Monday, April 30, 2012

Day 25: Love Languages

Day 25: What is your love Language?

Well, I kind of had a hunch what my love language was but wanted to take the quiz to find out. The first time I took the test LL I scored highest in was Words of Affirmation which is what I was expecting. Words mean a lot to me. I took it a 2nd time and scored highest in Quality Time so honestly I think they are both at the same level, maybe with WOA just slightly higher. The other 3 LL include acts of service, receiving gifts, and physical touch. Acts of Service was pretty high as well.  I scored lowest in receiving gifts and touch which doesn't surprise me seeing as how I don't always dwell in receiving materiel things but I love to receive and give hand made, meaningful gifts!

Perhaps being in VT has quite been the reason for such a low physical touch score although I tend to be more held back hugging or touching someone if do not know them well. Not having many people around to hug makes me appreciate kind words much more! I may not be the biggest fan of physical contact with strangers but I always appreciate a good solid handshake! One of my pet peeves is when I receive a "dead fish shake", blagh! That is usually one of the biggest first impression indicators for me for sure! Look below for basic info on my top 2 LL and click here to take the test yourself!


Words of Affirmation
Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important–hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten.

Quality Time
In Quality Time, nothing says “I love you” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there—with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby—makes you feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed activities, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Wealthy beyond comparison!

Saw this the other day and thought it applied perfectly to my current financial situation.

After thinking about it a little bit more I realized that I am not poor but indeed rich, if you consider where true wealth lies.
I am not saying this just because I work below the poverty line but having worldy money and possesions isn't everything! You can have all the riches of the world, live in a mansion, and drive a fancy car but without God in your life you are truly poor. Am I wrong?

Granted I still have to work on this myself, but in the end, I would rather be poor with God then rich without him! Yes it would be nice to be able to have a sure way to pay off my bills every month but through the financial struggles of this year, I have been able to travel on an amazing faith trip like no other. God is so good to me and I just hope that through the way I live my life, I can give him back even a schillings worth of the blessings he has provided and continues to bless me with!

And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus-Philippians 4:19


Day 24: Views on mainstream music

Your views on mainstream music

This one is tough. What is the definetion of "mainstream" anyways?

I came across this video a couple weeks ago and I think it shows how much of an impact music can have on a person. Really amazing!

For me personally, music is very important part of life. Although I am not a great musician I have discovered different ways to really appreciate it! What else can get me to tap my toes, hum, and sing along better then music? I feel that music and music in different forms surrounds the world more then people realize. Whether that be on radio, in the wilderness, or in the streets music is everywhere and music can be a powerful thing. Doesn't it make sense that one should listen to music that uplifts and directs them in a positive direction?  I am open to different genres of music but definitely not a fan of the loud, screaming type of music. I like to understand what is being said in a song and prefer to hear positive messages in what I am hearing. I also can appreciate a beautiful well put together concerto or an instrumental song without lyrics. Some times you don't need words to hear what the music is saying.
I could go on but this topic is really complex, so maybe in another blog post folks!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Day 23: Childhood Memories

Describe 3 significant memories from your childhood.

Only 3!?

 I had a fun childhood. I think I spent a majority of it outside playing in the dirt, climbing trees, picking stickers out of my bare feet, battling ear infections and playing with the boys! Dolls and playing dress up were not my scene, probably not surprising.

Significant Memory #1-Going to Summer Camp!!!!
I absolutely loved camp. I could write an entire blog post about it but instead I will just say that my years as a camper changed my life and seeing as how i have been working at camp for the last 9 summers now I would say the impact has been a lasting one! I used to cry my eyes out when I had to leave, was all about living at the horse barn, loved my counselors (a few who I still keep in touch with to this day!) had the usual girl crushes on "the dreamy boys counselor" (especially Mark, oh lala :-), would have my suitcase packed a week before I left, and jumped at the first chance I had to work at camp! So many great memories come from camp, one place where I have really come to know how truly amazing God is!

Significant Memory #2 My 10th Birthday Party!!!!
This is something my sister and I have gotten to tease dear old Mom about since we were 10, the birthday that she forgot to bring the candles for out birthday cakes! We had the most awesome birthday party. It was at the bowling ally. We had all of our friends there, the bowling place gave us each a personalized happy birthday bowling pin, and we were a whopping 1 decade old! We were good sports and blew out our pretend candles and it was still a fun party, even without the candles!

Significant Memory #3 My Pet Chickens!!!
3rd grade was probably my favorite year of elementary school because I had a spectacular teacher who not only taught me how to tolerate writing in cursive but who let us incubate chicken eggs! The anticipation of those little buggers hatching was so exciting! I remember being there the night that they started  to peck and peep there little cute heads out of the shells, the miracle of life happened right in front of my eyes!!! Sleeping that night was tough because I wanted to be there to watch the rest of them hatch. Trying to focus the next day at school proved to be a challenge. They stayed in a big cardboard box for about a week under a heat lamp until they were old enough to go home! I was so excited to bring my Rhode Island red chick, whom I named Buddy, home! Buddy turned out to be a hen and layed awesome eggs for 3 years. After a while we adopted 2 more chickens, Blackie and Pooster the Rooster! Those were the tamest chickens you have ever seen. They would jump up into my arms, ride on my shoulder and would even tolerate swimming in the lake! They were probably part duck! We had the chickens for about 3 years and i remember how sad I was when they died (mean dogs!) Having chickens, and pets in general was a great memory!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Day 22: Something that you miss

Wow only 8 days left after this post. it sure has gone by fast. Maybe this challenge will be something I will miss? Not enough to write an entire post about it :-)

Something that I miss....let see. I miss lots of things. I miss most parts of my college days. I miss having a big circle of friends to be around. I miss the easy, care free life of being a "pre-adult"  To those who know me well this comes to no surprise I am sure but the think at this point in life, the thing I miss the most is Ethiopia, more specifically the beautiful wonderful kids I grew to love and cherish when I spent time there as an SM! I know many people say this about mission trips or a going overseas experiences but I know I left a large portion of my heart in Ethiopia!

                          The most recent pics of the kids of New Hope!
                                         They are  growing like weeds!

Gradually, over time I have figured out how to adapt without the heart I am missing but I believe more then anything, the desire to go back, to be a missionary again is what has filled in the gaps that are missing! I miss watching those kids grow up, I miss running with the boys along the river, I miss picking rocks out of the grain on the porch with the girls, I miss laughing with Tigist and Alvarash in the kitchen, I miss the sunsets, the market days, the taekwondo class (green belt baby!), mango season, climbing trees, laughing, singing, the crazy rainstorms. I just miss it. I hope to come back again someday soon but most of all I can not wait for the day where there won't be an ocean separating me from them or time separating me from anything else that I miss. What a great day that will be!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Day 21: If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why?

