Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Seemingly insignificant people

"How would I know the morning if I knew not midnight? You're my horizon; You're the light of a new dawn. So thank you... that after the long night, You are sunrise." This is part of the chorus of Nordeman's song Sunrise. Think about it. Every day is a fresh start. But without Jesus, there would be no new mornings. Sure, you could wake up each morning with all your problems from the previous day flooding into your mind again. You could go throughout the day trying to solve everything on your own. Will this really bring true joy or comfort into your life? How can you say you are completely satisfied when the One Who gave you life in the beginning has no place in your daily activities? I can't imagine going through life without Christ. Without Him, I would be absolutely nothing. He gave His life on the cross for me; the least I can do is live for Him. This isn't something I'm doing because I feel I have to. I want to please my Savior in all aspects of my life! Nothing could bring a greater satisfaction to me than to give everything I have over to the Lord and let Him work in me.

The Sunday morning service at my church was a huge blessing to me. Pastor was preaching from Luke 2, the Christmas story. Instead of going over what most of us have probably already heard, Pastor taught about some details of the story that may seem like an insignificant part but has a greater meaning than first glance. One point that really grabbed my attention was about Mary and Joseph. Mary was a humble peasant, Joseph a carpenter. Yet God chose these seemingly unimportant people to give birth to His Son! I don't remember Pastor's exact words, but the point I'm trying to get across is this. If God could use Mary and Joseph to bring forth His Son, He can also use you to do His will. Can you imagine that? The Maker of the entire universe wants to use you! God has a different purpose for each individual; you just need to seek Him and ask Him to show you what He wants to do through you.

I've done this, and am positive that the Lord is calling me to the mission field in a Spanish-speaking country. At first I thought I knew where I wanted to go; that was before I took my desire to the Lord. He hasn't yet shown me the place where He wants me, and I am patiently waiting and praying about it. Just the thought of showing others how Christ has worked in my life and how He has given me unexplainable joy thrills me! Not only has He given me that precious gem of eternal life, but He offers it to everyone. I want to share how others can receive Christ, and how they can have that same hope and peace that I do. God may be calling you to the mission field as well, or He could have a completely different idea in mind for you. If you are open and willing to give your life to God in whichever way He chooses, you won't regret it. There is no better place than in the center of His will.

Here is a link that a friend of mine posted which I thought to be very interesting. I hope you'll take a few moments to watch this video:


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Unexpected Weekend

Each year at our church, we have a turkey shoot for the men. It's a fun activity, as well as a wonderful witnessing opportunity. For the past few years I haven't had much of a desire to help, which isn't like me at all. I usually love helping in any way I can when it comes to church activities, but the turkey shoot isn't my favorite. Yet somehow I felt differently this year, so I offered my help.

It turned out to be a nice day. The temperature was in the 60s, and the sun was out and shining. The turnout was the best we've ever had, with around 25 men showing up, and numerous helpers. Every time we have this activity, a lady from our church, Miss Cheryl, does the counting after the men have shot their targets; this is what I helped out with. In previous years, we've done it outside in the cold, with papers flying everywhere. This time, we were thankful to be able to count inside the church building. During the middle of the afternoon, while we were all having a lunch break, I got the chance to talk to another sweet lady and good friend of mine in our church, Mrs. Behn. 3 out of 4 of her kids are away, two of whom are in college, the other living in another state. I can tell Mrs. Behn really misses them because she talks about them all the time. It's always such a blessing to spend time with this lady, because she loves the Lord so much, and is such an encouragement to me.

Sunday after the morning service I went home with Mrs. Miller and her niece Annie. I've been getting to know Annie better, as she's been coming to church more. I'm just trying to be a good Christian friend to her, in hopes that my example along with others' in the church might possibly show her the way to the Lord. Anyways, my reason for going to the Miller's was to begin studying for my ACTs, which I'll be taking at the beginning of February of next year. Mrs. Miller is helping Annie study for her's as well, using the "ACTs for Dummies" book. I got through the first 2-3 chapters of the book, all of which covered the English part of the test. I also took the practice test and (according to Mrs. Miller) did pretty well ... always plenty of room for improvement of course :) I'm feeling a bit more confident about the ACTs, and Mrs. Miller is so kind to offer her help in this!

For those of you who have been praying for me, I want to thank you. Each and every one of you mean so much to me. I don't deserve to have such loving and caring friends, yet the Lord has still blessed me; I appreciate the unique friendships I have with all of you, no matter where you are in the world. May the Lord bless you!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Catching up with myself

Life seems to have been so rushed for me in the last few weeks. Whether or not that has anything to do with me being a senior now, I have no idea. I feel like I need to slow down some and fill you in on things. God's been working in my life though, and for that I'm thankful.

From October 25th-29th, Doug and Donna Lowery came to my church for special meetings that week. The Lowerys are doing the Lord's work in New York as street evangalists. They take a team out there every summer to witness to the lost by handing out tracts, special music, challenges, and many other things. It's such an amazing ministry, one I hope to be involved with in a few years. Mr. Lowery gave some great challenges, and both of them did special music, vocal and instrumental. There were many convicted hearts... many decisions made. One in particular that really touched my heart, and I am seeing her grow closer to the Lord all the time!

I've also enjoyed getting to know a lady in my church better. Mrs. Miller is my friend Kay's mom (Kay just recently went to college a few months ago, just in case you haven't heard me talking about her ALL the time!). She is such a wonderful lady to whom I look up to and respect. When I'm having a problem or need last minute help, she's always more than willing to listen or lend a helping hand. Just two days ago, on Wednesday afternoon, she gave me a call and we talked for almost half an hour. I was going through a hard time in my family and I guess just had to talk to someone. But I have a hard time opening up to people about my personal life, because at times I'm afraid of what others will think, that they won't understand, or am embarrassed to pour out my small problems to people. Mrs. Miller makes me feel comfortable with going to her for anything I need though. And her being an adult puts a different perspective on many issues, things I would have never considered. Then yesterday she called just to fill me in on some stuff that happened to her that day. I am so blessed to know her!

Last weekend I had some fun with my camera, which is where most of these pictures came from!

There's so much more I want to say, but I can't come up with the right words for it all. The Lord has been with me, and has shown me many new things. I can't even describe it in my own mind! One verse that Erin, a friend of a friend of mine, sent me: Romans 8:26-27 ... "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God." When we ourselves don't even know what to say or pray for, the Holy Spirit 'maketh intercession for us'. How I love the Lord, and praise Him each and every day.

