About Impact

Sunday, March 30, 2008

March Chick Night Pics

Better late than never. Here are the pictures from Chick Night!

Missing France

Yesterday morning I was dragging since I woke up early so I went to Starbucks.  I got out of my car and there was a family speaking French.  It made me smile.  Then we had to go through the traffic circle on Douglas on our way to Saint Mary's.  Paris has very few stop lights.  Most intersections are traffic circles.  

(insert large sigh here)

I loved our missions trip to France.  We met some incredible people and had the chance to experience what God is doing in that country.  If I had the chance to go back, I wouldn't think twice.  

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Girlz Only - March

I had a blast today hanging out with our middle school girls.  This was the smallest event we've had due to ISSMA and other random activities going on in the area.  But the girls had a great time anyway.  

We started our morning at the church getting to know each other and doing some hilarious skits.  Each group of girls was given a bag of very random objects and a scenario that they had to act out.  Some of those scenarios included:
  • The first time Brooke and DC met
  • Jeff and Johnny walk into a coffee shop
  • Katie and Sarah fly to outer-space
  • Mark Beeson starts a rock band
The girls came up with some hilarious skits.  We did it American Idol style and I had the honor of playing Simon.  It was hard to be the mean guy when I loved the ideas the girls came up with.  Then Angela Bryant took us to Saint Mary's for lunch and a tour of campus.  She also talked to the girls a little bit about the importance of an education and how it relates to our relationship with Christ.  She was amazing.

I'm off to the church now.  I am excited for service and can't wait to hear how the Guys Only went last night.  Enjoy the pictures.  (Yes I know I still need to finish the Chick Night pictures.  They will be coming soon.  This deadline came first!)


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Love Thursdays

There are many reasons why I love Thursday.  First of all it means tomorrow is FRIDAY!!!  Thursday means New community, which I absolutely love.  But my favorite part of Thursday is hanging out with friends at Hacienda.  

At New Community tonight I had the chance to see a good friend from college who has been traveling all over the world.  It was such a great surprise.  She is amazing!!!!  

Tonight Jeffrey, Allison and I joined Allison's mom and her friends after service.  Luke was able to stop by and join us for a little bit as well.  It was great to meet some new people and hang out with good friends.  We had lots of laughs and had the chance to hear a little bit about The Bucket Tour from Jeffrey.  It was so good to catch up with Allison and Jeff since they have been gone.  

I'm so thankful for the amazing friends God has placed in my life.  Allison briefly started to think about where our next steps might take us.  I told her a little bit about how the last step I took didn't turn out the way I expected.  That can be so incredibly discouraging but it has shown me more about how God wired me and what he created me to do.  I don't think I would feel that way if it weren't for people like her who are there no matter what the next step may bring.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

What just happened?

Crazy things have happened today...

You all need to go check out Jeff's and DC's blog to see what happened at Oasis tonight?  What?!

I had a great conversations with some friends at the wonderful Bella Vita tonight.  It wasn't planned ahead of time just God crossing some people's paths to share about what he is doing in their lives.  It was awesome.

I'm learning the reality of my career in music being shorter than I expected.  It makes sense looking back at my journey why God has allowed some things to play out the way they have.  I'll cherish the ability I have to hear now, knowing it might not be as strong a few months from now.  There is just no telling.  Sidenote:  I'm still getting dizzy and my ears still hurt.  The medicine the doctor gave me made me sick to my stomach.  I go see the ENT on Tuesday.

I had a good conversation with a student tonight.  It was about pleasant things but it was good for us to talk through some things.  I'm amazed over and over again as God uses my story to help someone else.  Only he can do that.

Jason told me my cookies look like raw hamburger patties!  He is just jealous he isn't eating them. :)

Mr. Kurtis threw a paper wad at me in the middle of a rehearsal today.  It is a good thing he is bigger than me, otherwise, I would have snapped.

My favorite part of the school day: I had a student come knock on my door during choir today with an Oasis question.  I love it!  

Only 7 days until Spring Break!!!!
Only 30 days of school until our final performance!  Eeks!
Only 40 school days left until the end of the year!!!!!!

Chicago Blog

The blog for our Chicago Mission Trip this summer is up and running. I just posted some thoughts today. Go check it out!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Something more...

