Monday, November 21, 2011

Random Thoughts

So I just need to ramble for awhile...
  • I am incredibly nervous for today. I hardly slept a wink last night. Today, I have a new student starting. Not just any student -- a foreign, Korean student. I have no idea what today is bringing and I have no idea where to even start and I really dislike feeling lost. But that's how it feels. 
  • Even though I'm nervous, I'm excited to learn about my new student and to try and help her learn English. I think that she might be exactly what I need to settle my antsy "Why do I teach" feelings as of late.
  • Friday was a rotten evening. I was in a bit of a funk due to the fact that I was here and not where my heart yearned to be. It goes back to the thought that growing up, having a real job, and moving away from your best friends stinks. 
  • In a way to combat my "I hate my horrible life" phase of Friday, I spent all of Saturday and Sunday scrubbing every nook and cranny in my apartment. I'm not sure this place has ever been this clean. I even rearranged and finally took my boxes and bike down to my storage unit. Nothing like getting to it after 2 1/2 years. It feels good. Really good.
  • Part of my weekend of power cleaning is brought on by the fact that my parents are coming for Thanksgiving. While we aren't celebrating at my house, they are bringing a Christmas tree for our church so they are going to be stopping in Madison to visit. My "mass cleaning because my mom is coming to visit" is just another reminder that I am turning into my mom!!
  • I'm beyond thrilled that this is only a 2 1/2 day week at school. I need a break and these students need a break! Let's be honest, we need a break from each other! I'm done rambling for now. Thanks for listening!

Thankful November: Day 21

I'm thankful for...Steph!
Youngsters -- Jake, Kendra, Steph, and I
Circa 2006, but I love this one of us!
Guess what? Today is my best friend's birthday! Do you have a friend that you have spent your entire life with? I do. We went to preschool together, grade school, and even high school. In fact, the first time we were ever living in different cities was when we were 19 and heading for our first year of college. Then just a year later and we were together again and eventually living together. I know how incredibly special it is to have someone who is your best friend for your entire life because that's what Steph is for me.

The best part about our friendship is that it runs deep. It runs to places that few friendships go. I love that no matter what is going on in my life or hers, we can be a simple text, phone call, facebook message away. And the best part is that a simple "I just watched "Shag" and missed you." message can mean just as much as a full out conversation.

I hope you have a simply wonderful birthday! Thank you for being a friend that goes beyond words and for always being there and loving me through all these years. I cannot imagine anyone else I would have rather grown up with. I love you! Can't wait to see you again soon!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thankful November: Day 20

I'm thankful for...Alana.
Christmas Extravaganza 2008 - Alana, Me, Nicki - We love Christmas Cheer!
Today is my dear friend, Alana's, birthday! YAY! Since I'm still bumming that I couldn't be in Valentine to spend the weekend celebrating with Breaking Dawn, Holiday Previews, Italian feasts, and the like, I figured I would simply remember Alana by writing about her!

In a few words, Alana is -- Ah-mazing! Organized! Super Party Planner! Excel Spreadsheet Extraordinaire! Dedicated! My Role Model!

No joke -- not only has Alana become one of my closest friends, she is also the person I consider to be my biggest role model. She lives her life for others. She is always working to make sure everyone around her is being served by her work. For me, she emulates what it means to be servant for Christ by the time and effort she puts into serving others Not only that, she is the easiest person to talk to. Any time. Any place. Any subject. She can be a sounding board or can offer that piece of advice that just makes everything finally fall into place.

I have known Alana my entire life as her youngest sister is my very best friend. However it wasn't until about 5 years ago when she moved in with us that I got to know her on a deeper level. I look back and am so blessed that God allowed her to take the chance to move back to Eau Claire and to then take over the dorm mom job at Immanuel. Having her there during that time in my life has helped me grow and learn from her. She has taught me so many ah-mazing things from the glorious workings of an Excel spreadsheet to the importance of immersing yourself in the Scriptures to stay rooted in Christ.

I am beyond words thankful for how you have shown me what it means to be a strong woman and a follower of Christ. Thank you for being an example and role model! I hope you had a splendid birthday! I love you!

Thankful November: Day 19

I'm thankful parents!
circa 2010 - Mt. Rushmore
Do you have ever one of those days when you think, "I'm turning into my mom..." or "I'm turning into my dad."? The older I get, the more I have those moments. But lately, I've noticed that when that happens, I'm not hiding in terror because I'm becoming them, I'm smiling because I can't think of anyone else I'd rather emulate.

