Sunday, January 31, 2010

Fun Homework!

Do you ever have those assignments that you think are going to take a reasonable amount of time, and then somehow they stretch into double of what you thought it would be? 
Well I had one of those tonight. We were assigned to create a "Character development" worksheet for my Child Growth class. I thought maybe it would take an hour, tops. 
But what I didn't take into account, is that I spend alot of time on something I care about. And I care about this so 
much so that I wanted it to be as perfect as it possibly could be
. What might have taken an hour had I just slopped it toget
her, ended up taking me 3 hours! 

But that's okay. I love the final outcome!

The character 
trait I got most excited and inspired thinking about was humility, because that's something God has been revealing that I need to work on. Just when I get to thinking that I'm doing great, He brings to mind that that's exactly the kind of thinking that makes it dangerous for me. When I think I'm doing awesome on my own is when my humility and trust in the power of Christ alone is severely lacking. 
Anyway, I'm rambling. :-) 

Here is the finished 
product that I'm going to turn in tomorrow. It is geared toward a 4th-5th grader. 


 Definition – Not thinking highly of yourself, but finding ways to serve those around you

Key Verses – Matthew 13:3-17, I Peter 5:5, Romans 12:3

Opposite – Pride

 * Most of the people in the world spend their days trying to make themselves look good. But the Christian’s goal should be to lift up others instead of himself. God desires for each of His children to have a heart that is humble. Grab your Bible and refer to these verses to see what God thinks about the man who isn’t humble. While you do that, answer the T/F questions below:

 T     F      Pride is the greatest of the seven deadly sins. (Prov 6:16-19)

T     F      Because pride is an issue of the heart, God has no control over someone who

               chooses to be proud. (Dan 4:37)

T     F      Jesus did not mind the Pharisees’ proud heart as long as they did all the right things on the outside.  (Matt 23:27-28)

T     F      The best way to lead people is to serve people. (Matt 23:11)


The Greatest Example of Humility:

            As the disciples gathered around the table for the Last Supper, they talked and joked with hardly a thought for what was coming up very soon. Jesus was well aware of the crucifixion that was going to take place in just a few short hours. He wanted to show the disciples one more lesson before it happened.

            Slowly and intently, he rose from his place and padded across the room to the water basin in the corner. He had the disciples’ full attention as he wrapped around himself the towel of an ordinary servant and began to gently wash the disciples’ grimy, disgusting feet. One by one he wetted and dried them, till he came all the way around to Peter.

             When he had sat back down, Jesus asked the disciples if they knew why he had done that. They all looked sheepishly around at one another. Not too long before, they had been arguing about who was the best among their group.

Jesus explained that the one who is truly “the best” is the one who is willing to be a servant. Even though he was the Lord of the Universe, he was willing to serve them as an example of humbleness like he wanted them to have. Did they think they could do different? Did they think they were greater than their Master? What about you? How dirty is YOUR towel?


If you live as a servant toward others, will you have a miserable life? _____________

Explain your answer:




*Great Ideas for Putting a Humble Heart into Practice this Week:

- Whenever you are tempted to judge other people, even if it is only in your mind, ask God to help you not to think highly of yourself.

-  Do not always be quick to talk about yourself. Ask questions about others and then listen closely to what they say.

(It looks slightly cooler than this when it's in the format of a word document. But I don't know how to upload it like that to my blog but, you get the idea!)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Couldn't Resist

was just flipping through some files on my computer and I stumbled across this "oldie but goodie." This is from way back when Orlando Bloom was in his rising stardom, and while I never EVER professed to be an Orlando fanatic, how can I deny that this picture is absolutely adorable!? C'mon, he's a dog-lover and an archery expert... What is not to like? ;-) 

I just felt I should share it, because you'll either get a smile because you agree with me, or because you find this post amusing. Either way I'm satisfied. 

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Dreaming with my Eyes Wide Open

Dreams are funny things.

