Friday, December 17, 2010

Being Bold.....Like a Duck

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9


Now that I have been around Southern for a while now, there is one iconic image that will always linger in the fringes of my memory. The ducks. Why the ducks?

Over the years, during each trip I have made past the duck pond whether that be by car, bike, or foot, I have noticed a certain gumption that those ducks have. The ducks are not afraid to stick out and be different. Countless times I have observed the ducks smack dab in the middle of the road, proclaiming the right to cross to the other side, taking their time, seemingly unaware that the cars zooming by could squash them in an instant. Just this morning as I was driving to work I saw one of the white feathered creatures hanging out on the road, sipping water from a small pothole. The fact that this duck was choosing to drink from a hole in the middle of the busy road instead of from his large pond, which is a far waddle away from the danger of cars, is pretty amazing to me.

After driving far around this particular dehydrated duck to get to work, I got to thinking--What if more Christians or what if I were as bold as this duck? What would happen if instead of sticking by our own ponds, in our secure comfort zones to share the love of Christ, we ventured out to the more treacherous areas to spread the word? The lyrics to one of my favorite camp songs helps remind me that even in times of danger, doubt, and fear God is always there.

Be bold, be strong
For the Lord your God is with you
Be bold, be strong
For the Lord your God is with you
I am not afraid
I am not dismayed
Because I'm walking in faith and victory
Come on and walk in faith and victory
For the Lord your God is with you

In the end times I believe we as Christians will be placed in situations like the ducks where we will have to choose to either stay in our safe bubbles or be bold and venture out in the world and proclaim the love of God to those who do not know him, even if that means being ridiculed or condemned. In the end being bold for the Lord may come at a cost but the reward received, eternal life, is priceless!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Another Page Is Turned!

After 4 1/2 years of school and one year of serving as student missionary, my time as an undergraduate student at Southern is finally coming to an end. Hip Hip Hooray?

Since I arrived on campus on that hot and humid July day in 2005 to take Comp 101 from Dr. Byrd (she is awesome, btw), God has blessed me with countless experiences, treasured friends, and memories so rich, so wonderful, so amazing, that walking (or in my case running) away from this place will be oh so bittersweet.

My love of running and being active definitely increased as God was gracious enough to give me endless opportunities to witness for him as I have become a half marathoner, marathoner, ultra marathoner, trail runner, triathlete, not to mention a certified PE teacher! Gotta practice what you preach, right?! Being able to use the abilities God has given me has be truly amazing!

The road to graduation hasn't always been easy. Many "spiritual potholes" have been strewn across my path, challenges of meeting deadlines have been faced. Studying for classes, making strong priorities, and balancing the responsibilities of being a student club leader always found a way to keep me busy. Add in intramurals, hanging out with friends, working at summer camp, and of course having as much fun as possible, and you have a pretty well rounded experience!

During my time at Southern I have been influenced and blessed by many caring and knowledgeable professors who have taught me more then just an extended version of the ABC's, 123's and what it takes to be a good teacher. They have taught and encouraged me to think for myself and to pursue a deeper and more meaningful relationship with God, which is something far more valuable then the excellent education I received here and the slip of paper I will receive in the mail a few weeks from now.

From the very first lecture that muggy summer day in Summerour Hall to the last lesson I student taught this semester I have continued to learn. I've learned about life and most importantly I've learned just how much God truly loves and cares for me!

Thank You Southern and everyone who made my time here awesome!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Ignornace is Bliss!!! PMTN 40 Mile Trail Run

Well, I am officially an ultra marathoner!! After 7 hours and 5 minutes of kicking rocks (only fell once!) I ran and completed my first ever distance over 26.2 miles! The weather was superb and the race atmosphere was too. Mentally taxing is a simple way to describe what it was like.

First off words and pictures do not do any justice to how amazing the experience of running 40 miles was. I have tried to explain it to a few people but most people I talk to can't make sense of long distance running and why it is enjoyable to me so I just smile and do my best to justify my "insanity"

The race was a blast! The adventure started off on Saturday afternoon when John, Andrew, Emily, Shama and I drove down to Shama's house in Georgia to stay the night so we would not have to get up nearly as early the next morning. We had a scrumptious carbo loaded supper of pasta, bread, and other yummy stuff when we arrived at the Ellers around 8 pm and then proceeded to bed to sleep like logs (yeah right)after we ate supper in anticipation for a 4:30 am wake up.

The pep and energy was evident as we sat around the breakfast table eating our non communal bowls of oatmeal. We hit the road around 5:15 am and arrived at FDR state park just after 6 am. The park was still asleep except for the excitement brewing in the group shelter, where we picked up our packets. We lounged around in the warmth of the shelter till the race director called us out to the starting line around 7 am. I stood on the road trying to review what little of a game plan i had formulated in my novice ultra marathoning mind. The three of us said a quick prayer and before we knew it the race had begun. Since I didn't really know what I was doing I just followed the diversely dressed group of maniacs through the woods, relying on the bobbing headlamps to further lighten the path, hopping I wasn't running to fast or wouldn't trip and fall over a rock.

