We live in a world of sin and imperfection. I am a child of God striving each day to live out my calling. Welcome to my blog where you get the inside scoop of this Youth Pastor's world!
"Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity." - 1 Timothy 4:12

Monday, December 22, 2014

I Couldn't Love You More

Sometimes being a mentor is incredibly hard.

My mom always says that most kids bring home lost animals but I brought home lost souls.

I know I was bound and determined to be where I am today. My entire life has set me up to be in the line of work and lifestyle that I live.

It is really easy to mentor young people when you just pick them up for ice cream and talk about school work and their dreams.

But there are times when it doesn't matter how many times you talk or show them the light sometimes they still choose darkness. You can pray all day every day and they still choose to lie, cheat, steal, sneak around, and make dangerous decisions.

When I mentor, I mentor with my heart. I always try to give them my true self, to be as transparent as possible, because there are too many fake people in this world. And when you mentor someone over a long period of time you begin to feel what they feel, you hurt when they hurt, you feel joy when they feel joy. And when they mess up royally you feel like it was a slap in the face. Like there should have been something I could have done to prevent it. Often when this happens you can see the other side they can't, you can see the light, you can dream for them, you can see their future, and all they can see is right now and are in survival mode.

I know this also comes when you're a parent. I don't have children of my own yet. But there are many young people who I feel are mine. I pray for them, dream for them, hope for them, and support them in every way I know how.

Doing what I do and being who I am, I have found myself many times with a broken heart for someone that I want nothing more than to help, but they are refusing to see the light and are choosing to live in the darkness they have known for years, because familiarity is easier to handle than the chance the light might not work out.

And so I find myself in a state like I am today. With tears in my eyes and sadness in my heart, but knowing that I couldn't love them more, at this point I have to let them go. I have to give them to the only one who can truly love them through the darkness. I have to let go and trust that God will protect them and hold on to them even if they are lost for awhile, he has plans for them, and hopefully one day soon they will see the light and will see how beautiful life can be when they walk away from the pain.

So this one is for all those souls in my life that I love dearly. I will continue to love you and pray for you, but today I am letting go of whatever control I wish I had and letting God love you in His perfect unconditional way.

I Couldn't Love You More -- Matt Hammitt



Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Reason for the Season

Well we just had our church Christmas Program on Sunday afternoon. It turned out to be a lot fun and the kids did a great job.

When I was looking for a show to do, I needed something easy, free, and multiple age friendly. This can be hard to find, since I don't want to pay anything. But Google proved to be helpful and I found
The Reason for the Season. You can click on the link and see the script. It really was cute and funny.

I then decided that I only wanted to work with the Middle School Students when it came to the script, but you can't have a program without all of the cute little kids, so we created a little angel choir, and Marge took care of directing that, which is good because I don't do the singing part.

On a side note, I found this video when I was googling the show again. These are not my kids but this is the same show. Their costumes are even similar.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3qKBOxDIxU


We had an interesting time figuring out how to practice for this show. The little kids practiced right after school for two weeks and then they were ready to go. But all of my middle school kids had practice after school so we had to be creative. Then of course they failed to tell me the night most of them were going to be gone to an away basketball game (I have all home events on my calendar so I worked around those). Then there was the fact that I got married right before Thanksgiving and was gone for a week when we historically practiced that week. So we practiced about 5 or 6 times and they were never all there so come Sunday I was definitely wondering why I even tried to do this, this year. But they pulled it off and it was cute.

Big thanks to:
Marge for leading the music.
Jessica for making all of the costumes.
Lennea for accompanying the music.
Zack and Jakeb for running the technology during the show.
Pastor Keith for keeping me sane and for the opening and closing so I could hide.


The Christmas Tree: Is important at Christmas time because it is an Evergreen. The evergreen represents Everlasting life, which we get from Christ who was born at Christmas.



The Star: Is important because it led the Wise Men to Jesus, and it still reminds people today of the way to Christ.



The Angel: The angel was the voice of the good news. And our Angel learned that she should be that voice with or without her halo.



The Card: The Christmas Card is important to share the Christmas cheer and greet everyone in the name of Christ.



The Candy Cane: The Candy Cane represents the staffs the Shepherds carried, the stripes represent the blood Jesus shed when he was whipped, and it is shaped like the letter J for Jesus.



The Present: The Present represents the greatest gift ever given: Jesus.



The Bell: The bell's job is to ring in the good news.



The Stocking: The stocking is empty because it shows that even the emptiest of hearts can be filled with God's love.

The Candle: The candle's job is to bring light to the Reason for the Season.


Our kid choir was quite cute and definitely made the show!




We had two special pianists and they did a great job!



Then we ended the night with a Christmas Banquet









Thanks church family for a great night!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

How's Married Life?

How's married life?

