Saturday, October 22, 2016

2nd Emma Arsonson 5K

I wanted to take a moment and share about my incredible morning. I'll admit, I did the debate a few months back, as this weekend is Barn-A-Break at camp. I can't remember the last one I missed, seriously. As I thought about it and prayed about it, I knew I was supposed to be at the 5K this morning, and I AM SO GLAD I was there! *grin*

For those outside the Lee's Summit area, Emma Aronson was a teen that passed away 16 months ago due to a heart issue that no one knew about. She went to a swimming party and died suddenly after being in the pool. Her family learned later that she had a heart issue that went undetected. Since she has passed, her family has worked hard to raise money for young adults to be screened for that heart issue. Therefore, this was the second Emma Aronson 5K. *grin*

I arrived at the 5K, and found out I was going to work the medal table. It made me happy to know my job would be at the end of the events. It gave me time to talk with people, and I saw friends from different seasons here in L.S. It was fun! I even saw a favorite former student, and that was a definite highlight of my day for me. There was also another family from school, that now attends my church, and they arrived and I was welcomed with hugs. It was precious. *grin*

I never knew Emma, but I wish I had. I've gotten to know the Aronson family over the past year, and they amaze me in ways they will never know. I cannot imagine losing a child. That's beyond my comprehension. The Aronson family has taken a sad situation, and turned it into something that will help many others live long lives. *grin*

That's awesome in my opinion. *grin*

I also got to talk with someone that the Lord has placed in my life recently, and I was enormously blessed by my short time with her. I was pondering on my drive home that He blessed me with this new friend in the midst of missing camp. I grinned ear to ear. He never wastes time, does He? *grin*

I had planned a trip to camp, but wound up staying here. I'm glad. I took a 3 hour nap, and felt MUCH better.

Emma, you have an amazing family. I can't wait to meet you one day in Heaven, because your family here is amazing and I just know that you were as amazing as your family is this side of Heaven.


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Just Breathe and Rest

So, I sit here tonight and can't believe it's been so long since I've posted. Life as a teacher can be busy, and this year I feel that's completely true. I am busier than I've been in a long time, but it's been so good. My thoughts are all over the place, but I still want to post tonight. I've missed this immensely. *grin*

About a month ago, I spent a weekend with my friend Karen at a conference in Springfield, Mo. It was an AMAZING weekend, and I loved every moment of it. I could tell you story upon story from that weekend, but I'll wait because I'm tired tonight. It was life changing though. I even got to pray and prophesy over someone Sunday Morning before church. It was so fun!

School has been amazing. For the first time in years, I feel like the gal I was when I moved here. Due to various reasons, I don't want to get into what that truly means. However, I am enjoying my job more now than I have since I moved here. That is SUCH AN ANSWER TO PRAYER that only God knows how happy this makes me! Yes, there are things that I wish were different, but that's true of any job.

I just completed 1.5 days of parent-teacher conferences, and I have earned my upcoming three-day weekend. That being said, I love my student's parents. Many feel like family since we've been on this journey together for so long. I'm really tired tonight, but feel good about my conferences and have worked hard in order to take the weekend to rest.

I have a belated birthday party tomorrow night, a trip to camp, and sleep in my future.

I also have a book I plan to finish with Jay by my side.

Life is good.



Saturday, September 17, 2016

Brave--Camp, Song, and Re-Entry

Wow! Life has been so busy lately I haven't made time to blog about some amazing things I've been experiencing and learning lately. School is in full mode again, and life is moving along pretty fast. I want to stop and reflect on things before I head into next week, which will be full of new experiences that change my life too. *grin*

So, one week ago Thursday I left home for Brave Gal Camp. It was my church's women's retreat, and I was nervous and excited all at the same time. It was just outside of Joplin, in Quapaw, Oklahoma at a retreat center that is a camp-like setting. Before we left they talked about cabins and such, so I wasn't sure how much we would be roughing it. *grin* Come to find out, we didn't rough it at all. We were in rooms that were dorm-style, and I was pretty much blown away by the whole setup of the place.

