back! That was awesome...and I can’t believe it!”

I was sitting at my desk at work telling my good friend and fellow co-worker about the amazing game I got to witness for his return and tears started coming out.  Yes, this jaded girl that rarely shows any emotion other than laughter got emotional and started crying.  Most people do not understand why.  In fact, after this incident I texted my good friend and fellow Angels fan what happened and explained why and she replied, “I never connected the two, but you’re right!”  Yeah, well, I know I’m right, lol.  So why was I all caught up in Johnny’s medical saga and cried at his great return?  Well, duh, cuz I can totally relate.  I mean…the same thing happened to me.

Ok, so I was never an MLB player who out of nowhere got double vision, struggled to find out what it was, missed 31 games, found out it was fourth nerve cerebral palsy, had to wait for it to fit itself before I could return in the middle of a playoffs push and had an amazing game back.  Ok, so I guess I shouldn’t say that the same thing happened to me, rather something similar.

Remember what happened to me ten years ago?  OK, let’s be real, I hardly talk to anyone that knew me ten years ago, so let’s go back.  The year was 2005 and it had been a GREAT year for me personally.  I was doing great in school, was in ASB at my college, got hired as a youth leader, and was attending lots of concerts and events.  I was finally an “adult” and had a new found freedom where I would travel and go out with friends and started all my crazy adventures.

But, well, a big turning point in my life happened that year.  It started innocently enough at an Aaron Carter concert with my friend Lorena (what?).  After the concert my ears were in pain! I told my friend Matt about this, that even though I wore earplugs, my ears were in pain.   Prior to this I had been having difficulties in my Practical Musicianship class…for the second year! All my classes I had A’s in, Practical Musicianship, not so much.  I studied, and studied, and practiced, and practiced, and I could not get it!  After the Aaron Carter concert (again, what?) I took a PM test.  Afterwards my amazing professor and someone I looked up to told me, “I’m going to be frank, you just failed this test.”  I was about to cry because I had practiced and studied so hard for that test and I just could not understand how I could do so poorly.  “I’m only telling you this now because I really think you need to get your hearing checked.”

Unless you’re a music nerd, it’s a little complicated to explain (although, when he explained it to me, and knowing all about the series of overtones I understood completely), he said I was only hearing part of the note, not the whole note.  Again, unless you understand how the series of overtones work this may not make sense, but per his suggestion I went to get my ears checked.

Well, yes, turns out I was losing my hearing.  I said I was going deaf at the time, which is actually an incorrect statement; I was losing my ability to hear all the frequencies properly.  To compare it to vision, I guess a close similarity would be I was becoming color blind, but with tones/frequencies.  Point is: there was no way I could continue being a music student.

So, something I loved, what I had worked and strived for my whole life, was being taken away from me, through no fault on my own.  My body decided it no longer wanted to do what I loved so much.

You get it now?  You see how I could understand and empathize?

That is why I wanted to be there for his return so badly!  While most of my friends were across the street, cheering on the Ducks, I went solo to the Angels.  I bought a ticket super close to third base with a clear view of second, made a sign, and proudly wore my Giavotella shirt.
My sign and the shirt I wore.

So appropiate I got Seat #12!

Even though I went solo, I was lucky and was surrounded by so many cool people.  The couple in front of me kept high-fiving me and every run scored and we kept our eye on the Twins and Houston games; the family to my left had two adorable little kids I kept playing with all night; the solo guy to my right was vising from Scottsdale, AZ and was there cuz he loves baseball and wanted to check off Angels stadium from his list and once he found out what I big fan I was he kept asking me questions which I happily answered; and the super fun, super awesome, super loud and rowdy guys behind me that made the game extra fun (they were seriously so fun to talk to!).

And the game?  Can we talk about that game?  G-Rich got two awesome outs right away before giving up a solo home run, but then our guys scored four right away, including a two run home run by my number five Albert Pujols. We almost went through the whole lineup; Carlos Perez got the third out just before Johnny was due up to bat ninth.

It was the next inning where G-Rich struggled a little bit.  He walked two batters and then, well, Johnny came in.  Remember what I love about Johnny so much?  His caring little heart, of course.  I was looking at G-Rich, yelling, “Come on G-Rich, you got this!  You can do this!!!!”   Then I saw it.  He took a step forward, then he hesitated and took a step back, he took another step, and once again hesitated and stepped back, then he looked around and finally went for it…Johnny was jogging up to the mound to comfort G-Rich and give him a little pep talk.  And again, why do I love Johnny so much?  The kid has heart man!

JohnnyInDugout.JPGI caught the moment when Johnny approached G-Rich to give him a pep talk!

