Monday, May 18, 2015

Day 40: Blessed Through The End- The Final Post

Honestly,  I struggle to write this. This project has been fun... well. I mean... let's clarify... fun, painful, torturous, nagging, insightful, eye- opening, revealing, terrifying, lonely.... a little bit of everything...

Let me start with a recap, then I'll go into a thoughtful anecdote to end our time together. Well... let's be real here. I know only about 3 people even read this thing, so my time reflecting on myself, along with a few who are along for the ride...

On Easter I started a 40 day journey and my goals were thus(a short version...for the long version, go here) :
-Less Facebook- well... that one worked:) I deactivated my Facebook about 1/2 way through because I was frustrated that I was wasting so much time on it and not fufilling my commitment to only being on it once a week and wasting so much of my precious free time on there instead of ya know... sleeping, eating.... things like that. 

-Less Sugar- I did pretty darn good, if I say so. I limited to one day per week in which I was allowed sugar, and even then I attempted not to over-indulge. I had my moments, lets be real, but I acknowledge that and know where my weaknesses are now. Also ,my week of being sick totally threw this off, so I plan to keep going with this one for at least another week- this may stick around for... ya know... for a very long time:) I may allow a treat here and there on a rare occasion, but once a week seems to fit best- I dig my weekly trip to get a scoop of ice cream from our local ice cream parlor. It's perfect. 

-Less complaining- Not sure I was successful with this. For about the first half I did well, but around the half way point, life pulled me under, but I think this is an area I'd love to see some future growth, as would those that are around me on a regular basis:)

-More MUSIC!!!! I wasn't able to have my musical moments as often as I would have liked, but I did find myself sitting in awe of the lyrics of songs much more frequently, sitting in amazement of the perfect timing of a song on the radio, playing tunes on my guitar in the basement, or taking time to hammer out a tune when I was feeling low.

-More Writing!! I was not able to journal daily, as the blogging pretty much took up any desire I had to do that, but I hope that now that I am moving out of blogging daily, I can do that instead. I hope to update this lovely blog once a week to keep people posted, write anything that's been rattling around this head of mine that has any meaning, any news that should be shared,  stories that need telling, etc. I also still plan to begin writing my own biography of sorts- no clue how, when, or where, but I hope to make that a summer project. 

-More Sharing- I like to think that some of what I've posted on my blog was sharing more than I would normally share, but I don't think I've shared as much as I would have liked to about what God has done in my life, what he's doing, what's going on with me, etc. I think that's something that I'll be working on soon, and perhaps a part of the next section of this post;) I do hope to continue sharing my music, but I feel incredibly vain doing so.... we'll see how that goes in the future.

-More JESUS- Again, while this didn't go how I had planned, I think it turned out better than anticipated. I wanted to get up early and spend time digging deep. Unfortunately, this semester ate me up and spit me out, so really, most days I roll out of bed, throw together a bag and run out of the door- lucky if I have my head on straight. Also, my morning schedule collides with my roommate's, which would make a quiet time a bit trickier than I had anticipated. Not a good excuse, but what happened. So, instead of feeling tortured, I made a new plan. I have a nice little commute to work, so I decided to make the best of it where I could. I listened to the Daily Audio Bible when I could, and most recently, a friend pointed out a few podcast series that focus on areas that I am struggling with the most right now, so I've been spending most of my drive time, or 'down time'(aka chores or cooking time) doing that. It has given me somewhere to focus my mind rather than on my mess of a mind and the thoughts that are swirling around it at any given moment.

So... all in all- the challenge was.... a challenge. It was not a complete success, but I learned and I grew. I had no idea how much I would struggle and what curve balls I would be thrown in the 40 days, but through it all, I am praising Him in the storm, thankful he's there to brush off my bleeding, dirty knees, there to clean my wounds and carry me through it. 

Now, Technically yesterday was day 40. I miscalculated somewhere and missed a day. It would have been the perfect day. It would have had I not been such a mess. It would have in a perfect world. It would have been a beautiful little ribbon to tie off a perfect little challenge for a figurative little life I have planned out. But, being that my life is definitely not perfect, it wound up a hot mess...

See, yesterday was the one year anniversary of my baptism. How fitting that the 40th day after Easter this year would be my one year anniversary of my baptism. Remembering the day that I said... You know what... I had absolutely no idea what I was doing at the age of five, nor does any child that young. I didn't know what it meant to be baptized and I feel this ache in my soul that God wants me to throw everything aside and say, "I will follow you.... To the ends of this earth I will follow you." I've already shown it in some ways, but I needed to show myself and declare to my community.

In a perfect world I would have had tons of family and friends around me on that day, a huge party after, celebrating the beautiful day it was. It would have been an incredible celebration- full of laughter, stories, and encouragement. Instead, the day was filled with feelings of loneliness and remembering that this world is not my home- this is not an act for anyone but for me and God. I had about six friends come and support me that day. Four came out with me to dinner afterwards. It was a great celebration. Everything I had hoped and more- It was all worth it. The one year anniversary holds some bittersweet memories, however, as two of those people are no longer in my life. Nobody could have foreseen the pain that would come in the year ahead that would tear us apart. I had no idea how much this bothered me until last night, when it all came crashing down on me. 

At the same time, I remembered that in 3 days- May 20th- It will be the 2 year anniversary of my departure from the Africa Mercy. My heart aches so so so much with this. I know the AFM is not the same place I left, but I think of what it was when I left- the people who were there when I left- all that I left on that day, and I cannot help but completely break down. The people I left on that day are all my family- a family that will never all be in one place again until we meet again in heaven. That is a hard pill to swallow, but true. I miss them. I miss feeling a purpose with every day. I miss being able to go a deck down and look into the face of a patient, or a mama, and know exactly the reason why I came to serve these people, in this place, at this time. I miss my family, I miss my community, I miss my Africa.

I have experienced seasons of intense loneliness, but somehow this one is different. It is overwhelming me to the core of my being. It's not just sad, but suffocating. I have never felt this intensity of loneliness in my life. I know there is a reason for it, but I certainly do not like it.

As you can see, yesterday was far from that perfect bow I so wish I could have put on top of the '40 day challenge' cake, but, really, it is perfect. It is the perfect 'Michelle' bow- It sums up my life and who God created me to be. I am broken, but in Him I am made whole. Without Him I am NOTHING, but in Him, I am a new creation. I am poor in spirit, but with Him I am BLESSED... No matter what I face in each day, no matter what comes my way, the thing this challenge taught me... I am BLESSED. Always. 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Day 39: Farmers Market

I'll say more tomorrow but for now...

Day 38:Dangerously Busy

Today was one of those days that was dangerously busy with no room for breathing, but also one of those days that I wouldn't have changed a thing about. I rolled out of bed late due to my very late bedtime last night, got myself together and went to church. There, I got to serve in a different way than I've ever served, by watching the kiddos of the team who was prepping for tonight's service. 

Some would come and play on their phones and be passive during this time. I would rather have fun. So, I brought my trusted bag of library books in. The kids LOVED the books I had and had me read them over the movie that was playing in the background. *BOOM* teacher win!!!!! 

Later, the kids stormed the gates, aka the door and made a run for it. That ain't happening on my watch. I made it clear this was not acceptable, then learned t was with the goal of acquiring a stash of candy, which said children had in their pockets. 

We had a chat and I was able to tie in our virtue of the month from our older kids rooms- honesty- into it, which my older two knew exactly what I was talking about. It was a moment that would have easily been missed if someone hadn't been looking for it. I also took a moment to let them know that this is not just a job for me- I love what I do- and I love them. While I do not see these kids often it is especially true of them, as their parents pour so much into our church. It is an honor and a privilege to love their babies. 

After our heart to heart a sweet baby came who quickly got restless. In hopes to keep her happy, we took a walk, which turned into me entertaining her and then putting her down for a nap. For a moment I thought I may be in for a year-filled afternoon, but those tears were simply boredom. I am so thankful for that. I am also thankful I got time to bond with this sweet baby and get to know her  bit better:) 

After that, I scurried to pick up one of my kiddos from work that I babysat tonight, then we came back to mosaic, where I dropped her off and went to Upstreet. Thankfully she was very happy and excited- no tears until we left mosaic- she was sad to leave. 

