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Mid-July 2018

So I just read an article that explains why I’m single. Apparently men prefer women who are virgins, have no debt, and have no tattoos. The WOMAN who wrote this was quoting other people who were saying why us older, ‘experienced’, college-graduates won’t get to marry well. And talked about, basically, our purpose is to have babies and cook and learn at the feet of our fathers and husbands. If we spend the time in college and getting married later, we will have wasted time not having as many babies as we could have.

OK, maybe it wasn’t quite that harsh… but that’s how I took it and my anger is still the same.

Ugh, she might as well have thrown the whole overweight issue in the mix.

I might be a feminist, who’s also a Christian. Maybe I scare guys away? That I’m honestly OK with, because if being who I am scares someone away, they weren’t strong enough themselves anyway.

Was that harsh?

But it breaks my heart that there are still people out there who don’t see women as equals to men. My Bible says He made them in His image, male and female (Genesis). My Bible says that there is no male or female in Christ (Galatians). But I guess I’m taking those out of context. Not to mention the Judge, Debra. She was only put in place because no man would step up. Or the home church leaders who Paul addresses in his letters who were women… bad translation of names??

OK, I’m being sarcastic.

I’ve heard the arguments on both sides. People are passionate on both sides, and I’m sure you probably have an opinion yourself.

I am a minister, my senior pastor is a woman, I’ve had professors who are women. I know many women in other leadership positions. Guess what? They all are following where God is leading them! The Holy Spirit hasn’t convicted them for their leadership, where do we get off condemning them???

Oh, and tattoos? That scripture people throw out there from Lamentations is out of context! God didn’t want the Israelites to follow the customs of the Egyptians, who marked their bodies in honor of the dead, expecting things from them. I have a tattoo that a departed friend drew and one of my last cat’s paw print. It would be a problem if I expected to be blessed by my friend or cat for doing that, but I’m not. They’re just in memory of them, nothing else.

Now, I do wish I didn’t have debt, but I have plans in the works to pay those down.

The other thing about virginity… I’m going to leave that one alone for now. I will say things happen that we’re not proud of, but we are new creations in Christ. Forgiven of sins we’ve confessed to Him and repented of.

OK, I now I’ve probably just stirred the pot and hit some buttons. I haven’t said all I want, but enough for now!

PS – I start the Master’s program Monday! Ah!

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Mid May 2018

I graduated! I am now an official alumni of Liberty University!

I actually earned an A in the last class that I was struggling in, so my ending GPA is 3.36. Considering I work full time, volunteer part time, and was going to school on top of everything else in life, I’m pretty happy with that GPA, even if it’s not honors. I graduated high school in 1997, so this Bachelor degree was 21 years in the making, whew! Now I get 2 months off and then start the Master’s program on July 23rd.

So, what am I going to do for 2 months, with no school and no church outreaches on Wednesday nights? Well, for right now I am on vacation. I’m with my brother in Virginia at a resort relaxing. It’s so pretty here and we have a few deer in our backyard 🙂 After vacation, back to my full time job, of course. I am also going to work out with my trainer 3 times a week instead of 2. I’m going to take advantage of this down time to take care of myself. I’m also taking “appointments” with friends for girls’ nights out, since I won’t really be available for 2 years during grad school.

I haven’t decided yet if I’ll go for a Doctorate. Seeing some people in Doctorate regalia this weekend was kind of inspiring though! But first Masters, then we’ll decide! Can’t really worry about any of that just yet.

My brother went with me to my graduation, which was super nice of him. We flew in to DCA and drove to Lynchburg/Bedford, VA. On the route the GPS took us through a twisty road through the mountains, which I got the unfortunate task of driving. Did you know it’s rained pretty heavily in VA recently? That causes fallen rock, fallen tree limbs, mud, and, scariest of all, running water on the roads! I thought we were going to die! I’ve probably never been that stressed while driving in my life. Obviously we made it through OK, but my neck and shoulders are still soar from being so tense. Good thing I have a massage scheduled on Tuesday! Oh, and come to find out, if we would’ve just gone down the highway a little longer, we could’ve just taken another highway which would’ve been a lot straighter and safer!! Ugh.

There were over 20,000 people in my graduating class, over 8,000 attended graduation and somewhere around 30-40,000 people were on campus for commencement. After the ceremony we all divided up into our respective colleges and had degree presentations/walked across the stage. There were a lot in my college of Religion and we didn’t stay for the whole thing. I’ll receive my diploma in a few weeks, which will get framed and hung on the wall, of course! Now, what to do with the regalia? Shadow box? Not sure yet.

Below is a picture that some photographer-friends took of me, Pres. Jimmy Carter addressing the graduates, and part of the sea of graduates on the field.

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Beginning April 2018

Hello!!

