End of August 2017

Hard to believe September starts tomorrow! I’ve said it many times before, I love Fall, but this summer flew by. Took two classes and have a lot going on at work, so I feel like I am always busy.

Glad to be back down to only 1 class. Took counseling for women and retook Acts this summer. A in one, C in the other. 10 points from a B with that C, but that doesn’t matter. Now I’m taking Theological Interpretation of Scripture. Hopefully it won’t be as hard as it sounds like it will from the title. With that, 4 classes to go! Less than 9 months until graduation! Not that I’m counting down or anything!

My coworker quit and another gave her notice. So we’re interviewing but things are busy. I’m hiring about 35 people at the moment and each requires approximately 50 pages of paperwork. That’s a lot of faxes, emails, and meetings! Not to mention if they are in the school and need fingerprints or a therapist and need to go through getting billable through insurances. On top of that, all the day-to-day stuff with existing employees, of which we have over 450 on our campus alone. Can you see why I’m exhausted at 4pm?

Then have to do homework, work out, do laundry, etc. etc. etc. I am so grateful for not having kids! Sleep is hard enough to come by!

Dead-lifted 160 (or was it 165?) the other day! Squatted 135! While the scale actually went up this morning, I’m definitely getting stronger. Some of my clothes are getting loose too 🙂

Haven’t told you my other news this month! I’m no longer the Director/Pastor of the Senior Citizens’ Ministry at church anymore. God seemed to reveal to my Pastor and I that my assignment was coming to and end. Someone else has already taken over, and I’m moving on. I’m going to do more with photography and tech stuff, just not sure what that all looks like, but I’m excited. My ego/pride is a little upset that I won’t be in leadership per se, but my stress level is certainly going to be lower! With starting my Masters program next year, somethings are going to have to be given up or set aside for a couple years. Guess this was just the beginning.

Went to the Festival of Nations last weekend and walked about 7.3 miles in one day. It wasn’t too hot, but we were in the sun a lot. I had no MS symptoms even though I was exhausted. Had a good time and ate some good food, including a dish I hadn’t had since West Africa in 2013!

Well, that’s about all the updates I’ve got for now. Be blessed everyone!

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Mid-July 2017

Hi y’all! Hope you are all enjoying your summer. So far, my MS symptoms haven’t been a problem, even though it’s been pretty hot here in STL. I’ve even gone on walks outside and not had problems! Praise the Lord!

I have been sleeping a lot on weekends though. Not sure if it’s MS fatigue or if I’m just not sleeping well during the week and am trying to catch up. I’m trying to wear my CPAP every night, which really helps. No, I haven’t been wearing it faithfully for a while, but I’m changing that! Slept a lot this weekend, mostly due to (I think) allergies, which lead to sinus pain, which leads to toothaches. Ibuprofen is my friend!

Earned an A in my last class! Now my GPA is 3.22 🙂 Taking 2 classes right now, a bit overwhelming. But I’ll make it. One class I’m retaking because I earned a D in it the first time. Some of the work I’ve already done, so that helps, but they changed a lot of the format.  Which actually makes it a little easier this time around.

Saw my PCP and GYNO recently. All pretty good, just focusing on losing weight, as usual. Which has been happening, just slowly. I’ve lost inches, but the scale isn’t moving too much. But some of my clothes are getting too big, so that’s a good thing! Still working out with the trainer and loving it! Anyway, we’re also watching my BP, it might be getting too low. Could that be causing some of the sleepiness? Maybe, I guess. My PCP also mentioned getting an ablation, which I’m not sure I’m quite ready for. I don’t plan on having kids, but that seems a little invasive. We’ll see, if things in that area don’t improve, it might be an option, I’ll have to talk with my GYNO. Nothing too scary, but probably a little TMI for here already!!

So, dad’s OK. Mom’s OK. Hard to watch your parents age though. Mom had a little scare the other day, but she’s good. Dad’s at home at least.

