Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Take Me There

I've got South Africa on the brain!....

I just read an update from the Children's Village where I will be - God-willing - in just a couple short months. I eagerly look forward to seeing what He will do with this year of of surprises and opportunities.
A passage comes to mind that I've been mulling over all day.
"For thou, Lord, hast made me glad through thy work: I will triumph in the works of THY hands." Psalm 90:4 (emphasis mine) When I think of all that it will take to travel there, and then once I am there, all the little things that will be different and difficult, I can only say the words of Psalm 37:4-5 "Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass."

The Lord knows my heart.
He knows my fears that He will not answer this prayer with a yes.
He knows my fears that if His will really is for me to be there, even then I might not be all I should be for His glory.
He knows this longing of my heart, how I want to be there.

Trust in Him is so easy to say, but through this He is challenging me to DO.
And I can't wait to see what HE does!
"This is the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes." Psalm 118:23

Just watch the smiling dark eyes in this video and tell me you don't want to be there!.... :-)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Beautiful Prayer

The peasant gives little thought to his shabby clothes as he is escorted into the brilliant palace hall. He can feel the cool marble floor beneath the padding of his calloused bare feet.
As he eagerly strides past the gold-plated pillars
that tower above on either side,
his gaze is fixed ahead on the door to the throne room.
Above the door in flowing, elegant script,
reads the name of the kingdom: Grace.

This ragged peasant is taken-aback in awe every time he unbolts the large oak doors
with his personal key and swings them open
to reveal the glory within.
Every muscle in his body twitches with the urge
to run down the long corridor
so that he can be near to the throne faster,
but he reigns in his excitement.
The roll of exquisite, purple carpeting carries him
right up to foot of the throne,
where he immediately buries his face into the plush velvety softness.
For there,
he is surrounded by light and majesty.
It is not the golden light that is streaming in
from the stained glass windows,
but a sheer, white light that radiates from the throne itself.
Every time, this moment surprises him.
While the peasant no longer remembers
how many times he has entered,
he is struck once again at
how unworthy he is in the face of such splendor and goodness.
His body is racked with great, heaving sobs
at the memories of the quarreling before he left home.
He has not just harmed his wife.
This is a personal offense to the rules the King has established.
All that our peasant friend can do
is to declare over and over again, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry."
The King is on His throne and beside Him,
the Prince grins widely. "Stand, dear one. Because you ask, you are forgiven."
The King summons and the peasant responds obediently.
He listens intently to the Voice of Love
as the King speaks His next words.
"I know you have come here to beg forgiveness
for this offense against my name.
And I gladly give it.
You also seek counsel on how to handle the situation.
I have all this planned out as well.
Trust me and I will help you.
What else is on your heart today, my son?"
The reference to his adoption fills the peasant
with a renewed boldness as he looks into the tender eyes of the king.
"I have come to make request for my family
and for two families that live in our area.
All of our food is running dangerously low and
I cannot afford to feed the precious babies that you have entrusted to me.
Will you help us?"
Once again, he bows his head in respect.
The Prince nods in understanding and then leans in close to His Father's right side.
"I know what it's like in the village, Father. I've been there. I wore those rags and drank that water. I slept on the straw mat the peasant uses, and played with his kids and his dog. I huddled around the candlelight with him and his wife, and explained to them the books on their shelf that did not make sense before. Hear him out, Father,
for his needs are many.
And I care deeply about him."
The King nods in appreciation to his earnest beloved Son,
and then turns to answer the peasant.


The peasant smiles to himself as he begins his journey back to the town. He is leading one of the king's own horses who is weighted down with an adequate amount of food for the peasant's family and friends.
He still doesn't know why they wanted to invite someone like him. But they have promised, and they ALWAYS keep their promises. Someday, this palace will be his home.
He will no longer make these frequent treks up the mountain to visit this place that he loves so much.
The Prince has promised that he is adding on rooms to the palace - on the best side, no less, where the view stretches out for miles, and the heat easily envelopes the room during winter.
There are a great many rooms. In fact, a room is being prepared for each villager who has requested one.
One day, the peasant and his family will be brought to live with the Prince as their brother and the King as their father.
Until then, this lowly peasant will continue to visit the royal family every day without fail, to find grace and mercy
to help in his time of need.
And to be reminded of his true home.
This kingdom is ruled differently from any other.
This is the Kingdom of Grace.