After 'the witching hour' of figuring out how to help a sad 2 year old, I finally got her to rest and fall asleep. Then the challenge was how to stay awake myself for 3 hours before her parents came home. What a beautiful problem to have.

It was a busy day, and I fear I am getting sick again, but it was a great one. 

Despite it all, I keep finding myself feeling down and unsure of the future- grasping for certainty that is not there- solid ground that is not close .... A few weeks to go until routine but... This will have to be the new normal for now. Before I had too much homework, now I'm drowning in over 50 hours of work that I need to pay rent, groceries, gas, hours lost during Kenya, and coming tuition....  New normal... I thought it would be so much better than this.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Day 37: blessed to be a blessing

Days like today I just feel blessed to have the ability to bless others- bless my kids by being the best teacher I can, which often means getting coffee on my breaks:), blessed to have just enough to be able to bless others by providing for them when they have a need, blessed to have skills that allow that to happen, blessed to have an able body that allows me to go non-stop standing pretty much exclusively for 17 hours with a few one ta of respite here and there. Blessed that I get to bless. I am thankful for that today. 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Day 36:Groups

Growth groups are back in session...well mine is...I think we are back a week early but I wouldn't have it any other way. We met for the first time- 18 women seeking Gods direction and aching for more from life... Can't wait to see what comes of it. 

Day 36: Food

Tonight, I rolled up to my house and suddenly remembered my roommate was hosting students. I was sweaty, tired, and most of all hungry. 

I shuffled in and said hello quickly so   get a shower and make some dinner. Upon my return back downstairs, I was offered I was starving and had just worked out after a long day at work..not to  mention the students are international students and my favorite foods are from all over the world - I was in great hands. 

It was a huge blessing And my favorite thing that happened today:)

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Day 35: The City

Today I had the chance to drive through the city for the first time since the riots. It was a blessing for me to be back down there again. What's striking is that it looks like nothing had ever happened... But it has... But I felt safe and I felt blessed to drive through my great city again. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Day 34: A Good Tired

I am so tired. But... the GOOD kind of tired. The kind of tired after a day filled with having fun with the kids you adore working with, the kind after an evening kicking your butt into high-gear with friends after having your butt kicked by bronchitis and doing it... modifications were made, but I did it. Ohhh boy will I be sore tomorrow- already feeling it. Trouble. The kind where I will get to lay down and watch a movie for a bit... possibly totally passing out from being so tired, but in a fantastic way. All in all, this entire day, despite things that totally could have stressed me out and could have taken me town, the whole day was a blessing. For that, after a week of a rocky road, I am ever thankful.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Day 33: Hair

How cool is it that we have a part of our body that is always growing, that we can cut and give to someone else? I love it and while it hurts my soul sometimes, I think it's one of the coolest things I get to do every other year or so. 

My hair stylist took step by step photos for me because I told her I wanted my nephew to come and see the process, but he refused. I told him before I left that I would give my hair to be joined with at least 5 others hair to be made into a wig for someone with no hair so they could feel a little bit normal again. He asked 'will they take what makes them sick out of the hair?' I think he was confused, but I explained that it's like a hat for them and it is safe. He said 'they don't take a shower in it though right?' 'Nope...' 'Cool!!!'

I am so glad I did it and I feel much lighter. Can't wait to send it:)

Day 32: only hope

Today's is different... Video post...;)

For a look at how it was filmed...

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Day 31: One Day More

My biggest blessing isn't something that's today, but tomorow... I have one more assignment standing between me and summer. Well, really between me and needing to clean my room, organize things, do a whole bunch of other things I've had no time to do, but... school will be done until August... and for THAT... I will be grateful.

Do NOT get me wrong. Learning.... well... okay, guys... I am a teacher. I LOVE learning. For real. I LOOOOOOVEEEE learning. But. I am ready for a little breather to decide what I get to learn for a bit, to teach my kids some fun things, to rest a bit, and get ready for the craziest Fall I've ever had in my entire life, and possibly ever will... so... For now... I'm so excited I have 1 more assignment that will take me about 1 hour. And it will because I am so excited.

ONE DAYY MOOOREE... brownie points if you know what the reference is;) 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Day 30: Broken to Whole

This photo was taken this morning. I saw it and thought... Wow...that sums up this week perfectly. When I cleaned it up this song came to mind...

'Broken heart, one more time,
Pick yourself up, why even cry,
Broken pieces, in your hands,
Wonder how you'll make it whole,
You know, you pray, 
This can't be the way,
You cry, you say,
Something's got to change,
And mend this porcelain heart,
Of mine.'

This morning I woke up with energy for the first time in over a week. I got ready for the day and baked for my class...then this happened. It grabbed my attention. It could've messed me up, but instead it let me reflect. This week felt a lot like that jar. Like someone took me and accidentally knocked me over the edge that I didn't know I was going over. The edge I have so carefully balanced on surface of to prevent the slightest disturbance and compensating when it came. This time there was a huge push that came out of nowhere and there was no saving me.

Thankfully, 3 days later, here I am, picking up the pieces, choosing to move on and keep going. I have cried many tears, I have begged and pleaded, but God grabbed my hands, wiped my skinned knees, kissed them, and pulled me out of them mud. A few new scars, mud on my clothes, new stories and experiences, but one day I will look back and say 'ohh that's why that needed to happen.' At least that is what I am praying will happen. 

Today I had the opportunity to present to my classmates about the tough out important subject of bereavement and how we can support our students through  grief-filled situations. I had no idea how charged this presentation would be or how impactful and I feel honored to be the one who had the opportunity to share it with the class. 

Afterwards I came home and made some dinner. Never do you find joy in cooking as much as after your body rejects food for 4 days.... Here's a shot of my dinner coming... Yummy!!! 

Excited for summery dinners!!!:)

2 more assignments then my evenings and down time will be filled with odds and ends and projects I've been wanting to do... Some will benefit YOU:) *wink* ohh you know some music projects and I want to get writing an autobiography that may or may not ever see the light of day.... Time will tell:) have a happy Friday!!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Day 29: My Guardians

It has been a rough week... some might argue the worst. I say there's still a little ways it could go wrong, so it's not quite the worst, but it's definitely not the best. However, I have been blown away by the people around me. So many people have said 'do you need anything?' I always thought people were kidding, but man are they serious. I've gotten so many offers for food, groceries, meals, a classmate took me to the dr, got me a milkshake, took me to get my prescriptions filled, a friend has been sending me thoughtful scriptures, another is bringing me a gingerale this evening because my stomach is killing me... these little tokens are absolutely a gift to me and 100% my blessing of the day. I am a girl who loves gifts and they are the way to my heart, so thank you from the bottom of my heart to those who have offered these little gifts of encouragements, acts of service, or tokens of acknowledgement. Thank you for saying, "I see you, I"m thinking of you and I love you." It means more to me in this moment than you can imagine. In the moment when darkness wants to flood me, those moments of light flood that darkness faster than the darkness can try to come back. It's awesome. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Days 26, 27, and 28- Mayhem, Tears and Agony

The title says it all. A bit melodramatic, maybe, but it captures it perfectly. Friday began an uphill battle I had no idea I was about to begin. It started in a doctor's office, who told me to rest. This may've been the right call, but I tried so hard to function and keep going, doing my normal Saturday tasks, which certainly blessed me with the gift of laughter as I led my 2-3rd graders in some awesome discussion about honesty, I went out with a friend after to bless her with the gift of giving to the Baltimore food drive, which then blessed me the next day when I got to bring the things back. I ended up in bed that whole next day as well as Monday.... the decision to call what I had viral and 'go rest', spun me out.. I had the worst migraine of my life Saturday and Sunday nights, almost driving myself to the ER Sunday.