Good news to report! I had an MRI of my brain and c-spine last month and there were no changes! My last one before that was 2 years ago and if I recall correctly there hadn’t been any changes on that one either… so about 4 years and no changes!! Yeah!! The MS isn’t progressing 🙂

All glory to God, of course, I have no real control over any of that. Managing stress and taking care of myself help, but I haven’t been the best at either of those lately, so I’m just going to give honor to God!

5k this weekend! Ready as I’m going to be, I guess. Been training, but not nearly as much as I had planned. A few dumpy days and a hurt back didn’t help. Neither did the weather. Nor the new blister I have on the bottom of my left big toe. But, hey, I’m not going to let any of that stop me. Just don’t expect much from me Saturday evening, I’ll be resting and recuperating!

6 1/2 weeks of school left! You can tell I’m ready for this part to be over, I’m already behind in an assignment! Ugh. Hope to catch up tomorrow night.

Planning a mission trip for late October 🙂 Lord willing, going back to Costa Rica!

Beside all that, not much going on. Well, a lot going on, just not much more to talk about!

Talk to you all again soon, the countdown to graduation continues, and I’ll let you know when I finish that 5k!

Mid-March 2018

I should probably be headed to sleep about now, it is a work night. But I’m in the mood to write and haven’t in a while, so here I am.

I’ve spent the majority of the past 2 months in pain. Physical pain that is. I messed up my back at the gym in January and it has caused or highlighted some other issues back there. Plus I spent most of the last week with a migraine. Yuck.

At the gym I deadlifted 170 pounds, but that didn’t cause the pain. I was putting away a 25 pound weight and picked it up and twisted wrong and could hardly move after. That pain mostly went away, but the pain in my lower back and hips has intensified. I drive a manual transmission car and every time I push in the clutch, pain would shoot down my leg. I can hardly sit at work for very long and have to get up to relieve some pressure. I started seeing a Physical Therapist and things are getting a lot better now. I just have to get on the ball and do the stretching exercises at home!

Not sure if the migraine was brought on by environmental or hormonal triggers or stress. Probably a combination of all the above. This time of year between Winter and Spring can be harsh on sinuses and headaches. My stress isn’t too bad lately, just was dealing with finals.

On Spring Break now. Off this week and then start my last undergraduate class on the 26th. A little nervous about this class, but I’m sure it’ll be fine. I received an approval for my RSVP to the graduation, so all I have to do is pass this class. 2 months left! Then 2 months off, then 2 years of the Masters program. Then I don’t know 🙂

Spiritual lesson of the day… I realized during worship this morning at church that I have been looking for validation from all the wrong places. Be it from my pastor, friends, boss, other leaders I admire, I’ve been stressing about making them proud of me and approve of me that I’ve lost sight of the One that really matters. And I already have His approval and am totally validated by Him through Christ. God is so merciful and loving, yet it’s like I take advantage of His love. People have their own lives to worry about, making me feel good about myself isn’t their job. My value and worth comes from the One who made me and died for me. Yes, being validated by people feels good, don’t get me wrong, but not being validated by them shouldn’t be detrimental.

Then I worry I’m not pleasing to God. Did I pray enough? Read my Bible enough? Give enough money? What about time? Could I have done xyz better? Did I completely mess it up? Oh my goodness! Stop it! God doesn’t have a sticker chart with our names on it, grading us on how well we did everyday!! Oops, she didn’t pray for 30 minutes, only 10, red X for today! Ugh! The Father sees us through the blood of the Lamb and that blood has made us perfect in His sight. Does He want us to do our best? Yes, but it doesn’t make Him love us any more or any less!! Accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior, believing He died and rose again, and confessing Him to others – that is what matters! Everything we do from there is motivated by Love, not fear that He is going to strike us down.

I’m preaching to my self and as much as to you, BTW.

Through Jesus and only through Him, do we find love, acceptance, and validation that truly matters.

Alright, now I think I might be able to sleep, maybe? hopefully!?!?

Good night! ♥

Mid January 2018

Happy New Year!!

Hard to believe my birthday is coming up! Harder to believe I’m going to be 39! 40 is sneaking up quick. I’ve got some ‘I want to (blank) before I turn 40’ things to accomplish this year. Get healthier, graduate, pay off some stuff. Not that 40 is a deadline or anything, just a milestone.

I stepped out in faith today and applied for a masters program. I know, I know, I said I was going to take some time off or not even go for a masters. I don’t know if it’s just fear of having to pay my student loans at the end of the year, but I keep coming back to wanting to further my education and selfishly want a masters and initials after my name! Maybe I’m crazy or maybe I’m just a glutton for punishment and stress. We’re just at the application stage at this time though, not registering for classes or anything like that yet. Oh, it’s a MA in Global Studies.

My Bachelors graduation is in 4 months! Actually 4 months from today I’ll be headed to VA 🙂 We start the 2nd to last class on Monday, and it happens to be Intro to Global Studies. Guess we’ll see how this class goes in determining further studies in this field. I don’t need a Master’s degree to be a missionary, but this might set me up to work for an organization that does mission work.

