Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Traditions

Since I was 'tagged' by Amber and Sarah, here are my Christmas traditions :) (that most likely only you two will read) :

I remember a lot of stuff we did as a family around Christmas time, but very few of those we do still. Its strange how much things change over years and as my brothers and I have gotten older.

-When I was little I remember making cookies with my mom and listening to Steve Green and Amy Grant's Christmas tapes in the kitchen. :)
-During the day at some point on Christmas Eve we would watch National Lampoons Christmas Vacation.
-One tradition is that we would go to the Christmas Eve service at church.
-When we got back from the Christmas Eve service we would each open one gift.
-Christmas day, once everyone was up, we would open half of our presents and then open the other half when my Grandma came over.
-Then we would have a kind of Christmas brunch after we opened presents.
-And for the last two years Eric, Kristi, Collin, & Braeden would come over and open gifts with us Christmas morning.
-Sometimes we would catch the parade in time and watch that.
-Then either the day after or two days after Christmas we go to the Gustafson's (family friends) and have supper and exchange gifts with the Gustafson's and the Whitesides (other family friends from Florida).
-Then the next day we would have brunch with the Gustafsons and Whitesides before the Whitesides left for Florida.

But things are a little different this year. Aaron is in California with our Uncle Scott (my mom's brother) and won't be back until after Christmas. Probably will go to the Christmas Eve service at church by myself since Dad is on ambulance call and Mom is exhausted. Eric & Kristi and the boys might be coming tonight or tomorrow or sometime, not quite sure when we will see them. Most likely he will get an ambulance call at least once tonight and tomorrow on Christmas Day (that's kind of a tradition I guess, ha!). We still haven't put up all of our Christmas decorations, but I'm doing that in a couple of hours just incase Eric, Krist, & the boys come out tonight.

There's my family Christmas traditions I guess!!! hahaha, not really set traditions but oh well. :)

Merry Christmas everyone!!!! :)

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

An answer to "school-questions" . . . possibly

Thanksgiving break was good. It went by really fast which was difficult, but it was good. Got to see family and some friends over break so that was nice. Some people I didn't get a chance to see, so hopefully I can see them over Christmas break (which is in about 2 weeks!).

Over break (and before) I was thinking a lot about my frustrations with college education and the overall format, even just the reason behind going to college and getting a degree. And I have been thinking about it still, especially after talking it over with some people over break and after break.

I was playing with the idea this summer about not coming back to Grace and instead transfering to various other colleges in Chicago and even in Massachusetts. I became 80% convinced about going to a different school until I helped out at the Jr. High Church Camp for a week. It was sponsored by the youth group I volunteer with out here and it was my first time being a camp counselor. Without going into detail, it was an AMAZING experience and was one of the highlights of my summer! During the end of that week at camp, I just started to feel like I needed to be at Grace. Not necessarily for the education, but for the relationships I would be involved in at the youth ministry and even on the campus (although i was doubtful about developing strong relationships on campus based off of the year before). So I decided I was going to come back to Grace, not necessarily for an education but for the relationships God would have instore for me.

A pastor (also a Grace graduate) from Akron, Ohio is speaking in chapel this week. Today he talked about how to look at our struggles/difficult times from a different perspective. That God entrusts us to go through difficult situations in order for us to grow from those experiences. This makes a lot of sense to me (Romans 5:2-4; James 1:2-4, 5:10-11).

So, I have been trying to figure out what to do (stay at Grace, go to a different college, intern, etc.) and a lot of answers have made sense when I have heard them so that makes a "decision" all the more confusing.

For the most part when i explain my frustrations to people, I explain briefly about the summer and how my mindset was to come back to Grace for relationships and not necessarily an education. So with thinking about this, I remember thinking during the summer that I would be frustrated most likely with school but that it would be ok because i was so excited about what God had instore for me. So yesterday, i was starting to think about how maybe this is the frustration that I should have expected in a way. And today in chapel it made me think about how this year (and the next two years) will be an opportunity as a whole to practice perseverance in a way.

