Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ode to Structure

Well, finals are over as of thirty minutes ago. Some of my finals I was glad to take and be done with them, but I had this one class, Structure of the English Language, whose final I did not want to take. It's not that I didn't want to take it because it was going to be hard or that I hadn't studied for it; I didn't want to take it because that ended the class.

Now before you go crazy or call me crazy, let me explain. This class is unlike any class I have ever taken, maybe in my whole life. Mr. Sukany, my professor, brought the material of this class to light in a way I would have never imagined. I never knew so many elements existed in the English language. We began the semester studying the sounds of every letter in the alphabet and comparing those to the International Phonetic Alphabet. Then we took those sounds and formed them into words and broke words apart. Then we started diagramming sentences, labeling each word in a sentence with its respective part of speech. But this wasn't just one label and then move on. No, this was labeling every possible function that a word or group of words, constituents, could possibly be in a sentence. We started with simple sentences and then we moved to nonrestrictive modifiers and partial predicates. Yes, I understand that sounds like gibberish to most of you.

So this final, that I just finished 30 minutes ago, was my last one. It was actually pretty simple, but as I walked into this classroom where I had spent every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of this semester, I was saddened. I had Mr. Sukany last semester for History of the English, but Structure was my last class with him. He's so passionate about English and about grammar. I won't have him in class anymore. I know I probably sound a little melodramatic, but you didn't sit in these classes and laugh so hard you couldn't breathe. The class would have intellectual conversations about grammar that no one else I know could have had with me. It was wonderful. I was frustrated sometimes in the class, like when he introduced a new concept that didn't make sense, but after you learned it, you realized how awesome it is. I never knew so much could apply to language or that so much could be unpacked in one sentence.

I gave Mr. Sukany a thank you card telling him how much I appreciated this class. I was so challenged and learned so much. So after I handed in the final, was handed my homework from the semester, and walked out the door, it hit me. I was done with Structure. All those good times. All those laughs. All the late hours spent diagramming sentences. It is done.

I cried. Yeah, I really did. I was that sad. It was like saying goodbye to a wonderful friend. I'm tempted to take the class again next fall just for the heck of it. But I don't know. It may not work out with my schedule. I didn't think I would cry at first, but I did. I loved that class so much.

Anyway, I just wanted to share. Never in my life would I have imagined I would grow so attached to a class, but it happened. I will use every bit of what I learned in Structure when I start teaching. And I know that I will never take another class like Structure for as long as I live.

So thanks for listening to me ramble. Have a Merry Christmas and God Bless.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

My Love

Sometimes God lets us wonder about our current circumstances. He gives us the time to mull over in our heads what's happening in our lives. We pray and read His word, and we mull some more. And then sometimes, God decides to tell us where we are, and we no longer have to mull so much.

Over Thanksgiving Break, my mulling paid off. For a very long time, and you know how long if you've read any of my blog over the past few years, I have been waiting for God to bring that special someone into my life. I feel like I have waited for a long time, which I have, but the older you get the longer it feels like you wait, which it is. Anyway, while I was at home, God kind of tore up my method of thinking. I have stereotyped myself for a long time with the two words of waiting and single. Those words are not "bad" words, but when used in the wrong connotation, they can evolve into bad words. I think in a way for me, I've been stuck with those words for so long, they have kind of grown bad on me.

But God took it a step further. Whether I am single or dating or married it should not matter what I am labeled. What should matter is whether I am pursuing an intimate relationship with my Lord Jesus Christ.

I always go back to thinking about a marriage relationship, simply because that is how our relationship with Christ is portrayed in the Bible. He loves the church as his bride. But what kind of a relationship is it if I'm complaining that my husband isn't enough or that I'm not satisfied or even if I'm not talking to him as much as I should. Jesus is so much more important than any husband I could ever have. Sometimes my flesh wants to combat that thought process with a large "but what about," but that's not fair. The maker of the universe, according to Jeremiah 29:12, wants me to come to Him with tears and just be with Him, and He will listen to me. The being who breathed the stars into existence wants to listen to what little ole me has to say. If that's not a relentless love, I don't know what is.

God doesn't look at me as single or waiting or dating. He sees me as his daughter pursuing an intimate relationship with him. When I switch my focus from the negative to the positive, being single doesn't appear so blah. God has placed me in this season for a reason. He wants me to dive headlong into this ocean of newness and love and experience Him in a way I never have.

He simply wants me to trust Him. Some days, that is the hardest thing I have to do. But why is it? Why is it that we find it so difficult to trust the maker and writer of our lives and of everything? Because we are human, and we have this awful thing called sin in the world. But thank goodness we have God's redeeming grace and forgiveness and faithfulness, and thank goodness for the cross of Jesus. Thank goodness for that love because without it, we would all be destined for hell.

So if you see me in the upcoming months and ask me if I've found a boyfriend, I will probably tell you no. But that I have found a lover who surpasses anything a boyfriend could ever offer. God is so incredibly good, and I want to love Him more and learn to love him better.

I hope this post finds you well during this lovely Christmas season. Until next time, God Bless.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


As cliche as it may be, I feel like I need to take some time look back over the past year, and yes, be thankful for where God has me right now. I think about where I was this time last year, and I praise God for how much I have grown spiritually and emotionally.

I wasn't happy with who I was last year. I didn't like myself. I didn't like what I looked like, what I felt like, or anything about myself. But God changed that. Through an amazing amount of prayer and some months of counseling, God brought me through one of the darkest periods of my life. I would bet money I was battling with depression, and I just didn't understand what was happening with myself. I went through a situation with someone with a certain person, and that also kind of messed me up a little bit. But God showed me his will through all of it. Yes, that time in my life was not fun, but God used it for his glory. He showed me how faithful he is.

And now, when feelings that I experienced last year start to arise now, I know how to fight them and I know what they look like. I know when they will come up. I can almost predict those times, but I know how to battle them: with the word of God and with prayer.

So, yes, this Thanksgiving, I am so thankful. God has taken me to the other side of the world and back and given me proof of how blessed I am. He could have put me in a slum in South Asia, but he chose to put me here. He chose to bless me and place me here, a place I can make impact and have the ability to go around the world and serve God.

No, not a whole lot has changed in the physical sense since last year, but so much has happened on the inside and in my heart. I haven't dropped thirty pounds or found a boyfriend, but God has shown me how beautiful I am and how much he loves me. God has proven how faithful he is in my life, no matter what. No matter how much I fail to be in his word, no matter how much I fail to tell other people about His glory, no matter how much I fail to love others; His love continues to flow so freely.

If I were to count all the things I am thankful for, I wouldn't be able to write them all down. By the world's standards, no I'm not rich, but looking through the eyes of God and comparing what I have to what the little girl in the slum in South Asia has, yes, I am filthy rich. I don't deserve all I have, but God has still chosen to bless me.

I have friends galore and a family who loves me more than I can comprehend. Yes, I am truly thankful.

This year, don't take for granted what and who you have and what and you who you can be thankful for. Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Striving Higher

Sometimes when one gets caught up in the everyday hassle of life, all that hassle can bog one down and just cause one to wonder, "How does this benefit the kingdom?"

I was having this conversation with a friend earlier last week in light of some future possible plans. Sometimes I just don't see the eternal significance of writing papers, studying my butt off for tests, bending over backwards to write newspaper articles, and taking the time to complete minuscule bits of homework. But this friend reminded me that God has placed everything in my life for a reason to prepare me for something. I'm here at college for a reason. My heart may desire to be on the other side of the world sharing the gospel, but obviously, God has me here for a reason.

1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1 says, "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God--even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ."

I feel God has laid this verse on my heart. No, I'm not on the other side of the world devoting my life wholly to him, but I can still do that here. I can reach out to people, keep them from stumbling, and point others to Christ by my words and my actions. I should be, like Paul was, "seeking out the good of many, so that they may be saved." Even here, many people do not know the Lord. I have to ask my myself, "What can I do to change that?"

But seeking the good of many becomes difficult sometimes when school and society tell me I have so much I already have to worry about, like homework, jobs, spending time with friends, studying for tests, writing papers, doing interviews, and a million other different things that seem to creep into my day.

As a follower of Christ, I know God has placed a higher calling on my life. No, I'm not perfect, and I never will be, but just as Paul did, I should strive to emulate Christ in all that I do. Even at a Christian university, that can be difficult. It comes down to looking at what I know I have to do and doing it so that I glorify God, but also glorifying God by doing what He calls me to do to bring others to know him.

I'm praying right now about something that I would do after I graduate college, which I know is still a year and a half away, but it doesn't hurt to pray. I won't go into details right now, but just pray that if this is what God has placed on my heart that I would respond and have the courage to pursue it. I know it would be an awesome experience, but I also know some things in my life would have to change for the better for this to come about. But I trust God and believe that if this is what He has for me, He will bring it to fruition.