And I don’t mean just towards his fellow players, but to his sport and just towards life.  By the time the game was over the guy not only made an awesome catch (like, those super loud, thunder sounding crashes because the ball was hit so hard), he also had two RBIs coming off a single and a crazy freaking triple when he flew into third base.  Like, seriously, he was airborne and everything.  Dude, look at it yourself!

There’s something special about that man.  I just admire and respect him so much; he has a positive, hardworking attitude and just sparks up the room.  And this is not just from my observation, his teammates and coaches say the same thing!

GRichOnJohnnu.PNG-Excerpt from this article.  Love what G-Rich says!

I saw a speech he gave where he said that no one would work harder than him, and he also said in that same speech to be kind to one another…see, heart!

It's short, but it's a REALLY good speech!  Mind you, he gave this right before he got our starting 2nd baseman position! Someone posted this in an Angels group I'm in and I watch it anytime I need a pep talk!

Johnny just has a spark and zest for life, one I don’t feel I’ve ever observed in anyone else before (well, with maybe the exception of Pastor Matthew…but that’s another story!).  I didn’t have the opportunity to return to my love of music, but he got his chance to return to his love of baseball! And not only did he come back, but he came back with a bang! I prayed for him since finding out about his illness, and when I found out of his return I prayed his game would not struggle nor be hindered by his illness in any way. Yeah, well, he didn't, not in the least bit.  It was like he never left.  And I had read that even though he couldn't take live pitches he still did lots of conditioning to stay in shape and come back where he left off, and that sort of dedication is so admirable.

I feel that the whole team contributed to the win that day, including CJ Cron with a two run homer in the 7th and (minus his little hiccup in the beginning) an awesome pitching performance by G-Rich.  We ended up with 8 runs scored on 14 hits.  The end of the game consisted of Johnny G being showered in blue Body Armor, and I was so happy to be there, to witness this amazing return.

I also kept praying that this illness would be used for God’s glory…and it seems that that is exactly what is going on.

So, back to the original picture in question: I may be reading too much into it, but to me it speaks volumes.  It inspires to be determined, to have heart towards everything I do, and then maybe, one day I can smile like that and go, “Yup, I did it too!”

Side note: Before the game started I saw Johnny warming up.  I saw him call a lady from the stands up to him and saw him hug her.  The lady seemed to be very happy but not giddy like a fan might be; I was certain he knew her personally.  Well, I read an article that his mom was at the game.  Seriously, did I get to witness a super sweet moment between him and his mom?  Awwwwwww!  See!? I have nothing but mad love, respect, and admiration for that man.

Random second side note: Can we all just love on the fact that his walk-up song was "Without Me" by Emminem?  That was epic right there, hahaha!


October 1st, 2015

Seriously, how the heck did last night happen? @ 12:13 am

I keep thinking about all the craziness that happened yesterday and I ask myself, “How the heck do I always find myself in these insane situations?”  AHAHAHAHAHAHA!!  I also wonder what the guys must have been thinking, seeing two super giddy girls just standing there ogling them during practice.  Or did they not notice us and that’s they went away, fighting over un-replied to text messages?  But Johnny did notice us…why the heck did I yell out his name? And did I really embarrass him? And why in the world was I so awkward with G-Rich and Iannetta?  And why was it caught on video? And why did I post said video? *shakes head* That’s probably why I didn’t want to talk to Skee Ball Buddy; enough embarrassment for one day!  That’s also probably why I “whispered” to Colin, I didn’t want any more attention to myself.  But then I was the only girl that asked Hector Santiago a question…but was it even a good question?  Did it make sense?  At one point I did feel I was rambling.  When he was looking intently at me as I asked my question I know I lost my train of thought, LoL!  And why did I pick the “fan” question over the lefty question; the latter was a much better question than the former.  I really was too nervous.

I guess the more I think about last night, the more questions I have about what went on.  But dang, the last game of the regular season sure was something special. I’m so glad I got to spend it in such a unique way, with by two beloved baseball buddies that have been with me the entire season, in our favorite section, with a WIN!  Go Halos! 

July 2nd, 2015

Why I love Johnny Giavotella! @ 06:14 pm

So, I was originally just going to post this picture on Instagram, but I had a lot to say, so I decided to make a whole journal post about it (because I'm JP and I'm a nerd like that!).

So, since people are so curious as to why I’m all “Team Johnny G” all of a sudden, I figured I would explain why Mr. Giavotella has risen to be one of my favorite Angels. It goes way beyond his baseball abilities, I mean, his nickname is not Johnny Baseball just ‘cuz.  Johnny generally comes through when we need him to come through.  I can’t tell you how many times we ended up winning a game because Johnny got us to that position.  Whether it was through his perfect bunt, a base hit, or simply bringing guys home, he is there when we need him.

He can also do amazing things out in the infield (that sounds weird and redundant but it’s not, lol!).  Have you seen this man leap?  BOY CAN JUMP HIGH!!  Man!  Actually, here is a GIF for you enjoyment!