That is the question of the season. Which makes sense since I got married two weeks ago. The wedding was beautiful! It was everything I could ever imagine and more. It is the one set of pictures I look back and don't think, "man, my arms were fat." I truly have never felt more beautiful and loved than on that special day. My dress, hair, the decorations, from walking in with my father to you may kiss the bride, it was amazing. And even with the minor little things that always go wrong when you throw a special event at the end of the day we drove away married.

We have left the, are you excited, questions, and moved on to How's married life?

It was always hard for my sarcastic brain not to answer duh, I'm excited, I'm getting married. But that would be rude.

How's married life?

Not that much different. My husband works nights, and overtime, I never see him. My name has changed, we have one checking account, no one thinks it is weird if I leave early to go make dinner for my husband, and we get two nights a week together.

I still head for work as he is heading to bed. I wake him up in time for dinner, and we get to eat together, Tuesdays are pretty dedicated to date night, and Wednesdays are for church. Those are his two nights off. We play with Ranger, watch some TV, he plays video games and then he goes to work. Our schedules are exactly as they were before we got married. I still pray from the moment he puts his uniform on until he returns safely. We still struggle trying to spend time together, we still hold each other through our fears, insecurities, pains and frustrations. We are still a team.

We just happen to be a team now with the same last night. I know now, that if something were to happen to him at work they would contact me, I wouldn't have to wait to hear from someone else. I take great pride in being a Mrs. and still find myself staring at the rings on my left hand, and the one on his.

Our schedules are so different though, it makes it hard for married life to be different than engaged life. You see I cooked dinner for us ever since he moved to Hesston. I would get off work and let myself into his apartment and wake him up then we would do dinner and hang out until he had to go to work. We would cherish every moment we had together and then say goodnight, that hasn't changed.

Don't get me wrong, I love married life. I wouldn't change it for a minute, I just don't know how to answer that question the way people want me to. It has taken more getting used to my new short hair and using the word husband than anything else. I'm sure that will all change when he gets a different job and we have a matching schedule.

So married life is great. I love my husband, and I can't wait to do the Christmas season together, and it is amazing to do this life with someone always on my team. I love not having to make all of the decisions by myself, I love having someone to cook for, and a reason to leave work. So these first two and half weeks haven't been all that different but this is just the beginning of a life long adventure!


Picture curtesy of On the Wall Photography

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

BookMooch

Have you ever wondered what to do with your books once you have finished reading them? Unless you re-read books a lot there really isn't a point in holding on to your life time supply of reading. I know that I don't have room in my house for a large library. And then there is my office. I have six bookshelves in my office and they are basically packed. There are books I inherited from the previous owner of the office, books from my own collection, college and grad school, there are books I have been given, and some I have purchased and either used or decided it wasn't what I wanted. I have hundreds of books, just sitting here not being used. At home they got so much in the way that I packed them into boxes because I didn't know what else to do with them. I belong to a couple of different book clubs and I have started reading books on my phone so that I don't have to deal with the book itself when I'm done, but even then I can't just loan it out, because it is on my phone, paid for and stuck there.

My friend ByBreenah told me about this website called BookMooch. I'm addicted now. I just want to get rid of them all. You sign up, and put the books you no longer want on there, then other people can get on and look for the books they want. Then they mooch them from you. You mail them to them and you get points on the website. You then in turn can mooch what you are wanting to read from other people, and it only costs you the shipping costs to mail your books out.

Yesterday I mailed 10 books for $16.33, I'm used to spending that much just buying one book, so I say it is worth it, and thankfully Adam goes a long with it! I currently have 19 more books on my desk packaged and ready to go, I'm so excited they are going away. I just want them to be put to use. I don't need to be hoarding them, because I might some day actually get around to reading it....


So if you want me to get rid of your books for you just let me know. Also, I can look for a book for you if you want.

If you would like to check out my inventory here it is.



Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Praying

Do you ever struggle with specific prayer and the fact that what you are wanting might not be part of God's plan?

Waiting can be incredibly hard, I mean no one likes to wait. It is so easy to doubt everything, when you are stuck in a time of waiting. These thoughts come to my mind as I sit in my office trying not to be nervous because Adam has a test for a job today. He loves Law Enforcement but it would be so much better for us if he was not driving back and forth to Wichita every day, and honestly I don't like him working in Wichita, it feels like a different world, and the selfishness inside of me wants him closer to me and not in the craziness of Wichita. We have tried for so many positions in the past few months that it is honestly getting discouraging, and it is hard for me to see him so unhappy.

I remember back when I was job searching I got to the point that I just said God if this is it let me know, otherwise close the door before I get my hopes up. And Hesston just fell into place.

But it is hard to faithfully pray a prayer like that when my heart isn't the one that is going to be broken when the door is closed. It is easier to pray specifically for me. I have had many of my own specific prayers answered, but it is hard to do that for someone who is already discouraged and at times frustrated with God. I find myself just saying please, please, please, God just let this one work, and then having to pick up the broken pieces when it doesn't.

