Monday, November 26, 2018

November 2018 Blizzard

Soooo I wanted to take a moment and share about something that I think we'll be talking about years from now. It's not earth shaking or anything, but I would like to remember this years from now. *grin*

Thanksgiving Week crept up on me and I had a very nice time with my family. I also spent some time with a college friend on Wednesday Night, so the ice cream and conversation led us into a great Thanksgiving Day. The time with parents and family was very nice.

I came home and kid sat on Friday. We spent two hours at the McDonald's play place. The kid loved it, and it wore him out. I had to smile, he fights sleep but he just crashed on my couch when we returned. *grin* He opted to stay home Saturday which led to a day on the couch for me. *grin*

I had a pajama day on Saturday, with talk of a big snow storm coming in on Sunday. I'll be honest, when they initially talked about it, I was skeptical. 2011 was the last huge storm we had, so I wasn't sure what to think, but made sure I had milk and bread. *grin* By late Saturday Night, I knew it would be bigger than I previously thought. *grin*

Yesterday (Sunday) I woke up and a friend who was serving with me at church texted and asked if I thought they would cancel church. I knew my pastor wouldn't cancel. He never does. I watched the 8am service online and then prayed that no one would come at 11:15 for our Sunday School class. I also stopped by and got toilet paper on the way to church. I mean, you gotta get what's important. *giggle*

I got to church and went straight to serve. Upon arriving, one student was leaving with her family, and no one was there. My co-leader arrived and we never said it outloud, but we prayed silently that kids wouldn't come so we could beat the storm home. The gal in charge told us to wait until 11:20 and then we could go. I will honestly say that was the least number of kids I've ever seen in our kids wing and NO ONE CAME for Sunday School in our room. We left right away! *grin*

I do want to mention as I was leaving a young man I used to tutor was walking with his Mom. They stopped and said "hi". The young man hugged me and we talked briefly. He is in a good family, and he is already growing into a handsome young man. Our brief chat made me smile. *grin*

I came home and Jay and I settled in for the storm. It was a blizzard, our first one in years, and I loved it. I also prayed that I wouldn't lose electricity. It worked. I worked my way through my DVR by alternating between Law & Order SVU and Ellen. I am so far behind on Ellen that it's a treat to get to laugh in between SVU episodes. *grin* I started the weekend with my DVR at 91%, now I'm down to the lower sixties. *grin* I've loved it.

I used today (Monday) as a PTO Day because we had about 4-5 inches of snow in my yard. Jay isn't thrilled with the snow, but it works for me as his outside breaks are super short. *giggle* He has to be out front because our back door is snowed in and can't be open. *grin* Christmas Cards have been worked on too, so it's been a productive weekend. *grin* I've loved it.

Tomorrow I'm going to attempt to go into work. I've loved this, but cabin fever is starting to set in. *grin*

I think the 2018 Blizzard and no one showing up for Sunday School were both memorable. I realize my life isn't super exciting, but I am enjoying it. After all, I don't have any homework from work. *giggle*

Life.
Is.
Awesome.
Totally. *grin*

Saturday, November 03, 2018

Lessons Learned in 110 Days On The Job

I've now been at my new job three and a half months. People ask me all the time, "How do you like your new job?" I still say the same response, "I LOVE IT, NO HOMEWORK!" *giggle* Those of you who are teachers know what I'm talking about. *grin* Honestly, people who can relate typically giggle when I say that and smile. It's not that I hated it, I didn't. I just didn't know how hard I was working until it was all over. *grin* I don't regret it at all, I am just enjoying life in a new way now. *grin* I'm also involved in Bible Study, book club, and am visiting with friends more. I love it!