Just a special note to all my friend at college, and those in Mexico: I miss you all!!!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Showers of Blessings

Notice that one word: showers. It doesn't say 'thunderstorms' or 'downpours' ... simply showers. God sends blessings our way, and He doesn't just throw them all on us at once; but rather, He showers them upon us at just the right moment.

Last Thursday wasn't all that bad. My classes were going somewhat slower than I would have liked, and some other small issues were frusterating me. I decided to take a lunch break and check my email. A friend of mine from church, Mrs. Miller, told me the previous night that she would write me the following morning - and that email was the first one I open Thursday afternoon. What an encouragement! There were things going on in her life that I wasn't even aware about Wednesday night at church, yet God used me in a small way to make her day a little brighter. Another lady in our church and good friend of mine had a stroke recently and has been having difficulty with her speech. It has improved so much from a few weeks ago, and through what Mrs. Miller wrote me about, God is most definitely at work in this lady's life and heart. It brought tears of joy to my eyes as I read this. It just goes to show what power our God has!

I had also been waiting for two weeks for a package to come in the mail. After a week or so I had almost given up, thinking it had gotten lost in the shuffle of things (it was coming from out of country). As I sat down to play the piano that one day, one of the verses in the song just really stuck out to me: ask and it shall be given unto thee, seek and ye shall find, knock and the door shall open unto you. I then realized that God knew I was waiting for that package, but He wanted me to ask Him for it to come. It may seem silly to some of you, and you may be thinking, "The package would have come in the mail whether or not you prayed about it." But you know what? I needed to have faith that God could get that package to me; even in that little thing, it wasn't too small for Him to handle. So I gave the matter to the Lord, and simply asked ... for the next week. Right when my hopes were pretty much dashed, the package came in the mail. What an answer to prayer, and at just the right time!

Sunday had to have been the best day of all. I was on my way to church, thinking about how much I missed my friends and how youth group wasn't the same without them. I walked in the door and up the stairs with my sister. As I turned the corner, someone standing under the coat rack caught my attention. I had to to a double-take (or so my mom says!), and standing there was KAY!!!!! (For those of you who aren't aware, Kay is one of the best friends ever who just recently went to college.) Neither she, her mom, nor anyone in the church told me she was here for the weekend on fall break! That was one of the best suprises I've had in who knows how long!! I gave her the biggest hug ever, being careful not to squish her ;) It was so great to be with her all morning, to catch up, just to talk really. I look forward to when she comes back for Thanksgiving, but am thankful that the Lord brought her here now.

This was just to encourage you all to never give up on the Lord. He knows what He's doing, and has a perfect plan for your life if you'll only let Him into your heart.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

His Strength... One Day at a Time

I can't believe it's been almost a month since I've written! My life has been increadibly busy, the past two weeks in particular. As I told one of my friends this week, God will never give us more than He thinks we are able to do. When it gets to be too much, He's right there to help.

Last Wednesday night before youth group, the teens went canvassing. We just started doing this, where once a month we will go out to our friends' houses, or those who haven't been in church for a while, and just invite them to upcoming activities or encourage them to come back to church. The turnout for this hasn't been that great, so I plan on talking to some of the teens in youth group about the importance of this ministry. I don't want to force any of the teens to come; I don't particularly like going up to and talking with people I don't know very well. It's coming easier for me along the way as I ask the Lord to give me that little ounce of courage when introducing myself to visitors at church. There are just so many people out there who need to hear God's Word and the good news of His salvation. Many believe that you can only be a good witness and testimony once you've become an adult. This is not true! In my opinion, teens can be more influential than adults because teens tend to be around people more than adults do; whether it be in school, church, the mall or workplace ... you name it, you're more than likely going to see at least a few teens anywhere: and people are watching. When you think of a typical teenager, what comes to your mind? disrespectful? rude? only caring about themselves? This is the way the world describes teens in this day and age, and it's considered acceptable. But oh how wrong they are! This is most definitely NOT acceptable in God's eyes, nor should it be in the eyes of a believer; which is why I want to encourage the teens at Maranatha - and in every church really - to get out there and witness to their friends, family, even strangers. In the long run it is worth it.

Going on a completely different track now.... I went to the DMV last Friday and got my driving permit. Yes, I've been on the roads already, as hard as that may sound to some of you who know I absolutely did not want to drive :) I'll tell you now, I'm not going more than 10mph at the moment, and totally freaked out when a cop started following me. It's good to be learning now though, as it will give me a bit more freedom. A start anyways ...

Saturday was our second to last culinary class at the Leman's house. We learned the art of bread making. Lots of fun, and very tasty afterwords! Pictures soon to come, thanks to Mrs. Muresan.

I'd like to end this entry with a verse I read a few days ago in my devotions. Proverbs 4:23 says, "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." No matter what decision you have to make - in the next few days, weeks, even years - give it to God completely. Many things that you decide to do will not affect you in a major way, such as what outfit you will wear, whether you're going to have cereal or eggs for breakfast. But there are many things that we cannot just decide on on our own. I'm not saying we shouldn't take the small things to God too; God wants us to take everything to Him in prayer. Just don't make any life-altering plans without going to God first. Submit fully to Him, and He will show you what He wants for your life. Mrs. Huber, a friend of mine, sent this to me. I trust you will take a few moments to really think about it - "Trapped in His Love for you that all things happen at just the right time when He is allowed to be in control."

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The beginning of a great year

I had an awesome weekend. It was nice to spend time with Kenzie and Tammy and their group at Farmtastic Saturday, friends I haven't seen in over a year. What a suprise to see Chels at church Sunday morning! She was only here for the day, but it was so good to talk to her again. Then I spent my Sunday afternoon with Mrs. Miller; just talked about some things that have been on my mind lately, had a good lunch, redecorated some of her house (which really was fun whether she believes me or not!), and went to a small little ice cream shop on the way back to church.
I would also like to thank you all for your prayers during these past few weeks. I gave my problem to God, and He took care of it far better than I could have ever imagined.

This entry is mainly for pictures, as I would like to share my senior year with all of you this year. Please feel free to make comments here or on Facebook. Praying for each and every one of you!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I am waiting

So much has happened in the past week or so. For starters, I started my senior year on the 8th; I am thrilled that this is my last year here, but it's also going to be rough. I'm not saying I'm not up for the challenge or thought it would be easy. There are so many new decisions and responsibilities I am expected to make/fullfil. I am leaning on the Lord more and more for His strength.