The formation of runners eventually thinned out to a steady single file line. I saw one of the most beautiful sunsets I have seen in a long time as we trotted along a precarious ridge that overlooked a deep valley. It was stunning! The first aid station came up rather quickly and by that point I felt like I was settled into a good steady pace. I thought I heard that I was in 2nd place for the women but I couldn't really tell since the atmosphere was just so exciting! I continued to run on the flat parts and walk up most of the big hills, copying the techniques of the most veteran looking runners on the trail. The rest of the day was filled with gorgeous views , trees, stream crossings, switchbacks,lots of white tape trail markers,short moments of delusion in which I confused large rocks for houses and aid station tents and colorful trees for people, and of course countless near encounters with the ground.

It wasn't until about halfway through that I even started to think about how long I had been running. I was glad for the times that I had other runners nearby even if it was a silent shuffle of feet. The feeling of another soul around sure was comforting and gave me something else to focus on. The moments that I was running alone were the hardest. I prayed a lot, sang lots of random songs out loud, and thought all sorts of silly random thoughts. I remained in 2nd place more then half the race until just before one of the aid stations. By that time I had caught up to the 1st place girl and we were running along until all of a sudden she took a bad step and fell hard down to the rocky trail. I stopped right away to make sure she was alright since he went down with a mighty "ummph" She was slow to get up which was concerning to me since she said she had hit her head. She insisted that I and the other runner ahead keep going and that she would be fine. I stayed around for a few more moments just to make sure before running ahead to the next aid station telling them to go back and check on her. I expected at any moment for her to catch up but unfortunately in the end she had to drop out.

The aid stations were always a highlight of the race. It was always nice to be greeted by my awesome crew (Emily, Elisa, Shama, Mrs. Eller) ringing cowbells, handing out cookies, hooting and hollering from the tree tops, and always being ready to snap some photos. The race would of been alot harder with out them and a lot less fun.

Eventually I finished the race and in the end time flew by faster then I expected. Finishing this race and then sitting down afterwards was one of the most rewarding things I have ever experienced in all my years of running! My good friends Andrew and John also did fantastic! Throughout the whole race, John was always hot on my trail and finished less then a minute behind me. I must admit my deep inner competitiveness was motivated to move a little faster because it. :-) I owe him a lot for planting the seed in my head that it would be a feasible idea to run such a long distance. Andrew was very unique in what he accomplished because he not only ran his first Ultra but his first half marathon and full marathon and in only 8

I was a bit stiff the rest of the day but amazingly I was never really sore afterwards. I am so grateful for the strength, both mental and physical that God provided throughout the day. The verse, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, stayed with me through each step! Without him it would not of been possible, to HIM be the glory!

Run On!


Here are a few pictures to start with...each picture is worth a million words, not just a thousand!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


I read this short tidbit from a scrap piece of paper that fell out of a book I was skimming through earlier. The words really jumped out at me. They are simple and obvious-yet powerful.

"God has a Heaven full of blessings and they are going to stay there unless we ask Him for them.................The only limit we have is our own faith"

*Malachi 3 for more substance*

Monday, November 29, 2010

Being Blind

Are You Blind?

“His disciples asked Him, “Why was this man born blind?” Jesus replied, “This happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.” John 9:2-3

Sunday, November 28, 2010

It's Only 40 Miles......

Apparently 40 is a big number. When I tell most people that I am training and therefore planning to run a 40 mile trail race soon I find myself having to justify why exactly I would want to do such a thing. It is all about perspective really, and lots and lots of optimistic thinking! Well, I tell them..."it will be fun! What can be better then spending the day outside in nature? Why not run 40 miles? At least it is not 100 miles, people run that far too you know."

Yes I am sure it will not be all peaches and cream the entire race. I believe this adventure will challenge me and push me to the limit and I am pretty excited about that. It will be an amazing day regardless of the potential aches and pains because it will be a day spent with God! So why not run? After all it's only 40 miles.....

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday in Ethiopia

Today was the first Black Friday in several years that I did not get up at 4 am to go shopping, or in my case people watching, with all my cousins. It is a tradition of sorts in my family to go through all the sale ads in the paper after we eat our thanksgiving meal. While the football games are playing on TV, the girl cousins scour through all the money-making schemes on paper, seeing what stores would be best to visit first in the bustling predawn hours of Black Friday.

Two years ago in Ethiopia, Black Friday was also much more relaxing like today. My journal helped me recollect that I was at Gimbie Adventist Hospital visiting for Thanksgiving. I remember getting up early to go for a run through the hilly countryside around Gimbie with Joel. The rest of the day was spent cooking for the Sabbath Thanksgiving meal, after all what could better then having two thanksgiving meals?! Some of us SMs from Southern and Walla Walla went into town and bought pastries and I guess after that we lounged around the house and watched a movie. I helped paint a ward in the hospital and that night we had a lovely vespers service over at the house of one of the American families working at the hospital. It was a simple day but fun!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Secret City Half Marathon!

I am very sore this morning! Why? Because I made my body suffer through running 13.1 miles on concrete. My trail running legs are not used to the pounding anymore. Regardless it was a pretty good race. It was lots of fun to see so many friends out racing too! I covered the 2 loop course in about 86 minutes which I am satisfied with! Only 13 days till 40 miles, woo!

Results can be found at

Kudos to all my 1st time half marathon friends, welcome to the club!!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Encouraging Words

Ephesians 4:29

"Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear.

Encouraging words are nice. I found this to be true after an especially rough day of student teaching towards the beginning of my second placement at OMS. This day in particular I felt really tired and overwhelmed. I was having a hard time getting used to a new school and my lesson over how to kick a soccer ball seemed really bland and was not captivating my students attention the way it should have been.