Ah yes! Well I don't know if I have a specific state, town, or country I would want to live in all I know is I would want to live out in the country and especially the mountains! After going to school in Tennessee, working at camp in the Adirondacks, serving as a missionary in Ethiopia, and living in the green mountains of Vermont I would say my love for mountains is very strong! If I were to choose, I would live in the foothills of a majestic peak in a comfortable house or cabin with a big wrap around porch. The porch would be equipped with hammocks, swings, and comfortable chairs! It would be ideal to have the house sit in a location where I could view sunrise on one side of the porch and sunset on another. The house would also have lush green field as a yard, with a nice big garden out front and a river or stream close by. Access to trails is a must! I wouldn't mind living in a place where it snowed in the winter as long as I had snowshoes, skis, and a good wood stove to keep me busy! I would want to live somewhat close to civilization but far enough away to not see any lights or hear any cars. Just the sound of birds, trees, and the fuzzy creatures of the wilderness!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Day 20: Superpowers

I don't necessarily believe in super powers on earth but I think in heaven we will be able to do so many amazing things we never thought were possible! It may not be things that are depicted in super hero movies like being able to go through walls, turn into sand, or breathe fire but instead I think God has so many much more amazing talents and abilities just waiting for us to receive! I can't wait to see what those things are!

One of my most favorite things to imagine is what it will be like in heaven! Even to this day it is hard for me to wrap my head around just how remarkable of a place it will be! In heaven or on earth if I had a "superpower" it would have to be something incredible! It would be amazing to have God given power to be able to split the red sea, multiply fish and bread, or make water burst forth from a rock! I think it would be cool to fly, or to run faster then a cheetah,  be invisible, or have iron man strength. The more I think of it the more I realize instead of trying to be something that I am not I would just want to be as much like Jesus as I possibly could! I know that here on earth it is very difficult to be exactly like Jesus but like Moses and the disciples, if you allow him God can equip you with earthly powers you couldn't have otherwise! I think you can be a reflection of him by using the talents and abilities he blesses you with to glorify and honor him. That would be my super power on earth, to use my talents to be as much of a reflection of my God as possible!

Never Give Up!

A little mid week encouragement for your day!

2 Chronicles 15:7 But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Day 19:How important you think education is

Hmmm well seeing as how I am a teacher I think education is VERY important!!

On another note, my awesome students in my Fine Arts class are starting the blog challenge today as well! Welcome to my blog KM, KB, HT, AP, JK, JH, JW, and CB! Hope y'all enjoy writing each day as much as I have! I look forward to seeing what you each come up with! You guys rock! Here is the 21 day challenge list for you to put on your blog. Happy Writing!
1. List 15 random facts about yourself

2. Describe 3 legitimate fears you have and explain how they became fears
3. Somewhere you would like to move or visit
4. What are the 5 things that make you most happy right now
5. What is the hardest thing you have ever experienced
6. What is your dream job, and why
7. What are 5 passions you have
8. Describe your most embarrassing moment
9. Describe 5 weaknesses you have
10. Describe 5 strengths you have
11. If you were an animal, what would you be and why
12. What is the thing you most wish you were great at
13. Describe 3 significant memories from your childhood
14. If you could have one superpower, what would it be and what would you do with it first
15. If you could have dinner with anyone in history, who would it be and what would you eat
17. Your favorite movie and why
18. Your earliest memory
19. How important you think education is
20. Your views on mainstream music
21. Something that you miss

I have been thinking about what to write for this post for a while and have come to the conclusion that it is difficult to really summarize all the ways why education is crucial because education comes in all forms and starts at birth from the very first skills and habits a baby learns, to the years of learning the ABC's and 123's in school, to the things that are learned throughout life about life. Everyone, in my opinion, not just teachers, should read the book EDUCATION by Ellen G. White at some point. It has been a great tool and guide for me in building my teaching philosophy in and outside the classroom! Probably a couple of the most well known quotes from the book and ones that I take to heart for myself and my students is on page 17. "It is the work of true education to develop this power, to train the youth to be thinkers, and not mere reflectors of other men's thoughts." and on page 18, "Higher then the highest human thought can reach is God's ideal is for his children. Godliness-godlikeness-is the goal to be reached." Good stuff! Read the rest of the book!

To add to that, education should never end. If you stop learning you stop living. There is always something new to learn and most of the time it is not strictly academic.
I think achieving a high level of education is important yet if a person with a masters degree doesn't know how to successfully live life, is it really worth it? I feel like it is important to not only strive for academic success but to be a top notch pupil in the classroom of life as well. Get your hands dirty, explore, learn about other cultures, other personalities, get outside your comfort zone, help others, challenge yourself, try new things, have fun, laugh, cry, love.
I believe it takes a lifetime but in order to gain a doctorate degree in life it is above all it absolutely essential to trust in God and follow his ultimate plan for your life. God is the master teacher after all who could be better to learn from?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Spring Break!

One nice thing about being a teacher and a teacher in Vermont is all the extra breaks and days off. I just returned from a spring break visit to one of my favorite places, Collegedale Tennessee! I also got to visit Boston and Washington DC during my layovers. It was an awesome week! I saw so many people I have missed and got to relive life in happy valley for just a few short but wonderful days. I didn't realize how much I had missed being there untill I came for a visit. Helped me to appriciate it more then ever! Thank you sooooo much to everyone who helped make my spring break awesome, just for being there!

A few highlights include:

>spending the day before the Boston marathon in Boston!
>meeting Dean Karnazes!
>seeing friends from Florida
>eating Ethiopian food in Boston!
>getting off the bus!
>Hanging out with the brother!
>playing raquetball with Bekah!
>Running the biology trails. Even though there are tons of new trails and I was completely lost every time I went running, the bio trails have always one of my favorite places to run!
>Seeing old friends all over the place. I am glad there are still many people around
>Getting good information about a new job possibility!
>Pasta Day!
>Green drinks with Phoebe!
>Late night chats with good friends!
>visiting the schools I did student teaching was neat that the kids still remembered me. I most loved getting to visit the Special Ed classroom that I spent alot of time in. They are some of the most amazing kids I know!
>running the Fit for Eternity 5k!
>fun get-togethers with friends
>watching soccer intramurals
>catching up with professors and other friends on campus
>bets :-)
>enjoying Sabbath at Southern!
>scenic drives
>smelling the little debbies again!
>cheaper gas!
>getting an OK shaped cookie cutter!
>sitting in on a few classes
>Seeing a few monuments in DC
>Just being back in a place I love!!

Now that I am back in Vermont I only have a few weeks left! I hope to make the most of the time I have left in VT and look forward to seeing where God leads me next!

Day 18: 5 greatest accomplishments

What are your 5 greatest accomplishments?

I am not a fan of these kind of questions nor talking about myself but since I have been in job hunt mode recently I suppose I can list a few no particular order

>becoming a long distance runner--this is something that started officially back in middle school and has changed my life forever. I don't know what I would be like without discovering the ability I had to run. I have been able to have so many great experiences, stay in shape, meet so many wonderful people, and grow in ways i could never have without the forward motion running has blessed me with. Whether it be running 1 mile or 40 miles, I have loved every moment and look forward to many many more miles.

>graduating college--I loved my college years and sometimes I wish I could go back but nothing is quite as exciting as having the feeling of finishing something that many people don't even start.

>leaving my comfort zone--The ability to do this in a variety of scenarios has been great. Whether that be coming to VT, getting up front in church, going overseas for a year, or working/talking to people I may not normally talk, etc. I have found the more I am "comfortable" the easier it is for me to drift from God. It is usually in the hard moments in life that I feel his presence the closest. I need to do a better job of leaving my comfort zone more often.

>figuring out what I love to do--I am glad I have been able to discover things I have a passion for early in life. I never changed my major although I thought about it a time or two. I feel that all the extra curricular I have taken part if throughout life have given me so many opportunities to try new things that I end up loving!