And today, a month away from our wedding day, the idea of picking up broken pieces, again, for the same reason just doesn't seem possible. Then again, I'm not really sure changing jobs is the answer to the prayer, but I do know it will be so much easier to have him closer, even if it is just for gas and car wear and tear.

When I pray, Lord let your will be done, I really mean it. I'm often scared of what that means, but I want the Lord's will to be living out in everything that I do. That just is hard when it feels like his will is hurting the man I love.

I guess I never really thought about how loving someone so completely affects absolutely everything else I do in my life. It is easy to see how it is going to affect things physically and emotionally, but I never thought spiritually loving someone else would be so hard.

So I guess my real prayer today is that Adam can feel God's presence with him while he is testing, that he has confidence in his own abilities, that he does the absolute best he can. I pray that the facilitators of the test are fair and just, and they make the best decision for their need. I pray that God protects Adam's heart from doubt and fear, and that he readies mine for whatever kind of support will be needed when the test is over. I pray that God's will be done, and that we can accept that it is for the best.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Ranger, My New Love!

Two weeks ago Adam and I brought home our first child. Ranger is part Border Collie part Golden Retriever. He is a gorgeous black puppy. Currently he is 9 weeks old and incredibly smart. Children swarm to him and everyone wants to pet him and love on him. He is very active and loves to chew on everything. I absolutely love him and even so there are many, many moments I find myself wishing/wondering why we made this choice. Whew, there I said it, sometimes I just wish he wasn't there getting in between Adam and I and making a mess everywhere, I just want our simple life back, and then he curls up in my lap and lays down.

Ranger has melted this heart of stone towards dogs. I'm a people person, not a dog person. But I guess I am a Ranger person, until he leaves a bomb on the floor then he belongs to his dad and I want just run away. I guess before you all start to think I am the world's worst dog owner I should probably go back in time and tell you about my past with dogs.

Growing up we always had a dog or two. I remember Bambi and Festus really well they were Cocker Spaniels. I was scared of them. My dad had to go outside and holler, "Kennel Up" before I would set foot in the backyard. Bambi and Festus had puppies a few times, and once there was a white one, that my parents decided to save for me. There is a video of me sitting a chair with this puppy named Darnit sitting on my lap. The puppy is so small and not moving and yet there I am crying and wanting it off of me. My parents ended up selling it in a garage sale because I just couldn't handle having a puppy. I grew to love Bambi in her old age long after Festus was gone. She became very calm and loving and we became friends.

Then we got Darbi and Darib our beagles. That took some more work. It was basically like starting over. Eventually I became ok around them and didn't need to have them put away, but it just wasn't the same as Bambi.

Throughout my childhood there were countless screams, and dashing back into the house, or climbing up something as quickly as possible because a dog came down the street. My teacher's quickly learned that dogs at show and tell was a guaranteed way to watch me run out of the room. I wouldn't stay at people's houses if they had a dog, and it was just known I was not a dog person.

When I moved to Hesston my friend Dana asked me to dinner when we first met to see if I was interested in dog sitting for her, I almost laughed at her. There was no way I was sleeping with a dog in my bed. And every time I pull up at her house I wait until she has corralled her ginormous children before I get out of my car.

Then Adam and I started dating. Of course I fell in love with a dog person. This man would bring home every dog he sees if he could. Every time we visit his parents farm we are quickly surrounded by Coors, Buddy, and Callie. Oh I was a mess the first few times we went. I don't even want to talk about the time we went to his older brother's and Flint came outside (Flint is a mastiff).

I have spent a life time battling this fear, a lifetime trying to not react automatically and embarrass myself. So when we went to pick Ranger up, it wasn't before an ample amount of praying, and talking about it. Thankfully he was really calm for the first two days and I had a chance to fall in love with him before he got active. There are times he gives me anxiety and I have to hand him to Adam and go calm down. I don't do well when he snaps and barks at me, but I think we have come to an understanding and he doesn't do it very much anymore.

 My entire life has changed the past two weeks. I'm in full mommy mode, and I never thought I would be this way with an animal of any kind let alone a dog. I hear him in the middle of the night, I worry about what he is chewing on (more for his safety than the item), I read about how to handle certain situations, and I can't go to the store without ending up in the dog aisle picking out a new toy or treat. I have a four legged son who I love to pieces. I'm a doggy mommy (words I never thought I would say)


Meet Ranger!!!














Monday, September 8, 2014

Redeeming Love

At church we just started a bookclub, and our first book selection was Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. When the initial idea for this bookclub came to me I was incredibly excited and set a plan for the whole year, the closer it got to starting this adventure it just seemed like too much. One of my friends volunteered to spearhead it and I am excited to see where it goes. I won't be able to be at each one or even read each book, but I have always wanted to read this book ever since I first heard of it, I just hadn't had the time. I don't tend to be a fast reader but this one didn't take me very long because I couldn't put it down. I absolutely loved it.