And I don't mean the dreams you have while you are asleep. I'm talking those times when you are dreaming with both eyes WIDE open. I guess you could substitute dreams for the word "desires". What really gets me, is that I have had some deep dreams (desires) over the course of my life that so many people view as only common things. That shows either that I dream only the small things, or that I hold a high appreciation for the small things. I like to think of it as the latter. {smiles}

Take for example, when I was working at Bob Evans restaurant as a hostess, every day I would watch the waitresses and think, "One day, when my boss is in need of a server, I will be thrilled to fill the position!" I dreamed of the day I would poor coffee, take orders, earn tips, and talk to the customers about more than, "How was your food and service today?"
Such a simplistic dream. But one that I fantasized about for hours at that hostess podium. To the ones who were waitressing tables at the time, it was just a way to pay the bills - and an exhausting way at that!
But finally, I was trained to take a spot as a server, and I've loved it ever since. That's not to say there haven't been hard days at it, but I think God's plan in letting me desire it for so long a time was purposed for me to appreciate it all the more once the job was finally mine.

Or, here's another example.... Ever since I was a little girl of eleven years old, it had been my dream of going to Africa. I heard the Applegates speak in church about all their experiences and encounters as missionaries in the wild country of Uganda, and as their pictures flashed across the slideshow I thought, "God, one day I want to go there! Take me there, so that I may see the rolling hills, breath the misty air of the African morning, and look tenderly into those expressive baby-black eyes." And lo and behold, when I came to FBBC, they were offering a mission trip all the way to South Africa! I prayed and dreamed, applied to go, and struggled over where the money for a plane ticket was going to come from. But God is good and He worked in the most surprising of ways to provide every penny. Before I knew it, 3 precious weeks in Africa had flown by and left an imprint on my heart that will not soon be forgotten. 

Through this time I learned God is the giver of dreams and the fulfiller of them.

And then there's that intense dream and desire God has given me of being a teacher... No job in the world appeals more! I do not know where, and I do not even know for how long, but I do know that the love of my life right now is the idea of shepherding a classroom for a year while God shapes and molds the children He has entrusted me with. (Matthew 5:19 "... but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.") This is the spring semester of my sophmore year in studying to teach, and it barely feels like work at all! I go to class each day with the anticipation of learning something new to add to my "toolbelt" as God prepares me for this calling that He has placed upon my heart.
Sometimes I feel so small and insignificant in "Teacherland", as I am just one person amidst the however many thousands of people who claim this job as their own. 

Is it considered a small dream of mine if so many others already have it? I thought to Dream Big was to do something Extraordinary, something Exceptional! But then I realize, that it doesn't have to be the most unique thing that's ever been done. If it's unique to my life, that'll be enough. Even if it's the most mundane and common man's work to be done, my God has granted me the desire for a reason. What I need to do is to stop comparing how well I do it to the standards of everybody else, and simply focus on being the best "Janell" that God has made me to be. That's all that God requires of me. He doesn't ask me to be "Bob" or "Suzy" or "Mother Theresa." I am NOT those people. He has entrusted me with dreams and desires because He wants to use them in my life and to work through me. If I carry out even the smallest task, but do it heartily as to the God that called me to do it, then He will be glorified.

And my dreams will have meaning. 
For even the littlest of dreams is of value.... when it makes on impression on all of eternity.

(Note: my next "big dream" for my life, that so many people have done and probably take as a given for it to be their summer plans: is to work as a counselor at a Christian camp! I am eagerly praying for this desire to become a reality, as there are so many open doors for this. I know there wouldn't be cause for regret, and I would be seriously stretched from those few short weeks of total challenge and "Fun-ness"! What exciting opportunities might the future hold!? :-)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Bed, Sweet Bed...

See, it doesn't take much at all these days to excite me. 
For days this "new post" button has seemed rather daunting at my fingertips. I want to write. Really I do. It's just that when I finally accomplish the long-awaited homework, and faced with the choice between computer and bed there always seems to be a blatantly obvious choice.

What am even I doing trying to wax eloquent tonight? The truth of the matter is that I don't have a clue which direction to take this blog! I am trying to concentrate my thoughts above the voices in the background. My roommate is on a cleaning spree tonight - I don't know what got into her. But I LIKE it! lol 
She just realized how long we have been listening to her Spanish music and she exclaimed, "I'm sorry for putting you through that." I wasn't gonna say anything.... but since she asks I'd have to say I don't largely love that music. But it's okay cuz I love HER! :-) 
I could tell you about my day at KTC and how much I love those kids and even learn from them. I have the most fun job! One day I can't wait to have a classroom full of kids like that... I could very easily write all the bigs and littles of it... 

