Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Thirty Days of Thankfulness

So it's November.  Where does the time go?  I often find myself pondering over how quickly time goes by.  I recently heard someone say "Don't spend your whole life waiting for your whole life to start." and oh how true that is!  So, last fall I did this challenge called Thirty Days of Thankfulness.  The point is to think about something you are thankful for each day of November.  I really enjoy doing this challenge because it reminds me of all that God has given me.  He has blessed my life so much.  I have decided this year I would also like to allow myself time to reflect on what each of those things I'm thankful for says about my Savior!!  I will not blog every single day due to practicality, but I will try to on some days at least.  It gives me a reason to blog I guess.  So here is what it says on my Facebook as my thankful statment for today...

‎30 Days of Thankfulness-Day 1::Today I am thankful for my girls. In conversations with my mom we often refer to them as "the bridesmaids" because if I ever get married they will be the girls who deal with my crazy side!! Thanks for being the best friends I could ever imagine...I would be lost without you all and that's for sure! Mandy Harris Alisa Van Zante Charline Copenhaver Jamie Kropf and Leslie Ricketts (@Philip Ricketts).

I love them! Jamie and Leslie are not in this picture because it's impossible to get us all in the same place at the same time.  This picture was taken in the summer and it was hot outside and we are not loving the way we look in this picture...but we were having fun.  Actually I believe at the moment we were laughing at Mandy and her inability to take a normal looking picture. 

My friends amaze me.  But here's the God part...guess what...IT'S NOT ABOUT ME!!  It's so hard to remember that things are not about me sometimes.  You would think in friendships it's easy to think of the other person.  But that's not always true.  When someone asks why these ladies are my best friends I would rattle off a list of reasons about how they are always there for me and how they listen to my problems.  I want to be the kind of person who thinks about what I can do for my friends, not what they can do for me.  I also want them to know without question or hesitation that I love Jesus and Jesus loves them (and me)!  And even that is not about me.  It's not really about them either.  It's about Jesus.  He allows us to have friendships with people to strengthen and bless us.  He desires for us to do life together.  He desires us to work together to find a way to bring glory to His name.  How lovely it is when you find friendships that do just that. 

I am forever thankful for the gift that God has given me in the blessing of my friends.  Women who love me and love the Lord and will bring me back to reality when I need it.  Women who encourage me to strive for excellence because our God is not a God of mediocrity.  How beautiful the gift of friendship.  I truly am thankful for them. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Two Month Vacation

Wow.  Time away from a computer is a strange thing.  So after my computer crashed this summer I could have gone to the library and posted things.  Or made more of an effort to post things from my parents' house.  (Which is where I actually currently am located.)  But truthfully I kind of enjoyed the silence from technology.  It gave me time to think and read and plan.  I worked a lot on plans for a Halloween party and a Christmas Tea.  I got both of those fully planned out and I am happy to tell you that I am now a successful party planner.  It was strange to plan a party for someone else...and actually get paid for it.  It was fun though.  Really fun.  I tell you what...planning a Halloween celebration like that one made my plans for the evening seem really boring though!  So anyways, now that I have decided to write again I hope to do so more regularly.  We'll see how that goes!

Some big news in my life is that I am training for a 5K.  That will not come as a surprise to some of you since I posted it on Facebook.  But, it's going fairly well.  People keep asking me how I am feeling.  I am thankful that they want to know but I also want to scream "my body feels like it's screaming and my shins are on fire"!!!  I have never been athletic in my life.  Ever.  I played soccer when I was a younger child but it was for fun and I was not really good at it.  I don't run.  I don't really exercise.  I just don't.  So this is hard.  It's really hard.  My shins really do feel like they're on fire.  I have to ice them like every day.  But I also feel good about it.  I feel like I am  making progress.  I may finish last in the particular 5K I am training for, but I will finish because I am determined.  Have you ever run a 5K?  Have you ever felt like you were going to die but knew that something was good for you?  I must push through!!!

Ok...so I guess that's all I have for now.  I am going to a friend's for dinner with her and her family tonight.  A friend who is immensely encouraging.  A friend who I am enjoying learning from.  I am looking forward to it.   Do you have people like that?  I hope so!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Making Pepper Jelly

A few days ago I spent the afternoon with my friend Marie.  She is a lady that I absolutely adore!  Her children range in age from like 8-18 (four boys) and are some of the most well mannered kids I have ever met.  Marie makes homemade pepper jelly every summer with the peppers she grows in her garden.  In case you didn't know this already I am a big fan of pepper jelly.  I sometimes buy the Harry & David kind but not often since I'm poor.  Well...Marie invited me to come spend the afternoon at her house and learn to make pepper jelly.  All she asked me to bring was some jars and some sugar.  She grew all the peppers herself.  And she had the vinegar and pectin.  I came home with ten jars of pepper jelly.  I had so much fun.  I had intended to post pictures but I got so caught up in actually making jelly I forgot to take pictues of us making jelly. 

While we were waiting for the jelly to cool a little Marie told me about how to make other kinds of jelly.  She said if you can make one (and I did in fact make a batch of the pepper jelly) that you can make any kind.  I am excited to try and make some strawberry jam.  I am excited to have a skill that I have always wanted.  I feel like I can make something and give it to people as a gift and they will think I am so cool for knowing how to make this! Ha!  I am such a dork.

So this has me thinking about other things I want to learn to make.  So I am making a list of the things I want to learn to make.  I already have a list of things I want to learn to do.   I will probably post these at a later date.  I am excited that I am learning how to make things from scratch.  Oh, this is a random side note but my grandma gave me a bunch of vegetables from her garden so I am cooking lots of FRESH things this week and that makes me happy too! 

I guess this post was kind of random...but it's all I've got for now!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Chronicles of Narnia

In March I started reading the Chronicles of Narnia series.  This was the first time I had read these books.  I remember in college I went with a group of friends to see The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.  It was actually a midnight showing and was used as an outreach event to tell people about Jesus.  When the movie was over I said to one of my friends who was with me "That would have been a really cool book."  He looked at me like I was crazy and said "It is a book."  I think I probably said hmm.  I don't know why, but not only had I never read these books, I had never even heard of these books.  So, I decided I would read them.  Then you know how that goes, that plan got put on hold...then I kind of forgot about it.  Then awhile back the whole boxed series showed up in a book order I was sending home with my students.  I decided I would buy the series for myself and finally read them.  I originally thought I could read them all in March.  I probably could have if I had been able to stay focused.  And if I had not decided that was also a good time to read the House of Night series.  So, I just finished the last one on Tuesday night.  Here are my thoughts...
I chose to read the books in the order that they were in when I got them.  I did some research before I started reading because I know there is some dispute as to what order the books should be read in.  Here is how I got them (it was labeled 'Author's Order'):
The Magician's Nephew
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
The Horse and His Boy
Prince Caspian
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
The Silver Chair
The Last Battle

I was not really sure about reading The Magician's Nephew first since it was not the first movie.  My only exposure to this series had been the first movie.  I am so glad I started with this book and I am so glad I followed this order in reading the books.  My favorite part about this first book was reading about the founding of Narnia.  It could have been so easy to get lost in the other stuff.  The strange dialect.  The characters who seemed not fully developed in a literary sense.  But then it gets to the part where it talks about the Lion's Song.  About how Aslan himself called Narnia into being.  About everything springing up and being brand new and being like things they had never seen before.  I was in awe.  It was beautiful and inspring and tear jerking.  I wondered a lot about how this compared to the creation of the world. 

