About Impact

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Christmas at the Koutz House, Part 2

Today was our family Christmas at my brother’s house. We took lots of pictures since all 18 members of our family were there. We ate lots of food because we all love to eat. We had a massive snow fight and opened gifts.

Every did an excellent job buying gifts. The kids loved their gifts. Logan would open his gifts and then immediately go take care of them. Between his birthday gifts and Christmas presents, that boy hit the jackpot today.

I’ll take my film in to be developed when I get back to Mishawaka and have a car. I’m excited to see the ones from our snow war. I think my face got shoved in the snow at least four times.

It has become a tradition every time we get together to see who can get the most quotes posted on my blog. This year Ryan won!

Sarah: How about you Ryan? Would you like a hot beverage?
Ryan: No, my body is too hot already. It’s 98.6 degrees or something like that.

Ryan: Do you guys have a playstation here?
Sarah: A play station?!
Anna: We don’t play video games here.
Ryan: (interrupting Anna) No cause you’re too smart. I’ve already heard this.

Lois: (to her husband) I don’t like your face.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Candy Making Adventures

It started snowing around 1:00 this afternoon and still hasn't stopped!!!! BUT...we got to see a Cooper's hawk hang out in our backyard. Dad and I successfully finished hanging the Christmas lights today. I picked up the last present this morning. Now I'm learning how to make hard candy from Lois.

I had no idea it was such an intense process. Evidently it is important to do everything very exact. As you can tell I'm paying very careful attention. I just wait until she yells NOW SARAH to add the color and flavoring. She and Adam seem to have the rest under control.

Christmas at the Koutz house is always an adventure.

Quote of the Afternoon:
skoutz: Could you taste this and tell me if it taste like wheat?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas at the Koutz House, Part 1

The Christmas season has officially begun at the Koutz house.

Mom, Dad and I arrived in Vestaburg late last night after visiting my Grandpa in Indy. Lois and Adam arrived about an hour after us from Missouri. Anna and Ryan are coming tomorrow from Illinois. Elizabeth, Anthony and the girls are coming Friday or Saturday. We will all join Matthew's family on Saturday to celebrate Christmas. This is the first year EVERYONE will be hear since...well...I don't know when. I'm excited and I know my parents really are as well.

Today we helped Mom finish cleaning the house and making room for everyone to sleep. We wrapped presents and decorated the little tree we have. Lois sang Christmas songs as I played the piano. We played a quick game and watched the first Christmas movie. Tomorrow Dad and I are hanging up my favorite set of lights in the living room. So tomorrow the house will be completely decorated. All the presents will be wrapped. We'll begin preparing food for the gang and Christmas will be in full swing.

Everyone else is thinking of putting decorations away and our fun is just beginning. When we were younger we never did much about Christmas until after we celebrated my birthday. When Anna, Lois and I were at college things waited until we were all home on break. Now that all the siblings are married we celebrate Christmas on the New Year's Day, but this year it is a little earlier. Our house will stay decorated until late January when Mom finally decides to take things down and the rest of the world if far bast the Christmas season.

We know we are an odd bunch and we like it that way.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve

Guess who didn't have to go to school today. ME!!!!!

I slept in and then finished making cookies for some friends. I cleaned a little bit and packed for my trip to Indy.

I spent the first Christmas Eve service hanging out with my special friend, Dominic. We watched Veggie Tales, danced, played the drums, played the computer, watched the fish and other exciting things. Then I attended the second service with Brooke and her family. It was incredible!!!! The creative arts department did and excellent job arranging the music and all the artist did a phenomenal job.

Then I jumped in my car and started my journey to Indy. The roads and traffic were great. I met my parents at the hotel and we will go over to my Grandpa's tomorrow morning. I'm ready to call it a night.

Have a great Christmas celebrating Jesus!

Anna's Graduation

Here are the picture's from Anna's graduation. Unfortunately, they are horrible. Sorry Anna.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Blahs and Ughs

This week has been full of the blahs and ughs.

Look out your window. BLAH!

I missed hanging out with my buddy Dominic this week because I was on the road. UGH!

I'm tired of dealing with drama at school. I'm not just talking about typical middle school drama; I'm also talking about serious, dangerous drama! I thought most of the latter was fading away until I was pulled aside today to deal with some things. BLAH!

The last few weeks have been so busy with concerts that I've done a horrible job of keeping in touch with friends. I beginning to think some of them aren't so happy about it. UGH!

I am completely exhausted! I feel like I've been going strong for months with no time to come up and breathe. However, I can't sleep at night partly because I keep thinking of other things I have to get done. BLAH!

If I have to call another parent and hear another disconnected message again...If I have another parent request a phone call but refuse to return them...UGH!

Corey asked this question on his blog several weeks ago, "Can I handle a season with no fruit?" I had to think about that one quite a bit. I wasn't satisfied with my answer but basically concluded I would find a way to handle it, despite the emotional and mental beatings I might take. After a frustrating day yesterday and today I asked the question again. Although I thought I could handle it, now that I've discovered I'm dealing with possible emotional, mental and physical beatings I'm not so sure.

