Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Thankful Thursday: Blessings

This week, for Thankful Thursday, I want to share little blessings that have crossed my path this week. I hope the perspectives will bless you as well:
  1. Friday night, one of my roommates (we'll call her Jay) was out of town and the other roommate (we'll call her Mae) and I were home hanging around. While I used the stove to make my dinner, Mae required use of the oven. As smoke began to fill our kitchen, we realized that some past cooking endeavor had overflown its dish and the remains were on the bottom of our oven. Neither Mae or I had an explanation for the mess, but we began problem-solving how we would handle the situation. After deciding that we would rather be up late Friday night and awaken to a clean oven than put it off until the next day, we spend Friday night cleaning our oven. Don't tell me Mae and I don't know how to have a good time, because we seriously had a blast. I can't explain it, but we joyfully worked together and afterward the oven sparkled. :)
  2. I believe I have passed the point of return for the digital age. On Sunday evening Paul and I met with my Pastor. (I say my Pastor because he's the pastor of the church I attend, but Paul thinks very highly of him and has met him several times.) Pastor Tommy and I were in Edwards, CO and Paul was in Nashville, TN. Yes, my friends, Paul and I video-chatted a meeting with Pastor Tommy. Unique and futuristic as the experience was, it was awesome to both talk with the same spiritual mentor at the same time. One thing that surprised me in the meeting was when I started to tear-up when Pastor Tommy prayed over us to close the session. Paul and I pray together very regularly, and I have heard friends and mentors pray for us, but never with both of us present and someone praying over us. What a blessing!
  3. The local high school is having a Drug-Free week this week complete with dress-up days leading up to Halloween. On Tuesday three awesome girls from the high school youth group dropped by my house in the CRAZIEST outfits I had ever seen. Two were dressed as bananas - yes bananas, and one had awesome tacky MC Hammer pants. Here they are with Lexie and me. (In case you're wondering, they used water bottles in their hair to make it stand up so much.)
  4. Tuesday, it SNOWED! I am no stranger to snow, but I feel like a long-lost cousin. After growing up in SNOW HEAVEN in western Michigan, I attended college in Lexington, Virginia and graduate school in Nashville, Tennessee. I have had snow withdrawal for nearly nine autumns now and I am THRILLED to be back where the snow reigns. When the snow began falling, it was nap time in the preschool and several kiddos were not yet asleep. My teaching assistant who grew up in this area allowed the excited children to get up for a few minutes and look out the window at the falling snow. I was down the hall when the snow began, and as soon as I returned to the preschool and saw the snow, I immediately joined the children at the window - nose pressed against it just like theirs. My teaching assistant started laughing pretty hard at my child-like excitement. :)
  5. Last night I acquired new furniture. The furniture is not "new," rather, it is as good as new, and what is even better is that its family furniture. The type of furniture with many memories attached. In fact, the small townhouse where my roommates and I live is now OVERFLOWING with furniture. We might be close to furniture overload, but what a BLESSING! How many people in America, let alone the world, can say they are reaching furniture overload? Lexie does not think we have too much furniture... she has made herself right at home with the new arrivals:
  6. Last night I watched the newly released music video of Britt Nicole and it blessed me immensely! Her song, "The Lost Get Found" is a beautiful reminder to live differently, stand out and love boldly because "that's how the lost get found". To film this music video, she actually packed up her car and took a road trip, praying that the Lord would bring people into her path who needed hope, love and Christ. The whole video is awesome, but there is one quick picture of a man peering with curiosity through a chain-link fence - Oh, my heart breaks for this man. How many people are intrigued by this concept of a loving God and merciful Savior but remain outside the fence? How many Christians attend church and know Bible stories but realize that something is missing from their walk that they see in the lives of others? How many people are peering through a chain-link fence and no one is welcoming them in? This video is amazing, inspiring and beautiful. Check out this awesome video and be blessed.
For more Thankful Thursday, visit Truth for the Journey.