The next book-The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe-was all I had expected it to be since I had seen the movie.  However, as it usually is, the book was better.  I usually like to read books first because the amount of detail that is in them that it is just impossible to include in the movie.  I enjoyed reading about all the things I had enjoyed watching.  The shapes that came to life and danced in the fire while Mr. Tumnus first played his song for Lucy, the emotion when he realized what a horrible thing he had done, the despair Edmund felt when he realized he was wrong about the Whtie Witch, the way Aslan spoke and roared and commanded his followers.  It was beautiful.

The Horse and His Boy was an interesting read.  For those of you who are not familiar it is simply a story about an adventure that happens while the children are in Narnia.  It is in the years between when they defeat the White Witch and when they go back through the wardrobe to find that though it had been many years in Narnia (almost a lifetime) it had been only fractions of a second in their own world.  Nothing happened that left me in awe, but this book was a quick and easy read.

Prince Caspian is maybe my favorite of these books.  I loved it so much I have decided I want to name a kid after Prince Caspian.  Caspian is brave and valiant and a gentleman.  He leads his people with ease yet gives respect to Peter the High King.  My favorite part of this book is the description of the battle.  I could literally see this happening like a movie in my head.  Few books pull me in the way this one did.  I love how when Aslan asks Caspian if he is prepared to be the King, Caspian says no and Aslan knows that is exactly what will make him a great King.  Peter and Susan so bravely and willingly walk away from Narnia in this book.  Some may not see it this way, but to me it was about sacrifice.  Peter would have loved to stay in Narnia forever and ever.  But he was willing to leave because he knew that was what Aslan wished. 

After reading Voyage of the Dawn Treader I watched the movie and was so disappointed in the movie.  I could so identify with Eustace.  It is so easy to think that I have it all together.  I love how he talks about being scratched out of the dragon.  He says that it hurt but it was worth it.  I love Reepicheep.  He is so ready to take on any adventure for Aslan.  How many times could we benefit from that example?  To be ready and willing to go into the unknown in pursuit of our God.  This books surprised me in it's descriptions of places.  I enjoyed the adjective rich text.  My favorite part of this story was when Aslan told Lucy she would have to come to know Him by another name in her world.  How profound.

The Silver Chair was one of the hardest for me to read.  It was slow going.  I had a really hard time getting into the book, but once I did I read the last half pretty quickly.  It was a good story about the rescue of Prince Rilian.  It just seemed somehow disconnected from the other books.  And I guess I don't have much more to say about it.

The Last Battle.  Oh how I enjoyed this book.  I was not expecting it to end the way it did.  If you are reading this blog, you MUST read the book.  And when you do I want to hear all about your thoughts.  I don't want to give everything away, but I guess I assume that most people have read this.  The fact that the author refers to the world as "Shadowland" is perfect.  I like that it's talked about how when they go into "Aslan's Country" it is like Narnia and also like their world but somehow better and brighter as if they has been only looking at a reflection.  And as beautiful and awe inspiring as it was to read about the founding of Narnia, it was just as tragic to read about the end of it.  Not at all what I expected, but satisfying. 

So, that said I am now done reading The Chronicles of Narnia.  I am going to start reading the True Blood series next.  Don't think I can pick anything much different from Chronicles of Narnia than that.  I now anxiously await the rest of the movies to come out.  I will be interested to see what movies they make and what movies they don't make and how they do them.  And that is all my thoughts on that!


So I think this blogging thing would be so much easier if I had the internet at my house!  Oh, and on top of that my computer crashed.  Lame.  Good thing Ben pulled my hard drive.  He saved it and turned it into an external hard drive so all the stuff that was on my computer is still there...there is just no computer anymore.  I am hoping that that doesn't add a whole new level of difficulty to working on school stuff at home.  So a lot has happened lately.  Let me think.  Here is a quick update...at least the things I can think about...

*I had my birthday.  It was maybe the best birthday I have had in a long time.  First of all Alisa was here.  So I started my birthday with her singing to me and Charline texting me shortly after midnight.  This reminded me that I have two of the very best friends ever!  I woke up to birthday greetings from my family which is a tradition in my family and I love it.  I miss the days that we all lived in the same house and I got woken up to in person birthday greetings...but phone greetings are good too.  I love this tradition.  When I have a kid(s) I want to always wake them up on their birthday and tell them the story of how special they are and how God brought them to me cause those are some of the best moments.  The day continued by me finding out that Erica was in town two days early.  I got to go spend some time with her and Trevor for the morning.  Then I got to have lunch with Ringo.  I was so thrilled that he was in town and the timing was perfect.  I met his friend, we had lunch and then went to the high school to show her where we went to school.  This was so fun!  Then I took a nap and got ready for Bible School.  At Bible School the kids all sang to me.  After Bible school Shelley and Charline came over for cake and punch.  My day was so great.  My friends and family are so amazing.

Me, Ringo and his friend!

*I got to have lunch with Erica, Jamie and Alyse.  We started out with Trevor but he did not want to be at lunch so he hung out with his daddy and we had a girls lunch.  It was so good to hang out with them all at the same time.  We wished that our friend Dana had been able to make it, but she couldn't come.  Alyse entertained us all.  She talks so much!

*Oh, our family celebrated other birthdays!  We had birthday parties for Alyse, then Hunter, then Levi.  Levi was so sleepy at his party he couldn't even really enjoy opening his gifts.  I love seeing him discover new things though.  I am amazed by little kids!

* I went to the Kindergarten Conference at the Lake of the Ozarks.  This is where lots of Missouri kindergarten teachers get together for a few days to learn about new things in education and ideas about bringing fun things into your classroom.  It was pretty good.  I got some good ideas and I got to know the girl I will be teaching with next year. 

*I went to see the newest (and last ever) Harry Potter movie which was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.  Gosh I love that movie.  I did not read the books when they first were popular.  I was not part of the crowd who stood there in line waiting to get a book.  I was a late comer to the HP phenomenon.  But I did in fact read every single book BEFORE I watched ANY of the movies.  I prefer to have my own pictures in my head of how the characters look before I see them on screen.  I read the books quite quickly and then saw all the movies.  The last one I went with Mepps and I waited in line to see the midnight premiere.  It was well worth it.  As a matter of fact I am going to see it again tomorrow night with my sister. 

I am sure that there are more things I could write about to update you on my life...but I guess that's all I can think of for right now.  I still have some things coming up this summer and soon it will be back to school.  Soon it will be time to navigate my way through the chaos of kindergarten while adding as much sparkle as possible.  When I think about all the new adventures that lie ahead of me I am excited and nervous all at the same time.  Some kind of big things are happening in my life...things that will eventually be a whole other blog post and that I am excited for you to read.  Basically I guess until then I am just trying to stick to the status quo! 

That's all for now.  I finally finished reading the Chronicles of Narnia books so I'm working on writing a review for them.  :)

Monday, June 20, 2011

My Dad Rocks

**Note-I wrote this yesterday, but didn't get it posted.**

Earlier today one of my friends put as her Facebook status "my dad is cooler than your dad".  It was cute.  I could see her saying it.  But then I thought, no way, my dad is way cooler than any dad I know.  I have been blessed to have a lot of good men in my life.  It has been a joy watching some of those men (like my brother Neal) become amazing fathers.  Fathers who are active in their children's lives and aren't afraid to play with toys and act silly.  The dynamics of the father/child relationship fascinate me.  So today here are some reasons why my dad rocks...

*He chose to be my daddy.  He could have picked someone else.  That's the reality of adoption.  My daddy picked me-bald head, chubby cheeks, chicken pox and all-he picked ME.  Because of that choice I grew up knowing that I would never be alone in the world. 

