Fears...We All Have Them

19 December 2013

This song by City Harbor is one of my favorites right now and I think it sorta has to do with the topic of this post, at least for me anyways.

This past Sunday in church the sermon had to do with Fear.
What are our fears?
Why are we afraid?
Who can take them away?
Or help us overcome them?

For each of us our fears may be different.
For one person their fear may be that they won't get their homework done on time because of everything else that they have going on.
For one person their fear may be that they won't every end up in a relationship because they are just too scarred and damaged from the things in their past.
For another their fear may be that they won't be able to come up with enough money to pay their bills because they just lost their job.
Our fears are all different. Some may seem insignificant to some people while others seem impossible to get past no matter what they try.
But to the person who has the fear it is huge and may seem beyond what they can handle.
They may feel that they are going to hit rock bottom, if they haven't already, and they don't see any way that they can possibly get back up and get going again.
Fears can cripple us to the point that we lose all hope.

Personally, I can relate to all of the examples I mentioned, not to every exact detail but to the generality. All with the exception of one that is.
While listening to the sermon on fear I realized that while I have all kinds of fears at different points of time, I have one that is consistent and that I keep trying to get over.
I am afraid of building a relationship towards the point of marriage.
Why is that?
Because I have seen more marriages than I count come crashing down and fail.
Because I have seen first hand the damage a man can cause physically, as well as psychologically and emotionally.
Because I have seen and experienced men walking out and abandoning their families just because they can't handle it or it wasn't what they wanted or expected.
Because I have learned the manipulative ways of men when they want something and don't want to hear the word 'No' as an answer.
I am afraid because my past is littered with memories and scars left behind from men who clearly thought I wasn't worth more than the meager bit of emotion and respect they could muster.
I am afraid because I don't want to end up in a relationship, and one day a marriage, that is full of anger, distrust, and abuse.
I have no desire to deal with any of that for the rest of my life.
And when a decent guy who happens to exceed my expectations I push him away because of this fear.
I am afraid that this fear is actually costing me the very thing that I want.

We are all afraid for different reasons, some may be similar to my reasons, while many more are far different than mine.
It really doesn't matter what the reasons are because those reasons are just enabling us to keep being afraid. They are what cause the fear to cripple us.
The fear and the reasons behind it hold us back from our dreams, our hopes, and our goals.

This fear comes from the devil and he uses it in every way that he possibly can in order to distract us and blind us from God's plan for our lives.
God's plan for our lives doesn't involve fear.
He doesn't want us to be afraid of all of these things.
He wants us to enjoy life and everything good that comes with it.
Including our ability to go to school and learn, our relationships with others, and even our jobs and income.
They are not bad things, but that fear isn't a good thing.
That fear can cause us to hold back from things, stress over them too much, and in many cases lose the very things that we dream for and long for.
Fear does not enable us, fear limits us.
If we give our fears to God then He can help us overcome them.
He can even use them to bring the good things back into our lives.
God's plan for each of us includes so much more than fear about all of these things.
God's plan includes hope, joy, and peace!
God is bigger than all of your fears!

I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Psalm 34:4

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Is Christmas Really Next Week??

18 December 2013

Hey everyone!!
Well it's been a short while since i've posted anything and i'm sorry for my absence, but it was needed as the last few weeks have been hectic with finals, job stuff, and figuring out travel plans.

So for a quick overview of my life lately...

About a month ago I got a haircut (finally!) and new glasses! These glasses were about two years late and much needed!

This was right before heading home for Thanksgiving!
The Saturday before Thanksgiving my youngest biological sister came to stay with me at school for a few days before heading to New York for the holiday. Doesn't she just look thrilled to be hanging out with me for a few days?? Lol, she did have a 13 hour train ride before that so...

Getting back from Thanksgiving in NY I had to spend the next two weeks doing homework, practicing piano, finishing up projects and presentations, and getting details of work figured out.
It was pure craziness and sleep was a rarity!
There was one night I only got about an hour and a half because my brain just wouldn't slow down.

I spent several evenings and mornings in Larsen in a practice room for many hours practicing scales, triads, accompaniments, and repertoire pieces.
I really just thought this was a cool picture to record my clearly dedicated and focused practice time... :)

I really didn't have any big finals as they were all chapter tests, with the exception of piano.
One test however was take home, which was wonderful! And another test was open notes so that was a true blessing!!

The last couple days of finals week I spent time with my roomies and my 'roomies'.
All of us will be reunited in January when classes start again, with the exception of one. Nellie will be spending next semester on the other side of the pond. She will be taking classes and living in London. It isn't going to be the same with her gone but I know that she is going to have a great time!! And that God is going to do some amazing things in her and through her while she is there!
Plus we will be Skyping her during weekly Bible study...
Probably not every time but every now and then!

Me, Alaina, Emma, Mary, Alyssa, Jess, Nellie... Anna was working :(
The picture above is all of us minus Anna, who was working if I recall.
This was from the beginning of the semester at the Block Party.
The eight of us have all been living together since freshman year and we will likely be living together next year as well!! Well most of us anyways... (Save that info for later!)

The Sunday after finals I got to be in the Journey Tots room and got to spend time teaching and playing with this adorable little man! Noah is pretty stinking cute!
And he is going to be a big brother in just a few months!! Yay! :)

The beginning of December I officially started working at my church through NAMB.
This will be my job through next November, with the likelihood of continuing for the year after that.
I will continue doing what I already do with a few added jobs.
It is a blessing to be able to work doing what I love and enjoy while in college!
And it fits with my major and minor!
What are the odds?!
It truly is a blessing and I thank God for this opportunity!

Starbucks with Beth, Mary, Alyssa, and Emma!!
This picture really has nothing to do with this post, but I do look forward to spending time with all of those lovely ladies again in the coming semester!

So that is a brief overview and I look forward to getting some more posts up soon and hopefully more regularly this coming year!!
Hard to believe Christmas is next week and New Years the week after that!!
Where has the year gone?

Anyways, time to finish up work and prep for youth group tonight!
God bless you all!!

Here's to the weekend!