And, if you’re wondering, it’s not even his handsome good looks!  No, it’s not those dreamy big brown eyes, that perfect jawline, gorgeous smile, and muscles galore that make him amazing!

But oh my goodness, he is too freaking adorable!

But no, it’s not that.  It’s way more than that.  The best way I can describe it is through this picture:

But let’s back up a little bit before I explain what’s going on in this picture.

We acquired Mr. Johnny Giavotella last off season from the Kansas City Royals.  I remember texting Jodi about that trade too!  Hahahahaha!  I thought nothing of him up until spring training when I saw him do crazy stuff.  Then when he was doing all the crazy plays people were like, “Howie who?” (We all miss Howie, trust me, we do, but Johnny has been awesome, so it’s like, we miss him, but we love Johnny, hehe!).  But, even then, there was something different about him that I was trying to pin point as I watched him that I was trying to figure out.

During one game, and I honestly can’t remember which came, he was running on either first or second base.  The camera was focused on whoever the pitcher was, but then I see right past him to Johnny.  “Is he praying?” I ask myself.

-- My brother laughs at me because I’m so observant with everything that happens in the background of things, not just in the foreground.  Sometimes we will be watching a wrestling match and I start laughing.  “What’s so funny?”  He will ask.  I usually say something like, “That green sign in the corner was funny!” or “Than fan fell down the stairs!” or “There’s a couple back there fighting.”  It’s one of my quirks; I guess I am just observant.--

Anyways, that’s why I was able to notice a Johnny G behind the pitcher praying.  “Oh my goodness, HE IS!!  HE IS PRAYING!!”  Right there, on base, he was praying.  And anyone who knows me knows that just touched my heart.

As I continued to watch my Angels I would notice other things about him.  Yeah, he’s an awesome player that would come through, but his demeanor was different.  I knew there was something about him.  I noticed that he always wore a cross.  I don’t think it’s always the same cross because sometimes it looks silver and sometimes gold, but he always has one on.

On possibly one of the best games I’ve attended thus far this season, on 5/5/15 (LOOK AT ALL THOSE 5s!).  Pujols had put us ahead the bottom of the first with a two run home run.  G-Rich did an awesome job pitching by just allowing 1 run at the top of the second.  However, Joe Smith came into pitch at the top of the 7th he allowed 2 runs, and then Fernando Salas allowed another run.  So, at bottom of the 8th we were now behind 2-4.  Well, Aybar singled to right getting us to score, and then Johnny Baseball himself singled and batted in another runner.  I was so happy when Johnny tied it up for us that I yelled, “Man, I just want to hug him!!!”  The guy in front of me, who had been so fun in interacting with us all game and was a slew of information, asked, “Who, Giavotella?”  I said, “Yes, he’s so adorable!  I just want to hug him!  And he always comes through when we need him!  I love him!”  He replied, “Yes, me too!  I mean, I like him too, not the hugging part, you can take that!  I do hope he stays with us!”  “ME TOO!!” I yelled.

Anyways, we all know how that game ended, with Carlos Perez, in his major league debut, hitting that walk off home run, and we all celebrated with him.  It was AMAZING!  But this was probably the moment when I REALLY LIKED Johnny and he became one of my favorite Angels!

When I saw that G-Rich was doing a signing, I knew I could not pass it up!  I was debating adding the Freesey signing as well, but when I saw that Johnny got added, well, I just had to add his.  At first my friends were supposed to join me, but due to personal plans I ended up attending the signing alone before we met up for the Padres vs. Pirates game in San Diego (side note: YAY Andrew McCutchen!)

It’s funny that I have been a baseball fan, specifically an Angels fan, since I was child, yet Johnny is the first baseball player that I’ve ever met.  I guess music did own my life and thus I always had a personal connection to most of my favorite artists, but that is now gone and Johnny was the first baseball player I met.  And you know what? He was a pretty perfect first baseball player to meet.  He was super fun and friendly (although he did call ME fun, teeheehee), and just seemed to want to talk to and meet fans.  He was super excited over the pic I had him sign (pictured below) and we chatted about that game a bit.  He was super sweet and super fun (and I still think it’s funny that he just straight out said, “Well you’re really fun!”).

COME ON! This is such a cool shot!