(My devotions today were in Hebrews 4:14-16. Can ya tell? ;-)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Entertaining Myself

Wow, no blog post for a whole week!? I'm pathetic.
And you know what else is pathetic? It is my goal to finish this post in the eight minutes I have left in the massage chair. This is important to me because I am a tired girl tonight.

Random happenings in our household:

- My dad just went out to get the mail (at 10:30 at night in the pouring rain, I might add), and discovered that someone shot our house with an orange paintball. Don't be alarmed. We got it off with a paper towel. Except for the part my dad couldn't reach. We're saving that one for Jeremy :-)

- Speaking of Jeremy, I spent 3 hours Christmas shopping with him today. Neither one of us are super thrilled about shopping, but we're happy to be together and getting the Christmas gifts picked out is like an added bonus.

- I have also enjoyed time with "the other brother" too! On Saturday, Wesley and I built this amazingly nifty Lincoln Log structure. He wanted to make the White House. So we did. Haha, you can totally see it, right? :-)

- I had lunch at Chic-fa-lae today (I have no idea how to spell that). It was a wonderful time getting to hang out with my so-sweet cousin, Dixie. She had alot of great insights into teaching. One of the most profound ones being, "Set your students up for success, not failure. It will make them want to learn if they know they can get it right." I thought that was a valuable nugget of truth, because think of the flip-side. Any teacher you have had where you know right off the bat that you are not going to meet his/her standards, doesn't it just obliterate all your motivation for trying?
Things to keep in mind while I embark on this teacher journey.

- One of my goals for this break was to dive back into reading missionary biographies again. Right now, I'm reading about the life of Mary Slessor, missionary to Africa. Her approach to the drunken and godless natives has totally captivated me. Seeing them in their front yards on the first day of being in the "Old Town" she marched right up to them and asked if they were ashamed. While of course, in our culture today, this would be unheard of, there is something to be said for Christians possessing the boldness to obey Christ even if it brings about discomfort. It is okay for the guilty to feel guilt. Because that is what will point them to the Savior. This fiery-haired Scottish woman is continuing to give me things to mull over as I read about her life of serving God - in one adventure after another!

- It's great to be playing guitar again. Recently I have been discouraged with my stagnate progress. I hadn't realized that I pushed it to the side until I picked up again today. Everything else I had planned for the next hour went out the window as I sang and got back into the rythms of the playing. My fingers are also now happily working on re-callousing. I can feel them tingling overtop the keys right now as I type. :-)

- My latest new favorite thing to do at night is to have that as my "quiet-time" to myself. My goal is to work on my to-do list and actually accomplish things during the day, and then at night I sit at my desk and put together a scrapbook page while watching old episodes of Psych via Netflix. I love that time! It's so good to be on break.
And recently I came across the boatload of pictures I printed from the last time I went to Africa. Since that is what is close to my heart as of late, it has been the most easy thing for me to focus on in my scrapbook pages. Here's the latest one, describing a game the class was playing when my friend and I sat in on the second grade....

It's been longer than eight minutes.
I hope you've enjoyed this obscure update of break. It will be over all too soon :-)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

So This Is What Break Feels Like....

It's so nice to be home.

It's Sunday night, with the lights dimmed in the living room. Mom and Wesley are reading a book together, I am here on the couch (blogging unashamedly with no homework over my head, I might add), Jer is working on his online class down by my feet, and dad is in the chair across the way looking over some sort of records from his office.

The whole family in one room. It's not very often that happens. And, as Jeremy mentioned in his prayer before breakfast the other day, "We don't know how many more times we will have this." I am certainly enjoying it while I can!

Yesterday was the first full day of Christmas break. It was such a wonderful time, I thought I'd take a moment to document the highlights....

* Spent time with the Lord before I even left my room in the morning (that way there was no opportunity for my thoughts to get intercepted with all the happenings of the day. :-)
Listening to the different Doctrines during our oral testings at school inspired me to do a study of Hebrews. It seemed that we kept coming back to that book and there are some deep and beautiful truths to be sifted through in it. I only made it through 4 verses that first day because I had to take it all in....
The author of Hebrews describes Jesus Christ as "the radiance of the glory of God" which is awesomely true, but couldn't be solely used to prove His deity.
As a Christian, I "radiate" God's glory too... But the verses go on to say that Jesus is "the exact imprint of His nature." While I am made in the image of God, I certainly do not have His nature. Jesus was GOD, with a human body willingly added on Himself. Because He loves me THAT MUCH.

* Made pancakes for the family.

* Ate pancakes with the family!