I was walking back to my dorm room tonight, and amidst all that I have to do this week for school and the newspaper and homework for classes, I was able to praise God for how incredibly good he is. I wasn't stressed. I wasn't bogged down. I wasn't worried. I knew God was right there with me, and that he will be walking with me through every step of this week.

Mission trip update: This past week, I was informed that someone very close to me was giving $500 for my trip, boosting me to $1600 total. Then at church on Sunday, I was informed that two checks came in the mail each for $200 this week. That means that my trip is paid in full. God is so incredibly good. God has helped me raise this money in a faster time period for this trip with less time to do it than my last trip when I had more time to raise it. I'm in awe of His goodness.

I will keep giving updates as we grow closer to our departure date. Just pray that God softens the hearts of the people we will be working with in South Asia. Pray that we have open doors to minister to and love on those people. I have faith that He will do it. Also pray for a team from my church that I attend here who is leaving this Wednesday for a trip to West Africa. It is the first team our church has taken to this people group. They are hoping to establish roots and build relationships for future teams to return. There are no missionaries or known Christians in this people group.

Until next time,
God Bless

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


I attend a collegiate Bible study every Tuesday night for the college students who attend this certain church. Every Tuesday night, I feel God lays new information on my heart, information that literally wrecks my thought processes.

Last week, God revealed to me that I have not been spending enough time in his Word. I have all the time in the world to spend in his Word, but I've let other things creep in the way. God sternly, but lovingly, told me that had to stop.

Well, tonight, God showed me another area in my life that is lacking, that would be sharing my faith. Dave, the college pastor, talked tonight about how toward the end of Paul's ministry on the earth, his goal was to get to Spain. In those times, Spain was thought to be the end of the world. No one knew of the other continents out there. So Paul thought that if he could spread the name of Jesus across the entire country of Spain, then Jesus would come back and they'd be gone. But obviously, that wasn't the case. Dave made this point because Spain was Paul's passion. That was his end goal, getting the gospel to the ends of the world for all to hear.

Then Dave turned the question on the college students. What is our Spain? What is our end goal? Where are we just dying to take the gospel so those who have never heard can finally have that chance? For me, I know I am dying to return to South Asia, but God has also placed people in my life right here. Yes, I have a passion for those in South Asia, but people here in America still need to hear the name and the word of God.

After the Bible ended, I went to visit some friends. Well, two of these friends are foreign exchange students here on scholarship. Neither of them are Christians. One of them is from South Asia, the other from South America. I was able to dialogue with the student from South Asia. This student is very persistent. They know what they are talking about. But God has placed this person on my heart, and I want to be able to build a relationship with them. They were told when they came to America not to get converted. I know God has placed these two students in my path for a reason. Pray that God gives me the wisdom to know what I'm supposed to do next and how to handle the relationships.

I was reminded tonight during Bible study of something I realized this past summer. My end goal on this earth should be to spread the Word of God until all have heard. But then when one returns to such a place as college, one grows jaded and forgets that end goal. I've been thinking about marriage, what I'm supposed to do with my life and all these other insignificant things. God wants me focused on his name and bettering the kingdom for his glory. My desire needs to be for God more than anything else on this earth: more than marriage, kids, a job, whatever; it all needs to be about God.

Anyway, just some musings I've been wrestling with tonight. But I really must sleep now.

Until next time,
God Bless

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Busy, Busy

Well, I thought that when homecoming week ended that I would get some time to breathe. I thought wrongly. I'm not as busy as I was last week, but I'm still busy. I was up until two this morning working on a paper and studying for a test I have in about 40 minutes. I woke up sleepy, which I still am now, and not wanting to do anything. But I'm not as sleepy as I was this morning.

But God did something really cool for me today in spite of crazy schedule. On Thursdays I have class have at 8 a.m., have a break, class again at 11 a.m., another break, and then class again at 2. Well, my professor for my 11 o'clock canceled class today and so that gave me more time to read through the material for my 2 o'clock test. Our professor didn't warn us in advance how much there was to study. I know some of that is my fault, but I just haven't had the time to study.

Then, by tomorrow, I'm supposed to finish and then read again a certain chapter for a certain class that is 45 pages long. Not looking forward to that, nor do I know how I'm going to pull that off. I'm also going to a banquet tonight. Then I might go to some friends' house after that. I hope to go work out sometime today, and then I have to write a case study and a research report for one of my classes for tomorrow. I also have an interview today for a story I'm writing for the paper. I have another interview tomorrow morning; then I'll have class. After class gets done at one, I'll come back to the newspaper office and write three stories, maybe have time to go back to the room and chill, and then I'm going to a Halloween Party/Fundraiser.

So that is my life for the next 24 hours. Sounds like a party. Just pray that I stay sane, am able to carve out time to be in God's word, and that I can manage ways to work out and sleep. Those are all good things I need to do.

Oh, and I don't think I've mentioned this yet, but I'm finally moving off-campus next semester. I'm super excited. I'm living with some friends who I love very much, and I know my soon-to-be roommate very well. God worked it out wonderfully. And it will save on money a ton.

Despite the craziness of my schedule, we have three and a half weeks until Thanksgiving Break and then two more weeks of classes after that. So, we're past the half-way point. Yay!!! And God is helping me through every minute of it. More like he's getting me through every minute of it. He's so good, so patient, and constantly shows me how much he loves me. I love him so much.

Well, I must go to class and take my test.

Until next time,
God Bless

Friday, October 22, 2010

Putting me in my place

You know how every once in a while whether you want this to happen or not a pity-party just kind of sneaks up on you?

Well, that happened to me tonight. I know it's probably because I've had a lot going on this week, and I've been under a lot of stress, and once that stress builds up to a certain point, it needs somewhere to go. So I went and worked out for about an hour and a half and that helped. But I had plans on watching a movie with a friend tonight. That didn't work out, and when I found out it wasn't going to happen, the pity-party began. I had all this stuff I wanted to get off my mind and talk about with my friend, but she had been gone and wasn't getting back to her place until later than she planned. So I just stayed in my room and knitted while watching a movie. (My one month without movies ended a little earlier than intended.)

And then I got on Facebook and checked some messages that I had waiting for me. Earlier this week, I had sent out a few messages to some friends asking if they would support me on my mission trip to South Asia in January. Well, one of my friends from high school said she'd been praying about it and that she wants to give $10 a month until I leave for the trip. How awesome is that?

And with that message, God kind of jerked my attention away from me and all the petty things I had been dwelling on tonight and back to his awesome glory. He reassured me how much He's already taken care of this trip. He showed me how much He loves me.

I am so shallow sometimes. I think I have this image of God sometimes that He's mad at me or upset with me or doesn't want to show me favor because I mess up all the time. But that's not God at all. God loves me know matter what I do. He's not mad at me; He finds joy in me. He wants to be with me . . . all the time. He's not upset with me. I know He wants more of my time all the time, but He's not sitting in heaven waiting for moments to strike bad things into my life. The Bible says ask and by faith you will receive. I prayed the other night that God would show me favor in my fundraising. I prayed that He would reveal to my heart what He has planned for my future. I know God wants me to trust Him more. He wants me to keep in my heart constantly how much He loves me. God doesn't want me to forget that.

So yes, I did have a pity-party tonight, but it didn't last long. God put me in my place, and I am better for it. Satan finds little ways to get in our heads and psych us out about stuff that shouldn't matter, but in the moment does matter. But God has better ways of bringing us back to reality and reminding us of what truly does matter. God is good, all the time, rain or shine, no matter what.

Until next time,
God Bless

Monday, October 18, 2010

South Asia Bound

In January of 2011, I will be returning to South Asia for a two week long trip with my church in the town I go to college in. We will be working with a church planter, sharing the gospel and ministering to a widow's colony.

The team consists of six individuals including myself. Each person on the team is responsible for raising $2,000.00. This is high due to fuel and food costs.

If you or anyone you know of would like to help me go to South Asia, please leave a comment on my blog with your email address, and I will email you more details about how to donate.

The donation is tax deductible, so keep that in mind.

More importantly, God's word will be spread even further with any little donation you can give.

God Bless.

21 Anyone?

So 21 is finally here. Today is my birthday. It's kind of funny though how the older you get birthdays seem to be less of a big deal. Maybe it's because this is my 21st one of these suckers. Or maybe it's because I've realized that even though, yes, today I am 21, it doesn't mean life revolves around me for a day. Life is still about God.

Our society implants this lie into our heads that on our birthday we should be pampered and praised. And don't get me wrong, it's nice to have people tell me "Happy Birthday," but shouldn't the praise go to God? He's the one who's got me through these 21 years. If it weren't for Him, I wouldn't be where I am today. He has blessed me more than I could ever imagine.

So today is not about me. Yes, it is my birthday, but praise God. Praise God that he has seen fit to let me live this long. Praise God that, by faith, He has more years for me to live. I wouldn't be having a birthday if weren't for God.

