About Impact

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Day 30 of 30

Last day of the 30 day challenge and I accomplished a lot of reading. I met with my friend who recommended the book Why Am I Afraid to Tell You Who I Am? this afternoon. She is a psychologist and gave me a brief refresher course of adolescent growth and development. She gave me so great advice to hopefully take care of some issues I'm having in a few of my classes. The book is about interpersonal relationships in general, not just in students. There is a lot of helpful information for everyone, so I'll probably blog about it once I'm through the whole thing.

I can't say this month's challenge went as well as I would have liked. My fear was that reading each day would be more of a task that relaxing. In some ways that happened. It became something else on the to do list. However, I did make it through The Shack, which I probably wouldn't have even started if it weren't for the challenge. It was a good challenge, but I'm not going to lie. I'm glad it is over.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Logan's Party

Tonight we got part of the old college gang back together for dinner at Logan's. It use to be one of the places we would hang out while we were in school. I can't tell you how much fun it was. We shared the latest news in our lives. We caught each other up on old friends. We retold a few old stories. We argued about politics. We laughed a ton! It was perfect. And of course we took a picture to add to our collections.

To Twitter Or Not To Twitter

I joined Twitter a while ago and decided it was the dumbest thing ever and closed my account. After talking with a couple friends earlier this month I started another account.

There was recently an article in New York Times Magazine about Twitter.
Rob shared his thoughts about Twitter.
Kem shared some thoughts as well.

I'm still not convinced I like it. It seems a bit redundant. Most of the people I'm close to and want to stay in contact with have Facebook. What do you think? Do you Twitter? Why? Why not?

Day 28 of 30

Didn't happen. I was going to take a quick nap that turned into a long one. I loved every minute and don't regret it. Still not doing so hot on this challenge thing though. Tonight...

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Day 27 of 30

I should be reading right now but I'm not. Instead I'm catching up with the Simply Youth Ministry Podcast. I've fallen horribly behind. I'm really doing a great job tackling this 30 day challenge. Geesh!

The weekend is rolling...

This weekend is off to a great start. Here are a few pictures to help share the fun. I wish I would have taken pictures while we were at Hacienda because Debbie was being hilarious!!! After dinner we went back to the Mann house and chilled. It was so much fun!
Time to be crafty. We all made jokes about it but it really was fun.

A little Wii fun! Chloe is a fast pace tennis player!

Jen and Elizabeth knew all the words and most of the dance moves to this High School Musical sing-along game. It was hilarious!!!!

This morning I went to watch Chloe cheer for the Colts rocket football team. Last night she told Allison and I all about middle school and her friends. I'm proud of Chloe. She is doing her absolute best to start middle school out on the right foot. She is trying new things, trying to be a good friend and stay focused on God. We had a great discussion about joining a GSM group. She is so much fun!

I love this girl!!!

Day 26 of 30

I'm not really finishing this challenge very strong. I didn't read today. I chose to nap after I got home from school and before I met the girls for a night of fun. I'll blog about this evening's excitement as long as some pictures tomorrow. Long week at school, which I'll blog about tomorrow as well. For now...my bed is calling my name.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Day 24 & 25 of 30

Day 24 - Yesterday was a far to busy to fit any reading into the schedule.

Day 25 - I got home from school later than expected and haven't done much of anything since then. It has been pretty enjoyable. I read a couple chapters from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I'm not really sure why I picked that book up to read, especially since it isn't on my reading list, but I do love C. S. Lewis!

I found myself laughing to myself as I read chapter four, where Prince Caspian basically walks into the castle and tells everybody how it is. His responses to the governor reminded me of how I talk to my students when they think they are in charge of my classroom.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Road Trip!!!!

The relationship between youth minister and student in a unique one. I love how that relationship changes and grows as students get older and eventually graduate high school and leave your student ministry. Sometimes you have students who you keep in close contact with. Some students graduate and become friends. I'm SOOOOOO excited I get to see her in 9 days!

Kari Kinder is one of those students from my ministry at HPCC. I remember meeting her for the first time at our youth service, Life. I watched her step up into leadership positions in the youth group. In the more recent years we've served along side each other in ministry doing several weeks of camp together. She is a great friend.

Next weekend I'm going to watch her destroy some people out on the volleyball court. She plays for Great Lakes Christian College in Lansing and I'm so excite to go hang out with her for the weekend. Last time I went to GLCC to visit her, we had a blast and this time will be no different.

I have a couple Rock Lake campers who are students there as well. Hopefully they will be available to join me in cheering for Kari. I'm also hoping to catch up with some other friends while I'm in the area as well. I've been making calls and sending e-mails getting all the plans into place.

Friends in the Lansing area, you know who you are! Call me. E-mail me. Facebook Me. Whatever it takes. Let's party!!!!

More than a teacher... Part 2

Last year I started at class blog to communicate with students and parents. Our principal loved it and selected me as one of three teachers to attend an in-service that would test out our new websites that would be launched during this current school year. I must have been the only teacher that stuck it out because I am now our site manager. Add that to the hats that teachers wear.

I've spent most of my day working on that site only to run into problem after problem. Tomorrow we are training the rest of our staff on how to create their own personal pages. I was really excited about it until all of the problems today. I'm not feeling very confident in my ability to answer questions as teachers start building their pages.

I think teacher education programs should require students to take a class specifically on the different hats that teachers have to wear. It may be the most useful class and education major would take.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

More than a teacher...

Teachers where so many hats. To name a few counselor, judge, mediator, disciplinarian, coach and obviously teacher.

