Wednesday, November 30, 2011

stream of consciousness

 So I should be going to bed right now and winding down from a ca-razy day, but instead I want to write and tell you all about the wonderful things that happened today.

To say that it was a crazy day would be putting things mildly. My class is doing another Samaritan's Purse project, and today we put on an Italian restaurant (Cinque Stella, which means Five Star in Italian) at lunchtime. It was pretty organized chaos, but it was so worth it. I love watching my kids get excited about reaching beyond themselves. To see them put on their little service roles and play a part in something bigger than themselves was just beautiful. And they did so well! They served everyone with smiles and they were serious about their jobs. And you know what, we raised $232 in one day! The Lord truly is Jehovah-Jireh.

This year, our goal was to raise $444. We decided to dream big (last year our goal was $250), and God is doing big things in return. Not only are the kids getting excited, but so am I! When we counted up the money today, I might have done a little dance and screamed.

Welcome to Cinque Stella Ristorante!
Not only is the Lord doing wonderful things through our fundraiser, but He is doing wonderful things through our Christmas musical coming up. Each child is being stretched in ways they did not know were possible. One hard thing to find out today was that one student will not be able to be here for the musical. His family is Colombian, and they have an appointment that was given to them by the U.S. Embassy to come to Juarez and receive their U.S. visas. When he came in this morning and told me that, I thought he was joking. I was speechless. This particular child has been struggling academically and is just now getting on his feet. Not only has he improved in every single class, but he has been working so hard on his part and has all of his lines memorized and is doing it well. And he won't be able to show everyone just how amazing it is. But what my co-worker Peggy pointed out, and I have to keep reminding myself, is that God knew this. He knew before time began that this little boy would work so hard and come so far and then have to give the part to a classmate. He knew and He has a plan and a purpose in it beyond what we can see.

One last thing. I promise. Another student has been struggling with saying her lines with expression and has been somewhat monotone, and as Peggy and I tried to work with her, the lines seemed to just come out exactly the same. But this afternoon in staff meeting, her mom shared that as she prayed with her last night, her sweet daughter thanked God for helping her with her lines and for helping her to do well. When her mom talked to her about how great it was that she had made progress, she said, "It wasn't me. I thought I was saying them the same way. It was God. He did it."

He is so awesome.

Monday, November 28, 2011

twice as good

I absolutely cannot get this song out of my head. I love it. The lyrics are just perfect. 

The chorus has been my anthem for the past few days; I just can't stop thinking about His goodness.

Every burden I have carried
Every joy--it's understood
Life with you is half as hard
And twice as good

Sunday, November 20, 2011


This afternoon, I may have been dreaming about entering this program next fall...

Oh and did I mention that as of today, we are SEC EAST CHAMPS?!

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Today, I believe:

  1. Getting 2 (maybe it was three?) hours of sleep is worth it if it means having heart to hearts with 11 and 12 year old girls. 
  2. Naps are severely underrated.
  3. Simple games are still fun. 
  4. Micro-fleece sheets are a necessity.
  5. There is no such thing as too much chocolate consumption.
  6. The best movies are those that can make you laugh and cry.
  7. Long weekends are completely necessary for recuperation from a sleepover. 
  8. When given the chance to do the bungy at the mall, you should go for it. 
  9. Hot cocoa made from scratch (with milk, of course) supercedes that of Swiss Miss.
  10. God is good.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

on contentment

"I have always, essentially, been waiting. Waiting to become something else, waiting to be that person I always thought I was on the verge of becoming, waiting for that life I thought I would have. In my head, I was always one step away. In high school, I was biding my time until I could become the college version of myself, the one my mind could see so clearly. In college, the post-college "adult" person was always looming in front of me, smarter, stronger, more organized...

I don't want to wait anymore. I choose to believe that there is nothing more sacred or profound than this day. I choose to believe that there may be a thousand big moments embedded in this day, waiting to be discovered like tiny shards of gold. The big moments are the daily, thing moments of courage and forgiveness and hope that we grab on to and extend to one another."

- Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines

It is funny how often thoughts of this first chapter of this familiar memoir come to mind. Because I, too, have always been waiting. Waiting for more freedom. More money. More courage. More choices. More, more, more. And I question, "Is this it? Is this the moment I've been waiting for?" My finite mind is constantly busy planning the moments that I think my life will be defined by, the moments with the most meaning.

And yet I've found that the moments I never dreamed up are the ones that give life the most meaning. The moments I had no idea would come and take me by surprise the way they did. I wear many different hats as a teacher, missionary, friend, daughter, mentor, and sister. There are myriad moments that, in my mind, could go wrong. There are also myriad moments that could be filled with pure bliss. And there are myriad moments I have dreamed up for my life that I want to see to fruition- the ring, the white dress, the babies, the grandkids.

But there is something I love about the way God works. He gives us exactly what we need exactly when we need it. So this moment, the one I am in right now, is something He dreamed up before the dawn of time. This life I am privileged to lead was all His idea, and He's still letting me be a part of His grand plan for the universe. Yet I dare to say "I want more. I'm not happy. Make me happy by giving me a, b, and c." Someone needs a slice of humble pie. (Hint: me.)