So 21, what's next?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Fighting Back

(Warning: this is a long post.)

I posted a few days ago that I was giving up television and movies for a month. So far, it's been a week since I've watched any serious TV or watched a movie. Sometimes if I'm at someone's house, they'll have the TV or something, but I make a point not to focus on it or engage in conversation with someone. Tonight, I really wanted to watch a movie with my roommie, but we ended up walking around campus instead. It was so much fun. And it's amazing how much one can get done, especially homework, when one is not glued to a computer or TV screen.

When I returned from the retreat this last weekend, God showed me so much in my life that needs to change. A lot of it can change with my actions, but a lot with my though processes as well.

I know a lot of people in my stage of life, thinking about the future and all, we want to make sure the choices we make fall into the will of God. But think about that statement. God's will for our lives has been in place since the beginning of time. He knows what we're going to do every day for the rest of our lives. Tons of ideas bounce around in my head concerning a career and the future. I could graduate and get a job teaching high school English. I could stay in school and get my master's degree. I could teach English overseas and use that as a mission opportunity. So many options lay before me, but I'm not worried about what I'm supposed to do. God has it already figured out. He just wants me to pick one. The speaker at our retreat last weekend made a good statement. He said that God isn't so much concerned about geography, but that we have a heart willing to go anywhere.

Our speaker also talked about marriage a lot, go figure, since he does a lot of marriage counseling. He talked about how so many young people are worried about whom God has for them to marry. But we shouldn't, nor do we have any right, to worry. God already has that person set in stone. He knows who it is. What we should focus on, instead of that person we've never met, is ourselves. We should be focusing on becoming the person of God we are supposed to be for that person God has for us. Yes, we can pray for our future spouses and ask that God prepares them for marriage, but worrying about them is not going to change anything. What we can change are our sinful ways.

Some of the practical applications that really touched me were how much time and money I spend on myself. I haven't gone shopping as much as I used to. It's just so hard for me to spend money on myself, especially for clothes and things I don't need, when kids starve all over the world and they have nothing. I have enough clothes; I have enough food; God has blessed me with everything I need. So cutting back on spending is really one that spoke to me. Another was the whole TV and movies thing, which I had already given up for one month.

One thing the speaker said that stood out to me was "Fall in love with making other people happy more than yourself." How often do I live by this? How often do I lay my own selfish desires at the feet of the cross and serve others?

One opportunity God has provided for me to serve is tomorrow. An organization will be at our local YMCA called Convoy of Hope. They set up and allow underprivileged families the chance to come in and receive free dental work, free photographs, free haircuts, free food, a chance to hear the gospel and a place for kids to lose their minds and go crazy. So I'm helping with the kids zone tomorrow from 7-4. I'm excited. It will be fun to get more involved with the people of this community.

And another way God has allowed me to serve is that I'm returning to South Asia this January. God is so infinitely good. When I found out this past week, I just wanted to cry with joy. I had a pretty good hunch I would get to go, but when I got the okay, I was ecstatic.

But with all these changes with my actions and my thought and prayer life, I've felt the heat from the enemy. One day this past week, I was in one of my classes, and I was a little frustrated just because of certain things taking place. When I returned to the dorm, I was just so upset and I ended up calling my dad. He had me talk through what was going on, and he made me feel a lot better. I was blowing a little bitty problem out of proportion, and by the time I had that class later in the week, it was much better. I've been extraordinarily busy with the paper and trying to get articles and interviews done, but I'm also thankful for this job. I've met so many people through interviews that I never would've elsewhere. I'm on staff with nine other Christian girls who are so fun to be around and so uplifting. We really do have a fun time in that office.

So yes, the old saying that when you grow closer to God, Satan fights a little harder. Well, I can fight back too. I can fight with prayer and getting in the Word and surrounding myself with people who can encourage me. I've been able to really plug in with my church and my college pastor and his wife. His wife and I have been able to hang out more, and I'm teaching her how to knit so that has allowed us to bond there as well.

Next weekend I'm going home to celebrate my 21st birthday. That just DOES NOT seem possible. I'm bringing one of my best friends home with me, and I'm super stoked. She's amazing and she makes me laugh so much. God has truly blessed me to put her in my life.

So yes, life is busy and crazy and classes are hard and I have a ton of work due this next week, but God is so good. He's absolutely amazing, and if he's taught me one thing this past week, he's taught me that He is enough above all else. He loves me more than I can ever imagine, and I desire to love him even more.

Well, now that I've written half a book, I'll bid you goodnight.
God Bless.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Dying to Self

This weekend I'm going on a fall retreat with the church I attend. It's a college retreat, and it's the first of anything like this I've ever gone on, with college students anyway. I can't wait to see what God is going to do. I've learned so much already this semester from college Bible study, Sunday sermons, life groups, and my personal time with God, that I know God is going to do great things this weekend.

One thing God has constantly been hammering into my heart and head is the verse in Luke 9:23. It says, "If any one would come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow me." Deny himself. Not sort of, kind of deny himself, but wholehearted denial to the flesh. Andrew Murray, one of the most awesome authors of his day, says it like this, "We are either denying self or denying Christ." I don't want to deny Christ. Peter denied Christ three times, and until he came to the end of himself, he didn't truly realize what dying to self meant.

I think I've heard the phrase "take up your cross daily" my whole life, but never until now have I understood what it means. It's just another example of how we die to self. Jesus took up his cross and died for our sins. When we take up our crosses, it should be to die to our sins as well, every single day.

Lately, it seems my days are so routine, routine with busy schedules for work and school, but still routine. I've also noticed that I spend too much time watching TV shows and movies. Well, God spoke to me the other day. I was reading an article at, a wonderful site by the way, and it just hit me so hard how much time I waste. I could spend that time in the Word or ministering to others. Yet I sit on my butt watching things that most of the time aren't even that great. So I've decided to go a month with no TV and no movies. Yeah, it seems a little over the top, but this needs to happen. I started this adventure two days ago, and I will be sure to let you know how it proceeds.

God has called me to more than just the mediocre Christian existence. I don't want to look back on this part of my life when I'm 45 and wonder what happened. I don't want to just go to church and play "Christian." God keeps telling me over and over again, "It's not about you." Something will happen with school work, "It's not about you." I'll get stressed over the newspaper, "It's not about you." I'll find that I haven't had quite as much sleep as I had wanted, and I'm a little cranky; "It's not about you."

This is not an easy lesson to learn, especially in a culture that tells us every day that life is about us. But Jesus did not come to the earth for himself, and we are to live a life that mirrors his, then our existence here should not be about ourselves either. You can't get around that.

So as I go on this retreat this weekend, I hope God just rocks my world. I know he will because I have the faith that he will. He's such a big God.

If you don't mind, I have a few things you can pray about this weekend:
1. Pray that the students going on this retreat will see God move and hear his voice in a way they never have. Pray they are open to the Holy Spirit and what He wants to do in their lives.

2. Pray for me because I kind of have the whole nasal/sinus inflammation thing going on, and I don't want to get worse over the weekend. I'm also leading a small group over the weekend, so pray that God equips me for that.

3. I know God has called me to return to South Asia, and I'm hoping it's in January. Our college pastor hasn't given us a final team list yet, but pray that if it is God's will, I would be able to go. That place has a hold on my heart, and I'm ready to go.

God Bless

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My Copyright Action Plan

Copyright can be a sticky subject. When most people hear that word, they tend to shy around any associations with it. But in education teachers have to face the realities that copyright issues bring into the classroom. They aren't fun, and most teachers don't sit down excited to deal with copyright, but it may keep a teacher out of jail and in possession of their teacher's license.

One aspect of copyright that I did not know that surely will impact my classroom is the issue of copying books or workbooks. Since I will teach English, it could be tempting to copy large amounts of books for students to read if copies of the book provided by school aren't available. But this is illegal. According to the site for fair use checklist, it is possible to copy small quantities of a book, like a page or two, but copying a whole chapter or a whole book, is simply not allowed. So, if I want students to be able to read one book at the same time, I will either have to find copies of the book or find a different book.

Another aspect of copyright I had never thought of is if I wanted to show a taping of a TV show in my classroom. Sometimes authors are interviewed or a certain literary period is spotlighted on TV. According to the fair use standards at, it is only legal to show a recorded TV segment on a tape within ten school days after the airing of the show. After that, it must be destroyed if permission has not been granted to incorporate the tape into the teaching criteria. If no permission is granted, in 45 days, it must be destroyed. If I want to show a taped program, I'll have to show it within the ten days of its airing, or ask the producer of the show if I can have permission to incorporate it into my teaching curriculum.

A third aspect of copyright I had never taken into account is that textbooks cannot be copied according to the TEACH Act from Textbooks cannot be copied and neither can digital content that may come with the textbook, like the CD. This could also pose a problem for an English teacher because with literary textbooks that include many different works from authors, it would be easy to copy pages out of them if the teacher didn't want to use the whole textbook. But this is not allowed. Buy the textbook, one for every student, but don't copy any part of it.