I might have mentioned to a few of you that I would be starting another blog, but just use it for pictures and info on my senior year. Well ... I've decided to just keep up with this one, and post pictures and updates here. Managing two is too time consuming for me and seems somewhat pointless :)

I was having a conversation with a friend last night, and something came up - something that is going to take a lot of thinking about on my part, as well as prayer. I don't feel I can go into the details right now, but I do want to say that I want this decision to be God's will. If it were only up to me, there would be nothing to think about. But it's not, and for that I'm thankful. This isn't something I want to manage on my own. Whatever decision is made is going to change my life drastically I believe. Your prayers this week would be appreciated.

Friday, September 4, 2009

It's all about HIM

Testimony time finally came last night at church. Joe has been telling us teens to always be ready with a testimony. I had one I'd been wanting to share for a few weeks, but didn't want to go first. There were only a handful of people in church last night, and most everyone had already said something. So I guess it was my turn. I asked the Lord for strength to get through what I felt like sharing with my friends, my church family. Standing up slowly and taking a deep breath, I began. And that was about all I did. After the first two sentences, all my emotions swirled around inside and I couldn't go on. Making what seemed like a good ending, I sat down - utterly frustrated with myself. All the rest of the night I kept thinking to myself, Why couldn't I just say it? Why?

Which is why I am writing now. Words come easier for me when I don't have to stand in front of people. I can express myself much better this way; plus, not only you get a chance to read it, but hundreds of others. Here is what God truly put on my heart ...

Being homeschooled makes it somewhat difficult to find good Christian friends. As you know, our church youth group is rather small, and it just got two people smaller (if that makes any sense!). Which is one of the reasons yg has started canvassing once a month. We will go out every first Wednesday of the month with fliers for our next teen activity, and invite our friends. Then we are hoping they will get interested in coming to church. Chelsea and Kay, the two girls who left for college recently, were some of those good Christian friends. I didn't want to let them go, but there was nothing I could do to stop it either. Actually, I didn't really want to stop them from going where God wanted them, just keep them here for a while longer.

The minute I said my goodbyes to my two amazing friends isn't when the pain settled in. No , I wasn't thinking yet about how long they would really be gone for. I pushed all thoughts of them from my mind and got busy with other things. I wanted to forget. But being the human that I am, I couldn't cut off the thoughts that came rushing to my head Thursday night. My friend told me that whenever I started thinking about Chels or Kay to pray for them. I began in prayer, ended in tears ... if you could call it an ending. The next few days were terrible. Every time I wasn't doing something they would come to mind, and the pain came back.

That's when I finally went to the Lord for His help and strength. I can't put into words the peace He's put in my heart this past week. I've been reading my Bible in the morning before school. Not just flossing over it like I used to, but really understanding each individual verse. I try to pull out a verse each day that sticks out to me at the time, write it on a sticky note, and put it on my desk. After I read I pray. My prayer life has grown tremendously since the mission trip this summer. I can talk to the Lord about anything - absolutely anything - and He's there to listen. God had a purpose for my friends leaving, and I'm seeing that now. Most importantly is so that Chelsea and Kay can become more independant and study what they will need for their life. Personally though, is so I can draw closer to the Lord. I was telling this to Mrs. Latham last night. When my friends were here and I was having a rough time, I would go to them for advise and answers. I would pray, yes; but not in the way I should be. My prayers would go something like this: Lord, please give me the right words to say to my friends so they can help me through this. I should have been coming to Him first, asking for HIS help. Now that they are gone, all I have is the Lord - and He is all I need!

As soon as I realized this and began asking for His direction is when the healing came. There were so many adults who cared enough about me to say something of encouragement. Becca said to reach out to others who are hurting and be a friend to them, which is my goal for this new school year. Meredith gave me the idea to write each friend at college every other week, and to keep busy. Tammy and many others said they would be praying for me. Then there were people that came into my life that I never dreamed of being friends with. First was Molly. She accepted my friend request on Facebook a while ago after seeing her at Lizzie's graduation party. That's about as far as it went until a little over a week ago. I posted a status message on Facebook, and she commented on it. So I sent her a message, and she sent one back offering her friendship. Then there's Claire, Chelsea's friend from back home in Wisconsin. She was the only one willing to keep me posted on how Chelsea was doing, and I hope to be better friends as I get to know her better this year. Javier is another blessing from the Lord. I miss Mexico more than I can say, and was discouraged when I wasn't getting any replies back from people I had met there. I looked through the Latham's friend list (can you see now the reason I said I was Facebook crazy? lol), finding everyone I could remember meeting. A few days after I got back home from the trip, a friend request came from Javier. I never really talked to him while in Mexico, but he was always helping with projects or VBS during the week. We started talking over fb chat, and are now using MSN - mainly because it works better :) From talking to him for just a few weeks I can see the Lord in His life. He has a heart for missions, and wants to do whatever God calls Him to do. Last but certainly not least is Linda Garrison. She also sent a friend request just a few days ago. She seems to be related to half of the members in our church in one way or another! But what a blessing. Goes to show that others ARE watching what you do, many times without your notice. Mrs. Garrison sent me a message about a family member she was concerned about, as well as encouragement to keep walking with the Lord.

God has given me above and beyond what I deserve, and for that I am thankful beyond messure. I want to keep growing in prayer, through reading my Bible, and in talking to friends who will be there when I need it most ... even sometimes when I feel I don't need anyone. Thanks again for taking time to read this. I hope it has helped you to see a bit more into my life and heart.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Joy. A three letter word packed with meaning.

You more than likely know that I am what you would call "Facebook crazy". For the past week I have been posting status messages on how much I am going to miss my friends, how I am happy yet sad at the same time ... you get the drift. My last status message went along the lines of, "This is the week of goodbyes". But then my youth pastor's wife commented on that, and it made me change my perspective on things. She encouraged me to reach out to others who are hurting and lift them up; that by helping others we forget our own worries. This is something I am going to try and work on this year. I mean really try. I want to reach out to new teens who come to our church, to make them feel welcome, and to let them know they have a friend. Not just when it's easy either. Many times before I have avoided going up to someone new and introduce myself because of how they look, or simply because I don't want to feel uncomfortable.

I can't do this myself though. If you noticed, the first letter in joy isn't O, but J. I am going to need Jesus' help and strength, as well as the Holy Spirit in my heart, in order to accomplish what I want to work at this year. If I try to befriend new people all by myself, that's all the person will see - me. I want them to see the Lord in my life and show what He has to offer. As I mentioned before, while on the mission trip the Lord gave me a "peace that passes all understanding". Right then and there I knew I wanted others to have that same feeling of complete joy.

My friends are definitely going to have to help me along too. And God has put so many wonderful people in my life, especially in the past year or two. Every once in a while I will need that little extra "push", and I know I can count on people to do that.

