Thursday, December 22, 2011

Heart Therapy

So awhile back, I started to get more involved in the blog world.  The first thing I did was completely change how my blog looked (I like it so far, haha).  Then I did the 101 things to do list (which I'm super behind on, but I'm working on it). 

Another thing I did was participate in an Ornament exchange and my ornament came!!!  I will share it with you next post.  However, now I want to start being involved in something else.

It's also through the blog that did the ornament exchange. From Eisy Morgan:

"Heart Therapy: Where we share what we are walking through.

 I will give a writing prompt that you can spin off of, or just share something you have been feeling or thinking about, or something you are learning or going through. Time to do something that will help your heart. Something I believe we neglect all too often. " - Eisy Morgan


And now I want to start being a part of it. Here is the prompt we got: "This week we are listing what we value. All too often we choose what we value based on what we think people want us to value, rather than what we really love."

What are my values?  
Education: beliefs and philosophy on education for myself: I believe that we should always be learning.  If you haven't learned anything today, you're doing something wrong.

Politics: I try to stay out of them

Religion: <- a word I try not to use.  To me religion implies rituals, following rules just because they are rules, not truly believing but doing all the 'right' things.  I am a child of God's, a believer of Jesus Christ, saved by grace, not by works.  Totally unworthy, but totally loved

Parenting: How do I want to raise my kids once I have a family? To become loving, respectful, faithful adults.  I pray that they know and love the Lord, but I trust Him in what He's going to do.  I'll probably have a more 'traditional' home than what is considered 'modern.'

Love Relationship: What characteristics are most important: Respect, love, faith, and all three towards God. Respect everyone, even if they don't deserve it.  Love everyone, especially if they don't deserve it.  Have faith in everyone, for it's not your place to judge. Respect God. Love God. Believe God.

Men: who is the ideal man for you (if you aren't married) The one described above, haha.  A small town guy. Someone who isn't afraid of working hard, getting dirty, and showing his love for everyone. One who loves God more than me, and knows God on a personal level.  Ha, the vision in my head is that guy who follows John Waynes saying Talk Low, Talk Slow, and don't talk much, wearing flannel, and is just a big teddy bear.  How funny!


Friends: what kind of friends am I attracted to? Those who accept me, those who bring new things to my life, and they tend to live all over the US

Movies: what kind do I like best? Romantic Comedy

Books: Favorites? Fantasy Fiction

Jewelry: What is my style? Silver!! Or White Gold

Fashion: I love sweaters in the winter, you'll always find me in jeans if I'm not dressed up, modest clothing (Modest is hottest, haha)

Cars:  I really want a truck, preferably a Chevy

Architecture and House Style: Old Farm House with a wrap around porch
 
Furniture: Old fashioned furniture

Gemstone: Emerald or Ruby

Weather: Fall weather, I like the leaves, the bonfires, the wearing of sweatshirts

Geography: The Midwest holds my heart


Season: Fall

Music for Listening:Contemporary Christian, 90s Country

Music for Dancing: Upbeat pop music


Leisure Time Activity: Riding horses, reading a good book


Kick-up-your-heels fun:Skydiving! Tap Dancing, Learning something new!


Exercise: Tap Dancing!


Television Show: I'm obsessed with Grey's Anatomy and I love Once Upon a Time

Food to cook/eat:
I'm a baker, so I love baking (even though I'm not a sweets person)
I love eating veggies!

Restaurant:
Applebee's

Shopping Place:
Thrift Stores

Vacation:
California :)

Sport to watch:
Competitive Dancing/Gymnastics

Color:
Red or Earth Tones

Fabrics:
Flannel!

Flowers: 
Orchids

Conversation: about what and with whom? I absolutely love talking with all the counselors from Marmon.  I consider them second family.  Talking about all the awesome things God is doing in our lives, our struggles, our triumphs, everything. God is amazing!

Favorite Age Group to hang out with?
Jr. High age!!! I love them!