Many more possibilities involve copyright do's and don'ts, but these are three of the many I feel will impact my classroom the greatest.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

As Life Goes

So, you know a couple of posts ago when I mentioned how nervous I was about talking to my parents about my going on a mission trip in January? Well, guess what? I sent my parents a letter and received my mom's response letter today. She basically told me I had her blessing to go if it's God's will. She told me she knew God was going to use me someday, but she didn't know how or when. I cried when I read her letter.

God is just so unbelievably good. This time last year, I was having the hardest time with classes and just getting settled with things. But now, God has taken me under his wing and things are great. Yeah, Satan likes to get in there and poke his ugly head up sometimes, but I know God prevails in the end. I still haven't found a job off-campus, but now that the paper has picked back up, I'm working more hours and God has allowed to me to see that maybe I wouldn't have time for a job off-campus. I don't know.

I've also been praying about if I'm really supposed to live off-campus next semester. I think I've thought about it so much because I know I can and it seems fun, but maybe I'm not supposed to. It would mean finding money for rent each month instead of just paying for housing all at once to the college. Maybe I'm supposed to wait and find a place to move into for the summer. I don't know, but I know God has a plan.

With other news, I went to a Zumba party last Friday night. If you don't know what Zumba is, I wish you did. It's the most amazing form of exercise ever to hit the country, in my opinion anyway. My college offers like five classes a week, and one of the instructors told us about this Zumba party. It was held in a town about forty-five minutes away from here, and it lasted for an hour and a half. A normal Zumba class at my college lasts about forty-five minutes. But it was amazing. I don't think I had ever sweat so much in my life. We danced to 24 songs, and it's all like Latin and cha-cha dances. It was amazing. Over 200 women attended.

I was in tap dance when I was like five, but I had never really danced since then until going to Zumba. It's so fun, and you get a great workout. Anyway, if you're looking for a fun way to get in shape, try to find a Zumba class near you. It's so worth it.

Anyway, I've got an eight o'clock class in the morning, and it's twenty til one. I'll update more later.

God Bless.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Multimedia in my Classroom

After looking through the site Free Technology for Educators, many avenues of multimedia are highlighted for potential use. Likewise, EduBlogs, presents several options educators of all fields can use to incorporate multimedia in the classroom.

Audio and video are two developing media that can change how a student learns in my classroom. With video, students can manage and make projects in the classroom. By investing so much time and energy into something so intriguing, the student will retain more about the project and be interested in it to a great level.

Audio plays the same role. Podcasts used to just be for important people recording important information. But why not use them in the classroom? To record a lecture or a discussion session, or to even record an oral report by a group of students; this medium of technology could prove more useful than ever thought possible.

Before computers and multimedia were available for classroom use, students had limits on their access of the outside world. Now, with computer labs building in schools and computers in classrooms, students have an open horizon of possibilities of how their method of education can change. Students will no longer dread coming to class to sit and listen to a boring lecture. Instead, they will come excited because they know they will get to make a recording of their oral presentation or interact with the Smart Board. Students are not going to strive to succeed if the classroom is not a welcoming environment. When the lecture is boring and the homework is tiresome, it will not grab their interest.

With times changing the way they are and students understanding how to work these forms of multimedia, why not adapt and change as well? It is time; it will improve learning for the students and for the teachers as well.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Just some thoughts

The following things you will shortly read have floated around in my head for quite some time. It makes sense to sit down and hash them out with words and maybe even get a little feedback from my readers, however few they may be. I don't know how much sense any of this will make, but here it goes.

At the beginning of the summer, I traveled with a team of students here at the university I attend to South Asia for a mission trip. The trip amazed me, and God revealed things to me through the experiences of the trip I would not have learned here in the United States. Well, to make a long story short, I returned to college and found out the church I attend plans to take a collegiate mission trip to this same location this winter. Of course, this instantly spoke to my heart, and it intrigued me. The trip costs less than it did with the university, and I already own all the clothes and necessities I would need for the trip. I know if God wants me to go, he'll provide a way to raise the funds, and it will work itself out.

And then I think about how I want to move off-campus next semester and how much that will cost. I wonder if my parents will not want me to go on the mission trip because they want me to stay here and work to pay for rent if and when I move off-campus. I just hate talking with my parents right now about money because money runs low right now, and I know we don't have a lot of it. Living off-campus and paying rent means more up-front costs every month, and I won't have the meal plan the university offers so we would have to work out a plan for food as well. In the long run, it would be cheaper than living in the dorm, but I don't know what parents will say. And if I can't find another job besides the newspaper, then living off-campus or the mission trip might be out of the question all together.

But these musings find company with one thought that remains in my head on a regular basis and has resided there longer than any of the above thoughts. On May 15, 2009, (yes, I still remember the date), I received a response email from a publishing company to whom I had sent the manuscript of my book. The author acquisitions representative told me in the email that her company wanted to publish my book. I reread the email tonight--being a good idea or not--and the butterflies in my stomach were still there as my eyes graced across those words. They only take 4% of the tens of thousands of submissions they receive every year. But--yeah, here's the catch--to publish with this company would cost me a whoppin' $4,000. I do not have this money. But every time I hear this some or think about what I would do with a large some of money, I think about my book. I just want to hold it in my hands and know that it belongs to me. I also know that publishing this book represents the selfish desires in my heart, my selfish flesh.

So every time I get to this point where I can't decide what I'm supposed to do with my life or the near future, I have to ask myself, "What is the most selfless? What would Jesus do?" And of course, I find a pull back to the mission trip. But then I wonder if that too constitutes selfishness because it would be easier on my parents financially if I stayed here and worked. Maybe a win-win situation does not exist. I don't know. But I do know that God is good. He is fantastically and amazingly sovereign and good. I believe he will fulfill the desires of my heart in ways I cannot imagine. I also know he knows best for me; better than what I know for myself.

But those desires to go on the mission trip, live off-campus and save every penny I can to publish my story root deep in my heart. The roots run deep, and I have a passion for missions just as I have a passion to hold this story in my hands bound in a cover. It's sad that all these issues hinge on money. Why money? But I know God can do anything. Anything.

Thank goodness God exemplifies goodness because if not, all the above mess going on in my head right now would just be a whole lot messier and crazier. Thank goodness. Thank goodness for my awesome, loving God.

Until next time,
God Bless

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Media in my Classroom

On the website The Journal: Transforming Education through Technology, an article discusses how one can incorporate technology in the classroom. The article is entitled Enticing Teachers to Try Technology. Some teachers are hesitant when it comes to using new technology in the classroom, but this article shows how it can be done effectively and well.

One media I had never considered using in the classroom would be a blog for students to use to discuss homework or group projects. It could be set up where all the students know the user name and password, and they could collaborate as a whole. A blog would encourage learning and thinking without constant input from me, the teacher. I would, of course, step in when questions needed answered, but it would be about the students figuring out problems together. Another aspect of a blog would be for students to set up their own individual blog and use it as an online journal for which I would give points and check regularly.

Another aspect of media I had not considered also mentioned in the above article is storing students' work in an online portfolio. In my high school English class, we kept portfolios, but they were kept in bulky binders easy to mess up and get lost. Using an online portfolio would ensure the student would never lose his or her portfolio, and it would be kept neat and organized. Pieces from expository work to short stories would be kept organized. An online portfolio is an English teacher's dream.

Skype is now a growing trend across the nation, but the last place I would have ever considered using it is the classroom. But it makes sense. If an author of a book or a speaker would be ideal to have in class, but just not realistic, Skype makes the impossible possible. Using an Internet connection, a web cam, and hooking up a computer's screen to a larger television screen, the author or speaker would be right there in the classroom. Students would have the opportunity to ask him or her questions, and time is saved in the long run.

Most teachers usually just hand out assignments as the year progresses, and the students, especially if no syllabus is given, have no idea what is coming or what to expect. A class website could be set-up to house an online syllabus with upcoming assignments, test reviews, study guides, and extra practice for students if they did not understand a concept during class. Discussion boards for students and parents would also be located here. This ideal element works because so many times students don't know what to expect and with this, no one would be in the dark.

These technology developments would influence my method of teaching in a number of ways. Classroom time would be managed better. The students would learn how to work better in the classroom since they are already working together on the blog discussions hopefully making class discussions deeper and longer. I won't be limited to just the items I have in my classroom. I can use the Internet and give examples and ask the students to interact through the Smart Board and other programs.

Some media might not be conducive to an in-class structure. I would use considerations such as what will save the most time, explain the subject the best, and invite the most student interaction. The more hands on time the students have and more brainstorming together, the better they will remember the material.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Becoming a blogger

Today was my second day of classes, and it went well. I had three classes today, and two of them are with my best friend Tarah. It was so fun. Our last class of the day was a class called Technology for Educators as Tarah and I are both studying to become teachers. One of the requirements for the class is to set up a Google account and to start blogging!!!!