> My missionary experience--read about it in previous blogs. I think the time I spent as an SM really helped to shape the mindset and life philosophy I have now. It helped me become more focused and driven on what I want to accomplish later on in the future and has really helped me to set straight my priorities in life.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Day 17: How have you changed in the last 2 years

Well since I am on a bus for a little while I figure I have time to write a more detailed blog..I'll try not to be too boring :-)

Even though I am not a fan of "change" it can be a good thing. Without change there can be no personal growth. Thinking back over the last couple years I have gained new experiences and new titles such as friend, ultra marathoner, college grad, teacher, and "zebra".

The last two years, in a nutshell, have been a whirlwind! So much has happened and life for the most part has been great! It has been almost 3 years now since I returned (the 1st time) from the mission field and I would say that first 6-12 months after returning helped to kick start me to the place and person I am now. It has been about two solid years since I finally felt adapted to the new person my experience as a student missionary helped turn me into. I had finally accepted and started to walk in the new shoes I had been given with determination and the goal to be the person God had turned me into. Praise the Lord!

One major thing that has helped me change (in good ways) is the circle of friends I have come to know and cherish. It has been such a blessing to be around so many like minded, mission minded people. The support, laughter, conversations, good food, hikes, bible studies, etc. I have taken part of have been awesome! Its been this last year being so far away from most of the best friends I know but it just makes the short visits even more memorable! In the last two years I have also finished the first round of my college education and have become a teacher! It was tough, at first, to be a student again after teaching as an SM but it went by fast and before I knew it I was on that stage shaking Dr. Beitz's hand! The job hunt was also something that was and still is a challenge but I know God is leading! I think mostly in the last two years I have reached the stage of being fully independent but at the same time being more dependant on God then any other time in my life. I may be a grown up in the real world, paying all my bills, rent, student loans, etc but its at this point in life I rely (or should more often) the most on God carrying me through. I hope to never lose that dependence.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Day 16: What is the thing you most wish you were great at?

Just one thing?

I wish I was great or at least better at many things. I guess I will keep it simple tonight and say I wish I was great at pole vaulting.

When I ran track in high school I was a distance runner but always envied the kids who got to pole vault. I tried it a few times but was never really able to get the hang of it. I have discovered that my feet and body do better when on the ground but the idea to be able to pole vault has never really left my brain. Maybe one day in heaven I will have the ability to do so.

Day 15: What is your favorite part of your body and why?

This one is simple. My Heart.

Read here for the main scoop!

I love my heart for many reasons. It is an incredible machine! God did not fail to lack details and precision when designing this amazing muscle! Without it consistent work I would not be able live. I would not be able to run, swim, jump, hike, breathe, bike, frolic and do scores of other amazing things that require the constant lub-dub of my amazing heart!

Not only do I love my heart for its ability to keep me moving and living but I love the great symbolism that the human heart has. The heart is centered around passions, joy, peace, compassion, kindness, and love for others. Another great thing about the heart is that is where God goes. God doesn't go into my toes, my knees, or my fingers. My God comes into my heart and by all means I try to keep him centered there at all times. With God in my heart I then have the more clear abilty to make good choices, love others, and show God to others through my actions and words. Without God in my heart I find that life tends to be more foggy, hard times seem harder and the ability to be kind gets clouded over with the evil of this world.

Yes the heart is amazing and I am grateful for the one I have!

Matthew 22:37

Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'

Philippians 4:7

Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 3:16-18

I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through
his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow
down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s
people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.

P&P Chapter 11-The Call of Abraham

Sorry folks I missed day 15. I am writting it now and will post it soon but I feel that this is a more important thing to write. During a conversation this evening with a friend, I was directed to this passage. I feel that it really applies to my year in Vermont and to everyother way that God may lead during my life. Really spoke to me. Read the whole chapter (or the whole book) for even more substance!

Many are still tested as was Abraham. They do not hear the voice of God speaking directly from the heavens, but He calls them by the teachings of His word and the events of His providence. They may be required to abandon a career that promises wealth and honor, to leave congenial and profitable associations and separate from kindred, to enter upon what appears to be only a path of self-denial, hardship, and sacrifice. God has a work for them to do; but a life of ease and the influence of friends and kindred would hinder the development of the very traits essential for its accomplishment. He calls them away from human influences and aid, and leads them to feel the need of His help, and to depend upon Him alone, that He may reveal Himself to them. Who is ready at the call of Providence to renounce cherished plans and familiar associations? Who will accept new duties and enter untried fields, doing God's work with firm and willing heart, for Christ's sake counting his losses gain? He who will do this has the faith of Abraham, and will share with him that "far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory," with which "the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared." 2 Corinthians 4:17; Romans 8:18

Patriarchs and Prophets, Chapter 11 The Call of Abraham

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Day 14: Strengths

Woo-Hoo 14 days down already! 1. Interacting with people----Like I mentioned before I love to be around people and I feel that for the most part, I know how to converse well with them, even with strangers. I have no problem asking people for directions and even starting conversations with people out of the blue. I have had some of the most interesting conversations with people on planes, crowded lines, or restaurants. It's always fun when I get to talk about my Africa experience, it seems to be a topic most people can listen to. 2. Passion and energy for things I do---There is a saying that goes, do what you like, like what you do and I try to apply that to my life everyday! When I find something I really enjoy I do my best to put my best effort forward when I participate. Whether it be running, teaching, missions, or being around people I always try to focus my best time and energy towards those pursuits and do the best I possibly can. I seem to have extra energy for things that I truly love to do! If I am in my element it is sometimes hard for me to stop. When it comes to people I care for the most students, family, or friends I like to find ways to take care of them by knowing things that they like and supporting them anyway I can. 3. Thinker on my feet--This is something that has become even stronger since being a teacher. I love to have a plan but sometimes things just operate at the beat of their own drum. I have learned that flexibility is key. So often my schedule gets rearranged or the things of life get thrown at me that I am not expecting so I feel that I for the most part can come up with alternate solutions to tasks or problems. 4. Perseverance--I hate to quit things or leave things unfinished. This can also make me appear as being stubborn which sometimes is the truth. I like to see things go fully to completion and to see how it can make an impact on the future. 5. Ability to lead-Another strength that has gotten better since being a teacher. I love to lead and make plans and rally troops but I have also found the ability to follow is just as important. I have tried to tone the all-time leader trait down a bit in different parts of life and think that it is really important to NOT always be in control but to let others have a chance at calling the shots. Obviously I can't do that as much being a teacher but I like to give my students choices as much as possible.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Day 13: Weaknesses