This story is a fictional story based on the book of Hosea in the Bible. The prophet Hosea marries a prostitute because God tells him to. The prostitute continues to fight against his love and she runs away continuously. This resembled how the Israelites continually ran away from God's love and went back to the life of sin they knew before.

This version is set in the gold rush time period, and is the story of a prostitute named Angel and the man who saves her name Michael Hosea. The story starts when she is young and she learns her father never wanted her, and then after her mother dies she is sold into prostitution at the age of 8. It isn't until Michael comes along and takes her away that she starts to see a different way of life. She fights it, she can't understand how someone as good and holy as Michael could possibly love her. He has to go and bring her back from a life of prostitution once, and then he brings her back a second time, but she hadn't returned to her previous life. She leaves a third time and falls in love with God and finds her purpose in life. I won't ruin the ending, because I was know I was on edge the whole time hoping the author ended it the way I wanted (She did).

This book had me from the first chapter, and it has been awhile since that has been the case. I love books that are based on a Biblical story but fictionalized, and believable. I felt with these characters and I couldn't wait to see where they were going and how it was going to play out.

This is a story of love, redemption, grace, God, and faith. I highly recommend this book.

The picture of the book is a link to Amazon, where you can purchase this book.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

For Vernon - Rest In Peace!

Growing up at St. Paul UMC I became incredibly attached to the congregation there. They became my family. I always said that the hardest part of my calling was leaving that congregation. When I moved to Hesston I wasn't sure I would ever feel that way about the people here. For awhile a piece of my heart was missing, and I wanted very much to go home. But as I relaxed and got to know people I fell in love here as well. Adam knows the names of people in the church because of how much I talk about them. And when someone at work is important enough for me to talk about at home that means they are pretty darn important to me.

Since I have been in Hesston I have had to go home for a couple funerals that I knew would come eventually but would never be ready for. Its always hard to say goodbye to someone you love and care about. Well for the first time since I have been here now I have one of those funerals here.

Vernon or Nick as many people called him, is what I would call a pillar member of the church. The guy who leads Sunday School, Wednesday morning Bible Study, and comes to everything church related no matter what, that is until the last couple months when it was just too much.

Vernon had the ability to make me feel special, important, and like I was doing a good job. It became one of my favorite starts to my Sunday morning helping him get his coffee and take it down to his Sunday School Class with him. We would chat and he always had a pen to give me. His pens were super cool too, they lit up on one end and were a writing pen on the other. I honestly don't know much about this man except for the presence he had about him every time you saw him.

As I am learning how to share my life fully with another person and care about them as much or more than myself, I have started watching the older married couples in the church and how they interact with each other, talk about each other, and function as a unit. I would have to say that Vernon's wife Lennea is one of the strongest people I know. She stood through her own ailments by his side every day. And now that he is gone she is still standing. At any time in your life when you are "allowed" to be a mess this would be it. But that isn't how she handles herself. I definitely see a role model here.

I am really going to miss seeing this amazing man around but I have no doubt he is no longer in pain and he is at peace. I just want to say thank you to Vernon for being that church family that I needed when I got here. It has been a pleasure and a blessing to spend the few moments each week I had with you. Thank you for your legacy, dedication, and passion for Christ and his people!


Not the best video quality but I found this gem on my computer today.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Let the Children Come - Sermon 8/17/14

Sermon Scripture Mark 10:13-16

As a youth pastor I often feel that I spend my time working in my office surrounded by spreadsheets, books, and to do lists that only get longer as the day goes on. As with any other job there are many days that are overwhelming beyond words and other days so quiet and calm, I am left with only my thoughts to fill the void. The youth when they finally realize this is my full time job, ask what do you do all day? I laugh because there are times I want to answer, what do I not do?
Sometimes I sit overwhelmed by the six meetings I have in one week that have nothing to do with the youth. I just got another phone call that someone can’t make it Wednesday night and everything seems to be falling apart. Then one of the kids walks in my office door and plops down on my couch to tell me how horrible their day at school was and how mom and dad are fighting again, or grandpa is dying of cancer and they don’t know how to handle that on top of studying for that Algebra test on Friday. Even though my chaotic world seemed more than I could handle, in that moment, in that instance my storm stops all I can see is this child. This beautiful child of God trying to figure out how to stay afloat in this crazy life. These are the moments that I hate being interrupted, these are the moments, when the phone can just ring, emails can stay unopened and the chaos it can just be. These are the moments I live for.

