Saturday, March 13, 2010

Alternatives :-)

So, while I was looking for pictures relating to "kindness" to compliment my previous post, I came across some pretty good ones. Not so somber and inspiring as the one I finally chose (I couldn't get away from wanting to pick that one!) but the others are definitely worth a look, as they are undoubtedly "touching" images... In more ways than one!

                             What are a few germs given in the name of kindness?

                                                   Oh is THAT what it is??....

                             Pay it Forward. Easily explained by a child on a 
                            chalkboard. What a practical and revolutionary idea.

                                     Off to a good start on his kindness practice....

                                       Doesn't this one just make your heart melt!? 
                                         (See, you can show love even to someone 
                                             who's a little different from you! :-) 

One Small Act

At work today, I was part of a scene that touched me in a really special way. 
The table I was serving called me over and asked, "Could we have her check?" indicating a tiny, elderly lady who comes in regularly. I was completely thrown off kilter for a moment, but then I realized they were wanting to pay her bill....

With my mind soaring at the privelidge to be let in on the conspiring, I searched out my coworker who had been serving the unknowing recipient of this good deed. I explained the situation and with a shrug he handed over what I needed. Receipt in hand, I stealthily delivered it to my table and watched as they quietly and humbly carried through with their intentions at the register. Mission accomplished. 

Then, about 20 minutes later, I watched as her waiter informed her that she would not have to be paying for today's bill because somebody had already taken care of it. There were tears in her tender eyes as she whispered a heartfelt thank you to the faceless benefactor. Who knows how much she needed it? If it had been the timely answer to her prayers, only God would know that. 

That one small act of kindness completely showered light into someone's heart. It doesn't take much. Just a little thought. Just a little observation of the people around you and what needs they might have. How can I meet the need in someone's life? Sometimes it makes all the more impact if they don't even know where it came from. I might never know the difference of that one small act this side of heaven! 

How long has it been since I gave something without any motive of receiving in return? Those people today did not even have the pleasure of seeing news of their kindness delivered. That was mine to enjoy.

And mine to learn from. 

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Captivating Thoughts

There are some jobs and some duties in life that demand your thinking. You must reign it in and commit it to a certain task for so many hours of the day. 
If you're in school, you HAVE to think about the lecture. If you're serving tables in a restaurant, you HAVE to think about the food. If you're a heart surgeon, then for those hours during surgery at least, your mind must be restricted to thinking about only certain things. (preferably for the patient's sake anyway!)

But a week's break from school shows me what truly occupies my thoughts. What do I think about while I drive? Right before I go to sleep? Where does my mind travel when I am free to think about whatever I desire? Do my thoughts rest on Christ? Do they automatically go to Him? 

For me, it has been music and teaching. These things pull my mind in their direction, like a magnet to its partner. But now I'm thinking, 
"How many of these thoughts have been WASTED?" 
As a Christian I am responsible to channel my thoughts even during the break-times. Taking them captive. Setting them as an offering before the throne of my King. What would HE have me think about? 
Would He want critical, judgmental thoughts? Worried thoughts? Discontented thoughts?

Are my thoughts pure and lovely before Him? 

I decide what I think about. 
What I think about decides who I am. 

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

"No Boundaries, Only Horizens"

Tonight I did it! 

I finally did it. 

Ever since I saw a little blurb of a commercial for the new Amelia Earhart movie (that's not new anymore :-P) I've been dying to see it! I watched it downstairs all by my lonesome, because my family didn't think it sounded very exciting. 
(I have discovered though, that I love "historical" movies. Just as I cannot turn down a good "historical fiction" book, or also a good biography, I hold the same type of movies as some of my very favorites! Stories with Real settings like "Valkarie" and "Defiance", "Swing Kids" and "Life is Beautiful" and "A Cinderella Story"... Along with stories of real people, like "The Shirley Temple Story" and "Amelia Earhart." Have you also noticed what time period I cannot seem to stay away from? ;-) What can I say?... It's all so very fascinating! 

Anyway, while I can't say I condone everything in the movie, it was very well done and told with an accurate balance of this woman's outstanding life. Because "stand out," she did. The movie starts out rather on the feministic side, showing the struggles of a woman who wants to be involved in what has previously been thought of as "a man's territory." But throughout her journey, Amelia learns some valuable lessons, not just in the air, but in her own home and heart... 