To top it all off, my academic adviser was there that very class period to observe me and my teaching ability, or seemingly lack there of. Dr. Colon could tell I was under a lot of stress so she pulled me aside to talk. She gave me the typical rundown of what things I could improve upon and some of the things she thought I did well but I mostly felt defensive and grumpy. A few tears were shed but they didn't really seem to help. I just wanted the day to be over!

Later that day Dr. Colon emailed me a copy of the evaluation form for me to keep. In the message area she included six words. Six simple words but the six words I really needed to hear that day. You will be a great teacher! It really helped to change my outlook and arrive at school the next day more refreshed and ready to improve. My days teaching still aren't perfect. I still make mistakes and experience frustration but I know with a few encouraging words I can make it!

Encourage those around you, it really makes a big difference!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Simple Things

I like simple things.

Simple Food

Simple Worship

Simple Fun

Just Simple

I want as simple of a life as possible.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Food for Thought

I was reading through a section of Patriarchs and Prophets recently that was talking about David as a Fugitive. The two sentences posted below really stuck out to me and served as a good reminder that I have no right to control my life with my own will or even following the seemingly wise words of man. I need to, MUST surrender my own flawed will to God and God alone. Why is that so hard to do sometimes?

"Men cannot depart from the counsel of God and still retain that calmness and wisdom which will enable them to act with justice and discretion. There is no insanity so dreadful, so hopeless, as that of following human wisdom, unguided by the wisdom of God."

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Filler Words

Well student teaching is flying by faster then a rocket ship and now I'm just about halfway done with my second placement! Teaching in a middle school definitely has its challenges but it is starting to grow on me, I think.

I have the opportunity to teach two sections of 6th grade health and I must say I love it! Teaching in a classroom with 4 walls, desks, and a chalkboard has such a calmness to it, which is reliving after having to constantly project my voice and blow my whistle just to be heard by the least rude students in P.E.

I just started a unit on the body systems which brings me back to my A&P, exercise phys. and bio-mechanics days! I have always known that the human body is amazing but after learning about the body from a teacher's perspective I just have to say that the design of the human body is simply AMAZING!! The intricate detail and design of the body starting from the teeny tiniest cell that make up a variety of body tissues all the way to how the body systems function together is brilliant. God is brilliant! I have always known that. I long for the opportunity to tell my students that. Teaching in a strictly "scientific" way can be smothering sometimes.

Trying to describe to my students how each system works and just how truly amazing each detail about the body is that God invented, without actually incorporating God into the lesson is a challenge bigger then behavior management. It feels like I talk with filler words, like I should tell them how it really is. Sometimes my lessons feel shallow and empty even though I know my students are learning something. I know that God gives me the words to say, I just hope that my students can see a glimpse of him through the words that I speak, even if it just a faint one.

Sunday, October 31, 2010


Rob Bell

Fall Break--Michigan Style

Fall break was pretty exciting. Now it is over. So now I can blog about it. I meant to post this blog last week but time ran away faster then I run on the trails, ha.

Fall break was the best ever this year because I got an entire week off, what a blessing! I spent the first couple days catching up on life and trying to relax, it was rather nice.

I spent the later part of the speedy fall break traveling north to our sister institution of Andrews University. I arrived Thursday afternoon and spent the rest of the day with the amazing Emily Knott, who took me on a lovely running tour of the flat farm and wood lands that makes up a good portion of Andrews University! I had a first time running experience when we ran through the long pungent barns that housed the many, many, head of dairy cows! The mother cows mostly ignored us and chewed their cud as we whizzed by. The baby calves were much more fun to socialize with, so we did for a short bit before continuing on to Emily's apartment where we made delicious vegetable soup and bread, yum!

The rest of the weekend was spent with my dear friend Tina. We went apple picking at a nearby apple orchard where I had my first apple picking experience. After struggling to reach the highest, best looking apples I realized that it was not meant to be my life calling, seeing as how I am lacking long limbs that are needed to pluck the fruit from its high branches. Climbing trees was fun anyways! I got to catch up with other friends and ran into lots of other people along the way too! The weather changed quite a bit during the 3 days I was there, I am glad it wasn't too "cold."

I went through 3 audio books on the drive up and down which made the time go by much faster. All in all it was a nice break but it is good to be back in warm Tennessee! Now it is less then 7 weeks till graduation!!


Monday, October 25, 2010


I know that running an ultra race is a potentially hazardous activity.  I should not enter and run unless I am medically able and properly trained.  I agree to abide by any decision of race officials relative to my ability to safely complete the run.  I assume all risks associated with running this event including, but not limited to, falls, traffic and conditions of the road, contact with other participants, injuries or illness from animals or plants, the effects of weather and all risks associated with event participation.  Having read this waiver and knowing these facts and in consideration of you accepting my entry, I, for myself and anyone entitled to act on my behalf, waive and release the Georgia Ultrarunning and Trail Running Society (GUTS), the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA), The Georgia State Park System, FD Roosevelt State Park, and the State of Georgia, and any and all committees, officers, employees, and sponsors related to the the race, all city, county and state governments, all race officials and agents, all sponsors, their representatives and successors from all claims or liabilities of any kind arising out of my participation in this event even though that liability may arise out of negligence or carelessness on the part of persons named in this waiver.  I understand that all entries are final with no refunds.  The official race director reserves the right in any event of emergency or local or national disaster to cancel the race or to change the day and or time to a later day and that in the event of cancellation or change there is no refund of entry fees. The right to reject any entry or to issue special invitation is reserved.