JOY - Jesus, Others, You

Monday, August 24, 2009

Glow in the Dark Teen Devo

"Living Lonely or Living Lovely"

I read this in my devotions this morning and it really spoke to me about some problems I'm having in my life right now. So I'd like to share it with all of you as well in hopes that it will be a blessing to you as it was for me.

"As busy as people are today, running and scurrying from place to place, it doesn't take long to realize that people, especially teens and younger adults, can have strong feelings of loneliness.

There is an assault on the 'nuclear home' today, whereas more children go to bed on any given night in America without having both of their birth parents in the house. Sometimes it is because of death, that enemy that stings and hurts so deeply. Another form of 'death' is divorce; and divorce rates are skyrocketing and, as a pastor who counsels, I know the toll and tragedy of these human-based dilemmas is often felt most by the children and teens that are tossed around like beach balls on the ocean.

May I remind you of something today? If you are or have been a victim of such hurt, there is still a God in Heaven Who loves you very much! He has promised in His Word that He will never leave you. He will never forsake you. Check Hebrews 13:5 and see for yourself! In the midst of your loneliness, the friendship and closeness of the Lord can become great loveliness. You are given the Holy Spirit of God, Who can help you make wise, godly choices so your future can be bright. The Lord Jesus is your best friend, and although you can't see Him visually, you can see Him clearly in the Scriptures, and you can be assured that He sees you, seeks you, and wants to help you in everything you do.

Go to Psalm 142 and read it, taking notice of verses 4 & 5. As God's child, you will someday GET IT ALL! The loneliness you feel can be replaced by the loveliness of meditating on Christ and feeding on His Word." ~ Read James 4:1-8

Author: David Hansen, Pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church, Roscommon, MI

Friday, August 21, 2009


Yep. You read that right - randomness. I haven't written something new here since the beginning of the month, and I know (from my own experience) that when someone's blog isn't updated for a while, you tend to lose interest and stop following it. I don't want that to happen. So I guess whatever comes along is what's going to be on here for today :)

There are a few things that have been on my mind lately, the biggest being my friends leaving for college. I said goodbye to so many people in the past week, people who are good friends of mine. It would be a different story if they were all going to Maranatha ... haha, just kidding! Seriously though, you name a state and my friend's going to be there. Beth left early Monday morning for PH in Virginia. Her mom works at the reception dest at our library. Mrs. Vehlow would always comment on Christian books or videos I checked out, asking if I liked that particular selection or saying what a great movie such-and-such was. Well, I didn't want to outright ask her if she was a Christian, so instead I wrote her a note with a verse at the end. She wrote one back saying she had her kids memorize that exact verse! Which is how I ended up meeting and becoming friends with Beth. We awkwardly emailed each other for a few months, then I ran into Mrs. Vehlow, Beth, and her younger sister Sarah at the library, which is where we first met in person. Since then we've gotten together for different events. I was also able to meet some of Beth's friends, who are some of the most awesome people ever! Being homeschooled and all makes it harder for me to make friends, which is why I'm so glad to have befriended the Apple Tree group (their homeschool group, at least for most of them). As all of you know I am a shy person. The Apple Tree-ers, well ... aren't. And yet they still welcomed me into their group, encouraging me to join in on games and other activities. I'll bet you that a third of my friends on Facebook are people I've met through Beth and her friends. I am going to miss her very much, but I also know that this is God's plan for her life.

Then there's Kay ... wow! There are just no words to describe her. She's everything a friend ought to be and more. I can't remember how many years ago it was when she and her mom first came to our church. We were having a meal after one of the services. Mrs. Miller was such a great person; I knew that even as we were first meeting each other. Then she introduced her daughter, Kay. I said something like, "Hi. My name's Sarah." She replied, "Hi." That was it - no smile, no I'm Kay, nice to meet you . Nothing. My first thought: This is never going to work. Goodness was I ever wrong! Kay started coming to youth group on Wednesday nights and to Sunday School on Sunday mornings. With our yg being so tiny you get to know everyone there in a matter of weeks. That's the way I got to know Kay better. Now we're really good friends and I miss her each time she's not at church. I wouldn't put her in the category of being shy, nor in the outgoing group. But she's amazing either way. She leaves for Hope in one week as of today. Her last Wednesday with us is next week. God is going to use her to bring glory to Him while at college.

The person I think I will miss most is my best friend Chelsea. I've only known her for a year and a half, yet I can go to her with anything and she's there for me. I've never had a friend with whom I could do that. I won't go into detail, but because of her dad's job the Behns had to move, and they moved out here from Wisconsin. When the family first started coming I wanted more than anything to talk to them, but once again my shyness held me back. After a few weeks I decided just to go up to Mrs. Behn and introduce myself. Actually, there was going to be a teen activity coming up and I wanted to see if Chelsea and Riley wanted to come. I didn't know their ages, but they looked like they were both still in high school. So I caught Mrs. Behn as she was headed out the door. After mentioning the activity she went and got Chelsea from their van - I didn't ask her to do that, mind you :) But it was great anyways because that's when I first talked to Chelsea. It was a bumpy road to friendship. One I would take all over again if it meant being where I am today. Because of some unexpected family problems now, I'm not sure whether Chelsea will still go to Northland this fall or attend a community college for a while. I feel badly, because I was always saying how much I was going to miss her going all the way to Northland and wished she could just stay here. Now I'd give anything to see her go where she wants to be right now. It's all in God's hands though.

Three moms, three friends, three people I will never forget. God had a reason for placing Beth, Kay, and Chels into my life. He is such a good God, knowing the right time for everything. He is going to take care of my friends, and for that reason alone I feel at peace with letting them go. Besides, they'll be back for breaks and such, and I myself will be at Maranatha next fall.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Memories that last forever ...

If you've never had a chance to go on a mission trip before I would highly recommend going on one. It will change your life forever. Mexico wasn't what I was expecting - it was far better.

Helping the Lathams meant more than just doing what they said. We were a mission TEAM - that involves teamwork. I got to know Joe, Becca, Mr. Webb, Chelsea, Jason, and Elizabeth more than I ever have before. I guess being with them for 9-10 days will do that. Mr. Webb, Joe and Becca were real leaders during the week, but especially the Bauwens. They pushed me to do things that were hard for me to do, and they knew that. It's what helped me grow and to focus more on others and less on myself. Chelsea and I became closer friends that week. We only get to see each other twice, maybe three times a week. Being in the same room for 9 days, doing projects together, eating, working together ... all this helped our friendship. Jason has always seemed like the serious type, but he has his funny side as well. Elizabeth grew in the Lord too. When we were younger we used to hang out all the time. I guess as we got older the age difference started playing a factor: she's 14, I'm almost 18. But we relied on each other at different times during the week. We were friends again.