I can’t help but wonder if this is where Jesus was at in his ministry in our scripture this morning. Maybe he was a little overwhelmed with the weight of the world, and delivering a message no one understood. Maybe his disciples were really good at perceiving his body language and they knew when he was exhausted and needed a break and this is why they tried to stop the children from coming to see Jesus. And Jesus became upset that they would prevent these little ones from him. Children are of the utmost importance, because it is like children we are to receive the kingdom of Heaven.
I grew up in the church, there has never been a time in my life where church was not part of my story. I can still tell you where everyone sat in church on Sunday morning, and if you were at St. Paul UMC in Arkansas City, KS this morning those that are still alive were most likely still in their seat. As a child nothing made me feel more important than when the “old” people in the church talked to me, knew what I was interested in and what was important to me, and when someone from church would show up at one of my performances or something I was doing, man that was the best. We had Secret Prayer Partners when I was younger and mine was the coolest. I don’t think it ever really clicked that we filled out an information sheet because I thought it was amazing that Mary Jane knew that I collected Trolls. And every year after we were matched she got me one for Christmas. She didn’t have to, we were only matched for a short time, but she did. She noticed me, she made feel special, she took time to know who I was as a silly little girl.

In college, I went to Cowley for theatre, it wasn’t my major but it was my scholarship. I became more devoted to that place and that program as I have ever been devoted to something other than God. I lived and breathed those costumes, I spent countless hours organizing, creating, and just being in that theatre. As I look back over those two years, I have realized as my passion for Performing Arts has dwindled it was never the art that fuelled my soul. There was one man who went out of his way to make sure I knew that I was important and special. No matter what was going on he had time for me, my life, my drama, and whatever I needed from him. We became more than teacher and student, we became friends over our conversations about God and praying for each show. This man did not have to know me on a personal level. He did not have to talk to me about anything but theatre. He did not have to care. And when Scott passed away last summer, that theatre was filled with students and colleagues saying the same thing. He cared, even when he didn’t have to.  Even three years after graduating and not being his student anymore, he was one of the first people I called when I got this job, and he still cared. I was in his program for two years and he cared, he would answer my emails, my phone calls, whatever it was that I needed at anytime. Scott had a couple of sayings that we lived by in theatre and for many of us became mantras we often remembered and mottos now that he is gone.

“This moment right here, “snap” is gone forever.” And “This is a marathon not a sprint.” In life we often want to hurry through to fix and finish whatever we have going on. We rush and rush through life trying to reach our deadlines and solve our problems. This rushed mentality is what stresses us out, makes us feel overwhelmed, and drives us crazy. But these moments that we live through will never exist again, our time on this earth is precious. God put us here for a reason. He put us here to have relationship with him, and to bring others into this same relationship.

This congregation, this church has been blessed with some of the most amazing students I have ever seen. From our little ones the coo and giggle through the service all the way to the ones that have left to go to college. There are some amazing kids here. On average last year we had around 60 students ranging from 4 years old to 16 years old in our programs. These students are passionate, talented, and active in everything they set their minds to. Those of you that help on Wednesday nights have had the pleasure of meeting some of these kids and I hope you see them as the blessings that I do. But since most of you don’t see what they are up to I’m going to share a little with you.

Last summer one our high school girl’s lost her little brother to cancer. Now this brother didn’t live in town and most of the kids had never met him. But the high school youth rallied around her and showed their support by creating a memory frame for her, and a group of them went with me to the funeral in support of their friend in pain.

We have a high school student who in the midst of practice and school work not only sits on our Church council, but runs our youth council, is co-president of our Conference Council on Youth Ministry, devoted 3 weeks of his summer as a volunteer down at camp, and runs our sound system most Sunday mornings and that is only the surface of his dedication.

We have middle school students so passionate about missions that they go each week and make a difference somewhere. From filling food sacks for students to shopping for Christmas presents for kids they don’t know.

Each week I amazed at what the elementary students remember from the week before during BibleZone. It always feels like they aren’t paying attention, but they can tell you what they learned, and they might know more memory verses currently than I do, and I mean, they think Pastor Keith is a rock star!

Our high school youth council meets once a month and plans events and activities for the youth group to do. Last year a group of five high school boys decided our theme for the year should be compassion and we should do more mission stuff. And last year they raised money for the Wounded Warrior Project and a little girl with cancer named Diamond. That money was not from a fundraiser or any sort of project, but merely a weekly offering taken from their own pockets.

It is because of their enthusiasm and passion that we start new things, go places, and expand our horizons. These kids are so amazing I am starting to feel selfish because you don’t know them like I do. They text me when a friend is suicidal and they don’t know how to help, not you. They invade my office with stories from their day at school not yours. They blow my mind with their understanding of scripture, not yours. But you see they should be connecting with you. Because you are the church, you are the body of Christ. As Christians we are called to be like Christ, and Christ opened his arms to the children in the midst of his busy schedule and gave them the attention they were seeking. You see it takes a village to raise a child, not a youth pastor. Of those 60 children I bet I have a solid one on one connection with about 10 of them. They don’t all connect with me, nor do I have the time or mental capacity to fully connect with all of them, but you see I can’t, I’m not what all of them need. I truly believe that there is an adult in this church for every single one of our students. I look around this sanctuary every Sunday and dream what it would be like if each of you was personally connected to one of our young people. I dream about what it would be like to have so many volunteers that I never had to say no to an event or idea due to lack of adults. I dream about how loved and special each of our young people would feel if they knew a handful of our church members by name and those same church members were the ones cheering them on at their football games. I dream of a church so invested in their children and youth, that conversations about decorations, hymns vs praise music, and what goes where were not at the top of our meeting lists, but in fact conversations about where the children are headed, where are we going to fit them all, and how can we help them more.