Thankfully, an amazing classmate came and got me Monday and drove me to the doctor, because I was so unwell. They gave me meds, and later admitted they should've sent me to the hospital. Thankfully, however, I was able to break the migraine with the meds they gave me and am at about 50% of my normal self now. My appetite is slowly but surely coming back... To give you an idea of how out of it and easily upset I was today, someone took the spot I wanted and had waited for but missed by a second and I literally burst into tears, started sobbing and crying and hitting my steering wheel.... it was one of THOSE days... one of those days you think only happen in movies until you find yourself smack dab in the middle of one and go 'ohhhhh...'. One of those days where you're sitting in class and inexplicably burst into tears and need to excuse yourself. One of those days. I don't cry in public.... but... I'm starting to reassess that statement after the frequency I've cried in public lately....

If this wasn't enough, the job opportunity I wanted... that  I NNEEEEDDDED to keep myself sane next semester, didn't end up working out. I am so happy for those who got it, but am 100% throwing myself a pity party over this. I need to pick up a lot more work over the summer to compensate and need to figure out how to make this work next semester without getting as sick as I am at the moment again... and next semester is gonna be a lot harder... So that's where I've been. Headed back to work tomorrow and praying I don't end up with pneumonia and worse off.... final push to get these assignments done, even though the wind that was beneath my sails is long gone... 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Quick update

Hey guys- sorry for lack of posts- will post soon I promise, but I post tonight because I need some prayer. This weekend has been full of me being sick and today full of hard news and I am 1000000% overwhelmed and I feel like giving up. Please pray that where doors shut more open. I thought I was entering a new era of lots of doors opening but instead lots have been shutting, which has left me laying lifeless on the floor. 


Saturday, May 2, 2015

Day 25: access

Today I discovered I have viral bronchitis. While it took over 2.5 hours of waiting to see a doctor through the day, I am thankful to have access to a very thorough medical practitioner who checked me to ensure I did not have pneumonia, the flu, or strep, which was good and gave me some meds to ease the cough. Not exactly what you want to hear after a long wait, but better than being told you have a cold I suppose:) off to sleep and 'resting' tomorrow as I work on final projects all day. 

Friday, May 1, 2015

Day 24:Encouragement

Today was a long day. A long, long day. I am starting to get sick, which made it longer, but there was a bit of encouragement sprinkled in there. I sat in class, with low energy due to aforementioned foreboding sickness, which I thought was allergies but is proving to be more, and my classmates actually were super awesome. I mentioned that I would be presenting on a topic next Thursday instead of showing a poster about an illustrator/author, because I feel passionately about this topic and it needs to be discussed. Also, I love presenting, so it seemed like a good fit. This came up, and my classmates on several occasions throughout class told me that they think I will be an incredibly Child Life Specialist. One even said, "Michelle, me and another classmate agreed if our children ever need to be hospitalized, we want you there with them to help us through..."

This totally melted my heart and lifted it too. I have been fighting so hard for so long to get into the field of Child Life, and I am so glad that I am not the only person who sees that it is the career for me. I mean, I have been told before by a few people that it is a fit for me, but there has never been this much evidence encouraging me despite the forward motion propelling me. I feel so encouraged by those I am in class with, and I thank God for that. It is so wonderful to know that, while, yes I am in school right now to specifically be an ECE teacher, my end-goal is to be a Child Life Specialist, and I have the support of colleagues and professors. That makes my heart smile.

So after a hard day, where everything in me just wanted to crawl into bed and not come out till mid-May, this is the part that says, "Nope, 3 more projects and 1 more assignment, you got this... PUSH!!!! GOOOO!!!! This is for your future patients!!! You've got this!!! "

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Day 23:opportunity

I am exhausted, but I feel thankful today for opportunity...the opportunity to serve the city I love through my church and the relationships it has with those in the city. I am thankful I have the means and opportunity. So many have asked for money to help those in Nepal, but my heart aches most for those hurting in my backyard. I know Nepal needs help and I have friends and their families there too, but this is home. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Dat 22: The Gift to Share

Today was one of my graduate presentations, which I have been nervous about all semester. It is my longest presentation, but also about the topic I care about the most- Child life. Initially I asked if I could discuss Drama, but I was quickly shot down, and for that I am grateful. I realized later that this professor wants us to disccuss more deeply profound issues in schools. Some did not choose those issues, but I think she knew I was okay taking on a challenge, so she dared me. Challenge accepted.

I was a bit nervous to be honest, but I always am before a presentation. I get stage fright. I know. The actor gets stage fright. I do. Every. Time. Ever since I siezed up completely in a performance in college, it has scared me....(that performance that I siezed up in was the best I have given in my life, for the record. I siezed up, but was able to use the fear to propel the monologue to a place it had never been. It was kinda great,  even if I had a complete diva-esque meltdown right afterwards.) I get stagefright, but whenever I get in front of an audience, or in this case a classroom, suddenly it all melts away. It is in that moment I remember that I love this and I wouldn't change it for the world.

I had the opportunity to present child life to my teacher colleagues and it was as if I had opened a whole new world before them. It was beautiful. It was absolutely my blessing for the day and I felt honored to share it with them and share a bit of myself and my hopes for the future with them.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Day 21: Energy and My Baltimore

When I got home today, I smiled and said what a great day today was. Then I looked at my digital Washington Post and hear the helicopters and sirens that were too far to hear at work. Reality set in. As I started to ponder this I wasn't sure what I was thankful for. My heart is heavy and so shaken by all that is happening so close to home. I don't know what to say. I don't know what I can do. I close my eyes and pray, but all that happens is tears flow. The thing that comes to mind is...
Greater things have yet to come, greater things are still to be done in this city... I never thought that applied to home but today... To Baltimore, which I visit at least once a week... I had no idea you held so much pain and anguish within your borders...

When I think about my day, it pales in comparison to the days of others whose lives were destroyed. I think of the children my friend teaches in the city. What was their day like? I think of my friend whose husband is in blue. What was their day like? I feel guilty talking about my day. 

I will anyway but I'll keep it brief. Thanks to my rest yesterday, I felt energized today, took on the day despite many wrenches hurdled at me and only needed like 1/2 my normal coffee intake!!!:) Hoping to keep sleep to 8 hours- no less his week to keep the energy flowing.

Back to what I was saying before. If you are reading this, please pray for my Baltimore. No, I am not one of those pain in the butt Marylanders who goes once a year and claims it as theirs, but I truly love this city. As I type, I have heard a helicopter and 3 sets of sirens. I had no clue it could get so close to home.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Day 20:sleep

It's amusing to me how offended people are that I decided to stop using Facebook for the time being. People are acting like I am dying. I promise, I am very much alive and well. I just need to focus on the final weeks of school and the people who are right here in front of me instead of fancifully following people who I don't actually know, but merely follow on a page designed for people to foster feelings of jealousy. That's where I am at. Do not try to convince me, because you are not me. I need a break, so that is what I am doing. If people want to talk to me, they will find a way. I will be off of Facebook at least until day 40 of my 40 day challenge. We will see how things go from there.

Anyway,... today has been low-key, but I realized how tired I really was because I have spent much of the day sleeping. Which has been really nice. Minus the obscure dreams...but we can't always get what we want right? I suppose the rest is my blessing of the day- time to just take naps and rest.

I have a lot of thoughts running around this head of mine, but I'm not really sure how to write them, so I'm going to wait until an opportunity presents itself at a later time.

For now, enjoy the final moments of the weekend, love those who are around you, soak up the moments of those in your days, and make the most of the moments you have- for you never know when might be your last.

Day 19: Time

Today, I had the luxury of time. I was able to have the time to study for 3 straight hours this morning into the afternoon, then work on a project this evening for a solid 4.5 hours. I had no idea it would take me that long, but I am so thankful I had the time to work on it. So often, I am simply rushed and have to get things done and feel the heat, but today, I could focus on a task at a time and work through things.