Yesterday I was able to wear my teaching hat most of the day. My students were surprisingly focused for a Monday. They responded really well to everything I asked them to do. We accomplished some great things in each rehearsal. I love days like this. However, when I leave school on these days I'm wiped out more so than any other day.

Some days you find most of your time is spent wearing hats other than your teaching hat. That was today. I spent a large part of my day talking through conflicts with students. It gave me the opportunity to encourage some students one-on-one and remind them how valuable they are. I love days like this because this is why I teach. On days like this I leave school emotionally drained.

Every once in a while I get the privilege of putting on the youth minister hat at school. Today was also one of those days. I had a student walk up to me before class started and asked me if I would by him a cool Bible like one of the other students in class because his was old and he couldn't understand it. Another student had gotten himself in trouble and I pulled him aside during lunch to talk. This is the same student who brings his Bible to class and reads it. During the conversation he told me about Abraham, Jacob and what he has been reading in Genesis. A third student is now upset that the others are bringing their Bibles to school and he hasn't. These are by far my favorite days!!!! Amazing conversations all initiated by students.

Now it is Tuesday night and I've had two good exhausting day. Jesus, give me the energy to make it through the rest of the week.

Day 23 of 30

I did lots of reading this evening. I read some more from To Be Told and Why Am I Afraid to Tell You Who I Am? I also read part of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Three completely different books. Okay I admit it. I was a little ADD tonight...but I read!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Girls Night Out

Brooke and I had scheduled a simple shopping trip for this afternoon, which turned into a full blown girls night out. Now I'm not the "typical" girl who loves to sit around and talk about boys, clothes, hair, blah, blah, blah. In fact I'm pretty much clueless when it comes to all of that. Brooke is my personal adviser in all of those areas and she came through strong tonight.

We started the evening by eating lots of amazing Hacienda food and just talking with Brooke's roommate and two other Bethel girls. Then it was off to the mall to shop. After we walked the entire mall and found nothing of great value, we said in the parking lot and shared what God is doing in our lives. It was so great to just hang out and have fun...on a school night!

I'm afraid I may be hopeless cause. What do you think?


The following did not all happen in the same store.
Sarah
: Brooke, what do you think about this purple shirt?
Brooke: NO! Walk away.
Sarah: Ooo...I like this jacket.
Brooke: My grandpa left me his in his will.
Sarah: Check out this cool hat.
Brooke: My grandpa left me one his down by the fishing hole.
Sarah: What about this sweater? I really like it.
Brooke: Um...no. Put it back.
Sarah: How about this sweater? (almost the same one as before)
Brooke: Shut up!


Brooke: We'll try Gap but they are going back to all their old boring colors.
Sarah: Oh you mean the ones I like to wear.
Brooke: Yes


Sarah: Why can't I just wear jeans and a t-shirt?
Brooke: Because you have to look cute.
Sarah: Are you saying jeans and a t-shirt aren't cute?
Brooke: Not your boring t-shirts.
Sarah: So I can wear jeans and a t-shirt...just a cute t-shirt?
Brooke: (insert death look and rolling of eyes here)


Brooke: Look at these shorts. Aren't they so cute?
Sarah: Actually I think they are pretty ugly.

Day 22 of 30

Didn't happen! I started reading a little this morning but then had to get to work. I got caught at work later than expected and never got back to starting the new book. Instead it time for a much needed girls night out! More about that in a post to come.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sunday Lowdown

I LOVE SUNDAYS!!!! Seriously you have no idea how much I love Sundays. They are always so much fun and today was no exception.
  • I finished reading The Shack and it didn't take my several months to do it!
  • Dominic was hilarious today. He was full of energy and we had so much fun today.
  • I finished putting the finishing touches on a couple gifts. I'm not completely satisfied but they turned out okay.
  • We had a great GSM band rehearsal with sound checks done in record time. I love playing with those guys.
  • GSM-Middle School - I did not play well at all. The guys were very patient with me. I had the chance to catch up with some of the girls from my small group last year. LOVE THEM! They have grown in many ways since they started middle school.
  • GSM Group Leader meeting went well. Quick rehearsal to fix a few things from the first service and learn a new intro to opening song. I got the layout for the next teaching serious, Chaos Theory, it is going to be incredible. I'm very excited about it.
  • GSM-High School - Things went much better with the band during this service. We had a great dance party after service was over. Jeff busted out all the great camp dances.
  • Lots of laughs with students and leaders. After GSM a few of us ordered Jimmy Johns and devoured it in no time. I even wrote a song about my unwich. I spent some time while hanging out in Jeffrey's office eating Skittles. He is the greatest little brother EVER!
Sundays are the best. Even when I have a off-day and play horrible during service, Sundays rock. There is so much joy and excitement on Sundays. I need to find a better way to carry that through out the week.

Day 21 of 30

I finished The Shack this morning before going to hang out with Dominic and my other special friends. Lots of thoughts on the book. I'll share them later on when I have more energy.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Fear of Betrayal

A few weeks ago I wrote about my fear of failure. It was the first topic in our FEAR series at church. This week we tackled my other big fear, fear of betrayal. Betrayal is such a harsh word. It makes me cringe. But I have to admit I often find myself afraid that I'm going to let someone else down (failure) or that someone else is going to hurt me and let me down (betrayal). I didn't really make the connection between the two until today.

You can't talk about betrayal without talking about forgiveness. I just read that chapter from The Shack about forgiveness. Earlier this week I had an great discussion with a friend about always being afraid someone will hurt you and deciding not to trust anyone. Conversation, book and sermon all closely related. Coincidence? I think not. This weekend I've had a chance to look back over the last several years and see how much I've grown. Two or three years ago I was convinced nothing good could come out of the pain I was dealing with after being betrayed. Now I find myself using it to help teach others about the power of love and forgiveness. That is the goodness of God's grace.