The children are NOT the future of the church. They are the church. They are a vital growing part of this church. And many of you never see them. Imagine what this church could do if we never had to beg for volunteers! Seriously close your eyes, and think about it. If each of you volunteered once a semester we would never have to beg. Jessica, Kris & Derek, Melody, and I should be overwhelmed with the number of volunteers we have rather than being overwhelmed with how much work we have. So my challenge to you today as we prepare for all of our activities to begin in September, I challenge you to honestly pray about how God can use you in our children and youth programs this school year. You can’t be that mentor, that one on one connection, that person that makes that one kid feel like a million bucks, if they have no idea who you are.

These students are only here for awhile, they’re days of adolescence are numbered. They will leave us, they will become adults, they will take your places on committees and planning teams. This moment that we have with them will gone in flash, and we will never get it back. What we do here is just the beginning; new life is starting at every ending. We are a part of a story unfolding. This is the weight of the world we are holding. This could be our day. Are you ready to give yourself away?


Friday, July 18, 2014

Homemade With Love

I absolutely love Pinterest. I definitely spend too much of my time looking at things that I love, want to do or make. It never fails Pinterest has something for whatever I'm looking for. Right now I am planning my wedding and it has been very helpful to be able to see what my mind is thinking about in picture form. I am the type of person that if I can see it, then I know it is possible and I can more than likely accomplish it.

A few months ago I was doing some prep work for an event and I needed a craft that a group of mixed ages could do that would take about 30 minutes to accomplish and would be a great door hanger for the people who live at the retirement home here in town. It didn't matter how I typed it in the search menu Pinterest was not giving me what I was looking for. I mean if I was decorating my classroom door there were tons but not what I was wanting. I couldn't find it on Oriental Trading or even Google. Talk about a searching fail. So I sat in my office looking around trying to think of something that would be just right. Under my desk I have a big box of old card fronts. The church members give them to me to use for different things. We make a lot of cards in some of my groups so they are perfect. Well I started cutting crosses out of the cards and was enthralled by how unique each one was. Then I saw some foam crosses on the other side of the room and put together a craft.

I was pretty impressed with what I came up with, if I do say so myself. Then today I was going through the finished products after a group of 2nd-8th graders put them together on Wednesday and I have to say I am in love with this project. They're adorable. There really wasn't a way to mess them up, and each one is as unique as the maker and the person who will receive it.



I do believe I see some future card front crafts in our future here at the church! :)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

We Love Because He First Loved Us

I'm so excited for your wedding!  This seems to be a sentence I hear a lot these days. I'm never really sure how to respond to this statement. I mean obviously I'm excited too, but some of these people seem more excited than I am. I mean don't get me wrong I am incredibly excited. I have given some thought to this difference in excitement, you see most people are excited about the dresses, the colors, the food, and the party atmosphere a wedding brings. Here's the deal though, I don't like dresses, colors are colors, food is expensive, and I don't party. I think I see the difference in excitement.  There is honestly a part of me that wants to go to the courthouse and not deal with all of the hoopla wrapped around this one day. There is a part of me that dreads the inevitable dress shopping and the idea of so many pictures of me being taken in said dress...weddings can be so incredibly stressful. It is such a huge day that marks your life and makes a statement about your chosen relationship for life.

But it isn't the wedding I am looking forward to, it is everything that is happening after. I'm excited about marriage. I'm excited about spending my life serving Adam, serving with Adam, learning everything about him, riding the tides of life with him, and together becoming the couple in ministry that God has planned for us. I'm excited to see where God takes this relationship. It has been incredible to be a part of this journey. There are so many moments I find myself overwhelmed by the way God has answered my prayers in an old friendship that has become so much more. I often look over at Adam and am humbled to think that he has chosen me and the only thing I can do is say a prayer of thanks for the incredible man God has brought into my life for me to love. So when I think about marriage and all that comes with it I am overwhelmed with excitement.