Throughout my 110 days, I've learned a lot of unexpected lessons. I have pondered this post for a couple weeks and am excited to share what's been on my heart the past few days. *grin*

I lived in a classroom the last 19 years of my life, and never had a window in my classroom. This mattered to me the last few years, and no matter how hard I tried I never was given a classroom with a window. Now, I have windows nearby in BOTH offices. Granted, at the Missouri office, I need to turn my chair to see outside, but I can see outside much easier than I did in the classroom. *grin* I smile every time I look outside my office. It's legit. *grin*

That's small, I know. Don't worry, I have more to share. *grin*

I'm now on an amazing team. I was on good teams at school, so don't read too much into that statement. *grin* I remember sitting in my classroom in May, wondering if my next team would be as supportive and cool. Parts of me fought fear on levels I've never experienced as an adult. At the same time, my faith was strong enough to walk forward. I'm so glad I did. God has blessed me beyond measure in the team I'm on now. One member in particular is blessing my socks off, and for that I smile daily. We are a true team, and I love going to work daily. Yesterday we worked together to serve some disabled adults, and I just smiled the whole time. It was one more moment of confirmation that I'm where I'm supposed to be for now. *grin*

My job requires some travel around the Kansas City Metro area. I wasn't sure how much I would like that, but I am. I have learned a lot of things through my travels. One thing I learned is how beautiful the Metro is, especially with fall leaves changing and falling. This has been something I never thought about before, but now I think daily about it as I drive around. It's very nice. *grin*

Something else I've discovered is how to drive in rush hour traffic. In the beginning, I had to figure it out. It stressed me out initially. I have learned that the key to driving in rush hour is to look ahead A LOT. This allows me to know if we're stopping or going. *grin* I've also learned that Waze is the BEST app for travel ever. Sometimes I avoid traffic and go AROUND a wreck. *grin* It's so good. And it's a FREE app. *grin* I've also learned not to get comfortable. I could do a whole post on near-miss wrecks.

My new job has also brought me into the world of YouTube. Yes, I knew what it was before the job, but playing music wasn't a focus for me in the classroom. When I attempted to play K-Love on my work computer, it was blocked. I know, shocker, but I can pull up Youtube. So I initially put on Bethel, because, well, it's Bethel. *grin* What I didn't know was that it would play other similar artists. This has changed my world!!! Yes, if you know me, music is important to me. I've now discovered Upper Room in Dallas, and Influence Church in California. Yes, they've now been added to my bucket list. *grin* I have also discovered Will Reagan and United Pursuit. *grin* Talk about a BONUS to the job. I live in a cubicle in Missouri, and I wear headphones while I work. *grin* I have plenty of documentation to keep up with, so it's less work with music going. *grin*

I have also learned a lot about diversity in my new job. I never realized how much my world was comprised of white people. (Don't worry, no politics here, I promise) I don't care what color people are, I love everyone. At the same time, I've typically been in the majority, not the minority (in terms of skin color). In many of my work environments, schools, committees, and overall staff, I am in the minority in terms of skin color. This has been an entirely new experience for me. It has given me a heart for those of different ethnic backgrounds. It has taught me things that I cannot put into words. I believe this is a really good thing.

It has also led to some of the best conversations I've ever had regarding skin color and people. I realize this is a huge topic and something that in 2018 is still a thing. At the same time, healthy conversations are a good thing. That's where solutions start, with a healthy conversation. *grin* I love that! I can't solve this world problem by myself, but a conversation is a start.

I've also met some incredible adults with various disabilities. It has taught me a lot about differences and how beautiful being different can be. I am different and obviously have always been, but it has been fun to hear different life stories in terms of physical disabilities. The older I get, the more I enjoy just sitting and listening to people's life's stories. It has also been fun to be able to relate on different levels with the challenges that a physical challenge brings with different people. I have always thought being different was good, but this job has solidified that thought on so many different levels. *grin* I love it.

I found myself looking around a lot this week, and thanking God for the people that are now in my life. Yes, I miss my students deeply, but this change has been refreshing and fun on so many levels. Truly. I'm blessed. *grin*

I do enjoy taking time off and not writing sub plans. If I'm out, I'm out. No homework or worries about being gone. I can't put a price on that, and it has relieved so much stress for me. *grin* I love it. Again, I wasn't miserable, it's just a nice change to be in this season.

Finally, I was made to wear jeans, shorts, t-shirts, and hoodies daily. I dressed up for the first time on Thursday for a Transition Fair, and was reminded how much I love my jeans and casual wear. I can dress up, I'm not grumpy, but jeans and a hoodie are my ideal. On a daily basis, the company I work for has a casual dress policy. We're encouraged to wear appropriate pants/shorts, and a shirt with the company logo on it. I spent quite a bit of money (because you typically have to do that anyway when you get a new job) and now have a hoodie in each color, so I can rotate them. *grin* How cool is that? We're all wired a certain way, and no one way is better than the other. However, I am now in a season of rest, relaxation, and love. I love it.