What is YOURS?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Confessions of a 21 year old



I officially have 1 day left of being 21.  It's actually almost over, but we'll go with one day.  I've had a few posts with some confessions, but I think I want to start doing this weekly.  Just short, one line confessions, to record the week, to lay some thing down, simply for the fact that it's good for the soul.  Maybe you'll get something out of it, maybe not, but either way.  They might be pointless, but they are what they are.  Also, there will be no explanations, just confessions.  I like it :)  So here is the first 'official' one, as well as the last one as a 21 year old.

Confessions:
 Tonight, I choose to  choose 21 things, to honor my last few hours of my age
  1. I said I was going to bed 58 minutes ago, yet here I sit on the computer
  2. I started 2 Samuel a month ago, and haven't gotten past chapter 1
  3. Presents for Christmas have yet to be finished
  4. My closet looks like a department store exploded
  5. I'm super excited to have my entire family around for Christmas
  6. I haven't unpacked from college yet
  7. I love where I work
  8. I struggle with trying to be like Christ.  There are some days where going with this world seems so appealing, and I constantly lose the fight.
  9. I secretly still love Harry Potter :)
  10. Normally I love the Christmas music, but for some reason haven't been in the mood
  11. I've been debating about Santa Clause and what he may mean to my future family
  12. I'm a Sunday driver, as in I drive really slow (sometime slowing down just to take a picture)
  13. I'm not so good with small animals, that's why I like the big dogs and the big horses
  14. I'm awful at keeping a journal
  15. Somewhere, I know that God is preparing my husband just for me
  16. I'm so excited for what God has in store for me
  17. I totally got a thrill out of learning to program collapsible lists in Microsoft Word today
  18. I wish someone could actually surprise me, but my brain tends to put little clues together (only one has managed, and she is legendary, Miss Jasmine, haha)
  19. I've dreamed about turning 22 on the 22nd of December... 
  20.  I've texted while driving, but have made a pact to never do it again (it's been awhile now, I'm proud of that)
  21. I like having accountability in my life.  Otherwise, I would be fine sitting around doing absolutely nothing!
Happy Wednesday Night!  

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Bumpy Ride

I had a riding lesson the other day.  It was freezing.  It was the day after the first real snow in BG (we had at least an inch there until the sun came up), so everyone was a little crazy.  Horses act like humans when the temperature changes; they kinda freak out like we do, as if we didn't know it was supposed to snow in December... anyway, the horse lesson...

I got to ride a new horse this past time (the horse isn't new, I just haven't ridden him before).  He's an arabian, and I knew that I previously hadn't enjoyed riding arabians, so already, before even getting on, I pretty much knew it would be a long lesson.  Great frame of mind right?

I get on, and he takes off.  Not like a bullet or anything, but a super fast walk.  The kind where you feel like you are being thrown around because the horse is moving so much.  Dang nab, it was uncomfortable!  I was trying to get him to relax and what not, but he was having none of it.

So we started to trot a bit.  For you non-horse people, it's a bouncy 2 beat gait that's kind of like a jog for us, up and down, which translates to you going up and down in a saddle, which already doesn't sound very pleasant to the rear end, right?  Well, like I said, he was already moving a lot, and the trot wasn't an exception.  He just didn't want to slow down.  Add a few quick turns, half canters, a few walks, plus the horse acting like it was a pretzel, folding itself basically in half, and it was quite the comedic show!

There is a point to all this, so bear with me.

The trot was going fast enough to be what is considered a "posting trot," which translates to the rider going in and out of the saddle in sync with the horse, which in turn makes it a bit more comfortable.  However, in the kind of showing I do, you aren't supposed to do that.  We get to stay uncomfortable with the hope that it becomes more comfortable with time (yes, we know that doesn't make sense...)

Thus, I sat the trot through the roughness.  Eventually, he calmed down and the trot got a bit better.  We went on to canter a bit, and it was fun.  We got to a pattern and he did amazing!  Flying lead change and everything! [fancy horse term you don't need to know].