You might be thinking, why don't you just get married then, just skip the wedding. There is another side to weddings I haven't mentioned yet, and this is the part I am excited for, the part that is worth all of the planning, and even worth putting on a dress. It is the part where we get to unite our lives in a worship setting. We get to to share what God has done in our lives with our closest friends and family. God created us to be a people of community. We are not meant to go through life alone. Adam and I did not come to this part of our lives alone. We will not go through any other part of our life by ourselves. We are meant to worship in community, serve in community, and overall live lives of community....so why would we start this new phase of our lives without the community we have love and cherish? I cant even imagine going that route. I am also a person that loves tradition, so bring on the dresses, the colors have been selected, we will have cake and eat it too, as for the party....we will do it in full camp and church style!

So as I sit here staring at the piece of jewelry that started all of this excitement I can't help but feel incredibly blessed and excited about the love story that is being written in the lives of two people part of a Christian community in a world created by love itself. "This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us." - 1 John 4:9-12

If I run off to the courthouse then I am preventing my community from an opportunity to experience love which is to experience God himself. And that goes against everything I believe in and stand for. So bring on the wedding and all it entails, oh and bring on the excitement and bring on the sharing of love!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Arms of Love

There have been a lot of things going on lately that have made me want to write. The most recent being a funeral I worked this morning. I think I am starting to hate them less than I used to. There is just something spiritual about watching friends and family gather in honor and memory of someone.

A year ago in June, I was broken beyond words. Scott's death hit really hard. I view death in a way that means usually I'm not too sad when someone dies, but this one was different. It didn't matter how I looked at it, or what I could tell myself it was not easy to deal with. There were definitely many tears shed, and even months later I would find myself at a loss for words to describe how I felt. I spent a good six months battling being angry with God and then angry at myself for being angry. Thankfully I serve a loving God who is big enough to handle all of my earthly emotions. From Scott's death in June through the rest of the summer, it sure felt like God was testing me. There were issues with my little sister that I mentor, my car died, and then there were three more deaths. Needless to say I started the school year a shell of myself, and just went through the motions with my job and everything around me. My passion and fire was missing and I knew it but I couldn't figure out what I needed to fix it. In January I finally was able to mend my broken spirit and come back to being who I normally am.

Through all of this though I was surrounded by people who loved and cared about me. From my neighbors upstairs to my family and friends miles away. I had a church family here and far that were praying for all of the different situations. I found myself feeling incredibly blessed, loved, and at home. I honestly think it took a time of pain, fear, frustration, and loss in this place to finally feel like I was home. It is easy to love a new place during the hype of being hired and moving into your first place by yourself. But after all of that wears off the loneliness sets in and you start to wonder if you really are where you are supposed to be, especially being single and having no reason to stay home and do things in town it was really hard to connect and feel at home. Then tragedy hits and these people rise up to surround you with love and support, and even though I wanted nothing more than to pack up and go home I had to stay here because I had a job to do. I had people that needed me here. And through sticking it out, I fell in love with this community. And then I fell in love for real, and he moved up here to be with me, and now I have another reason to stay. I have roots starting to grow deeper and I still love going to Ark City to visit, but Hesston has become home.

So now as there is chaos and turmoil brewing in my hometown, there is a part of me that is dying not being there to help where I can. But then I go home or to Adam's and there are arms waiting for me. Understanding arms that are willing to hold me through the fears and tears. Arms that understand that even a year later the grief isn't fully gone, so sometimes I just need someone to hold me. These arms are the only place my heart desires when the reality of the brevity of life hits hard. It is no longer pure and utter torture to be an hour and a half away from my family when something painful happens.

The only thing different this year is that these arms that are holding me, I can feel them on a physical level that I didn't have. But I know and I felt the arms that never let go of me even last year in all of the pain and those arms are still holding me, and have provided me with physical arms as well.

The truth is our life here on earth is going to hurt, its going to be brief, and it is going to be filled with sorrow and suffering. But we have a Creator watching over us and guiding us through the battles of life. And when we trust Him, He provides for us exactly what we need when we need it. I don't think I would appreciate the strong arms that now hold me if I hadn't gone through so much with out them. I learned how to fully rely on God, I fell in love with my community and church family, I learned that all emotions are justified as long as you deal with them in appropriate ways, I learned that my faith was stronger than I knew, and then I experienced/am experiencing God answer my lifelong love prayer.

So my prayer today for you is that no matter what you are facing today you reach out for the arms that have never left you. Reach out for those hands that created you, the hands that are scarred and bled for you, the only hands that can heal, protect, and guide your soul through this life. If you're lonely reach out, also, to the earthly hands that have been provided for you to hold; in your family, friends, and community. You don't have to go through anything alone. You are always surrounded by the arms of love.

Arms of Love - Kutless

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Wedding Work Out Challenge

So I have a feeling in the next 6 months there will be a lot of wedding planning posts. Because I pretty much have wedding planning on the brain....For real...6 months.....from tomorrow!!!! That's crazy and completely amazing all at the same time. I'm such a planner and organizer, I'm having way too much fun with this...I have a feeling at some point I might drive Adam nuts, but he picked me so I guess he knew what he was getting himself into...