My dad is man of few words. Partly because he is more of a watcher than a speaker, but mostly because I think he chooses to speak only when he truly has something to say. (Okay, so another reason might be because he mumbles so we aren't really sure what he says!) My dad can be a real joker. He is great at finding the good in the things that are happening. In fact, through all the seasons of life that I've been with my dad, I can't think of a time when I've seen him give up and be defeated. Instead, he keeps on working and says that's just how things go. It's a trait that I love about him and one that I can only hope to have!

My mom is a doer. She can out-do, just about anyone I know. She has worked more than one job for as long as I can remember. (she's even had four at one time!) It's not lying that her love language is most certainly acts of service.. However, the one thing I love the most about my mom is her commitment to family. You never have to guess whether or not she'll be on your side. You never have to wonder if she will be there when things are falling apart. You never have to wonder because she will always choose your side.

God has blessed me with parents that have stuck around in hard times and shown me that marriage and family is about commitment. Commitment to one another, commitment to Christ, and commitment to family. I am beyond thankful that God has given me my parents to raise me and mold me.

Thankful November: Day 18

I'm thankful for...Immanuel.
(Ingram - one of the original buildings on campus and the original faculty of Immanuel)

As a child, I knew from little on that I would one day graduate from 8th grade at Grace in Valentine and start my high school career 500 miles away in Eau Claire, WI on the campus of Immanuel. I grew waiting for that day. Not because I wanted to get away from Valentine or my family, but because I had grown up hearing all the great things about Immanuel. Things like the great friends you make, the ability to have your classes centered around God's Word, the chance to grow and learn from your mistakes.

I won't sugar coat it and tell you everything was great about my time at Immanuel. There were days when I couldn't wait to graduate and get away. Days when all I wanted was a home cooked meal or a hug from my parents. However, looking back 12 years later (ugh! I'm old!) I don't for one second regret my time at Immanuel. In fact, I am SO thankful for that time.

The 8 years I spent at Immanuel for High School and College are the years in my life that have helped to shape the woman I am today. Immanuel taught me how to be myself, how to make friends, how to live and work with others. But most importantly, it taught me to make sure Christ is always at the center of my life.

I am so thankful that my parents knew how important it was that I attend Immanuel and that they sacrificed being with me during my high school years so that I could be there. I could keep going on, but this video does a good job, so I'll just let it speak for me!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday Five: Children's Books

My Friday Five is inspired by the giveaway Jess is doing over at The Macs. It's all about children's books, which I adore, so I figured I'd go ahead and share a few of my favorite books with you!

{If you haven't checked out Jess's blog lately {or ever}, do it! 1 - She has been doing a whole week of giveaways and there are some mighty cute items! 2 - She has 3, 1 now in heaven, adorable children, and 
3 - she has a very special heart for the Lord that she shares so beautifully on her blog.}
Without further adieu:

Source: via Jennifer on Pinterest

1 - Love You Forever by: Robert Munsch -- I adore this book.
It makes me tear up every time I read/sing it. This book makes a great baby present!
Source: via Jennifer on Pinterest

2. Blueberries for Sal by: Robert McCloskey -- Who am I kidding? I love all of his books!
This one is my favorite because Sal is just so sweet!
3. The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins by: Dr. Seuss -- I'm fairly certain that you can never go wrong with Dr. Seuss. He entertains children and adults alike. This is book is no exception!
4. My Friend is Sad by: Mo Williams -- Mo Williams has the best characters ever! In addition to Piggie and Elephant, he also has the Pigeon books. If you are new to Mo Williams, you have to check him out!
His simple books are beyond wonderful. {I have used this book as gifts for friends who are going through a rough time. It's such a cute pick me up!}

Source: via Jennifer on Pinterest
5. Tadpole's Promise by: Jeanne Willis -- This has a great surprise ending!
I am so glad someone introduced me to this book, because it's one of my favorites!

Wanna join in? Link up by visiting Kat from Living Like The Kings!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thankful November: Day 17

I'm thankful beginnings.

Starting something can be so hard. I am the queen of thinking, "On Monday, I will start eating healthy and working out." Monday rolls around -- nothing. Tuesday rolls around -- nothing. Next thing I know it's another weekend and I'm thinking about starting again on Monday. It's the cycle that has become my life for the last few years. The part that frustrates me the most is that I want it. I really do, but when it comes down to it, I'm really just afraid to start.

Two weeks ago, I decided I was starting. The mental ping-pong games needed to stop and I needed to get serious. So far -- it's working. No soda. No eating out. Working out. I'm still in awe that I've stuck it out so far. And you know what? It's hard work. Every day, I have to convince myself to go to the gym and plan my meals ahead. BUT, I haven't felt this good in a long time. My attitude is so much better. My sleep schedule is incredibly better. My energy is practically out of the roof. I like how this feels.

So today, I am thankful for new beginnings. With them, I have a whole new approach and outlook on this blessed life the Lord has given me!
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