I have several and one weakness is admitting that I have them! While thinking about what my so called weaknesses could be, I concluded that I wouldn't even have to be writting this post if I gave up my #1 weakness which is holding on to %5. More specifically my notion that I NEED to have control of my life at all times, that I need to know what is going on. I have learned that that is not how God operates. He goes at his own pace and that is called his will and purpose for my life. I live for structure and routine and when I don't have a clear path in front of me it stresses me out. Must continue to work on this! I heard a great sermon at church recently that goes along perfectly with this concept, and my blog title in general. Will post it soon!--------------------------------------------------------- 1. Holding on to 5%-As described in the first paragraph I don;t always do a great job of COMPLETELY surrendering my life to Gods hands. In the end I find that it stresses me out more when things that I think are right don't turn out the way I expect.------------------------------------- 2. Overloading myself/procrastination-Being a student and now a teacher has seen this weakness far to often. I find that I take on too much responsibility and on top of that often wait too long to get things done. I find that when I do that it cuts out valuable time for important things like devotionals and spending my time more productivity in general.-------------------------------- 3. Letting certain things go- This applies directly to #1. I will talk more about my ability to let things go in relationships with others. Also the sermon I references really applies to this as well. Maybe it is just me, but once someone loses my trust I have a difficult time giving it back to them. I think this is something I really need to work on. It has only happened a handful of occasions in my life but its been a struggle to forgive and forget some of the wrong that I have experienced.---------------- 4. Negative Confrontation-Who likes negative confrontation? This one also applies to #1 and 3. I can't stand negative confrontation so I normally stay far away, often ignoring and letting things build up because I don't like to frustrate or be frustrated in return. I have found alternate solutions to this since becoming a teacher (you can't avoid confrontation in this field!) and its helped. Something, with God's help I hope to get better at handling-------------- 5. Admitting that I am wrong- I am a hidden perfectionist so when I am doing something that I think is the correct way and it turns out there is a better solution I don't always like to admit it. So there you are a few things that I need improvement in for everyday life. Nothing that I am proud of but things that I hope to get better at. Now if only I could remember to give God 100% control, not 95% maybe my weaknesses can become strengths, or at least non existent.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Day In Boston

Yesterday I spent the day in Boston. It was a grand day! Since it was the day before the Boston Marathon there a bajillion runners out, well of course running! I wish I could of been running this year but it was great to be ale to soak up the envrioment once again. The day went something like this: 1:15 am*Dropped off in Burlington to catch bus to Boston 2:15 am*Supposed to leave now, where is the bus? 3:00am*No Really…WHERE IS THE BUS?!?!?!?! 3:30&*stil no bus in Burlington..maybe I should start walking…. 3:55 am* called temple to come pick me up, will just catch the next one… 4:00 am- What is that? The bus!! Finally only 2 hours late. Called temple to cancel the pick up, boarded the bus in relief and proceeded to sleep the entire 5 hour drive down to Boston. 9:00 am-Arrive at South Station, got on red line to Kendall square. 9:30 am-Start walking from train to the hotel where I met up with Coach Bro and Doug 9:45 am-Thankfully ran into them on the way, didn’t really know where I was going. 10:00 am-Dropped my stuff off in the room then went for a short, fast run with marathoner Doug! Was nice to finally run with someone again! 11:30-Headed out to lunch with coach and doug. I have had so many fancy meals in the last week! 12:30-3:30-Walked around Boston doing touristy things, Quincy Market, the wharf, ice cream break, Bill Rodgers running store, Boston massacre, Boston tea party, and got really familiar with the underground train/subway system. Since Doug was running the next day and they had already been to the expo we split ways until after dinner 3:30-Walked to the Marathon expo. It was huge! There was all sorts of stuff to look at! The highlight of the expo was running into this guy!!
I was shocked when I first saw him, DEAN KARNAZES just because he was walking around like any normal runner. I kind of followed him from a distance to make sure it was actually him then mustered up the courage to say hello and ask for a picture! He is a super chill person and was quick to remind me that he was only a runner! I am not normally star shocked around “famous” people but it was really neat to say that I have met this incredible athlete in person! He is someone I really admire just for his incredible abilities to persevere! 5:30 pm-Headed back to hotel then went out in search of an Ethiopian restaurant. Got on a random shuttle and talked to a lady about my year in Ethiopia. She gave me a tip on where to go eat, which is right where the shuttle was going, pretty cool! Enjoyed an amazing feast of injera and shiro. Malkem Fasika! 7;30- Headed back to hotel and went on a nice walk along the river, it was a beautiful day! 8:00-Talked marathon training with Coach and Doug for a little bit before heading back to South Station to catch my overnight bus! 11:00 pm. Finally a long and eventful day came to a close. It was fun to explore Boston and even better to see old friends but I am thankful that I live in the peaceful countryside, big city living is not for me!

Day 12: If you were an animal what would you be and why?

Another tough one! Although I find nothing wrong about being a human there are a few animals I would be. A bird. Not some wimpy bird like a flamingo but a powerfully awesome bird like a hawk, falcon or eagle! I have always thought it would be amazing to fly from place to place and to have razor sharp eyesight! To be able to hunt with precision accuracy and to rule the skies! Birds seem to be a really symbolic animal not just in the bible but in every day society as well. Birds are important, they brought a symbol of hope back to the ark after the flood, fed a hungry man in the wilderness and is a namesake in American culture! I would be a bird! Another animal I would be is a monkey, a spider monkey to be exact! I remember seeing these cute agile little creatures all the time in the tree tops in Ethiopia! How fun would it be to climb trees and eat fruit all day! I like monkeys because of their athletic ability and sense of adventure and humor. I think it is neat that many monkey breeds have tight nit family units, they work together and make sure every other monkey around them is taken care of! One last animal I would be is a giraffe mostly because they are tall and I have always wondered what it is like to be tall. What an awesome and detailed imagination God had to create such a unique long necked creature and how he provided the giraffes with special features to help them eat sharp and prickly plants/leaves. Even though God created me with a specific purpose and reason to be a human I think it is awesome that he would provide us with such a wide variety of beasts of the earth, air, and sea!

Day 11: What is your dream job and why?

I am not sure that I have just one dream job. Why limit yourself to dreaming? There are many things I could do and be satisfied. Even if my dreams don’t come true, as long as God is leading I am right where I belong One dream job I have is to be a missionary! I would go wherever God called me but if I had a choice I would love to go back to Africa or somewhere new like South America. I have always had an interest of living in the mountains or in the jungle. I think it would be awesome to live off grid, in a hut, or some other natural habitat! If I ever go out in the mission field I would love to do some sort of health evangelism/outreach program with the local people and teaching would also be a great thing too! My original student missionary placement was supposed to be in Kenya, Africa where I was going to work with an organization called Hope Runs, a non profit organization that was founded to help sponsor kids in Africa to be able to have a safe place to live and run. Sadly it did not work out for me to go but it gave me the inspiration to try to do something like that in the future, God willing! Another dream job I have is to be a great PE teacher! To improve my skills and be as good of a role model to future students and community as possible! I would like to eventually work towards a masters degree but mostly I just want to gain experience in as many ways related to my field as possible! I would love to be able to develop and build a sound Physical education program that includes all the bells and whistles with resources and materials. I have learned that it can be difficult to manage a solid program without proper resources! Later on down the road I want to have a program that not only runs smoothly but that is based around health based principals and not focused around competitive sports. Although team sports have their place in schools I think it is vitally important for young people to have something at an early age that they can make into a lifelong habitual activity! Contrary to popular belief MOST people won’t be able to play basketball or football competitively when they are 80 years old, however activities like swimming or walking are more doable and great for beating that osteoporosis and scores of other diseases! One last dream job I have would be to simply stay at home and raise a family! Even though I love to work, I think it would be such a rewarding privilege to help raise children in a God centered and well run home where they could have at least 1 parental unit around

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Day 10: Most Embarrassing Moment

This one is hard!!! I'm not trying to get out of this blog post but I have been thinking about what to write about for days and my mind has not budged on what could count for my most embarrassing moment. I know I have had many embarrassing moments but thankfully I am good at erasing them from my memory! Maybe you guys could think of something for me? One thing I will say is that I tend to get embarrassed fairly easily, most of the time for no reason. Perhaps that is why nothing major sticks out in my mind. I think I can beat just about anyone in a blush-to-bright-red-the-fastet contest. I usually try to conceal embarrassment by playing it cool but sometimes I just can't fake it. People say it is funny to watch me squirm. I say it is embarrassing and just one of many character traits I have to accept. If I think of an actual specific embarrassing moment I will add it later, feel free to help refresh my memory!

