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.