I could write a passage that deals with the Holy Spirit filling a child of Christ every day. I read it tonight that touched me deeply. I very much want to write about that, but not tonight. 

Now that I'm actually here and lying in bed, I am fighting the sleep. I know I am going to drift off with my computer still in lap and my alarm still set for 2:30 in the afternoon! 
So, I shall leave you with this meager "hello; goodnight" thing. 
On another night in the near future I can leave you with a little more meat to chew on. You can be certain, there are things God has been working on in me that are bursting to be shared! 

Sweet dreams. 
Oh how I look forward to sweet bed.... 

(is that pathetic?....)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I'm still around

Just wanted to let you know I haven't strayed too far from my roots of this blog. I've just gone to college - which is a mere 3 hours away from my hometown, and yet such an uncaluable distance from my relaxing "homework-free" life as I knew it back home. 
I hope that sentence wasn't too confusing. I was trying to make a little joke. It sounded funny in my head.... There's so much more to be written, but I'm not really in the frame of mind to write something largely profound or revealing. I just wanted to say, hey little blog, I haven't forgotten about you! I will be keeping up with you as I forge ahead into these crazy college days! 

Well, I'm heading off to see how far I make it into reading Ryrie before I drift away to dreamland. For tonight, I leave you with this snowy scrapbook page I did over Christmas break. 

Thanks for reading! I'll write more shortly. 
(Still trying to gain my bearings on the homework this semester. It'll be fine soon.)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Finally brethren, whatever is true, 
whatever is honorable, 
whatever is right, 
whatever is pure, 
whatever is lovely, 
whatever is of good report, 
if there is any excellence 
and if anything worthy of praise, 
dwell on these things.
            Philippians 4:8

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Beautiful Soul

Some people sparkle. 

(and for all you Twilight fans, I am NOT talking about the glistening skin of a vampire-person...thing. That's just in the "creepy" zone.) 

I am talking about the hearts of some people. Who is it in your life that God continually uses to radiate His grace and goodness and love and faithfulness, just through the blessing of their friendship? 
It's true what the Bible says in Proverbs 4:23 "Guard your heart with all diligence. For out of it are the issues of life." It's clear to see when good things are going into one's heart, because good things will come pouring out practical life. 
How is it I am so blessed to have people around me possessing such beautiful hearts? I am truly grateful to have met a number of these people in my lifetime. It's the smile that reaches the eyes; the hearing each other out even if we reach a different conclusion; the inspiration to be better than I am now.

Such is the case with the amazing twins I just spent an entire evening with! Four hours in a corner booth passed by in a fleeting instant! I could listen and talk til the stars fall (or the place closes up for the night :-) 
She told me, "Focus on God. Whenever you get depressed or tempted to complain about your life, remember all the God has done for you and all He has given you." 

Well to start with, He has given me these great  friends.... 

Oooh and we watched "The Princess and the Frog" tonight. It was totally completely adorable!!  And it was surprisingly hilarious.(if you can get past the weird Voodoo Bad-Guy.) Yeah, if you get the chance... WATCH IT :-) 

I LOVE my Girlfriends!:

"Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the face."     - Victor Hugo

"Girlfriends understand the healing properties of laughter, chocolate, and a good, long shopping trip." 

"What a thing friendship is, world without end!
How it gives the heart and soul a stir-up!"       
                                                                          -Robert Browning

"True friends are those who are better together than either of them could be alone." 

"God's goodness to us is revealed in our friendships.... They hold the blessings we were created to enjoy - laughter, encouragement, compassion, generosity, forgiveness, and love."

Monday, January 4, 2010

Ain't it Awesome!?

The Stuff that Matters

I did some shopping today. Some Serious Shopping! 

My partners-in-spending: Ashley, Megan, and Heather. 

My objective: buy a coat and a pair of shoes to go with my skirts for college. (preferably shoes of the flat sort, so my feet aren't killing me to walk to class all day.) 