22 November 2013

Well it's Friday once again! Where has the week gone?! Seems like yesterday I was trying to make sure my homework was prepped for the week and now I'm working on next week and finals. (Dare I mention that dreaded last week of the semester...) but at the beginning of the week I got my haircut and I got new glasses! Yay! Forgive the horrible picture but my mom wanted to see so this is the one I got.

One of my friends said I look like a nerd...a cute nerd though! I'm excited about the fact that I can see again so there's always that! I'm getting ready for a crazy weekend. A trip into Chicago tomorrow night to pick up my youngest sister who is staying with me for a few days. Prepping my portfolio for my major. Researching for my exegesis. Reading a book for a test after break. Figuring out field experience stuff. Getting ready for Thanksgiving break. It's crazy!!

It's going to be good though! I hope you all have wonderful weekends!!

Feeling Stuck

19 November 2013

     So for a while now I have been contemplating this post and I have put it off continuously because I didn't know how people would take it. I don't want people to think I'm whining or complaining. I really do not want that to seem like the intention. I want to be honest with y'all and I think that this is needed. So...Real Talk...

     For a few weeks now, and in all honesty, this whole semester, I have really just been down. I feel like there is this constant cloud over my head and it just will not go away. I think it really hit hard around the second week of September. I couldn't figure out what was wrong for a while, so I just dealt with the slump and took it as it was. It just kept gnawing at me. I thought maybe I just wasn't getting enough, but after changing my sleeping schedule I didn't see any improvement. I tried changing my diet to no avail. I tried altering who I was spending my time around and once again there wasn't a change. I prayed about it, for either it to go away or for the reason behind it to be shown so I could work on it. Little did I know I was going to get slapped in the face with the reason just a few weeks later.

     I started to talk with someone I follow on Tumblr (another blogging site for those who don't know). We've been following each other for a while so it made sense that we start talking. We talked for a couple weeks straight, pretty much day in and day out. We are like the same person so it's been fun getting to know him. However, things began getting deep much faster than I anticipated. In a matter of the first few days we were ridiculously close and the prospect of what would happen down the road came up. Suddenly I had a few realizations...1) he lives close to 14hrs away, 2) I signed a contract for work and can't start a relationship for at least the next 12 months, possibly more, and 3) I was suddenly much farther down than before. I felt like I had slammed face first into concrete. My mind was racing and I had a billion thoughts running through my head, few of them positive. 

     After some of the things he said I was getting hit with thoughts that made me feel so worthless that I couldn't find a single worthy thing without negating it with an unworthy one. His words and how he talked to me were far better than anyone, outside of my bestfriend, had ever spoke in regards to me. I felt like I didn't deserve that. None of the messed up, broken parts of me deserved that. If he knew what my past was like, he wouldn't be saying those things. I can't live up to those things. Some other girl deserves those words. I am far unworthy and undeserving of it all. 

     I was getting bombarded with these thoughts and many, many more like them. I was a big mess. I finally ended up grabbing lunch with my friend Bri one day after I texted her asking for her to pray for me. I ended up telling her the basics of this and she wholeheartedly disagreed with all of the above statements. She was adamant about telling me that I deserve it and so much more. That I do deserve a guy to treat me the way he was, not because I did anything to deserve it but because I am a daughter of the Heavenly Father and He wants me to have that and so much more. After I replied that I knew that a time or two, she proceeded to say something else. She said, "I know you know, but you don't believe it and that's the problem." ...Talk about being punched in the gut. I broke eye contact and awkwardly chuckled while looking at the table. It was all the confirmation she needed.

     She was right. I know that I deserve it, I know it like the back of my hand, but I have a very hard time believing it. Not because I don't want to, because it is in fact quite the opposite. It just happens that I grew up believing that I wasn't worth it. Pretty much every guy looking back on my life has either told me directly or indirectly that I was not worthy, that I didn't measure up. All the way back to the one earthly man who should have reminded me that I was worthy of guy treating me well. But he didn't. My earthly father made it a point to remind me often that I wasn't good enough and that I would never be. I learned early on that men like to be in control and they often take advantage of it. They use this control in negative ways more often than not. Often this power is used to remind women/girls that they aren't worthy of being treated well or being respected. So I grew up with that mind set that I wasn't worthy. I still have a very, very hard time grasping that truth.

     It tends to come through in other areas as well. The last couple weeks it has come out in regards to friendships and work. I always seem to be the second choice. I never quite measure up. I'm an after thought, rarely the first to cross anyone's mind. People deny it if I mention it but their actions say otherwise. I'm the one people go to when everyone else disappears or is too busy, the last resort. I never quite measure up to where everyone else is and it seems to be pointed out regularly. Or I exceed it and get pushed to the side because of it. I've just come to accept it. It is what it is.

     I'm sorry for my little (or not so little) rant of sorts, but I needed to pit it somewhere. I really hope this doesn't come across as whining or complaining. I sincerely hope that is not the case. I'm just feeling low and like I'm stuck. I don't really know where to turn right now because I don't want to be a burden to anyone. I just needed to write it down somewhere. 

Reissued Fender

13 November 2013

So these last two days I was at a Pastor's Conference put on by IBSA. I was there to work for the most part. I helped with greeting people and just taking care of whatever things needed to be taken care of. I also got to be babysitter for quite a bit of it for my worship pastor's baby boy. When I got on the bus to head to Springfield on Tuesday morning I was tired but excited to be there and to see people from across the state. Despite being tired, Tuesday was a good day. Then we got to the last speaker of the day (his name escapes me). He was telling a bit about his story and brought into the message that he and his wife have a guitar shop. He brought in two guitars to use as visuals for his message. They were both Fenders, but there was a big difference between them. One was a classic Fender from the 50s and the other was a reissued Fender from mid-2000s. What's the difference you may be asking? Let me explain.

     The classic Fender is still the same as it was when it was made. It didn't look the prettiest. There was a cigarette burn on it, scratches, and so on. But it still sounded nice and played nice. This Fender is worth a ton of money and people will do a lot to get their hands on one. The reissued Fender on the other hand looks beautiful. It had a gorgeous stain, no scratches, and no burns. It played really good and it sounded really good. Yet this beautiful guitar only sells for around half the price of the classic. People aren't as interested in the reissued Fender.

     Why is one more valuable than the other? Well you see, the reissued Fender was made by some person we couldn't name, while the classic guitar was made by someone incredible. It was made by the master himself, Mr. Fender. 