Our next Bible study with the high school girls will be about contentment, and guess whose turn it is to teach? Yours truly. I just love when the Lord gives me an opportunity to teach about what that with which I am currently struggling. To say He has a sense of humor would be an understatement.
And yet I identify so well with Shauna's statement- I don't want to wait anymore. This life I am leading right now is what I was waiting for two years ago. These kids I have the privilege of teaching are the desires of my heart fulfilled, tangibly walking through life with me each day. This church that I am a part of is what my soul longed for before my mind realized its need.

A verse that caught my attention and still gets me says "Until the time came to fulfill his dreams, the Lord tested Joseph's character." [Psalm 105:19, NLT]

My other favorite translation words it like this: "until what he had said came to pass, the word of the LORD tested him." [ESV]

A commentary I read made this analysis: The word rendered “tried” is that which is commonly applied to metals in testing their genuineness and purity.

So until the time comes for the Lord to fulfill that which I believe He has spoken into my heart and life, He will test my genuineness and purity. I pray that what He finds is worthwhile.

Today, I choose to believe that God is good. I say it all the time, but I do not always act like I believe the truth in those words. God. is. good. And I will choose to praise Him and thank Him for the gifts He gives me without grasping for those gifts He has chosen to withhold for this season. Because no matter what, He is good. And I will keep reminding myself of that one truth, over and over again.

Completely random fun fact: My best friend/sister from another mister and I are learning the same thing right now. This is only the 9,854th time this has happened to us. Our hearts are always united. Check it out. :)

Photo cred

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

glory, glory

I may have just laughed out loud, squealed in joy, and gotten chill bumps while watching this video. Man, I love my DAWGS!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

the best live band

So I absolutely love NeedtoBreathe; they are on my favorite bands. I tell everyone that I like them best live. Because boy do those boys know how to put on a show. I've seen them twice in concert, once in Athens and once in Atlanta. And both times were pure bliss. My friend Katie knows how much I love them, and I was with her at those two concerts. And as I type this post, she is at her third NeedtoBreathe concert. And I am here. So being the best friend that she is, she is calling me and leaving me voicemails from the show. I love her.

I think this song will always be my favorite by them. But this one is a close second. 

And this one is a close third...

Aaaahhh I can't stop...they're all so good!

Monday, November 14, 2011

autumn rain

This morning, I woke up to the sound of rain. It was, in a word, glorious. I love rain. And I love the Biblical symbolism of rain- that it washes everything away and makes things new again. He makes all things new. His word is alive, and it is making me new. Over and over again. 

Isaiah 55:9-11

English Standard Version (ESV)
9(A) For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
   so are my ways higher than your ways
   and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10(B) "For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
   and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
   (C) giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
   it shall not return to me empty,
but(D) it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
   and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

Friday, November 11, 2011

He gives good gifts

I fully intended to write two posts each week. I really did. But living life got in the way of documenting it. And I for one am okay with that once in a while.

Colorado was all kinds of wonderful. For those of you who have never ventured out west, I fully recommend it. Some of my Coloradan friends here have the habit of calling our Chihuahua mountains "hills," and after seeing the mountains of Colorado Springs, I fully understand why. Although I still enjoy our mountains, too.

There is something utterly astounding at the way the Lord unites the hearts of His children. My friend Catie and I were not super duper besties in college, but we have a plethora of shared experiences in our history, namely that we are both followers of Christ, teachers, lovers of all things Southern, big sisters of little Bulldawgs, and graduates of the Early Childhood Education at the University of Georgia. So it was a huge blessing to do life with her a few days.

Catie has a UGA themed classroom. I was enamored.

Jessie Catie and her sweet kindergarten class.

Catie served as a great tour guide as she showed me her favorite parts of Colorado Springs. There were so many sights to see. What struck me about Colorado was the abundance of natural beauty. The mountains are literally always in view because they are just that extravagant.
A beautiful glimpse of autumn's colors.

Rock formation at Garden of the Gods, or as a student calls it "God's Garden." :)

While I loved discovering the entertaining and enthralling aspects of Colorado, the Lord also romanced me with the little things. One of Catie's kindergartners reaching for my hand, as if I were an old, trusted friend. Eating junk food with Amanda while watching Drumline and Friends. Pure, white snow crunching underneath my boots.

Breathtaking, isn't it? View from the Pikes Peak Cog Railway.

“The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of a world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found?”
~J.B. Priestley

Pikes Peak in all its glory at 14,115 feet.

So many times throughout the week, I thought to myself, You give good gifts. Thank You for Your gifts. And while entering work again this week was quite a rude awakening, I'll keep on saying it. You give good gifts.

For He satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.
-Psalm 107:9

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

true beauty

“The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman is seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides. True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It’s the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows & the beauty of a woman only grows with passing years.”
  ― Audrey Hepburn

Friday, November 4, 2011


My time in Colorado has been, in a word, wonderful. Here's a little sneak peak of the goodness I've experienced this week.

Cheyenne Canon

Catie and I on a hike Sunday afternoon

Jessie, Buzz Lightyear, and Woody for Halloween at Catie's school

Garden of the Gods

"Balancing Rock"- we've been working out. ;)

Downtown Colorado

On an excruciating delightful hike with Amanda

Me with Pikes Peak in the background

"Walkin' in a winter wonderland..."

Garden of the Gods Gourmet on the Old Colorado City Food Tour


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