Work’s OK. Some days are super busy and drain my brain power. Still love my job, just a lot going on – a lot of hiring, which that’s my main area.

Ever mess up something in your life and think you’ll never get back to where you were? I know, kinda vague, bear with me. I know God is like a GPS, He has a destination set for us, and even if we take a wrong turn, He can still get us there. I’ve probably shared that before, not an original thought, but a comforting one. I just think I went down a path that I shouldn’t have and feel like I lost a lot of ground. Ground in my friendships, leadership, walk with God, reputation, etc. I’m feeling condemned, which isn’t from God and I know that. I just, I don’t know, wish things were different. I know He’s forgiven me because I’ve repented and all, but there’s still the regret and remorse. Guess maybe I’m mourning the mistakes I’ve made?

But that’s all in the past and I need to look forward. He has amazing things in store for me, and I want to follow hard after Him. Whatever and wherever that may entail. I’m excited for my future and His plans for me. I know that last paragraph might sound otherwise, I was just lamenting. Things are getting back on track and I’ll be OK.

Thanks for sticking with me through my (sometimes mis-)adventures!

Mid-June 2017

Time slips through one’s fingers when they’re having fun, huh? Not exactly the case here, time rushes out of my fingers when things are busy!  As usual, I’m super busy these days. A lot going on, some of which I can share…

My dad’s been in the hospital/rehab for quite a few weeks now. He comes home today though. He requires 24-hour care, so there’s a burden on my mom. Who’s stress test came back a little abnormal and she has to have further testing done :(. Not sure what’s going on there, hope to find out soon though. Dads’s doing better though. The MS took a toll on him plus he wasn’t eating well. Prayers appreciated for both of them (all of us!!)

School’s going OK. Got behind in a class with all that’s going on, but am up-to-date now and making an A 🙂

Work’s going OK. We seem to be on a hiring frenzy, so I’m super busy. I think that’s why seems I’m so overwhelmed… a lot of my energy is used up before I get home. It’s all good though, just learning to balance everything.

Had a spasm in my back/sciatic area over the weekend. I was supposed to do a 5k on Sunday, but that wasn’t happening! I could barely move! I’m a lot better now – between prayer, chiropractor, trainer stretches, and ice – I’m almost back to normal. It was going to be my first summer 5k though and it was mostly downhill. Oh well, maybe next year!

We did personality studies as an HR team in order to get to know each other better. I’m an INFP. Basically I’m an introvert, creative, independent, diplomatic, all things I already knew! But it was cool to one, be verified, and two, get to know my co-workers. I am a minority though, out of 15, only a 3 of us are introverts!

Well, that’s about all I can share at the moment. Talk to you soon!

Beginning of June 2017

Does it simplify the Gospel for you if you hear, “You’re not going to hell because you do (fill in the blank), but you’re going to hell because you do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?” Well, that’s what it comes down to. We all sin, we all fall short of God’s standard. Yes, He loves all of His children, but if you don’t accept the gift of salvation through His Son alone, you have no one to take the punishment for your sin, and you go to hell. God is holy, and we on our own cannot exist before Him because we’re covered in rebellion against His standard. Jesus’ blood, as weird as it may sound, washes us clean of that sin. We are made holy through His blood, blood that He shed on the cross at Calvary. The Good News – He us loved so much that He came to Earth as a frail human to take the punishment for our sins so that we could spend eternity with Him. Him – a perfect Father, lover of our souls, not a mean tyrant or someone so different from us that He can’t be around us. We were made in His image, God’s image, originally designed for companionship with Him. Rebellion came into the picture, we fell away from Him, but He had a plan for our redemption. We just have to accept the gift. You don’t have to clean yourself up first, He takes us as we are. It’s His job to clean us and give us faith after that… we have to choose to obey Him though. But when you fall in love with the Designer and Lover of you soul, obedience should be easy.

But that obedience doesn’t always come easy though. I walked in disobedience for a long time recently. But things are so much better on this side of obedience. Yeah, the decision hurt, but the blessings of listening to Him and doing what He said are amazing.