It reminded me so much of camp, but I was a camper. *giggle* Obviously, it wasn't Barnabas, but it was fun to go and be ministered to for a couple days. I didn't have ANY responsibilities, and it was fun to laugh, worship, and play games with some amazing women of God. I didn't get close to any one gal, but I got to know several of the women's life stories, which meant the world to me.

It was one of those weekends where words can't describe the things I thought and felt. I can say I feel closer to God than I've felt in a while. For that, I feel differently then I did before September 8. *grin* That meant more to me than you will ever know.

The song, "You Make Me Brave" by Amanda Cook, has kind of been my theme song for the past year, so it was an amazingly impactful weekend for me. It was so amazing that the retreat theme was Brave during a season when I needed just that. Fear has been a constant for me in my life, so to gain knowledge and perspective on being brave daily made me grin. So good. *grin*

Do. It. Scared.
My favorite new phrase that I gained from the weekend. *grin*

They talked about re-entry on Saturday morning, and how it can be rough. This is so true because every time I've had an amazing mountain-top experience, I've had some challenges coming back. However, we prayed over it several times, and I had the best re-entry ever.

When I walked in my classroom this week, one of the little guys I serve ran up to me and put his arms around me. He held on, I won't ever forget that, how he held on when he hugged me. For me, that was a reminder that even though this school year is hard, I'm supposed to be there. I didn't doubt that, but sometimes God gives me those nudges to encourage me. That's what that hug meant.

The week was full of other events, good and bad. However, it was smoother because of the weekend at Brave Gal Camp. This coming weekend I have a conference at my friend's church in Springfield. Truthfully, it's hard to miss work, but it will be worth it.



Thank You, God.

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Labor Day Weekend Highlights

I realize we have one more day of the weekend, and I LOVE THAT!


I adore my students, and feel incredibly blessed to have the job that I do. At that same time, this weekend I have done a lot of relaxing and I wanted to take a moment tonight and share a few thoughts.

First off, I am hosting a YWAM family for the week. They are here for the conference held here in KC. We have mutual friends who got us in touch with one another, and I am so glad they're here! It's a married couple with three little girls. Oh my gosh, Jay loves the girls! Totally! It is so cute!

There is a two year old that Jay lets do just about anything to him. I have to laugh, as I love kids anyway and you add my dog, and it's so fun.

When I moved here, I wanted to host like this, but over time I have hosted less and less. I prayed over this family, as I was a little nervous, but not too nervous. I knew it would be fine, and it is a blessing to have them here. Truly.

I also REALLY enjoyed church today. I didn't teach, which I did miss, but I enjoyed both Sunday School and service as an adult. The sermon today was exceptionally good, and made me proud to go to church there. Truly.

I also came home and napped. The family was out and about, and I just rested for a while. It was nice. Extremely nice. This will be a busy week, so the rest is wonderful.

Finally, I have just been in deep thought this weekend about some young people that went to Heaven in the past few months. I also think of my second cousin a lot who is also in Heaven. I don't know, I think as the seasons change, I am more in thought about the fragility of life. So many young people went home before I would have chosen them to do so. At the same time, I know He called them there. It simply doesn't make it easier for those of us here. I'm not sure what emotion is in my head, but I just know I've been thinking a lot about them. Those young people may be gone, but they're certainly not forgotten.

Okay, time to take Jay and my book to bed. This whole early bedtime thing is still an adjustment for me. Not bad, just an adjustment. :-)

One more day off. What can I say?


Friday, September 02, 2016

Thoughts From One Tired Gal

Wow, it's hard to believe it's taken so long to blog. Life got busy again when I arrived home from Barnabas, and this is the first time I've sat down to blog. I have several small thoughts, and I'm tired, so this will be an interesting post.