Sure there are still times when that fear of being betrayed comes closer to the surface. I don't have all the answers but I've learned so much and am still learning. God is so good and so loving. It sounds so simple and that is the greatness of it. I don't need to complicate matters. He heals and restores out of his abundant love. That is enough for me.

Day 20 of 30

Two-thirds of the way through the challenge! I have to admit I'm impressed I've done as well as I have. I just finished reading chapter 16 of The Shack. There are some great thoughts on forgiveness in this chapter.

Forgiveness is a tough issue, often because of all these preconceived ideas we get about what is suppose to happen when you forgive. Just a couple years ago I found myself asking many of the same questions Mack asked in this chapter. I know these quotes are long, but I could relate to each of them.

Forgiveness is not about forgetting, Mack. It is about letting go of another person's throat. (page 224)

Forgiveness is first for you, the forgiver, to release you from something that will eat you alive; that will destroy your joy and your ability to love fully and openly. (page 225)

I already told you the forgiveness does not create relationship. Unless people speak the truth about what they have done and change their mind and behavior, a relationship of trust is not possible. When you forgive someone you certainly release them from judgment, but without true change, no real relationship can be established. (page 225)

Forgiveness in no way requires that you trust the one you forgive. But should they finally confess and repent, you will discover a miracle in your own heart that allows you to reach out and begin to build between you a bridge of reconciliation. And sometimes--and this may seem incomprehensible to you right now--that road may even take you to the miracle of fully restored trust. (page 226)

Son, you may have to declare your forgiveness a hundred times the first day and the second, but the third day will be less and each day after, until one day you realize that you have forgiven completely. (page 227)

Experimenting in the Kitchen

My stomach started growling quite loudly earlier today. I looked at the clock and it was only 11:00!!! I started thinking about what I could eat for lunch and remembered there really isn't much in my apartment to fix. Finally I decided I was going to just through some things together an see what happens. Anyone who knows me even a little bit knows that isn't how I work. But much to my surprise, I actually ended up with an amazing lunch of Parmesan chicken and wheat-free noodles. Perhaps I can cook...

Friday, September 19, 2008

Day 19 of 30

I really enjoyed chapter 15 of The Shack this afternoon. Very vivid picture of God's creation. It sent my imagination racing.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Living Vicariously

Many of my friends get really excited about this time every year because of the Innovate conference. I don't blame them. If I could be a part of it I would be excited too. Being a teacher, I can't get the time off of work to attend the conference so I live vicariously through blogs and twitter. You can do the same thing. Seriously they all take such great notes during sessions, it is like you are right there! Check out these blogs.

Mark Beeson
Rob Wegner
Michelle Wegner
Tim Stevens
Jeff Bell
DC Curry

Day 18 of 30

I took a short break in between working at school and working at home to read chapter 14 from The Shack. I'll be honest it was a challenging chapter for me. It seemed a little longer and I was really wanting to get back to my grades so I didn't have to be up late. But what made it really challenging was the discussion on verbs and nouns. I know my School House Rocks songs well but it got pretty technical for me. Now if they would have used numbers or music notes I probably would have been fine.

I thought this quote summed the chapter you well.
You see, Mackenzie, I don't just want a piece of you and a piece of your life. Even if you were able, which you are not, to give me the biggest piece, that is not what I want. I want all of you and all of every part of you and your day. (page 207)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Creative God

This morning I started a list of places I've seen the creativity of God since yesterday afternoon. I thought I would share them with you as well.
  1. Bugs - Brooke and I had our workout party outside in the beautiful sunshine. As we were stretching I found this very cool bug. I have no clue what it was but it was very interesting. He had a very unique walk.
  2. Spiders - I was getting ready to head to bed for the night and noticed a brown spot in the middle of the living room floor. I walked over to see what it was and found a fairly big spider. He was beautiful, with several shades of browns and an amazing design on his back. I stared at him for a long time before I had to say good bye to him.
  3. Sky - The sky was perfect on my way to work this morning. There were some clouds but the colors melded together so smoothly. Clean clear blues, purples, and pinks. Breath-taking!
  4. Math - This might seem a little out of place in this list but hear me out. Our students took their math ISTEPs today and I was reminded of how much I love and miss studying math. I think about how the Finonacci sequence is found in shells, flowers, fruit and various other places in nature and immediately my mind screams, "WOW! Look at how clever God is!" The laws and formulas man has discovered reveals one creative God.
  5. Colors - I was making a card for my friend's birthday and found myself overwhelmed as I looked at different color of crayons. There are alway so many to chose from and it was only a small box. I had a similiar moment in class when I looked around at the class I was covering and say almost every color of skin. It was such a beautiful picture of what an amazing artist God is.
  6. People - I could write about this one for a long time. People are so different in so many ways. I sat at dinner tonight with some friends and soaked in how crazy and weird each of us is in our own way. When you put that all together it brings a lot of fun. I believe it also helps us get a better picture of who God is. We each reflect his image in specific ways he has designed us too. What if everyone was just like me? How messed up would our world be then? Okay don't answer that, but you know what I mean?
I am so thankful our God is a God of creativity!!!! How have you seen the creativity of God this week? Please share.

Day 17 of 30

Today was an insane, run a hundred miles an hour day. That means I didn't read. And instead of reading now, I'm going to write a quick blog and head to bed. Sorry friends, you'll just have to deal with that. The choice was made and I'll live with the consequences.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Encouragement

There are so many amazing things I could post about tonight. Unfortunately, I always wait until the end of the night to post. By this time of night I'm so exhausted my thoughts are so jumbled I confuse myself.