I thought I would share our wedding work out challenge we decided on yesterday. Adam and I both have been wanting to lose weight but we get bored easily with workouts and with our work schedules it just doesn't happen too much. So we settled on some incentive to get into better shape for our wedding and the rest of our lives....

Wedding Work Out Challenge

Begins: Thursday, May 22, 2014
Ends: Friday, November 21, 2014

The person with the biggest percentage weight loss gets to pick our first dog......


I can't believe I not only agreed to this, but it was my idea.


I better get my butt in gear before I end up the mommy of one of these:


Or these:


Or these:



I'm pretty sure the idea of owning a ginormous dog gives me more anxiety than anything wedding related. If you know me, you know that dogs and I have a really rocky relationship....and the bigger they are the rockier it gets....


Maybe if he wins he will pick one of these gorgeous things:




If I win this is more of what I'm thinking:

Or this:


And just because he hates these as much as I hate big dogs, this: 



I guess we will just have to wait and see what the next 6 months will bring. I have wrapped my head around the inevitability of being a dog owner...of course we will need to find a place to live that will let us have a dog. Coors is going to have a sibling before too long, and each of our motivation and dedication will determine what kind of sibling he will get....whew....pray for us! :)

Sunday, May 18, 2014

I Have Found the One Whom my Soul Loves!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014 will definitely go down in the books as one of the best days of my life.

Adam proposed!

It has been such a whirlwind since he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him, I still look at my hand and am surprised to see such a gorgeous ring on my finger. I am so incredibly blessed to have this amazing man in my life, and I absolutely love being in love with him.

Our Story:
Adam and I met at Camp Horizon the summer of 2008. I was a counselor and he was there to volunteer. He was still in high school at the time, and I had already completed my first year of college. So yes, I'm older! He ended up spending the whole summer at camp and we became friends. I asked back the next few years to help with Performing Arts Camp. It kind of became OUR camp, until he changed jobs and couldn't come back anymore. Through working at camp together we became really good friends. Then when he didn't make it back the next two summers, we kind of lost touch. Then he moved back to the family farm in Belle Plaine and got a job at the Sedgwick County Detention Center.

We met up with a couple friends for his birthday in September. It was the first time we had seen each other in over two years. He walked in the door and I leaned over to Nicole and said, "Oh I had forgotten how cute he is." I had never thought of him as anything more than a friend, but during that meal it was all I could do to not stare at him. After dinner we started texting and catching up. A week later I decided I wanted to ask him to my brother's wedding. Nicole had a date, and I didn't really want to go alone, so I prayed about it before and just asked that if we weren't supposed to be more than friends then he would just be busy and not able to go. Well it turns out he was free, and he went to Daric's wedding as my date.

I happened to be so incredibly busy that I wasn't a very good date. I felt horrible for ditching him the whole time. Thankfully Nicole was there for him to hang out with so he wasn't by himself with a bunch of people he didn't know. I did manage to push him into the photo booth, and made him dance with me once. Looking back now, I'm thankful for these pictures.


After the wedding he came back to my parents house for dinner and we finally got a chance to hang out. We started talking and seriously catching up. We talked about everything we had missed over the past two years and different things from our lives. We talked for hours. At one point he asked me out, we actually debated whether it was before or after midnight. We settled on before midnight!

Then we just started trying to see each other as much as possible. He started coming up and going to youth group and my kids fell in love with him immediately. We have spent every possible moment with each other since we started dating. He actually moved to Hesston in March to make it even easier to spend time with each other, it also helped with the commute to and from work, and got him off his parents couch. He really likes having his own place.

It has been incredible having a partner in ministry. Someone that my boys can look up to and a good example of Christian guy for the girls. I have a reason to go home from work, I have someone to cook for, and someone to take care of me when I have bad days. He is the first person I think of when I wake, and the last person I think of before I fall asleep. He fills my dreams, and days that I don't get to spend with him are days I don't like.

Sometimes it is hard because he sleeps all day and works all night, and it is often hard for him to wake up and function in the evenings, and it is only fun to hang out with someone sleeping for so long. But we have managed to make it work and create a life together that works for us. We do have the same day off so we get to spend it together.

The Proposal:
Adam planned the proposal for the last youth group of the year. We went out to one of our youth group kids' house. The plan was to grill out and have a bonfire. Adam and the youth council boys went out early to "set up." When the rest of us got there we circled up to pray. After the prayer everyone started to disperse, he walked up to me and started talking to me, then he got down on one knee and proposed. It just so happened that there were three different cameras that caught our special moment, and it was incredibly special having all of my kids there. He stayed up all day to go get the ring in Pratt. He picked it out on his own and then even double checked it with my best friend to make sure I would like it. I do have to say he did a great job, I LOVE it!!!














Save the date! November 22, 2014 is our Wedding Day!!!! :)