*He taught me about hard work and surviving the hard times.  Let me just clarify that I was a brat when I was little.  (Some may argue that I still am a brat!)  I was probably really demanding and wanted lots of things.  My dad worked hard (as did my mom) so that we could have the things we needed and wanted.  When I was very little he worked on building bridges.  He would be gone for days at a time.  I know it was hard to be away and it was hard work...but he loved us enough to make sacrifices for us.  That never changed.  I can not even begin to fathom the things my dad has given up so I can have a good life. 

*He showed me what a good husband and a good father does.  My daddy cooks, cleans, does laundry, helps with homework, plays baseball in the yard, works with 4-H animals...he does it all.  He taught me by example the way that I should expect to be treated.  He taught me that I am worth much more than I often realize.

*He makes my friends feel loved.  In college my friends and I would call my dad about everything.  What kind of meat should we buy to grill or how do you get charcoal to light or what do we do if our sink is leaking.  We just knew that he would know.  And he always did.  Through the years I have had several "best friends".  My dad has always welcomed them and wanted to help them as much as he wanted to help me.  From giving advice on water leaks and car problems, to mixing drinks, to buying my friend a tire when she was visiting...he makes my friends know that they are welcome and loved in my family.

Quite simply...my dad rocks.  He always tries his best and everything he does and has done in his life has been for the benefit of his family.  I love him so much!

And because this year I had the honor of meeting Doug I have the number one reason why he rocks...

*He always WANTED me, even when he couldn't keep me.  He never gave up on me.  And when he found me he did not try to pressure me into being a part of his family.  He let me take my time and let me know that there was always a place for me there.  And he did not try to make my relationship with my daddy any less important.  He (and Dawn) acknowledged from the beginning how important my family is and how thankful they are that I had a good life.  

I am so lucky to be surrounded by such cool guys.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Class Reunion Planning

I have been a blogging slacker lately.  In my defense I have been super busy with other stuff.  Like watching multiple seasons of Dawson's Creek on DVD and unpacking TONS of boxes from my storage building and buying vintage Cabage Patch dolls and antique books at estate sales.  Also, I don't have the internet at my house currently.  I know...I've reverted to the dark ages.  Today I have lots to say but I'm gonna have to break it up into multiple posts due to time restrictions.  Right now at this very minute I am sitting in my office at church (where I am the Administrative Assistant and Children's Ministry Coordinator) and I am actively finding ways NOT to work.  I should be planning fall curriculum or working on Bible school stuff...but instead I'm writing this blog about something that has consumed much of my time lately...my high school reunion.  That's right folks...I graduated from high school ten years ago.  That makes me feel really old.  So I am going to be posting about party planning for the reunion.  (The event planner in me is so excited about planning this and sharing about it that it's almost disturbing.)

This is the invitation I designed for the event.  This weekend I got them back from the printer and I immediately found a flaw.  Not in the printing but in my design.  The yellow circle is slightly misshapen.  But I still love them.  And better yet I designed them.  I didn't have to order a pre made design from somewhere.  No, they're not ultra special or anything.  But it's a start.  I scribbled out my phone number on this one before I posted it.  But if you're reading this you probably already have my phone number. 

Other reunion updates...I have gotten addresses collected of about half of my class.  I am still working on the others.  I am searching online for graduation party decorations that say Class of 2001 but have had no luck so far.  I am thinking about designing some.  I am also considering doing cupcakes as favors...but the night could progress into more...uhm..."celebrating" (there is a bar next door to the event location) and carrying around cupcakes would not really be an ideal situation.  We'll see what happens.

Ok, that's all for now.  Back to work.  Later I plan to write about why my dad rocks.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sunshine and Summertime

As of today I am officially done with teaching first grade at Paris Elementary.  I moved all of my stuff out of the room this morning.  I left it with blank walls and basically the way that it was when I found it four years ago.  With a few more games and puzzles and books on the shelves than before!  I do not feel like I am "in" the Kindergarten room yet since I can't move my stuff in until August.  The prospect of teaching Kindergarten is so exciting to me.  I remember my time with Mr. Leader's Kindergarten class in Maryville.  I am so excited for the possibilities.  Next fall I will welcome to school for the very first time the Class of 2024.  But enough of that for now...

Right now it's summer.  Time to think about summer.  There is so much for me to do this summer.  I am leaving on Thursday for a four day meeting.  Then I have a LONG summer of no work.  What in the world am I going to do for the summer you might ask...well, I would like to have another job.  Extra money is always good, right?  But in reality that might not work out for me.  So instead here are some things I want to do this summer...

*Finish unpacking the things I moved into my house last summer.  Ha!  I'm slow at unpacking and moving I know!  I want to unpack everything and organize everything.  I also would like to do some minimizing of the things I own.  Streamlining maybe.

*Paint my Sunday school room and do some organizing work at church.  We have rooms that are not at all being utilized because we have so much JUNK in them!

*Help plan and attend my ten year high school reunion.  I have nothing else to say about this one yet.  It's overwhelming to me.

*Hang out with my friends.  Especially those who are moving soon and those who are coming home to visit that I never get to see...Yes, Rica, that's you!!  I mean, it is summer break, I can't spend the whole time organizing and working.

*Finish a scrapbook.  I must admist I don't feel totally confident about being able to get this project done.  I don't even know exactly where to start actually.  But I'm gonna try.

*Write letters to people.  Real, hand written, snail mail correspondence.  I am particularly excited about this one.  I worry that letter writing is a dying art.  I have a really good friend who asked me recently (in a beautiful card none the less) if I would like to continue keeping up with her via written correspondence.  I am thrilled about this and plan to write her my next letter tonight!

Ok, that is a start of my list of things to do this summer.  Just a start.  I am sure I will think of more as the summer continues.  And of course there are always tons of little everyday things going on.  I am excited that summer is here.  I am excited for a break.  And I am excited for all I am going to get done.  There will be LOTS of chaos and I personally can not wait!!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Do You See What I See?

Do you ever look at someone and think “Man, I really wish they could see what I see.”?    This happens to me often.  I like to watch people.  And in this sport of people watching I have come to be pretty good at reading people.  I can often pick up on unspoken tension or underlying subtleties.  Twice recently I have had overwhelming thoughts of how I wish people could see themselves the way that I see them.  I have thought this about a lot of people in my life, but today I am writing about two people specifically. 
The first is a girl that has been my best friend for years.  I met her in my freshman year of college and, despite the fact that we did not like each other at first and had negative opinions of each other,   we have been friends ever since.  We have been in a few fights in the past several years.  We have even had fights where we didn’t talk for a few weeks.  But even when we fight we are still best friends.  When I have a good day I want to tell her about it.  When I am pissed I want her to be pissed with me.  When my heart gets broken I know I can always talk to her.  She is that kind of friend who is a forever friend.  The one that when I’m eighty and sitting on my porch drinking lemonade she is still going to be my friend.  So, this friend…well she sometimes does not believe in herself.  She wonders why she is not someone else, someone better than herself.  What I wish she could see is that there is no one better.  She is absolutely fantastic.  I wish that she knew she is beautiful and funny.  I wish that she could feel confidence in herself the way I have confidence in her.  She has the knowledge and ability to change the whole world.  She longs to be protected and adored.  I know that she will find those things.  If I could tell her one thing it would be that I hope she remembers that even when it hurts God is refining her into someone that will glorify Him in all she does, and that is a wonderfully beautiful thing.  You my best of all friends are simply amazing.  You amaze me daily and I hope the people you chose to let in your life know just how lucky they are to have you around.  I just wish that you could see what I see.
The second is a guy that is actually a new-ish friend.  Even though we have only been friends for a little while we connected right away.  On like the third or fourth day that I had ever known him he said in a video interview that even though we just met it felt like we had known each other our whole lives.  I could not have said it better.  I have come to think of him like a brother—and if you know how much I love and adore my brothers that is saying a lot!  We don’t have a lot in common besides music.  He knows more about the world (in a global perspective sort of way) than I could ever hope to know.  He is an athlete.  He is a musician.  In a recent conversation with him we were discussing the next big step in his life.  He has chosen to move approximately 868 miles away from his home to pursue higher education.  I am amazed (and I’ll admit slightly jealous because I love the area he’s moving to) at this next step in his life.  However, in my conversation with him he said a lot about how he is not ready to leave and what it comes down to is that he is afraid.  I think he is afraid he will fail.  He spoke about his mom and how she is so wonderful and helps him so much and does so much for him.  He talked about his friends and his girlfriend and not being around them.  What I wish he could see is that he has the ability to do anything he chooses to do.  Yes, it will require a lot of hard work.  But he is more than capable of doing that.  I wish that he believed in himself the way that I believe in him.  I wish he knew that he is brilliant and that his knowledge of people and culture far surpasses that of most people twice his age.  I wish that he could see forward to where his life will be in a few years.  I wish that he could see the way that when he speaks with authority people listen and that gives him the ability to command and lead.  I wish he knew and understood the depth of his talent.  He told me once "with great power comes great responsibility".  Well, my friend they are both yours to have.  And I promise that I will be there to celebrate your successes and encourage you through your failures.  I wish you could see what I see.
Does anyone else ever have these moments?  Times when you can see all that someone else could do and be if only they could see it to?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