Over the last month God has started to reveal a little bit more of the plan he has for my life. This weekend I found myself discouraged and wondering if I was hearing him right. Today I had a conversation with an individual who shared some of the strongest words of confirmation you could imagine. I walked away from the conversation so encouraged and so challenge to keep taking steps forward.

This is kind of encouragement is so important. If we don't encourage each other as we travel this journey it is easy to lose focus, to second guess yourself and get discouraged. I often find myself wondering if I'm doing all that I can do to encourage those around me. Encouragement charges me. I think about how pumped up I get after someone encourages me. I want to share the same energy boost with others.

These are the questions I'm asking myself tonight? How would you answer them?

Who am I encouraging?
Who should I be encouraging?
Who around me needs some extra encouragement?
Who can I make a quick phone call to or send a quick note?

Blog Stats

I was taking a quick look at my blog stats tonight and noticed some interesting things. There has been a lot of traffic on my blog the last few weeks. There is a good handful of new visitors.
To those of you who are new, feel free to share who you are and where you are from. And of course...
WELCOME!

Several of those readers have made their way here by way of other blogs. So I thought I would say thank you to those friends who have sent new readers this way by linking to their blogs. If you haven't read them, stop by and check them out. These people are awesome!

Kristin Baker
Jon Hatter
Jeffrey Myers
James Pahl
Allison Reynolds

Day 16 of 30 and then some

My ISTEP schedule wasn't as crazy as I thought it would be this morning. That meant I got the chance to read chapter 13 of The Shack while the students were testing. I can't believe I'm almost done with the book already. I never read books this fast!


In Other News...
I was nervous this morning about how well my afternoon classes would go. I wrote in a "tweet" (Is this what they are called? I'll never understand Twitter lingo!) earlier about how students often suffer from post-ISTEP brain mush syndrome. I was so proud of my students today. Not only did they behave well but they rehearsed well. We didn't get through everything I wanted to but we made some great progress. I love days like this!!!!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Two Million Minutes - Week 3


This is our series promo that Jeffrey made for our Two Million Minutes series at GSM. This week DC and Stephanie helped us take a look at healthy relationships. They did an incredible job! So incredible I thought I would share what I walked away with from the night.


Healthy relationships include...
1. Sincerity
2. Proximity (if you don't live close you make the effort to keep in contact)
3. Accountability (at some level)
4. Authenticity

It isn't about surrounding yourself with people but doing life with a few close friends.

Why we need healthy relationships...
1. We need encouragement.
2. l need to be heard.
3. We need to be influenced and influence others in a positive way. (accountability)
4. We were created for relationships

Jesus needed close relationships. He had a group of 12 disciple but he also had an inner circle of three who did life with him on a deeper level. If Jesus needed this community, surely we need the same kind of community.

Day 15 of 30

Quick update about day 14 - I did end up reading chapter 11 of The Shack before I went to bed. Very interesting chapter.

Today I read chapter 12 after school. This chapter contained some thoughts on heaven, fear and of course a relationship with Christ. Here are a few highlights.
The darkness hides the true size of fears and lies and regrets...The truth is they are more shadow than reality, so they seem bigger in the dark. When the light shines into the places hey live inside you, you start to see them for what they are. (page 174)

All I want from you is to trust me with what little you can, and grow in loving the people around you with the same love I share with you. (page 181)

Remember the people who know me are the ones who are free to live and love without any agenda. (page 181)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

SUNDAY!

I love Sundays for many reasons. Here are some reasons why I loved today.

- I know we have had a done of rain this weekend, over 10 inches in two days to be exact, but I love rain. Of course I don't like all the damage that has come with the large amounts we've had. I'm not sick of it yet. Hearing it outside my window makes me smile.
- Great times in the special friends room today. Dominic is hilarious. I love hanging out with that kid. His new friend Jeff came down after service just to say hello to him. It was awesome.
- Good deals at Meijer and I got everything I needed without my list.
- Unexpected call from a friend = always a good thing! I might not like talking on the phone that much but when a friend calls just to say, "Hey, I'm thinking of you!" that means a lot to me.
- Seth is forgiving of my forgetful memory when I show up late to his rehearsal because I can't remember where I put my wallet and keys.
- GSM!!!!!!!!!!!! I had a blast playing with the band tonight. DC and Steph did a phenominal job teaching about relationships. I'll post more on that tomorrow after I process some more. I had some great conversations with some of my middle school and high school girls after each service. We had a great leaders meeting to keep things rolling.
- I get to spend my entire day with friends. There is nothing I love to do more than hang out with my friends. It never gets old to me. They may get sick of me but oh well.

Day 14 of 30

Didn't have much time at all to read today but I did make a little time for it. I haven't finished chapter 11 of The Shack yet. I might before I head to bed. We'll see. I'm really not doing so hot with this challenge thing right now.

Day 13 of 30

I'll be honest. I didn't read yesterday. I have no good excuses. Basically I forgot and when I remembered I was to lazy to do it. Do I feel like a slacker? Absolutely! Am I going to read two chapters today to make us for yesterday? Normally I would say yes. But I won't have time for that today.

This is my typical Sunday schedule. I love Sundays!!!!!

Special Friends time with Dominic
Grocery shopping so I can eat lunch this week
Quick lunch and a little paper work
Band rehearsal for GSM
GSM - Middle School
GSM Leader's meeting
GSM - High School
Finish school work for this week
Bed time (hopefully before midnight)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Nothing Productive

I have none absolutely nothing productive today, or at least that is how it feels. I picked up around the apartment a little bit but that is about it. I've tried to catch up on some paper work since grades are due next week but it isn't happening.