I took time to read this race waiver very carefully.

I am now officially entered to "participate" in the Pine Mountain 40 mile trail run(walk/crawl)! I am still wondering if I actually pressed the submit payment button. I did. I have been going back and forth endlessly about whether or not I should or can complete this, my first ultra marathon! The Boston Marathon is full, so i figured this would be my next best option. It is only 40 miles right? Right. It will be 40 miles of running in my element; fresh air, sunshine, and trees. It will be 40 miles being connected with God, for the wilderness is when I sense his presence on the closest level. What an amazing adventure it will be. 40 miles.

As one may expect the next few weeks leading up to December 5 will be a fury of training and preparing for this race the best I know how to prepare. Hopefully it will involve having lots of fun too! If anyone would like to give me any tips for success or better yet join me, even for short segments of my training journey, it would be much appreciated!

Pine Mountain ready or not here I come!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Boston is Closed. Really?

My goals and ambitions took quite the hit today, perhaps it is just a clear sign. I went online this morning to get more information about a marathon coming up in December which would give me the chance to re qualify to run the Boston Marathon coming up this April. I was shocked, well not so shocked, to see that the race registration for that race was full, rats I thought!

After a good bike ride this afternoon Andrew, Michael and I were standing around and the topic of marathoning came up. Michael  then mentioned something about the Boston Marathon registration already being filled to capacity. "No Way" I thought and said out loud, there is no way such an elite race could fill up the same day that it opened!

But alas, after checking up on the rumor, I found it to be true. Boston is closed. Filled to capacity a mere 8 hours after opening. Sad indeed but now I suppose my path is all clear to really pursue my ultra marathon and perhaps half ironman quest. Boston will have to wait another year, maybe next year I will be quicker to enter.

Monday, October 11, 2010

A little piece of home......

    (posing with some freshly made injera while helping out in the kitchen!)

I had a little piece of home tonight. Today was rather dull and I found myself feeling very sleepy for most of the afternoon thus resulting in very little productive work getting accomplished. I had supper in the cafeteria with Becca and then decided to help pass out information about SEYC. Since I was still feeling really tired I figured I should just go home but before I did I remembered that I was supposed to drop something off at a friends house, so I did. When I got there I was presented with a gift of leftover injera and shiro powder!!!!! It made my day!

I haven't had Ethiopian food since March so it has been long overdue. I hurried home to make a small batch of shiro and have a snack of my most favorite food! As I ate the delicious morsels, my heart was happily reminded of my year as a student missionary to the most wonderful place on earth!  The only things missing were 40 beautiful children running around the house getting ready for lunch, the warm Ethiopian breeze, and Tigist and Alvarash pulling me inside the dark smokey kitchen shack to drink some buna (coffee,shhh) with them after another filling lunch of injera!

It is so wonderful to have opportunities to be brought back down memory lane. Even though I wish I could be in Ethiopia eating injera, having a few bites here in America will suffice until the day God calls me back for a visit!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

MMM and 12 mile run!

Wow-wee! I love nature..I love running in nature even more! Today was glorious...the most fun I have had in a super long time! Cookies are good! God is even better! More race details and photos to come!

Here is the first round of photographic memories of the day! Highlights include but are not limited to:

-a predawn breakfast from the communal bowl of cooked oats and barley (thanks martina!)
-getting my right calf marked with the #12!
-running 12 miles!
-the awesome trio of youngsters banging on their drums in the middle of the woods!
-walking through the aid stations
-stopping for a few seconds to look the stunning views from the overlook!!
-the runner in blue--his name was shawn--he was quite the character.
-the amazing support crew that followed us all around the woods: Aunt Lynn, Martina, Emily, and Elisa. They were the best support crew, hands down!
-starting and finishing around the lake, the colors were beautiful!
-cramming into the car to track and watch the amazing John Howe run the rest of his marathon after finishing with our measly 12 miles!
-having John and Andrew catch up to me during the last 5 miles or so. Running with them was super fun!
-listening to John dialogue about his childhood. Something about peppermint candy and a unicycle.
-the pirates at the last aid station
-the delicious vegan chilli and cookies at the finish line
-swimming in the mountain lake
-mingling with the crowd, trail runners are a unique bunch.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Epic Fail

Ever felt like a failure? Join this club.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Terrific Talocrural!!

While I was out for a trail run this afternoon I had the unique pleasure of rolling my ankle. It was the coolest feeling actually, because all of a sudden the top of my foot was on the ground when I felt a pop, pop, pop, and then I just kept going! The first thought in my head was how lucky I was that I didn't crash and and proceed to collect a new battle scar. After I regained my balance down the steep hill from the ridge I began to ponder the amazingness of a human ankle. How can it be that someone can run down a steep slope, twist an ankle and be seemingly OK? God sure knew what he was doing when he put so many little bones, ligaments, and tendons in our feet and ankles!! How many? Look below!


The human foot combines mechanical complexity and structural strength. The ankle serves as foundation, shock absorber, and propulsion engine. The foot can sustain enormous pressure (several tons over the course of a one-mile run) and provides flexibility and resiliency.