I came away with 3 special things from this movie tributing her life.... 

First of all, I didn't even know that she had a husband! Usually, she is depicted as so feminist that she won't let any man stand between her and her plane. But in the movie, she even states right before her very last trip that she is going to give up her love of flying, all for the love of the man she is married to. That caught me off guard. It really sets Amelia as not just a static character of the story. She is someone who is changing and maturing from just a fun-loving, adventure-seeking girl to someone who considers how her actions will affect those she loves. 

Secondly, it's amazing to me that God knew exactly where Amelia was, even when she lost all contact with the ground communications. While they were on the ground beginning to panic, God was completely in control. God knew the whole time on that last flight where she was, and where she would go down at. Though it surprised the rest of the world, nothing surprises Him! The expanse of water that surrounded her and her navigator on all sides is perfectly mapped out by God's sovereign hand. Isn't my God good to know even the things that remain a mystery to mankind? 

And the last thing that struck me from that movie is the number of girls who looked up to "Lady Lindi." She definitely earned their admiration with her bravery and curiosity and confidence to try new things. What kinds of role models do girls look up to now? Hannah Montana!? Forgive me, but I do not see the same depth to her life.... What did she ever do that's worth that sort of "imitation-admiration"? Amelia Earhart wasn't perfect; she made mistakes. The movie depicts that all too vividly at times. But she was a growing person, and a person with real, true courage and a big heart with big visions. If you ask me as a teacher, THAT'S the type of person I will one day want to introduce my kids to! 

"If I listened everytime I was told that something's 'impossible', then I wouldn't be flying right now. Don't let anybody turn you around." -Amelia, to a dreaming, young pilot friend

To Clarify

I've been thinking about my "review" for that book... 

The thing that keeps me so intrigued by this series is the deep bond that this little self-constructed family shares with each other. I love the different ways that express that affection and how well they know each other inside and out. 

The most magnetic pull of the books on me is that they remind me of the complexity of every person. There are no "stereotypes" found in these pages. Dee H. so intricately weaves together all the details of a character's
                                    and history 
in order to reveal a complex and intriguing person with a unique perspective on the world.

Sometimes in my hurry throughout life I fail to recognize these details that make up the people in my own life. These books spark in me a greater appreciation for the reality of who every person is, not just the box they can be categorized in. 

Now Reading....

The Truth Seeker. 

I haven't finished yet, but I am absolutely loving it so far! Lisa is a forensic pathologist working on some unresolved cases from years ago, while Quinn is working to find the one who shot his father. When their paths cross, will their cases cross as well? And then when she disappears, the stakes heighten. Will he solve the case's mystery before it's too late? 

The Story behind the Story. 
Does it sound simple enough? Well, the background to it is that all six of the OMalley's were children at the same orphanage. They formed a bond as strong as family, so when the oldest reached 18 he adopted them all so that they'd be able to legally be just that. Each of them went into an intensely demanding profession, including such things as Negotiator, U.S. Marshall, Firefighter, Paramedic. 
Each book focuses on a different member of the OMalley family, relating the story of the hugest battle of his or her career, which drew him or her to discover God's desire for a relationship with them.

If you haven't read an OMalley book (by Dee Henderson) you need to check it out! I don't care what kind of book you generally like; this one has all the good elements of mystery, drama, action, romance, dialogue, suspense, and spirituality all wrapped up into one amazing book! And you can start with any of the books! I guarantee it'll leave you coming to grab another one....

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Teacher Chatter

(These are a couple of amazing teachers- Jen, my friend from church with the biggest most genuine smile I know, and Kristen, who dearly encouraged me with her warm welcome to her classroom today. :-)

Did I ever tell you, my little blog, how very much I want to be a teacher??

"Once or twice," you might say with a sigh and a roll of the eyes. 

But oh it's so true! I just can't help but talk about teaching. When something is imprinted so deeply on your heart and you feel so passionately about it, you just can't help but keep coming back to it in your thinking and your conversation. 

(What is it for you? 
Is it writing a captivating fiction story? 
Is it turning a recipee from a book into a delicious reality on the table? 
Is it blaring your tuba music?...)

How does God want to use the loves He has given you to bring glory to Himself? 
Because believe me, if you give them to Him, He WILL!