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Word-Filled Wednesday: Psalm 139:23-24

Psalm 139:23-24

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.

See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

For more Word-Filled Wednesday visit here.

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Caffeinated Randomness: So Caffeinated! So Random! So Joyful!

The randomness level in my brain is INSANE. My brain seems to have been set on "random/silly" level since about 1:00 yesterday afternoon and I don't know why. Some might say that spending 45+ hours each week with and focused on preschoolers has taken its toll, but I would disagree. I am LOVING my preschoolers this year!

We have been in school for seven and a half weeks and I think we are just in the perfect rhythm/zone. As I read that sentence I am laughing because there is no rhythm to the preschool world, we do not have things under control. Don't get me wrong, we don't lose children or anything and we certainly have method and organization, which guides our days, but much of what we do is reactive to what the children need or the kind of day the students are having.

Wow, I am rambling like crazy. The point, I think, was going to be that the kiddos are at a great place - they are in the routine of coming to preschool, the know what is expected of them in preschool, but they are not tired of it yet. Halloween is just around the corner and autumn/harvest themes make GREAT lessons for preschoolers. Next week we will carve pumpkins and I can't wait to watch the little guys feeling those ooey-gooey pumpkin seeds.

The weather is changing and getting cooler, but our playground is warm in the sunshine and the children run around so much that their coats are always hung on the fence by the end of time outside because they've warmed up so much. Life is just beautiful out here.

This is so not what I expected to write about this morni
ng because there is so much more on my mind, but this seems to be where the post is going. I'm afraid this could be LONG post because my brain is just overflowing and wanting share all the fun craziness of beautiful life right now.

My trip to Nashville two weeks ago was SO WONDERFUL. Thank you for your prayers and for sharing my joy for that trip. I have the pictures I took on my cell phone, but not the pictures I took on my camera yet, but they will be shared soon/eventually.

This morning, I really wanted to share how excited I am to see God's faithfulness in Paul and my relationship. But as I was thinking about how I would write that, I realized, to give an accurate picture of what God is doing, I would have to share what God has done prior to my even meeting Paul, which would include several very long stories. I guess those will have to wait for another day... maybe over the weekend since it's on my mind.

Even though I'm not sharing the full context of our story and all the history of God's faithfulness in my life, I would like to share some things that Paul and I are praying about...
  • Paul has been accepted to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Liberty University and is praying about which to attend, if he should attend, and when he should attend.
  • I've agreed to start an Early Childhood Special Education online degree and I am researching the various options, timelines and costs for this course of action.
  • I met with my pastor about 10 days ago to discuss some questions I had about the progression from dating to engagement to marriage and to hear his advice. He felt very strongly that a couple should be in the same location during their engagement season and not move directly from long-distance to marriage. This advice has challenged Paul and me in some plans we had discussed and has opened our hearts and minds to pray over and discuss other options.
Thank you for praying.

For more Friday Randomness, visit Andrea.
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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Thankful Thursday: Broken Record

I feel like a broken record. I am thankful, sincerely thankful, but I'm finding myself sincerely thankful for the same things each week. I need a variety of gratefulness...
  1. I am thankful for the BEAUTIFUL place where I live and especially thankful for October here. I have never seen a more beautiful October than this one when I'm living here.
  2. I am thankful for a little girl in preschool who asked me to explain "meantime" to her... Our conversation progressed as follows: "Miss A is working with another child, so in the meantime we can color our pumpkin picture." "What is meantime?"
    "In the meantime means while we're waiting."
    "Is it a time to fight?"
    "Is meantime a time for fighting?"
    "Oh! Um, no. It doesn't mean 'meantime' like someone is angry and so it's a fight, it just means while we're waiting."
    She remained skeptical...
  3. I am thankful for a restful evening last night - I was home from work earlier than I have gone home the entire school year and I brought a bunch of work HOME to do in comfy clothes instead of in my office at work. You know what, I didn't do ANY of the work. I don't know where the evening went, but I had SO much fun. I blog-hopped, watched an episode of Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman from Netflix and spent some random un-focused time with Paul over gchat. What a refreshing change after long days of work.
  4. I am thankful for hope and hope that is renewed. Sometimes its overwhelming to think back over the past few years... sometimes the past few months and remembering a time when hope was lost, hope was shattered; times when I never thought my heart would heal; I never thought certain hopes would return... and now, they are revived and greater than before.
  5. I am thankful for this weekend when I will stay here! I have been traveling for the past two weekends and my mom was here visiting the weekend before that. I am excited for a weekend to catch up on cleaning and laundry and recreation.
For more Thankful Thursday visit here.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Blog Party - Late but Fun!

