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 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 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 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.