Do you ever feel so tired of the same old routine everyday you just don't want to get out of bed?
Do you ever feel like your hands are tied and you aren't able to stretch out and try something new?
Do you ever feel that your gifts aren't being used to their fullest potential?
Do you ever feel as if you stay where you are at you will burst?
Do you ever feel that those around you are holding you back from being great?

Today I do...most days I do.

"But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God."
Acts 20:24

"But if I say I’ll never mention the Lord or speak in his name, his word burns in my heart like a fire. It’s like a fire in my bones! I am worn out trying to hold it in! I can’t do it!"
Jeremiah 20:9

Monday, March 24, 2008

Ear Update

I went to the doctor today after school. Unfortunately, there wasn't much she could do. She gave me some prescriptions that should take care of the pain and dizziness until I go to a specialist next week. We'll see what happens after that.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

What is wrong with me?

I had some thoughts about Easter that I have been thinking about all weekend. I've been trying to write them but my body can't handle it right now. I'm not really sure what is wrong with me but whatever it is, it isn't right.

I woke up early this morning incredibly dizzy. I rolled over and the whole room was spinning. My head felt like it was ready to explode and my eyes felt like they were going to pop out. Pleasant, isn't it? I quickly closed my eyes and tried to go back to sleep. I would sleep for awhile and wake up again to the same problem. This happened over and over and over. I was so dizzy I felt like I had just finished riding a fast spinning ride that makes you sick just watching. I decided not to get out of bed until I woke up not feeling that way.

I finally woke up around 11 not feeling dizzy. I've been fine all day until the middle of service tonight. I was sitting there and the room started spinning. I felt like I was going to pass out. I got a little scared about driving home afterwards but made it here fine but I have no clue what is causing this.

My theory is my ears. They have still been sore but not sore enough to do anything. I'll call the specialist this week and try to get an appointment. I'm hoping it is just a build up of fluid that can be taken care of with medication. If there are any doctors or nurses reading, help me out here!

Favorite color pink...

I know some of you are a little confused by the title of this blog since I hate the color pink. Several years ago I wanted to nothing to do with the color pink because it was too girly. I'm still not a huge fan but I'll tolerate it now. However there is one time when I love the color pink...in Crispy Pastel Cookies.

I don't remember my mom making these cookies at any particular time but they always seemed fitting for Easter. You can make them with any flavor of jell-o you want. This time of year lemon or lime seem to go really well. My favorite is raspberry and strawberry though. I made a strawberry batch today and they are delicious. They aren't my favorite cookies but I am loving them.

Learning from Teaching, Part 2...

Here are a few more quick lessons I've learned from teaching.

- Parents never come to see the music teacher during parent-teacher conferences. In all the teaching I've done I can count the number of parents that have stopped to see me during conferences with just my hands.
- The most important thing you can teach in character.
- Your classroom should never be about you and always about the students. If you leave, your students should be able to function without you.
- Students never benefit when lines are crossed and colleagues aren't supporting each other.
- Starting a new position the day before a concert stinks!


I would love to hear what others learn from their careers. What have you learned at work this past week?

Two weeks with the girls!

Since the student ministry boys were gone on the bucket tour, Brooke and Ang were home alone with their dogs and Allison didn't have Jeff around. So this meant the last two weeks have been all about girl time!!!!! I have had such a blast hanging out with these girls. Seriously they are such a blast. We've added several others in the mix through out the two weeks and I am blessed to have some amazing women in my life. They are all so passionate about following Christ. There will me more great stories about them coming soon.

I forgot about doughnuts...

I found out during spring break my junior year at Bethel (2002) that I wasn't able to eat wheat. Since then my diet has changed drastically. I've found ways to make wheat-free versions of common foods that are pretty good. Some of those foods you can't even tell the difference. But there are some foods I haven't had since I quit eating wheat. Number one thing I really miss is graham crackers.

I didn't really miss doughnuts. In fact when I drive by Krispy Kreme the smell makes me a little nauseous. Until today! I went to the health food store to buy some bread and I found these in the freezer. I always get really nervous about trying new things because so many wheat free foods can taste horrible. I was a little weirded out that they were in the freezer but I thought I have a few extra dollars so I'll give it a shot.