When I love church...

Sometimes I love going to church.  Sometimes I don't, but sometimes I do.  On the days when I love it here are some of the things I love...

I love that it doesn't matter what you wear.  You can have on jeans and a raggedy shirt, a three piece suit, or pajamas and it matters not.  God doesn't care at all what you have on...and in most churches (the good ones in my opinion) the people don't care either.  I usually enjoy getting dressed up for church, but if I didn't feel like doing that it would be fine.

I love that when you are in a church it really doesn't matter what the room looks like.  There could be plain white walls or walls donned with banners and decorations but it doesn't matter.  It could be in a building meant to be a church, an old warehouse that has been converted or a house.  It doesn't matter. 

I love that you can be the best singer or (in my case) the worst singer.  When you sing, God thinks it's beautiful.

And MOST of all...the very BEST thing about church is...are you ready for this...EVERYONE there needs Jesus.  Everyone.  From the preacher giving the message, to the man with his hands raised in worship, to the girl hanging her head in shame.  Every single person in there is in need of Jesus.  EVERY SINGLE PERSON.  Wow.  That blows my mind.  We all need Jesus so much.  It's a beautiful thing really.  Crazy, yes.  Confusing, you bet.  But beautiful. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

National Library Week

This is National Library Week.  Did you know that?  Yesterday was actually National Library Worker Appreciation Day.  My students and I made a poster and cards for our school librarian and we nominated her to be a "Star Librarian" at some Library Association web page.  I love the library.  You know how some movies have scenes that are filmed in libraries?  Well I could watch those scenes over and over.  Not even really because of what's happening in the movie at that point in time, but because I am just in awe of the library it's being filmed in.  National Treasure, Skulls, The Prince and Me, City of Angels, Legally Blonde, The Breakfast Club.  Those are all the ones I can think of right this second, but that might be because I'm in a slight hurry.  There is a book I read to my classes called The Boy Who Was Raised By Librarians by Carla Morris.  It was a Show-Me book if you are a teacher (like me) or a nerd (also like me) and are familiar with what that means.  It is about a little boy named Melvin who loves the library.  The three librarians who work at his public library are his favorite people.  The books goes through different things they help him with as he is growing up.  From story hour, to researching science projects, to winning a game show and finally becoming a librarian himself.  It's a phenomenal book.  In the book it talks about how they have a "spend the night in the library" party with snacks and LOTS of storytime.  (In my mind I imagine this as being a night full of reading books and having literacy activities as an extension of reading those books.)  The line that gets me every time is "surrounded by books he felt happy and rich".  Whoa dang!!  I mean, even I can't really say it better than that.  When I am surrounded by books I do feel happy and rich.  I feel like I can truly get lost in a book or find answers in a book or escape for awhile into a book.  I have never loved anything academic as much as I love reading.  I talk to my students about books I am reading and encourage them to read for fun as much as I can.  When they get old I want them to read for fun and not stop reading when they leave school.  I think reading keeps you educated and increases your vocabulary.  I could go on and on about the joys of reading.  But back on track...  When I was little my mom used to take us to the library on Saturday mornings sometimes.  There was a librarian there whose name was Mrs. Roegge.  I'm not actually sure if that's how it's spelled but I lack the time to look it up.  Anyways, I thought the library was a fascinating place and I thought the librarian's job was to help me "shop" for books.  While I'm sure she had many things to do, she always helped me.  I never remember her not having time to help me look for books.  I read all the Boxcar Children books and the Babysitter Club books and several others.  This time in my childhood is what helped me to love reading and love books and love libraries.  So, on this National Library Week, I just want to say that I appreicate all the libraries (and ESPECIALLY librarians) in my life.  I am thankful for the gift of literacy and I pray that ending illiteracy is a trend that will soon sweep the nation. 

Now it's off to Bible study...which will require me to locate a very specific book...my Bible.  Hmmm...wonder where it is??!! 

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Beautiful Quiche!

I did it!  I have wanted to try making a quiche for awhile now.  My friend Kalee shared a recipe with me and I made it my goal to make one by the end of this month.  Well, I bought the rest of the groceries I needed on Friday and Sunday afternoon I finally got brave enough to make it.  It wasn't really that hard actually.  It took some patience because things had to be done in steps.  But when it was done I was so super proud of myself, plus it was delicious!  I froze part of it to have later since it is just me and I would get tired of eating quiche if I had it every meal of the day until it was gone.  (Or maybe not, because did I mention that it was delicious!)  I was shocked at how good it turned out and how it wasn't nearly as hard as I had thought it might be.  I don't have much else to say about it.  I am just really proud.

Ta-da!  There it is.  Gosh I feel like such an accomplished chef.  I guess making quiche doesn't really go with my health goals, but it goes with my trying new things goals!  You can make it too, I'm sure of it!!  If you want to know how just ask and I'll tell you or I'll direct you to Kalee's blog so you can learn from the pro!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I figured out how to put pictures on my blog...who knew it was so easy?

I could make list after list of people I think are awesome and why.  Especially the people I put pictures of on here.  I want to write a post about them.  But tonight I don't have the words.  I've had a long day and still have much to accomplish before I go to bed.  However, I have a few random things to say.
*I recently updated my Facebook so that it says I speak Spanish.  All my (new) siblings speak Spanish and I didn't want to be left out.  I decided that the dozen or so things I know totally count so now I am claiming it as a language.  I hope they don't have Facebook languages spoken police who are gonna come demand that I speak Spanish for them or remove it from my page.
*I am baking a quiche this weekend!  I am mega super excited.  I'll let you know how it goes.
*I love Jesus, but I don't always like His plan for my life it seems.
*Being healthy is REALLY hard.  Like, really really hard.
*I miss these people terribly...

I originally called this post people who rock because of the fabulous pictures I figured out how to post...the people in them rock for sure.  I was going to write about them and why they rock...but I am too tired.  So I changed it and added a line cause it didn't make sense anymore.That's all I've got right now.  Back to the chaos.  :)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sunday Thoughts on a Monday

I started organizing these thoughts yesterday, but never got around to putting them down...so here I am spending my beautiful ONE DAY of Spring Break writing.  It's ok, I have to get it down to help me organize my thoughts, so it's worth it to me.  And besides, I will still have plenty of time to "relax" after I write.  Writing makes me feel better.  It ranks up there with painting in my world.  I wonder if others have things that make them feel like that.  Like no matter how bad things are you can always find peace in those things.  Like an outlet I guess.  For me they are writing and painting and sometimes music.