     The speaker proceeded to connect this to us. The classic guitar is the child of God. He created us and designed us. We were designed by the Master Himself. Over the course of our journey, our life, we get scratched up, bandaged up, and burned. Yet when we are truly in a relationship with Him and trusting Him we are like that guitar. We play good and we sound good. We still live life according to His guidance and we still speak of Hi grace, forgiveness, and peace. We don't look pretty due to damage from the world, but we still play and sound good. We are wanted and our worth is incredibly high. 

     The reissued Fender would be those who aren't in relationship with God. They've been stained by the world and that stain can look absolutely gorgeous when you look at it. They also have been through the same junk that the children of God but they are redoing themselves so that they look shiny and new. They've learned what to say and do so that no one suspects anything. They are inticing. They play really good and they sound really good. But despite looking good on the outside and playing and sounding nice, the reissued Fenders aren't worth near as much as the classics. People don't want them. They really don't have much value.

     I know which one that most everyone would say I am, but it's not the one that I feel like I am a lot of times. Far too often I see myself as the reissued Fender. I look like I've got everything together, I do what I'm supposed to do (really want to do) , and I say the right things. A lot of times the things I do and say aren't worldly, but I feel like I use those things to cover up the scratches, bruises, and burns that I have. I feel that my worth is half of what everyone else's is and that no one wants me. These things stem from my past and I hate having them come up over and over, so I try to hide them. I cover them up my making it seem like I've got it all together. I say the right things and I do the right things. I put a smile on and do my best to cheer everyone else up even when I'm at rock bottom. These words and actions are the stain that I use to cover up the bruises, scratches, and burns. To make myself look pretty to everyone else. And it works all the time. Very few people would even take a guess at the number of days that I've used that stain to make it look like I was pretty, like everything was wonderful. 

     This message hit me hard because I've been having a rough week or so dealing with a lot of feelings of not being worthy of so many things. I was wondering why I have what I have because I am far from worthy. Everything that I've done and been through makes it really easy to believe that I am not worthy. That my worth is extremely low and no one wants me.its been on my mind and really pushing me down for several days now and that message was icing on the cake. That description of the reissued Fender hit home. I realized that I am that reissued Fender, or at least I feel like it a lot. 

     While I was feeling pretty down in the dumps last night and today, I was also trying to do my best to make sure a close friend/'brother' of mine was doing okay and that he knew I had his back. It hasn't been an easy couple weeks but I'm working on getting past it. Getting lots of baby time yesterday and today always serves for a wonderful distraction and I welcomed it with open arms. But now I have a lot of time to focus on this analogy that was presented. I want to figure out how I get beyond feeling like the reissued Fender....because I'm not a fan of it.

Ponds Are TONGUES Of Fun

30 October 2013

So for those of you who don't know, I am a Child Development major at my university. This means that I am apart of the Family and Consumer Sciences Department. It also means that I have to take a handful of Education classes for preschool. I am currently in Methods of Early Childhood Education. It is a fun class and our professor is absolutely wonderful! She's an older lady and she's super sweet!

For this class we are doing one week long Thematic Units. This is a group,project and so I am with three other girls from my class. We ended up choosing the topic of Ponds and Living Things. We have been working on writing lesson plans, making a web cluster, family newsletter, and so on. One of our projects was to create an Interactive Bulletin Board. So we made this...


There are little flies with the vocabulary words on them and they are in the black pocket on the tree.
The flies are laminated so that they won't get bent or anything.
There are frog tongues of varying lengths to reach item that we will be talking about.
The students will pin the correct fly on the correct pond item, then they will find the tongue that is the right length to reach from the frog to the pond item and pin it up.
It works on length/measurement, fine motor skills, vocabulary, science (frog life cycle), and texture.

The algae is made of lime green spider web from the Halloween decorations available at Walmart.
The tops of the cat tails I made myself with items from the dollar store.
They are made from small foam balls from the floral,section and brown fuzzy gloves.
I used floral pins to hold the foam together (two for each top) and put them in a glove.
I then used needle and thread to sew around the foam.
I proceeded to cut the excess off.
Tada!!! Cattail tops!

We just pinned them on and called it good.
It makes it 3D and give them another texture to feel!
It was fun to make and looks great!

Weekly Wishes #1

***Note: This was supposed to be posted on Monday but the publishing app I use has been acting up and it never posted it. Wish it had posted earlier, but I hope you enjoy!

Hello lovely readers! I have not been the greatest at keeping up with this along with everything else I have had going on at school. I can't really say that I am sorry as I needed the time I would have used for blogging in order to study for tests, write papers, and work on projects. I am trying to figure out some ways that I can post more often despite my crazy schedule. I will share one of them soon! This week I am trying something new...I am going to be posting weekly wishes (goals) every Sunday or Monday night.

This weeks wishes/goals are:

Spend more time in His Word. I am really wanting to get better at daily spending time in His Word and to do it outside of Chapel, Bible study, and youth group. As I am finding myself working in ministry more and more, as well as looking into adding a Ministry minor, it seems necessary and beneficial to increase my knowledge of the Scriptures. It is also something that I have felt strongly about lately in regards to my personal walk. I often find myself focusing on music to worship Him and spend time with Him. It isn't a bad thing, but reading His Word is key and I haven't been doing my best. So that is my first goal this week.

Be intentional. I am in relation with so many different people throughout my days and weeks. Yet I rarely take time to intentionally communicate or interact with a lot of them. The same goes with my campers from the summer and my youth group. I need to be much more intentional about communicating with them as it is good for us, as well as the fact that it will strengthen my relationship with all of them. I also want to try and be intentional about communicating with my professors as well.

Be conscientious about what I eat. As a college student this isn't exactly an easy one as we a lot of times have no choice but to partake of the not so high quality cafeteria food. Don't get me wrong,we have far better food than a lot of places and far more options. However, it doesn't always taste like it should (at least to me and my fancy food taste buds). I generally don't find it to be too much of an issue to eat fairly healthy, especially since I keep whole grains, veggies, and lean meats in the apartment. However, we all know that late night food runs happen on the late study nights or movie nights. Care packages come full of sweets and homemade goodies. Pizza gets ordered far more often than we would ever like to admit. It isn't always easy to stick to a healthy diet or start one up. I just want to cut back on my sweets intake, as that is my worst area due to my candy stash under my desk. This will probably be difficult as one of my roommates made Oreo Balls and they are sitting in the fridge...oh the temptation!