A blog party... how fun! I'm actually not much for parties, ESPECIALLY when I'm TWO DAYS late and don't know anyone... but in this case its not so scary. I'm home in lounge clothes and relaxing a little before I get on to some work I brought home, but what a great mid-week party. :)

I moved to a small town in Rocky Mountain Colorado after completing a few Master degrees at Vanderbilt last January. In April, I began blogging as a way to keep friends and family informed about my life and share the Lord's work in my life while I was seeking new fellowship out here. Little did I know, in addition to new friends here in the Rockies, my new fellowship would include sweet girls in the blog world.

A little tid-bit about my transition from Nashville to Eagle, CO is as follows:
  • October 10, 2008 (Nashville) - I was offered my current job
  • October 31, 2008 (Nashville) - I accepted the job
  • December 6, 2008 (Nashville) - I met Paul
  • December 16, 2008 (Nashville) - I completed my studies at Vandy
  • January 19, 2008 (Nashville) - Paul told me he was interested in a serious/intentional relationship with me
  • January 20, 2009 - I left Nashville and moved to Eagle
  • February 2, 2009 (Eagle) - I started my job
  • February 20, 2009 (Eagle) - Paul and I had our first date
... so far, we've been together ever since - trying to be content in our current circumstances while hoping and praying that the Lord would give us clarity for the future including geographical decisions.

Now, on to the questions:

1. What is your favorite thing to snack on while you're blogging?

Hmmm... it depends on the time of day. In the morning, COFFEE!! In the afternoon, an apple or dinner. In the evening, Sweedish Fish or Twizzlers.

2. What is one thing you wouldn't want to live without?
I would hate to live without a Bible, which probably means I need to memorize more scripture.

3. Beach, Mountains or Farm? Where would you live if you had a choice?
I love the mountains and I am currently SO blessed to live out here. I've always known I've loved October, but October in the Rockies is SOOO BEAUTIFUL! This is the most beautiful autumn I've ever seen. But a farm would be beautiful and I would love to help a husband run a farm... and the beach is beautiful. I would love to live any of these places -- its the cities and the suburbs that I wouldn't like to live.

4. What's your least favorite chore/household duty?
Taking out the trash - maybe when I'm married, I won't have to. Maybe.

5. Who do people say you remind them of?
In appearance - Pippi Longstocking, Lindsey Lohan, Anne of Green Gables, Ariel
In personality - Anne of Green Gables, my sister, my mom, and most recently, Alice in Wonderland

6. Prefer parties and socializing or staying at home with the fam?
Staying at home with the fam - even without a fam

7. What's your all time favorite movie?
Wow, just one? Steel Magnolias, The Sound of Music, Facing the Giants... that's more than one.

8. Do you sleep in your make up or remove it like a good girl every night?
Yes, I remove my make up every night. I LOVE the feeling of washing the day off my face.

9. Do you have a hidden talent or a deep desire to learn something that you've never had a chance to learn? What is it?
I took harp lessons for eight years and some would say its now my hidden talent. Hopefully I can figure out how this hobby works in conjunction with life in the real world.

