Wednesday, December 29, 2010

each and every day, i am thankful for the blessings the Lord has placed in my life. however, on my birthday, i am always that much more thankful. i am thankful for the year that has past and for the year that is ahead of me and all the joys it has to offer me. so, as tradition would have it, here's a list of 24 things i am thankful for today on my 24th birthday.

1. a relationship with my Heavenly Father that is intimate and continually growing.
2. my husband and the journey we've been on and are on together.
3. my family; for their support, the laughter we share, and the foundation they gave me.
4. my friends; my best friend, my long time friends, my new friends, my work friends, my camp friends, all of my friends :)
5. india and my precious children halfway around the world who have taught me the importance of loving boldly.
6. my job; for the opportunities it gives me to be Jesus' hands and feet to those who otherwise have the potential to fall through the cracks in society.
7. little kids and babies; for their innocence and the joy they possess that reminds me to be thankful for the little things.
8. a relaxing night/weekend; because they are few and far between.
9. coffee; for the way it warms me up in the winter and the routine it provides me with in the mornings.
10. having my house clean, laundry done, and everything organized; because it makes me feel like i've accomplished something when it's all said and done.
11. volleyball this year; for the relationships i developed and the privilege it was to in a way be a part of a team again.
12. laughter; for the refreshment it brings and for being able to make others laugh.
13. starry clear nights; for the creativity it shows of my Creator.
14. hand written letters; writing them and receiving them; being able to make someones day in a simple yet significant way.
15. reading; for the escape it provides and the wisdom it brings.
16. sunrises/sunsets; the reminders they provide on new beginnings.
17. hugs; the way they have the ability to comfort in ways that others are unaware.
18. deep conversations; the fact that they make me feel alive afterwards.
19. being able to keep in contact with friends and family easily; phone calls, texting, facebook, emails, etc.
20. dreaming big for the future; thinking of all the possibilities of the ways in which God could use a broken vessel like me.
21. hearing others' stories; the way they remind me of the Body of Christ.
22. time alone; the relaxation and rejuvenation that occurs afterwards.
23. investing in others; being able to see other people recognize their strengths and abilities and talents just because they've hade someone believe in them.
24. memories; the fact that they remind me of the past, that i know they are always constant even in a state of change, and the ability they have to always make me laugh.

i am so thankful.
i am so blessed.
i am so looking forward to my 24th year and all that is in store.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

one of my favorite thing about lazy saturdays is coffee in the afternoons instead of the mornings. another one of my favorite things of today is that i can look out my big picture windows and see the snow falling.

i feel like the past few weeks have been a blur. i've thought about sitting down to update this quite a few times, but i'm pretty sure i just went to bed early instead. so here i am today; thankful for the stillness and still excited from the happenings of my week.

for those of you who haven't heard, i took on a new role at my job. i'm still doing everything i was doing, so really, it's just an added responsibility that i had training on for two days this week. long story short, Grant County, where i work, is bringing a framework for all youth services providers (educators, caseworkers, youth pastors, etc.) to use called the 40 Developmental Assets. These assets are 40 things that kids need to be successful; they are separated into two catergories, which are internal and external. and then they are broken down into eight smaller categories as well. anyway, this framework will provide a common language among service providers throughout the county who are serving kids with hopes to bring more assets into their lives so that they can be as successful as possible. pretty exciting if you ask me.

regardless, as i sat through the training, i was forced to look at my own life and to think about who has had an impact on or who has helped develop assets in my life. i was humbled as i sat there and thought about the way my parents encouraged me, as well as my grandma; i was grateful to think about all of the positive coaches i had in my life who took the time to invest in my life; i was amazed at the memories i have from people from church and church camp; and the list could go on and on.

and then i had to take a look at myself in another light. about whether or not i am doing all i can to invest in the people who are in my life. and i took it step farther to look at it from a Christian perspective...and i asked myself, am i doing what the Lord has called me to and am i helping to develop assets in people's lives i am a part of?

in some situations i felt like i could answer with a confident yes, but in other situations that came to my mind, i felt as though i could be working a little harder. and as i go about my days now, i am trying my hardest to take the time to notice those i often would overlook or to take the time to send that extra text message just to let someone know i was thinking about them.

another one of the coolest things about this training was that it emphasized that EVERYONE can make a difference in other people's lives. and it is so true. we never know how much of difference a smile, a card, a hug, a high five, or taking someone out for dinner can make. and it's humbling to think that we have the ability to make a difference without even knowing it.

my favorite quote from the whole two day training was this, "every child needs to be loved irrationally by one person--but better yet, they deserve it from more than one."

and it's so true; they do.

and i have a thousand times over this week thanked the Lord for giving me a heart as big as he has. while sometimes having a heart like mine comes with much heartache; i wouldn't trade it for anything. and i am so grateful for what He has entrusted me with and so blessed to be able to simply be His Hands and Feet.

as i sat in training, the thought kept occurring to me; i love my job. i love what i am doing outside of work. i love making a difference no matter how small or whether or not the results are able to be seen immediately. and as i sat in training it was definitely affirmed that i am passionate about people.

pretty much, the best way i can sum all of this up is by a Shane Claiborne quote i found several years ago, "...I want to be a lover of God and a lover of people."

life is such an amazing journey, and i'm choosing to find joy along the way. My Jesus is ever so faithful, even in the most difficult of times, and i am trusting him to carry me along the way when i don't have the strength to love others as well as i would like.

but for now, i leave you with the truth, reality and fact, that YOU too can make more a difference in the people's lives you are already in than you may ever know. don't underestimate how far even the smallest gesture can go.

praise God for working in our weaknesses to bring Him glory.