Now, I am by no means much further on my list, but I feel better. Tomorrow is my rest day. Tomorrow's rest day will be modified to include time to clean. My room is a disaster and needs to be cleaned/organized. I will mandate myself to sleep in, I'll meet a friend for some lunch, then I'll head back and clean on my own watch. If I get overwhelmed by the thought of work at any point, I'll give myself permission to work on one project, but no more and I will give myself a time limit. Otherwise, no work until Monday. I need tomorrow to cool my coals and gear up for what very well may be the craziest week of the semester.

On another note, after some thought and reflection, I have decided to disable my Facebook, at least for the time being. I need a break from it all. I am so overwhelmed by the idea that there are real live people around me daily that I miss because I am so captivated by looking at people's 'highlight reel', which breeds jealousy in me and thoughts that are not thoughts I want to have about my friends. I don't understand why it has become okay for people to share photos, thoughts, reflections, and feelings with 1,000 of their 'friends', when true friends are sitting there waiting for them to call, spend time with them, share a photo with them directly, or reach out. This is going to be hard for me. I have people all over the world who will not even blink at the fact that I am not on facebook anymore. But, this will make me take a look at the relationships I have and decide which were superficial and superfluous, and which are meaningful and ones that I need to truly foster and hold dear to me.

I have so much on my heart and mind tonight, but I will share more tomorrow, as I hope to write a bit of a longer blog, since it's my down day:) My heart is heavy and I certainly think there's a reason I have this burden. I am both nervous and excited to see where this leads. More tomorrow.

Till then, be safe. Love those around you. As we taught our kids tonight, be a part of the SOLUTION, not the problem... boy does that ever reign true tonight.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Day 18:Bounty

Today was a day where I had to convince myself to not panic, breathe, and repeat. I had a full class today and one of the kids has never had me without my head teacher before. She is one of our youngest, but truly needs the firmness my head teacher provides that simply is not in my teaching style. Today I had to pretend it was because I was hit, kicked and spat on enough that I was at my wits end. That and the other kids were also going through this- not just me, so we all needed me to be firmer than normal. 

At lunch, I almost got into a pretty nasty car accident, but thankfully saw the car coming who would've plowed me...they were at fault btw. At that moment, I had it. I burst into tears. I am not a tearful person generally, but when I am stressed, I can end up that way in seconds depending on the situation... This was one of them. 

I gathered myself, got a powerful coffee, got work done, geared up for the afternoon and did well for about an hour then hit a wall and there was no saving it... 

Despite the chaos, panic, frustration, anger, pain, and tears of the day... There is a blessing:)

When I was getting my things together this morning, this is what I saw...
My little corner of the fridge- bare...old Hummus and brown rice were the knly companions. I knew what was coming later in the day... Friday is grocery day. I never have time Saturday and Sunday would be too stressful and it is my rest day, so Friday on my way home from work, I go to Aldi. This week I also went to get more coffee to fuel the studying I needed to do, which thankfully worked. 

I got this stash...for...wait for it...
$14!!!! Fruit, veggies, eggs, milk, and yogurt for the week- my staples. I have frozen curry and stir fry so no need for other food. Perfection. I felt blessed to have 1)access to foods at all. Food that is good for me and fuels me. Food that is safe, clean and won't kill me if I pick the wrong one. 2)access to affordable food. For so long I assumed if I want to eat well, I must pay an arm and a leg. While I am learning I do need to buy some foods organic, I am learning which I do not need to and am able to work with it. 

Thankful is what I am. I never waste my food because I have seen too many who have no food. I challenge you to ponder that thought and ship mindfully. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Day 17:Music

I feel like this is a cop-out, but truly, I have no more to say than this.... I am at the bottom of my barrel today. I am the head teacher until next Tuesday, I have 4 HUGE projects due in the next 2 weeks, along with 4 papers I've pushed off, which is my fault and I am drowning.

Without the soundtracks that have helped keep my head above water and God... I would have crumbled and given up by now. Praying and listening my way through the next 2 weeks and praying harder than ever I get offered this great opportunity to serve my department so that I can ease up on the work and focus more on school.

I feel like I am drowning, but thankful for my life vest and anchor at times like these. Prayers and encouragement appreciated. Caffeine too if you have any.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Day 16: Jello Arms and Libraries

Honestly, as if this semester hasn't been hard enough- working 27 hours at my job and an extra 5-10 elsewhere plus schoolwork, this last day has chewed me up and spat me out. I literally had to sit and write each detail I need to complete before the end of the semester in 3 weeks. I also keep missing a week and saying its 2 weeks and earlier in the week I kept saying 4...3 weeks... I can do it!!

I feel extra crazy, but trying to keep my priorities straight and focus! This girl is a creative thinker, which means if you give me an assignment, I run hard and fast the other way until I have no choice but to do it. I am also an overachiever, so my work must be done well... Quite the match, but works for me, though it can be quite stressful.

Amidst the chaos, there are blessings. I am so thankful today for my yoga buddy who keeps me accountable and gets me to commit bi-weekly to yoga, even when my arms feel like they are jello. 

The biggest blessing today is the library. There is an incredible library about a mile from my job. It is one of the best in the state and it is incredible, with phenomenal staff. They helped me get an Educator card today, troubleshoot some issues, and check out my 40+ items. Without a library so close to work, I would lose my mind! I go at least twice a week, if not 3-5. I rely on it for my Literature assignments and they make it so easy! 

Check out my stack today...
I have two big bags of books in my room too:) so thankful for access to books that is so reliable, friendly and awesome!!!! Makes reading fun for me!!

Day 15: Walks and Curry

I don't have much to say except for my blessings, so I'll cut to the chase.

Today, I decided to walk to school for the first time.. well the first time that I actually had class. I got home from babysitting in a tizzy, as I had 5 minutes to get lunch and snacks packed- something I had wanted to do in the morning but felt those extra 10 minutes of sleep were more important. So, I was running around and took about 10-15 minutes to actually complete these tasks. I ran out the door and walked with purpose. The trip there was a bit of a trek. I walked and for some reason chose to cut straight through campus, which means ALL UPHILL... what was I thinking? I do not know. All I do know is that my quads and calves were SCREAMING when I get to class. I got a few 'wow... what is wrong' stares, but then explained that I had just walked from home and picked the wrong route. Now I know.

Alas, sometimes we learn only the hard way. I made it in the nick of time despite thinking I would surely be late. After a day full of presentations and an awesome speaker who spoke to us about Rachel Carson's legacy and those who followed, who I'd never heard of until last week and is my latest fascination, I took the trek back home. However, when a trip is all uphill one way, what is the way back? All downhill.

On my way home, I took a deep breath and listened to this awesome app that I love that reads the bible to you daily(the Daily Audio Bible) and it was an awesome way to round out the day of learning. That and a plate of organic fruits and veggies, as Rachel Carson was all about pesticide-free foods. I was in my happy place.

Why was I walking at all... well, recently, I remembered a post I wrote so long ago that I stumbled upon recently...  Called The Good Life . It is from when I was on the ship and didn't have many of the freedoms I was used to at home, but suddenly had again when I was in Tenerife. One of which was walking alone with no fear. At the end of the post, I urge myself to walk as much as I can at home, since I have two perfectly good legs that can get me places.... therefore, I have no reason NOT to walk. Sure, I can make excuses, but I used to miss this freedom, and I have it again. I may not have it in the future, so I need to take advantage.

As I got home, I had plans to make dinner. It was almost 6:30 by this point, making this dinner in my mind around 8pm, but I was okay with that... I love to cook. So, I pulled out all of the ingredients I thought of on my walk home an started whipping up my new favorite to cook- Curry. I never touched curry until about a month ago, as it scared me. But then, a roommate explained the process, and I realize really it's not that difficult. I made a small batch, and it was amazing. So, tonight I made a massssssive batch. I am so excited. I love curry, and this one is super duper delicious and I certainly have enough for a while!! That's another thing I missed while I was away... cooking.
The Ingredients(some of them)

Simmering away
My hands aren't used to this kind of chopping anymore!! Got to get those callouses back!
The final product

So, I sit here contemplating my day, which was exhausting and I am struggling to lift my arms today due to our fierce workout last night, but there are still great blessings, even when I am not in the best of spirits. Thank you God for that! 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Day 14:thunderstorms and chats

It was a much unwanted re-entry back into  'the grind' today, much to my dismay after a great weekend. Went to bed far too late, slept poorly, had one of my infamous tornado dreams, which are always incredibly realistic, got up late, got to work late... The usual. 