Well those are my wishes/goals for this week. Looking forward to filling you all in on it on Sunday or Monday. New posts coming soon!

Love you all! Have a wonderful week! God bless! :)

What Do You Want?

01 October 2013

Tonight I went to Party with Jesus for the first time since i've been here at ONU.

Party with Jesus is basically a student led worship night. Music, Scripture, and a short message.

I had never went before tonight, but one of my roommates asked me to go and another roommate was playing in the worship team. So I grabbed my key and a jacket and went.

I am so glad that I chose to go to Party with Jesus tonight. Jordan's message hit me right in the gut. I needed to hear it. And the music was absolutely wonderful!! (And not just because I had friends playing...the songs the picked were perfect!)

Jordan did his message on John 1:35-38.

His focus was on the question that Jesus asked the men that were following Him. He knew they were behind Him and He turned and asked them, "What do you want?" Jesus did not say this in an annoyed voice or our of frustration.

Jesus asked them this question genuinely. He was asking them what they wanted from Him, what they wanted from their relationship with Him.

What are you really following me for?
What do you want to get out of it?
Are you just in it for what I give?
Or are you in it for Me?

What do you want? What do you really want?

Those men that were following behind Him couldn't come up with anything beyond "Where are you staying?" as a response, which ironically does not answer Jesus' question.

Jesus responds by telling them, "Come, and I'll show you." This is in verse 39.

Like those men we do not have the exact answer to that question when we are faced with it, at least not generally, but especially when Jesus is asking it.

What do we really want from Him? From our relationship with Him? Do we really want Him or are we just in it for the benefits?

If we were asked this on the spot by Him, what would our response be?

Likely something similar to that of those two men. We would avoid the question because we don't know the answer.

But here is the thing... Jesus does not turn us away or send us off if we do not have an answer on the spot.

He gives us time to figure it out. We may not know for a while or really ever figure it out completely, but He gives us time to seek Him and find the answer.

We may find it difficult to figure out an answer to that question. What do you want?

We can ask God to show us what we really want. We can ask for that to be shown to us.

I personally do not have an answer in this moment to that question. I do not know what I want. I truly do not know. I am asking that God show me what I want, what I truly want in my heart.

Maybe what I want is what I have though I have wanted the past couple years. Or maybe it is something completely different, something that requires sacrifice to truly follow and pursue.

I do not know what it is, but I know that God knows and that He can show me.

Until then I will continue to seek Him, to grow closer to Him.

What do you want? Are you in it for the things that He gives or are you in it for Him? Would you have an answer immediately or would you need time to think about it, to pray about it?

Take A Tour!!

18 September 2013

Hey everyone!!
Things have been crazy around here with getting in the swing of new classes, new schedules, new jobs, and new living arrangements to get use to.
We finally got things put together this past week in the living room and kitchen. 
It's a bit of a rainbow in the living room but it works.
(No turning down free furniture when you started with none.)

It's nothing huge or fancy, but it works well for us.

The kitchen is small, but it is such a blessing to have a kitchen to cook and bake in!
If you follow that hallway with the closets down you will come across the two bedrooms and the bathroom at the end.
It is not a huge apartment, but it is decent size for the four of us.
We are so thankful to be able to have an apartment this year while we are at school.
It is mismatched and everything, but we love it anyways!!

The pictures aren't great and it is a tad bit of a mess but this is my home for the year!
I will hopefully be able to put some pictures up of the bedrooms soon, as well as the bathroom.
Looking forward to sharing some other news with you all in a couple of days!

I hope everyone's week has been going well!
Prayers for a good day tomorrow too!!

It's Been A While...

12 September 2013

Hey everyone!!
Sorry for my absence from here for a few weeks.
There was a bunch of craziness going on with the end of my summer internship, moving into my apartment for the school year, figuring out financial aid, and the start of classes. That is just a short list.
It has been quite hectic and it seems as though I barely have time to breathe, let alone sit and write a post.
However, as things are slowly getting back into a normal routine and i'm getting over this sickness I somehow managed to catch it should become easier.
I am hoping to have a couple of posts up this coming week.
Maybe even one with some snapshots of the apartment! (if we ever finish unpacking...)

There have been some struggles, some stress, and a lot of emotional ups and downs, but also lots of assurances that God has got my back during the craziness.
I have lovely roommates, an awesome RA, and some truly incredible close friends (and 'brothers')!!
They have been such a big help and my rocks in the midst of it all.

I hope to be posting more regularly now that school is started and i'm moved in!

Bonsoir!! :)

Love Is Illuminating

20 August 2013

This quote has popped up in a couple different places the last few days and it has really just hit hard. With everything that has happened in my past I find it easier to hide things. I do not want someone to think that all I am is these broken pieces and all of these bad things. So in an attempt to make things easier, I hide those parts of myself and just put forth the good things. It really comes down to the fear of someone not being able to or not wanting to love all of me, the broken and bad parts included. A lot of times it feels as though all of my flaws are a major deterrent and the reason that I have yet to find the 'one'. But when I came across this quote, it made me wonder if by holding back the broken parts of myself I am keeping myself from people. By holding those things back I am not trusting them enough to give them the opportunity to love me despite those things. This is something that I have really come to realize that I desperately need to work on. Love can illuminate things in my life that may otherwise seem dull. I know that it will be an amazing thing and I look forward to it.

I also remind myself daily that I need to give it to God and trust that He will bring the right people or person into my life at the right time. If I trust Him enough to bring them into my life then I need to know that I can trust those people. It is not an easy task, but I am hoping that I will get better at it as time goes on and as I continue to trust God. His plan is far better than I can imagine...all it takes to see it pan out is some trust and a lot of faith in Him! I also know that the most illuminating of loves is that which comes from my Heavenly Father!