I keep finding myself either staring out the window at the rain or trying not to cry about the football game. I haven't given up hope yet. There is still time to come back. It isn't over until it is over but it isn't looking pretty! I found out my friend of our family, Denny, is in town for the game. I've always wanted to go to the Michigan vs. Notre Dame game. Now that we are losing and the rain is pouring down, I'm not as jealous as I was earlier.

Just because I was so excited when I got the news about a month ago and it is worth celebrating some more... Denny recently gave his life to Christ and was baptized!!!! How awesome is that?! I'm so excited to see what God had in store for him next.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Scatterbrained

- 10:00 on a Friday night and I'm sitting in my apartment. I'm not a fan of wheat or stomach aches.
- I don't like cleaning up after people.
- Chex mix and Sonic in one day. I love it!
- Why are people standing on the shore of Texas as a hurricane is headed their way?
- I'm so tired of students fighting at school over STUPID stuff.
- Great Career Day today. I'm still angry we missed the first set of sessions, including Joe Donnelly's
- Did I mention wheat is of the devil?
- I'm frustrated with my balance of work and friend time right now. Trying to find a way to even that out, hopefully soon!
- I can't believe how tired I am right now.
- I like my red tennis shoes but I never wear them. Why?
- Michigan is going to win tomorrow!!!!!! It is going to be awesome.
- I love rain storms. Even though there is an important game of Michigan to win, I would love to have a big storm...without a ton of damage.
- I wonder if he really does think I'm the strangest teacher in South Bend. He is probably right if he does.
- There are lots of things I like about teaching in public schools that don't happen in private. There are handful of things I miss about the private school.
- One of my students told me I was a mother figure to him because I yell at him when he messes around in class and I won't let him do less than his best.
- ISTEP is next week. I hate ISTEP.
- Why am I still writing this?
- I wonder what people think when the try to follow this thought process that makes perfectly good sense to me.

Day 12 of 30

I quickly worked my way through chapter 10 of The Shack after work today. It was a shorter chapter but it makes you think. The thing I love about it is the numerous subjects addressed in the short few pages. Subjects such as...
  • Trust - If Jesus told you to walk on water, would you do it?
  • Imagination - Sometimes my mind and my imagination starts to wander off without me even realizing it. I can't say I've ever thought about God's view of our imagination.
  • Relationships - Love. Submission. Freedom. His intentions are greater than what we have settled for.
  • Submission - What did God intend for submission to look like?
  • Freedom - True freedom is found in the surrender of independence
Being my follower is not trying to "be like Jesus," it means for your independence to be killed. I came to give you life, real life, my life. We will come and life our live inside of you, so that you begin to see with our eyes, and hear with our ears, and touch with our hands and think like we do. But we will never force that union on you. If you want to do your thing, have at it. Time is on our side. (page 149)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Not a Typical Day

My morning at school was anything but normal. I was late getting there because I got stuck behind a bus that decided to stop in the middle of the street to have a five hour long conversation with the mother at the bus stop. I'm not talking about a short exchange. I was not impressed. My principal made cracks about it all morning.

There was some confusion about the time of our website training this morning. Once we actually got started our network started acting up and we lost our internet connection. We switched gears to brainstorming design and content. We laid out the final plan just as the network was back up and running. We ran through some quick training and decided to completely redo our final plan. Back to the brainstorming. The short 45 minute training ended up being almost 2 hours. I'm excited about the changes though. It will make my job a little easier and our website a much more effective tool for teachers and parents.

That meant I missed most of my morning classes and most of my plan time. I was nervous about how the next class would go since I had been running around all morning. All of my afternoon classes did a great job. There were two classes that should amazing improvement. I was so proud of them and I made sure they knew it.

Students need to hear when they have done well. We all like to know when we've done a good job. Unfortunately, many students don't ever hear that positive feedback. I love the days when there is more well done's than phrases of redirection. I'm praying tomorrow will go just as well.

Day 11 of 30

I went back to reading The Shack again today and read chapter 9 - A Long Time Ago, In a Garden Far, Far Away. I loved this chapter. Possibly my favorite so far. I love gardens and wish I could see the garden described in the chapter. It sounded amazing.

Freedom involves trust and obedience inside a relationship of love. (page 132)

Humans have a great capacity for declaring something good or evil, without truly knowing. (page 133)

The choice to eat of that tree tore the universe apart divorcing the spiritual from the physical. (page 135)

You must give up your right to decide what is good and evil on your own terms. That is hard pill to swallow; choosing to only love in me. To do that you must know me enough to trust me and learn to rest in my inherent goodness. (page 136)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Too Much, Too Little

Too many stories to tell and not enough time to tell them.

Journey Classes started tonight. I was going to be attending Jason's class, Overcoming Failure, but ended up working with our GSM class. I lead a group of middle school girls and had an awesome time digging into the Scripture. I'm excited about this month's topic, Walking with Jesus Daily.

DC and Brooke are so much fun. They've allowed me to go over to their house and hang out the last couple weeks. We talked about how well Journey Classes went and a little about our days. Then we finished watching a Tyler Perry movie we started last week. Good movies. Good friends. Good times. Although DC did try to kill me twice. Once by offering me wheat and the second time by causing a picture frame to fall off the wall and almost land on my head. Last time it fell the glass shattered. I would have been a goner!

Teaching is such an emotional job. I don't understand how some teachers are so patient. I can't handle disrespect and irresponsibility. Taking a deep breath and biting my tongue sometimes is difficult for me. Today I found out one of my students lost her dad this week. This is the second student in our student ministry to have lost a parent this month. This is my second student from school to have lost a father. This is becoming way too common for my liking. I can't even begin to imagine how they feel.