***Well after some more thinking and reminiscing with a friend I remembered a moment that could be considered as embarrassing. It was this last summer at Camp Cherokee. It was during staff training week and we were playing a game. A very silly game! The game is called "Honey if you love me you'll smile." Well I discovered that I loved everyone and it was kind of ridiculous. For some reason I am not good at games
that require you to keep a straight face under pressure. The  game goes as following: If you are in the middle you have to go up o someone around the circle and try to get them to smile by saying "honey if you love me you'll smile" If you are really talented you should be able to say "honey I love you but I just can't smile" without cracking a grin. People try all sorts of silly antics to get others to crack and some people on staff were more serious then others, all were more serious then me. Without fail each and every time, usually by the time "honey if" was uttered I was grinning ear to ear, red as a tomato! There were also times when just the thought of being approached made me laugh out loud nervously! It was a pretty long game and my face seemed to be a permanent shade of red by the end of the evening. I am not sure why everyone insisted on targeting me, but whatever as long as they got a hoot out of it I guess that is all that matters. Yes, I like to smile, not a terrible thing, unless of course you are trying to win a game :-)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Day 9: Your Earliest Memory

This challenge has been fun so far....and very time consuming but its good to exercise my brain like this! Another short one for today but I will be spending Sunday night and all day Monday on a bus so I should have time to get ahead on my blogs! I am sure I could recall an earlier memory but one that sticks out is when I was 5 and my mom and dad sat me and my sister down to tell us that we were going to be having a new brother. I cried. I guess it was an early indicator to my dislike of change. I don't remember to many to many other details of the big announcement but I think I was just confused as to what having a brother would mean. For all of my short life it had been just me and my twin sister, our parents, and our pups odie and rascal. What is the need to bring in a new species to the family? Even though at first I wasn't into the idea of having a brother I had a change of heart the second I held that huge baby in my arms for the first time! (He was a 9.5 pounder!) He had to grow up fast because his two sisters loved to tease him and dress him up like a doll! Mom always warned me to be careful because one day he would be bigger than me and then I wouldn't be able to beat up on him :-) She was right and in my last couple years of high school he shot up like a weed! I loved having him in my life and watching him grow up! I remember how he gave the most awesome speech about his life at his kindergarten graduation. The boy knew how to work a crowd :-) I would always be able to count on having my little brother to climb trees, ride bikes, play basketball in the driveway, and play barefoot soccer in the yard. One fun thing we used to do would be to build forts out of the couch cushions and when we got bored we would take the couch cushions and tie them around ourselves with belts and sashes and play sumo wrestler! It was hard to go away to school for my last 2 years of HS and then my years at Southern. I feel like I missed some pivotal growing up moments in his life! I loved being able to go to school with him during my last semester at Southern, better late than never! Having a brother has been awesome! Our brother sister relationship had its typical arguments and disagreements but without him, my life growing up would of been incomplete! Even though life has dealt its ups and downs in life nothing has been better than having him around. He is a good listener, awesome sports playing partner, and a good friend! I love that he has an active relationship with God and has really accepted him for his own. Nothing makes me prouder! I love my brother!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Day 8: Your favorite movie and why

Whoa, what happened to blogspot!? I am switching days around once again because today was busy and I still need to go for my run and finish things up in my classroom before spring break, yay for spring break coming soon! Although I am not a huge movie fan and would rather spend my time doing more productive things, there are a few that I could watch again and again. If I had to choose a favorite off the top of my head it would be Second Hand Lions, it is a great film! You can read the general plot here I like it because it has a good mix of humor, adventure, suspense and overall feel goodness and actually has a good point to it. (although I am not a fan of the cursing that is spread throughout the movie) It gave me a fun example of what I would to be like as I get older. Not to be materialistic and squander money on worldly things but to be one old lady to never lose my sense of adventure! Towards the end of the film, grown up Walter learns of his two Uncles death and has the opportunity to meet another pivotal character from the story. After finding out how the uncles died, instead of extreme grief and sadness they were able to smile because he knew his uncles had "really lived" and that "They died with their boots on" or in other words, they died being able to do something they really loved! Other good movies in my opinion: The Princess Bride! Cool Runnings! Ben Hur and my mind is drawing a blank.....

How could I forget Fiddler on the Roof?!?! If you haven't seen it you should! You can learn about beautiful tradition, TRADITION!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Day 7: What are 5 passions you have

** I am making a switch of days here, this one is easier to write about with the limited time I have to write. dream job coming soon!

What are 5 passions you have?

In no particular order...

1. People (Family and Friends)!
2. Missions!
3. Teaching!
4. Being Outside!
5. Running! Being Active

When I think about all of these passions are kind of the same but different.

I love people! I think when I took the Meyers-Briggs test, I scored the highest in this category. It helps explains my passion for teaching and missions as well I suppose. I have found I have been more selective the last few years of the type of people I spend the majority time with. I believe the people you associate with can be very influential so I try to be around people that will lift me up and help me focus on what is important. I like to watch people as well and have discovered that you can unlock so many fascinating things about a person by simply listening to them! My family people have become very important to me over the last few years, especially with changed family dynamics I have come to see how important it is to communicate well and keep them close.

Missions: This is a no brainier! I loved my missionary experience and long to go back into the mission field again someday. I have loved being in VT because it is a very mission oriented place to be. It has helped me to really stand up for what I believe in. Like I mentioned before I know the mission field is all around me but I truly hope that it is God's will for my life to be a missionary and build a family around it someday. Long term overseas missionaries I believe can be more effective when supported by another like minded individual.

I love being a teacher! I have had fun this year branching out and teaching outside of school as well. I love seeing my students progress and imporve in thier knowledge and ability throughout the year. I live for the "ah-ha" moments! I can write more about this but it would take a short teaching is awesome!

Being Outside!
I feel that for me running could be tied to being outside because I can not stand running inside. I would rather rum in a hurricane then on a hamster wheel! Being outside the best way I can connect with God. It is my thinking time. Nothing is better then being out in the woods or high on a mountain top! Hiking, running, biking, hammocking, the more sunshine and fresh air the better!

Running: This is the one thing that I think the majority of people out there associate me with. For a while it used to kind of bother me. I guess I just wished that people would take time time to know me for who I was and not just for what I was able to do. I know running is a gift and ability that God has blessed me with so that is why I run! I love it because for a few minutes or hours each day I can go out and not only exercise my body but I can exercise my mind and forget about the worry and stress of life! I have taken a huge liking to trsil running ever since living in Africa for a year. I have run 2 ultra marathons and hope to run more in the future. The challenge of pushing your body to run for hours on end is exhilarating and after finishing the race, SO worth the struggle! Road running is nice but there is something peacfully amazing about running over rocks, dirt, grass while listening to the wind and birds in the trees and not being able to hear the outside world!
I love to be active in general. I feel that it is important for me as PE teacher to be a first hand example of what it means to live a healthy lifestyle so I try my hardest to always do something that keeps me moving!
Being Happy:
Another bonus! I choose not to include 10 pet peeves in the 30 day challenge because I try very hard to not dwell on the negative, even though in this society it can be tough sometimes. I love to smile, laugh and have a good time! If I am able to partake of one of the 5 listed passions I am usually a happy camper. Combine them and it is even better!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Day 6: What is the hardest thing you have ever experienced?