Super Summer 2013

17 August 2013

Hey y'all!! I'm back tracking to the beginning of the summer to tell you all about the first 'not' camp (it really is camp lol) that I participated in this summer. This 'not' camp is an intense week long discipleship camp for students who have just finished 8th through those who have just graduated high school. The students are put into schools based on the grade they finished. Each school has a dean, an assistant dean, a team leader assistant (?) and then 4-5 team leaders. Each school has a theme and a color. The dean and assistant dean teach multiple lessons throughout the week based on their theme and the overall theme of the camp. There are chapel/worship services in the evenings with messages based on the overall camp theme.

This year was a special year though. This year was the 20th Anniversary of Super Summer. It was such an awesome experience to have my first year there be such a special year in the history of Super Summer. On our last day everyone wore there Super Summer shirt (color based on what school they were in...black shirts are staff members) and we took a group picture of everyone who came to camp, along with a special banner.

Super Summer 2013...20th Anniversary

You can't really see me, but i'm back with everyone in the blue shirts. I was a TL in Blue School. GO BLUE SCHOOL!!! A friend from school and a fellow summer intern was also a TL in Blue School. The rest of the team was new to me, but I quickly got acquainted. It was such a blessing to get to know everyone that was leading Blue School. I couldn't have asked for a better team. God definitely knew what He was doing when He brought all of us together to lead those students. I have gotten to know them better since then as well and look forward to getting to know them better in the future.

The best yet scariest part of the week was being a family group leader. Family group is small group and I was leading one with seven 8th (soon to be 9th) grade girls. This is most definitely not my area of expertise, but I couldn't back out or push it on someone else. This was my group and I went into the week unprepared and not knowing what to expect. We met three times a day in small group and talked over things that were discussed in school sessions and in chapel. I ended up being blown away by these young ladies in my group! They already have strong relationships with Christ and are working to get closer. I got to see some changes throughout the week in the mindsets of a couple of them and it was amazing. I got to know a couple of them better and more one-on-one. It was such a blessing that they were so open to trusting me with the things going on in the heads and hearts. It really allowed me to better pray for them, as well as be able to encourage them in different things throughout the week and even now as I continue to keep in touch with them through Facebook.

My family group...Beautiful Godly young women!

These girls were crazy & made me laugh :)

We took some pictures as a family group on the last day. This last day was when they really clicked as a group and I wish we could have had just a couple more days. I can only imagine what would have happened!! They are absolutely amazing young ladies with hearts for Christ. They're enjoying life and learning how to daily live for Him. While in the midst of this the antics are quite funny. From Skittle accidents to spitting water across everyone (unintentionally) to doing crazy flips and tumbles in the grass. These young ladies were so amazing to work with!! I am beyond blessed to have been able to have spent a week getting to know them and share with them. I didn't know how the week was going to turn out but it was definitely far  better than I expected!!

I try to keep in touch with them all on a regular basis, which from what i've gathered isn't common for TLs. It's a blessing to know how i've worked in their lives even when I didn't think I was doing a good job. One of the girls told me that i'm the best TL she's had at Super Summer. I was surprised when she said that. I know that I can only credit that to God because I couldn't have done that on my own. That week and those girls were in His hands...I was merely a tool in the whole plan.

That week in June was an incredible blessing and one of the highlights of my summer (and likely my year)!! I wish we had had more time, but i'm incredibly happy to have had the time we did. I pray daily that these girls, along with all the other students, learn how to walk with Christ in their daily lives. I pray that He shows them how important they are and how useful they can be. I pray that He bless them in everything they do and that they may be a blessing to everyone they come in contact with. My prayers for them are unending.

It was a wonderful week!! I hope I didn't bore everyone by sharing about this incredible God focused week. It was such a blessing to me and I just wanted to share it!!

Softball Tourney

Hey y'all!!
Things have been a bit up in the air here lately as things are kinds busy, but also my head just has been focused elsewhere.
I feel like i've neglected this blog and i'm sorry about that.
That should change as this week goes by and school kicks off in less then two weeks.
I'll be moving into my apartment the end of next week and classes start the following Wednesday.
It's absolutely crazy to think that summer is over at the end of next week. I'm pretty sure it just started...
The time has flown but it's been one heck of a summer.
I'll be sharing with you some of the craziness in the next couple of days, then let some other types of posts begin to start back up again!!

Well we're off to the state Softball Tourney in just a short while.
Looking forward to cheering on the team and connecting with ladies from church!
I'll be back later today with another post with one of the summer highlights!

Words Are Hard... +An Octopus

05 August 2013

Yesterday marked the end of the summer internship for 4 of the 6 of us. Everyone packed up their things and headed off their separate directions, some only for a few days as band camp starts on Friday. For one of us he headed home for a few weeks before heading back down to Tennessee. It was a long day for all of us and while tears were not shed it was definitely sad to watch everyone head off.

This summer has been an amazing experience with some incredible people and I am beyond blessed to have experienced it!! There have been changes to the team throughout the summer, but all have been good. We started out with seven, of whom five already knew each other. The two that were new to the team were newlyweds. They were welcomed to the team and we enjoyed getting to know them. Unfortunately, some things just didn't work out and they headed home. While this relieved some stress and made things run smoother, it also added stress to everyone's shoulders as we took on more work and shifted jobs around. This change also meant that some things that everyone thought would be happening didn't happen. While some disappointment was felt, we took it in stride and got excited about the things that were coming up! We ended up having a sixth team member for the past couple weeks and it has been absolutely wonderful!

Without further ado, here is a short overview of the summer via pictures...
(More to come in the coming weeks!!)

Intern Orientation at Streator Baptist Camp
This picture is from our first weekend together as an intern team in June. We were at IBSA's Intern Orientation at Streator Baptist Camp. Everyone in the picture served as an intern through IBSA in various parts of Illinois. The couple of days that we spent there provided all of us an opportunity to get to know these amazing people that were doing the same things as us for the summer. It was truly a blessing and I have enjoyed keeping up with many of them via Facebook. They are an inspiration!

Illinois Super Summer 2013
This picture is from our next big thing from the summer. We went to Illinois Super Summer and we were Family Leaders for the various schools. This was a challenging week for us as none of us had really done anything like that previously. We went into the week not knowing entirely what was going to happen, but we were excited none the less. While the week was stressful at times, this week was such an amazing experience for all of us! Sometimes it is experiences like this that show us just how much we have to left to learn. Speaking on a personal note, this week was definitely a huge blessing to me and really showed me some things that I need to work on in my life with Christ. It was an incredible week! (A post will be coming soon about this camp!!)