School started and I've been running from the moment I'm up until it's time to sleep. I don't mind working hard, that's normal for this time of year. This year has had some ups and downs, but I can't even tell you how happy I am this year to have the amount of support that I do from the staff I'm on. No matter what happens, I know I have amazing support. I am blessed. *grin*

I am amazed at what He's called me to this semester. I have never thought of myself as a teacher of students with Behavioral Challenges. I am typically a teacher that serves students who struggle with reading, writing, and math. Yes, there are behaviors here and there, but this semester I feel like I'm in the advanced class with behaviors. He has given me words and wisdom at times, and crises have been decreased. I have moments where I want more help, truly, but He is giving me what I need to walk out each day. He even gave me a radio to ask for help, if needed. I've used it from time to time, but I KNOW that God has given me each of those students. So the tiredness, and hard work are worth it. Daily.

I have some new kids who have stolen my heart. I love that each year brings returners and new kids. I love how God makes each of us different, yet perfectly crafted in His eyes. So good.

One week ago tonight I attended a concert with my brother. We took a stroll down memory lane, as several artists from our teen years were present. It was a lot of fun, even if I didn't always show it. We were both exhausted from the work week, but it was fun.

The ride home was one I won't forget, as we were under a flood warning. It took me over an hour to get home (normally it's about 25 minutes) and I turned around more than once due to high water. I will NEVER AGAIN take it for granted when I make it home without trouble. Never. I take so much for granted. Truly.

I'm still adjusting to work hours, but I'm getting there. This whole early morning stuff is for the birds, but I love what I do, so it's a bittersweet thing. *grin*

We have a three-day weekend, and we all have earned it. Totally.

I plan to read.



And yes, schoolwork somewhere in there.

Tonight though, I think I'll sleep until I wake up in the morning. *grin*


Thursday, August 04, 2016


I've had a post rolling around in my head, and wonder how it will come out into words. Let's just see...

A few years ago I was in Physical Therapy for the first time since I was a kid. In the midst of it, I developed a bunion on a foot, which led to a need for special shoes. I do not regret the P.T., as I now have better balance than before I entered it. The only downfall has been that the new shoes I have been buying cost quite a bit of money. Don't get me wrong, I have the money (not rich, but make decent money) to buy them, but it has been a bummer when I've needed new shoes because it kept me from buying other things like BOOKS. *giggle*

In the midst of the shoe shopping online for the cheapest shoe, I came across a company that had other, similar shoes that cost less. I've tried this several times before, and it hasn't worked out. However, I started getting catalogs in the mail, and I found a shoe I wanted to try.

I ordered a pair, and guess what?


I'm not joking or over-exaggerating.

I wore them all day yesterday, and wound up ordering another pair last night since school starts soon and I will need new shoes.

Words cannot express what a relief this has been for me.


All day today I've been so thankful that He made a way for me to find these shoes.

I know, I know, some women spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on shoes. They even ENJOY spending their hard-earned money on shoes. That's awesome. We all have our favorite little things.

For me, it's been books.

NOT shoes.

However, I can buy 3 pairs of the new shoes for the price of one pair of the other shoes.

Now, you may be sitting there going, "So what?"

For this gal, shoes haven't always been a joyous thing. Not horrid, but not joyous either.

When you live life with a limp (literal, not figurative) shoes are pretty important. *grin*

I don't mind the limp.

Or the money.

The reason I'm posting this (and it's more for me than you, as always) is because something as simple as shoes has made me really happy. Not only do they fit, but they are comfortable and give me more support than the other shoes that I was paying big bucks for. *grin*

I know people who have 30 or 50 or more pairs of shoes.

However, I'm not a girly girl, in case you haven't noticed. *grin*

So, I now have new shoes, glasses, and will do clothes shopping this weekend online.

School is about here, and I'm about to tell you a secret....

I'm EXCITED for school to start.

Don't tell the kids. *grin*

New shoes...yes, it is that easy to make me happy.