I've never met people like I did while in Mexico. Even though only a few of the girls could speak broken English in our dorm room, they were still very friendly and made us feel welcome in their room. Claudia was a big help in translating for us. Others we met while helping in the VBS in Bosques and Arboledas. Most of the people knew we couldn't speak Spanish very well, yet they still offered their help. Many couldn't speak any English, so instead they pointed to something that needed to be done in order to ask us. So there was a language barrier of some sort, but that didn't stop us from communicating with the people. I got to know some of the adults, but more of the teens/college students. The whole time working at the VBSs I heard not one single complaint. It was hot; it was a lot of work; there were 40 kids one day, over 100 another day. But complaining wasn't in their vocabulary. They loved the Lord with all their heart, and wanted to show others how much they loved Him.

The children in these two towns broke my heart multiple times. We have so much here in America, yet they live with the bare esentials - most of the time even less. More than I could count came in to our VBS with no shoes on ... but with the biggest smiles on their face you could ask for. Some of the activities we had for them seemed so simple and boring to me. The kids loved every minute of them. Here in America I don't really "have a way" with younger kids. In Mexico, though, they seemed to be the ones who had all my attention. Since I wasn't really able to talk to many of them I wasn't able to give them a presentation of the gospel. I tried to show them through my actions instead of my words, like the other leaders in Mexico showed me.

Tears come to my eyes as I write this. I have only told this to Chelsea and a good lady friend of mine because it's something I have been ashamed of. Since last summer I have had doubts about my salvation, just tiny ones I let pass. But a few months before this trip I really started to worry about whether or not I was really saved. I could remember the time when I was 10 years old going up after one of Charlie Marshall's messages and asking the Lord into my heart, but to this day I have no idea what I said in that prayer. I didn't want to go through the rest of my life, or even on this mission trip, thinking I was saved only because everyone else thought I was. Just a week before our trip I told Chelsea about it and she said something I'll never forget. What kept me going through hard times, like when we almost lost our house? when my dad lost his job? when things were going so terribly wrong and I felt like no one was there or cared? I know it was my FAITH in GOD and nothing else. If not for Him, I wouldn't be the person I am right now. It takes faith in God to go through trials; it also takes faith in God to know you are saved. A missionary who came to our church a while ago also mentioned that it's not WHAT you said in your prayer, but if you really know what Jesus did for you and you believe that in your heart ... and I do!

God really worked in my heart in a way I've never felt Him work before, and it never would have happened if I had decided not to go on this trip. I was all worried about the different food, about being homesick, about it being so far away ... all these small things that seemed so insignificant to me. My good friends Tammy, Kenzie, and Joanna helped me through this, and I am thankful for them. Kind of without knowing it, Joe and Becca helped me to want to go as well by encouraging us all along the way. The money seemed like it would never come, yet God blessed above and beyond what we needed. With the never ending paperwork we had to fill out... God had a plan for each of us and I now know it was His will for us to be in Mexico. After being there for a mere 10 days, I have a burden for missions more than ever now. Before I think I wanted to be a missionary just to travel; to get away from my home life. Now that has nothing to do with it. Missions isn't about selfishness, it's about selfLESSness- about others. I want to share this peace that only the Lord Jesus Christ could ever fill in my heart to others who may have never heard the good news.

Our flight was canceled Saturday morning and the earliest we could get another flight home was Monday morning. I was absolutely devistated. I wanted to go home more than ever, and that day just seemed to drag. God had a plan though, and made Sunday the best day of the whole trip. In the morning service I got to play the piano (good thing I know my numbers en Espanol!). Then I was able to give a short testimony to the congregation while Mr. Latham translated. That afternoon we just hung out at the Lathams with Obed( in the group picture all the way towards the left) and Manuel(picture on the right) and played a different version of "Uno". Neither of them could speak English, but we still managed to have tons of fun. Sunday night I sat next to Miss Alonso and she translated the service into English for me so I could get something out of it :) Gracias! After the service we headed out to view the whole city of Monterrey. Beautiful! I can't put it into words, you just have to had been there. All the rest of the night we stayed up with 12 year old Manuel and tried to figure out what he was saying, and he us. So much fun! Something I would have hated missing out on, and I wish Becca and Chelsea could have been there with us.

This trip has taught me about God's everlasting love and peace. Even though so far away from home, He still worked in our hearts. Now that I'm home I feel a longing to go back to Mexico. If I could choose a second home, it would be Mexico. There are so many memories that will last forever, and I know I'll see my friends there again someday, if not here in Heaven.

And there's always Facebook and MSN!!!! If you want to see all my pictures (all 664!), you can click on the following album links.

Dios te bendiga!! God bless you!!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Goodbye all!

I'll be in Monterrey Mexico until August 1st. We're leaving the airport at around 7:00am tomorrow. I won't have internet or phone access until I'm back, but email, Facebook, or snail mail me all you want ... I love mail!!! Your prayers during this next week are appreciated.

Talk to you when I'm back!

Monday, July 20, 2009

100% and on our way!

Our team went to the last church last night, Lakeland Baptist in Lake Villa. Once we got there the pastor and Mr. Ruehl (my old piano teacher's husband) were there and helped us set up. Chelsea and I went to mess around on the piano before the service ... hehe ;) Our presentation went well, and Becca suprised us by speaking in Spanish to the church using our "evangaball". After the service the church had what they called a snack, but our group agreed it was more like a meal :) I hadn't eaten much that afternoon, so I was really hungry. We were able to talk to some of the members there and tell them a bit more about ourselves, as well as our trip.

I found out just a few days ago that we have made it to 100% full support and, thanks to Palos and Lakeland, have a few hundred extra to use to help the Lathams out in some ways they might need! God truly blessed us above and beyond what any of us were expecting.

This week is pretty much just cleaning up the house - as in my room and my desk area - and packing. I packed mostly everything Saturday, but still have a few odds and ends left to put in those suitcases, along with a few items to purchase at the store this afternoon. Wednesday night is our final mission meeting, where we'll answer any questions we might have and get and legal papers the teens haven't turned in yet. Friday night we plan on staying at the church starting at 9:00pm. We have all voted to stay up all night by playing games, eating Mexican food - compliments of Mr. Unger - and drinking lots of soda :) We leave at 3:30am Saturday morning with our flight leaving at around 7:00am. We should arive in Monterrey at around 11:45am. The weather forcast for the first few days is in the 100's, so it looks like a hot week.

Please pray for us, especially on our final week as we prepare to leave. I hope to write one or two more times before Friday. Email or Facebook me all you want to next week, but I won't have internet access until I come back.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Church and friends ...