The foot and ankle contain: 26 bones (One-quarter of the bones in the human body are in the feet.);
33 joints;
more than 100 muscles, tendons (fibrous tissues that connect muscles to bones), and ligaments (fibrous tissues that connect bones to other bones); and
a network of blood vessels, nerves, skin, and soft tissue.

These components work together to provide the body with support, balance, and mobility. A structural flaw or malfunction in any one part can result in the development of problems elsewhere in the body.

The Joint:
The ankle joint is medically known as the talocrural joint. Three bones make up this joint; the tibia, fibula, and talus. The weight of the body is transmitted from the tibia to the talus which distributes the weight anteriorly and posteriorly within the foot.

The Ligaments:
The ligaments of the ankle joint are grouped into two categories, the lateral collateral ligaments and the medial collateral ligaments. Although the ligaments of the ankle are strong fibrous bands, they are often susceptible to injury due to the excessive movement of the subtalar joint during activity.
The lateral collateral ligaments include the anterior talofibular ligament, calcaneofibular ligament, talocalcaneal ligament, posterior talocalcaneal ligament and the posterior talofibular ligament. The anterior talofibular ligament passes from the tip of the lateral malleolus to the talus anteriorly. It limits plantar flexion of the joint. The calcaneofibular ligament passes from the lateral malleolus to the calcaneus with the talocalcaneal ligament running at its base. They resist adduction. The posterior talofibular ligament passes from the tip of the lateral malleolus to the talus posteriorly. The posterior talocalcaneal extends this band to the calcaneus. Both limit dorsiflexion.

The medial collateral ligaments, or deltoid ligament, include the tibionavicular ligament, calcaneotibial ligament, anterior talotibial ligament, and the posterior talotibial ligament. The tibionavicular ligament runs anteriorly form the medial malleolus to the navicular bone. The calcaneotibial ligament runs from the tip of the medial malleolus to the edge of the calcaneus. Both prevent abduction. The anterior and posterior talotibial ligaments run anteriorly and posteriorly between the medial malleolus and the talus. They limit plantar flexion and dorsiflexion respectively.

Monday, October 4, 2010


My 3rd Cohutta Springs Triathlon has come and gone and without fail it was a super fun race. I met and surpassed my race goals so needless to say I was very satisfied with how I did.

Overall time= 1:35:34
Bike=54:30(19.8 avg mph)
Run= 24:44 (6:11 pace)

Last Year
Overall time: 1:45:04
Bike=57:18(18.8 avg mph)
Run= 27:02(6:46 pace)

Improvement was my goal. Meeting goals is good! It was nice to see all the work and training pay off! I owe much of my success to my friends who were willing to go out and run, bike, and swim with me! I am not always the most motivated person so having someone to make me work hard and seek out hills to bike up instead of flat roads was very helpful and also more bearable :-)! I feel blessed to have the ability to swim, bike, and run. To God be the glory!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Collecting Trophies

I have a confession to make. What I am about to write may come as a surprise to some. Sometimes (a lot of times) I find myself getting frustrated when it seems as sometimes all some people associate me with is the fact that I am a good runner. Should it annoy me that some people don't seek to know me as whom I am as a person instead of what I do? At the same time some (and I) may wonder why I would be frustrated with being known for something that is good and positive. A lot of times with this mindset, I feel like I am fleeing from the gifts and abilities that God has blessed me with. I simply love to run and I sometimes I like to race and compete but when I do it seems like it gives people another reason to glorify me and not the one who should really be given the credit. If I am using the gifts God has blessed me with then it shouldn't feel like a burden to be classified as "the girl who runs." Right?

While talking with a good friend earlier about my "frustrations" she helped me to look at my situation from a whole new perspective. My biggest goals and ambitions in life is to go out in the mission field and serve God through my actions and the abilities that he gives me whether that be teaching, preaching, or just lending a helping hand. Yet I know that there is work to be done here right here, right now while I wait for God to lead me where he wants. So while I am waiting, why not turn the situations of when people are admiring me for what I can do and reverse it for a chance to glorify God?

Instead of collecting trophies and peoples admiration and just letting them sit on a shelf to collect dust, could it be so, that I have a perfect opportunity to collect trophies in the form of souls for Christ simply by using the talents and abilities he has blessed me with? Instead of running from the gifts God has given me, I need to start doing a better job of giving God the complete glory for my success and ability because without God's leading I could just be a lump of bones and skin. He didn't have to give me the ability to run but he did so I owe it to him to cash in on the frequent opportunities I have via encounters with people and take the time to glorify God and tell people just how great and amazing he is. Because he is and I am so thankful!

PS(I am thankful and appriciative for all the kinds words and I won't stop being your friend if you decide you want to compliment me on the talents God has given me :-)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Perspective of a 1st Grader

Lunch was different today. Normally I will eat with the 3rd and 4th graders after my 3rd morning class but today I had 3rd period off so I decided to dine with a class of 1st graders. I don't always say alot so I won't be a distraction to the students eating but today I wish I would of said more.