* Read about half of the book, "Who is my Shelter?" by Neta Jackson. For being a book I picked up out of the blue from the library, it is turning out to be a pretty good one! My favorite thing about it is that it puts me in this other world of the woman who is the main character. She is living in the Chicago area and starting a homeless shelter for women and children who are in the same situation she once found herself. Because I can hear all her thoughts through the pages of the book, I can so easily identify with her. I don't view Gabby as the same personality I have, but she definitely has the same human fears, joys, and struggles I have. I don't really know how to describe it, but I have enjoyed the read thus far.
I think I'm just enjoying the fact that I am reading and it's not for an assignment! :-)

* Played some basketball outside with Wes. He is getting really good! I actually have to start TRYING in order to beat him ;-) lol Good thing he doesn't read this blog or I'd get a poke and a "hey!" from him....

* Had some hot chocolate and put together a Garfield puzzle with Wesley.

* Unpacked, organized, and decorated my entire room (because this is going to be my home- base for an unsure amount of time in the future!) And considering how long it took to accomplish the task, I feel like the tribute to it should be longer on my blog. I guess I could show you some pictures of it.

* Enjoyed a meal of home-cooked spaghetti - once again, with the whole family :-)

* Settled in to read some more and listen to my most uplifting playlist... All of the songs are by Andrew Peterson. I highly suggest that you look him up on your favorite free-listening venue on the internet (grooveshark, pandora, lastfm, etc). Andrew Peterson music is unlike anything I've ever heard before in the fact that he is this awesome combination of a Biblical viewpoint coupled with unique, artistic songs. The best way I could say it is that he sings with an eternal perspective. A vast majority of his songs cause me to anticipate my heavenly home and could be characterized by II Corinthians 4:16-18. Here are a couple of the ones that especially touched me yesterday. I really hope you can look it up and be blessed by his songs as much as I have been!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Cracked Me Up!!

I usually try to keep in good spirits about exams, but any picture that causes me to break out in laughter uncontrollably is definitely worth sharing :-)

(Plus, it's not all that far off from how my week has been. But praise our God; He is faithful, right up until the end of a semester, and BeYoNd!)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

African Bound....

Has it really been nearly TWO weeks since that last post!?

As pathetic as that is, I feel like it's because I've had nothing to say or write. I have only had HOMEWORK.

And this is still somewhat the case. Even tonight I still have homework. But I figure I will get on and remind the little blog that I am still alive and well (just a little red-eyed as of late ;-)
But God has been soo good!

As of today, I was officially accepted to go to Bethesda for my student-teaching experience next semester. I am still reeling with the gratefulness of how He's worked all things out to get me this far.
We'll see what adventures lie ahead....

Monday, November 21, 2011

In My Weakness

This has been a day of failures.
(Sleeping in too long, not holding my tongue when I should, handling situations wrong at work....)

Tonight we as a group of college students had the pleasure of going downtown to conduct a chapel service for the men at the homeless shelter. I am growing to absolutely love the heart of that ministry! If I were given a microphone to be able to tell the guys there one message only, I would want to shout out about the GRACE of Jesus. In sitting down to talk with the people there, an infamous, reoccurring subject is about how they have blown it, or wasted their lives, or fallen from the top, or gone down the wrong road.
But I want them to know that with Jesus Christ helping them,
changing them,
they can ALWAYS get back on the right road.
No matter how far wrong they've gone.
There is always hope.
Maybe it's true that they wasted their lives up to this point,
but as long as they are still breathing, it's never too late.

A couple of friends and I were able to talk with a certain man named Steve. It was heart-breaking to hear about the state of his family, and the trouble he has had with addictions. He is hopeful, and determined to begin choosing more wisely in life.
He kept referring to all the amends he needs to make, and the grudges he needs to drop, and the things in his life he has to get right before he can know for sure that God will accept him into heaven.
This sprang my mind to Ephesians 2:8-9
Where the Bible says it's not by works of righteousness that we have done....
On my own good deeds, I have no hope of being accepted of God.
But by GRACE, I am saved from my sin through faith in Christ!
I pray for Steve, that he will first trust Jesus for his eternal standing with God, and then rely on the ultimate Righteous One to help him with the choices in his life.