The point of the whole thing is that God teaches things through everything that you do. Looking back on the lesson, it totally relates to my life.  That trot was mighty uncomfortable.  I knew that it would eventually become more comfortable, but at that given moment, it would have been much easier, and nicer on my derriere if I had started posting.  But, as I said, that's not what I was supposed to do.

Things in my life can be rough.  Plans go astray, details get left out, new things come up, things don't go how I want them to, the unexpected happen, other things like a friend bailing on you, someone walking out of your life, or people making you really mad. There are times where it would be so easy to just let go of my values and my beliefs and act in a way that is totally not how a child of God should act.  I mean, He is always right beside us, shouldn't we act with that knowledge in the foreground of our thoughts?  It's easy to choose the route that is less difficult even if it requires we lose our morals along the way, our beliefs.

But it's not what we should do.  Sometimes you just have to "cowboy up" (I apologize for the terms here, you'll just have to deal with it) and sit through the bumpy ride.  Jesus never said that following Him and His example would be easy.  He actually said it would be terribly difficult...

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.  If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you."
John 15:18-19

It's kind of a harsh statement.  We aren't home in this life.  Which, personally, I'm okay with.  The world's kind of crazy!  We have such an awesome thing waiting for us... an eternal gift.  But living for Christ isn't easy.  I cringe when I hear someone say that by accepting Christ, all your troubles will be over and life will be smooth sailing! Why would the devil ever make your life easy if you are not on his side?!?!  Anyway, things are going to get rough, and the enemy wants you to slip up and live a life that doesn't glorify Christ, but through His strength, and through the blessings that He gives us, we can make it through without losing sight of our beliefs.  And the cool thing is that He's right there to help us through it. 
Wow, so it's kind of preachy, but it's what God taught me this week, through a super bumpy trot.  

Just thought I'd share.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Country Christmas 2011


God has blessed my life with amazing people. And quite a few of them just so happen to revolve around Marmon Valley.  This past weekend, I took a group of 5 people from our Bible study here at BG down to Marmon to serve in their Country Christmas program (see the very bottom for a quick shout out/advertisement for the event).

The amazing group that traveled to the Farm
It was quite a lot to ask 5 college students to give up the last free weekend before studying for finals began.  We all had a lot to get done, but everyone managed to free some time in their schedule to come, and I think they were all rewarded generously.

We set out on a nice trail ride
I saw a quote the other day (the website Pinterest will add so much more procrastination time to my life) that said:

"Do you know that nothing you do in this life will ever matter, unless it is about loving God and loving the people he has made?" - Francis Chan, Crazy Love. 

Could you imagine if that is really how we lived our lives?  Living only in the way that matters, loving God in all that you do?  It's like that song by Steven Curtis Chapman, Everything You Do (check out the song here).  It was so cool to see people give up their weekends to go and serve the Lord by showing a ton (we actually had around 1000 people see the show) of people the story of Christ's birth and the Gospel message.

Anyway, I should give you a bit of background about this event I'm talking about.  For visitors that come, they get all bundled up and board either a hay wagon or bleachers pulled by a tractor.  A narrator starts to tell them the story when they arrive at the first scene.The visitors then go from scene to scene where the Christmas story is acted out.  At the manger scene, the Gospel is shared to every visitor (that means at least 1000 people heard the Gospel last weekend <-That is amazing!).  Once done with the tour, the visitors can go on a pony ride (small children, that is), have hot chocolate and cookies, make a craft, go to a petting zoo, and even buy a Christmas tree. It's a super cool event for the whole family!

Beautiful shot of standoff with a llama
So like I began my post, I have been blessed with amazing people!  This weekend, I got to spend some time with a lot of them, sharing life problems, life praises, and some fun times, exploring, enjoying God's beauty, our struggles and triumphs.  It is so encouraging to be a part of the body of Christ.  With people that I can go months without seeing, yet when I see them, we pick up as if we never left.  I hope that the group I took with me enjoyed Marmon as much as I do.  It was great getting to know them more and make some new memories.
Night time on the playground.  Gorgeous stargazing
We had 3 people ride for their very first time!!!
Our fearless bug killer!