10. What's one strange thing you're really good at?
I'm really good at proof-reading.
And quoting movies. verbatim.

11. What first attracted you to your spouse?
I'm not married.

12. What is something you love to smell?
Christmas trees in my living room and a real, wood-burning fire in the fire place.

13. Tell something about you that you know irritates people.
My cat, Lexie doesn't like it when I leave the house...
Paul doesn't like it when I pay more attention to Michigan football than I do him.

14. When you have extra money (HA!) what's the first thing you think to do with it?
I put it in the bank and usually do one special thing - buy a dvd, buy a dinner out, but the funds don't seem to stay in the bank long. Did I mention Paul and I make long-distance work? That means we're doing our part to try to get the economy back on track - we're supporting the airline industry.

15. Are you a silent laugher or a loud laugher? What makes you laugh the hardest?
Medium laugher - I giggle a lot, but not in a childish way. I laugh the hardest when I'm with friends who also love to laugh. We can laugh over NOTHING, but that's when I laugh the hardest. I also laugh really hard at movie/tv bloopers.

16. Where is your favorite place to shop?
A mall with my mom and big sales.

17. What's one thing you'd do more often if you had more time?
I would read while relaxing. I read at the gym on the elliptical, but if I had more time, I would read while relaxing.

18. Are you a big spender or frugal?
I'm frugal over most things but I don't mind paying for quality and making it last.

19. Who is your favorite character of all time (from a movie or book)? (Can't be real)
Anne of Green Gables is wonderful!

20. Would you want to be famous?
No, thank you. But I do like living in a small town (and "everybody dies famous in a small town").

Thank you so much for stopping by! Hope you enjoyed learning a little bit about me.

Feel free to join the blog party.

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Word-Filled Wednesday: Proverbs 3:5-6

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.

For more WFW visit Critty Joy.

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thankful Thursday: My God is BIG!

It is really late to blog, but it is still Thursday, so I want to take a minute and post something I've been composing in my head since late last night.

I am thankful I serve a BIG GOD! A HUGE GOD! A God who does not just work one way and does not just fit in a box.

I write this because last night I was discouraged.

I was feeling as though I hadn't "heard" from God in nearly a year. Verses do not jump out for me to claim as my own or apply to a very specific context in my life these days.

I read my Bible for daily nourishment, and I sincerely ENJOY worshiping my Lord, but I am not seeing His active and powerful hand like I have in past seasons.
This has been particularly frustrating as Paul and I are praying very specifically for some very specific plans and answers.

Last night I was DISCOURAGED. I wondered why I was continuing to ask God specific questions when I felt as though I hadn't heard specific answers from God about anything in months.

Then, as I lay in bed, with effort, I focused on God's faithfulness since I've moved to Colorado.
I worked very hard to remember ways that I've seen God's hands in my life and surroundings in the past 10 months.

Well, my friends, I serve a BIG GOD! I realized that in the past year, I have seen mountains move... just slowly. While I was longing for the seasons the Lord has offered me fast, earth-shattering, verse-by-verse answers - I am experiencing a different season where faith becomes sight over much longer periods of time. If you've heard the new song by Kutless "That's What Faith Can Do" the chorus is what came to mind as I was remembering God's love and faithfulness over this season of my walk with Him.

Since I have moved to Colorado:
  • I have seen pride melt and love take root
  • I have watched as children's minds and hearts have been unlocked in only the way their Creator can unlock minds
  • I have seen silent prayers answered - sometimes not even prayers, silent THOUGHTS, never even consciously echoed as a prayer, answered
  • I have seen darkness and demons retreat to the hills (or maybe into nearby pigs, I don't know)
  • I have watched as my own heart becomes more and more healed everyday
While I was feeling sad and hopeless that the Lord was not directly to me anymore, I realized God is strengthening my faith by working over time with the same faithfulness as His instantaneous work. God is not faithful in only one way - He is faithful in ALL WAYS.

There is a reason we are called to be patient, to hope, to trust -- because faith will not always become sight quickly.