Anyways, back to the original post.  Sunday mornings.  I work at a church where I am the secretary and the Sunday school teacher/Children's Ministry Coordinator.  There are times that I love my job there and there are times that I wish I didn't have to go.  Well yesterday, I had one of those moments where I loved being at church.  The strange thing is that it was before anyone was even there.  Those are my favorite times at the church.  I enjoy the time that I am there getting the church (building) ready for the church (people).  Really I don't do much to get the building ready.  I turn on the lights and make the bulletins and get the Sunday school rooms ready.  Sometimes Ben is there getting things ready in the sanctuary.  He is usually getting the computer ready or working on his sermon or whatever he is doing I don't really know.  If I am working in my office and I open the door I can usually hear him singing REALLY loud in the sanctuary while he is getting things ready.  I love it!  It makes me feel like my church is the safest most peaceful place on the planet.  It makes me feel closer to God than almost any other time I am in that building.  In the truly quiet, restful moments.  Yesterday while I was sitting in my office waiting for the bulletins to print and drinking cinnamon roll cappucino I was thinking about how I can have more moments like that.  I don't know what the answer is for sure I guess.  But now that I know I want those moments I guess I just have to recognize them when they happen and appreciate them. 

Ok...lots of jumbled thoughts.  So now I am going to return to my wonderful one day of Spring Break.  I am putting music on my computer and watching Pretty Little Liars on ABC Family.  Haha.  I'm so cool. 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Lazy Saturday Afternoon

I love days when I have no obligations and I hate days when I have no obligations.  They are good at first because I can sleep in if I want to.  Sleeping in for me usually is not the same as sleeping in for other people.  today I slept in until 8:00am and I was thrilled!  Then I can just wear sweatpants and lounge around all day long.  This starts out as a really good thing.  Time to relax and think.  But then I start to think to much.  And I start to make lists (either mental lists or actual pen and paper lists) of things I need to do.  Then my day is no longer relaxing because I am worried about EVERYTHING.  I have tons of things that I should be accomplishing today.  Problems that I should be tackling head on and finding a solution to.  But I find real life to be too overwhelming right now.  So I hide in the excuse of having a lazy afternoon.  Later one of my favorite people (my friend Charline) is coming over for the evening.  We will cook something and watch a movie I'm sure.  It will be a lazy evening...but it will be in the company of a good friend.  So you see, days like this are both good and bad.  It's finding the balance in them that I find tricky.

Now a few totally random side notes.  My BFF for life is right this very second arriving (or close to arriving or just arrived) in NOLA for a week long mission trip with people from her town.  Her and her mother and a friend of her mother's left Friday to drive down.  They are committing the next week of their lives to helping people rebuild and continue to heal from destruction.  I find it amazing that so many years later people are still in the process of rebuilding.  I read that so many of those people have accepted sub standard living conditions as their new normal.  That they have lost the drive to try and recapture what their life was before.  The "new normal" has become acceptable to them.  Well I can think of no better people to help them than my BFF and her mom.  I'm excited for the opportunity they have to be a part of restoring pride to people's lives.  Even if it is just the ability to have pride in a freshly painted and scrubbed clean house.  I am so proud of her.

And random side note number two.  I want to cook a quiche or a tart.  My friend Kalee writes about making them.  I always think when I read it "hey I could probably do that".  But then I don't even try because I get scared.  Well I am going to try.  That is my goal for the month of March is to cook either a quiche or a tart (or maybe both) before it is over.  Wish me luck!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Little Miss Sunshine

When I was in the first grade my teacher was wonderful!  She made me believe in myself and let me know that it was ok to not be like everyone else.  She taught me to love reading.  She taught me about being a part of a class community...before that was the latest trend in education.  And she called me Little Miss Sunshine.  Always she called me that.  The day I graduated high school I got a card from her calling me Little Miss Sunshine.  When I was in college I would get cards from her that said "To My Little Miss Sunshine".  The week I moved home from college she greeted me at church with a hug and a "Good Morning Little Miss Sunshine".  I know that she cared about me and my education.  And did I mention that she (in conjunction with my mother of course) taught me to LOVE reading. 

A few weeks ago that teacher who I love so dearly passed away.  I sat behind her daughter at church and tried to think of things to say.  A way to express how much her mother had meant to me.  How my love of learning and my eventually becoming a teacher was thanks in part to how wonderful of a teacher her mother had been.  And all I could say was good morning how are you?  (Words are hard sometimes.) 

I have thought about it a lot.  I want to be the version of me that deserves to be called Little Miss Sunshine.  And I want to give my students memories that will carry them through their lives so at the end of mine they can say that I touched their life the way Mrs. Carter touched mine.  Great teachers are never forgotten.  They are remembered always in the lessons they leave behind.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Jumbled Morning Thoughts

Gosh I feel like I have a lot to say but to organize my thoughts would take way too long.  So I'm making a list.  That seems like the easy way for me to do things.

*My fish almost died last night.  It was traumatic.  I was cleaning out his bowl (because after getting home from a night of hanging out with friends I could think of nothing better to do than clean out Coco's bowl).  I got a little cup ready for him to wait in while I cleaned his actual bowl.  I scooped him out in the little green net thing and as I was attempting to transfer him to the "waiting bowl"...brace yourself this is horrible...he JUMPED INTO THE SINK!!!  I was like "Uhmm...what the trash Coco, I knew you were sad about your bowl being dirty but you don't need to kill youself."  So Daniel, Billy and I staged an intervention.  I called Derek because I was so upset and he said that Coco would be fine, that he just had a concussion.  I called my mom (yes, she was in bed because it was an ungodly hour of the night/morning) and she said she was really sorry, she hoped my fish survived and that she was going back to bed.  Then I sat and talked to my fish for awhile.  This morning he was still alive so I guess the intervention worked.  Maybe he needs fishy therapy or something.

*I found things to add to my file of things I want for my house/apartment.  I hope to have a house someday so I usually say house, but in reality it's just an apartment right now.  I keep looking at sheets online.  I want new sheets so bad I dream about them.  Really.  I dreamt about changing my sheets last night.  Tell me that's not bizarre.  I keep looking for the perfect ones, but I keep coming back to the purple-ish ones, which is odd because purple is not my favorite color.

*Yesterday I had lunch with my birth father, his wife and his stepson.  It was great.  Daniel went with me but he didn't really have anything to say (cause he doesn't know them ya know) so he was mostly just there to make me feel better with his presence.  The only thing that would have made the day better would have been if Alisa had been there.  I hate times like this when we don't talk and she lives a million miles away and I want to fix it but don't know how.  It literally makes my heart hurt.

*I am supposed to be working right now.  I have the bulletins printed but not folded.  Whoops.  Apparently Ben taught my Sunday School class last week and they learned about David and Goliath.  So today we are expanding on that lesson with a project.  Fun times.  Then it will be almost time to start teaching about Easter.  I love this time of year as far as teaching Sunday School because it's great to teach and fairly easy to find hands on things for them to do.  Oh, and I finally remembered to bring my craft sticks so they can finish their puppets today.  Whew!

*I hate not having the internet at my house.  I would get internet before I would get cable I think.  Then I could post random things every day.  Also, whenever I post the time stamp on my post is like two hours earlier than the actual time.  Like right now it says "Draft saved at 8:52 AM" but when I post it will say like 6:52 AM.  So strange.  I don't know how to fix it because I'm not a computer genius.  Maybe I should call Dana.  Hmm...

That's all for now.  I am formulating a post in my head, but don't have time to get it all on there right now. 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

So busy...