I know it doesn't really make much sense, but bare with me please (if you have even read this far). Obviously if I was expecting to be frustrated with school this year, this most likely would be a way for me to be frustrated. The education makes me want to go somewhere else or find a different way to learn. But the relationships here and with my small group girls (which is what I was expecting!) are amazing and a huge blessing!!! So maybe I am not here for an education like most college students. Maybe I am not going to learn or be too engaged in book knowledge stuff. Maybe I will be frustrated with the learning still because it doesn't reach my style of learning. BUT MAYBE these are opportunities for me to grow, mature, practice perseverance, develop my faith. Maybe I will learn more than what they could ever teach me in class BEACAUSE I have to sit in class.

I admit that I do want to leave Grace when I think about the educational frustrations, but when I think about the relationships I have with people here I don't want to leave at all!!! But if I didn't come back to Grace necessarily for a "book knowledge" education, then why should I leave because of the "book knowledge" education? So maybe I am supposed to stay at Grace. I don't know.

I guess I'm just trying to sort things out. I don't know if I have an answer yet, but I feel like my thinking process makes sense [to me atleast! :)]. If you have thoughts, ideas, answers, or whatever, I am honestly interested In hearing them. Really!!! :)

Monday, November 17, 2008

First Snow Fall

Yesterday it snowed a little bit, mostly during youth group last night (youth group last night was pretty awesome, then to come outside with snow on my car and seeing my breath made me smile). but today i woke up and we had huge snow flakes falling outside, it was quite beautiful. but it melted pretty quickly after it fell, but supposedly we are supposed to get more snow this week or weekend.

this weekend im hanging out with my roomie for her birthday (her birthday is on monday, but i am taking a girl on our hall to ft. wayne to the doctor's office). i know for sure we are going to see the movie TWILIGHT. most, if not all, of the girls in my small group have been raving about it and all of the books. my friends back home too talked about the books this summer. i read the first book a couple of weekends ago and i thought it was good. intense, but good. depending on what it is like, i would like to watch it another time with the girls in my small group and then talk about it afterwards.

lately i have been wanting to travel. its odd, but it usually happens after youth group or on a Tuesday/Wednesday. i find myself thinking about just driving away from Grace to either Boston, Massachusetts or Portland, Oregon or even to Texas or California. its crazy, and i never thought i would do it. but the more i think about it, the more i want to do it and i start to plan it out. and i know at least three other girls who have said they would like to do it (i dont know if they actually would BUT. . . ) which makes it seem more possible. realistically i know its not smart to just leave a note saying "driving to Portland, be back later . . .much later", skipping a bunch of classes, and completely disregarding school and whatever obligations I have here. but the only thing i would regret missing would be my small group girls honestly. i dont know, it just sounds so tempting especially with all of the frustrations of school and what not. i doubt i will actually follow through with this idea, but its tempting and nice to just dream about.

im almost half-way done with my sophomore year in college. thats strange and i dont know how i feel about that yet. excited = yes. nervous = absolutely! but i think Thanksgiving break might help me calm down a bit.

two sundays ago, one of my friends on the hall and i were sitting in alpha dinning after youth group was over (she is a small group leader as well). we were just talking and hanging out and at some point got on the discussion of boys (imagine that!) and it turned somehow to me and how i have never dated. she meant it as an encouragement (which I understood) but instead it came out as what we call 'word vomit'. she ended up comparing me to one of her best guy friends back home who has never dated, and whom she said will most likely be single for his entire life. i was shocked at the words that came out, even though i knew what she intended to say. it caught me off guard and she apologized and said its not what she meant. i joke with her about it now, just cause she was trying to explain how special it will be for his girlfriend/wife to know that he never dated anyone but her (which is a sweet idea). but honestly the 'word vomit' did sting a little bit. BUT!!! i dealt with it much better than i think i would have originally if it had happened last year. and honestly, its nice not feeling the pressure from myself or others concerning guys (or the lack of). i am content and happy. just something i thought i would share with those whom i have previously shared my struggles and thoughts concerning thos areas. :) (thanks for your prayers!)