*I wasn't sure if I would be able to get this one out on time, its been a busy day but here it is! Sorry it is kind of lengthy.

What is the hardest thing you have ever experienced?

What I am willing to write about would have to be the year long emotional roller coaster I experienced while being a student missionary. The journey of leaving America, adjusting to life in Ethiopia, leaving Ethiopia and my readjustment back to America was one that I will never forget!

Leaving the states wasn't the hard part. I had excitement and adrenaline on my side. I remember arriving around 10 pm to the bustling capital city of Addis Ababa and being so overwhelmed by the sheer difference of it compared to America. It was loud, smelly, and in my very American eyes there was poverty all around me! I wanted to run back to the plane and come back to the states, especially after that first night alone in the dingy hotel room (which later became the nice place to stay!) It didn’t help the matter when the call to prayer chants went off periodically during that long restless night. I had never heard anything like it in my life! How could I stay in a place like this? Let alone for 9 months!

My nerves were gradually calmed when the sun finally came up and Dawit and Suilman picked me up to go to the orphanage. We left the busy city and drove into the beautiful countryside with lots of interesting things to see the whole way. It was rainy season and the road builders had not finished the main road so the roads were very muddy! So muddy that when we arrived at the orphanage we had to park in the street and carry everything in. It was at the moment when I saw them: a wild herd of the 36 most precious beautiful children running towards me all at once! Even before the moment of being smothered with hugs and greetings, I knew it would be incredibly difficult to say goodbye to those kids in 9 months down the road. It was love at first sight! Of course my time in Ethiopia wasn’t always perfect. Adjusting to the culture took some time but once I did I really grew to love it and appreciate it.

Fast forward to that day in May. I had been saying my goodbyes to friends in the local villages gradually before I left but nothing really prepared me for actually separating myself from those amazing people and the place I had come to cherish with all of my heart! Saying goodbye to the kids, cooks, and neighbors resulted in countless tears shed, promises to stay in touch and to come back someday (which I did!!), hugs, more tears, and the somewhat exciting thought that I would soon be coming back to see friends and family I hadn’t seen in months. The rest of the trip back went by in an exhausting blur and soon I had landed back in hot and muggy Atlanta, Georgia. What funny accents there were.

I was warned that re-entry would be tough. I read the re-entry book prior to coming back but it did not seem help when the powerful force of America hit me like a tidal wave! It took more then 6 months to feel normal again. Little did I know normal just meant adjusting to the new person I had become. It wasn’t the other people who had changed, it was me. Like many SM’s, when I got back to the states I felt so out of place and so alone. I felt that no one cared about the amazing experiences I had or could even come close to understanding how I felt. I detested the loud, flashy, materialistic, expensive, selfish, AMERICAN things I saw everywhere I went. There seemed to be no escape. I just wanted to go back to the place, people, and simple life I had loved! Looking back I feel bad for the people who had to be around me to hear me rant. I was blessed with roommates who had all been SM’s as well so it was a huge blessing to have them as an outlet and hear their amazing stories as well. Being a student again was also tough because all year I had been a teacher so it was weird sitting on the other side of the desk once again. I felt like the glove I used to wear so perfectly before didn’t fit anymore, yet I so desperately wanted it too.

I remember the thing that really helped me get out of my stressful re-entry rut was when I started attending a weekly bible study held in my downstairs neighbors apartment in Southern Village about half way through 1st semester. For a long time after I got back it was hard for me to be around big groups of people but being around this small, tight knit mission minded group of people during the bible studies helped me to feel more comfortable again. I kind of avoided the invitation for a while but finally when walking downstairs to head to the library I was drawn in by the beautiful tune of hymns and decided to give it a try. Through all the bible studies, Sabbath hikes, backpacking trips, and countless potlucks (we love to eat!) I began to see that there were people out there who I could relate to. People I didn’t have to act differently around to be friends with. I was able to find some of my very dearest and closest friends during that time in my life. So even though that year was one of the hardest things I have experienced it really ended up being one of the biggest blessings of my life. Looking back I am glad I went through the experience, it helped to shape me into the person I am now and really help develop my desire to be a missionary for life, whether that be overseas or in the states.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Day 5: What are the 5 things that make you most happy right now?

Oh where to start?! There are lots of things that make me happy! Like…..Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens. Brown paper packages tied up with strings. Cream colored ponies and crisp apple strudels. Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles. Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings. Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes. Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eye lashes. Silver white winters that melt into spring.

But of course there are these things that make me happy too….

1. Sunshine and spring weather! I don’t suffer from allergies so it is even better! As awesome as snow and cold is nothing beats the arrival of spring like the blooming of flowers, the song of new birds in the trees and the overall fresh smell of spring! Being outside makes me feel so alive!

2. Technology! Even though I am not as tech savvy as some I have come to appreciate technology so much this year because of its ability to help me stay in touch. I am thankful for the opportunities to email, skype, IM, facebook, and text and talk on the phone to friends and family scattered all over the country and for the most part far away from me. Even though nothing is better than face to face interaction, being able to stay connected has helped me get through this “drought of ‘E’ interaction” being in the Northeast!

3. Knowing that God loves me! This is something that always makes me happy! Sometimes I am silly enough to forget, when things aren’t going my way or when I don’t spend enough time with him to keep that connection alive. God’s love is the best thing ever!

4. Discovering new running and hiking spots! I love to explore and Vermont has been a prime territory for that! There are still lots of mountains and trails I want to hike but it’s been so awesome being able to have a wide variety of options this year, even if I have to drive to some places, it’s totally worth it!

5. My Students! Although it’s had its rough patches along the way I can honestly say I love being around my students whether that be at school, gymnastics, or in swimming lessons. It is really neat to be around these kids, they are a lot more interesting then I was at that age, for sure! Being able to bridge the generation gap by finding things that we can relate to has been fun! I have loved being a teacher thus far and will never forget my first group of students, lab rats that have had to put up with my newbie teacher mistakes. Mistakes I've learned from that I hope will help me to become a better teacher in the future!

6.**Living a Simple Life! Won’t limit myself to just 5 things so here is just one more. I think that for the most part I'm easy to please and love being lower maintenance then most! I have loved finding out what it truly means to live a simple life both with materiel things and financially. All though to some not having the bells and whistles in life may be uncomfortable and hard, I enjoy it. Not having TV, or a big place to live, or a bustling social life has allowed me to go at a slower pace and just enjoy living life! Although it sounds crazy, living below the poverty line has been a blessing. It has helped me to really stick to a budget and really prioritize things that are needs instead of wants. Being able to have other jobs on the side has been awesome because I have been able to meet people and have had experiences I wouldn’t of had otherwise. Far more valuable then extra money. This year has been a major faith walk with God. On paper it seems impossible that everything will work out each month but without fail they always do! I have loved seeing God work in mysterious ways and can't wait to see how he continues to lead!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Day 4: 10 Things to tell your 16-year-old self if you could

It is hard to remember now what I was like at 16 since that was 10 years ago! Now that I am a teacher to 16 year olds, being around them sometimes reminds me of what it was like being a teenager. I think I was a pretty stable 16 year old and didn’t have nearly as much spunk as some. One thing I remember was being very shy and self conscious at times. I always wanted to fit in but didn’t always know how. There are things I wish I understood better. If I could look back and give some advice to myself then and my wonderful students now I would say….