I can't believe it's been so long since I posted.  I am such a slacker these days.  Life has been crazy busy.  But good busy.  I have been doing some MAJOR cleaning and organizing in my classroom.  This project takes a long time because there is a limited amount of time I can work on it before or after school.  I will be happy when it's done though.  And next is my house.  Ok, I've kind of already started on the house, but I haven't gotten much done so it doesn't really count that much.  :)  There are some major things changing for me soon and I can't wait to be able to share them.  Ok, really it's only one BIG thing but I still can't wait to be able to tell people!  Hopefully soon I will get the ok to do that. 

Anyways...right now I am in my office at church.  I am looking up fun things to do with my Sunday School kiddos for Valentine's Day.  I am looking forward to hanging out with them and telling them how cool they are and how much me and Jesus love them.  And I'm looking forward to helping them come up with ideas on how they can share love with others.  It's so easy to make Valentine's Day about Jesus.  Today will be a great day.  I am sure of it.  I am looking forward to the possibilities this week holds.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Snowed In!!

Well, we just got word that tomorrow will be another snow day for our school.  That means out of one whole week we went to school for half a day.  Ha!  I am glad that in a society that seems rushed in everything we do our schools are taking the time to make sure the roads are safe for our busses, teachers and other drivers before we go back to school.  I have not been so glad however, to be snowed in at my tiny apartment with no television or internet!  Yesterday my dad and two friends of mine dug my car out so I was finally free.  Today I left my house for the first time since Monday around noon.  I ran a few errands and came to my parents house.  There still are no people around, but there is television and internet and what can I say...I like it here.  I have come to realize that though I will never love this house as much as "my house" (the house I grew up in), I do still love this house.  Today I just walked around and looked at things.  It feels like a million years since I have been here.  I know it has only been a week or so, but when I am here I am usually watching Jersey Shore, cooking with my mom or talking to my mom or things like that.  Rarely am I here alone.  I felt like a little kid discovering new things.  I opened all the closets just to see what was in them.  This reminded me of having snow days when I was little.  When we were old enough to be left at home "alone" (my grandparents were always 'popping in' to visit us which we figured out later meant check on us) my siblings and I would be left a list of chores to do before our parents got home from work.  Other than doing these chores we were pretty  much free.  In "my house" we had HUGE closets.  I loved to go sit in the closets and look at stuff.  I know that sounds strange, but the closets were like a magical world to me.  There was a particularly large closet in the hallway that was great.  It was home to some clothes, lots of shoes, a file cabinet, and tons of boxes!  I loved to get the boxes off the shelf and look through them.  It was always random stuff, but I remember thinking it was great!  Sometimes I would find little trinkets that I would keep in my room for awhile and later return in search of something new.  There also was a small place in the back of the closet in my room where I would sit and think.  I would go there to cry when I was sad.  I would take the cordless phone up there and talk for hours to my friends.  I loved that house!  On snow days we would also usually try to make snow ice cream.  We always ended up with something more like snow soup with so much sugar in it it was grainy.  We were never great at "cooking" back then.  Oh, and we used to make my brother go get the mail in the snow by telling him that we would time him to see how long it took to get down there and back.  We would also occasionally offer him nickels and other random things.  He always went.  I love him. 
I guess I don't have much else to say today.  I am just enjoying being here and watching television and relaxing.  Oh, and I have decided I want to make fondue.  Maybe that's what I will take to the SuperBowl party.  We will see.  For today, for now, I am happy.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Superheroes...(AKA--How I know that God is REAL.)

Confession.  I am slightly obsessed with superheroes.  I mean, I don't have tons of knowledge about comic books or anything...but I still like heroes.  I am not absolutely sure when this obsession began, but I can pin it down to two reasons.  First, I like that most heroes struggle with the battle of good and evil.  They choose good (I mean, they're heroes.) but they often struggle with bad.  Second, I think the obsession comes partly from the fact that more times than I care to remember I have wanted or needed a hero. 

Ok, so the first reason.  I fight to chose good over evil all the time.  Not the same way that my beloved heroes have to, but still it's a choice I identify with.  The "evil" of my choices often would equate to caving in to darkness.  Because my life was dark for so long and I was so sad it seems easy for me to chose that.  I could easily lock myself in my house and not come out for days while all the while not interacting at all with the outside world.  It would be easy to return to cutting when life gets hard and I want to feel something.  It would be easy to chose to give up.  But that's not what my heart desires.  So I fight.  I fight to trust in God.  I fight to chose the Light that I know surrounds and embraces me.  I fight to chose to acknowledge my past while not letting it overtake me.  I embrace who I am now and know that the events of my life have created this version of me. 

The second reason might be slightly harder to discuss.  I have often in life wanted or needed a hero.  There are tons of things I could say here, but I am chosing to skip to the college version of me that needed to be rescued.  I can remember sitting on the floor of my closet crying wishing that someone would come and save me.  It came to a point where my life was just too overwhelming.  My "forever love" had turned out to be not so long term.  My grades were sketch at best.  My friends mostly thought I was crazy. And Jesus seemed to slip further and further away every single day.  Then came the night that changed my life.  I don't remember many of the details of this night but have pieced it together from listening to my closest friends recount it.  I made some poor choices and ended up in the hospital.  I was confused and didn't really know what was goign on besides that tons of nurses and a doctor kept talking really loud and fast and there was constantly someone with their hands on my face.  I know now that they were checking on me by making sure my eyes were resonsive and things like that...but at the time I just knew they were touching my face and I didn't want them to be.  Enter my real life hero, Daniel.  The one person who refused to sit in the waiting room like the hospital staff told him to.  He refused to stay outside the door and listen to me scream.  He insisted that he be allowed in the room with me.  Then he refused to sit in the chair in the corner like they told him to.  He refused to watch them struggle to help me when he knew that he could help.  Daniel saved my life that day.  He told me that he was there and all I needed to worry about was looking straight at him and listening to him tell the life story of Superman.  All the horrible things he witnessed in that room while they tried to save my life and he never flinched.  The thing that makes Daniel a hero is that even though he did all of this for me he never acknowledged it as being of himself.  He even today will tell me about how Jesus saved my life that night. 

After that night I began a long journey.  One that will not be finished this side of Heaven.  I chose to believe Daniel and embrace the only hero who ever gave His life for me.  I chose to believe that Daniel was right and that God really did have a plan for my life.  I chose to believe that God created me and loved me.  That I was a sinner in need of rescuing.  That because He loved me so much Jesus died on the cross as payment for my sins.  That in order to have a perfect relationship with Him all I had to do was accept his love.  WOW.  I became best friends with two heroes that night-Jesus and Daniel.  And they are still my best friends.  In that exact order. 

So why still the obsession with superheroes?  I like to think that if I needed a hero maybe other people do too.  Maybe there are people who are struggling and don't know that (as cheesy and cliche as it sounds) Jesus wants to be their hero.  Their best friend.  I like to think that one of the reasons my God rescued me is so that I can help others find their way to Him.  If you are hurting, or just not sure where to go from where you are...I want to help!  I want to be your friend.  I want to do life with you.  I want to introduce you to my hero.  I want you to be a part of the chaos that is life as a Christian.  I want you to know that heroes are real and you are not alone.  <3

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Ten Random Things...

Today is a snow day.  Another snow day.  That means I am losing a day off of my already painfully short Spring Break.  It makes me miss the days of college when Spring Break was a week long and there really were no such thing as snow days.  I mean, I know I should be thankful that I had a whole day off of work when most people still have to go to work no matter the weather.  I worry about people who have to drive to work when the weather is bad.  Really, I do.  I guess I would rather have something to do than just hang out at my parents' house.  Thank goodness I had a few episodes of Jersey Shore on the DVR that I hadn't watched yet.  In any case being quazi bored all day has led to me generating this list. 

