Sunday, July 10, 2016

Things done and yet to do...

One of the greatest stress relievers in my life is to be creative!  Since taking this new job as director... it definitely comes with more stress but a bigger staff to dote upon regularly. 

Candy bouquet for staff appreciation week

with the label "You were MINT to be a teacher"

Something else I throughly enjoy is organizing and cleaning... pinterest has been a great help with ideas of how to organize all of the supplies in my office!

 In May I joined a group of ladies from church to work on pillowcase dresses to help those less fortunate.  They were fun and easy to make and it gave me a great opportunity to meet new friends.

I can't dote on everyone else and forget about the amazing man in my life that I get to spend our date nights cooking with and trying out new recipes!

These are some ideas that we have picked out while looking through model homes, art festivals, and home stores for furnishings!  So ready to try some of these ideas!!!

Last but not least... end of the year goodies for my staff that I have recently put together to say thank you and enjoy your summer!

Out of body transition

It has been 6 months since starting a "new" life back stateside.  It has been a whirlwind of a "new" job... a "new" face to face relationship... a "new" set of adventures... and a "new" set of opportunities.

There have been several opportunities where I have met new people that have asked questions of what I have done in the past.  As I start sharing with these "new" friends of what I have been doing the last couple of years... it seems surreal... like I am having an out of body experience... like I am a bystander telling someone else's story.  I struggle with the realization that this was my life in the past and getting others to understand this "new" normal.

Looking back to even a year ago... it seems like it was an eternity ago and a world away.  I was in China... teaching English with Disney... going on amazing weekend adventures to places like Sanya (the Hawaii of China) and Hong Kong.  Even though I lived the moments and was blessed to have these opportunities... it seems like a fairy tale now.

I chose many years ago to live intentionally and with a content heart in every situation.  This has been a new season in my life...yes there have been difficult moments... but it has been good.

I am blessed beyond belief that Christ came to make all things "new" ... we don't have to live in our pasts... whether good or bad... each day is a "new" gift from God!

How will you discover the things in your life that He has made new???

A glimpse of Hollywood

Slowly but surely... I am checking more things off of my bucket list with the assistance of an amazing adventure buddy!

Last weekend, despite both of us being sick, we had tickets to see Chicago and the 4th of July fireworks spectacular at the Hollywood Bowl.  My awesome man drove us the two hours through LA so that we could see some of the sights and an epic concert.

It was a memorable evening!

The invitation...

God does not require our assistance to carry out His plan.

Sometimes he asks or invites us to partner with him but he doesn't depend on us to fulfill HIS perfect plan.

He wants us to work alongside of him much like a father inviting their small child to work on a given project with them.

One of my earliest memories is when my brother was soon to be born.  I needed to vacate the crib, so dad came up with a plan to build a "big" girl bed.  He invited me to assist and being daddy's little girl, I wanted to assist.  I probably was very little actual help but the partnership grew our relationship as father/daughter and created great memories.  It grew my thought process that my dad would always be there when I need him.

He had included me on something that he could have done on his own.  He showed me through this invitation that I was useful... that I was treasured... that I may not be perfect but I could be helpful... that I was wanted... and through all of this I felt valued!

With every invitation ... we have the choice to join in or say no thank you.  What will be your response to HIS invitation???

"God's ways will frequently baffle us but God's will  is sufficiently clear to lead us in the meantime.  God's ways may not be clear to our childlike minds but our way is- at least enough of it to know what obedience requires."- Dale Ralph Davis

Friday, May 6, 2016

Still waiting...

WARNING:  Being real in sharing my heart.
This weekend is difficult on so many levels for me... and I know it is selfish... and I know it is self centered... and I know that it is just where I am at the moment.  
This is me being real and sharing my heart. Maybe there are others out there that share this struggle as well... or have shared it in the past... but are carrying the burden silently.  
Know that you are loved and there are others out there that understand. It is only by sharing that we can support one another and lift one another up.  
And for all of those that have been blessed with beautiful little ones... know that through tired eyes and weary bodies... you are blessed. Treasure your little ones!
Last year while in China I really didn't have to think about it...
... the year before while in Uganda 
( mamma.html )
... and before that... 
( )
... now that I am back stateside and we have been celebrating Mother's Day all week at preschool the awkwardness has come up again on several occasion...
Oh you know the well meaning comments... when telling mom's of my preschoolers "have a happy mother's day" and they turn around without thinking and say "you too"...
Or when one says "how many children do you have?" and there is that moment of silence while you try to figure out how to most politely answer...
Or... that moment when a mom of a preschooler is "too busy" to take an hour out of their day to come celebrate at a special mother's day tea... and all I want to do is take the hurting child under my wing and let them know that they are loved.
Now before you start making comments that I am being judgemental and don't understand how difficult it is to be a mom... hold on...
Mother's are amazing creatures that God created to care for and take care of their young. As I was often reminded growing up...children do not come with owners manuals... we are all sinners saved by grace... and I truly believe that there is an extra measure of grace given to mom's as they try to do their best in raising children with the tools they have been given.
With all of this said... there have been smiles covering a breaking heart...and I hold on to the promise that God will bind up the broken hearted. There have been tears behind closed doors... and I know that He collects my tears in a bottle because He cares for me. There have been many questions of "how many years do I have to wait before I can celebrate mother's day with a child of my own in my arms???"... and I hold to the fact that the God of the universe hears my prayers and He will give me the desires of my heart in His perfect timing.
Until that "perfect timing" moment... I will trust that He has my best interest in mind and I will be His hands and feet to the children He puts in my path to love on and care for... and give that extra hug or high five.... and lift up and encourage the little ones to follow Him!