Hanging at the beach in Chicago  (...with Joel according to Facebook)
Just a day at the beach
One of our next big things happened to be having the IBSA All State Youth Choir come and hangout for a weekend. We took them to Chicago and took them on tours around the city, then we ended the day with an ultimate frisbee tournament at a sports complex here in town. They then sang at Journey on Sunday morning, followed by Auerlio's for lunch. You may be wondering what this has to do with the above pictures... The tour we took them on happened to be a bus tour. The tickets for the tour happened to be valid through Monday, so us interns took a trip to the city. We hung out at the beach for a few hours, grabbed dinner at Giordano's and ended the day on the night tour. It was a great day to just hang out and spend time with each other without having to do a bunch of work or be focused on other things despite being together. There's nothing like a long day in the city enjoying each other's company to make for a great day off!!

Kenan's Birthday
During the midst of the summer we got to celebrate two birthdays. Kenan's birthday and Kristin's birthday both happened to be in July within just a couple days of each other. Kristin and I, along with Rachel, made a birthday cake for Kenan!

Kristin's birthday was two days later and the guys made a beautiful cake for her!!

Kristin and her cake!! (Picture courtesy of Kenan Keller)
Getting to celebrate their birthdays with them this summer was awesome!! It is such a blessing to know them both and be able to share those special moments with them! Such an awesome time with amazing people :)

All 6 of us interns with the octopus!!
Our next big event came not long after. The day before leaving Bri came down to join us for the last couple weeks and to work with me for the next few. We left the next afternoon to head to Streator Baptist Camp for IBSA Co-ed Missions Camp North. Since Chad was camp director we were in charge of running the whole camp. The six of us were tribe leaders, we lead worship for all the services, filled various other roles from set up and tear down crew to registration and night time game coordinators, and Kenan ran sound and did tech for the week along with running recreation time. Prior to camp Malik worked with a lady from our church to fix and edit Bible studies and missions lessons for the different age groups at camp. The camp ranged from 2nd graders all the way up to those who just graduate high school. It was a long week that put us all in places that put us outside of our comfort zones. We were stretched in various ways throughout the week, some good and some not so good. Yet at the end of the week we had to say that it was an incredible experience!!! Personally, I wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere else. It was a huge blessing to share with the students and serve God in all of the ways I did.
Also, that thing that Bri is holding in the picture...that's an octopus. Yes, you read that right...an octopus. We played a variation of ultimate frisbee at camp using an octopus. It was quite hilarious!!

Kristin and I at Art Camp (Courtesy of Trent Walstra)
Our last big thing for the summer was an Art Camp that Journey hosted. It was a five day art camp with an art show this past Sunday morning. One of the ladies at church is an art teacher at one of the local schools and she taught the children this past week. They learned about various artists and were given the chance to imitate the techniques of the artists. We had 4th-6th graders in the morning and 1st-3rd in the afternoon.  It was an awesome week and a great outreach for our church into the community! It was tiring but a great experience!!

So there is a quick overview of the summer, some details were omitted and hopefully I will get a chance to share them in the coming weeks. I just wanted to right this post to wrap up the summer with everyone here. We are an interesting group, but we all bring different things to the table and that has been huge this summer. It was such an awesome opportunity to work with Andy, Malik, and Kenan again. Last summer was awesome but this summer was amazing!! I couldn't have asked for a better chance to get to know them better and spend more time with them. They continue to teach me new things and I am blessed to have them as friends, and as brother figures when they pull the card out. God knew I needed them in my life and He has continued to use them in positive ways. Such an incredible blessing to know them!!! And getting to work with Kristin and Bri has been awesome. Yeah, we knew each other at school but spending so much time together we haven't got to know each other in different ways. I can definitely say that they are both absolute blessings to me and I look forward to getting to know them better throughout the school year!!!

I can't say enough about each of them, as that would take forever, but I can say that I can't possibly put into words how much of a blessing they have all been to me! They have seen me on my not so good days and on the days where i'm just happy as can be. They have seen me be lazy and totally checked out and they have seen me pull crazy antics out of nowhere. This summer definitely proved to bring me out of my shell and they got the chance to see that first hand...whether they wanted to or not. :)

I pray that God will guide their paths and lead them to do more incredible things for Him! I pray that God has His hands on them through everything they go through this school year, whether it be good or bad. May He provide everything they need. May He give them peace in every situation and joy as well. I pray that He uses each of them to share His love and grace to everyone they come in contact with. May He bless them and use them to bless others.

While this post could go on for days, I will wrap it up on this last note. I couldn't have asked for a better summer with better people. I was right where I was supposed to be with the people I was supposed to be with. It was truly a wonderful blessing and I am glad I get the chance to share about it! My words are many but those that are spoken are jumbled at best. Like we've said all summer....Words are hard. Words are very hard.

Thank you all for an incredible summer!!


Still Doing Office Work At 1am

04 August 2013

Hey everyone!!
I know that I said I was back and would be posting more just a couple weeks ago, but then things got kind of crazy around here and all of us interns have been going non-stop for about three weeks.
I am definitely serious now about being back and posting about the summer.
This coming week will definitely be much slower paced and therefore allow me some time to work on writing.
I have a lot to share with you all and can't wait to do so!!
God has been doing some incredible things!

So as I am sitting in the office attempting to finish up the Worship Folder for today's church service, I will leave you with this lovely picture of the awesome intern team I have been working with!!!
I will be sharing more about them soon as well :)

Malik, Kristin, Bri, Kenan, Me, & Andy at Co-ed Missions Camp
Also, props to anyone who can figure out what Bri is holding in this picture!
I will share exactly what it is in an upcoming post!!
I highly doubt that anyone will guess, but you are welcome to take a shot :)

Anyways, it's back to work for me!
Goodnight everyone!

One Of My Present Dilemmas...