Ten Random Things I'm Thinking About Right Now
1.  I love peanut butter.  Like, really really a lot.  I could eat a peanut butter sandwich every single day for lunch and be perfectly happy.  I like to stir honey into peanut butter.  I like to put jelly on it.  I have always wanted to make a peanut butter and banana sandwich, but have never tried.  I just think peanut butter is great.  Whoever figured out that if you smush peanuts and add a few other things it would make peanut butter...you are my hero.

2.  How did people ever feel safe on the road before they had cell phones?  I drove to my mom's house today and I was frantic thinking about what would happen if I wrecked.  I actually said out loud to myself "at least I have a cell phone".  If I did not have a cell phone I mean yes, I could walk to the closest house and call for help, but I seriously feel panicky just thinking about being stranded somwhere without help.  Strange.

3.  Magazines fascinate me.  It doesn't even matter what they are about for real.  I read a magazine at my mom's house today that I was not even really interested in, I just picked it up.  I like reading different articles and find most writers have a sarcastic wit that I can really appreciate.

4.  Snow is beautiful.  It can be disastrous, but it is just so dang beautiful.  Being here I can look out across fields and see totally beautiful, white, shiny, untouched snow and it amazes me.

5.  I love to plan things.  I have files on my computer for my future.  Things that may or may not ever happen.  I have a wedding file.  A house file.  A funeral file.  Really.  I think it's because I am a control freak.  I have furniture picked out for a house that I may never own.  Maybe I'm crazy.

6.  My purple sweatpants might be the ugliest pants I own, but they are also probably the second most comfortable piece of clothing I own.  So I love them.  And I wore them today cause I could.  My mom hates sweatpants so she is slightly annoyed that I have them on.  Ha!

7.  I want to throw a really great party.  A super chic, totally awesome dinner party.  I want people to tell me that I am a great hostess.  I know, it's selfish, but I want this really bad.

8.  I am planning on making some super cute cards for my friends next month.  I found some great designs today that I want to try and use.  I hope I can make them look at cute as the ones online did.

9.  I want VERY badly to learn to speak Spanish.  There are lots of reasons and tons of things I could say about this...but it would take too long to explain.  I just want to speak Spanish.

10.  My friends amaze me.  Seriously amaze me.  There are times when I am just in awe of the fact that I have such great friends.  I am blessed.

That's all for now.  I am working on writing something about my love of superheroes...but it probably won't be posted today.  It's taking too long to make perfect!!  <3

Sunday, January 9, 2011


I started writing this post this morning and I SWEAR I hit the save button before I walked away from my computer, but I came back and it was gone.  Sad day.  Good thing it's not a super long post or anything, so I'm just gonna write it again. 

I love to cook.  I have always enjoyed cooking, I am just not super great at it.  I can cook a few things really well, but I usually make a HUGE mess doing it.  I have not figured out a good method for organizing my kitchen and organizing my cooking skills.  There are times when I literally feel like I use every pot/pan/dish that I have and that every surface in my kitchen is covered with something.  This combined with the fact that I live by myself equals me not cooking very much.  Living alone makes it easy to eat convenience foods that are pre-made, pre-packaged and basically not that great.  So one of my things on my list of things I want to do in 2011 is cook more.  I want to figure out how to cook better food with better ingredients and with a better method of cooking.  (I think that sounds oddly like a Papa John's commercial.)  This is a HUGE goal so I decided that a good place to start would be to pick a cookbook I own and cook everything in it.  I picked a small one.  Ha!  I am going to cook everything in the GAL cookbook I have from college.  The foods in it aren't necessarily super healthy or anything, but cooking anything at all is a good place to start I figured.  Plus they are recipes that were submitted by my sorority sisters (therefore my friends!).  I will let you know how it goes.

Oh, and speaking of cooking...tomorrow night (hopefully, unless plans change) I am going to be making homemade pizza.  It's not from scratch or anything.  I am using a crust mix and already made sauce, but adding lots of fresh veggies and good mozzarella cheese.  Like I said, it's a start.  Maybe someday I will get ambitious and make pizza sauce from scratch, but that's not happening this week!  I hear that it's not actually that hard, so I have faith that I can do it.  Tonight I will finally be making chocolate covered pretzels.  I was supposed to make them last week and it never happened.  If I remember correctly I was going to make them on Thursday, but got distracted with watching Jersey Shore.  Ha! 

I am hoping that by cooking more I can develop a healthier relationship with food.  I will be able to control what goes into the things I am eating.  I will be able to make foods that I really want and keep learning to do it in a healthier way.  I still love cooking, I am just hoping to minimize the mess and be able to love cooking more often than I already do!  It will be a fun experiment if nothing else!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Ten People Who Inspired Me In 2010

I stole this idea from the Baby Bangs blog that I happened to find one day.  It is a great blog that always makes me smile.  She had written a blog about people who inspired her in 2010 and I thought it was a GREAT idea, so I am doing it too!  It was really hard to pick only ten people to put on my list.  REALLY hard.  So I cheated.  I used entire groups of people on some of them.  I know, I know...that's so sketch, right?!  I couldn't help it.  There was just no way around it.  So here it is...my list of ten people who inspired me in 2010.

1.  Janet Huffman.  My Mama.  Gosh I love her so much.  I often say how I think my Mama is a little bit crazy...and she is, but that's part of her charm.  She is so stinkin cute and I am so much like her it's unbelievable.  Sometimes I will be talking about how something she did or said is silly and my friends never fail to point out that I would have done or said the exact same thing.  She loves me even when I don't deserve it.  She teaches me to give freely and willingly.  She believes in my ability to change the world and tells me often.  She never gives up on me.  She loves me unconditionally and without end.  I literally feel like I would cease to exist if it weren't for my Mama.

2.  Camp Metamorphosis staff at Camp Jo-Ota.  The people I had the opportunity to be counselors with impacted my life in a big and lasting way.  Richard and Ben challenged me when I didn't want to be challenged.  Laurie, Kate and Keely loved me even when I was crazy.  Martin showed me characteristics of a Christian that awed me and made me want to be better.  David with his softspoken voice and his positive attitude was totally opposite from me...and that intrigued me.  Steve and John were so willing to serve and literally do anything they needed to do to make things happen at camp.  Ben's step-mom and Richard's mom who came to be counselors so they could spend time with their boys showed me commitment to the ones they love.  Elizabeth with her witty comments never once complained about the pressure of her technology job.  Even when we lost power in the barn.  Ha!  And Andy.  Last year I led a group with him and mostly just watched him because I was trying to figure him out.  This year I told Andy why I don't like my face to be touched.  I said it really fast and kind of as a fleeting comment and immediately changed the topic.  But for just a split second he sucked in his breath and looked at me with wide eyes.  It was then that I saw why Andy is a pastor.  He may come off as all techy (like someone who spends their days in Nerdville) but he cares deeply about God's people.  I feel like I am leaving someone out..but it is simply for lack of ability to remember everything I want to say, not for lack of their impact on my summer!  I got as much from working with these people as any person could hope to gain from volunteering at camp for a week!  Simply put, they made me want to be better.

3.  mumBAi.  My family group at this same camp.  This group of kiddos forced me to be a better leader out of necessity.  They needed John and I to be more real with them and give them God inspired answers...not the sugary sweet "mountain top" stuff you would normally expect at camp.  They had me studying scripture hardcore any free minute I got at camp so I could have better answers for their mega super hard questions.  I was blessed with the opportunity to witness many of them have moments of brokeness and healing.  I am inspired by them because I know that I have only just seen the beginning.  God is not done with them, He is raising them up to be leaders in their generation and it excites me like you would not believe!