Look how pretty he looks!
He was kind of a wide load.... :)

God is so good and I pray that He is blessing you right now.  It's easy to get caught up in the gifts, Santa Claus, the elf on the shelf, budgets, and whatever else the "holiday season" brings, but I pray that the Lord helps you refocus on just what the season represents - that our God sent His Son to become like man to save us all from guaranteed death.  Like my church here is talking about on Sunday "Jesus' birth was an act of war to save mankind." Quite the thought provoking statement, huh?


Here is my shameless plug for Country Christmas:
If you have never experienced a live nativity and have the desire to do so, please check out www.marmonvalley.org and visit next weekend with your family!  It's amazing - and way more than just a live nativity.  There are pony rides, a petting zoo, music, Christmas trees, and of course the live reenactment of the Christmas story.  Hundreds of volunteers make it possible and this weekend alone, around 1000 visitors came to see the production.  Such a cool event for the family! Last weekend to see it: December 9 and 10.

I pray that someone blesses your life today!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Long overdue update

It's been a few weeks since I last wrote in here. So much has gone on, and I've honestly just been lazy about writing everything down here.  

As you've probably caught onto, I've been participating in a job hunt... it's kind of like an Easter Egg hunt, but way harder.  I'm glad it's not really an egg hunt, because then I'd have no clue and no say in what job I got, but it would still be easier.  Any way, the past month has been filled with job interviews, phone calls, questions, emails, lots of traveling -which by the way, Petey (the car) went over 68,000 miles on Sunday... if you recall, it went over 65,000 on September 13 <-- just a little over two months ago!  [ check out the video by clicking here ] To celebrate Petey's victory, I recorded it!  Can anyone guess what musical soundtrack is playing in this one?
video

Anyway, back to the story... the past month has been filled with plenty of things to keep me busy.  And to keep me dependent on God.  A job is a big thing.  I mean, it's not just a job; we're talking about my career here.  It's not the job I get to just pay for gas in my car or for college, it's going to be supporting me for the rest of my life.  I know that this job may not be the one I stay at for life, but in all honesty I hope it is.  But even if it isn't, it is still setting the foundation for my career.
I feel like this describes my thoughts on the job hunt...
Not exactly something you want to go into without consulting Him first, right?  I prayed for guidance and direction on the job decision [quick input, I was given two job offers on the same day, with a 2 week deadline to decide].  I asked for discernment as to where I should go/be [one was in Ohio, the other in Colorado].  This prayer often leads to some kind of hint as to where He's trying to get me to lean.  At first I didn't quite figure anything out.  Meaning both offers were similar minus the location.  Not much to go on there.  But after consulting a ton of people, spending time in the word [funny story to tell you about that one when I'm done], researching, writing pros and cons list in the shower [loving my crayons by the way, haha], and just sitting still, I finally accepted an offer last Wednesday.

I.Q.
Wahoo!  (p.s I love the movie I.Q.)



What an exhilarating moment, saying that "I formally accept your offer" over the phone, running downstairs and telling everyone(because I was home home at that time, the day before Thanksgiving), and just feeling peace about it was so cool!

<--That's how I felt, like Einstein on a motorcycle yelling "Wahoo" (you should watch the movie I.Q. It's great!)

God is good, and I know He's up to some pretty cool stuff.  I just can't wait to see what it is.  But until then, I have quite a few recaps to tell you about:


1. Funny story I mentioned earlier. :

I had been praying for discernment when Brandy told me to read the Bible, because sometimes God speaks through his word.  So, not being one to turn down advice, I did.  I've been reading the Old Testament for most of the year and at the time, I was in Judges.