Thankfully the kids made me giggle lots this morning to cheer up this Monday and the weather cleared up enough for us to go outside:) It was HOT this morning, but I'll take that over cold any day. 

After a very sluggish morning, I got my normal afternoon coffee which jolted me awake and set me up for the afternoon ahead. I had a toddler crying for over an hour- I think she is getting sick, while another brought mulch in from outside and scattered it around the classroom,  while parents arrived to get their little ones. It was one of THOSE days. 

Thankfully some sweet moments with another little one after everyone left and then the events after made up for the rough patches of the day. 

We had our normal crossfit, but it was a bit amped up, as our fearless leaders wanted a good challenge too... I could hardly support any weight with my arms after... But I sat down and looked out the door and saw one of my favorite things...- thunderstorm rolling in.  

If you know me, you may know I have a HUGE fear of tornadoes. However, this fear has turned me into a storm lover, as it forced me to get to know what makes a storm that can form a tornado versus one that will not.  Living in Africa, I have seen many a storm with never a threat of tornado, as the conditions are not favorable there for tornadoes. Man were they beautiful. The storm tonight let me sit for a brief moment and breathe and take in the beauty.

Afterwards, I went home, showered- booooy did we SWEAT tonight!!! Then I made a late dinner and did some school work. Not long after, roommates rolled in. Which leads me to blessing 2:)

I have no idea if she will ever see this, but I have an amazing roommate, Megan, who is an incredible listener. If you know me at all, you know I am a talker. I have a plethora of stories to tell, I love to share them, I am very animated and can talk for hours if you let me. I also love people , so if given the choice of talking versus homework.... People trump all always. 

Also, when I am tired. I ramble. I have become increasingly aware of this since moving in with these lovely ladies, as I do this often. I am so blessed to have such a wonderful, patient roommate who takes interest in my life, my interests, and my ramblings. I never feel like a burden, even when I have talked forever:) thanks Megan!!!!

Goodnight world! I shall be sore tomorrow, but it bout pain, you cannot get stronger! 

Day 13: Zoo, Kenya, and Concert

Today was not originally planned as super eventful, but it became so, and I have to say, I would have not had it any other way.

I got up, much to my dismay, because there was much to be done, but more importantly, I wanted to get my tail to church. I had an added incentive, as I had a friend meeting me and we had plans to grab coffee or do something afterwards. This 'something afterwards' turned into taking her amazingly sweet 5 year old to the zoo, which was an incredibly awesome, unexpected surprise to my day. So much fun to spend time with these awesome new friends of mine and just enjoy the beautiful day.

Afterwards, I got back to the church just in time to meet with my awesome Kenya team. We had fun chatting our way through ice breakers and getting to know more about the trip. The closer we come, the more excited I get. Tomorrow I get my current totals, so I will be sure to keep you all up-to-date on those. The ACTUAL deadline for money for plane fare is May 2nd. We were told today in order to get our tails in high-gear, which worked. Also we are estimating that fee to be $1600, not $1900, as originally planned, which is a relief. But, with the funds I have already, this means that I still have a good $500 to go... Praying tomorrow I wake up to find that number gone and the relief of funds there.

After our meeting, I went to Starbucks to hash out some homework. I was super duper unfocused, but thanks to my coffee and my old faithful soundtrack which always gets me focused- the How to Train Your Dragon soundtrack a friend from the ship got me into.... do NOT judge- GO LISTEN... It is stunning... beautiful orchestrations with AMAZING percussion lines and horn work!!!! It always gets me focused. It is actually what I have playing now, as I finish my homework and get ready to turn in for the night.

After my homework session, which ended up being successful for the hour I focused out of 2, I went to a concert with my dad. We saw Mike Roe and The Choir. Not Mike Roe from Dirty Jobs- Mike Roe from The Lost Dogs!!!! I knew him LONG before Mike Roe from Dirty Jobs was remotely famous:) Check him out!!! We saw them at GenXaret, which was awesome. A really cool atmosphere- chill ambiance and a fun time. They ended on a bit of a somber note, but that's okay... every now and then we all need that.

Afterwards, on my drive home, I reflected a bit on my day and realized something. God is so so so so so so faithful to me. He saw my needs this week before I even realized I had them. I had this hole in my life before this semester of needing some solid awesome people to be friends with, and guess what? He's slowly, but surely filling that hole. I didn't realize how lonely I had been, since I have been entirely too busy to notice, but he's slipped people into my life to be there with me- to do awesomely unexpected and fun things with, to chat with, to go across the world with, to challenge me physically and emotionally,and to do life with. Amazing. He knew just what I needed this weekend, and for that I am so grateful.

I am SO bummed the weekend is over, but I go to bed with a smile on my face and a full soul, knowing it was an amazing weekend full of joy, a few tears, lots of laughter, and reflection. 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Day 12:Requiem

Today... today was alltogether a blessing.

I slept in, but didn't oversleep and woke up rested. I had time to chill when I got up and watch Greys... If you are watching it, please PM me so we can vent together.... BUHHHH!!! Shonda Rhimes what are you doing to us???? The show is over in 4 weeks! I can't say I am surprised thought...

Then, I got to go to a childhood friend's bridal shower, who I was able to reconnect with over a year ago because she and her sister were the ones who invited me to Mosaic! :) Funny how life comes full circle sometimes. It was a fun time of good food, good friends, and new people.

Afterwards, I was invited to come to DC to see a friend perform Brahm's Requiem. Didn't know much about the piece, but it was a 200 piece choir plus the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, which said friend plays clarinet for. The concert was at the National Presbyterian Church. I got there super early, so I drove around and took a peek at American University's campus, which is right there. What a BEAUTIFUL campus! I kinda wish I considered that for undergrad. Not that I regret UMBC... I don't at all... I love my UMBC... but I had no idea that was all there... After I took in some of the beautiful spring scenery(no I didn't see THE cherryblossoms, but I did see some  cherryblossoms and other beautiful spring flowers and trees around), I headed back and decided to see if the doors to the church were open.

This event was FREE.... um... whhhhhhatttt???? Free... I walked in, people were so nice and showed me the way to the sanctuary. It was STUNNING... Stained glass like I have NEVER seen in the states. I could not have picked a better setting for this piece... That and the acoustics... wow... incredible.You would never need a microphone in that place.

As I waited, I chatted with an older man and his wife, who just happened to find out about the concert and came for fun. A harpist and oboeist were warming up, and I said, "Man... I love a good oboe..." and the older man argued that it was a clarinet. I disagreed and explained the sound is different and the structure of the instrument is different. He then pointed and said he thought THAT was an oboe... I explained that he was pointing to a bassoon... another of my favorites. I think if I could do it all again, I would pick the bassoon or the french horn as my instrument of choice... we then discussed the differece between a glockenspiel and xylophone and I gave him a lesson on different keyboard instruments... it was actually a lot of fun for me.

Then the concert began. This concert was more of a blessing than I could have ever anticipated. My friend told me right before that music like this feeds the soul.... oh boy did it ever. My body got no rest today, but my soul feels so rested and full... this is what happened...

So Brahm's requiem is different from others,as it focuses on those who are still living versus those who have left us. Now, as you may, or most of you may not know, April is a hard month for me. It just is. Between the stress of school, and the feelings April brings, it is incredibly overwhelming. Through the week, I was reminded that last week was the anniversary of the passing of a friend, and the next two weeks hold two separate anniversaries of friends who have died. One completely unexpectedly, one had cancer but went fast and far too soon, and one who was a patient of mine, who I actually prayed by the end for Jesus to take her, because I wanted her suffering to be over... for their stories, check out this blog post from a while back.... Remembering

Entering the piece with this on my mind was actually pretty powerful. I was actually able to think a lot about my experiences and naviate through them by way of the music. Had I had the whole room to myself, which would have been incredible, but totally impossible, I would have let the music sweep over me and let my emotions captivate me and let me sob, remembering those who have left me bein, but also laugh as I think of the amazing joys the piece brings to mind.