Lord give me extra strength and courage to keep doing the right thing, despite the consequences. Teach me to keep loving, to love my way through anger. God erase me from the picture and make yourself evident, because I know you are the only hope in these lives.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Another year down...

Thanks to everyone who said happy birthday today. I was shocked at the number of messages I received. I got awesome card from Michael and Jeannette, which was the highlight of my day. Lois's and Elizabeth's kids called to sing to me, another highlight of the day.

We had our Lifeline Leader's Christmas party tonight. It was a great time. I'm so glad Angie was there to cheer me up from yet another drama filled day at school. However I survived another day, without any scars or bruises. This seems to have become more difficult to do. Nothing to exciting today but to celebrate my birthday, I'm going to bed EARLY!!!! Hooray!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The end of a long week...

After one of the worst weeks of my life, I had a great weekend with my family. My sister Anna graduated from Hannibal LaGrange College. My brother and I headed out on Friday morning and we got back this evening. It was so nice to be able to be with my family far away from work and all the junk from this week.

Christmas break could not come soon enough!!!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Give me a minute...

If you wouldn't mind, give me a minute to complain. This week is nothing but school and concerts.

How much long do I have to do this? Both yesterday and today I left for school around 6:45 and haven't come home until after 9:00 at night. The same will be true the rest of the week. I'll miss Oasis and New Community.

My students did very well tonight and pushed through some rough stuff like pros. My students tonight aren't even close to being ready, not even to sing Rudolph or We Wish You A Merry Christmas. Most of the classes have been plotting to do nothing but mess around on stage because they don't think I'll do anything. WRONG!

I am constantly amazed at the number of students that just don't care. Even more startling is just how deep those "I don't care" attitudes run. I had to write up a student earlier this week who was one step away from JJC. That student gave me no choice but to write them up and now will spend some time in the JJC. I asked the student if they understood what that meant. They proceeded to describe exactly what it meant. When asked if that bothered them they replied, "Why would it? I don't care. I'll get out and keep doing whatever I want to do because I don't have to do nothing. Nobody tells me what I'm going to do." I struggle to understand that perspective of life.

I guess I just feel like I've wasted an entire semester and seen no change in these students. It is incredibly exhausting and extremely frustrated. tomorrow I'll get up and do it all again, praying somehow my students see a little bit of Jesus and grasp a little bit more of the fact that they matter.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Tonight at Lifeline...

Another great night at Lifeline. I had a three new girls in our small group...very exciting. I hope to see more of them in the future. Corey was very honest tonight and shared a great message. I loved it!

WHO ARE YOU? Corey Mann

Do your innards match your outards? Are you a pretender?

Negative Example of Generosity – Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5)
-They chose image over God.
-What is the price of generosity? ALL
-God removed the cancer in the early church.
-You will pull yourself down when you pretend. Are you bringing others down with you, with your pretending?

How do I get to the point I can truly handle SHIVERNAKEDVOMITJAILSTARVE?
1. Be grateful for what I have.
2. Put others first. Other people matter!
3. Don’t let greed get a hold of you.
4. Get in the habit of giving.

Positive Example of Generosity – Boaz (Ruth 2-4)
-Boaz noticed Ruth’s kindness and generosity.
-He was generous with his compassion, courtesy, crops, and compliments.
- Why do I think what I have is going to run out?

Quote of the Night
I should probably take those earrings out; I’m going to be 40 soon.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Food Drop 2008

One of my favorite things our church does is the Food Drop because volunteers run the entire event. This morning over 2,000 volunteers from our church gathered together to feed thousands of families in the Michiana area. Around 200,000 pounds were distributed to local neighborhoods and food pantries. A truckload of toys was taken to Toys for Tots. It was an incredible morning. I had a blast serving along our students.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Why I love GCC

Recently a minister friend of mine wrote a post about how our church looks too much like the world and isn’t doing church right. I have already decided I’m not going to waste my time arguing about this topic. People can say what they want but I LOVE MY CHURCH! Let me tell you some of the reasons why.

1. I love that people can sit through a service and walk out in tears because they have heard how much they matter and that the one who created them loves them. For some it is the first time they have ever heard it.
2. I love that thousands of people will meet in our building tomorrow to feed thousands of families in the Michiana area.
3. I love that I get to spend every Sunday and Wednesday night with hundreds of students.
4. I love that I can walk around and see leaders LISTENING to students and helping them walk through life.
5. I love that I had the opportunity to speak to over 100 jr. high girls and tell them about the things I've had to learn about relationships the hard way.
6. I love that every service our message is centered around Scripture and what God has to say about the things we face in life.
7. I love that I am able to worship with people who understand they don't have it all together and don't want to pretend they do.
8. I love that we are intentional about helping people find their SHAPE and give them the training they need to reach out and serve.
9. I love that every WEEKEND I walk away from service challenged…even during parenting series!
10. I love that above our door you see what we are all about taking next steps towards Christ...together.
11. I love that my church reminded me what the church was suppose to look like when I was ready to throw in the towel and walk away.
12. I love that my church helped me get back up when I was broken and angry.
13. I love that they did that without once pointing fingers or looking down at me.
14. I love that this last week during our Eagle’s Nest I watched as about 7 girls realized the way they were treating one of their classmates was wrong and came up with ways they can befriend this girl and invite her to join our Eagle’s Nest.
15. I love that people’s lives are being changed because God is doing something great in and through his people at GCC.