[[Little bit of background, Judges is a time where Israel kept turning from God.  After a while, they would realize their mistake (we're talking sometime 40 years before they'd realize) and then they would cry out to God and He'd send someone to save them all [kind of sounds familiar... hmm]. The time of the Judges was pretty brutal, violent, and gruesome.  The book starts out with an entire army losing their thumbs and big toes to keep them from fighting.  It's a gross book in all honesty, but definitely an interesting read]]

When I went to read that morning per Brandy's advice, I started in Judges 20. After finishing the book of Judges (chapters 20-21), I let Brandy know that I didn't think God had anything to say regarding my job hunt that morning. It is definitely one of the more gruesome passages, ending with someone being chopped up into pieces... which in the end puts the point across to Israel that they have some major issues going on and they need to wake up!

2. Henry - our dog

Sometime in the past two weeks, I have managed to take a few power naps on our really comfy couch in our living room.  They've been enjoyable, catching up on the tv shows I DVR (aka Grey's Anatomy or currently Once Upon a Time).  After one nap, I woke up to find Henry sleeping on my head.  I guess it was comfortable up there.  I thought I'd share a picture with you:
Henry-man decided sleeping on my head was the most comfortable place to be
3. Staff Ride - Helmets required :)

Two weeks ago, a friend of mine (Rachel) picked me up and we headed down to Marmon to trail guide for the day.  When we got there, we realized there were 2 others there from our summer staff, so Jane decided we should all go on a staff ride - meaning a ride where we actually go to interesting places that you can't take public riders to... It was so much fun!  I miss being down there.  It's so cool to be surrounded by fellow believers who get what's going on in your life.  I've been so blessed by the people I met and worked with, and I continue to be!

We ended up spending the night and having breakfast at the Farm (totally unintended, I blame the washing machines, haha). It was great catching up with friends!

We had a blast on our staff ride!  (no laughing at the helmets, we forgot ours and had to borrow some)

4. Baking

I love baking!  The month of November marked the month of me trying many different recipes to figure out what I wanted to make for Christmas.  These treats were definitely my favorite: [ check out the recipe here ]
Don't these look delicious!  Bite sized s'mores
5. Horse Show #2

Yep, we had another horse show, and I actually remember my camera this time!  It was my first canter show, so naturally, I was terrified <-- I don't think that's actually true. I was pretty okay with it.  After all, I had just spent the entire week focused on the job search, how much harder could riding a horse be?  Anyway, it was a good day. I got 6th out of 7 and 3rd out of 4, not too terribly bad for my first canter show.

It was a fun filled day where we got to see an old friend ride and Lauren pointed up to the next class too! 
Putting on chaps is way more complicated than one would think

Concentrating really hard

That's my "that could have gone better" face

We were "twins" - according to Lauren
6.  Hard Tack Candy

Every year (for the past 4 years) I have made candy with some wonderful people.  This year there were only 4 of us (technically 5 towards the end of the day) and we made a grand total of 64.5 lbs of hard tack.

It makes for a long day (we leave at 7:15, pots start boiling around 8:30, first batch goes on the slab at 9, we left at 5 = a lot of work).  It may be long, but it's so much fun, especially when you add in lots of candy, good food, an OSU vs. Michigan game (with fans from both sides in the house). All in all, I'd say it was a good day.  Check out some pics:
64.5 lbs of hardtack!
 We did have some issues though.  4 people + 4 pans of boiling sugar + 1 marble slab + 4 pairs of scissors + 3 marble slabs = disaster at some point.  We ended up throwing half of a batch away (it was cloves, so it wasn't that big of a loss), but man did it make a mess (not to mention the putrid color it was at first).


 The start of disaster for this batch of hardtack


It ended up in the sink... but it looks like a pretty vase
Not only did we mess up that batch, but the pans started to boil over when we were working on other things.  It made quite the mess on the stove...

We kinda made a mess...
All in all, it's been a great two weeks.  It felt like they went on forever, but at the same time, so quick!  It was nice to be home, spending time with family, spending time with friends, bowling, four wheeling, getting muddy, having lunch with the Hoovers <-- gotta love that!  I can't believe there are only 2 1/2 weeks left of this semester, and then I'm one away from graduating!