It's easy to have a head knowledge of the Bible (especially after all the studying for orals!) but this talk made it hit home in my heart how all the more thankful I am for


(that may have to be my theme throughout the entire Thanksgiving season :-)

But wait, there's more to the Homeless shelter story of tonight.....
After turning from our conversation with Steve, we turned around and saw Hunter talking with a man who had been in the chapel. After some time of the two of them being alone, they announced, "Guess what!? Tonight Chuck got saved!"
How awesome was that!? And even with all my weakness and failures of the day, God allowed me to behold such an awesome moment, when He brought a beloved son of His into His kingdom. Chuck was a man who outwardly looked pretty rough, and I found out later that he had been in jail for 20 years before. But the old has passed away - the New has Come!

Like I said,
Today was a day of failures.
But Today was a day that Jesus had the Victory.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Ramblings from a Sleepy Brain

Getting pretty tired thinking of all the things that need to happen between now and the end of the semester - The three big ones being my online senior portfolio, creating responses to questions for my senior interview, and a Scripture memory scholarship.
*hint* If you are wondering things to pray for concerning me these days, this would be a great place to start (and would be so much appreciated!)
As a sidenote: I'm sure my Study-Buddy would appreciate prayer too.... She has her turn for orals tomorrow! She needn't be worried though; she's going to be great :-)

On a more light-hearted note, I had the most wonderful conversation tonight with my camp director's wife! She is a woman of such marvelous faith who I am honored to consider my friend :-) It was so refreshing to hear from her corner of the world! She and her children played some of the lead roles in a community production this past week. It was such a blessing to me to hear the way she had depended on God to get her through the whole thing, AND to help her do well in it - with NO prior experience.
And people who didn't recognize her thought she was a professional actress. (She's fabulous in the skits at camp, so that doesn't surprise me one bit :-)
I was so glad to hear how she enjoyed the play so much, while at the same time she was able to use that as just another outlet to (as she put it),

"Love people to Jesus." I like that.

But I really should try to get some things done, and then head to bed. It's going to be a CrAzY next couple of days.... But then there is Thanksgiving break to look forward to!!!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Getting Sentimental

Don't fail to realize what you have in college life.... Because before you know it, you'll be moving on to the next phase of life.

(Why does the song "You're Gonna Miss This"* keep running itself over in my mind?)

Every basketball game I watch,
or devotional time I spend with the girls,
or quick run to the library down the street,
or guitar/violin playing session with AnnaLee,
or Saturday soccer-time....

The closer it gets to ending, the more I don't want it to end.

You're gonna miss this/You're gonna want this back
You're gonna wish these days/Hadn't gone by so fast
These are some good times/So take a good look around
You may not know it now..../But you're gonna miss this

Friday, November 18, 2011


Somebody had these roses delivered to me yesterday,
in celebration of my spiritual birthday.

November 17 always has, and always will be, the most significant day of my life. It signifies the special day eighteen years ago when I first believed that Jesus had the power to wash away my sin, and that day I asked Him to do so.

They are absolutely gorgeous, not just in the way they look, but also when I walk into my dorm room, I can immediately smell their beauty. (The benefits of living in a relatively small room, I guess! :-)

Whenever I see them, I am inwardly overwhelmed and joyous at how God works. I don't deserve it at all, yet He gives me way more than I even ask for! Things like this are signs of His extravagant love for me.

I don't know who they are from....

But if you read my blog, a resounding "Thank you" for thinking of me and for making God bigger and even more real in the center of my life :-) It's awesome.

Look, I had to take a picture of the bottom part too.... It looks like a small rosebud FOREST growing up out of that vase!

There are so many, I can't even fit them all in one picture! 24 little gems of God's goodness in my life. I am so blessed.

Father, so much has been given to me. Please lay on my heart some ways which I can spread the blessing out to those around ME! :-)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Climax

I've got so much buzzing around in my head! But, I suppose most of all, I should tell you about how my orals test went, because that's the story I left off with....

God is SO good to me - much better than I ever deserve. I basically knew I would need to stand up front and answer any question dealing with a particular one of the ten Bible doctrines my professor assigned to me. If I don't do this, I don't graduate college, so this was a big deal in my mind. This test is sort of like the climax of every four year student at the college! Ever since freshman year, you know they're coming....

When Wednesday morning came, I was nervous and antsy, but at the same time, I knew what it would do to me if I studied for the 3 hour break that I had right before test time. I didn't want to burn out like that, so instead, I read, played guitar, talked to God, and took a little nap.
Then about 20 minutes before class, I went over to my study-buddy's room and asked her if she would quiz me just to "get my brain in gear."
The one doctrine I really felt I needed a little refresher in was the doctrine of "the Church."
So we did some review, talked through it, and headed off to class.