I'm so very glad I walked into this season. I love the people I work with, the students I teach (I'm in schools and teach an eight hour transition course), and the lack of homework. I don't know how long He has me where I am, but I am going to enjoy it as long as I'm there. *grin*

LIFE.
IS.
AWESOME. *grin*






Saturday, October 27, 2018

What You Hide by Natalie D. Richards

About a month ago I was scrolling through my Instagram, and one of my favorite authors was doing a book giveaway for her new book that is set to be released in December. I entered the contest not expecting to win, BUT I DID! *grin* I've won other books from other authors, but none of them included a note with the book, and autographed the book! *grin* I smiled when it arrived in my mailbox and wanted to take a moment and share my thoughts on the book.

I've read several books by Mrs. Richards, but, this one was my favorite! I typically devour books I love, but this one I took my time reading because it was so well written. Mrs. Richards did a great job giving the main characters in her book a voice. I felt like I was right there, and loved every moment of it. (This one is written as a YA novel, but I read them anyway. *giggle*)

You're probably wondering what it's about, right?

Mallory, the main character didn't want to leave home, but it wasn't safe to stay. Mallory meets Spencer at the library and an adventure begins. I LOVED these characters and honestly didn't want the book to end. When it did end, I was left wanting a sequel. *grin* I wonder if Mrs. Richards did that on purpose? *giggle*

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK!

Funny enough this month was the month I chose the book in my book club, but of course this book won't be released until December. *grin* I'm going to keep it in mind though for the next time I can choose a book because I think everyone in the book club would enjoy it.

So, perhaps you're looking for a book to read. This book comes out December 4th, and I highly recommend it! If you're looking for a good Christmas gift, this is a good one! *grin*

You know me, I don't recommend a book UNLESS it's really good! This one is now in my top ten of all-time!

*grin*
LIFE.
IS.
AWESOME...with GREAT books in your To Be Read pile. *grin*

Monday, October 22, 2018

A Little Bit of Heaven

I've heard it said over and over again how Camp Barnabas is a little bit of Heaven. I've always agreed with it, but this weekend it was repeatedly shown to me. I'm not sure it can be put into words, but I want to try. It's my second home for sure. *grin*

Okay, wait, the weekend began for me on Thursday night when a friend and I went to see Hillsong lead worship. It was an unforgettable night for me, and we were on the sixth row! Squeeeeaaaallllll! It filled me up in a way I didn't realize I needed to be. I connected with Him, that's the short of it all. I LOVED IT! *grin*

Friday morning I got up, took Jay the furry kid to his own little camp, and headed out for Barnabas. I knew some of that people that were coming, but not all. *grin* It made me smile. I knew it would be bittersweet though, as some of the leadership has been moved onto a new chapter, with His prompting. Several times I caught myself missing them for one reason or another. At the same time, He reminded me that change is good. Even though I fight change, when it's led by Him, it's always good. *grin*

I arrived at camp, had several hugs welcoming me back, and headed to my cabin. There were two cabin Moms assigned to my cabin, and it worked out great. We balanced each other out well and each brought our own version of love to the cabin. I LOVE having two cabin Moms because we can be split (one with campers in one spot & one in the other) and still be helping in our own way. *grin*

Camper Arrival, it is now the picture I think of when I think of arriving in Heaven. My name being called, people cheering, and then He runs up, wraps me in His arms, and it's a celebration! *grin* I think Camper Arrival is amazing, and I've seen it for 11 years. It is emotional, and happy, and sweet all at the same time. The kids who may not be cheered for outside of the gates are cheered for inside the gates. I love it!

I went to my cabin after one of my girls from Sunday School came to camp for the first time this weekend. Bella was nervous as could be, but adapted pretty quickly. She did stay by me a lot at first, but she got to know her missionary and they had a FANTASTIC time. I purposely removed myself from them at times, as I could see God was in the midst of their relationship. It was so fun to watch!

And Ronni was there. I had prayed all week that Ronni would be okay with my new friend being in the same cabin, and honestly she didn't get upset once with me. *grin* The advantage Ronni has is that EVERYONE knows her, so she doesn't NEED me, so it was easy to do my own thing. We did have moments where we were tight, but, more often than not she was off doing other things. That made me smile. I've known her since 2008, and she's grown up SO MUCH! It was tons of fun.