  1. I am THANKFUL MY GOD has MORE ways of showing His faithfulness than just one!
  2. I am THANKFUL MY GOD is bigger than one way of communicating!
  3. I am THANKFUL My GOD LIVES outside any box into which I or others might try to fit Him!
  4. I am THANKFUL My God is BIG and HE LIVES!
For more Thankful Thursday thoughts, visit Truth 4 the Journey.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Word-Filled Wednesday: Psalm 56:3-4

Psalm 56:3-4

"When I am afraid,
I will trust in You.

In God, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I will not be afraid."

For more Word-Filled Wednesday visit here.

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Friday, October 9, 2009

Caffeinated Randomness: SOOOOO EXCITED!!!

Today I am SOOOO EXCITED! I am giggly and giddy and CRAZY excited!!!!! I will leave my job in an hour and a half and start a journey to Nashville, TN. It is quite a journey - 1300 miles (car, van, plane - it's a long way).

I am SOOOO excited!!! I can't remember the last time I was so crazy, jumpy, giggly EXCITED for something!

I get to spend the weekend with Paul in Nashville and we haven't seen each other since Labor Day... well, unless you count video-chat on the computer... and I don't count that.

It feels like every period of absence from each other has a different theme, with different lessons and different purposes. These past five weeks have been such a time of seeking the Lord together and learning together despite our distance and our differences.

We've seen God turn our hearts toward each other and become more in-tune during these weeks and we've begun reading Proverbs together every morning (31 Proverbs for the 31 days of October).

Over Labor Day, we had a fun-filled weekend together in the Rockies. This weekend will be a fun-filled weekend in Honkey-Tonk Nashville. These times are so precious to us because our up-coming visits will not have the same time to just dote on each other. In November we will attend a friend's wedding together, then we'll spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with my family. This weekend is JUST US!!! We will see some friends in Nashville, but our focus is one another and our relationship without distraction!

Have a mentioned that I am GIDDY for this weekend?!?!!? SOO GIDDY!

I have packed WAY too many clothes because I am so excited to be dressed up and beautiful for my amazing boyfriend. I may have days when I wear three outfits - one for working out, one for the day, one for dinner - but I have to make up for the days when we don't see each other at all!!!

I just can't say it enough - I AM SOOOOOO EXCITED!!!!!!

Okay, I just did spell-check for this posting and I think it's really funny that the computer thinks SOOOOOO is a mistake... It's TOTALLY not a misspelling!!! :)

For more caffeinated randomness, visit Andrea.

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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Thankful Thursday

  1. I am thankful for my job. I am thankful to invest in the lives of others and to love children everyday - even when I think I've reached my limit.
  2. I'm thankful that in this job, I've witnessed hardened hearts melt.
  3. I am thankful for a long weekend away from my job, my town and my kitty-cat to visit Paul in Nashville. We are both over-flowing with excitement and anticipation for the weekend and the opportunity to invest in our relationship in PERSON.
  4. I am thankful for the scattered moments I've found to do some recreational reading and I'm thankful for a library in my town where I can swing by and check out a few new books this afternoon. I just finished Francine Rivers' book about Rahab UNASHAMED from the Lineage of Grace series, and I think it was my favorite one yet... although I think I've said that with each book from the series I've finished.
  5. I'm so thankful for God's faithfulness throughout time! I love reading these stories from thousands of years ago, and God is just as faithful, loving and merciful TODAY as he was then. I worship the EVERLASTING God. I am thankful for that.
For more thanksgivings, visit Truth 4 The Journey.

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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Word-Filled Wednesday: Proverbs 7:1-4

Proverbs 7:1-4

My son, keep my words
and store up my commands within you.

Keep my commands and you will live;
guard my teachings as the apple of your eye.

Bind them on your fingers;
write them on the tablet of your heart.

Say to wisdom, "You are my sister,"
and call understanding your kinsman;

For more Word-Filled Wednesday visit here.