Well, Tarah has never blogged before, and I had the privilege of teaching Tarah how to set up a blog. It's so much fun. I never thought blogger would be this much fun before, but it totally is.

Anyway, I will update more about classes when I have time later.

Until next time,
God Bless

Sunday, August 22, 2010

My Home Away from Home

I returned to college today. This is the third time I've moved into the same room, and it almost felt like I was a freshman all over again. My friend Mel came up to the room and met my parents, and she also helped me unpack a few things in my room. I just love that girl. She's so sweet and fun.

Then Tarah and I hung out for awhile and just chatted and caught up on a lot of things. I've missed her so much. She helped me hang some posters in my room. She's so bubbly and full of life. I love to laugh with her.

After I dropped Tarah off at her apartment (because she had ridden with me to the dorm), I went to my college pastor's house to see Mel. (She was my college pastor's wife's roommate in college, so now she rents a room in their house.) We got to chat and just relax. I hung out at (we'll call it D and L's house) D and L's house all the time last semester, so just getting to sit and relax was so needed. It was also so nice to feel warmed and welcomed back into their family. That even though we've had three months of summer between us, nothing has changed.

It feels so good to be back. I know without a shadow of a doubt this is where God wants me right now. And I'm so happy to be here. I'm so blessed with a plethora of loving friends that God has so richly provided.

Tomorrow my parents are coming to church with me, and then afterward we'll probably go out to eat somewhere. Then they'll go home. But I will stay here. When I was freshman, I was told that for awhile college wouldn't feel like home, but neither would home. And then after awhile everywhere starts to feel like home. I agree with that. My home feels like home, but this dorm room that I've occupied for the past two years is also my home. My college pastor's house is my home. That hotel in South Asia that we stayed at for two weeks is my home. Home is where the heart is. And maybe I've left bits of my heart everywhere I've been. So maybe I should've entitled this post "My Home (Not) Away from Home"?

Classes start Monday, and then it's back to the grindstone. But I'm glad. I've missed the routine. And I can't wait to see what God has in store for this year.

Until next time,
God Bless

Friday, July 30, 2010

Hello Again

I'm sorry I haven't been able to post in awhile. I've been busy, and my computer hasn't been working properly. Right now it's in the shop. I'm at my aunt and uncle's rental house in Tulsa watching my two little cousins while my aunt and uncle go to see a movie or two. And then tomorrow, my family and I head to Colorado for a whitewater rafting trip. I'm so excited. But let me fill you in on what I've been doing all summer.

After the school year was finished, I went home for one day and then headed back to Missouri to head out for my mission trip to South Asia. I was gone for two weeks, and let me tell you, God did a great work in my heart. I saw things I would have never seen here in the United States, and God revealed to me just how enormously blessed I am in every aspect of my life.

Our plane ride there and back was about fourteen hours both ways. When we landed it was about eight o'clock on a Tuesday night. By the time we got to the hotel it was close to eleven and we had to be up the next morning by four to leave for the train station by five to get there by six. I didn't get much sleep that night. Then we had an eight hour train ride to our final destination, and that was very interesting. I saw quite a bit on that train ride as I had a window seat. Some things I was glad I saw and other things, not so glad.

When we arrived at our destination, I'll call it B, the missionaries who met us at the train took us to our hotel, we rested for awhile, and then they took us a part of B called New Market. It was quite a shock and probably not the best place they should've taken us on our first full day in this country. But everything was fine, although I wasn't prepared for the begging we would encounter. It was so sad, and I hated to see the poverty of the people.

The next few days were filled with ministering to people at a church, visiting a Muslim mosque, traveling to a city a few hours away I'll call I, and then a few of the girls and guys on our team got sick including me. It was not fun, and I couldn't really eat anything for about three days. But our missionary got us some medicine, and that did the trick. When we returned to B, we went to a church on our first night back and experienced the way the people of this country, Christians in this country, worship. It was beautiful. They greeted us with, "Praise the Lord," or the equivalent in their language. They were so full of joy. It was hard coming back to the states and seeing the expressionless faces at church. The people of this country aren't as free to worship as we are so they take advantage of every opportunity they have. It was sweltering hot and many people were sitting on the floor, but out of the three hours we were there, no one complained.

A few nights later, we did some more discipleship with some young people from this church in the living room of the pastor. We rode up to the house and on one side of the street was a slum, and then on the other side were these normal houses (or at least normal by their standards). Outside on of the houses was this little girl wearing nothing more but a little piece of red cloth wrapped around the middle of her body. She was sitting on a pile of chat, and she was alone. I don't know who she belonged to, but the picture of that little girl will never leave my mind for as long as I live. It was so sad.

I saw many pictures like this one. On the second Monday of our trip we returned to New Market, and this little girl tried to grab my satchel off my person. It was over my shoulder, so she couldn't get it, but it was so sad. Who knows who these children work for if they really are just poor. We were pestered by little children and elderly ladies as beggars mostly.

After we visited our main tourist attraction, we were set to head back to our departure city, and this little boy and little girl were trying to get us to give them money. We gave them food, but no money. We were told not to give any of the children or any beggars money.

It was good to return home, but at first it was hard because I felt like I didn't deserve anything I had when the people we encountered had nothing. But I realized that God placed me here for a reason. I'm to be thankful for what I have, eternally thankful.

It took me about two and a half weeks to find a job when I returned home. I finally found one at a restaurant in my hometown washing dishes. Talk about eating humble pie. It's not the funnest job, but it pays money. I only have two more weeks of work left, so it's all right with me.

And about getting back to college......well, let's just say I've never been so excited in my life to get back to college. I miss the atmosphere, my friends, my normal routine; everything that has to do with college. I probably won't live at home next summer. I'm hoping to move off campus next semester to save money, but if I rent an apartment with someone, there will be no point in coming home. And it will be easier to have a summer job.

So anyway, this is kind of an overview of my summer. Not the most exciting thing, but I am super excited to go whitewater rafting and the mission trip was awesome. I will never forget it.

God has been showing me so much about life and drawing me to him in ways he never has. Our relationship is growing deeper, and as you can see by the new title of my blog, he's teaching me more about grace and the depth of his love. I love him so much, and that's all that matters to me right now.

Well, I'll probably start blogging again when I return to college. Until then.

God Bless.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Just a happy girl

I ran into a little man from Panama today. No, I didn't hit him with my car, but I met him after dinner as I was walking back to my dorm. He's visiting from Panama because he helps orchestrate trips that my college takes to Panama. He was probably about half a foot shorter than me, but the joy he had radiated from him. He was very nice, and he told me he was a pastor in Panama.

As we were talking, which ended up being for thirty minutes, he told me that I was very pretty, but that I also seemed very happy with myself. I think that's the nicest compliment I've been paid in a long time. It was so nice. As I walked away from this enlightening conversation, I thanked God for it. He told me I seemed happy, and I am happy. I'm happy with the direction my life is headed. I'm happy with me. Yeah, I may not be a size 6 and some days I don't do as well as could in college with classes and all that, but I'm happy. I have so much to be happy for.

But more than just happiness, I know that God has filled my life with joy. If joy wasn't in my heart, I wouldn't be happy. I love taking a situation that could be just downright awful and making it better. Whether that includes a little sarcasm or just knowing that the situation could always be worse; I know that God has put this joy in my heart. I love to laugh. I absolutely love to laugh. A belly laugh that ends up hurting so badly you can't breathe is one of my favorite things.

I realized after this little Panamanian man told me I was happy that despite how often I complain about my appearance or my size that things could be worse. I can get around, I can move, I'm pretty healthy. I'm pretty happy with what life has thrown me. I'm excited that God has allowed me to go on this trip halfway across the world. He's given me a passion for his Word that I get to take to others; a passion for the gift that God has given the world.

Yes, I am happy. God is good. Life is wonderful. I am blessed beyond reason. ....And I only have four more days of school. Yay. Well, I must study for five finals. And I don't know if I will post again before I leave, but you better believe I'll have lots to post when I get back. Pictures galore.

Friday, May 7, 2010

A Simple Girl

I like the way cedar wood smells. I don't know what it is about that smell, but I really do like it. Someday I want a big desk in an apartment where I can have my laptop and books and folders all spread out. I want an Alaskan Husky someday. And I want to teach. I want to teach students how to love English and how to fall in love with words. I am simple. This is who God created me to be and that's okay.

A few circumstances happened this week that caused me to realize just how sheltered I still am. Even though I don't live with my parents anymore and even though I'm not under their control all the time, I still have the same mindset I did when I lived at home. I'm still naive about so many things. I'm inexperienced with so many areas of life. And I'm just simple. It doesn't take much to make me happy. God has made me a complex human being in the physical sense of the word because anyone who can watch TV and hold a conversation on the phone while being on the Internet is a little complex (yes I can do all these things at the same time). But when it comes down to it, I don't require much. Simple movies about two people falling in love work fine. A walk in the park is a fine activity for me. One or two people is all the company I need. Any more and I need to leave.