1.Don’t be afraid to stand up for and share what you truly believe in! People your age may think it is strange that you have your own opinion but maybe deep down it will leave a lasting impression. Romans 12:2. Do not be swept in the notion that you must do this, that, and the other to be “cool” to be “liked” to “fit in.” Choose your friends wisely. Place yourself around people that will build you up and bring out the best in you. Do not fall into the trap of peer pressure.

2. Read your bible. Every day. The more knowledge you have in your mind early in life the better your chances will be that you will stick by your guns when you are criticized about being a Christian and your beliefs and relationship with Jesus. You will be criticized so be ready and stay strong! Never lose your connection with God, do everything you can to keep the bond cement tight!

3. Work on your relationships that are important to you. Especially your relationship with God. By keeping God at the center of your life it will be easier to draw close to your family and friends in a positive way. You never know the day that the dynamics of relationships will change or be altered. There is no need to obsess over having a boyfriend because God knows the exact person he wants you to be with and chances are you aren’t going to be ready to meet the man of your dreams until you are older, wiser, and more mature.

4. Make the most of your high school experience. Don’t obsess over getting perfect grades if it takes away from other important things that should be learned at the age. Go on mission trips, volunteer, play on a sports team, try new things, ask questions, don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty!
5. Keep a journal or write a blog. You will cherish being able to look back on your life being 16 when you get “old” and see how much you have changed. Keeping memories of the dorky things you did, the boys who made you cry, the adventures you went on, the friends you had make it more meaningful to see how God has lead you to where you are now through experiences both good and bad.

6. Don’t try to perfect how to cake on every type of makeup on your face. There is no need try and keep up with the latest fashions. Natural beauty is in! God made you perfect just the way you are and you should take pride in that! True friends and the right guys will accept you just the way you are. You are beautiful. You are valuable. You are enough.

7. Enjoy the financial simplicity of being 16. Before long you will have to pay for EVERYTHING from your own pocket! Your clothes, food, rent, student loans, car payments….you get the picture. If you can, start saving NOW for the future and keep that piggy bank on the top shelf! It will make more sense when you need that money in the future.

8. Go outside more. Enjoy fresh air and sunshine. Climb trees. Make mud cakes. Play with kids, because in reality you still are one. Little ones look up to you more then you know. Learn to appreciate the wonders that nature has to offer!

9. Expect to make mistakes but please do your best and learn from them so they don’t become habits. 1Timothy 4:12. You may already know this but Adults aren’t prefect either. 99% of the time you can trust your parents. They have been in your shoes and even if they seem totally ridiculous at times they just have your best interest in mind. Same for your teachers and mentors.

10. Play or learn to play a musical instrument and if you already play one, DON’T QUIT! You will appreciate being able to play when you get older, plus it is fun!

**I would also share with my students things from this list!**

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Day 3: My views on religion and my personal beliefs

Wow this is a broad subject and in my opinion not really possible to write in a single blog post (without writing a short novel). So I am mixing it up a little here...


I am a "lifer" a Seventh Day Adventist since birth. I had just turned 15 and was attending bible conference at Indian Creek Camp when I decided to take my parents religion and make it my own by making the life changing decision to be baptized. I had been thinking about it for sometime prior to that weekend but I will always remember that Friday night alter call being the most meaningful one of my life and remains to this day. The road to how I established my own personal beliefs about God, religion, and how I choose to live my life to this day began in the 7th grade when I joined the Cross Country team. I had joined mostly to get in good shape for the basketball team. Little did I know at the time that running would become a gift from God to use in his glory and honor even now.
I am not going to lie, I nearly quit after the first race because those where the most painful, hot, nauseating 3 miles I had ever run (it was August in Central Florida after all)! I managed to finish 3rd overall in that first race with a time of like 23:00 minutes and praise the Lord after that day I had enough inner competitiveness and encouragement from my coaches to keep at it. I steadily improved throughout that season and before long I started winning races! It was always a confidence booster during my first year to line up against high school seniors and be able to compete well against them, often beating them.
Before long people in the running community started asking why I was never at Saturday races. It was during those opportunities that I was able to witness and tell them about what being a Seventh Day Adventist was all about. By telling what I believed so often, it helped me to stick by what I believed, even though to the running world "I was missing out." The opportunities to witness continued on into track season when the team would leave at sunset from Friday meets and not attend Saturday meets. I remember there being some frustrated coaches around the state when they found out I would not run races during that state meet that I had qualified for because they started after sunset on Friday night.
To this day I believe that if I didn't have those opportunities to stand up for my beliefs there would of been a much larger temptation to stray from my religion. It was because of that early influence in my christian journey that helped the talk become a habitual walk and to this day has kept me accountable for my actions.

On another note......

I believe that having a religion to follow is important. It is good for people to follow a certain set of rules and guidelines to give their lives order and reason. I believe strongly in Christianity and I hope that people can SEE that I am a christian not by just by my words but by my actions.
One thing that gets me sometimes is how the politics of religion gets placed higher on a pedestal in peoples minds then God. One thing I have also noticed since living away from the bible belt is that religious literature (Example: Ellen White writings) has the tendency to be used as a resource over the teachings in the BIBLE. I believe that Ellen White writings are an AMAZING resource that have been inspired by God to help bring people to a better understanding of who God is. BUT that's what they should be, a RESOURCE, a supplement to the straight teachings of the bible and not the sole source to bring others to Christ. By keeping my belief in God and the bible 1st followed by religion I find it positively influences the choices I make, the lifestyle I lead, how I treat others, and the things in the world I allow myself to be surrounded by, Living out an active faith in God makes a difference.

With all that said I will be the first to admit I an as far from perfect as you can get! I am a sinner! I don't always think nice thoughts and I may not always make the right choices. I am a human being. I am so thankful for the never ending supply of second chances that we as humans get. If it weren't for God sending his Son to die for the human race we would of all been long gone since we all know what the ultimate consequence for sin is...
I look forward to the day in heaven when I will be able to start with a clean slate that will never be blemished again and being able to worship together as one body in Christ. What an amazing time that will be!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Day 2: Three Fears....

Day 2: Describe 3 legitimate fears you have and explain how they became fears.

Before I start I wish could make this blog short by simply writing that I always remember passage from Isaiah 41:9-11 and that my life was peachy keen because of it but I am human and sometimes forget.
This is a tough one for me. Not to think of what things I am afraid of but to actually admit that I am frightful of things in this world. I know I am not really afraid of typical things such as snakes, spiders, creepers, heights, loud noises, etc. I suppose a few things I fear are....

1. Disappointing/Letting People Down:
This is something I have had to work on since I know no matter how hard I try I can't please everyone. I have found this to be especially true being a teacher and basketball referee. I am not sure when this became a fear, I just know I have always aimed to make people happy and when I can't always do something up to their standards it frustrates me. When, even after doing my very best, I can't succeed.