well time to do homework i suppose.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

am i supposed to learn like this?

i admit that i have questioned going to college off and on since senior year high school. and recently it has just been even more difficult. granted, i do have a lot of homework and papers and speeches due this week and last week, but i think i would still be frustrated even if i didn't have all of this homework.

i guess i am frustrated about the whole school environment. the whole idea of sitting at a desk inside of four-walls being taught on how to live life, how to figure out God's will for you, how to do God's will, etc. its just frustrating! epecially as i read in my Bible classes (that are spent on learning the correct ways to read the Bible) about how people learned by apprenticeship basically. i mean if you wanted to go into a line of work, you studied under a skilled person in that area and took the trade from there. even if you go along the side of disciple making. the disciples followed under Jesus, Jesus gave them opportunities before He left, and then He handed it over to them to work on and teach others to do the same thing. that makes complete sense to me! and i know it does to various lines of work or why else would they have student teachers, internships, and such. but i dont understand we there is a higher emphasis on writing papers and taking tests rather than spending more time "out in the field" through internships and stuff. i honestly don't understand. i would like an answer, because it honestly doesn't make any sense to me.

and also, i feel like i am wasting my time sitting here working on papers that talk about how to live life. i was talking to a girl who has to write a 3 page paper i think on serving people. wouldnt it make more of an impact to actually serve people rather than writing a paper on how to serve??? i just feel like i am wasting my time!

and it is even more frustrating because i felt like i was coming back to Grace because of the relationships God had in mind for me, not necessarily for an education. and i was ok with that honestly and i still am, but it is more frustrating now when it seems like they push for such a high emphasis on education and then if you have time build relationships, oh and if you have any other time then serve and grow your relationship with God. so many girls have come into my room and just wanted to talk WHICH IS AMAZING and it makes me cry with joy because i feel so blessed by God, and then i have to cut short time with them because "i need to get good grades because i wont get a good job without good grades". so even though i would much rather stay up talking with girls and building relationships with them, instead i have to stay up writing papers that are going to be thrown away after they are graded.

i just feel so frustrated. especially after i spend time with the girls on my hall or the kids at youth group. i would much rather spend time walking through life with them and helping them grow as opposed to spending my time writing papers. i feel this urge welling up inside of me to go into the world and share the love of Christ with youth and help them grow in their relationship with Christ and help others to do the same. instead, for some reason, i am supposed to hold off on that until i can get a degree that OFFICIALLY says i am equipped to to so. honestly, right now, if it weren't for the relationships i am building on campus and with the girls in my small group, i can't think of specific reasons to stay here.

am i wrong for feeling this way? maybe i would be able to ignore these feelings and questions if i knew they were wrong. im just so frustrated. i almost want someone to tell me that these feelings will go away or that this is extremely wrong for me to think, then maybe i wouldn't feel the need to cry out of frustration at night or feel like my heart was being crushed into a tiny box.

i have so much more to say, but i need to work on homework before i can go to bed. well, if anyone has an answer to this, i honestly welcome whatever answers you have.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Lip Sync contest

So tonight we had a fundraiser at Grace for Acting On AIDS. Its called Lip Sync and students tryout to lipsync infront of an audience. People did N*Sync, Backstreet Boys, Relient K, Miley Cyrus, and several others. Some girls on my hall and I did a song called "Jesus Is A Friend of Mine" by Sonseed. I first heard about this on David Crowder Band's blog. Apparently they did this for the Benediction at UBC. Here is the link to watch the band on Youtube: Its extremely hilarious!