Let me tell you they are well worth the $5.39 I paid for them. They are AMAZING! They taste just like I remember doughnuts tasting. Now if I can just find some wheat-free graham crackers.

Identity - Week 3

This las week we wrapped up our Identity series. Let's just say I did not do my best speaking. The lack of preparation time, due to the new job was very evident. But the good news, God is faithful and can turn my disaster into something. Here is a short look at what I attempted to say.

+ We reviewed the first two weeks.
- Week 1 (DC) - our faith moves us from creation to family
- Week 2 (Me) - We aren't just God's family, we are friends.
+ I want to be perfect but constantly fall short because of my sin.
+Only God is perfect and no matter what I do, I can't reach it.
+ My actions and deeds can't close the gap.
+ Christ reaches down and eliminates the gap.
+ By doing so, God offers me so many things. Things like peace, joy, freedom, new life.
+ The list goes on and on and I don't have to do anything to earn those things because they are a gift.
+ All I have to do is accept the gift.
+ What will I accept from Christ today? Will I allow him to define me or will i keep trying to do things myself?


We stole Ted's idea for Lifeline. We had two boxes wrapped like presents on the stage. Inside were several pieces of paper that said "I accept ________." We gave our students time to sit and talk with God, to listen to him and then respond by filling out the paper and taking it with them.

A handful of students left theirs in the box. I read some awesome responses. A couple of them said "I accept Jesus." I was humbled as I read them because it didn't matter that I wasn't up to my own standard of excellence, God had a message to be heard and somehow through my mixed up thoughts a handful of our students got it.

"Each time he said, My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness. So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may work through me." 2 Corinthians 12:9

Quick Update.

It has been another long week and I was thankful I didn't have to work today. I spent most of the day with friends not doing much of anything. I had another chance to hang out with Brooke and Ang, who are pretty excited the boys come back from the bucket tour in a few hours.

I have lots to post about but it will have to wait until tomorrow. Here is a sneak peek at what is coming.
- Identity Series Wrap-up
- New friendships
- WHEAT-FREE DOUGHNUTS
- More lessons from teaching

Monday, March 17, 2008

Full Speed Ahead

There is nothing like starting a new job with a dead sprint. Our schedule at school is jam packed this week. Don't be offended if I take a while to return phone calls and messages. This week is INSANE!

MONDAY:
AM - Teach
PM - Honor band rehearsal
TUESDAY:
AM - Teach
PM - Honor Band performance
WEDNESDAY:

AM - Teach
Afternoon - Parent Teacher Conferences
PM - OASIS!!!!
THURSDAY:
AM - Teach
Afternoon - Parent Teacher Conferences
PM - New Community!!!
FRIDAY:
AM - SLEEP IN!!!!
PM - Party with the girls

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Ministry Update #2 - Chick Nite

WOW! WOW! WOW! is the best way to describe last night. What a blast! These girls are so awesome and let me tell you they are creative!

We did a video scavenger hunt. Truth be told, I'm not a huge fan of the way these are normally done. We had six girls and four leaders in our van and there was never a dull moment. I think we had a plan when we started but we definitely did not stick with it. Allison was on video duty, I was on photo duty, Brooke had phone duty and Ang had driving duty. However it wasn't long before Allison and I switched. Here are some highlights from Team Blue Van.
- running out of the mall for fear of having our video erased
- running commentary on our video about nothing of importance
- dysfunctional van doors
- two injuries
- almost peeing our pants thanks to this Mann who just happened to drive by
- the leap frog song


Stephanie spoke about how a scavenger hunt like this can often look like how we live our lives. She made some excellent connections and took advantage of a teaching moment. She challenged the girls to embrace each day and stop worrying so much about the "i can't wait until I ______, then things will be better." Check out Allison's thoughts on the night.

The students had a blast last night but the leaders did too. It was evident last night that this group of leaders is passionate about ministry and passionate about building relationships with each other as well. It is such a privilege to be serving along side such awesome leaders.

Ministry Update #1 - Oasis

I spoke at Oasis for the second time this last week. At the end of the night we were all in agreement that things went really well, especially considering all the technical issues we were having before hand. Due to some of those problems I had to rearrange and rewrite a major chunk of my message and hour before we were suppose to open the doors.