Friday, April 8, 2016



Tonight our church was hosting a women's retreat as part of the If Gathering.  After a very loooooooooonnnnnnnnnnnnnnggggggggggggg week at preschool being extremely short staff... I really wasn't sure I wanted to be around a bunch of ladies that I really didn't know. Plus sitting through 3+ hours of listening to others talk didn't really sound appealing when all I really wanted to do was go to bed.  Exhaustion from the long week had officially kicked in!  But after the encouragement from the amazing man in my life to go to this retreat... relax... and meet some new friends... I went!

Anyway... tonight the nail was hit on the head.  Since being back in the states I have been struggling with balancing expectations... and what I realized tonight I have been struggling to prove to myself that I am enough.

-Am I enough in my new job?
-Am I enough in my friendships?
-Am I enough in making my "new" life in Laguna Hills, CA?
-Am I enough in being back stateside... in the US???
-Am I enough in my relationship with this amazing man?
-Am I enough as a daughter? as a sister? as a friend? as a boss? as a ....????

And the list could go on and on...

I realized I have been striving to stay on that pedestal of "enoughness" that so many have put me on over the years.

Ok... humbling thought... yes I am being real because that is the real me... I am not enough... in my own strength.  I can't do it.  I don't have the strength or the ability.  I fall short of living up to my own expectations much less everyone else's.  When I try to do it on my own... I only get discouraged and fall flat on my face!

So picking my self up of the ground, I realize I am like Peter refusing to put his dirty feet before the Master to wash them (John 13:8).  I am a zealot and a sinner... otherwise known as I have a LOT of dirt on my feet and I do not want to put them in front of anyone much less my Master.  Thankfully I know my Master well enough to call Him SAVIOR... PROVIDER...REDEEMER... RESTORER...FRIEND.  He calls me as a father would call their child to come and wash up before dinner.  He wants to have fellowship with me.  It is only by His grace that I can be enough.

Ultimately Christ is calling me to give Him my dirty feet.  He is telling me that I am ENOUGH... not based on anything I have done but what He has already done.  When Jesus went to the cross He took the dirt and did away with it once and for all.

He took the posture of a servant.  He walked in grace and peace.  He was ENOUGH and in Him... I am also ENOUGH ... not because I have done anything worthy but because I am His child!

So the prayer of my heart tonight is "Redeem my life... and Restore my purpose."  I truly want to live like the God of the universe created me to be ENOUGH.

I don't have it all together... I fall short daily... I am self centered... I am unkind... I am unloving... but I AM ENOUGH!


Friday, February 19, 2016

Sunbathing in the Green Grass

I simply love this verse as it perfectly describes the peace that comes along with trusting in our Maker.  There are times we have mountain top experiences... and there are times that we are walking through a very dark valley through the swamp lands of trials.  I do believe my favorite times are those that He allows us to lie down in green pastures.  

Looking back over the past two months there have been some major changes in this entire transition but I have to say there has been times of such peace and of rest.  The wife of one of my board members that kind of took me under her wing for the first month of my time in California mentioned a "green grass moment" in her life and it got me thinking.

I have had such restful moments of being able to sunbathe in the green grass... peacefully trusting in His perfect plan for my life... watching things fall into place... a car... a place to live... a job where I get to work with children and adults all while sharing my heart with them... and an amazing man that shares my heart for adventure.  I am beyond blessed.

Now for those of you that are reading this thinking... why does everything fall into place for her while everything is falling apart for me?  I will assure you that everything does not always work out according to my idea but when I release my will to His perfect hands... He provides above and beyond what I could ask or imagine.  He turns my garbage into something He can use for my good and His glory.  I am by no means perfect but the lover of my soul is and I want to do everything to live for Him as He died for me.