The world would tell me that I should broaden my horizons. The world would try to persuade me to become more experienced and know more about the elements of life. But what is wrong with being simple, innocent? What is wrong with having dreams that may not entail the biggest and the grandest of goals? God creates us to be who he wants us to be. I have no problem being simple. I would rather be inexperienced than hurt so many times by the world that waking up everyday is difficult.

I like a hand-written letter. I like the long sigh that comes after a heart-felt belly laugh, especially when two people have that long sigh at the same time. We, as humans, may be complex creatures with complex systems raging inside of us, but God gave us the capacity to value the simplicity of life. I love a good play, especially when the people in it are people you know. They simply become someone totally different and they are no longer Zach or Holly. They become a new individual who doesn't know who Zach or Holly is.

When people ask me what I love to do, I usually say I love to write. Most people get this look on their faces that says, "Really?" And yes, although it may be unorthodox and maybe a little boring, that is what makes me so unbelievably happy. That and reading. :)

So yes, I may be a simple girl with simple wishes and simple dreams, but maybe in all actuality they really aren't simple at all. After all, they are from God.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Winding Down.....Maybe

So, we have around two and a half weeks of classes left plus a week of finals. I'm glad this semester is finally winding down. It's been busy, but not as busy as last semester. It doesn't seem possible that this time next month, I will be half way across the world in Asia. I can't believe it. And I will have enough hours underneath my belt to call myself a junior in college. That means that I will be half way done with college. Ahhhh!!!!! That doesn't seem possible.

But it's been a good first half. I've learned lots of things. Being on the newspaper staff has taught me a lot as well. I was also told today by one of my guy friends that I have a glow about me that wasn't there last semester. It was nice to hear that. I think I'm not as up tight and serious as I have been, um, let's see, my whole life. I've always been this uptight "Christian" girl who has had this ideal that you can't have fun and still be a Christian. News flash: you can. You can have lots of fun.

Anyway, I've been offered a position at our school's writing center. It is a place for students to come and get help with papers and English stuff. Stuff that I like. It would be so much less stress than the newspaper would be. I would be done by four every afternoon, I wouldn't have deadlines or interviews, and it would be just less stress in general. The only thing that would stop that from happening is if they couldn't get another campus employment spot for me because I don't qualify for work study. I just know this would help with English learning in general and just being more aware of English rules. I would love it. (I sound like a nerd. :) )

I've been learning more about where I stand with God. I think I've been rushing this maturing process. Not that I'm rebelling against God or anything, but I think I've been trying to learn things and be someone I'm not. I have an ideal in my head of what my "Christian" walk with the Lord should look like, but that's just it. It's an ideal. It's a perfect picture. The realistic picture of walking with Christ through life is a relationship, not an ideal version of something. It's messy and gross and sometimes, you just have to learn things for yourself despite what you've been told all your life. I'm finally learning what the phrase "making your faith your own" really means. In a way, it means finding God on your own terms and getting to know him in a relationship. Not in the way your Baptist Sunday school teacher said was the right way 15 years ago, but the way the Bible says to. I'm not saying the Sunday school teacher was wrong, but the faith I have in God has to be real for me for it to work. I don't know if I'm making any sense here.

I've been thinking a lot lately about the notion of a quiet time. I don't like that notion. How logical of a scenario is this? Let's say I were to get married. The only thing is that I only talked to my husband for an hour out of the day. Just one hour. Then, for the rest of the day, I didn't even acknowledge his presence. That's not a relationship. That's just weird. I don't know what that is. It's certainly not logical. What's the point of being married to someone if you're not going to talk to them? I think God probably feels the same with us. Why are we even in a relationship with him if we don't communicate with him ALL THE TIME? And it's not like we need an appointment or a reservation to talk to God. He's always free. This has kind of bitten me in the butt a little bit lately. I've been so focused on just having that one time of the day when I talk to him that I haven't talked to him at all. And that is not okay. I think it just took a little bit of stepping back and getting back to the basics of what my relationship with God is, right now. Not what I want it to be or what it used to be. But what it is and where God, not myself, wants to take it.

So, yeah, just some things I've been thinking about lately.

The semester is winding down, but right when it will be over, it will pick back up again. Please pray for our team as we prepare for our mission trip. Thank you.

Until next time.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Lonely Day

I think about once a month I just have a very sad, depressing day. Today is that day for me. This mood swing probably has to do with something else, but I just can't shake it when it comes. Tomorrow I'll probably be fine. I'm just not happy today, and yes, as the title of this post says, I'm a little lonely.

God keeps bringing opportunities into my life to be alone. He wants me to talk to him more. He wants me to sit and share my feelings with him, but some days, like today, I need physical company. I don't know what to do with loneliness on days like today. God is not a god of confusion. God is good. I believe these two statements with all my heart, but when I'm in a mood like I'm in today, confusion is the only thing going on in my head.

I wish I could take time away from school and get away with God for an extended period of time. I wish I had more time to devote to reading the Bible and praying. I know God loves me and has awesome things in store for me, but when my best friend and her best friend have boyfriends and I'm left out of their little fun and games, it's hard to get my mind off me.

Life is not about me. Life is not about my feelings, and life is not about whether I feel lonely or not. God loves me. But some days, my brain just doesn't register that. It's like something in my brain blocks that fact from traveling to my heart. Other days it travels just fine. I want to quit having these days when I feel so low that nothing is going to help. On days like this, I want my mom. I want to hang out with all my friends and have a movie party and just be together. But I know what I need most. I need God. I need a great big dose of God.

Tomorrow will probably be so much better. I don't know why today isn't. Until next time.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

So I've added a little something to my blog, and I just wanted a post to try out how this looks. It was really fun to do, and I just like the look of it.

The weather here is beautiful, and I think I've finally made up my mind about what I'm going to do for my major. I think I'm going with journalism and English. That's where I feel my heart tugged more, and writing is what I love to do.

Easter was good. I didn't go home because spring break had been just five days before. I stayed here and hung out at my college pastor's house all weekend long. I was sitting in church on Sunday, and although the message wasn't the traditional Easter message, I think it touched me more than any Easter message ever has. I keep thinking about how God chose to send his son to the earth to pay for our sins before sin ever entered the earth. God loved us before we ever had a chance to live. I've been whining about not having a guy, but I have God. His love is far and above any love this world can offer. Now don't get me wrong, I long to find that love on the earth someday, but it won't consume me.

There is a song by Tenth Avenue North, a Christian band, called "Love is here." The chorus reads as follows: "Love is here, love is now. Love is pouring from his hands, from his brow. Love is near, it satisfies. Streams of mercy flowing from his side. Love is here."

We sang that song at church on Sunday, and it just kind of hit me. I've been waiting for love to show up, but it's been here all along. I just have to embrace God in all his splendor. God is so unfathomably good.

So next time you walk outside and see the flowers that are in bloom and the trees leafing out, remember that God loved you before he even created them. What a way to think of spring.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Time Traveler's Wife

I watched a movie tonight called The Time Traveler's Wife. If you went to the movies at all last fall or have rented any movies that came out last fall, you might have seen the preview for this movie. I did. I saw it preview many times. Every time I saw the preview, I wrote the movie off as probably being lame and unrealistic. But after watching it tonight, I must disagree with myself. The movie is exceptional. No, it's not the most moral and ideal movie, and granted it is very depressing and I did cry, but when it was over I was so thankful God doesn't create people who time travel.

The movie may not teach some great upstanding, noteworthy lesson, but I think it helps the viewers cherish the people in our lives even more, which may be even more valuable than a noteworthy lesson. Lessons are forgetten, but after experiencing that movie, I don't think I could ever forget to appreciate another person who is close to me.

If you've read my blog for any number of days, you know that falling in love in the future is something for which I dearly hope. I want to fall in love, and I want to experience that love to the fullest measure I can. But if I had to experience the kind of love that Clare, the wife in the movei, experiences, I don't know what I would do. At the end, relief washed over me that I will never have to experience that. True, I won't know when my husband is going to die or that I will give birth to a child as Clare found in the movie, but I think the only person who should be able to know those things is God. And I think God doesn't want to tell us all those details because they would be too overwhelming for us. Part of me does want to know those things, but they are better left in God's hands.

Our last reading assignment in American Literature was to read a set of poems written by William Carlos Williams. I had never heard of Williams before this assignment, and as I began reading the poems I wondered if the man was mentally okay when he wrote them. But then I came to his last poem. The name of it was "The Ivy Crown." This is the poem.