He's slowly impressing upon me that I don't have to be "THE best at" something.... But I should be the best I can be with what He's given me. I get intimidated and discouraged thinking how many Good/Great/Exceptional teachers are out there! 
Who am I to come barging into the profession hoping to bring something new to the table? 

But I realize that I just have to be available. The heart of a servant is not to be seen as the best; it's simply to be used to brighten the little corner of the world God has entrusted to me. 

All that to say, I spent an amazing day today at the public school in my area, watching second grade! I loved how the sweet teacher never had to raise her voice when she wanted to maintain order. Some people have the misconception that “louder = more in control.” This is not necessarily the case, as I found with her. She simply asked them to clap once if they could hear her voice. She did not stress about the little stuff, and she foresaw problems and stopped them before they had a chance to happen. I really admired her gentle, predicable, and consistent spirit. It was a joy to be in her classroom. When I told her this, she informed me that if you start the day off with a rushed and stressed attitude then that is how the rest of the day will go. You really have to have that defining moment where you gain a self control of your own spirit so that you will be a good example to the kids in that.

            She said that there are many needs within her classroom. It surprises and overwhelms her at times. At least four or five kids in her class have families in a special program to receive food from the school. A large number are dealing with parents going through divorces or other problematic family situations that are difficult on them. My heart goes out to these kids. I hope I am able to teach kids like that some day, not only to give them a handle on the joys of reading and the importance of mathematics, but also to assure them they can trust in the Lord to be their strength through the pains.

            Overall, it was an incredibly encouraging day! There was so much new and extravagant technology that the students and teachers were able to utilize for better learning. The kids at the public school are very blessed in the area of material and tangible things. I only wish they were so rich in the important things of life that cannot be felt and seen. 

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Piece of my heart halfway around the world

I brainstormed many possible names for this blog. And even now my brain is still running a mile a minute to decide if this is the best of names or if there is a better one out there. I think this one does very accurately depict the type of girl I am and what I'm all about. And yet, the only qualms I have with it is that, with the focus on the joys of this "little corner of the world" I run the risk of looking ONLY at those things. There's a great big world out there and I want very much to be aware of it and not neglect to acknowledge it, even in my humble blog posts once in a while.

So speaking of the great big world....

I just have to interject about Africa.

Thoughts of this warm and wild continent still linger in my mind on a daily basis. They never really quite go away. It's like once you've been there and seen it with your own two eyes it casts it's Any mention of Africa and it's history or struggles or stories can immediately perk up my ears. There is definitely a special place in my heart for this precious country. When you think of them, would you be willing to pray with me for it's Christians who serve so faithfully and tirelessly? I know they would way appreciate it!

Here's the video of our South Africa Team from 2009: It's totally worth the watch!

Delighting to Inspire

I am rather excited about this new background.

Okay, I'll admit that's a little of an understatement... I am THRILLED to find a background that doesn't clutter with so many colors and patterns as before. It's cheery, yet simple. 

It makes me happy. Very.

I'm learning I have alot to learn about blogs and the world of blogging. Somehow, it seems like there are "strict rules" to this whole blogging thing. I find myself wanting to fit into the "good blogger mold." But then I get discouraged when I don't have the time or the computer know-how to do it. 

So back to my roots of reasons to blog. I'm not looking for it to be "best blog on the block." I try not to care about how many (or how few) comments come my way. For me it's just the pure joy of playing with words. The privilege of freedom to speak and the excersise of sharing my "trial and error." 

The more I think about it, the more I HOPE for my blog to be something outside the cookie cutter of a "normal" blog. Plain and simple. 

Even if that means having a bazillion quotation marks in one post. 
lol Don't put it past me!... 
That, or being "a follower" of myself... Seriously, I accidently clicked on the option that I wanted to follow this blog, and now if you look on my list of followers I am listed as one of them! I'm still trying to figure out how to get that off of there... :-P 

Oh well, maybe during this week of spring break. So enough apologizing for not having everything "just so," or for not blogging for large chunks at a time.... it's back to sharing of the little tidbits on my mind as they come. It's not a job; it's a joy. It's not a duty; it's a delight. 

 There's so much to catch up on! I hope to start posting more faithfully and inspire you in your own creative endeavors, whatever your cup of tea may be! 

Growing in Grace, (and in blogging know-how!)