20 July 2013

At this time of night I really just feel like being completely honest with you all. It may take me a minute of rambling to get there but I really feel that I need to just open up. It's been said that people like to read posts that are written by people who are genuine. Well, I want to be really genuine with you all tonight/this morning. My heart has really been heavy the last couple months about a particular topic and I have talked about it some with Kristin, but not as much as I feel like I need to. While those talks have helped, I really felt a need to share this with my followers & fellow bloggers. So here it goes...

The last couple months have really been rough for me in the area of relationships. I find it extremely hard to be one of the very few of my friends who are still single. I keep getting Facebook messages & news feed updates about friends getting engaged, married, and even having kids. Yet I sit around eating food, listening to sappy love songs, and reading blogs. I really have this desire to have a relationship and get married in the future. Thing is...watching all my friends get engaged and married makes me extremely impatient with the whole waiting thing that I seem to be doing. I know that God has a plan for me and that His plan in this particular area of my life will be far better than anything I could dream of. Yet I find it hard to just sit back and trust Him about it. I just want to move things along.

It also hasn't helped that i've had a few rough experiences with guys in the past year, one of which has really had a fairly negative affect on me. It is not that these guys were bad guys. They were all Christians, some stronger than others, and we had a lot in common, but the timing was just off. I don't know if things will change in regards to any of them in the future but at this point they are not in the picture in that manner anymore. It is hard to not sit around and wonder why I have went almost 21 years now without a boyfriend/relationship and at this point it seems as though the prospects are few and far between. It is hard not to wonder what's wrong with me and if i'm doing something that is pushing them away unintentionally. I know that I do have some things that I do subconsciously and I am working on fixing those. It can just get hard when everyone around you seems to be in a relationship and you're just kinda sitting on the sidelines by yourself.

I definitely feel that this will not be the case forever, but there are moments when I even question that. It is just hard to wait when you hit that age where everyone else is getting married and you still haven't had a single boyfriend. Everyone asks about who you are interested in and asks why you aren't dating anyone and other such questions. I really just wish I no longer had to deal with that. But I know that part of the waiting process is having patience. It will all work out how it is supposed to.

I hope I didn't make this too repetitive or anything, but this has just really been something that I am struggling with. I know this isn't a super specific post and maybe later i'll be more specific about it, but for now I think i've shared enough of the basics. My hope is that this does not seem like complaining because it is not. This is just something that has been on my heart lately and has been a big struggle.

Have any of you been in this situation or felt the same? What are some things that you have done that helped make it easier? Have you learned anything in your period of waiting?

I'm Back!!

18 July 2013

Hey everyone!!
I'm sorry about being MIA the past few weeks.
Things have been absolutely crazy around here and they aren't stopping any time soon.
It started out with a week long discipleship camp for high school students the last week of July.
(I will be posting about that in the next couple days!)
After that we lost two members of our intern team.
This was a hard transition but it has ended up being beneficial to the team and the church.
We then had many events that have gone on the past few weeks.
We had a mission team come for a week and we did a lot of construction projects & prayer walking.
Right after the mission team left we had the IBSA All State Youth Choir come into town for a weekend.
This week has been absolutely crazy with the planning of Missions Camp next week which we happen to be in charge of.
We are also planning an All Church Campout that we will be doing the Friday we get back from Missions Camp.
We are also planning an Art Camp that will start the Monday after Missions Camp & the Campout.

These next few weeks are craziness but I am hoping to do more blogging and get some recap of the summer posted.
I don't have a lot of pictures, at least not of my own, but there will be some.
I apologize in advance in the event that I over post in the next couple weeks.
I have a lot to share from the last few weeks along with some things that have been on my heart and mind.

Anyways, I hope things are going well for everyone!!
God bless!

Bloglovin'...It's Your Last Chance!

02 July 2013

Hey everyone!!
I know I have been MIA the past week and a half and for that I apologize.
Sort of...

I was at a super awesome discipleship camp this past week and it was an amazing experience!!
I am glad that I was able to go and I don't apologize for not blogging because of it.
The chance I had to invest in the lives of those young ladies and young men was worth far more than any blog post.
Yet at the same time, I do miss getting to blog and I hope to share my experience this past week with you all soon.

This post however is focused on the fact that Google Reader is closing down today.
I know that many of my followers that I have had for a while are following using Google Reader.
Unfortunately you will not be able to do so any longer.
There is a website that will allow you to follow me though, along with any other blogs that you read.
The site is Bloglovin'.
Bloglovin' allows you to follow all your blogs in one place!
Any new post from any of the blogs will show up on your feed when you log in.
I find Bloglovin' to be an awesome resource as it allows me to be able to more easily keep up with blogs that I enjoy.

I highly suggest that everyone switches over to Bloglovin'!!!
You won't regret it!!

Anyways, I hope you all have a great day!!

Throwback Thursday

20 June 2013

It's that time of the week again!!
I know I didn't post a throwback last week because I was busy and it got put off.
However, I am back with one this week.

This throwback is not from many years ago, but rather from just about 2 years ago.
It comes from my freshman year of college.

We are quite an attractive group at 3am aren't we? Lol!
This group of awesome ladies pictured above is roughly half of my freshman dorm floor.
There are about 15 or so of us (most of which are pictured) that still hang out on a regular basis.

These ladies are some of the most awesome friends I could have asked for during my first year of college.
They have been an amazing support system on the good days, as well as the bad.
Collectively as a group we have been through all kinds of things.
In individual groups of 2-4 we have gone through numerous trials of all kinds.
I have had the opportunity to room with two of the lovely ladies in the above picture.
And this coming year I will have the opportunity to room with a couple of other girls from my floor, although they are not pictured above.

God knew exactly what He was doing when He put us all together on one floor that first year.
He has given us awesome friends! Sisters for life!
I got the blessing of not only rooming with 50 awesome ladies my freshman year, but getting to room with 10 of those awesome ladies my sophmore year.
There are 8 of us that will be living in the same apartment complex next year.
There will be many others visiting on a regular basis though, so that number is just those actually listed as living there.

I am so blessed to have connections with all of these amazing sisters in Christ.
While we have all grown and done our own thing, we have supported each other and come alongside each other throughout it all.
I have lived life with so many of them and shared some intense heart to hearts with a handful.
These ladies are some of the most amazing people I have met at college!
Sometimes I wish I could go back and relive some of the crazy, silly moments just because.
Yet at the same time I look forward to all of the wonderful memories we will make in the future!