School website training happens tomorrow morning. My principal and I are meeting with two of our tech people from downtown (or wherever they come from) to see what more we can do with our website. We don't like all the limitations we have right now. It should be interesting. How the band director became in charge of the website is beyond me!!!

Goals...they aren't going as well as I would like. I'm trying not to get to down about it. I need to set some clearer boundaries with my time and stick with it. Hopefully I'll get back on track the rest of this week.

Day 10 of 30

I can't believe this month is already in the double digits. Time is flying and I'm getting further behind. I managed to squeeze in some reading today. Chapter 2 of To Be Told. Honestly, not real exciting. That or I just completely missed the whole point. It was all about names and meaning of names. In case you are wondering...

Sarah Carol = Princess Song of Joy

or Princess Squat in the Bushes and my friend, Pam, use to say in high school. Simply because she thought it sounded like an Indian princess name and of course couldn't remember the actual meaning.

Aren't you glad I read that chapter today?!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Random List

- It isn't even 10:00 PM and I'm getting ready to call it a night. I didn't everything done I wanted but oh well. I actually slept pretty well last night and would like to do the same tonight.

- Rough teaching day. I was off most of the day, which just makes me angry. Thoughts made sense in my head but I could seem to get the students to understand them. Very frustrating and I'm still kind of beating myself up for it.

- Workout Party #2 was much harder this week. Seriously Brooke Curry has an amazing talent. Working out with her is so much fun! My ankle is getting stronger but it felt pretty weak today. There were some pretty humorous moments that prove that point.

- Hacienda is my favorite. Hacienda with Brooke Hulse is amazing. Having Rhonda as your server is perfect. I'm so excited to see what God does in Brooke's life. He is definitely keeping her on her toes. I love it. God is doing something in Rhonda's life too. She just doesn't know it yet.

- I wish God would give me more hours in my day. I just can't seem to catch up on all the paper work. Having two offices is great but it means twice as munch paper work. My desk is nothing but stacks of papers to be sorted, filed, processed, etc. Somewhere you can seen the desk's top. I'll let you know when I find it.

Day 9 of 30

The Shack, Chapter 8 - A Breakfast of Champions

As Wally commented and I mentioned earlier, the picture of the trinity in this book in incredible. Enjoy a few quotes...

When you chose independence over relationship, you become a danger to each other. Others become objects to be manipulated or managed for you own happiness. Authority, as you usually think of it, is merely the excuse the strong use to make others conform to what they want. (page 123)

If you truly learned to regard each other's concerns as significant as your own, there would be no need for hierchy. (page 124)

You humans are so lost and damaged that to you it is almost incomprehensible that relationship could exist outside of heirchy like you do. So you think God must relate inside a heirchy like you do. But we do not. (page 124)

Monday, September 08, 2008

Baptism Celebration 2008, Part 2

Here are some pictures from the weekend's excitement. Enjoy!

Days 7 and 8

Day 7 - Yea it didn't happen. I tried to read before I went to bed but I couldn't even finish two paragraphs.

Day 8 - Chapter 7 of The Shack
The main character, Mack, spends some time watching the stars, which makes me jealous. I miss watching a sky full of stars. You just can't see them as well in the city.

The author paints an awesome picture of Jesus that I love. I'm not really sure why but the old hymn Oh Love that Will Not Let Me Go kept running through my mind as I read this chapter. Have a mentioned you should read this book?

Not Ready

Lord, I know you have great things in store for this week. I don't feel prepared, focused, or ready to jump in. I trust you to show up and do your thing. Erase me from the picture. Get my plans out of the way of your plans. Use me however you see fit.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Incredible Day

I can't begin to explain to you how incredible today was. I wish it wasn't so late so I could tell you all about it. Here are some highlights from the weekend.
  • Baptism Celebration 08 - Hundreds made the decision to accept Christ this weekend. Six Chicag08 students were baptized. Two of my 6th grade band students were baptized. My little friends Maddie, Anna and Sophie were also baptized each by their daddies. Very cool!
  • Special Friends - Dominic and I had a blast again this weekend. There was lots of singing this week. I had the opportunity to introduce his parents to my friend Jeff who has grown up with Autism and done amazing things in his life. He shared he story with them and gave them the chance to ask any questions they had. It was an awesome interaction to watch. Very powerful conversation.
  • GSM ROCKS!!!! John and Ted taught about the time we spend learning in and out of school. These guys did great. I would have talked forever! The band is doing well for week two. There were some "interesting" moments tonight. One of which was all me. I'll take full responsibility for not knowing the chart well enough to play it in the dark. It was ugly.
  • Friends! Great time hanging out with friends this weekend. Whether it was planned ahead of time or random interactions at church I did a lot of laughing. I love laughing!!!
Good times. Great fun. God is doing HUGE things and I'm thankful to be a part of it.

Day 6 or 30 - I cheated

I admit it. I cheated. Last night before I went to bed I read only half of chapter 6 in The Shack. This morning I woke up early to finish reading it. There is some great stuff in this chapter. I love the simple explanations of hard concepts such as the trinity and Christ being fully man and fully God. I don't have time to share any quotes so just go read the book.

Off to hang out with my special friend Dominic. Will we have another dance party this week or play another round of slap-go? We'll see...

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Day of Celebration

I can't tell you how excited I was to sleep in today. Then I woke up at 6:30 wide awake. That was annoying. I spent most of the day getting things done around the apartment. I enjoy being productive but the rest of the evening was all about friends.

My friend, Jenni Button, came into town to hang out. We grabbed dinner at the amazing Hacienda and worshiped Jesus at GCC. It was great to catch up with her and hear about what God is doing in her church and ministry.