So, like a fan, I went and followed him on Twitter and IG, and a quick look at his IG shows that his family and his faith are two of the most important things to him.  I mean, it’s just evident, no way of hiding it.  And, like I said before, I am observant.  I see how he interacts with everyone else.  He seems to care about everyone, care about his sport, and can manage to stay calm and collected in times of adversity.  And when he does poorly and is disappointed in himself, you can see it in his expression.  Like, when he missed that home run by like two inches, well, we could pretty much see his heart break!  And he seems to be very involved in the community by helping others.  And slowly but surely, Mr. Johnny Giavotella has risen to be my favorite current Angel, because you can just see his heart though it all.  By the second time I met him I was in full fledge “I *heart* Johnny” mode than this time, well, I was nervous.  I was so nervous to the point that when I first saw him I yelled, “YOU WERE SAFE!!!” (in reference to a bad call from the night before!).  Of course, he was a sweetie and said, “You don’t have to tell me that!”  I was like, “But you were so obvious safe!” and to that he replied, “Well, we all make mistakes sometimes!”  Awww, so sweet.  Then I was trying to talk to him just like I had before, but now this time I was so nervous and all that came out was, “You are awesome, you remind me of Eckstein cuz he was awesome too and I love you…”  He just sat there smiling at me and I walked away.  Yeah, AWKWARD!! (I wouldn't be JP if I wasn't awkward!)

Anyways, the more I observe and learn about Mr. Giavotella, the more I love him.  Which bring us back to the picture in question:

It was my birthday, and there I was, with 19 other loved ones, watching the Angels take on the Yankees from the Trout Farm.  Johnny had singled and then scored off of Pujols’ double at the bottom of the first.  I straight out said that it was because he knew it was my birthday, lol!  New York scored at the top of the third, but after Trout homered at the bottom of the third and Calhoun’s double in the 5th allowed Robertson to score, we were up 3-1.

At the top of the 7th Trevor Gott, one of my faves, (Side note: I actually saw him pitch when one of my friends took me to a University of Kentucky game in my brief stint down there, add that to the fact that he’s awesome, yeah, he’s one of my faves) came to relieve CJ Wilson.  He walked the first batter and the second batter singled.  Now there were two men on base with no outs, and I could see Trevor getting nervous.  From my seat I began to yell encouraging, “Come on Trevor!  You can do this!  You got this! Just relax!”

Mariana turned to me and said, “Well, he is facing the Yankees, he’s gotta be super nervous!”  I replied, “Yeah, but he’s gotta calm down!  He can do this!”

With my eyes fixated on the 6 foot tall. 22 year old, sending out all the positive vives I could, I see the adorable second basement with his adorable high socks approach the pitcher’s mound.  I obviously couldn’t hear what he was saying, but I saw Johnny pat him. I, being the observant person that I am, of course saw the whole thing.

“Did you see that?”  I yelled.  No one knew what I was referring too.  “Johnny just went up to Trevor and gave him like words of encouragement and what seemed like a “You got this” pat!!”  Nope, no one knew what I was talking about, because only I am the weird one that was observing and staring at this.

And this is why I love Johnny.  Because he cares!  And I know the other guys care too.  Like how Pujols is basically daddy for the team and how Mike Trout cares about all his fans, but Johnny, he’s something special.  He felt the need to go out of his way and approach the mound to encourage Trevor.

And that one picture shows just why I love him so much.  He has heart, for his family, for his faith, for his fans, and for individual members of his team.

After the game I was telling others about this moment, but no one knew what I was talking about.

I went on to The Halo way, the official Angels blog, to see if there any pictures of us on my birthday since I clearly saw the photographer take pix of us.  Well sure enough, there we were!

I was super giddy and excited, but then I saw that picture and that moment between Johnny and Trevor, well, of course, my heart leapt for joy!  That picture is now my desktop background at work, because it is such a sweet moment, and a moment that proved once again why I love Johnny G!

March 2nd, 2015

Help fight human trafficking @ 01:27 pm

Current Mood: hopeful hopeful

My church is literally running to help fight Human Trafficking.  March 15 is the LA Marathon and the Dream Center’s Project Hope is one of its premier charities.  Almost 200 people are running to help free women and you can help by sponsoring one of our runners.  Our goal is to raise $200,000 to help fund our Project Hope, which is actually the only emergency shelter for human trafficked victims in Southern California.

I’m choosing to highlight my fellow Media team member Chuck Goodrich who is running.  You can sponsor him here: https://secure.qgiv.com/hobnob/account/543450

Of course, you can choose to sponsor any of our runners as all the proceeds go to Project Hope, just highlighting him since the poor guy doesn’t have that many sponsors…yet!  Hehe.

More information about our cause can be found here: http://www.dreamcenter.org/marathon/
The video is both eye-opening and heart wrenching, one that I highly recommend watching.

EDIT: Here is the embeded video for those who cannot locate it on our site:

Here is KTLA’s news segment on Project Hope and the Dream Center: http://ktla.com/2015/02/25/asics-l-a-marathon-charities-3-the-dream-center/

If you have any questions or want more information, fell free to ask me and if I cannot answer them I point you in the right direction.


Janet's Planet

God, music, and philantrophy!