God brought us all together for a reason and while I do not know in whole what that is, I have seen Him in so many of my interactions with these ladies.
Many of them have had a huge impact on my walk with God, most in very positive ways!
I could not have asked for a better group of Christ following sisters to share my college years & many beyond with.
They are a blessing to me on a daily basis and I thank God for them daily!!

Crying...Screaming...Or Something

19 June 2013

This is me.

When I get upset or something really just hits too close to home, I close up.
I turn myself off emotionally and almost completely mentally as well.
I put up walls to keep people out because it hurts too much to talk about all of it.
So I just sit there and think through it all.
I process it slowly and in my own time.
In some cases I even find myself dwelling in something because I get so lost in thought I can't get out.

People always make it seem like I should be having an emotional breakdown or something. Yet I don't think that that is the right way for me to handle any of it. This whole thing with putting up walls and shutting down is something that has been a survival mechanism for me. I started using it during 5th & 6th grade and I have just perfected it over the years. Sometimes I am able to use it more effectively than others and some people (although only a few) have gotten to know me enough that they can see through it. Yet despite these factors, I often find that this is my best survival skill. This often includes putting on a smile and saying things like "I'm fine" or "Everything is good" in order to make people believe me. Sad thing is...people rarely see through the smile and semi-false statements. It can make things difficult, but I have to remind myself that it is only difficult because I make it that way.

While this has been an easy way to get by without having to deal with emotions in the presence of others, it has also become a hindrance to my roles in my church and in ministry in general. So much of what we do as a church is relational and that means that we are sharing our lives with others, both the good and the bad. That whole shutting down thing can kinda put a dent in that whole relational part of everything. I am good with talking with them through their issues and problems, but I don't find it easy to share anything beyond the surface of my issues and problems. I try not to deal with the emotions around others, but building relationships often times means that I need to share emotions with others even if it is hard for me.

And let's not sugar coat it....It is very hard for me to deal with emotions around others. VERY hard.

It always has been. I won't say that it always will be because with some help from family, friends, and God I can learn how to share those emotions with others in a positive way. It is something that I have been working on in the last year or so and something that I will definitely be continuing to work on this summer. The fact that this particular issue of shutting down has been pointed out a couple times now is what really has the whole issue on my mind. It is a very prevalent issue right now in my life and I am trying to figure out how to fix this habit.

I know that God will help me get to where I need to be in this area and while it is most likely going to be a rough road & a struggle, it will be worth it in the end. His plans are always better than our own. I know His plan likely does not include room for me to shut down and hold all emotions inside of myself. He wants me to build those relationships with people and that means that I have to be real with people. This includes being real about how I feel about different things and situations.

Have any of you dealt with this issue? What helped you get past it? How have your relationships with others changed since you became more open? In what ways has God helped you in this area or how has He worked through you despite this issue?

Daughter to Father

16 June 2013

I dream of another you
The one who would never 
Leave me alone to pick up the peices
A daddy to hold me, that's what I needed
Daughter to Father,
Tell me the truth, 
Did you ever love me?

These lyrics by Lindsay Lohan pretty accurately describe most of my feelings towards my 'father'.
There are many more things that I feel towards him, but these are some of the basics that really just hit me on holidays, especially the holiday that everyone is celebrating today.
I find myself wondering why he didn't care enough to be a part of my life.
Yes, he did live in the house but he would go to work, come home and eat dinner, then go to his room and shut the door.
By the time I hit middle school I was in many cases afraid of this guy called my 'father'.
I learned that the best way to survive the outburst of anger and the throwing of random items was to hide in my room.
I'd tuck myself away with a book and some music, then forget about everything and everyone else.
It become a mode of survival that became a habit.

All of the things I remember about my 'father' are negative.
I do not have happy memories that make me smile and laugh when looking back.
I have memories that make me glad that I am far away and have no connection.
I do not have memories of him coming to or supporting my sports events or theatre performances.
I do not have memories of him teaching me to dance or wiping away tears.
I do not have any of the happy memories that most girls have.
How do I know?
Because I have listened to my friends at school talking about theirs and sharing stories.
I find myself retreating or walking away when those conversations start.
I do not want to have to share the memories I have and explain the kind of person he was.
The looks of sympathy along with the comments are not helpful nor do they make me feel better.

Often times I find myself becoming angry when I think about him and the things he has done.
Sometimes I get so angry that I end up curled up in the ball on the floor with tears running down my face.
Many of these times I end up asking God questions about all of it.
Why did I have to have a father like him?
What did I do wrong?
Why didn't he love me?
Was there something wrong with me?
What made him think that what he did was okay?

Those are just a few of the questions that I end up asking God in those moments of anger.
I end up crying so hard that I physically hurt when I am done.
I have ended up going so far that I have caused myself a panic attack.
To say the least they are moments that I wish I could forget.

Sometimes I wish that I had had a father who actually cared about me and wanted to be a part of my life.
Yet at the same time I know that the lack of a caring father I have learned many lessons.
Some of these lessons have been good while others were not so good.
I have found myself searching for the things he didn't give me in other places and people.
A lot of my close friends were close friends as I have grown up have been guys.
I have looked to many of them to give me the things that a father should give his daughter.
They should not have had to provide that but I was in need and looked for it in them anyways.
The thing that I have learned in the last couple years is that there is someone who can provide it all.

God can provide all of the things my father didn't and so much more.
He is a better father than any earthly father can ever be.
He is my Heavenly Father and His attributes far outweigh those of an earthly father.
He is my Comforter on the bad days.
He is my Provider when I my supply is running low.
He is my Joy on the good days.
He is my Peace in the midst of turmoil.
He is everything that I need in any circumstance I find myself in.
And best of all, He loves me unconditionally.

There is nothing that I am in need of because I am a child of the Heavenly Father.
While I know all of this and am beyond thankful for it, I still find it hard to call God my Father.
It is something that I am trying to work up to.
For me there are a lot of negative connotations associated with the name father, therefore it is hard to try and put positive connotations with it to refer to God.
My past makes it hard but I am getting there.
It has been a hard journey but hopefully it will get easier one day.
I am broken but He is healing me.

Daughter to Father,
I know You will always love me.

Design by | SweetElectric