At first I almost flipped out but then I told God I trusted he was going to keep is promise about being strong in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9) and it all fell together in about 20 minutes. The band did an excellent job. It was really nice not having to worry about playing and speaking. Hopefully it will work out that same way this week. From the conversations I had with students the bottom line of that night seemed to be pretty clear. That is a good thing.

I should have taken a picture of it and posted it but one of our students made me a medallion and certificate for the "Worst Game Player of the Year" award. He was paying attention the last time I spoke. Thanks Joe!! You are awesome. We have such great students.

Can't sleep

I came home completely exhausted tonight but now I can't sleep. I got of the phone with a good friend a little while ago. This friend is going through so tough stuff right now and needed to talk through some things. Now I'm wide awake so I decided to get some work done. I have plenty of it to do.

Friday, March 14, 2008

March Chick Night

I am far past the point of exhaustion, however, tonight was incredibly hilarious. I'll develop the film tomorrow and share more stories. Hopefully I'll have time. This weekend in psycho busy but I know some of you are wanting to hear how things went Wednesday.

So look for a ministry update this weekend!

HUGE NEWS!!!!!

As of Monday, March 17th I have a full-time teaching position at Edison Intermediate Center!!!!!

Mr. Threet the band and orchestra director has been hired at the magnet coordinator at Perley Fine Arts Academy and starts on Monday. He is a phenomenal director and filling his shoes will probably be impossible. I will take over all of his intermediate and advance band classes and keep my afternoon general music and choir classes. Mr. Kurtis, also the director at Clay High School, will take over the beginning bands, all orchestras and keep the classes he already has. We will be co-directing the Jazz Band and one advanced band.

I am excited to be working with bands again since that is my area of certification. The students took the news pretty hard today so the next week will be very interesting.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

OASIS!!!!!

Oasis rocked tonight. It was full of all sorts of adventures. More on that later.

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Never-ending Conversation

For the last four years there has been this never-ending conversation in my mind and I'm sure most of you can guess what it is. In fact, months ago I said I would blog about it. The question of vocational ministry vs teaching. The conversation is just this random mumble jumble that goes in all sorts of circles so don't expect any of it to make sense. Before I go any further though let me make a few things clear.
1. We are all called to be ministers right where we are.
2. Teaching is part of my ministry.

As an ordained minister I've obviously committed my life to serving God in a ministry setting. It is very obvious for this part of my life he has placed me in the schools teaching music. This year I've had the opportunity to get a small understanding of why that might be but really I have no clue. I am learning a ton of things in my classroom that are helpful for the ministry I'm a part of at GCC. And I'm learning a ton at GCC that is helpful in my classroom.

The school year has been full of ups and downs, unfortunately more downs than ups. I know teaching school is not my passion. I think I'm discovering it isn't my SHAPE either. I'm learning I really do have a gift for teaching but I'm discovering new avenues of teaching that I enjoy much more than school. And the confirmation and encouragement that has come from those experiences has literally blown me away. There are a lot of questions about what will happen with my position next year. There are a lot of things changing in the South Bend system. Everyday I ask myself, and more importantly God, if this is my last year in a school.

It is nice having a job in this area that allows me to be a part of the student ministry program at GCC. I never would have thought when I started Oasis last year that I would be
--> speaking at three weeks of Oasis and several Girlz Only events
--> serving on the leadership team for Girlz Only
--> leading an entire team to Chicago this summer
--> playing on a worship team again
I've never told them this but I feel like I'm getting a free internship at GCC. I am learning a ton from DC, Johnny and Jeffrey. I would love to be able to stick around the area and keep serving along side them.

At the same time having a job that is outside of your shape is completely draining. I come home with nothing left and have a horrible time getting up most mornings. Is it really worth spending hours and hours and hours at school and outside of school doing something you don't love with all of you heart? I love my students. I hate my job. So what do I do?

For now I finish the school year strong, giving it all I have. I love my students like Christ would love them. I show them Jesus as I teach each day. I wait and see what happens with the position at school. I lean in and listen for God's direction. I've committed to serving at GCC until the end of July, hoping by then I'll know if it is another year of teaching, time for a new ministry, or something God has up his sleeve that I'm clueless about.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

The Worn Out Woman

Many of you know that I have a hard time using the two letter n-word, "NO!" I've always been a person who loves to go, go, go, do, do, do. However, I'm learning that isn't the way we were created to live. So I've been trying to find balance and do a better job of taking care of myself, setting boundaries and clearing space in my week for rest.