Anyways, we did this for Lip Sync tonight and another girl on my hall recorded it for me on my camera. I will post the link on here as soon as I can upload it onto youtube.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Growing Up

A couple of weeks ago I had mentioned to the Jr. High youth pastor that I help with about being intersted in possibly doing an internship of some kind. And this past friday, the director of student ministries/senior high youth pastor approached me and said that the jr. high youth pastor had told him i was interested in doing an internship with the church. they both said that they would really like to have me for an intern and to discuss it further, which definately blew my mind at how positive they were about it! i am still excited at how positive they were about me being an intern with the youth group. now i dont know whether or not that will happen, but still, i feel very honored by what they said. and if it did work out, i think it would be an amazing experience and a really healthy growing expericence too.
so, if this worked out, i would most likely do the internship during the summer rather than during the school year. and my options would to either live with a family from the church or if i could find some friends to get an apartment with (which my roommate and i already started discussing and looking at apartments the 2nd week of school) then to share an apartment during that summer and into the school year.
even just entertaining the idea of getting my own place and supporting myself is exciting (which i can only assume will fade away once bills come!) for me to think about and try to plan out. eventually, i need to learn how to support myself because i really dont want to become one of those people that ends up on dr. phil because my parents cant get rid of their 40 year-old daughter out of their basement or from mooching off of them.
but its also so weird to think that i would be living here. honestly, i thought about living here once or twice last year in order to do an internship, but i wasnt that positive about the idea of living in this area or with certain people. but now, i can definately see myself living here and really getting plugged into the community and the church. but i still cant help but to think of how weird it would be to not see my family and friends that often during the summer & school year. thats just weird to think that i could be "moving on" (i dont really know a better choice of words than those) at all let alone so soon.
but i really, really like this church family a lot. i dont know that many people yet, but already i feel so comfortable and i do feel like a part of a family! i think the last time i felt like that with the body of Christ was when I first came to The Furnace. i really feel like this church, WCC, is my "home away from home" kind of a deal.

i have other things i would like to blog about but: (1) that would be way too long for this blog and (2) i dont have that much time to do so and (3) i really was supposed to be doing homework about 90 minutes ago! :)

until next time! :D

Friday, September 19, 2008

New Life w/ Christ

"Since you have been raised to knew life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of Heaven, where Christ sits at a place of honor at God's right hand. Think about the things of Heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory."
- Colossians 3:1-5

Since this summer I have been trying to honestly remember scripture verses and apply them to everyday things. A couple of years ago I had memorized Colossians 3:12-14, and I looked through Colossians chapter 3 and it is so amazing. So this summer I wanted to try and spend time to memorize chapter 3 of Colossians. I got away from it these last 2 months, but I have remembered different verses when things come up and its been so amazing.

Last night at my youth ministry class, we had a youth pastor come teach the 3 hour class (with a nerf-gun war in the middle for a break!). One of the things that he stressed was prayer and compassion. He challenged us to live a passionate prayer life so that when the students we lead see us, they become passionate too. But even more than that, to be passionate about prayer so that Christ fills us up more and more. WOW! I definately connected with what he said last night. I pray during the day and there are moments when I pray passionately for certain situations. But I can't and don't want to just pray passionately for situations, I want to be passionate whenever I talk to God about whatever! And I want to have compassion and love that comes from God. My fear is that I could grow numb and even calloused towards peoples emotions and troubles because I don't see them as God sees them, that I don't love them as God's children, that I don't have compassion for them that moves me. And there have been some challenging distractions that have occured already after 3 weeks of being here and I know there will be many more to come later on in this year.

Last night was an emotionally draining night, but after my roommate and I prayed, I didn't feel sadness anymore. I honestly felt joy about how beautiful and amazing God is! And it started happening this summer, when difficult things would happen but God would remind me of His glory. Is there anyway for me to adequately explain how glorious and beautiful my Heavenly Father is??? Where do I even begin to praise Him for all that He is and will be, for all that He has done and is going to do??? :)

I feel so loved by God, and it excites me so much that this is only the "beginning" of our relationship and that He will continue to reveal himself to me! And I can only think that things will get so much better as I become more and more passionate about prayer. PRAISE GOD! :)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Watching the rain fall outside

I find it very calming watching the rain outside and even more just walking in the rain. It seems like it rains more in May than it does in April (they should probably fix that rhyme then).