Also, it’s only a 36 credit hour degree, not 60+, so I’ll graduate faster, will owe a lot less, and I promise to not take out any extra personal loans. I’m starting to just argue with and justify myself now.

Just be praying for me for wisdom if you are so inclined. Thanks!

End of December 2017

It’s not that nothing’s going on, I just haven’t been in the writing mood. But school is out and work is slow, so I thought I’d check in.

Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!

I’m on break from school! Out until Jan 22, whew! Not doing anything exciting while I’m out, mostly just reading for fun and possibly some art. The next class should be super easy as I’ve already went through the material in another venue, so most of the work is already done. The capstone after that has me a little nervous, but we’ll worry about that in 3 months when I actually take the class. I might take the opportunity to read ahead since the other class will be easy. Oh, and I earned an A in the class that just ended 🙂 My GPA is now 3.31.

My brother and I booked our vacation for May! I’m going to ‘walk’ for my degree graduation and he’s going to support me. We’re spending the next week just hanging out in the Blue Ridge Mts and relaxing. We’ll take a day trip into DC too, but we’re not planning to many other adventures.

Also looking forward to going on a mission trip somewhere next year. Maybe Costa Rica, maybe Nicaragua, maybe Austria, not sure. Leaning towards going back to Costa Rica, but we’ll see. Maybe somewhere else entirely, wherever God leads.

Started see a therapist. I really like her, she seems to get me. We’ve had 3 or 4 sessions so far and I think I’m feeling better. That and the adjustment to my antidepressant was a month ago, so it’s had time to kick in. The depression is still there a little, but things don’t feeling like I’m walking through mud so much.

Looking forward to 2018. I’m going to have a lot going on, as usual. I’ve set some goals because I don’t do resolutions. One of them is to walk a 5k faster than I have before (last one was 1 hour, 15 min and my best time is 57 min). I hope to read 6 books for fun, get to my goal weight, read through the Bible… among others. At least they are measurable goals, not just generic things. I’ve done this over the past few years, I didn’t get much accomplished on my goals for 2017, but that’s what the new year is for, right?

For Christmas I got some camera stuff from my brother. Excited to play with all that soon. He also gave me a book for dummies for my camera model. I realized I bought myself an expensive fun toy that I really have no idea what all it can do. Anxious to start learning more soon!

Things are still going well with my trainer. I’ve deadlifted 175 and squatted 160?, I think. Definitely my favorite love-hate relationship! I had to put my scale in the back of my car. I started focusing on that number again too much and putting it in the closet was deterrent enough. My therapist mentioned giving it to a friend and I could go that far.

Well, that’s about it, I think. Talk to you all again soon!

Late October 2017

Fall break is on!!

Such a much-needed break! 1 more class then Christmas/Winter break! Yay! Only 3 classes left until graduation! Just received my final grade in the last class, even though I was late on multiple assignments and stressed out, still earned a B, 6 points away from an A. I’ll take it!!

So, my master’s degree. Yeah, I don’t know. If my end goal or dream job is to be a missionary, do I really need to keep going to school… and increasing my student loan debt? Probably not. I do (did?) enjoy organized learning, but I think I’m burnt out. This happened at the end of high school too. I was supposed to go off to college on the East coast somewhere fancy, but got burnt out my senior year and ended up going to community college for a while and entering the work force. I do not regret that at all, mind you. I’ve changed my mind so many times on what I wanted to do when I grew up, that I would have had so much more debt if I’d kept going to school through the years. I am proud and humbled to earn my Bachelor degree, but I don’t think jumping into more schooling is going to be wise. I still have time to make a decision, so I’m not set either way right now. Prayers for wisdom and guidance are appreciated.

Thinking and praying about where I’m headed next in ministry. I’m pretty sure the new role I’m taking, just seeking out what that looks like. I’m excited about it though, so that’s good! Can’t give away too much yet, but it involves cameras and people 🙂

What has God been teaching you lately? I think I mentioned this a blog or two ago, but I’m learning to take it all one step at a time. While there’s wisdom in planning for the future, if those plans are not prayed through, they fail. I get excited easily about things and think, “this is it!” Only to find later that it wasn’t ‘it’. Know what I mean? Relationships, career paths, schooling pursuits, mission trip opportunities… the list goes on. Being flexible when learning God’s will is so vital, and so hard!

I mentioned in my last entry that my blood work wasn’t very good. After talking with my trainer and my doctor I’m not freaking out as much. This was just a wake up call. The exercising I’ve been doing over the past 16 months is great, I really appreciate what I’ve learned from my trainer and what I’ve accomplished. I just need to work on my eating. I stress eat so easily and need to get a handle on my stress. Easier said than done, right? Learning to say ‘no’ is important, and to not worry about what people think about me for saying ‘no’ is even more important.

Thought I had something else to say… oh well. I’ll write again soon!