My favorite activity at Barn-a-breaks is the talent show. In a world outside the gates, "talent" by people with special needs isn't always appreciated. Inside the gates, you'd think the campers were winning oscars or something. *grin* You kinda have to be there to get it, but, it was such a fun evening. If the campers went up to sing, that was fun because all of us in the audience sang along. We had two people in wheelchairs dance, and my personal favorite was the boy that went up to say a joke, and all he could say was "knock knock" because he was laughing so hard at himself. *giggle* I took a picture of everyone that went up to perform. It was a night of laughter and love. It was also the night standing "O" made a comeback. I loved it. *grin* Also, the stage was back in the middle of the dining hall, which I LOVE. In that little world that we call the Barn-A-Bubble, it was a night that reminded me of the kindness and heart of the human spirit. It was unforgettable for me. *grin*

It was the first time in Barn-A-Break history that we had the Joy, Enthusiasm, Fun, and Fellowship (JEFF) contest. We have it during the Terms (weeks) of summer but we've never had it at the weekend events. I LOVED IT! Oh, and MY CABIN WON! *grin* Root Beer Floats for us! It was priceless.

Finally, we also had shirts for the event. Barn-A-Break shirts! *grin* The shirt I got is quite possibly the cutest Barnabas shirt I own. It was really neat to have new things (shirts, JEFF, etc) at Barn-A-Break. I tend to get sad when leadership changes, but He is continually reminding me that change is good. Very good. I will miss some of the people from time to time, but change is good. Very good.

The theme this weekend was "Family Reunion" and I can honestly say that it felt like that. I made new friends for sure, but the returners, well, made it SO SWEET! *grin* I remember in 2007 when I went there and how nervous I was, and now I can't imagine my life without those people in it. Truly.

One last thing I want to post because it mattered to me, came Saturday morning when I was talking to a staff member. She thanked me for taking time during the last Barn-A-Break to minister to her regarding her boyfriend situation. I don't remember what I said, but she did. Once she said it, I kinda remembered it, but not as clearly as she did. God used that moment to show me, you never know when you're making a difference in someone's life and being used by Him. Truly. *grin*

If you can, I encourage you to visit that little bubble of Heaven in the future. If you can't go there, look up Camp Barnabas on Youtube. You'll get to see a glimpse of it, but you won't fully get it unless you're there. *grin*

Family Reunion. Yep, that's what those people are to me.

Family.

*grin*
LIFE.
IS.
AWESOME!

Friday, October 12, 2018

"There Are Friends Everywhere"

I remember in my first teaching job, I got to know A LOT of amazing people. One of them, Jill, said a few quotes that I have held onto during various parts of my life. I doubt she even knows what they did for me, as she was just being Jill. *grin* The quote? We were talking about moving, and she said, "Oh, there are friends everywhere." I didn't think much of it at the time, but I was reminded of that today.

Over the past three weeks, I've continued to build relationships at my new job. I'll openly admit that when I resigned at my former job, I kept battling the thought, "You have to start all over with friendships." That petrified me, to be honest. At the same time, this year has been a series of working for my faith to be bigger than my fears. Thankfully, I've prayed through this to get to where I am. *grin*

See, the past three weeks I've been so busy that I haven't had time to blog. I mean that in a FUN way! I have gone to work, gotten home and changed, and then have attended social events. It's been SO MUCH FUN! I didn't do anything like that last school year because I was always working. Now, I have freedom and am enjoying it.

I'm building friendships. Church. Work. Bible Study. Everywhere.

I remember thinking the second week of my job that relationships take time, and how I hated that. It's hard to be the new kid in a company that you're learning the ropes. However, almost three months in, and I KNOW I'm where I'm to be for now.

Today we had our "open house" for our Kansas office. Meaning, everyone came and spent time sharing with various people about our company. In between people coming in, I got to know more of my co-workers. I have to say, I LOVE each of the people I work with on a daily basis. My favorite part of today was LAUGHTER! There was so much laughter that I remembered Jill's quote, and she's right. Everywhere you go, there are friends.