On that, does He talk to us today? That’s a huge theological debate in Christianity. But I know this, yes, He does. He speaks to me through His Word, the Bible. He speaks to me through other people. And through His still small voice in my spirit, which never goes against anything in the Bible.

Anyway, that’s my preaching for the day 🙂

Beginning of May 2017

The sun is shining! It has been raining so much lately! I’m sure if you’re from the Midwest or know someone from here, you’re probably tired of the rain, and even tired of people taking about the rain! But its nice to have sunshine again. Kind of reminds me of the commonly used illustration where someone is in a plane and sees the sun shining above the clouds, reminding them that the sun is always there. Like life, it may seem stormy down here, but God’s still there even when it seems like we can’t see Him.

Seems like I’ve been going through revolving times of storms and sunshine in my life. My boat gets rocked around and overfilled with water, then the sun comes out. When the sun’s out, I repair the boat and let the sun dry up the water. A lot of times I can see the storm in the distance, other times it sneaks up on me. One thing I’ve been challenged with is to keep my anchor down, even in the still times. Jesus is my anchor in life, and I need to keep my foundation in Him and His Word. Even in still times a boat can drift off its place. I have a goal to increase my worship and devotion time. That kind of leads me to…

Made a hard decision recently. I don’t want to put all our business out there, but Mike and I are officially broken up. I truly feel like God’s calling me to singleness. I’ve been so comfortable with his companionship, that is what has made this a hard thing. But I feel like God has something even better in store for both of us. So yeah, there ya go.

I’m learning (always will, right?!?) who I am. Specifically who I am in Christ. I’m set free from sin, not just in eternity, but He gives me the power to live free NOW. Letting that settle in my heart and head, praying that I become more like Him all the time. I don’t want to be overly religious or legalistic, I just want to be like Jesus. Righteous and loving. Faithful and obeying. In the storm and in the sunshine.

April 2017

Hey y’all! I know, I’ve been quiet lately. Seems like a lot is going on in my life, just not much to talk about though.

Job is still going well. Got a new boss, and so far so good. I was directly reporting to the VP, now we’ve hired a Director. So it’s a new dynamic, but I think it’ll work out well.  We’re getting ready to move offices, they’re turning the building we’re in now into another school. Growth is good, just a little painful sometimes! 

School’s OK. Making an A so far in my research class. I know, basically, what I’m doing when it comes to writing and research. Enough to get by anyway, but I definitely have room to grow. Especially since I’m going on to get my Master’s degree after I graduate with my Bachelor’s next year. Which, is an area I’m seeking wisdom from God in… there are a bunch of schools who offer the degree I’m pursuing (MSW), both online and in person, with varying tuition rates and areas of concentration. I’m not sure where to go. I know I’ve got some time, but I think it’s wise to start researching my possibilities now. Online school works for me, but maybe I need to do live classes for my graduate degree? Tuition is less for 1, for 2 it might help me stay on track faster. But which school, and what concentration? Hmmm….

Training is good. I really enjoy working out with a trainer, he’s great. Like I’ve said before, I’m focusing on the weight I’m lifting, not the weight I’m losing. But I know I’d lose faster if I ate better. Fast food is just too convenient! meal prep is key for me, I just have to make time for it. On that, I did a 5k a couple of weeks ago! Did  OK considering the weight gain over the past 2 years. I’m a little peeved at the people though, they cheated us out of a 1/4 a mile because we were in the back of the pack and they needed to save time, I’m assuming anyway. I had an app going that measures your distance and time and it ended up being 2.86 miles instead of 3.1. so my time doesn’t mean as much to me as it would have.  They sent a survey today, I let them know what happened and that they shouldn’t do that next year. I did get another medal to add to my collection though 🙂

I’m going to start hosting/leading a small care/fellowship group in June. I think we’re going to go through the book of James and have dinner together on Sundays. Praying about that too.