Please read it. It's beautiful. I think I've read it nine times. I don't know what prompted Williams to write it, but that is the kind of love I want. The poem mentions a line that says, "I love you or I do not live at all." I want to find that person who I won't be able to live without; that getting out of bed everyday won't be worth it unless that person is alive. I must clarify, of course, that God makes every day worth while, and I know that it doesn't matter if I never meet than man because God will always be enough. But that part of me still exists that wants that intimacy with another human being. God created that in me, and I would be lying to say that didn't exist.

At the very end of the poem, it says that love is past all accident. That is so true. Thank goodness God orchestrates our love lives, our careers, everything about us. I'm just so blessed knowing God already has someone out there for me. I don't have to worry about how long it will be until I find him or how long I will spend with him. I have a great faith that all in God's timing I will be blessed beyond my wildest dreams.

This poem shows me that even though hard times come, we work through them and we will our way through the briars. God brings people into our lives, and we should appreciate them, love them and be as intentional as we can with them. We never know when they could be taken from us. I want this poem read at my wedding. I may change my thoughts by then, but right now, I'm thankful for the lesson it teaches me.

Please read the poem, and please watch the movie. I never thought I would feel so strongly about a movie or a poem, but God can use anything he wants, can't he?

Well, until we next meet.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Back From Break

I'm back from spring break. It was good, but it's always nice to get back to the normal groove of things. Two months from today, I'll be in Asia. That doesn't seem possible. It also doesn't seem possible that I'll be halfway done with school in two months. I'm still praying about what it is I'm supposed to do with my life. I sat in on my high school English teacher's classroom all day last Thursday. It was a good day, and I was able to help my teacher a lot, but it almost bored me. I don't know if it was because I just graded papers and wasn't actually teaching or what. I just don't know.

It all comes down to this final bottom line every single time I mull this over in my head: I love to write. If God would plop down a book career in my lap tomorrow, I would major in writing tomorrow. But I just don't foresee that happening. I know I would enjoy working at a newspaper, magazine or publishing company. I could do so much majoring in English and in Journalism. I would have two degrees, and the possibilities would be endless. But I also don't want to jump ahead of what God has in store for me.

I found out over break that I didn't make the cut for the RA position for the second year in a row. I was really disappointed, and now it makes things kind of complicated as far as living arrangements go for the fall. I planned on being a RA and having a room to myself, but now I don't know what I'm going to do. I know that God has a plan. I can say that, but it's so hard to believe it sometimes. I feel like this semester God has brought things into my life, I've set my sights high on attaining them, and then in the most inopportune moments, my hopes are dashed. It's not the most fun experience, and to be honest, I'm a little sick of it. I know, like I said earlier, that God has a plan for me, but it seems like sometimes that plan takes forever to unwind. That's why I have to pray for patience......all the time.

Well, I've got a busy month ahead of me. Thank goodness, this Friday we don't have classes because of Good Friday. The next weekend, I'm going to Kansas City for a newspaper conference, the next weekend I may be going home (not sure yet), and then the weekend after that I have security training for my mission trip that will take up most of the weekend. And by that time, I will have a month of school left.

Be praying that I get more funding for my trip. I'm at around a little more than half, but I still need the whole thing to be able to go. I know God will provide, but just pray that he opens up doors in that area. Pray for my spirit as well. I've been just a little down lately. This break was fun, but I have a family member who is very sick, and it's just hard seeing someone that sick.

That was a fun post. Sorry it was kind of a downer.

Monday, March 15, 2010

A Lazy Day

Thank you to those who shared your encouraging comments on the previous post. They helped a lot.

Today is a very lazy day. I was going to go work out this morning and then going to go to a work-out class this afternoon. Well, it wasn't the most ideal time of the month (if you know what I mean), and so I called my mom and we talked for awhile. She told me I should just curl up in my bed and rest. I agreed wholeheartedly. The good thing (well, I don't know if this is good or not) about this not so ideal time of the month is that I never feel like eating. Sometimes that's not good, but it just kind of gives my body a rest because anything I do eat makes me feel miserable. So, I've just been having a very lazy day. I'm working on RA stuff, and then trying to find time to study for my three mid-terms I have this week. Woot woot. Not really. Anyway, and yes, my friend and I got to talk today, and we've scheduled some girl time this week. I'm excited. I think it will be good. I think I need to rule out blogging late at night because that is usually not a very good time of day for me as far as my thoughts go. Everything seems worse at the end of the day.

But anyway, thanks for all of you who commented on my previous post. Just keep praying for me. Until next time.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Growing up can sometimes,'ll see

I've realized over the couple of months, weeks and days that certain parts of growing up aren't as fun as others. For one, living on your own without a roommate just isn't that fun sometimes. I mean, I love having my own room and having all the extra space, but at the end of the day, it would be nice to be able to talk to someone. Yeah, I have friends I talk to, but when that certain friend who is usually always there for you gets a boyfriend, your problems suddenly pale in comparison. I called my friend the other night at 11:41 because I needed to talk to her about something. Well, she didn't answer her phone. I thought maybe she went to sleep because she goes to bed early.....usually. Turns out, she was with her 11:41 at night, alone, in a car. THEY WERE OUT UNTIL 3! She never stays up with me that late, ever. But yet she can stay up with him.

I just don't understand. For a long time, I've wanted a boyfriend. But if this is what would end up happening, I think I'll pass for awhile. My friends are so much more important than a boy. I have two more years of college left. To some, that's not much, but to me, that means I still have four more semesters to hang out with friends, enjoy life, and make more friends. I can't really do all that when I'm tied down by a boy. Yes, parts of me do want someone sometimes, but that's when I go to God or go see a friend or do something and remember that someday my time will come. That time is not now. I haven't seen this girl hardly at all because she's with him all the time. I just wish I could hang out with her more. I remember all the fun times we used to have, and we haven't had any of those in a long time.

The bright side about all this is that God has allowed me to branch out and make new friends and build new relationships. And I love doing that. But it just stinks because I miss what this girl and I used to be. We used to be so close. And now, I feel like I hardly know her. I don't want to lose this friendship. But I know it's going to take both of us working for it. It just stinks when she's not working as hard as I am.

On a more positive note, we had our mission trip retreat this weekend, and it was a lot of fun. We stayed the night at our leader's house, and it was really homey and cozy. We got to know our team really well, and I can now see why God brought all of us together. I can't wait to go to South Asia. It's going to be awesome. And it doesn't seem possible that it's two months away.

I keep thinking about the future and what God has planned for me. I watched a movie with--as ironic as this is--the roommate of the girl I've been talking about. She's on the mission team with me. It's such a nice little circle. Anyway, this movie is "Must Love Dogs." If you haven't seen it, it's quite cute. Anyway, the main character dog sits her brother's dog all the time. The dog is a lab, and it's beautiful. When I saw the image of this huge dog climbing in bed with this single, middle-age woman, that's what I wanted. Not to be single when I'm 40 by any means, but to just have a dog and be able to live independently for awhile. Not for forever, but for awhile.

God has laid it upon me so heavily that before I'm ever going to find anyone that I can love in a romantic sort of way that I'm going to have know who I am in him. I don't know that yet. Some days I accept myself: my size, my weight, my appearance, my personality. Other days, I spend the day comparing myself to everyone else. I don't want to do the latter for the rest of my life. I want to wake up and know without a shadow of the doubt that I am beautiful. Not because a man says I am, but because God says I am in his Word. God created me in his image, and he will love me and call me beautiful until the day I die and for eternity. I just have to come to terms with that. I have to learn to love myself because God loves me. Only then will I be able to love other people. This may not sound like the most sound doctrine, but when you wake up beating yourself up every morning because of how you look, it starts to make sense.

I had to confront someone the other night, and it was probably one of the hardest things I've ever done. Confrontation tops the list of things that aren't fun about growing up. But I did it, and I think it helped me see things in a different light with a certain person. Everyone is human. Everyone sins and makes mistakes. Some of those mistakes hurt worse than others, but they happen. In the movie I watched tonight, John Cusack makes the comment that when your heart gets broken it just grows back bigger and allows you to love more. I hope that's true. Not that I've had my heart broken, but in a way it feels like it. I hope God will work in my heart and allow it to grow bigger on so many levels. Not in a physical way because that would be bad, but in a spiritual way. I want to learn to love better. I want to be able to accept people and accept life as God throws it my way.

So, yes, growing up can sometimes, well, it can stink. But it happens. We grow, we learn, we live, and hopefully, someday, we learn how to love with all our hearts. At least I hope we do.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Change of Heart

This has gnawed at me for quite a while, and I might as well get it off my chest. I don't think I want to teach. I think I have tricked myself into thinking I want to teach, but I really don't think I do. This semester I'm in more English and education courses, and it gives me an insight into what I will be doing for quite some time after I graduate. Today I went to observe, and the teacher had papers for me to grade. Not that I don't like grading papers, but once you've graded one they kind of all start to look the same. And another thing I find myself doing is looking at the clock to check the time. I want to enjoy teaching, if that is what I stick with. But I just don't have the 100% peace I would like to know this is what I want to do.