So I have been trying to memorize scripture verses so that I can use them for when things get difficult mostly but also for other reasons too. I have been practicing Psalm 86:11,12 for the last two weeks. That may seem long for some but for me, it takes a lot of repetition to memorize something so that I can think of it without having to read it first.

"11 Teach me your ways oh Lord that I may live according to your truth. Grant me purity of heart so that I may honor you. 12 With all my heart I will praise you oh Lord my God. I will give glory to your name, forever."

I have been trying to make that my prayer too, disecting each sentence and honestly reflecting on it instead of just reciting words. Its not easy thats for sure, but I guess its starting at the beginning. Learning what God's truth is and making it my lifestyle and to also have a pure heart (that contains a lot in it itself) is so difficult and so important. I am constantly reminding myself that what I say, do, and think needs to give glory to God and that what others think of me shouldn't take priority of what God thinks of me.

Friday, March 28, 2008

ramblings from the heart

Several weeks ago a speaker in chapel talked about compassion. Honest compassion. And that hit me hard. Have I lost true compassion,that I feel sorry for homeless people, widowed people, orphans, and those who are ill but lack honest and true compassion? Did I ever have honest compassion in the first place; compassion that moved my heart which moved my hands to action (as a speaker said in chapel this week)? I dont know, I guess I have thought about that alot since then.

Last Tuesday night, there was an ice cream party at the youth ministry building on campus and one of the speakers for this week in chapel was there to hang out with us. Several people were asking him questions and one question was what can we do in our community to help those less fortunate since we dont see any homeless people. There is a mobile home community literally on the other side of the fence next to the youth ministry building. There is also another mobile home community on the other side of the lake. And I know I have driven by at least two more mobile home communities in the Warsaw area. I dont know the situations of those that live in the mobile home communities or if they are anything like the situations of the families that live in mobile homes back in Coal Valley, IL. Several times I have thought about going over there and talking to the people next to the youth min. building (literally our neighbors). The only thing holding me back: I do not know of anyone willing to go with me for safety reasons. I would be more than happy to go by myself, but I know that is not safe. On one occasion, my Break Out group needed to do a service project in the fall, I suggested giving candy or some form of treat or service to the people in the mobile homes; I was turned down instantly. There are many great opportunities to serve in this area: tutoring, soup kitchens, community projects, service projects, disaster relief helping, and many others. I dont know, maybe I am wrong (I hope I am wrong) but it seems like the people in the Mobile Communities might be left out. Maybe its just because I got to work in the mobile community a couple years ago, other wise I probably wouldn't be noticing right now.

I was at WalMart last night getting groceries. I was looking at the soup and a lady behind me asked if I was shopping for a family or for myself. I said I was just a college student shopping for myself. We had a small conversation about me going to Grace and how she has a child that lives near Grace now. We ended up talking about how expensive food is now days. She mentioned that they didn't have food last week; she got $200 from her husband tonight so she could get groceries. She mentioned that she has five kids and two of them live out of the house. She motioned to her cart and it was competely full with soup cans and other groceries: all of that so far came to about $96 and she still needed to get some kind of meat. Her daughter came over and I talked to her a little bit (she had gone to a concert that she won tickets for on the radio, and she was pretty excited about that).

Made me think about all of those huge, beautiful mansions that are over in Winona Lake, Warsaw, and just past Grace College. Those huge houses out by the golf courses or those houses that over-look the lake.