Saturday, July 30, 2016

Bridge Builders, Camp Barnabas, 2016, It's Fine, We're Fine, So Fine

I just returned from another amazing week at Camp, and want to write all I can before I forget. Unfortunately, growing older means forgetting things a little more often. *giggle* This week was full of a range of emotions. I don't think I can convey the feeling of being there, as it's something you need to experience. However, I blog more for me than for you (as I've said before).

Camp weeks are amazing because it's time away from the real world. I love to call it the Barna-Bubble. I will share the moments that meant the world to me, and if you asked someone else in the cabin it could be completely different. That's cool. I can only write through my eyes, as I experienced it.

It doesn't matter how many times I've been there (and at this point I've lost count), every week is different. Different cabins, campers, staffers, and experiences. I no longer go into it with expectations other than it will be led by God, and He will guide us through each situation. He hasn't let me down in all the weeks I've spent there. Not even once. Every situation may fall differently than I think it should, I always see why later in the week. ALWAYS. *grin* I love that.

So, here goes. I have no idea what this is going to look like, I just want to write. *giggle*

Saturday it was HOT. Arrival meant I sweat more in that 90 minutes (stations training) than I think I have all Summer. My thought was, "Well, I'll lose weight this week." I did too, as I lost two pounds this week. I think walking everywhere AND having limited eating times helped. The walk to the cabins Saturday felt like a lot, but by the end of the week I wasn't panting at all. *giggle* Camp is good for me to build up my legs that had been on the couch most of the Summer. *giggle*

Camper Card time is when the Missionaries choose their camper for the week. I am always a little late because of adult intro meeting, but it is a favorite part for me. I get to meet the young ladies I'll serve beside for the week AND I get to see what campers I will work with too. It was at this time, I saw that I would have Becca and Alyssa again. I was PUMPED to see that! I didn't recognize any of the other campers, but I started praying immediately about Becca and Alyssa. They aren't mean, they just require extra support, so prayer is good. *giggle*

I spoke at IP after camper cards, which was a first for me. I have prayed for YEARS for this, and it was mentioned Term 1 to me from one of the key leaders in the ministry. I prayed over it, and through various messages with the wife of the leader, I knew I'd be speaking that night. The bonus to speaking at IP during Volunteer Arrival night, is that it's dark. They could kinda see me with the light, but, I could only see about the first two rows. I will be honest, I loved it. I haven't listened to it, (I recorded it) but, God used it in so many cool ways.

The coolest part was that a lot of the young ladies wanted to talk to me about becoming a Special Educator. I had prayed that God would use it, and He clearly did. I also had several compliments, but the other bonus was that only once was I accused of being a camper this time. I did a head tilt when a barnstormer said, "you can't be back here" in regard to the kitchen, and at the time I thought he was absent when I spoke. Later, I found out it was hard to hear me in the back so I gave the kid a pass. *giggle* Actually, I did my usual, "it's okay, I have special permission, I have a special diet." He was good with that. Yea!

Training was good. Training is sometimes long, but I will say that Barnabas staff does a good job of trying to make it fun even through serious training topics. It was also helpful that this time I slept under the dining hall, so I was blessed immensely. *grin* I'll spare you the various challenges for us in other parts of camp. *giggle*

Camper arrival was a blast, as I got to see ALL the campers arrive and of course Ronni came! I'll admit, I invited myself to ride through camp with them. Words cannot describe how good it was to see the entire family! I also didn't realize how much I missed Ronni until that moment. Life is AWESOME with her in it. *grin*

After Ronni got out, I did too. I headed to my cabin and one of my former missionaries was walking with her camper who was hitting her. She looked at me and asked for help. So, I helped get her to her cabin. When we got there, the young camper hit me in the back. My thought was, "Term 7".

Term 7 will always have a special place in my heart. Totally.