This weekend was our baptism celebration. It was a great evening. We had several students commit their lives to Christ and get baptized. Six students from our Chicag08 team were baptized after service. It was so much fun. I am so proud of each of them. I watched them love the people they met in Chicago and serve with enthusiasm. I can only imagine the impact these students will have as they continue to grow in their relationship with Christ.

After the baptisms a group of us headed to Villa Macri's to celebrate. It was so much fun to just hang out with good friends and even meet some new people. Lots of laughs and hilarious moments. Of course when you have people like Huffy, Jeffrey, Spencer and Jordan around you are guaranteed a good laugh.

Now off to read my chapter for the day.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Day 5 of 30

Tonight I finished chapter 5 of The Shack. William Young gives this great description of spring time. You can sense the feeling of life and renewal the comes with that season. I enjoyed that part. I got some good laughs towards the end of the chapter but I don't want to give away too much to people who may want to read it for themselves. You should!

I got an e-mail from Barnes and Noble yesterday telling me my copy of To Be Told: God Invites You to Coauthor Your Future, by Dan B. Allender, had arrives. I had to take a break after reading the introduction so I could process the whole idea...studying your story. I'm just imagining the impact it would have in relationships if I truly understood my story, the themes God is developing in my life and then be able to clearly articulate them. The latter is a big challenge for me. Already I can tell this is going to be a good book. I pretty sure it is going to kick my tail!


Introduction: What's Your Story?
-- Everyone's life is a story. But most people don't know how to read their life, and they have little sense of how God has written their story to reveal himself and his own story. (page 1)

-- Who am I? What about God am I most uniquely suited to reveal to others? And how is that meaning in my life best lived out? (page 4)

Chapter 1: Your Name and Your Story
--God shaped, molded and formed us to reveal something about himself. He is a Being who loves to reveal and who invites us to join the process of revelation by calling us to ask, seek, and knock...We are not inanimate entities that merely reveal glory but living stories that are meant to create glory. (page 11)

--This is a search not for fulfillment but for narrative. It is not enough to find a self. Instead it is imperative to search for one's story. It is not I who must be found. Instead it is God who is to be found. (page 13)

--Tension is living in the gap between certainty and uncertainty. We always begin with what we know and are irresistibly drawn to what we don't know. (page 17)

This week at school...

I have yet to find the right words to adequately describe this week at school. It wasn't a horrible week. It wasn't a great week. It was an crazy week. It was an exhausting week. Fist fights before school. Students can't remember locker combination after being in school for four weeks. Fire alarms randomly going off. More conferences than I had a both parent-teacher conferences last year. Website planning. Students getting jumped after school. Crazy and exhausting is about as close as I can come.

WEEK 4 REFLECTIONS:

1. Sometimes you have to throw out the book. I had a rather awkward interruption in my classroom this week that threw all of my students out of focus. We were making huge progress that in a matter of 15 minutes was set back two weeks. In hopes to jump start the recovery process I did some last minute changes and just gave my students the opportunity to "hang out" with their teacher. Did it work? I don't know.

2. Break it down as far as you can. I have been struggling to get my 5th and 6th graders to learn the procedures in our class. The only come every other day and forget everything I tell them by the time they have class again. This week I broke it down to the smallest step by step process I could. Did it take forever yes? Did they get it right yes? Did I praise them for it? ABSOLUTELY!!!! Will they remember next week? Please, Jesus help them remember.

3. Don't be afraid to show students their potential. I have a handful of extremely talented musicians. I pulled a couple of them aside this week and told them they didn't do their best work. They complained and said they were still ahead of everybody else. Although it is true it gave me the chance to help them stretch their dreams. Today the ring leader of the pack made a comment in class about needing to step up and then took his instrument home for the weekend to practice. It is the first time it has gone home all year!

4. Some people are just crabby some days...don't let it bother you. I approached a colleague today about some situations we are having in the band and orchestra classes. I did it to try and protect her and her time. I explained we would take care of the issues from our end so she didn't have to. Her response included a long lecture about how I don't understand the world today and how financially hard it is these days. Really?! Hmm...

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Day 4 or 30

I wasn't able to finish all of today's chapter but I'll have a clean staff shirt to wear to school tomorrow and my bathroom is clean. Okay so I got a little distracted. I will share a couple quotes with you though. They are little longer but good!

For those of you who aren't familiar with The Shack, it is a story about a man named Mack. He has experienced great pain in his life. One day he receives a mysterious note in the mail that could possibly be from God.
Try as he might, Mack could not escape the desperate possibility that the note just might be from God after all, even if the thought of God passing notes did not fit well with his theological training. In seminary he had been taught that God had completely stopped any overt communication with moderns, preferring to have them only listen to and follow sacred Scripture, properly interpreted, of course. God's voice had been reduced to paper, and even that paper had to be moderated and deciphered by the proper authorities and intellects. It seemed that direct communication with God was something exclusively for the ancients and uncivilized, while educated Westerners' access God to was mediated and controlled by the intelligentsia. Nobody wanted God in a box, just a book. Especially an expensive one bound in a leather with gilt edges, or was that guilt edges? (page 65-66)

There are times when you chose to believe something that would normally be considered absolutely irrational. It doesn't mean that it is actually irrational, but it surely is not rational. Perhaps there is suprarationality; reason beyond the normal definitions of fact or data-based logic, something that only makes sense if you can see a bigger picture of reality. Maybe that is where faith fits in." (page 67)

Rainy Day Plans

I woke up this morning feeling like I hadn't even gone to sleep. I drove to school sipping my coffee and praying for patience and endurance. It has been a frustrating week and I felt God nudging me to throw out the books today. That goes against everything in me as a teacher. At first I reasoned my way out of the idea but by the time I got to work I had most of the new lesson plans finished in my head.