Guess which one my professor announced that I would be talking about that day??

You got it! - the Church!!

I could hardly believe the way my great God had pieced it all together. He had known exactly which one I would get, and in His Sovereign grace, He allowed that one to be the one that was the most recently studied in my mind.

Isn't God good like that? He continually shows Himself strong and faithful to me.
I am only His weak, insufficient child, yet He. Loves. Me. Wow!

And I love Him back.

He gave me peace and confidence in my answers, and for that I am grateful. I'm grateful for tests like that (in school and in life) that keep me leaning on Him and realizing that I cannot do it on my own.

Anyway, speaking of "doing" things. I have some homework to finish up for tomorrow. Better go work on Handwriting..... :-)

P.S. A VERY happy birthday to my brother, Wesley. Seven years old, as of today!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Senior Test Time!

Heading to bed early tonight. I have orals tomorrow at "high noon" :-)

Getting a little nervous as the time draws nearer, but it's an excited nervous. Just nervousness at the unknown.... I wonder which doctrine I will have the privilege of sharing about?

We'll see how it goes. I do feel like I have studied the best I possibly can. We'll see how God works tomorrow. It will be through HIS strength, because if I try to do it on my own, I know I'll blank out on a question!

But praise be to God for how He will help me through the test. He totally gets the glory for it.

I'll keep you posted.
No pun intended. ;-)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Lookout, Tony Hawk

.... Here comes my little brother!

* Please note the elbow pads that were previously volleyball kneepads. I love it!

I miss this kid soo much! He probably doesn't even realize how much he makes me smile :-) I can't wait to go home for Thanksgiving and pray with him before bed, have him read me stories, and have all kinds of adventures together. I just have to do a little bit more "big kid" school still first....

Sunday, November 13, 2011

My Greatest Enemy Trembles.....

I cannot be effective until I truly realize that I CAN'T do it, but God CAN.

Just when I start to think
I can do the work by myself,
I'll fall.
And the devil won't concern himself
With me at all
When I attempt to do great things
Through my own power.
Because he knows that I am only weak
As a twig in a hurricane
When I'm doing it by myself.
There are forces at work in this world
That are much greater power than I.
How easily I will crumble
In the battle
If I do not have on the armor
For the battle.

But the devil stops to take notice
When he sees a warrior
That is backed by the strength
Of the Great Commander.
He trembles with fear
As He realizes there is One
Greater than him
And he boils with anger as he realizes
That he will crumble
And there is nothing he can do about it.

With God's power behind me;
The power of His Holy Spirit
Inside of me
As I ask Him to fill me up each day

The devil will tremble and strive,
But he will NOT prevail.

Praise God!
But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory, through our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:57

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Happenings of College Life

- walking across the parking lot to a friend's apartment who lives THAT close to school so I can have breakfast with her

- study parties for huge orals test that consist of covering 7 doctrines in one day (plus alot of rabbit trails)....

- pumpkin soft-serve ice cream from the cafeteria

- light-poles with enchanting Christmas lights twirled around them spread out over campus

- accidently falling asleep while setting my alarm and taking a much longer nap than I bargained for

- intramural soccer with such a great, amazing group of people! (and enough of them to make FOUR teams)

That gives you a little glimpse of my day today :-)
And here's a fun work of art that I forgot to post earlier - my bulletin board from practicum week! The class helped me out by drawing what they are thankful for. Oh, how I miss those second graders.....

Friday, November 11, 2011

Two of My Greatest Gifts from God

I got told tonight I look just like my dad.
That made me really happy.

Although in this picture I took in my most recent time of being home a few weeks ago,
I think I closely resemble my mom too.

I love that God chose to put a little bit of both of them into me!
Can't wait to see them at Thanksgiving :-)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Grace for the Moment

Tired again tonight.

I think the late nights of this week are catching up to me. Think I might be getting sick too.

But rejoicing in the thought that my good God will never give me more than He will help me to handle! (1 Cor 10:13)

P.S. Don't forget to say a prayer for the persecuted church. Brothers and sisters in Christ every day that have such courage in the face of opposition. They are not on my mind near as much as they should be!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Not Much Longer

How can I be so tired, and yet so encouraged in one night?