4. Kalee.  My dear friend Kalee.  She inspired me to start a blog.  She blew me away with how real she could be on her own blog.  She inspired me to try new things.  Most of all she is inspiring me to have a healthy relationship with food.  I know that if there is one person on the planet who understands my emotional eating (I eat when I'm sad, happy, scared, bored, nervous, excited, etc...) it's her.  And she on her blog talks about using cooking (making real food that is natural and good and made from scratch) to help find healing from an addiction to food.  It literally blows me away. 

5.  Daniel.  Much of why my dear Daniel inspires me I can not put into words.  Most of this comes from years of friendship.  But this year specifically I watched Daniel face emotional trauma and stand up and admit his sin.  He swallowed his pride and said out loud that he was a sinner and he confronted that sin head on.  He did not lie about it or try to make it some secret thing.  He openly admitted that he needed Jesus.  And I thought well maybe if Daniel can be freed from sin so can others.  So can I.  He showed me what God can do if only we let Him. 

6.  Alisa.  My very best friend in the universe.  Alisa inspires me by always being real with me.  She is not afraid to tell me when I'm wrong.  But she loves me through my mistakes.  I like that when Alisa has something to say that she doesn't think anyone else will understand she calls me.  I like that even though she was mad at me and didn't talk to me for almost an entire week this year she still loved me.  I like that she is just like another part of my family now. 

7.  Beth Moore.  I am constantly challenged by her.  Whether it's through her blog, her most recent book or her Bible studies.  She is one hundred percent real.  She has been gifted for women's ministry and she is following that calling with everything she has.  I attended a Simulcast this year.  Actually two.  And at both events I felt like she specifically spoke Truth into my life that I needed to hear at that moment.  And this year (I know, I know...off topic from the 2010 list since it's 2011) I am memorizing scripture with other women on her blog.  Yay!

8.  Mike Slaughter.  I had the opportunity to hear him speak at Missouri United Methodist Annual Conference.  He changed my life and my view of ministry.  Forever.  There is not much more I can say about it than that.  He is pastor of Ginghamsburg UMC in Ohio.  He is being led by the Lord to do great things.  He inspired me to live simply.

9.  The Heartland Emmaus of KC community.  My Walk to Emmaus (#34, Table of Ruth) showed me a lot of things.  I went into it telling Laurie that even if I didn't get to do anything else besides hang out with Jesus for a few days I would be happy.  What I got was a reminder of God's love.  The way people showed love was incredible.  If ever I start to doubt that I am loved by God or His people I pull out my Emmaus box and relive what it felt like to have people love me and serve me just because they love God.  With no expectation from me.  I look forward to the day that I can do that for someone else.

10.  My students.  The great thing about being a teacher is that when I say my students I can include two classes in the year 2010.  They make my life fun.  They are also super exhausting!!  Some of them have already overcome so many challenges in life.  They make me have hope for the future!

There it is.  My list.  I could have written way more but I'll stop.  It's nearly 7:00 and I need to make some chocolate covered pretzels.  Wish me luck! 

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Whoa, Dang!

THANK YOU so much to all of you who prayed for me and had such supportive comments!  It really helped to calm my nerves!  A LOT!  Thursday, December 30, 2010 is a day that I will remember forever.  I wrote it all down on my computer...even the silly stuff...cause I don't ever want to forget a single detail.  I want to be able to remember that day forever.  In case you are wondering it went WONDERFUL!  For those of you who need more detail let me give you a run down.

Alisa and I got lost.  Yup.  Big surprise there, huh?  :)  So we are sitting at a stop sign in the middle of this MAJOR city and I am freaking out cause we have no idea where to go from there.  I look up and see a gas station.  I tell Alisa that we simply must go there because I need to throw up.  She kind of rolls her eyes and chuckles and I say "No really, I'm gonna throw up we have to go to the gas station."  So she (like the wonderful best friend she is) pulls out across three lanes of traffic and gets us safely to the gas station.  We go in and are waiting outside the restroom and I happen to look up as someone walks around the corner to look at me and it's one of my brothers.  Legit.  Right there in that very gas station.  (We had seen pictures of each other on Facebook so we recognized each other.)  He said my name and my heart leaped into my throat and I hugged him for a long time.  Then I look up and two more brothers and his girlfriend (she is WONDERFUL by the way) are with him.  So I hug all of them.  It.  Was.  The.  Best.  I was so nervous I think all I said was "We came here so I could throw up and then I was gonna call you."  Like they needed that detail.  Ha!  One of them got in with us so he could tell us where to go and in a matter of minutes we were there. 

The next few minutes were kind of a blur.  We get to the house.  They give me a gift.  We go inside.  The last of the older boys (I say it that way because there is a little-little brother who is like I don't know four but I don't think he really knows who I am yet.) is waiting on the porch so I hug him for a long time too.  At this point my heart was literally so happy I could have screamed.  Really.  Then my sisters were there.  And I was so happy to see them and hug them that I probably made that little weird squeaking sound I make when I get really excited.  (Yes...I am trying purposefully really hard not to use their names because I am not sure they want me writing about them for all of you to read yet!!  Ha!)  Then I am being introduced to all kinds of people and then suddenly we are in the room and she is there.  And I do look like her.  And I knew right there in that moment that God created and orchestrated my life perfectly.  I get to have the best of both worlds.  I get to have all kinds of family.  There are lots more details here that I am not really ready to write about.  What it all basically comes down to is that they immediately accepted me into their world.  And Alisa too because she is kind of an extension of me.  All the things I wondered about...well I don't have to wonder anymore.  Did they think I was strange?  Probably.  Did they like me?  I think so...well I hope so.  Did they cry?  I don't know.  I think only my birth mom cried.  Did I cry?  Not until Alisa and I were in the car on the way home.  I don't really remember what else I said in my last post I was wondering about...but I'm not wondering anymore because now I know.

The best part of the whole day was hanging out with my siblings.  I mean, don't get me wrong-the whole day was good.  But that was the best.  Standing on the porch talking to them and watching them interact with each other and their friends.  Standing around the Christmas tree trying to take pictures.  It was wonderful.  I REALLY hope that it was just the first day of lots of days I will get to hang out with them.   Leaving was hard.  I didn't want to say goodbye to them.  But I promised them (and reminded myself) that waiting awhile to see them again does not even compare to waiting 27 years to see them at all. 

Alisa and I got in the car.  And we got lost again.  No lie.  We are not good at city driving.  I mean come on, my town has NO stop lights and like three 4-Way stop signs.  I was not meant to know directions.  Fortunately (thanks to good directions from my oldest brother's girlfriend...she I told you she was GREAT!)we were only lost for a few minutes then we were on our way home.  I was quiet for a long time.  Alisa kept asking me what I was thinking but I had no words.  Then I started to cry.  I cried because I'm happy.  I don't have to feel angry anymore.  I don't have to wonder if I've been forgotten anymore.  I don't have to wonder if they even know about me.  I.  Love.  Them.  I don't feel like I need to explain or justify that to anyone.   After we stopped to have dinner I called my Mama to tell her that we were almost home and that I love her so super much.  She said "I know".  It was so cute and such a classic Mama thing to say. 

Where to go from here?  Try to find a balance of my time.  Trust that it will all work out.  And next on the agenda...hang out with Doug and Dawn!  :)  That is my super happy face in case you were wondering!

Oh...and for those of you who have seen the picture album on facebook and have asked or are wondering...  Ohana means family.  And according to a cheesy movie that I watch because I'm like five years old at heart...Family means NO ONE gets left behind, or forgotten.  No.  One.  Ever.  This is my family.  And they are good.