I hope that you all had a great two weeks, and I'm looking forward to updating you on Country Christmas later on [if you have a moment, check out Marmon's website: http://www.marmonvalley.org to learn more about Country Christmas, it's a great event to take your kids to!!!  I'll be working there this weekend!]

P.S. About the job thing, if you're curious, please feel free to email me about it, because I can't really say much about it here as far as details go. 

God Bless!!! 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Stop!

This past week (well more like the past two days) I was in Cleveland!  Yes, little farm town me was in Cleveland, but at least it wasn't downtown :) Before I get to my point, I have to share a picture with you that I saw on Thursday.  And yes, that is a Shrek doll on a little kids car, on a big car hauler... haha!

This was on a car hauler... totally made my day :)
I was there for a job interview.  It feels like interviews run my life right now, and I'm not complaining about it.  I am extremely blessed to have them right now, so I will just give praise and say thank you to God for what He's given.

Anyway, the title of this post... Stop!  On my way to Cleveland (via the turnpike... can you say 70mph-->Yay!), God stopped me, literally and figuratively.  Once I got on the turnpike, I grabbed my little ticket and then put it somewhere.  I thought I put it in my lap, but turns out I didn't.  I had probably been driving for about 45 minutes before it dawned on me I had no idea where the ticket was, meaning by the time I got to Cleveland, trouble would be near if I didn't find it.  So like all bad drivers (<--confession of a 21 year old, oops.  Normally I'm not a bad driver) I started to search for it.  After say 5-10 minutes of this scary driving, I realized this was a dumb idea and pulled over at a service plaza.  I parked the car and started searching.  Of course it turned out to be in plain sight.  Ugh!  So I took the ticket and clipped it to my visor, ready to return to the road. 

Doesn't seem like much other than a confession that I can be a bad driver, right?

That's what I thought too!  Until about 15 minutes more of driving and God and I had a conversation.  They normally start with, "Hey God, what are you doing up there?" :)  I went to Him to talk about the job search, my family, my friends, school, my future, stuff like that.  But in the moments of silence, I realized something.  The ticket getting lost was much more than me realizing I can be a bad driver. 

So often in my life, I have issues, like issues with people.  Stuff that is small enough to be overlooked (like the 45 min of not knowing I had misplaced the ticket), but big enough that it starts to bug me. Enough that it nitpicks at my attitude, slowly breaking it down.  And then I do stupid stuff to avoid whatever I need to do to resolve the problem (like the bad driving instead of pulling over).  What I really need to do is Stop! and fix the issue instead of letting it ruin my attitude and my actions.  If only it was that easy, huh?  But maybe it is that easy, and we just choose to ignore that fact.  We make a bigger deal out of everything. 
And the ticket was found!

I got back on the road and got to Cleveland safe and sound.  I'm totally being spoiled by interviews; I mean with the hotels, the fancy food, the nice places, I'm extremely spoiled!  But the interviews went well, it was a nice place.  Looking forward to what God's got in store for me.  I just sometimes wish it was here sooner, but I know that I truly will miss what I'm doing right now and should enjoy it.

Here are some pictures from my hotel... holy cow!



  
Oh did I mention it snowed yesterday?!?! Yep, first snow of the year, 11/11/11. Kind of cool, yet not entirely welcoming to wake up to before your interviews.
This is what I woke up to...




Petey was really cold.  Wanted to be in the garage.... Poor thing


Like last night.  Ashley came over and we definitely just chilled on the couch catching up on life.  The CMA awards were on in the background (we DVR'ed it. Love DVR!), but we just got to enjoy spending some time together.  Good stuff. 

Well to those reading this, I'm heading down to Marmon in about 20 minutes with a friend, so I should probably make sure I've got everything!  Great time to spend with friends and horses.  Love it!
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