Oh yeah, because I live in the dorm..... :-)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Great Expectations

Listening to the rain on a crisp fall night has to be one of my favorite things. And once in a while if I turn from my desk, I can see the lights of the cars in the parking lot outside my window :-)

Here's something that hit me again today....
I should never be thinking that this time in my life is "just for now." Sometimes I catch myself thinking, "This is okay for now, but eventually I'll get to the really great, really big things that I can do in teaching and to serve God." The "for now" mindset tends to get me thinking that these things are of lesser importance, or that they don't need to be done with His glory at the forefront.

Make the most of every opportunity....
With my kiddos at the afterschool daycare.
With my student teaching that's coming up just around the corner.
With the classes I am finishing up as this semester winds to a close.

I talked with a school principal who came to visit today about the possibility of applying for a job. Talks like this leave an excitement in my heart for things to come.
But I have to be careful of the "for now" attitude, or else I'll be living my whole life stuck in that mindset, always looking ahead to the next thing and never making the most of what God has given to me today.
And what if all of these "great expectations" do not end up being all they've chalked up to be? Well, that's okay, because my hope and joy and anticipation is not in a certain country, a certain person, a certain position, or a certain vocation. My hope is in Jesus Christ, and He is the SAME yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

Therefore I do not have to live stuck in the "for now." Instead, I can find abundant life in Him.

I hope this post isn't sounding too generic.... It's kinda just one of those nights where I want to ramble :-)
Ramble on and appreciate exactly the stage of life where God has me

Right now.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

*Falling in Love* with the Second Grade!

God DELIGHTS in me.

He truly does!

As much as I delight in each one of these adorable second graders I've been with in the classroom. I don't know how to explain it. I just know that even with all the ups and downs of the week, and all the stretching times in the teaching experience of the last four days, I have totally loved getting to know these kids.

The more I think about it, the more I think being a teacher will end up teaching me alot about who my God is (because there is an ever-abundance of parallels to the student/teacher relationship).

But anyways, more to come about today's happenings. Right now, the night is young and there is still much to be done!.... :-)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Today's Highlights

Lessons learned in Practicum (cont.):

Spelling words are always cooler when you're writing them in shaving cream! - That was my first time EVER to see this done in the classroom. I think I was more excited then the kids were about this.... :-) And I saw it modeled wonderfully by Mrs. Zonn how to conduct it with not an ounce of chaos involved!

In a parent teacher conference - focus on the facts. Let the parents come to their conclusion based on the data, rather than on me outright saying the negative thing. It's oh-so-much better received that way!
For example, if it's math they struggle with, show the parent on a simple graph or chart, where their student's math fact mastery falls into the percentile with other kids their age. This way the parent can conclude for themselves, "My child could use some help in math."
Or if it's a problem with lying, share with the parent, "This particular incident happened on this particular day...." This makes it much easier for the parent to swallow, "little Johnny tends to have a problem with lying."
(makes sense. I think I would bristle too if the teacher said, "I'm sorry to tell you, but your child is a liar." :-P)

Favorite teacher moment: After the kids had inside recess, I received a beautiful marker-colored picture of a rainbow with my name specifically written on it! "I hope I spelled it right," she said.
And in truth, she did sort of butcher the spelling of my last name.... But the thought behind the picture was so precious that I didn't care one little bit. I assured her I would put it in my "take-home folder."

Random fact: I painted my nails hot pink tonight. Just because it's quirky and I can. :-)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Keepin' ya updated!

Invaluable Practicum Lessons

Monday: Be a "challenging" teacher. (This advice was spoken to me by one of the second graders in my class this week. She said that's what she likes MOST about her teacher.) Although it might not seem like it outwardly, kids will truly love that they can't just get away with things. They want to know your expectations, and they truly do love a teacher who will push them to learn.

Tuesday: I cannot do this on my own strength. Teaching is just one of those professions (but aren't they all?...) where you really have to lean on God alone for patience, energy, and wisdom. There were countless times in the day when I saw His hand at work, helping me to do what otherwise would have been impossible for lil' old me!
Fight for recess. No matter how many beneficial curriculum lessons you try to squeeze into the day, there is no substitute for running and screaming and playing your heart out - this is when a kid can just be a kid.
Also, every good teacher should always use a tic tac after lunch. :-) (not kidding, I really did learn that today. Thankfully, it wasn't told to me directly, lest you get any funny ideas in your mind.)

Favorite Teacher Moment: I was introducing the memory verse for today (John 1:7) and asking the kids, "What does it look like to walk in the light?" One boy raised his hand. "I think it's like when you carve a pumpkin and you pull out all the gross stuff, that's like you're getting rid of the darkness. And then you made room for the light and you carve it and the light shines through."
Wow! Wish I'd have thought of that one ;-) I just love kids' fresh take on life!