Within the particular group I was eating with, one little boy was offending the girl sitting next to him because of taking the name of God in vain by saying "Oh my god." The girl then proceeded to ask me if it was alright that the little boy was saying that particular phrase. I paused to think of how I could simply state what I believed without going outside "the lines" of what I'm allowed and not allowed to say while in a public school setting. It was really hard let me tell you. All I have wanted to do here for weeks, especially to students that I know have rough family lives, is to tell just how amazing Jesus is and how much he loves each and every one of them. How they are his children and how he died on the cross so they may have eternal life! I told the little girl that because of what I believe that I do not say things like that and that I prefer to lift up the name of Jesus in a positive light. She then carried on with her conversation with the boy, informing him that he should believe in God because he is the one who created us and loves us. I was blown away by her tact and confidence in sharing what she believed and that she wasn't afraid to share her faith with the little boy. Even though she was not a Seventh Day Adventist, I sensed a seed that was growing inside her walk with the Lord that hopefully will flourish and grow stronger throughout her life. I was given a good example today of what it means to share Jesus with others and how simple it should be to stand firm in what I believe in.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Being a Quarter Centurion

Another birthday has come and gone and this one was one of the best yet! It was full of amazing food, good fellowship with amazing dear friends, nature and sunshine, and roasted corn and apples over a bonfire which capped off a great day!! Extra bonus points because it was Sabbath, my dear friend Julie was here, and there was banjo music at church!

Being 25 kinda feels the same as being 24 except now I am a "real" adult because I can finally rent a car. I should learn how to drive manual so I can rent a super cool sports car for a day just to rent a super cool sports car for a day...anyone want to teach the teacher? Even though I have no more really exciting milestone birthdays ahead of me I am excited to see what God has in store for me for the rest of my life! Thanks all for your friendship and for making my day awesome!

Did you know? FACTS ABOUT "25"

25 is the usual minimum age for car rental in most countries.

“Under 25″ provides a common cut-off point for designating youth.

25 is the name of the national card game of Ireland

The minimum age of candidates for election to the United States House of Representatives is 25

25 years of marriage designates a silver wedding anniversary.

The atomic number of manganese is 25.

25 is a square number, being 5² = 25

Christmas is on the 25th of December

William McKinley, Jr. was the 25th President of the United States

It is the smallest square that is also a sum of two squares: 25 = 3² + 4². Hence it often appears in demonstrations of the Pythagorean theorem.

25 is the number of days approximately that takes the sun to do a complete rotation on itself.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Coming Soon: Ode to Dirt!

A little seedling of a blog draft sprouted in my head today. I believe I need more time on the trails to formulate it to a full blooming plant! What could be better then writing about rocks, dirt, and trees? Stay posted!

Monday, September 13, 2010

This Little Light Of Mine

"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path" Psalms 119:105

This morning during my pre dawn trail run the lyrics to one of my favorite childhood songs stuck out in my head as my feet clogged along with all the early morning coordination that could be mustered. I thought it would a good safe idea to run with my trusty headlamp in order to prevent tripping over large rocks, roots, and holes that lay in the dark woods of white oak mountain. I started up University Drive with my light turned off seeing as how the street lights sufficiently illuminated my path. When I entered the trail head the cover of trees stole away any source of natural or artificial lighting therefore making it very dark. I clicked my light on to the brightest setting, expecting to have a steady strong beam of light to guide my path. For some reason however, I only saw a faint trickle as I clicked repeatedly to get the desired brightness from my Black Diamond torch. After more tinkering, my final verdict was that the batteries simply needed to be changed in order for my feet to be guided down the path with steady assurance.

I continued onward ever so precariously. Although the sun soon came up over the horizon and my way then was lit by the early morning sunbeams, it made me slow down and think how my lack of a steady light could be applied to my everyday Christian walk. Although I had the physical light I needed and I desired to use it to light my path, I had not taken the proper care to make sure that the source fueling my light was ready and charged.

It was a good reminder to see if even for this day if my own inner light, the light that is powered by my relationship with God had sufficient enough power to shine brightly outwards to all the souls I would encounter for the day, not to mention tomorrow, next week, and next year!

I believe the Lord equips all those who seek him with a light, a source to shine outwards the amazing glory of his grace and power. "The followers of Christ are to be the light of the world; but God does not bid them make an effort to shine. He does not approve of any self-satisfied endeavor to display superior goodness. He desires that their souls shall be imbued with the principles of heaven; then, as they come in contact with the world, they will reveal the light that is in them. Their steadfast fidelity in every act of life will be a means of illumination." The Ministry of Healing-P. 3

It is my desire to continuously give everything up to God and his purpose for my life and not rely on my own well meaning but vain ambition to shine. By letting go I will be able to more effectively let my shine till Jesus comes, have the wisdom to not hid it under worldly bushes, and to never ever let Satan blow out my light!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Marley and Me

Student teaching is the coolest! It is a wee bit stressful and overwhelming at times but after completing my 5th week I want to say I am starting to get the hang of it all. The first few weeks were interesting to say the least because of all the "scheduling dilemmas." I have gotten to know more then just the trouble maker students pretty well which has been a real delight. I try my hardest not to pick favorites but one little 1st grader has come very close to stealing my heart!