Many of you know I write for the school paper. Well, over the past week an incident happen with one of the stories that I wrote, and the paper was pulled. It wasn't my fault, but I just didn't collect enough sources for one of the articles and the information in the article wasn't 100% accurate. On Sunday I was in the newspaper office from one in the afternoon until five, and then I went back from six thirty to seven thirty. Last night I was in the newspaper office from six to eleven.

To try and lift my spirits, the advisor of the paper told me he sent the article that was pulled to his brother who works with journalism students at Baylor University. My adviser's brother said that my article was better than some of the stuff written by their students. I was floored. I had no idea. But then I thought about it. If I had all the time in the world to dig up stories and write about stuff that interests me, and that was my full time job, I would love it. I would get to write all the time.

No matter how hard I trick myself into thinking I don't want to write I know that much more that I do. Writing is just this part of me that I know God has given to me for a reason. Yes, I think it would be fun to teach, but I think it would be even more fun to write. After a while I think I would get bored in the classroom, and I every day would begin to look the same.

I sat down with the advisor of student teaching last week to set up my semester for student teaching. He asked me why I wanted to teach, and I told him that I love English. I do love English, but I don't think I love it as much as I do writing. There's a difference. You may not think there is, but there is. Right now I'm in a class called history of the English language. I really don't care for it too much. I could care less about it really. I don't care how the English language came about. I want to use the English language.

I just feel like sitting in a classroom is too tame for me. So all that said that I think I might change my major to Journalism with a minor in Political Science. Politics really intrigue me lately, and I think it would be so much fun to actually understand more than what I do now about politics and then be able to write about it.

I just really need prayer right now. If I do decide to change my major, I'd probably end up dropping a class this semester. I don't know which one, but I'm just so overwhelmed with all the reading I have to do. I never thought I would not want to read, but when you have to read all that I'm reading it just stinks a lot. Pray that God will impart wisdom to me about what I'm supposed to do. This could make or break my future, but the cool part about it is I still have four semesters left, and I can complete all that I would need to in those four semesters. But I don't know, it's in God's hands.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Life in a Snow Globe

It has snowed here all day. It's not heavy snow, though. The snow falls as if it is in a snow globe. I wish I was in a snow globe these days. My life feels like it's one big snow ball and the junk in it just keeps getting bigger and bigger. All the stuff that I've referred to in previous posts has all culminated into one big snow ball and just kind of exploded in my face. But the explosion is not pretty white flakes of snow. No, the snow ball is filled with rocks, gravel and dirt. It hurts.

I was in a cardio step class at four. We were working out, and my muscles hurt so bad I could hardly move. But I knew I needed to keep going. I had to keep going. I compared that to what I'm going through now. I have a choice to be very mean to someone or forgive them. Just like with cardio step class: I have a choice to give in to the pain or work through it. If I give in to the pain and quit, I fail. Just like if I give in to the pain with this person. If I express my anger and come unleashed, I fail. But if I work through the pain, I finish the cardio step class and I feel so much better about myself when I'm done. Kind of like with this situation. If I pray and push and forgive, I am victorious.

It won't be easy. Cardio step is not easy, and this won't be either. It would be so much easier to sit on my bed and watch TV instead of going to cardio step. It would be so much easier to hold a grudge and stay mad instead of forgiving. But I know what I have to do.

I have a choice to make between dwelling on the hurt or praising God for his protection. I could have been majorly hurt in this situation, but God held my heart in his hands and kept me close. It doesn't mean the hurt is not there, but it is just less than what it could've been. God shows me how much he loves me through this situation. I just look at what all he controlled. I didn't understand it then, but you better believe I do now. I just can't believe it really happened. My mind plays tricks on me trying to think it was someone else. But I know it wasn't.

I wish I could live my life in a snow globe sometimes. My feelings would never get hurt. I wouldn't have to deal with people who lie. I would always be happy. But that is not what life truly is about. Life is about dealing with all the junk, but dealing with it with God. I know God is in control, and he allowed this to happen for a reason. I just don't know why he allowed it to happen to me.

Please pray for me. Pray that I will find the strength to forgive and not be bitter. Pray that God will have his way with me and that I will be victorious.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Time Goes By

The situation to which I alluded in my last post still unfolds. I didn't think it would be this hard, but it is. Last night, I came back to the room and had a good cry. I cried and cried. Then, I stopped for awhile and then cried some more. Sometimes, you just need a good cry.

It's very cold here. It has snowed quite a bit in the last week, and right now, it's probably around 24 degrees outside, but colder with the wind chill. Today, I was walking to my second class, and it was so cold the bones in my face hurt. I've never experienced cold like the way I did today.

I had my third day of field experience today, and the teacher introduced me to the class as Miss H. (She said my whole last name, but this is a blog, so you know.) It was just so weird to hear them call me that. I wasn't ready for it, and it's odd to have to train your ears for it. It made me feel so old. One of the students asked if I was going to be a teacher, and I said yes. He asked if I was going to teach at their school, and I said no. I told him I was going to teach high school. He asked if I would stay in this town, and I told him I didn't know yet. It was cute. I'm excited to get to know these two classes. I've already learned so much, and it's only been three days.

My car has a leak in the compartment that holds the power steering fluid. When I turn my wheel, it makes an awful grinding noise. I thought it was a bearing at first, but I took it to the guy who's looked at my vehicles since last year, and he said it was power steering. I'm happy because power steering is much easier and cheaper to fix than a bearing.

I went to a Super Bowl party on Sunday night. It was sponsored by the church's college ministry, but we didn't have it at the college ministers' house. It was held at a doctor's house, and it was the most beautiful house. I loved it. There was so much food, and they even sent us home with chili, desserts, and other stuff. After I left, I felt so included and loved. I've really gotten to know the college ministers, and I've been at their house a lot lately. I love them so much. Their little girl even knows my name. It's really nice to be told you're loved outside of your family.

I have my second mission trip meeting tonight. I'm excited for all that we're going to do to prepare for the trip. Where we're going is big, so it requires lots of preparation, but I know it will be worth it.

I called my mom earlier today after I got out of my first class 30 minutes early. She talked to me about what's been going on in my life. It was so good to talk to her. She reminded me that nothing happens that God doesn't already know. She told me I'm in the palm of his hand. I knew all of that before I called my mom, but it just helps to hear it from someone else. It's nice to hear that someone understands what I'm going through. Ultimately, God knows what I'm going through. I do feel so alone sometimes, but I know that God also knows what that is like.

Well, I don't know what else to add. I'm ready for spring. I would love to wear sandals, but I'm afraid if I did that right now, all my toes would be frostbitten. But it's okay. Spring will come soon enough.

That's all for now.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Learning a Lesson

God recently taught me a very profound lesson. Only in the past couple of weeks have I really understood the gravity of that lesson.

I won't go into details of what's been going on in my life, but to put it frankly when the big turning point took place, I wasn't too thrilled about it. It's been hard to move past what happened, but last night as I was having a hard time going to sleep, I understood what I had to do. I have to let go of this part of my life. It happened for a reason, and I learned so much from it. The college minister of my church put it this way the other night at small group.

He said that when we come to God to give him stuff that we don't want anymore, and when we come palms up, there's always that chance that we might snatch back what we "want" to give him. But when we come to him hands down and let go of all that we don't need anymore, gravity or God, take your pick, takes it from us and there's no getting it back. I told God last night that I was letting go of this situation. I was disappointed, granted, but I know that it was God's will.

I was talking with my best friend tonight, and she mentioned how she works at this after school program with kids and how a few of the kids are so neglected and mistreated in their home lives. You're probably wondering what this has to do with me. Well, I've thought a lot recently about love and the future and one day having a family. But what my friend said tonight made me realize that not only do I know squat about having kids or raising kids, but that I don't even know anything about being in a dating relationship, let alone being married.

God let all this happened to me so that I would realize that he does want me to live each day to the fullest and take life slow. He wants me to enjoy the times I have to be single and hang out with friends and do "single" stuff. And while I'm doing all this "single" stuff, he'll teach me in those times what it is I need to know for the future. Heck, I'm only 20 years old. I still have so much life to live. I'm just glad God used this past month to show me all of this without it breaking my heart.

I feel like I've been smacked in the head, and all I can say is, "Well, duh." This totally makes sense now. God doesn't expect me to know what a 25 year old would know because, news flash, I'm not 25 yet. But when I am 25, I'll look back on this time and praise God for my days of being single. And while I get to experience all these incredible days, God will romance me and love me and keep reminding me over and over how unfailing and wonderful his love truly is.

I'm just so happy I learned this. It's so refreshing. Looking back about a month ago, I wouldn't have wanted to hear what I'm writing now. But I know I needed to learn it. It taught me to slow down and enjoy every single day God gives me.

So, live your life, whether single or married or whatever. But live it with intensity and purpose because God gives each day to you for a purpose.