When was the last time your Maker made you lie down in green pastures?  If it has been awhile... make Psalm 23 the prayer of your heart and see what happens.

Monday, January 11, 2016

New day... new beginning!

Well it is Monday, January 11th... I am officially settling in to Southern California and today I started my new job at Christ Community Preschool in Laguna Hills.

I have been in California for just a few days after spending the holidays with my family in North Carolina.  I am adjusting to driving again after 2 years of using hired drivers and public transportation. (Thank the Lord for a great navigation system in my car!!! I can follow... turn left here!)  I am getting used to being back stateside again where most people speak a language that I understand... menus are in a language I can read... and being able to pick up the phone to chat with friends and family without trying to figure out how many hours they are ahead or behind ... or having to talk via a computer because I am internationally!

The question of the day is... how are you adjusting?... well now that I am over jet lag... I am hitting the ground running.  Working on getting paperwork done to be licensed in the state of California... scheduling meetings to get to know the board, elders, and staff... getting a health check and fingerprinting... along with all of the training that goes into taking over for a director that has been in this position for 40+ years.  Already planning a road trip to San Diego for the 3 day weekend coming up as well as making a list of all the other places nearby to explore.

So all in all... it is a new day of a new week in a new year... and the excitement is bubbling over for all of the new beginnings and adventures that I am sure to have!  Stay tuned!!!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Modern day good samaritan

With so much negative posted... thought I would post my glimpse at a modern day good samaritan...

Last night I flew into California... where I am officially setting up residence.  Met up with some friends from Molokai and then Justin came to pick me up from their house.  As we were driving home in the rain... Justin noticed in his rearview mirror a dark car slide across the 4 lanes of interstate... headlights go into the air and then disappear down a dark embankment. 

Knowing the time of night as well as how dark it was... he was concerned that no one would find the car or driver.  So he went back to render aid.  There was a vehicle behind us that also saw what had happened and stopped as well and then a 3rd truck circled around and came back to check on the situation.  As the 3 guys walked down to check on the lady and call 911 I couldn't help but think of the good samaritan story.  Of all the cars whizzing by on the interstate... 3 good samaritans stopped to render aid in the rain.  They gave up the comforts of being warm, clean, and dry to assist someone in need.  This challenged my heart to be more aware of those in need around me and not be in such a hurry that I don't focus on others hurting around me.

In the end... the lady driving was ok... thankfully she was wearing her seatbelt so when her car rolled she didn't get too badly hurt.  The car is totalled but vehicles can be replaced... lives not so much!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

A new year with no regrets

"[Jesus] said to them, but who do you say that I am?"- Matthew 16:15

It's a new year... what goals do you have?  

Your goals for the year should reflect who or what you serve!

As we turn the calendar over to a new day... a new month... and a new year... while reflecting back over the past year... do you have any "I wish I had..." moments???  You know what I mean... 

I wish I had spent more time with my children... or
...not worried so much... or
... invested more in those around me instead of my job... or
...given more to those in need.

How do we live a spiritual life with out regret???

In this journey to be intentional and live life with no regrets...I have made some goals for the year ahead.

1.  No expectations...My hope lies in Christ alone.  If He was all I had, I would be complete.  When I set unrealistic expectations...especially on those around me... I am only setting my self up for failure and disappointment.  So with this no expectations... I am giving myself and others an extra measure of grace and being flexible with the situations that cross my path.

2. Little steps in the right direction... How do you eat an elephant?... one bite at a time!  If we are faithful in the little things... bigger opportunities will be given.  Do not discount small gestures like holding a door open or picking up something for someone else.  The simple gesture of putting others needs before your own is a huge step in the right direction of being intentional about being His hands and feet.

3. Living intentionally each day... Growing up we are taught... "Think before we speak".  I would like to add... and act.  If we were to think before we say or do anything how would it change what we do and who we are?  Would we be more apt to notice those around us that have needs?  My goal is to live intentionally... making the most of every opportunity that is put in my path.

4. Invest... If we are called to image Jesus and be His hands and feet... he didn't spend a whole lot of time in a building or with "religious leaders".  He spent his time, energy, and resources sharing the love of His Father.  I can share love to others because He first loved me and I want to pay it forward.

If I were no longer here... would people mourn that I am gone?  Am I affecting change within my community?  Is the world different because I have been here?

I have been blessed to bless others.  With all this said my goal is to do 100 acts of random kindness during 2016.  Paying it forward of all that has been given to me.  May I challenge you to step outside the box and live life with no regrets.