I’ll stop before I take all of your time. I could go on and on and on. It is okay that others don’t agree with our “methodology.” But I figure if God thought GCC was good enough to help me through the lowest part of my life, then I want to be a part of that church.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

1 Down 3 To Go...

I survived my first of four concerts this month. My students did well performing tonight. Their behavior was less than acceptable but i guess there is only so much I can do. My favorite part of the evening was seeing Chris, one of our Oasis, students in the front row tonight. It was an awesome little surprise.

I had an interesting conversation in one of my classes this morning. I laughed...a lot. Check this out.
Student 1: Miss Koutz, was baby Jesus really born on Christmas Day?
Miss Koutz: (I explain quickly that we have set aside that day to celebrate his birth)
Student 2: Is it true that we get gifts because people brought baby Jesus gifts?
Miss Koutz: Well, yea partly.
Student 3: What? Wait! Is Santa Claus real?
Miss Koutz: Oh no! I'm about to break the news to a fifth grader about Santa Clause. Okay, let me explain about how the idea of Santa Clause started. (So I continue blah blah blah.)
Student 2: Wait so we get gifts because baby Jesus got gifts, right?
Miss Koutz: Yes.
Student 3: Sweet!
Student 4: GO BABY JESUS!!!

On the home front: I just got off the phone with my parents. My Dad is having knee surgery again tomorrow. I guess the doctor decided it can't wait the few weeks until break. If you have a minute tomorrow we would appreciate your prayers. The doctor will be trying to take care of a complication from the last surgery. On a brighter note, my sister graduates next weekend and I am so excited to go see her and most of my family.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Church Steps Up

What happens when you need 6 semi trucks full of food and only one night to make it happen?

GOD SHOWS UP!!!! The church steps up and shows its servant hearts and smiling faces. I absolutely love GCC. I've never seen so many people on one place that understand what it means to be the body of Christ. Food Drop 2007 is going to be awesome.

Check out these out for a closer look!
Pictures by Jeffrey
Video by Corey

Sunday, December 02, 2007

So close yet so far...

This weekend I’ve had several frustrating moments. It seems that no matter how close my dreams may seem they slip further and further away. Friday night I spoke at Girlz Only night and today I received this e-mail.

“I need your help... I'm trying to start up a girls' small group (young teen) or maybe even high school girls, but not both (I don't think). I dunno, that's why I need your help, because you seem to be one to talk to about that stuff. Do you think you could help me out?“

I read that and was a little surprised she would ask me. I miss this! I miss being able to spend my whole day preparing to share with students, building relationships with them and looking forward to our next service project.

Now I dread getting out of bed every morning. I spend hours and hours everyday on things I don’t really enjoy. I say no to different opportunities because teaching takes so much time. I’m learning many things from my students and teaching school but it seems to take more out of me than anything. How much longer will I have to do this?

“My heart is in anguish.
The terror of death overpowers me.
Fear and trembling overwhelm me.
I can’t stop shaking.
Oh, how I wish I had wings like a dove;
then I would fly away and rest!
I would fly far away
to the quiet of the wilderness.”
Psalm 55:4-7

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Girlz Only pics

Girlz Only...rocked!

We kicked off our Girlz Only events tonight and had an awesome time. I thought everything went really well. Of course there were some things I wish I would have done differently in the message but really it went well.

We are created for relationship.
1. Adam and Eve – Genesis 2:18
2. The Church – Romans 12:5
3. God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit – Genesis 1:27

We are created in the image of God. You have value. Those around you have value. Our relationships need to reflect the image of God.

Three Characteristics of These Relationships
1. No Masks Allowed!
-- Masks hide the real you and cause others to build a relationship with a mask, not a person.
-- I Samuel 20 - Saul wore a mask in his relationship with Jonathon. David and Jonathon didn’t.
2. Lift UP Don’t Pull DOWN
-- It is easier to pull down so we must be intentional about lifting up.
-- Our words have influence. Will we damage each other or encourage each other?
-- I Samuel 18:1-3 – Jonathan encourages the call on David’s life.
3. Fill Up Without Emptying Out
-- Relationships go both ways. There is a time to give and a time to take.
-- I Samuel 24 – David spares Saul’s life
-- II Samuel 9 – David invites Mephibosheth to life in his palace.

We need to practice these in our relationships and surround ourselves with people who practice them as well.

Are these a part of my relationships? Are there relationships that I need to end or some that need to be adjusted?