As the week went on, I realized how much of Term 7 feels like family to me. The same volunteers return year after year, which is amazing when you think about the population of campers who come. Some (NOT ALL) of them hit, kick, and pinch hard. The teens learn how to love when the campers may not be easy to love. That is precious to me. *grin*

In our cabin, we had so much happen that made the week special.

We had each missionary perfectly placed with the right camper. Week after week I have observed that. It always works out, and I love that.

I also love how God takes 12-14 people who don't even know each other, and within a week can't imagine how they didn't know each other beforehand. That's so precious to me.

We had five campers that became precious friends. For lack of better words, they are higher functioning, and it led to some precious friendships. I love that, as that's part of what camp is about. They did archery, rifles, fishing, and canoes, among other activities. How cool is that? They had a blast. I didn't go to any of those activities because I was helping with the other campers, but, I was so glad those five could go experience those activities.

Alyssa was a camper I've had before and words cannot explain how we connected years ago because she is non-verbal. Alyssa is a camper with Angelman's Syndrome. The cool thing is that we've continued our connection and we cuddled tons this week. Touch is clearly her love language, so she would often sit with me, then get up and go do things with her missionary. Next thing I would know, she'd be back to cuddle again. She will always have a special place in my heart. Truly. *grin*

Becca was another one I've had before, and I truly love her. She isn't a lovable, touchy kind of gal. Actually, space is best for her. I took two squirt bottles with me, in case I had her again. I would have given them to whoever had her as that saved us last year, so it was cool I had her again. *giggle* I will openly admit, it took a lot of work to support her sufficiently, but I am so very glad I got to see her growth in the past year. She can do more by herself than she could last year. She's smart, but she is probably misunderstood a lot. She has autism and can be violent, but she wasn't with me. (She was with others though) The coolest part was that no one ever gave up. We just loved her the best we knew how in each situation. The last night of camp, Cross Carry was too much for her so I stayed with her and the staffer in the cabin. Becca did well, and I was proud of her. There were some hard moments, but there were some other moments that I won't forget. Like, she loved to spray us with the bottle. She also loved music, and I gave up my phone and bluetooth speaker to help her throughout the week. It was a stretch at times not to have my phone, but it was even more of a blessing to know that a camper was being helped with something I had. The teens gave theirs up, so being off the grid was good for me. Yeah, I checked and posted here and there, but it was good not to be latched to my phone. I hope to take that knowledge and apply it to the real world. The bubble wasn't as hard as it would be here. But then again, I don't think it should be. *giggle*

I also won't forget Becca's language: Eatey, drinky, foodie, cabinee, beddee, and she would occasionally use the F word. It's one of a kind, but gosh I love her more than I ever thought I could. Her missionary was upset from time to time, and I would hold her and pray with her. I tell ya, I love those teens just as much as those campers. Seriously.

That leaves Leah. Leah also has Angelman's, and is also non-verbal. She required extra help too, and her missionary was amazing. I also prayed with her in the beginning of the week while she cried at first. She did great though, and I was so proud of her and the floater who helped quite a bit with her. *grin*

Leah pulled hair a lot, but it was a game for her most of the time. I had a little red and blue ball with me, and tried to make a game out of it so that she wouldn't pull hair. It worked for the most part. She didn't pull mine as much, but then again I wasn't with her as much as Alyssa. I also have short hair, so it wasn't as fun for her. *giggle*

The missionaries and staffers blew me away this week. There's typically one that leaves me going, "help her more than the others", but I didn't feel that at all. When someone would say, "I need a third" (because we can't be alone with a camper EVER) many of the girls would step up and volunteer. We were all tired, but we all gave it our best every step of the way. It was amazing to see this cabin come together for the girls. It was priceless.

Becca loved the song "Call Me Maybe." If I never hear that song again, that will be fine for me. However, it was worth it to see Becca happy.

"That's my shirt" became a favorite saying throughout the cabin with Caroline, and it always made me smile.

I'm exhausted now, but loved camp. Every moment of it.

I may type more later.

Term 7 is done.