By golly, it was so much fun! It must have been something in the air.... Some magic spark that just made it a grand day for a girls' day. Maybe it was the Christmas money bulging in our pockets, or perhaps it was the twinkling lights snaking up the trees as we braved the cold streets of the (Outdoor!!) mall.
The irony of the ridiculous windchill temperatures today is that I did find that coat I was so patiently pursuing. It's beautiful! Long, and sleek, and a deep green color (With its prominent black and white stitching it almost reminds me of a the colors and aura of an Scottish kilt.) I am beside myself with joy to have a coat now for those icy-cold days at school - when you spend so much of your time in Iowa, you want to have a coat that you feel like you look GOOD in, because you find yourself practically living in it!

Anyway, early in this promising day as I was hustling out the door, in sheer curiosity mom had inquired, "So about what time do you think you'll be home?".... 


...I stumbled back over the threshold, dumping bags on the first empty floor-space I saw. I had made it home just in time for dinner. (Mmm, lasagna and rolls tonight!) After relaxing with the fam to watch some good old major-fakey "reality" tv, I relocated downstairs to hold my own personal fashion show as I reacquainted with every item I had bought. 

Some things, I adored just as much as I recall from our fitting room introduction three hours earlier.  One or two purchases, I didn't like quite as much as I remember. No worries though, because I kept the receipts, and I might make a quick return trip tomorrow. (Oh goodness, I'm turning into my mother! Ahhh, the Return Queen has a Princess!!)

But here's the realization and the point to this account of my day....  
As I held up the outfits and admired them, it slowly dawned on me that "this shirt is just a piece of fabric. Nothing more."
What point is there to be caught up in the mindset of the malls and the materialism? This isn't the stuff that's gonna last. It's exactly the message of the Carrie Underwood song that happened upon us on the way to the mall - "This is just a temporary home." These things will pass away.

 If I'm not careful, I tend to get project-minded, instead of friendship-focused. I may think the coolest part of the day was a brand new jacket, or that this afternoon was wonderfully productive, but why? Was it because I bought alot, and I liked what I bought? 
It was a profitable day because I got to spend time with my friends. I learned something more not just about what their tastes are in fashion, but about what's in their heart and what's on their mind. 
That's what makes this day worth it. 

THEY made this day what it was. 
The coat was just an added bonus :-) A tangible memory of the stuff that matters.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

My Prayer Tonight

Dear God, 
Take away the empty and vain words I speak, and restore them with words fitly spoken for the time and place. 
"Wisdom has two parts: 1) having alot to say, and 2) not saying it." 

Let me not think of myself or higher than I ought to think. Please take away this spirit of pride that's so hard to shake. 
"I want to be molded into the likeness of Jesus Himself. I want everyone (not just some) to see the loving God of the universe when they interact with my life. I desire my life to be a little taste of heaven, whetting apetites for more of God." 
                      -Eric Ludy 

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Jesus my Love <3

Your love is extravagant

Your friendship, it is intimate

Spread wide in the arms of faith

Is a love that covers sin

No greater love have I ever known

You’ve considered me a friend


Captured my heart again.

I didn't mean to make any resolutions... They just kinda happened!

This Year (2010):


I will not hide behind my religion, but I will grow in it.


I will share my faith as compassionately, as knowledgably, and as bravely as my little brother does.

 I will not be fake with anyone.


I will not be afraid of my feelings, or of expressing them.


I will be a listener. I’ll hear what people are really trying to tell me. I’ll pay attention to the intricacies of who that person is. I won’t stereotype.


I will try as best as I possibly can, to not pass judgment on a person until I have the full story.


I will write. I will blog. I will write poems, novels, letters, whatever I am called to write.


I will scrapbook. Because I feel alive and like I have done something of value when I do that.


I will dream of rolling waves and seagulls, and of towering pine-covered mountains far more often than I do now. Because they are happy places to me.


I will read all the Harry Potter books, just to say I did. To make Derrick get off my back about them. J


I will be more like this family I know and love, because they are the most accepting, giving, sacrificing people I’ve met, and they welcome with open arms.


I’ll make lists. Because as annoying as all these fragmented sentences are, they help me know what I’m thinking.


This Year (2010): My world will not revolve around me.

This I pray, dear God.