Her first name is Marley and her last name begins with a B (sorry privacy laws.)She is a cute-as-a-button German ESOL student. At the beginning of the year i gave my students a crafty way to correctly pronounce my name; I told them to think of Bob MARLEY and then add on the first letter of the alphabet--A--Marley+A=Marlier. When I was calling her name for attendance I was excited; A fellow Marley! Upon further expectation of her name tag I said "Hey it's Marley-B and Marlier, COOL!!" So now I make it a point to make that special connection with her in the cafeteria, the classroom, and where ever else I see her and she does the same except she just calls me Marlier, haha. After all Marley and Me, we are one of a kind!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Two Years

It is so crazy to believe that two years ago on August 19, 2008 I left the good ole US of A to serve as a student missionary in Ethiopia. Time flew like a flash while I was there, scattering many countless and cherished memories in its rapid path. I teeter tottered back into the swing of American life, not always sure where I belonged and what I was supposed to be doing.America seemed to have changed drastically, my friends had changed but I realized that it was me who had changed the most. Yes I felt more aware and more appreciative of all I had but I mostly just missed my Ethiopian family and the simple life I had lived during my time there. Before I knew it I had been back for a year and wondered how time had seemingly transported itself faster then ever before. Adjustment sure is an interesting concept.
In honor of my two year mark of, err leaving for Ethiopia, I thought I would post one of my old emails that I sent out before my blogging days. Oh how I long for the day to be with them forever!
Z Hantuuta!!!
Sunday, April 5, 2009
*this story is meant to be humorous :) *

It was another ordinary Saturday night at the Addis Tasfa children’s home. I was just settling down to read a few chapters of The Orion Conspiracy, then go hang out with the kids. Little did I know another conspiracy was brewing just outside my room. I began hearing screaming and yelling, completely normal in a house of 40 people. Before long the yelling became louder so I went out to investigate. Before I could even get out my door, one of the more courageous boys, Dobolesh, came up to me with a surprise in his gloved hand, a little rat!! Now don’t think of me as a sissy when I say that I screamed like a 5 year old little girl. I am quite fond of rodents actually. I loved having my pet hamsters
Sonic and Flash to play with as a kid but here in Ethiopia rats carry so much disease and other grossness, I prefer to stay away. Dobolesh, being Dobolesh then proceed to chase me around the house with his new little friend while all the rest of the kids attempted to pin me down. No such luck for them however, as 8 months of running in the Altitude finally paid off! I quickly escaped their grasp and dashed out to the kitchen to warn Lizzie who was on her phone, of Dobolesh’s silly plot. I barley gasped out the words when I heard the familiar giggle of a boy up to no good. I ran away while Lizzie tried to do the same. FYI Ethiopia is DARK at night, so when Dobolesh eventually chased me back outside forcing me to leap off our porch and run around the garden, it was a miracle I didn’t trip on anything. The excitement eventually went inside where the tables suddenly turned! The house mother, Shega, who was teaming up with dobolesh tried to throw the rat on me, not cool! That is when our other house mother Mebrate pulled out the big guns. She quickly scooped up the now lifeless Hantuuta and proceeded to chase Shega around the house, it was one of the most hilarious sights I have seen yet! Eventually things calmed down and the poor rat was laid to rest out in the field. I had very vivid dreams that night. Yep, just another ordinary Saturday night in Ethiopia :)

Dobolesh, the rat hunter :-)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Learning Chinese!

In my first couple days of teaching I have already learned about different languages. For example,during the first week of school the kindergarten kids take turns coming to school (have to learn to share at an early age I guess) to help "phase themselves in" to being a full time student. They learn about nap time, snack time, the rules of the school, and all the other fun stuff like music class and PE of course. So everyday for a week during my 5th rotation I get to go around with a new group of bright shining faces so they can learn about all the "related arts" of Apison Elementary. During music class they learn how to sing a song in Spanish about the music they can make from their bodies. The lovely tune is called "Mi Cuerpo." There is lot's of clapping, la-la-la-ing, and cha-cha-cha-ing. I think after a few more days in kindergarten maybe I will be able to sing the whole song :-)

Apparently my last name is tricky to pronounce for some. Whenever I tell the kids my name for the first time I always get confused stares. Miss Mar-lee-eh...?? What is a Marlier? After the first group or so I decided to quiz them and see if they could guess what language my last name was. I got really interesting responses/guesses....Spanish, English, Canadian (yes!!), German, and the best of all...Chinese!gotta love 1st graders! I have never thought of myself to be of Asian heritage but maybe it could work :-)

P.S.--> for those wondering my last name is not actually Chinese, it is French!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Twas the night before student teaching....

Well maybe I should wait till the first day of school but that is in less then 12 hours so i think it is soon enough to write a blog. I am not sure what to think of my first day coming up. I am nervous, excited, anxious, and honestly feel rather unprepared actually. You would think that after 4 years of books and lectures you could just jump right off the wagon and teach. I however feel like I should stay on the wagon for a few more minutes, hours, days, weeks........years maybe :-)

I sat through an insightful IEP (Individualized Education Plan) meeting this afternoon to learn about one of the special needs kids that I will get to teach during my 1st placement. I have always been interested and for inclusion in the classroom so i think it will be a great learning experience I just hope I am able to make PE beneficial for *Charley* and his documented 3 second attention span as well as all the other special needs kids that will be in my classes as well.

Well I suppose it is a "school night" and I suppose teachers need sleep too. Hopefully sleep will prevail tonight because many new adventures await in my new role as Miss Marlier!

*name has been changed due to privacy laws and such...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Road Trip Sing-spiration!!

Want to know how to make a very long car ride go faster? Sing Hymns. That is what Temple and I did for about 7 hours en route from Pennsylvania to Tennessee. We sang in about 1/2 hour stretches and even with breaks for a nap, bathroom stops, and to catch our breath we managed to sing all the way to hymn #475; Balm in Gilead. We would sing the first line of every hymn we knew. Naturally we didn't know all the songs so sometimes we just made up a tune and sang the words to it, other times we just skipped it.