I'm so very glad that I stepped out and followed His leading to take this job. *grin* I remember looking around at the staff I was on in May, and how a part of me didn't want to leave that staff. I dreaded having to learn a new whole staff.

Now? I can't imagine life without my new friends. *grin* I am blessed. Totally.

LIFE.
IS.
GOOD! *grin*

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Sunday Evening Reflections

Hi! I sit here tonight thinking I want to blog, but am not sure what it's going to look like. So, I'll just see where this takes me, and whether you read it or not, I will have it for me. *grin*

This past week I learned A LOT in my job. Some of the things I learned included:

1. People call the place where I work for support. Most of the time we figure out how we can connect people to the resources they need. I felt bad though when a gal called and just wanted money for a medical issue. I had to explain that we don't just give out money, we hook people up with the resources they need. It wasn't easy, but I learned I can let people down in a gentle way and life goes on.

2. I added two classes to my week, and honestly thinking every kid I am in contact with is beautiful in their own way. I'm with high schoolers, which is a different population for me to teach, but I love it. I'm hoping to add one more school, at least. Life is more fun in the field teaching than in the office. *grin*

3. I spent 2.5 hours one day with a person applying to become a US Citizen. Yes, he has a disability, so that's how he qualified for my assistance. Let me tell you, I have a whole new respect for people who are wanting to stay here. Not only did we fill out over 40 pages of an application, after that we did about a 15 page waiver because it costs over $1000 to just file that paperwork. Let me tell ya, by the end of the 2.5 hours, I now have a deep, deep respect for people wanting to stay. I pray for that person, and everyone else in his position. I take being an American for granted. I finally got that. Deeply.

4. I spent some time with a co-worker, and once again had confirmation that I'm where I'm supposed to be for now. God clearly put this gal in my life, and I didn't realize how much I had been longing for a gal like this to spend time with on a daily basis. I am blessed, and smiling. *grin*

5. We had a training for us to have the ability to help individuals register to vote, to vote, and understand the ballots. Let me tell ya, I know more about the ballot now than I ever have and feel ready for the next election. We are also a general polling place, so anyone in the metro can vote there. Yes, that day is nuts, but I love it.

6. Finally, I love where I work. Everyday is a new learning curve, but, it's fun and everyday I thank God for the job. Truly.

Okay, time to read & sleep. I'm ready for the work week to begin!

*grin*
LIFE.
IS.
AWESOME!

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Divine Appointments

I haven't blogged lately, but let me tell you, my mind has been running nonstop. And ultimately I'm amazed at how God has been giving me divine appointments to make me smile and feel His love. I am blessed by everyone in my world. Truly.

For example, Monday I went to Bowling Blind. Long story short, the company I work for creates social events for people who are visually impaired or blind. Every second Monday they go bowling. I loved bowling as a kid, and figured it would be fun. I took someone I know with a vision impairment, and we both had a blast. My favorite quote at the end of the night was my friend saying similar to, "The unconditional acceptance there was amazing." Yep, that sums up the night. I plan to go again, even if my friend can't make it. *grin*

Thursday night we had The Gathering, a Women's Bible Study for the ladies of my church. I'm a Story Teller this year, so I get to lead the table discussion. I did that during the 2016-2017 School Year, but didn't attend last school year due to homework/work responsibilities. It was SO FREEING to be there and not worry about work the next day. *grin* I'm also on the prayer team and got to pray with a woman during ministry time. *grin* Love serving His kids. Totally. Perhaps my favorite part of the evening was when two of the women I haven't seen in a while came over to my table. I enjoyed ALL the ladies at my table. Totally. However, the picture we took is one I ADORE. Gosh, He certainly made me to be around people for sure! *grin*

Today at church....well, let's just say it was the biggest divine appointment I've had in probably a year. I was door greeting, and a gal that I usually sit by during second service came out. I attend third service on the third Sunday because I door greet. Well, so when the service began, my friend came by. Okay, well, we're more of acquaintances than friends. In the midst of our chat, she really ministered to me in a really cool way. God really blessed me during that chat. I walked away so very thankful for my church.

I'm excited for the upcoming week. I am believing for more divine appointments. Totally.

Time to crash. Another work week ahead, but you know what? I'm rested. I am REALLY enjoying the No Homework aspect of my job. Thank You God!

*grin*
LIFE.
IS.
AWESOME....I love my life! *grin*