2. The Unknown:
This is a pretty cliche thing to fear but it is something that indeeds frightens me! I recently read Scaredy Squirrel, a very animated children's book that pertains to this similar topic. Not knowing what the future holds down to the minute or not having a "plan", totally goes against my love for writing out to-do lists and living by a structured routine. I am experiencing this currently, as I have no clue where God wants me to go next year. Do I stay in New England? Do I start teaching in a public school? Do I go back to school to start on a masters degree? Do I go back into the mission field overseas somewhere? What I have learned along the way in overcoming this fear is to keep walking forward in prayer and if God is standing behind those doors they will open in his perfect timing. In the meantime being able to trust God 100% not just 95% with my life crucially important.

3. Not Fearing the Lord:
Yes a fear about not fearing. If there is one thing in this world I wish I was more afraid of it would be fearing God. Not in the "ahh scary monster" type of way but in the way that is described in Proverbs 8:13 "To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech." Here is an interesting article I came across that offers more substance about this fear.
If only I could continuously fear God enough to have a clear vision about the world and the purpose for my life in it. If I could just put all the petty things aside that hinder my walk with God, things that make me less fearful of him then how much easier and more content my life would be? I don't want comfort and easiness to settle in that causes me to abandon this crucial fear.

There you go, a VERY in-a-nutshell-version of my fears!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Day 1: 20 Random Facts!

In no particular order of randomness….
*1. I recently picked up playing the violin again after a longgggg hiatus from the lovely instrument. Its been fun to see how much I remember from memory and learning new things to play as well!
1. I am a twin to a sister whom I beat out of the womb by 30 seconds! I guess I started my racing career early in life.
2. I am ambidextrous…except for writing.
3. I have a beta fish named Napoleon who has defied death several times in the 9 months that I have owned him. Living at camp all summer, living at school with curious teenagers, and flying out of his bowl during a car ride. Was out of his water for at least 10 minutes!
4. I was the fastest female runner from Tennessee at the 2007 Boston Marathon.
5. When I was a kid I had a hamster named Sonic. Named after my favorite cartoon character when I was younger!
6. I qualified for my schools Geography bee in the 6th grade after winning my classroom bee by correctly knowing the question with the answer being “plateau”. I got creamed early on in the Bee by College Jeopardy runner up, Hans Von Walter. No surprise there!
7. I have fainted about 3 three times in my life that I can recall. The 1st time being when I got a bike for Christmas (was really excited I guess), 2nd time being when a bunk bed pin got smashed on my hand while working in the boys dorm, 3rd being after I donated blood at Gimbie Hospital in Ethiopia after being on a hot bus all day. They sat me up WAY too fast and I was not hydrated at all so it took forever…drinking apple soda made it worse!
8. I participated in the Great Ethiopian run in 2008 while I was a SM. Was the most amazing running event I have ever been a part of! A cultural experience never to be forgotten!
9. I have worked at various summer camps going on 9 summers now and was a camper for many summers as a kid. I never got home sick I got camp sick. Camp ministry is something I cherish dearly!
10. I get dizzy when doing forward rolls or any kind of fast spinning action. I am not a fan of roller coasters anymore either :-/ It has gotten worse the last few years. I blame it on my chronic ear infections I had growing up. My middle ear has gone soft!
11. I never received a speeding ticket while living in Collegedale, TN. Only three very gracious warnings!
12. I currently drive a luxury motor vehicle in the form of a 1994 Buick La sabre named Forrest. The story of how I got this car is pretty amazing. Forrest just rolled over the 212,000 mile mark and is still going strong!
13. I placed 4th place in the Florida state track meet for the mile run my 8th and 9th grade year. Looking back I wish I would of known about my ability for longer distance running..running the mile was painful!
14. I am currently in my first year of teaching at Central Vermont Academy. My time in Vermont has been an amazing journey and will be written about in more detail in the next 30 days.
15. I “moon light” after school teaching gymnastics, swimming lessons, reffing basketball, and umpiring softball. I don’t consider these side jobs work though because I have so much fun doing it!
16. My favorite color is green. Any shade of green. It is such a peaceful color that reminds me of my favorite environment to be in and that is outside in nature, preferably the woods. I love green!
17. I am currently working on hiking all 46 ADK high peaks, a wonderful mountain chain in upstate NY. I have bagged 19 peaks so far and hope to get more soon!
18. I have a deep desire to be a long term missionary overseas at some point in my life. My SM experience in Ethiopia helped mold and impress my mission mindedness and left me with the desire to “go back” which I did last March. I know that I am in the mission field now but I look forward to the day when God calls me out again in his name! The mission field is such a life changing place to be!
19. I want to run a marathon on all 7 continents someday! I also want to run a 100 mile ultra or 24 hour run and perhaps even do an Ironman if time and money are available someday.
20. I was a race director for a few 5ks and a kids triathlon during my years at Southern. I hope I can use those skills I learned for the rest of my career. It made me really appreciate the work RD's go through to put on a good race!

Beautiful sunsets/sunrises are one of my most favorite things! I saw countless gorgeous sunsets while in Ethiopia but one that will always stick out in my mind is when we went camping out on a ridge in a village. We were able to see sunset on one side and sunrise on the other. It was stunning and pictures don’t do it justice!

30 Day Challenge!

I saw this idea yesterday on a couple of friends' blogs and was inspired to try it! I custom built my own challenge by combining topics from 3 different lists of writing topics that I will write about over the next 30 or so days. I think it will be a challenge to write about certain topics that I may of not necessarily put much thought into until now.I have a feeling I will know myself a little better by the end of it all. Maybe you will know me better too.I may not personally know all my readers out there but I will do my best to be as honest as possible with the topics I choose to write about and pretend I am writing for myself or just with a close friend! Here I go!

*This master list of topics will most likely change if I feel inspired.*

The lists:
1. List 20 random facts about yourself.
2. Describe 3 legitimate fears you have and explain how they became fears.
3. Your views on religion.
4. List 10 things you would tell your 16-year-old self, if you could.
5. What are the 5 things that make you most happy right now?
6. What is the hardest thing you have ever experienced?
7. What is your dream job, and why?
8. What are 5 passions you have?
9. List 10 people who have influenced you and describe how.
10. Describe your most embarrassing moment.
11. Your favorite movie and why?
12. Your earliest memory.
13. Describe 5 weaknesses you have.
14. Describe 5 strengths you have.
15. If you were an animal, what would you be and why?
16. What are your 5 greatest accomplishments?
17. What is the thing you most wish you were great at?
18. How important you think education is.
19. If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why?
20. Describe 3 significant memories from your childhood.
21. If you could have one superpower, what would it be and what would you do with it first?
22. How have you changed in the last 2 years?
23. Your views on mainstream music.
24. Something that you miss.
25. If you could have dinner with anyone in history, who would it be and what would you eat?
26. What popular notion do you think the world has most wrong?
27. What is your favorite part of your body and why?
28. What is your love language?
29. What do you think people misunderstand most about you?
30. List 10 things you would hope to be remembered for.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

What I really do....

Adventures in Gymnastics Class Part 158:

Today during warm up AKA tell each other about our life stories time I was sharing with my girls how I "teach" art & that we colored easter eggs today.
"You teach art class Miss Jessica?!?!"
"Yes and PE and science too! I am a teacher!"
"No Way!"
"Ok so if I don't teach what do I do all day?"
"I think you watch football all day!"

If they only knew :-)

BTW here are the easter eggs my class made. I think they turned out pretty awesome! Thank You Pinterest and Martha Stewart for the ideas!