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Friday, October 2, 2009

Caffeinated Randomness: Workshop Day

So I'm at a workshop today that's not entirely applicable to my field. I'm listening, but I'm filtering the information I need verses what I don't. I've actually stopped over four times in those first two sentences to listen with my eyes and ears to what is being said by the presenter.

The REASON I'm dividing my attention to write to you is to say that this presenter is awesome. The content is not awesome... it's boring and only partially relevant. And the woman as a speaker... she's okay. Her power-point is all business... a few cute videos, but really, this woman is awesome. Let me tell you why:

Our boss just made a comment about that some of us our multi-tasking. She didn't say it in a condemning way, but simply an acknowledgment that we are. I don't think it's a battle she is choosing to fight.

To this, our speaker said, "I'm just glad there aren't any football games on today. I've had to attend a number of workshops and ... I might have been following the Michigan football game." :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D

I, of course, shot up my hand and cheered and said "YOU ARE AWESOME!"

The Michigan v. Michigan State game is this weekend (the big IN STATE rivalry - think siblings) and there is a teacher I worked with this summer who attended Michigan State. She's even wearing her hooded Michigan State sweatshirt today (but I won't talk about the dress code issues I have with this region...). She eventually chimed in with a half-hearted "Boo". This girl is AWESOME!

On another note, we watched a video clip about writing IEPs in a language that parents can understand. The video clip had two men speaking german to each other in a radar room. They worked for the German Coastguard and this must have been their walkie-talkie room.

The older man left leaving the younger man, maybe a newer employee.

All of a sudden an English voice comes over the walkie-talkie saying "MayDay! MayDay" The German man shuffles some papers and again you hear the English voice, "MayDay! MayDay! We are sinking!"

Then the German man picks up the radio microphone and says in a thick German accent, "Yes, Hello. This is the German Coastguard."

The Sailor responds, "Yes, MayDay! We are sinking!"

The German Coastguard responds, "Okay. What are thinking?" (He was mixing up the sound of sinking and thinking, in case that wasn't clear...)

I laughed pretty hard. Hope you're having a blessed day.

For more caffeinated randomness visit Andrea.

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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Thankful Thursday: October 1

  1. I am SO thankful it is finally October! I am a teacher and I feel like the students have been here for a LONG time... then I look at the calendar and think, "Seriously? No way it is still September." But now, it is not September any longer. October has arrived and with it, the most exciting month of sports. My dad has always talked about how exciting October is for a sports fan, and now that I'm grown I TOTALLY I agree with him. College football is in full swing and the baseball heads toward the World Series - all very exciting events.
  2. I am thankful that my mom and aunt are coming to visit this weekend. They arrive today and will be staying in Vail (so Lexie and I will stay in Vail this weekend as well). Much fun is anticipated for their visit, but more than fun, we expect the rejuvenation that comes from a weekend out of the ordinary, focused on God with like-minded women.
  3. I am thankful for the five-year-old little boy I observed at a preschool yesterday who was singing, "Oh, no, You never let go! Through the night and through the storm! Oh, no, You never let go! In every high and every low! Oh, no, You never let go! Lord, You never let go of me!" His voice was that of a tone-deaf five-year-old and it took me a few chorus to realize that I knew the song he was singing. When I did identify it, it warmed my heart so much!
  4. I am thankful for the life and faith of a colleague of mine at school. She is likely in the final stages of her life on earth and is suffering from cancer. Her faith has been unwavering and the body of teachers here at school has NOTICED!
  5. On this note, I am thankful that God hears our prayers, and I request that you keep this woman in your prayers during these blessed days before she meetings her King face to face. Also please lift up the staff at my school, especially those who do not understand the hope this woman has, and the hope of those of us who believe death is not the end. Many of these teachers are so broken as they deal with her imminent release and they are faced with the questions of 500+ elementary school children who are less familiar with the reality of death. Thank you for praying.
For more Thankful Thursday Thoughts, visit Truth For The Journey.

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