I decided to name my new plans after the weather. I gave my classes this choice - regular rehearsal plans OR rainy day plans. All I told them is that the rainy day plans didn't include a quiz. Of course they all chose the rainy day option. I gave each student the chance to write down any appropriate and respectful question they wanted me to answer. I answered some of them today and will save the others for another rainy day. Then I gave them three random questions to answer.

We had some great conversations and I learned a lot about my students and their dreams. They learned some new things about me that I probably never would have told them. We laughed together and had a good day. Sometimes you just have to throw the book out.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

One Word

Work: Rough
E-mails: Mean
God time: Humbled
First Wednesday: WOW!!
Curry Time: Hilarious
Voicemails: Relieved
Twitter: Undecided
Day 3 of 30: Completed
Internet: Down
Blogging from phone: Annoying

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Day 2 of 30

I've been reading The Shack by William P. Young. I'm not a huge fiction reader. I may read one fiction book every two years. I make like details in real life but the amount of time a good author takes to describe scenery, environment or mood is too much for me. Just give me the facts.

However, this book came highly recommended by several people. A few of them said it has challenged them more than most other books have. So I figured I would give it a chance. I read chapter three and part of four today. I don't have any profound thoughts so I thought I would share some quotes from the forward that I love.

I suppose that since most of our hurts come through relationships so will our healing, and I know that grace rarely makes sense for those looking in from the outside. (page 11)

Of course, God might be there even if you don't believe in Him. That would be just like Him. He hasn't been called the Grand Interferer for nothing. (page 12)

I'm actually going to go finish chapter four right now. That right there should tell you something about the book.

Fear of Failure

I posted last night about my greatest fear being the fear of failure. I just finished watching Rob's message from this week. He did an incredible job. Here are a few things I walked away with.
  • Rob used my favorite Chronicles of Narnia quote, which was a good reminder. Aslan tells Lucy, "The older you get, the bigger I become." I love that!
  • The tension between God's vision and plan for our lives and where we are now is called failure. That tension cries out for release.
  • When we sit in the boat we don't build authentic relationships. We compare ourselves to others who are worse than us and avoid self-examination. We get distracted by things on the boat so we don't have to be reminded we are still on the boat.
  • We have to redefine failure. Failure isn't falling down it is not getting up. The greatest failure is not even trying. I need to work on my definition.
  • The fear behind every fear: I can't handle it. There is nothing my Abba can't handle.

Just like I anticipated Rob referred to the book If You Want to Walk on the Water, You've Got to Get Out of the Boat by John Ortberg. I've read the book a couple times and have been challenged every time. I plan on looking over my notes from the book over the next week. May be I'll share some thoughts on them later.

Workout Party

I just got back a little bit ago from my first workout party with Brooke Curry. She is the greatest! I've been talking to her for a long time about the benefits of working out and my hatred for the traditional "work out at the gym" plans. After hurting my ankle this spring, I realized just how much I needed to work out. That injury slowed me down immensely and the recovery has been slow.

Finally, I decided I needed to just get a plan and do it. She came up with a perfect solution. She became my personal trainer. Once a week I meet her at the gym and we work out for about an hour. The workout she developed for me is perfect. It focuses on strengthening my weak ankle, improving my balance, building my arm strength for conducting and staying flexible. The hour flew by.

I was so nervous about being able to keep up with her. She is phenominal coach. If you live in this area and are struggling to get moving, you should stop by Anytime Fitness and talk to her. It is worth it. Seriously, if I can do this...anyone can!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Biggest Fear

My biggest fear in life is failing. Today is September 1st. The first day of the 30 day challenge and I already forgot! This is not good.

I looked at my series postcard for our current series at church and noticed this weekend wa on fear. I also noticed in the Grange Notes online they recommended the book "If You Want to Walk on Water, You got to get Out of the Boat." That book and I have gone to war.

I'm going to watch the service online tomorrow night. May be I'll pull that book out too.

Great Road Trip

It was a short road trip but a fantastic one. There is so much I can write about so I'll do a quick bullet list to prevent this from becoming a novel.
  • Sitting in the drivers seat makes the ride a lot easier, especially when you have your iPod playing Rich Mullins
  • We spent a lot of time near the Mississippi River. There are still several places that have sandbags piled up. I knew Anna was close to the river but she was a lot closer than I thought. The road that goes by her apartment was flooded in places just a few short months ago.
  • Despite a major flood, downtown Hannibal looked great. There were no signs of having had a flood in the park by the river. I would like to go back to Hannibal when there was more time to see different things and climb Cardiff Hill.
  • Worshiping at The Crossing, where Anna and Ryan attend, was a lot of fun. It was exciting to listen to their pastor challenge their congregation with a vision that is so similar to what SMT has been challenging us with at Granger. The story of their congregation is awesome. It is evident God is doing some amazing things there.
  • My family is hilarious...crazy, but hilarious. So many funny moments this weekend. However, some of them still need to develop a love for Tyler Perry. Anna, Lois and I seem to be the only ones that understand his films.
  • Aggie and Logan thank God for me and tell him they love me every time I pray. Taylor is growing up too quickly. Gwen thinks I'm crazy. She is too smart for her own good.
  • Lois is having a baby...this can't be happening. She is so young, at least in my mind. She is a very cute pregnant women. Anna has gotten better at Apples to Apples, since she bought the game. Great, another game she can demolish me in!
  • Saying goodbye was harder than it has ever been before. There were tears.