There is one housing division with gorgeous houses that over-look Winona Lake and some of those houses have their backs to some kind of woods. On the other side of those woods, tucked away where no one can see is a mobile home community that seems to flood very easily.

i guess these are just some of the ramblings inside of my heart & head.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

August Rush

Last night my hall (A3E) went to Fort Wayne to stay the night at my RA Cassie's house and go see a movie at the dollar theaters. I have never heard of a dollar theater before I came to Grace and I must say it is pretty amazing. My ticket was $1.50 and we all went to see August Rush. AMAZING movie!!!! The music in it is incredible and it has an awesome message about not giving up when everyone tells you your dreams won't happen. I would definately go and see the movie again (if i have money, i might buy it too). I am totally amazed by the music in it, so beautiful.

so there was a group of about four cars going last night. both of my RAs were in different cars, i drove (so i could come back at night for homework), and Rachel drove her car too. When we left the theaters, we lost Cassie and we followed Leah onto the wrong exit ramp. Not knowing this and thinking we were going the right way, Rachel and I both got in front of Leah. Leah ended up calling Rachel to tell her that she got off on the last exit because we were going the wrong way. Rachel calls me to tell me to get off the next exit and she will follow me. We drove for about 20min. and ended up EXACTLY where we started (we made a circle around the outside of Ft. Wayne). People in Rachel's car needed a drink and to go pee, so we stopped at Starbucks. Me and Paige stayed in my car while Rachel's car went inside, and it was a perfect opportunity to show our 'love' to them. :) me and paige took the left-over caution tape out of my car and wrapped Rachel's car with caution tape. They came out and saw what happened (laughing of course) and we ventured out to Cassie's house. We got there in about 35min. ok. I left about a half-hour later (Paige stayed and Jeanette came with me back home). Good times!!!

Well I need to do homework now (200 pages to read today!) but I just wanted to update my blog for those that read it (Amber and Sarah)!!!

Love ya!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


I got humus last night to finally try. I didn't know what kind to get for sure so I just got 'original'. The more I ate it the more I liked it. I offered it to a couple of my friends in my dorm, Aubrie was the only one who ate it and liked it. I thought about having some now actually, but decided it was too early in the morning to have humus. I will probably crave it during chapel too I guess. why is that? sometimes I wonder why we were created to have desires that repeat (does that make sense?). Maybe not even necessarily desires, but even other emotions or feelings. So many times I tell myself that I will never have that thought again or feeling again but it comes back like a boomerang.
Looked up the definition of sin on Wikipedia:
"Sin is often used to mean an action that is prohibited or considered wrong; in some religions (notably some sects of Christianity), sin can refer to a state of mind rather than a specific action. Colloquially, any thought, word, or act considered immoral, shameful, harmful, or alienating might be termed "sinful".
So does that mean that depression is a sin? Depression and thoughts of suicide? I have heard numerous times that those who are depressed are suffering a mental disability. So if depression is a sin, and all sin is equal, than is it still ok for a person to be in a leadership position or in a ministry position if they struggle with it? To have a leader who struggles with alcohol or drugs or pornography or stealing or adultery, they would be "relieved" of their position.

I am doing my speech in Public Speaking on depression. I was thinking about the cause and effect of depression and I was thinking about this. For those who struggle with months on and off of struggling with depression, not that they desire it, but it is like a boomerang.

Friday, January 25, 2008


"so much to do, and so little time to do it." sometimes i get caught looking at my schedule for the week and i feel overwhelmed. then i cant help but wonder what it will be like in 5 years. been pretty busy here but for the most part, i have been able to get at least 6 hours of sleep every night this week! :)

tomorrow i am helping out with a jr. high over-nighter. we are swimming at the high school, then bowling at a local bowling alley, coming back to the church and play games/watch movies/sleep, and then its over at 7:30am after breakfast. i am really excited for it, but right now, it just sounds very tiring. luckily, i will be done with classes by noon tomorrow, so i can nap before.

its so strange how each hour in the day goes by so slowly, but the day itself and the week go by SUPER fast.

i have more to type, but i need to either work on psychology or sleep....

until next time!