Wednesday night our team went to FBC of Palos Hills for another presentation. We got there right on time, set our stuff up, and got into the program. I am so amazed at how the teens have been able to present their testimonies in front of a group of almost strangers. Practicing at our church first helped I think, but God had His hand in it as well.

After the service I was able to meet (finally!) my friends who I've only met over Facebook: Shannon, Emily, Nikki (those in the picture) and Meredith - awesome people! I also talked to Mr. Horner, the youth pastor at the church and Shannon's dad. He gave me an idea which I'm going to try and remember to do. When traveling to different cities in Mexico, pick up a rock and bring it home. Then whenever I see that rock it'll remind me to pray for the people in that city. Different, but hey - I'll give it a try!

I was also able to talk to my best friend Chelsea about an issue that has been bothering me since last summer, but much more strongly in the past few months. She gave me some good advice, and was really just there as a friend and encouragement to me through listening and talking. I feel much more confident now about this issue, and am glad I finally got this out. I talked about it to a lady over the computer, but it just wasn't the same; too difficult to get my true feelings across. Thanks to those who were praying for me.

On the way back home we stopped at McDonalds drive-thru for ice cream. Let's just say it was an interesting experience to be asked "crispy or grilled?" to an order of "I'd like a vanilla ice-cream cone" :) We also looked to see how much we had been able to raise, and the Lord blessed us with much more than anyone was expecting! Joe said we are now 98.4% of the way there. God truly is magnificent!!

Thursday afternoon/evening I went over to Caley's for a Gilmore Girls marathon. We had pizza, which was pretty good I must say, and smoothies, which were excellent. If you ever make one with peaches, leave the skin on and blend it with other fruits. Sounds nasty but it's actually quite tasty! It was fun to just get out of the house for a few hours, as well as to do something together with Caley for the first time.

Friends truly are a blessing. Without friends, life would be pretty difficult. I mean think about it: when you hear the best news ever or something super awesome happens to you, don't you want to tell someone about it? When you're going through a tough time or family troubles, isn't it just natural to want to go to a close friend who can help lift that heavy weight from your heart? Friends will be there, and it's always good to have one or two close friends. But many times those friends will let you down: sometimes intentionally (in that case, are they really your friend?), most times unintentionally. "There is a friend who sticketh closer than a brother", and that is Jesus Christ. He is the only One Who can ultimately lift that weight or burden off your shoulders; the only One Who will never ever let you down; the only One Who will carry you through good times and bad, without having to worry about turning around to find out He's not there. Jesus will never leave you. And once you have Jesus in your heart, there will be a peace that only Christians can understand. He will then put friends into your life, and because He loves you, He'll help you find those special people who could be there for a lifetime. There are so many I can think of right now that the Lord has placed in my life; some who will be here for a long time, others who will leave in a year or two, those who are leaving this fall, and still others who have already moved on - but they will always be in my thoughts and heart.

Monday, July 13, 2009

12 more days!

Usually I try to keep my blog updated every couple of days, but the past few weeks have been preparations for our mission trip, and that has taken up most of my time.

From June 22nd - 26th the teens headed up the Vacation Bible School at our church. We had a fun week filled with games, snacks, Bible lessons, an offering each day that went towards our trip, and so much more! It was quite a bit of work. All the teachers and leaders did a wonderful job, especially in giving a clear presentation of the gospel. There weren't any kids that I know of who got saved, but I know for sure God was working in the hearts of those kids.

Let's see, umm ... oh yeah! Last Saturday Joe, Chelsea, my sister and I went over to the Webb's neighbor's house. We pulled bricks from the lady's patio, washed them off, then put them back where they were again - as Joe liked to say, "A Chinese consentration camp. Dig a hole, fill it back up ...." Seriously though, we got a lot more accomplished than the lady was thinking. I didn't like the idea of this job at first; when I finally got to working it wasn't nearly as bad. I wouldn't want to do it all the time, but if asked again I probably would. We were each able to make a bit more money for our trip. Every little bit helps, especially seeing as we are only 12 days away from the big day!

This Wednesday we plan on going out to FBC of Palos Hills for another presentation. I have been hoping we would go to this church because there are a lot of my friends there, most of whom I've only met through Facebook. Plus, going to the last church made me want to go to more churches. I get nervous when talking in front of a large group of people, but I also enjoy speaking (yes, this may come as a suprise to many of you haha!). I like speaking my mind and letting others know how I feel about things.

Next Sunday night we will go to Lakeland Baptist Church for our final presentation. Then on the 22nd we all bring our luggage to church for "inspection", and we will be on our way on July 25th at 3:30am!

I will definitely write all about the trip once I get back. I'm bringing a notebook to write things down in each day, so I will hopefully be able to add lots of details. And, of course ... pictures :)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Gift of Sight

Last night I had a Literature reading assignment on the author Fanny Crosby (1820 - 1915). As you know she was blind since she was 6 weeks old. That didn't keep her from doing the thing she liked best - writing. When she was only 8, she composed her first poem. She wrote over 8000 hymns and more than 1000 secular poems. Crosby also had a phenominal memory. Once, she thought up 40 poems over a period of a few years without ever writing them down, then later quoted them to someone to pen down. Imagine remembering all that!

In class today I learned something that was rather suprising to me. Crosby wrote so many words to songs we sing in church now, but never really got saved until she was 30 years old. Think of how much more the words to her poems and songs meant to Crosby after she trusted in Christ. Before they were just words; now they had feeling and touched her heart as well as thousands of others.

She had every reason to be bitter and rebellious. Instead, she recognized her blindness to be a blessing. "I believe the greatest blessing the Creator ever bestowed on me was when He perimitted my external vision to be closed." How we take our vision for granted! Each morning when we wake up we are able to see the sunrise, see the colors of the outdoors. When we go to school or to work we are able to read assignments given to us. Many don't like to read and find it a waste of time. Just put yourself in Crosby's place, and think of how much she desperately wanted to read. Yes, she had brail, but that takes time to learn. Next time you go to the store or the library, tell me how many books you see that are in brail form ... not many.

I also watched an episode of Doctor Quinn Medicine Woman. Little Bryan(left) jumped from a tree, hitting his head. Dr. Mike checked him over and found nothing wrong. A few days later he went over to help with the building plans of the new school house when he noticed his sight getting blurry. In an instant he couldn't see anything. Bryan was carried back to Dr. Mike, and eventually had surgery done on his head. For the few days that Bryan couldn't see he was very calm, but kept asking when the lights could go back on again; why he couldn't see his Ma or Colleen or Matthew.