Well, I really should go to bed, so that tomorrow is survivable and not too tiring.... But in case you couldn't tell, I am seriously loving this whole "student teaching" thing. Tomorrow, spelling words in the shaving cream (I think I'm more excited than the kids are! Never before have I seen this done in a classroom. It's gonna be a blast learning how to direct this activity without total pandemonium.) Then at the end of the day I'll be teaching a history lesson on the Mayflower. Good stuff.

The longer time I spend in the classroom, the more I learn that this is something I could totally see myself doing and loving for a very long time to come.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Mini Student Teaching Week

So, here I am, diving headfirst into what we as teachers like to call "Practicum." (I didn't know what it meant until I hit senior year and I'm actually doing it) lol But basically, it's like a mini-student-teaching week. For all five days of the school week I'll be spending time observing AND teaching lessons in a second grade classroom.Last night I laid out my "school clothes" and made a pb & j for my lunch and was so excited, I couldn't get to sleep! I felt like it was my first day of school all over again.
Tonight I am somewhat in the same boat, but it's more because of the jitters of wondering how my two lessons will go tomorrow. I'm teaching a Bible lesson about Samuel, and an English lesson on how to use a thesaurus - which is like, the best, because it can at least help the kids next time they're caught in a tough spot in Scrabble! ;-)

While on the internet tonight, I stumbled upon this picture that I absolutely love! (Maybe because it makes me think of the Christians in Africa. They are unbelievably grateful for what they've been given.) Anyway, I hope that you enjoy the pic, and if you are my dad and you happen to be reading this, please know that I miss your chiropractic skills lots and lots (and would drive the 3 hours in order to get myself a good solid adjustment if it wasn't after curfew here in the dorm.)

That's all for tonight!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Blast from the Past!!

Nina said tonight that everyone overreacts about something. She said that my something is Wesley. This made me laugh. But it's true. I spent an hour between classes watching all the old videos of him as a little toddler. I sure love that kid!

I just wanted to share the joy with you.


Possibly more to come... :-) (Back by popular demand!)

I Am Thankful

Okay, so I've had tons of things on my mind to write about lately. Not deep, oppressive stuff, just the everyday stuff of the life that I appreciate so much!
And since I don't have time to sit and cover one of the topics, (let alone all of the things that I have been gleaning from the Word, and learning from life experience, and mulling over from good classes!!) I will instead just share with you something that I wrote side by side with a couple of other friends last week.
* I know, I know, it's another LIST.... ;-)

I Am Thankful:

- The gift of health and that I am the way God made me specifically
- The gift of weakness that grows my trust in the Almighty One
- Olive Garden :-)
- Being able to work with the kids at my job (they are so precious, and they keep me entertained!)
- Mom and Dad. I love them. Enough said.
- My amazing brothers
- Hope in every situation, no matter how dark it looks
- Warm sunshine, even this far into September
- Not having to earn God's love

Are there things you're thankful for that you didn't even know you HAD?? Jot it down. You'll be surprised how much you find in life that is an "I love you" directly from God's heart to yours.
Have you thanked Him yet today for dying on the cross and taking your sins? Hmm, how many days do I go without doing that? And boy, how worthy He is of all the thanks and the praise that we can possibly lavish upon Him!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Meet some old friends of mine!

"You may have tangible wealth untold,
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold;
Richer than I you can never be,
I had parents who read to me."
- S. Gilliland

I just finished reading an assigned book for Teaching Language Arts, "Honey for a Child's Heart." This book reminded me how truly thankful I am for all those little silly stories that both mom and dad read to me as a kid! They didn't take Jeremy and me on far away vacations, but they definitely took us to far away worlds through the amazing avenue of books. I didn't realize at the time how blessed I am to have parents that were willing to make reading a priority in our lives. Here are some of the best books we read in those days....

I can't wait to share them with a class of my own!

Monday, August 22, 2011

An Invitation

I have to admit, when I got to school and found out I was going to have a dorm room to myself, I was a little bit bummed about it.
I was hoping to help welcome a freshman roommate to Faith, or to get to know someone better whom I had just vaguely known beforehand. But alas, no roomie at all. Just me, myself, and I, and who knows what insanity could break out when THOSE 3 get together! haha (my lame attempt at some midnight humor).

Anyway, tonight after supper, I came back to the room to add some decorations to the walls so the room would feel a little more "lived in." For at least a whole 10 minutes I didn't know what to do with myself. It was just too quiet and just not much happening.