Ever get caught up in the ‘what if’ trap? it’s not fun. you know, what if I hadn’t made that decision or chosen that path. where would I be now if I had made different choices? what if God did tell me to do (or not do) such-and-such, would my life be radically different? did I miss God’s plan?  Am I experiencing His best regardless of those choices? Can I, should I, try to undo things? I know the answer is God works out all things and He has a plan, etc. I guess that just sounds cliche.

Off that rabbit trail… I’m excited to go to DC next month! Going for chaplain training and some time away. Hope the kitties are OK with no one to snuggle with for a few days!

Hope you all are well! I’d better go, lots of things to do! 

Beginning March 2017 – 10 years!

10 years! 10 years since I went on my first mission trip. So, it would seem due that I reminisce a little. What have I learned over the last decade? What has God shown me?

First, go! Second, trust! Third, pray! Not in that specific order though J Oh, and why? People!

Going to Mexico the first 3 trips was a no brainer for me. I was visiting a good friend of mine, and I didn’t even know they were considered mission trips. On those trips I was first introduced to a foreign culture, but could see how God was still the same. It was on the way home from the 3rd trip that I realized that doing just that: visiting established missionaries around the world to support and encourage them, was exactly what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. Of course I had no idea how that would all play out and really still don’t.

Scotland was my first trip over an ocean, and I knew no one. When preparing for this trip, I was struggling with my faith, I prayed the God would show Himself to me, and He did. He provided for the trip through avenues I wouldn’t have guessed and showed Himself powerful during the trip. I remember praying with a lady who I could barely understand (super thick Scottish accent) and I just asked God to interpret her tongue for me. He did! I prayed what I heard the Spirit leading and she was blessed. I found a happy place there – a place I visit in my mind when I need peace. In the hills where it’s green and the sheep wander. I was sitting on the hillside admiring God’s creation and thinking about Psalm 23.

Costa Rica was my first trip leading someone and taking her with me. It was a stretch, but at least I wasn’t leading her alone (we were with a group from Denver and Hawaii). The heat and humidity there kind of unnerved me. I wasn’t sure how the MS would be but God was so faithful! I took care of myself and everything went well. On this trip I learned more about the sex trafficking epidemic and that still breaks my heart.

West Africa was probably my favorite so far. 3 countries in 10 days, wow! The people were beautiful, inside and out. We did leadership training there and I learned how people around the world see Americans. Namely they see our tele-evangelists and try to mimic them. Ugh, heartbreaking. The message we shared, on top of our assignment, was to encourage them to be themselves. To let the Gospel shine through their culture, not to be like those they saw on TV. I found another happy-God peace place there on the shore watching the run rise over the Pacific.

China was a possibility the following year, but I wasn’t settled in my heart about it. So that is still on my ‘bucket list’!

Japan was the most recent trip. I visited the friend I had visited 9 years prior. Now she’s married and has two little girls. Japan opened my eyes to people. Because, besides the concrete, Japan is full of people! So few know about Jesus and it’s (also) heartbreaking. There’s so much depression and pressure to succeed, with no hope of eternity.

I have more of an idea of what I’m doing with my life since I started this journey. I’m pursuing my BS is Religion-Christian Counseling and planning on my Masters in Social Work after that. That will help me find resources and be a help and support to those whom I visit.

What’s next? Currently waiting on my new passport and not able to travel this year (new job). However, in 2018, Lord willing, I’m visiting friends in Valencia, Spain and Linz, Austria.

So, why missions? To spread the love of Jesus to the world. Why me? Why not? He called, I listened. Here I am Lord, send me. If He wants you to go, He’ll make a way. And forever change your heart in the process.

Oh, and I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis 10 years ago too. Had a couple rough spots on trips, but God was ever faithful. Don’t let anything stand in the way of what you know God has called you to!!!

Parting note: “For ‘Everyone who calls on the name on the Lord will be saved.’ But how can they call on Him to save them unless they believe in Him? And how can they believe in Him if they have never heard about Him? And how can they hear about Him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, ‘How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!’” Romans 10:13-15 NLT.