It took a couple of days before Bryan became concious again, and the first thing he saw was the new schoolhouse the town had built. By the end of the movie I was in tears. The pain Bryan had to go through touched my heart and made me realize how blessed I am to have my sight.

Don't take sight for granted. God gave it to you: use it wisely. Don't fill your brain with the awful sights of this world. Read God's Word; if you are musically gifted, use that gift for God's glory. Read biographies of other Christians. Above all, marvel at the beautiful creation around you. God created it all in 6 days so we could enjoy it for a lifetime!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


This is July 1st. Chilly, but still July. Yesterday I realized what today means: I can now say we are going to Mexico THIS MONTH!! It's exciting because our whole group has been working endlessly in preparing for this trip - sending out many many support letters and emails, getting passports, which was a complete unexpected hassle on my part; doing odd jobs for friends and family, making casseroles to sell, getting VBS supplies, and now the Bauwens have gotten our flight tickets to and from Mexico! A mission trip takes a lot of work. It's not something you do on a whim - believe me, raising $1000 is harder than it seems! And I can't begin to imagine all the work Joe and Becca have gone through to get everything organized so we don't have any problems. Thanks!!

After tonight is when I am going to start planning what (and what not) to pack. I'm getting a carry-on bag from my friend Kay, and a second suitcase from my other friend Beth. Not quite sure how much room I'm actually going to need since I've never planned to go out of the country before. But we get a packing list from church tonight, so that will help a lot.

In the past few months I have really seen God working in this area of the mission trip. I was just reading my friend Lizzie's note on Facebook about "walking by faith". It was truly an eye opener. When the idea of a trip was mentioned a few years ago, I got my hopes up just to be dashed. Then, when the idea came up again towards the end of last year I wasn't too excited about it yet. Partially because I knew my mom would never let me go. Second because I plainly didn't think it would fall through ... but it did! It took me and others some time to convince my mom that everything would be safe for me to go, and she - eventually - let me go. All it took was patience and FAITH. I want to end this by quoteing part of what Liz said. Please think about this: "To doubt myself in these endeavors is to doubt God. 'I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.' If God wants and wills something to happen then it's going to freaking happen! ... I need to stop doubting myself and God and do what I am passionate about."

Monday, June 29, 2009

God's Hand at Work

For those of you who don't know, 5 teens from our youth group (including myself), along with my yp, his wife, and Mr. Webb are going on a mission trip to Monterrey, Mexico from July 25th - August 1st to help Jonathan and Wendy Latham in their work.

Last night our group traveled to Burbank, IL for our first program at a different church. We had fun preparing for it during the afternoon, packed everything up in the church van, and were on our way!

Once there, we set things up and talked through what we were going to do. All of us had nerves last night, but with the Lord's help and all your prayers I believe we honored the Lord with what we presented to the church. We had a few congregational songs along with prayer, then the service was turned over to us. Starting out was our Spanish song "Cristo Me Amo": better known as "Jesus Loves Me". Thanks to Becca I was able to play the piano for all the songs our group sang :) Joe then started out with the first half of our presentation - the slide show for which he and Becca worked many hours to get just right. During the middle Chelsea, Elizabeth, and I went up to give our testimonies. Chelsea and Elizabeth did a wonderful job; I found that I was nervous to begin with, but once I started talking it came naturally to me. I enjoy talking in front of groups of people ... but only when I have something written out!

My sister and I did the offertory "There Shall be Showers of Blessings"; then she and Becca went up to give their testimonies. I hadn't heard Becca's all written out before, so it was nice to hear something new. Joe finished with the presentation, the group sang "Here am I, Lord", and then Joe preached.

Towards the end of the service a love offering was taken, and later we found out how much the Lord had blessed us with. It was truly amazing how God worked in those peoples' hearts! There was only a handful of people there during that evening service, yet the Lord provided through small numbers. It just goes to show that if we put our trust in the Lord, HE - not we - can accomplish anything. I must admit I've been worried with how we are to make enough money before the trip, which is coming up in a matter of weeks now. I found that I need to lean on the Lord more, and on myself much less.

I believe we are at 70% or so of the way there for raising funds. Your prayers are appreciated more than you will ever realize. Knowing that our friends and family are praying for our group helps us to keep going. Pray that we would raise that final 30%, as well as be a blessing and help to the Lathams this upcoming month.

If you would like to check out my website, here is the web address: http://sarahgreetings.bravehost.com/

I will put a few pictures up when I've downloaded them, so keep watching!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Judging to quickly

This is the first time I'm just "winging it" by writing this blog entry. In the past I've written out what I'm going to say, fixed it all up, and posted it here. The thing with that though, is the feeling I had at the time that I wrote it is lost once I actually get to posting it. As my friend, Kay, said just yesterday: I shouldn't second guess myself or plan too much about what I'm going to write. "It's more important to write spontaneous and unplanned posts, as often as you can..." So that's what I'm going to do!

I've noticed that I've been judging people to quickly as of late. I Facebook all the time, and love it when people write on my wall or send me messages. Usually I respond right away. When my friends don't do the same, I feel like they are just getting older, changing, and don't want to be as close of friends as we used to be. I was talking this through with my friends Tammy and Mackenzie, and realized how selfish that really is. I mean, not everyone can just get on the computer every second of the day, and when they see I've sent them something, reply immediately.

Another area is when my friends don't ever talk to me. Maybe once in a while they'll be on the computer and are able to chat for 10 minutes or so; then I don't hear from them again for a month. After a while I just give up ... but that's where I'm wrong. If I am a true friend, I shouldn't give up so easily, because I will more than likely lose a good friendship. I also need to realize that my friends are busy; they still care about talking, but have lots of other things to do as well (as I've been finding out recently myself!).

I guess I want everything and everyone to be perfect, respond the way I think they should, and always be there for me. Well, the truth hurts, but life isn't that way. Yes, it's true that if you call someone a friend, they should be there and stick up for you. But it goes both ways. I certainly can't act the way everyone wants me to, and I shouldn't have to feel pressured to do so. Which is why I shouldn't expect that of others.

I want others to think of me as a good, caring friend. God has blessed me with so many people in my life. There's a reason He placed them there, so why judge? I need to first, pray about this problem and second, be more open with you all as my friends. Whenever something is burdening me or I just can't understand a certain action one took, I tend to try and let it go or forget about it and say it's not important. What I should be doing is talking it out with the person and get things straight, before I get all these crazy ideas in my head. I'm shy, and don't like to share my feelings with others in person, which is a major reason why I started blogging: I can let you all know at the same time what I'm feeling/thinking. Thanks for reading, and if you have any comments please email or FB me; I'd love to hear from you!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Keep in the Word

The last few weeks in Sunday School Joe has been teaching us teens about growing spiritually. On the 7th, we discussed what makes us grow, as well as keeps us strong and healthy. Physically, we need food and water, sleep, exercise, and trials. In relation, the spiritual food and water is the Bible; sleep could be going to church ... I'll get back to that one; exercise is witnessing; trials help us lean on the Lord.