And then suddenly, a knock on the door.... And another one.... A group of friends - some I knew well, and others I'm still getting to know - decided to knock on the door for one reason or another, and then just ended up staying.
I enjoyed every minute of it.

This evening, just hanging around, chatting with my girls while I slowly but surely got some pictures arranged and posters hung, was total contentment. Who knew that having a room by myself would be such a blast!? It turns out it's all the more of an invitation for people to stop by :-)

And my door's always open to them. I may be hard at work in the middle of a paper ;-) but still, they are welcome company anytime!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Just a thought...

Some people have been regarded as awkward for talking about their faith.
Some people have been mocked and avoided for talking about about their faith.
Some people have died for their faith.

What will it take to silence ME?

I'm amazed sometimes at how easily I give up for fear of a little discomfort.

Inspired by: Sunday School class
(It's good to be back :-)

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Eve of Change

There's a hope in my soul,
Health in my bones,
There's a light in my eyes,
And love in my home....

I have been blessed.
Far beyond words.

The farther I go, the more I appreciate home.
The more independent I become, the more I appreciate talking to mom and dad.
I love my life!
Right here, right now.
I even love that I'm not perfect - that I have room to grow, things to improve, something to anticipate.

It's hot in my room. I loaded up my stuff into my car tonight, and I am astounded at how little stuff I packed for college this time around! In fact, I keep racking my brain for something big that I MUST be forgetting! Is this seriously all I need for a full semester? Maybe I just need to accept the fact that I'm finally growing good at this whole packing thing....
There are many things about going to college that I don't know what to expect this year. I don't know how hard the workload will be in my classes (I'm expecting the hardest yet!), and I don't know who my roommate will be (or even what dorm I'll be living in!), and I don't know what the kids will be like at the new after-school program placement I have. It's crazy! I'm a senior in college, but in some ways I feel like this year is starting off fresh and full of potential :-)

And me? I am full of hope. Full of joy at the prospect of old much-loved experiences, and brand new opportunities and open doors. I say that with specific things in my mind, but not enough stamina to type them all out for you tonight. So sorry.

The thunder is rumbling outside, and the lightning is a spectacular reoccurring display. I don't feel super articulate right now (obviously by the fact I used nondescriptive, old-fashioned word like "super")

But I feel blessed.
Grateful to be emerging from a summer drenched in answered prayer and renewed awe.
This summer I truly got to know God better (a God who eagerly awaits to give good gifts to His children!).
But I can't just love God for what He can give me. That would be ever so shallow. I love Him for

Who He Is.

I'm so grateful for God's reassuring touch. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, tonight it was His Spirit speaking to me, as a Comforter and Friend (as I've been memorizing in John 14-15). God has granted me His peace.

"Not as the world gives...." But a peace that comes with knowing that I am HIS. He has plans for me. I will find out the next step of those plans in just a few short hours.
Up to this point I was trying to talk myself into being excited for school. I felt like I should be excited, but I just wasn't. There was too much to fear and not enough to look forward to.

But I am loved by the Prince of Peace. The everlasting God.
That alone is enough to give me hope.
For the future.

Monday, August 15, 2011


This is such a beautiful picture of what God does with my sin! I've often had the chalkboard image in my mind for many years now, but I've never seen it done before my eyes. I just love it. God forgives, restores, transforms, and most of all, brings


"Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions." Psalm 51:1

"For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." Jeremiah 31:34b

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away, behold all things are become new." 2 Corinthians 5:17

Sometimes I just want to shout it from the mountaintops to a world lost in hopelessness and despair, "Look at what my God can do!" Forgiveness is possible. If you'll only ask.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

"New" Brother

Looking at Wesley tonight, I realized something. He was just sitting across from me on the couch, showing me his latest favorite video game. His face was lighting up with 6 year old innocence as he chattered on about how to work the controls. (which I already knew :-)

Suddenly, it struck me. This is not just my little brother that I really should be nice to and show love to. He is my "new" brother in Christ!
He became a Christian at the beginning of the summer. Since that point, our relationship is rooted in our common bond in Christ - his being so sweet and fresh. Yet both of us are not so very different. Both of us are very much still growing and maturing in our faith of what God can do, and even more important, who He is.

I am so thankful to be on this journey WITH you now, little brother. So thankful that God saved your soul and made us not only part of the same family in this fleeting life, but part of God's family

for eternity.