Most of my most favorite hymns were sung in that stretch including a song that I learned very recently, hymn #288 I am going to Calvary! The words are as follows:

I am going to Calvary,
Would you like to come with Me
All the way and back again?
You must follow the Leader then.
You must follow the Leader,
You must follow the Leader,
All the way and back again,
You must follow the Leader.

If I want a thorny crown,
If the soldiers knock me down
Can I really be a king?
Love will answer everything
If you follow the Leader,
If you follow the Leader,
Love will answer everything,
If you follow the Leader.

When I go along the road,
I shall lift a heavy load.
I will carry a cross for you.
You will learn to carry it too
When you follow the Leader,
When you follow the Leader,
You will learn to carry it too
When you follow the Leader.

I am going to stretch My hands,
Reaching out to all the lands.
Can I really be a king?
Love’s the lord of everything,
When you follow the Leader,
When you follow the Leader
Love’s the lord of everything,
When you follow the Leader.

It was definitely one of the more melodious car rides I have been on. Thanks for singing with me Temple!

A Whole New World

The day was Wednesday.

The weather was hot.

The school was Apison Elementary.

The person was me.

Today marked my first day of "student teaching."

To make us more rounded as student teachers, we were instructed by the Education Dept. to attend "professional growth and development seminars" starting today. 'Professional Growth' meant that I got to sit in meetings while people with thick southern accents spat out education lingo that i was roughly familiar with. I got to meet some of my future students as well as meet with my awesome cooperating teacher Mr. Weller and talk about classroom curriculum ans such. Mr Weller is awesome for several reasons:

Reason A: He is very short in stature, like my height short (5'1). Where he lacks in vertical height he has in energy and enthusiasm. Imagine that, a teacher who enjoys teaching.

Reason B: He is a Florida Gators fan!

Reason C: I spied a set of speed stacks in his office!

Reason D: The basketball hoops in the gym are low enough so that I can touch the rim! Okay that isn't a reason why he is cool but maybe it will make teaching more cool!

So with an awesome teacher to work with, a mind full of fresh ideas from working at camp, not to mention all of the knowledge that has been crammed into my brain over the past 4 years, I see a very exciting semester ahead. A semester of teaching that I'm sure will be a challenge and full of opportunities to keep learning and mastering my trade. May God receive all the glory for my positive moments and grant me patience, understanding, kindness, and love to share with each and every student I teach. I will do my best to document my adventures I have while in slave labor, I mean student teaching. I am sure I will have many :-)

On another note, what should my teaching name be?

Miss Jessica?

Miss Marlier?

Coach Jessica?

Coach Marlier?


Something Else?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

On the shores of Gilpin Bay...

Summer has come and gone and my time at Camp Cherokee is done for now. Bitter-sweet, happy-nostalgic memories crowd the floodgates of my heart. It was an AMAZING summer! Being pulled and stretched in more ways then I thought possible was exhausting (as was lack of sleep) but being led by God made it totally and completely worth it!

I sang, I played, I acted (azariah), I swam, ran, hiked, I found my inner 10 yr. old once again, I laughed, I prayed, I smiled, I wondered how i could make it through some days. I was blessed with awesome campers and blessed to work with an awesome staff! The summer brought new friends, new experiences, many new and cherished memories!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

High Peak Fever!!

Mud, rain, tress, and rocks are some of the most common sights I have seen while hiking my first few Adirondack high peak mountains. The weather has been less then ideal for 2 out of 3 of the hikes but the added weather element makes me feel more tough!
Sure days off are typically spent sleeping in and eating good food, but i believe that resting is for night time, so go hiking! My trusty hiking partner Andrew Whitlow, who has now climbed 39 out of the 46 high peaks, has done a great job of showing me the ropes of what climbing these mountains is all about. I could and should probably write a blog about each peak but for now I will just write short summaries!

1. Big Slide (4240 feet)---sunny, clear, and warm, great views during the entire hike and at the top,lots of hikers, muddy, super awesome first high peak!(hike time=4 hours)

2. Santanonni Peak (4607 ft)----hard hike, followed by Panther and Coucheachraga on same hike, wet and muddy unmarked trails, pretty landscape, ate Rollo's at the top, dinky peak marker, foggy at top.

3. Panther Mtn (4442 ft)---more unmarked and wet hiking, more Rollo's, water running low coming down, saw the same family several times, swamp crossing!

4. Coucheachraga Mtn. (3860 ft)---last peak for the day, no great views, slippery and rocky, had fun trying to pronounce name correctly, ran into 2 more hikers just starting out day, crazy decent, acquired very first scrapes coming back, ran the blue trail to main road, mud mud mud! (total hike time for 3 peaks=9.5 hours (avg. hike time from book for 3 peaks=16 hours)

5. Colvin(4057 ft)---Followed by Blake, long walk on main road to trail head, nice scenery along the way, no rain until about an hour in, unceasing rain for rest of hike, no great views at top, ate a few peanuts and nothing else, fast pace but a lot easier then last hike.

6. Blake Peak(3860 ft)--- super rainy but clean mud, challenging rock faces, fun hike, led a few times, didn't get left behind this time! ran the road back, only saw 3 hikers all day. Hike time for 2 peaks =5.5 hours; avg. hike time from book=12 hours

6 down----40 more to go!!!