As an incredibly creative-minded person, with music being one of my main centers of creativity, I also just let my mind wander. My mind NEVER EVER stops... Never... when i go to bed, I am always thinking through some scenario from my day, a list of things to do, something I don't want to forget, and then when I finally fall asleep, my mind creates these obscure and bizarre dreams. I do not exaggerate when I say the moment I fall asleep, I begin to dream... it is very true... its all my mind. So, I allowed my music to captivate me and allowed my mind to play with the music. At first, (I wish I could show you the movie in my mind because it is beautiful and pairs the music with my picture) I imagined a beautiful woman, who had lost someone, dressed in a beautiful flowing white dress. She danced as if her soul had been torn from her, but as the music progresses, she finds peace. Later, she suddenly became the person who was dying in my little mind movie. It was beautifully gut-wrenching and devastating. She didn't look like she was dying, but she struggled... think of it as if this woman was a dancer doing a piece... thats how I see her in my mind...

Anyway... with this going on in my mind, along with thinking of my dear ones I have lost in April over the years, I shed a few tears during the dark, deep, mournful sounds of the beginning of the Requiem, but the words of the music turn to thinking of how free and happy those who have died are dancing in heaven. Now, this poses a complex conundrum for me, as I have no idea of the 3 if 2 of the 3 were believers... if they weren't, they wouldnt be dancing happily in heaven, but for the purposes of the piece, i focused on the joy, not the fear and sadness.

It was a beautiful way to spend my evening. Truly, stunning. I have missed hearing classical music in my life eversince I left band.... I hated my band teacher, but loved being a part of somethign so much bigger than myself. My little part made a big difference in the cocophany of sound. I also miss singing in a choir a ton. But, this filled my heart to the brim and helped my mind sort some things out and cope with the time of the year a bit.

On the way home, I grabbed pizza at a little place my friend recommended(banging pizza!!!), then reflected on the piece the whole drive home.... which was long, beccause i got lost and my phone was dead... but i didn't mind... more time to think of those dear friends I lost, their legacy, how I remember them and how that has helped shape me into who I am. <3

Friday, April 17, 2015

Day 11: The Tale of Two Rings

Finally, the story I have been wanting to tell all week, but simply have not had time to write out in a way I was pleased with...

On Monday, we had our Crossfit night, as always. This week we did one set of exercises inside, then moved outside to do sled pushes and tire pulling. Not sure if that is the technical name, but it sounds nice.

Afterwards, we all came back inside and ate some awesome healthy snacks and chatted. Before we all went our own ways, but our numbers dwindled, one of our fearles leaders, Marlena, mentioned that her wedding ring was missing. She had put it in her phone, but her phone had been moved a ton over the course of the night, and the ring was now MIA. There were speculations of where it was lost, but after a brief sweep with 5 of us, they needed to get home to put their daughter to bed.

Marlena kept saying it was super cheap and it was okay, but I knew, like any wedding ring, it has a ton of meaning. So, I pretended like I was getting my car, then got out and ran back inside. When I got inside, I found two of my fellow crossfit mates searching high and low already. I was relieved, as I was about to rally the troops. I didn't need to- they had already reallied themselves. We opened up the garage doors of the gym in the back of teh church, used our phones to shine light(thank God for cellphones with flashlights) and the serach was on.

Now, the coolest part was the discussion that occured while we were looking. One of the guys who was looking told me that their friend lost their wedding ring in a lake in the sand. The friend lost hope, but everyone was determined to find the ring. They prayed, and about 20 minutes, they found it.

At this moment, I almost burst into tears, because the reason I ran back in intially is because I have my own ring story... I thought I wrote about this before, but I haven't, so here it is...

When I went on my tour of Israel in 2012, I was swimming in the sea of Galilee with some friends... lets pause there... how surreal is that sentence?? Anyway.. I was swimming with some of the girls, and a friend of mine had a ring that she got made years earlier in Israel that had her name in Hebrew engraved in it. As we swam in the sea, which was very calm- much like a lake with a few small waves, we jumped all around, spashed and enjoyed eachother. Carys looked up and realized her ring was gone. Jordy and I looked at eachother and there were two choices we could have made... 1)give up, 2) search.... we decided to look. Carys was certain it was lost and said she could get a new once made- what a better place to lose a keepsake from Israel than in Isreal?

We prayed out loud, then looked, and looked, and looked, for what seemed like forever. I remember the sun had set and we were still feelinge  everywhere. After over 30 minutes of searching in the sand and the path of the current, one of the girls felt down, and there it was. A testament of God's faithfulness right there in front of us.

After this, I decided to get a ring made in Isreal, and actually got my name in Hebrew as well. It was only Monday that I realzied the deeper meaning of the ring on my own finger. Initially, I made it as a reminder of God's love for me and as a purity ring of sorts, since I lost the one I got in high school long ago at the pool... but then it donned on me... it is also a reminder of God's faithfulness. It reminds me that He knows my name- He knew it before I was even born. He has my future laid before me. He knows whether I will have a wedding ring and who will put it on my finger, and if not, why and what great plans he has instead. Often on the ship, I would trace my ring with my finger as a reminder that his love for me never ends... it goes on and on, just like my ring.

So.... after much searching through leaves, weights, crevaces, spider webbed tires, and concrete, I searched less than a foot away from where Marlena's husband was searching. When they gave up to go home, I had a feeling in my stomach to look there, so after 30 minutes of searching, I did. And guess what? It was there!!!!!

I was so excited, I literally started crying on my way home. Not necessarily because we found it, but because all that I just wrote came to mind. Thsi was by far the biggest blessing of my week.... It is funny because it may have actually blessed me than the person who lost their property, but then again, you never really know how much you miss something, until it's lost, then found again.

Day 10: Coffee

I promise you a great one tomorrow, but this day was brought to you by coffee... Would not have been possible without it. That is all.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Day 9:pictures was a doozy... And after a day like this I would so much rather head to sleep, but I promised myself I would do this daily, so here I am.

Today I am grateful for pictures. I have an assignment for my Childrens Literature class m where I have to write my own kids book but in a way I can easily replicate. AKA- using my own materials and keeping it free/cheap. 

This ended up taking more time than I anticipated but also became more meaningful, as I was forced to illustrate my book with my own photos, as a requirement of the project. 

I realized I have something nobody else has in that room- a multicultural perspective, but also access to different cultures. So, I wrote a book about all of 'Miss Michelle's Friends' around the world. I could have made it much longer had i exhausted all resources, but I kept it in the realm of people I know from the ship. 

This means that as I attempted to show children my friends in the two African countries I chose, I had to sift through and find my favorites.

Now, my computer is in complete disarray... No files are organized and it became clear tonight... While I was writing, I realized I had no disk space to save my book, so I had to get my external hard drive and move things over. In the process, I had to click through hundreds of pictures to find the ones  I needed. this means I had to look at the beautiful faces of the babies I left behind, two of which I so badly wished I could adopt, look at all of the patients who I spent countless hours with, see my beautiful students who always kept me in my toes and taught me more than I taught them, my big sisters and little nieces from the ship, whom I miss daily and endlessly, and the incredible landscapes and land I love and long for. My heart both shattered and felt whole as I looked at these photos. 