Every Friday (or Saturday) I have the privilege of hanging out with my good friend Kristin. She has been helping me keep a healthy balance of work and rest in my life. She has been a teacher in some tough schools and is familiar with the stress level that brings. She is passionate about ministry and using her gifts to further the kingdom so she understands my passion and desire to do the same. She also has a family and is able to set aside time to help me. She is AMAZING!!!!

Right now the two of us are reading the book The Worn Out Woman by Dr. Steve Stephens and Alice Gray. We haven't been reading it long, but long enough for me to be convicted and stretched. The last few chapters have especially hit home. Here are a few quotes that have stuck out to me.

"So how do you know when too much is too much? Chances are you body and mind have been trying to tell you, but you may be moving too fast to even notice. Or maybe you have gotten so accustomed to feeling worn out that exhaustion seems normal You can't even imagine what it would feel like to have vitality and extra energy."

"When you compare yourself to others, you actually stop seeing yourself."

"Somehow He can use the hurtful years and in HIs time weave them into a beautiful part of your story. So we urge you to keep turning toward God in the midst of your painful events instead of away from Him. You need God, especially when you life threatens to wear you down."

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Earth Expedition


This morning my friend, Daren, started his seven year walk around the world. He started inDahlonega, GA and will walk the entire distance except for one flight from Halifax to Portugal! All of this is to raise awareness and money for Blood:Water Mission. You seriously need to go check out his website...NOW!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Let's here it for friends!

As Allison commented on my last post, there really isn't much time to just write these days. However, there is enough time for me to tell you how amazing she is. I had a hard conversation this afternoon that was uncomfortable and challenging. I wasn't handling it well and asked her to come hang out and help me with a project. She came! SHE IS AMAZING!!!!

Top 10 Things That Happen While Hanging Out With Allison
10. Lots of laughing
9. Food/Coffee is consumed usually involving chocolate
8. Conversations about music and blogs
7. Plenty of story telling
6. The phrase "okay now you are scaring me" is heard at least once
5. Good advice is shared
4. Encouraging words are spoken often
3. God shows up with bigger plans
2. A few phone calls or text messages from Jeff...because

1. A planned short visit grows to several hours

Monday, March 03, 2008

No time

I have a had a hand full of really great ideas for post but absolutely no time to write. Ugh! Today has been non-stop until about an hour ago. I finally came home and found some food to eat. Now I'm ready to crash and burn yet haven't touched any school work.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Chicag08 Team Meeting

***REMINDER***

Chicag08 Team Meeting
Monday, March 3rd, 6-8:30 PM


See you there friends!

Girlz Only: Inside Scoop

BEGINNING OF GIRLZ ONLY
At the beginning of the school year a handful of Oasis leaders recognized a need for a gathering of middle school girls where they could kick back, have fun, discover how valuable and be stretched all at the same time. The results of that need has become the most incredible journey I've experienced in ministry focused towards middle school girls. Month after month we have had amazing events that have far exceeded any plans that we had. The whole process has a gift from God that he has allowed us to be a part of, and we are thankful.

FEBRUARY: HEART'S DESIRE
Other than our spring retreat, this is probably the most spiritually intense event. 50 girls gathered at the Marriott in downtown South Bend and here is an inside look at what the night looked like.

- We had a fantastic dinner that was catered by the hotel.
- Chris Infalt talked about how God fulfills all the desires of our heart.
- I shared how we use spiritual disciplines (specifically prayer, journaling, and spending time in Scripture) helps build our relationship with Christ. During that time we gave the girls the opportunity to practice those disciplines and set some personal goals to help them take the next step.
- Lisa Vukmirovich taught about what the discipline of worship and lead the girls in worship through song. Let me just say our girls can sing and they dont' hold back.
- Allison Silverraven and Susanna Martino talked about serving on another and walked the girls through the process of serving each other by washing a friend's hands. The sense of community became very strong during this activity and the girls loved it.

I was blown away by how smoothly the evening went and how receptive the students were to the challenges they were given. They loaded the buses with more energy than they came with and ton more stories. Praise God for another great evening of fun and fellowship. Never underestimate what he has in store.