Back to the point on spiritual sleep. This is just my idea, as I wasn't able to mention it in SS. You know how we sleep physically, but even though it's resting, sleep still helps us grow? If we didn't sleep, our bodies would eventually shut down. Along the same lines, when we are sleeping spiritually (going to church), we are still growing AND getting rest. When we are out in the world, it takes work to be a good testimony, to witness. Why? Because the world is full of unbelievers who, most of the time, want to draw us away from anything we believe in. Being in church, however, takes the stress off. I'm not saying that we don't need to be a good witness/testimony to our brothers and sisters in Christ; there are still those without Christ even in the church. My point is that if we were to never go to church, our bodies would -once again- shut down ... spiritually. Even though church could be considered as rest, it is still a vital part of the Christian life if we are to grow.

Ok, so I went somewhat on a rabbit trail with this, but I felt the need to share my thoughts on "spiritual sleep". What I really want to stress is what I learned this past Sunday in class. Nathan Drushinin taught about the attributes of the Bible. Now I certainly can't explain it the way Nate did, but I want to give you the parts that struck me most.

"If you give someone a fish, they'll eat for a day; teach them to fish and they'll eat for a lifetime." This is the illustration he started out with. If you teach/show an unbeliever (or even a Christian) a verse, they might remember it for a few days, but then lose it. Teach them how to read the Bible for themselves and they will be able to use that always.

One issue that I've heard hundreds of times before but it never really hit home until now was in Matthew 5:18 "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." Nate drew two symbols on the board (Greek or Hebrew, I don't remember), then drew two more which were almost the same as the previous ones ... but with one little mark different on each.

Aside from my horrid drawing skills, look at the pictures and see if you can catch the difference: see how small and seemingly insignificant that is? Well, God cares so much about every "dot on the i's and cross on the t's". The Word of God is perfect and indestructible.

So what is it that keeps us from reading this perfect, flawless book called the Bible? Many times it's our busy lives: there's just so much to do and not enough time, right? But why can't God and His Word be top priority in our busy lives? After all, He created and died for us. The most we could do is strive to be more like Him -- by reading!!

One other thing Nate taught was that out of all the spiritual armour, the Bible is the only offensive weapon. We use the sword, helmet, shield, etc... to protect ourselves. The Bible, though, is used to fight off the enemy. I never thought of that before, and maybe you haven't either.

I know this was longer than usual, but I trust this has been of some help to you. I pray for every one of you all the time. Many times I fail to keep in God's Word myself and am trying to become better at it. Thank you for your encouragement!

Friday, June 5, 2009


I hesitate as I write this because it's something I don't like to talk about. This topic has been on my mind for the past few weeks, so I'm going to share it with you now ....

Lying. Stealing. Anger. Lashing back. All of these are struggles that people go through. But the issue which seems to give me a hard time is fear. I'm not scared to go up and talk in front of a big group; neither am I worried about any and every little thing around the next corner. The fear I have is hard for me to explain, but I'll do my best.

It's common for many people to be timid when they are in a new place, with strangers and different surroundings. I love to go to new places, but only when I'm with someone who knows their way around. If you were to ask me to travel on a plane all by myself to a different state, I would flat out tell you no. Why, you ask? Honestly, I don't know. I mean, I always want to be more independent and do things on my own, but something in me holds me back.
This occurs even with small things. When I was 10 years old, I did a paper route which lasted for four years. My mom drove, and I delivered papers to different stores, restaurants, and train stations. The first time we did it, a lady came with us and showed us where everything went, so I got used to the routine. Then, when we would have a new store added to the route, my heart would start pounding because I'd never been there before and wasn't familiar with where the papers went - even with directions!

Last but certainly not least, I fear being around large (and even not so large) groups of people. When I go shopping by myself, I always try to avoid the isles with more than one person in them. If I'm at a church or school activity, as in someone else's church/school, I tend to be very quiet and not participate in much. There are times when it doesn't bother me just to stand by and watch... all the more opportunity to take pictures! Sometimes though, it would be nice if I could force myself to just get out there and be more involved.

It's such a terrible feeling, probably because I wasn't always like this. I went to a Christian school for 1st and 2nd grade, and I can't remember a single time where that nagging fear would pop up. Then we started homeschooling; as I got older, the fear grew.

Some of you reading this have known me for years and are probably wondering how any of this could be true. There reason - I do everything I can to hide it. By trying to be outgoing, make jokes that aren't really funny (I later realize), and talking a lot ... yep, you heard that right! Not all the time, but lately I feel I've been doing way too much of the talking and not enough listening. At the time I don't think much of it; when I have a moment to run that day through my head, I then realize how self-centered I was.

Don't get me wrong; talking is good. But not when it's a one-sided conversation, or it's always about yourself.

I'd appreciate any comments or suggestions you might have. I've been asking some friends for advice, as well as praying about it, but anything you might have I'm willing to hear!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A Glimpse...

Hello to all my amazing friends! As I was reading through my friend's blog, it inspired me to create my own. I know many people usually start one when they go away to college, move out on their own, or go on a mission trip for an extended period of time ... Well, I don't fall under any of those categories. Right now, I'm trying to finish my junior year and head into my senior year of high school.

Many of you who will read this I see once, twice, three times or more each week. Somehow I feel that I need to express myself in a way other than email or Facebook; a place where everyone can go to.

I can be outgoing and talk a lot; usually I'm just a shy, quiet 17 year old homeschooler who has a lot on my mind but find it difficult to talk things through with others. Whether or not going to a Christian/public school would have made me a different person than I am today I don't know. I do know that God made me special and unique, and He has a plan for my life - something far greater than I could ever do on my own! Lately I've been learning to lean on the Lord in everything I do. It's hard, and at times I want to just give up. Then a friend comes along and reminds me of God's unfailing love for me, and that encourages me to get back up on my feet and try again ... this time with His help.

My hope is that I can give you a glimpse into my life, and that you will get to know me better through these entries. Thanks to all of you who have been there for and supported me in the past (I know I can be stubborn at times). The Lord has blessed me with friends ~ people who mean more to me than anything! I love you all :)

I will do my best to update this every couple of days, so keep reading!!