I am so thankful I have them to look back, yet they haunt me. I wonder what life is like for these beautiful people. I see the face of a beautiful baby who was taken far too soon... A young woman who left this earth without getting to say goodbye to her baby... I remember I am on this earth for a great purpose and  truly hope it will one day lead me back to the land I left my heart in. The land so many fear now that Ebola has ravaged, but I have never wanted to go more than when that diaaster struck... One day. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Day 8:Bed

Tonight, my blessing is simple. Mostly because I am exhausted and it is over an hour after I should have fallen asleep. But tonight I am thankful to have a bed to sleep in, a roof over my head, food to eat, and safety. I think of all of those who are lacking those basic needs as I end my day and I am thankful and feel incredibly blessed to have all of those needs met at this time. May not always be so, but for this moment it is. Thank you God:)

Day 7: Faithfulness

Today was incredible for so many reasons. I was the head teacher for a day, since my head teacher was out, which was stressful, sure, but also wonderful. A classroom of my own for a day and only 9/12 kids- it was sweet. That coupled with the incredible weather, that allowed us to be outside for over 2 hours total today was great. I left work late, but I had a ton to do, so really that was a good thing for me.

After work, I went to the library where I quickly got the books I needed(a rare occurance- normally takes me forever). I then headed to my crossfit group at Mosaic, which kicked my butt, as per usual, but was awesome. Each time, I learn more about myself. I learn about my boundaries, both physical and mental, as well as how strong I actually am. I surprise myself sometimes. One of the rules of the group is do not compare yourself to others, for which i am thankful because I would come down hard on myself. But with this rule, I can look at how far I have come and be proud of how much i was able to accomplish.

This week had an unexpected twist for us, which I will save for another time for once I ask permission to share the story:)

Throughout the day, I was treated with surprises of grades. I currently have and am maintining 100% in all of my courses at the moment. The credit is not on me. It is on God, who gives me my purpose each day, who dries me, who inspires me, who reeveals new things to me , who challenges me and who pushes me to be my best. I am so thankful for the student he has helped me become. 4 more weeks and this nightmare of a semester will be over. But, I cannot deny the joys I have had this semester to balance the chaos. My Monday nights have been one of the best parts of my week, no mater how hard it is or how badly my butt gets kicked. Yoga has been great.... a chance to challenge myself, wrestle my thoughts, spend time with a friend, and center myself. Tuesday mornings, where I get to babysit some sweet kiddos 2 hours a week has provided some much needed income, but also provides me with awesome interactions with incredible kids, parents, and co-sitters weekly. This semester has so many things to be thankful for sprinkled throughout. I will miss those things.

I am praying to have an easier semester next semester, but have no idea what that looks like yet.... For now, I look forward to mid-may, when I get to gain some free time in the evenings. Going back to work full time will be hard, but nowhere as hard as juggling it all. I also look forward to new growth groups and am excited that crossfit will continue this summer... our fearless leaders will continue to force me to face my deamons and get it done... and that we will:)

All day, God showed me his faithfulness once again in the smallest and biggest moments of my day. Thanks, God. 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Day 6:Support

Last night, I was literally falling asleep as I wrote, so I picked the easiest blessing to write up. I was on the go for about 15 hours yesterday from the party to church to babysitting then to homework. Tonight, I'll go for the biggest one i wanted to write about yesterday, but also blessed me today upon reflection.

Yesterday, my mom and I joined forces to throw a fundraiser for our trip to Kenya. Let me pause there for a moment. For those who don't know, My mom and I are going to Kenya in July with our church, Mosaic Christian Church, which my parents recently joined and I have been attending for over a year now. We will be helping out with an organization called Life in Abundance and working at a clinic. I hope to support children through procedures and provide education where possible, play with local kids, teach them about Jesus, and do off jobs around the site, while my mom will be doing awesome nursing tasks along with odd-jobs from time to time. It will be a FANTASTIC opportunity and I dont think I need to say this, but I am SOOOO ready to be back on the continent that holds my heart.

So, we threw a Jamberry Fundraiser. Jamberry is a really cool company that sells nail wraps(kinda like a sticker, but it lasts for 7-14 days and come in great designs) and a friend is a consultant, who volunteered for us to take her commission to go toward our trip. We had a fantastic turn out with over 10 people showing up. We wont have a our grand total on how much we raised until the 15th, but we know we have already raised over $200 to split between the two of us!!

I have to say, while I was a long term missionary, I struggled a lot. I never had significant financial needs because my donors were there financially, but I struggled because I never physically really felt the love. I came home and was greeted with many cold shoulders. Dont get me wrong- I am eternally grateful for the prayers and funds that made my 2.5 year trip possible, but there was something missing. That something was tangible in the group that came yesterday and in those who have been donating or participating despite not being able to be there physically. I am overwhelmed that so many people were willing to take time out of their busy day to be with us and to be with us, get to know this product, support us, and check in with us. I am blown away by how many people have logged on and given financially, whether through the fundraiser or on their own.  I feel the love- the love is there.

Thank you to everyone who has made this possible! It was a fantastic day that as made possible by many caring, giving hearts and tons of coffee coursing through my veins. I wont even say how much coffee I consumed yesterday

If you would like to join in on the Jamberry party, you still have time! We close the event on april 14th- only 2 days left!!

Follow this link:

If you prefer to give through the church go here:

If you prefer to give to me directly,, email me at

I found out today that letters I asked for someone to help me send, were never sent, so I am also overwhelmed by the people willing to give based on what they have seen on Facebook. Thank you!!!!

Today was also a great day. It started SLOOOWLY, after a rough nights sleep and weird side effects from new medication I started for migraines. But, once it got going, it went. I got up and went to spend time with Jordan while my parents caught up with friends. We went around the pond on bikes. His bike wasn't cooperating, so we took it slow, but I would speed ahead and come back and do it again until he joined most times:) It was liberating being back on my bike! I have missed it! Also my lungs, which normally sieze up under 70-75 degrees when I exercise outside were FINE!!! YAYY!!

Jordan then went to play with the neighbors and I relaxed. I then needed to go to the library to get books for my lessons this week on Bugs, got gas, and got coffee because I literally could have gone to bed for the day at 4 pm if I let myself, but I didn't want to. So, I came home, relaxed, watched tons of Hulu and Netflix(my favorite things to do on a day off, but never do durign the week), ate dinner at 8pm, and now I am here.

I apologize for any weird punctuation and spelling in this.... I am typing on my Kindle Fire Keyboard.

Anyway- Thanks for reading and come back tomorrow to hear my Monday Blessing:)

Day 5: kids

As you may or may not know, working wtb kids is my job. But, there are some days I especially love kids. Today was one of them. 

From a sweet little girl who loves to play with me, to an awesome night leading 2nd and 3rd graders at Mosaic, to babysitting my favorite twins ever. 

They are my blessing today. 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Day 4:Surprises

Today was a great day.

I got to finally see a neurologist and we are going to try some meds, she knew Mercy Ships and that was a really cool and fun connection. Funny moment-Sitting in the waiting room and hearing the air turn off and holding my breath expecting the power to go off.... then realizing I am not on the ship...:)

Then I went back to work in a new room for today and got to keep a kid calm by helping him open up his imagination which was a blast to watch.

I went back to my room and after the mess of Wednesday, reconciled differences with a coworker and moved on.

Then I got a raise because we learned I am more qualified than we originally realized.

I came home to dinner already made because my roommate had people over and invited me to join.

Today included a TON of coffee, but it as a great day!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Day 3: new friends and time

JThis will be a short and sweet one:)

Today I was blessed to have time to get my oil changed(and even stayed on budget thanks to my coupon), get ink for my printer and some meds from target, then study for a while at Starbucks and fully used the free refills several times :) 

After an appointment, I also got to meet up with a new friend from my Crossfit group who has always encouraged me a ton during the workouts. She also happens to work at a daycare, so we have a ton in common:)

Now it is storming- I love storms minus the body aches and headaches:) missing my rocking ship which would be rocking nicely right now as I attempt to drift to sleep:)

It was a great day to counter the hard days:)

Day 2: Yoga Calm

There is something about Yoga.. Hot Yoga to be specific, that brings calm to me like very few things can, Some weeks I struggle through my Yoga practice, but not once have I regretted going.

Now, some background first. I go to these amazing $5 classes at Charm City Yoga- theyre so cheap becuase they are at a weird time of day- 8:30 PM... who does that? Well, me. My friend Anna and I have gone at least twice a month since the beginning of the new year, since we both lead stressful lives and need a break that helps better our bodies as well as minds. I do find some of Yoga incredibly offputting and wish I could find a stellar Yoga studio that focuses on Jesus, not Buddah and friends, but I do put my focus on God when we are supposed to meditate.

Anyway... I am so so so so thankful for Yoga- especially after a day like today. A day where I was peed on(and had to wear those clothes for 2 more hours), almost intentionally hit by one of my not quite two year olds(thank God I saw that one coming) and almost spat on immediately after almost getting hit by the same child, and told by someone I look up to and respect that I am lazy and need to work harder after I already felt I have given all I possibly can to my kids without burning out ... it was definately a much needed Yoga day.

Days with the most stress are actually the best yoga days because when I am already relaxed, I struggle the entire way through. When I had a hard day, I am able to focus that stress on the part of the body we are focusing on in our practice and it helps me hold positions better, then I release it all afterwards. Incredibly relaxing and freeing. I will be sore tomorrow, but for now I am completely thankful for Yoga and my friend who holds me accountable to go with her:)

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Day 1: Rest and room to be

Honestly, today was a difficult day. I was running on not enough sleep due to my shift of sleep habits from my 'vacation' mindset to the 'back to the grind' mindset. On top of that, I got some news I didn't want to hear about the summer. I did my best not to complain, but shared with a friend who offered an ear, which helped me out a lot.

I came home after 4+ hours of classes and want straight to my keyboard. I started playing a tune I wanted so badly to master, but wound up playing another tune that is sweet, but exhibits the way I was feeling. Sweet but sorrowful. I allowed myself space and time to unravel.

After this, I heated up some dinner and went to my room, where I layed down, put Dancing with the Stars on, and rested. Nearly two hours of uninterrupted rest time. Rest is something I rarely to never get, but thanks to the slow week, and hopefully a much more productive homework day on Thursday, I have some room. Room to breathe. Room to let myself settle into the news of the day. Room to be.

Hard days still have their blessings. That is mine- Rest and room to be.

Monday, April 6, 2015

A New Journey Begins

Friends, readers, whoever you may be,

This is a long one, but I promise it's good- take a look:)

I am entering a new chapter. I am attempting to make better use of my time and resources, so I've decided to change things up for 40 days to see what cool, and perhaps some not so cool, things happen. So... with no further or do... my challenge..

My idea is to do less of some things and more of others- so less is more.... kinda..
-Less Facebook- I'll only be on once a week... that's it. If people need me, they can text, call, or PM me... Facebook is not my lifeline so it's time for me to stop wasting so much time on it.

-Less Sugar- I'll be practicing some self control by only having one sugary treat per week. This is different in the past because I am not totally stopping, but limiting. We shall see how it goes. I am confident it will be fine. Tough but fine.

-Less complaining- now this one is a tough one for me to put on here because if it's out in the open, it can be used to keep me accountable. I really don't like how negative I have become, so in order to begin more positive thinking, I will try to think more positively and be aware of the times I complain and attempt to change my negative behaviors one at a time.

-More MUSIC!!!! I want to have one good jam session per week and once a day sing a song that captures how I feel, play one of my many instruments, or just sit in silence during a song. I LOVE music, but have not had time or the motivation to produce music, so here it is:)

-More Writing!! I plan to journal daily, but it will not end there. Oh no. I plan to start compiling some of my many stories on my own to piece together a bit or a memoir, but I'll also be updating this lovely blog of mine DAILY!! Yep- Daily for 40 days- so check back on here for my daily post. I plan on focusing on the blessings of the day. Sounds a tad cliche, but when I did this while in Africa around this time of the year, it was amazing and meaningful for me. For those who are saying, "What? Africa?? Huh??" I lived in Africa for 2.5 years and tons of those stories are all over my blog- so check them out:)

-More Sharing- I hope to become a bit more real with those around me and a part of doing that is to share. Share my thoughts when appropriate, share my story, share what God has been doing in my life, share my struggles and my feats, and something that scares me but I think will be cool- share my music. I posted a song last night and got amazing response, but I feel like God was nudging me and saying, "Hey- I've given you this gift- use it and use it well... share it with others". So, you may see something along those lines posted too.

-More JESUS- My focus has been so scattered lately, and while I have not in any way attempted to push Jesus away, I haven't been spending as much time as I would like focusing on Jesus and the plans he has for my life. I keep getting ideas, and I know they are from him, but I need to focus on him and what he's saying and what the bible says to get a bit of a clearer picture of what that looks like for my life. I have a few ideas of how to do this- I am NOT a morning person, but I've been thinking about trying for the 40 days to wake up earlier than normal, which on many days is before the sun, and take time waking up by eating my breakfast, drinking coffee, and journaling or spending time listening to His word. I have this cool app I love called the Daily Audio Bible and I have neglected it over the last 6 weeks, so I would love to spend some time catching up on that and digging in to what God says and looking at the example Jesus left for us.

THis is a lot, I know... believe me I know, but I also know that God is doing some amazing things in my life. Last night, I stumbled upon some letters I wrote myself in 2008, and I look at that girl and I have no idea who she was. I am stunned that I was that manipulative, shallow, naive, and honestly, crazy. But, I also know I have a long way to go in my journey of me. I know it will be a never-ending process, but there are a few things I've been working on with some help and feel like these are things I need to do. I hope those of you who read this will keep me accountable and read along during this journey:)

Today's Blessing: Day 0- technically day 1 is tomorrow.
Sleep-ins, Spring Cleaning, Homework time and Workouts

Today started verrry slowly, but since I've been sick, I let it slide. I woke up around 11:30, since I did not have work today, and slowly woke up by getting on my phone and playing a few games. I got up and made myself some leftovers to get my motor running. I then tackled the biggest hurdle of my day: My room.

Since I've been sick and oh so so busy, my room had been seriously neglected. Also the beautiful change of weather leaves my wardrobe terribly cumbersome and warm, so I decided to change out my clothes for some lighter ones, which thankfully included some shorter pants(trousers for those from the UK), which I needed terribly. I cleaned out the junk, the clothes, and got myself organized. Honestly this was sparked by the terrible loss of my favorite bag of pens, which I cannot find and still have not found, but that was why I started cleaning... it got everything organized at least:)

Once that was done, I got going on some homework, but more so just kinda lollygagged on my computer and did lots of mindless tasks that needed to be done but were boring. So, I put on the show IZombie, which I surprisingly loved and watched all 3 of.... did I mention its a day off... so I didn't care terribly... I had things I needed to do, which mostly got done, but...did some other things too:) Eventually all of my papers were neatly back in their place in my binder, which I'd neglected for weeks, I finished an assignment, planned a presentation, and worked on two other assignments.

After this, I headed to my amaaaazing Crossfit growth group. This group has been a huuuuuuuge blessing over the last few months. This week was an extra blessing for me. Our fearless leaders were gone for 5 weeks on tour with their Army band, so we did things on our own for those 5 weeks. We built upon skills they had already taught us and we were busting our butts, but generally we were in and out in less than an hour. With our leaders back, we took time to learn some new skills and test them out,  kicked butt in our workout, which they helped us(me especially) modify as needed and cheered us on along the way. Afterward, we hung out and just all chatted. I missed all of these little details that make up our group. I felt at home:) I had a terrible headache right before I came, but the moment I walked in, it was gone and I was ready to rock and roll. My lungs- they struggled, but we got through it and modified and kicked butt.

I sit here with a delicious stout while I type and I feel so so full. I was able to have a mini-jam session when I got home, I wrote a little bit, I wrote this, I ate my last bit of sugar before the 40 days OFFICIALLY begin and am just feeling happy. Not worried about the homework I didn't finish- I'll worry about that tomorrow... for now I think I'll just put something on and do some zentangles and maybe journal before I doze off and HOPEFULLY have good dreams and wake up at a nice late 9am:)

Thanks for reading!!