Friday, May 27

Prayer retreat

For the last five or six Memorial Day weekends, the women's ministry, at my church, has hosted a one night/two day prayer retreat. It is located at a private home that sits right on the ocean (!) and is about 50 minutes away. Being that it is at someone's house, the attendance has to be kept fairly small, approximately 25 ladies.

This year marks the third year I will be attending.

Every year tends to go the same way for me. About a month or so in advance, I'm really looking forward to it. Time alone to pray, on the ocean front, silence, fellowship, and worship....sign me up, baby! But then days before, even up to the day of, I suddenly don't want to go. I'm tired...I want to stay home...I really don't want to be around 25 other ladies, even for one night and two days. But because I paid and said I'd go (and because my sister has overseen last year's and this year's retreat and would give me grief for backing out), I go.

Then somewhere during the time, God meets me there and I meet God there.
And the weekend is just what I need.

For you who have never heard of a prayer retreat, here's what my church does:
It goes from Friday dinner to Saturday dinner. On Friday, there is a devotional to prepare the ladies for the weekend and a time of singing praises to God. On Saturday, there is usually a devotional of sorts in the morning and then the afternoon is ours. There are several stations that you can work through, if you choose, that deal with various topics like adoration, identity in God, who God is, forgiveness, hindrances, working through the Lord's prayer, etc. The entire afternoon is a time of silence. If you want to sit on the beach the entire afternoon and forget the stations, no's your time to spend with God. They also encourage fasting, if you desire to do so...although it's not required. The fast and the silence is broken before dinner when we have a time of communion and sharing. Then after dinner, we all go home to enjoy the rest of the weekend as we wish.

Last year, I went really wanting to hear from God in regards to the areas of future ministry/career and my future husband. It occurs to me that not too much has changed since last year, although I have personally, a bit. I would love to hear from God again in those areas of my life but am open to hearing whatever He has to share. Even if I just spend the weekend praising God for who He is, it will be a good time. just typing this has made me once again excited to go. Too often we allow life to just carry us down the road. We try to keep God the focus of who are we and what we're doing...sometimes we succeed and other times we don't. It's a learning process. But this weekend is a chance to step away from the crazy lives we lead and to expectantly be with God. I hope that when I move away from my church, that I will continue this yearly practice, either for myself or including others, because I need it. We all need it!

Have a good weekend, my friends!

Thursday, May 26

The Place of Nothingness

**Okay a week ago I shared that a friend of mine got me the book Reckless Faith. So after finishing the book and typing yesterday's post, I sent her a note thanking her for buying this unknown book (she "randomly" found it). And I shared the two blog posts I've written about it. Right after that, she check hers next email, which I'm sure made her laugh out loud, and she KNEW she had to send it on to was a daily devotional that she gets. It is so good, I knew I had to post it on here as a follow up. Happy reading.**

TGIF Today God Is First Volume 2, by Os Hillman

"Be still and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10) .

Do you find yourself in a place of nothingness? There is a time and place in our walk with God in which He sets us in a place of isolation and waiting. It is a place in which all past experiences are of no value. It is a time of such stillness that it can disturb the most faithful if we do not understand that He is the one who has brought us to this place for only a season. It is as if God has placed a wall around us. No new opportunities - simply inactivity.

During these times, God is calling us aside to fashion something new in us. It is a place of nothingness designed to call us to deeper roots of prayer and faith. It is not a comfortable place, especially for a task-driven workplace believer. Our nature cries out, "You must do something" while God is saying, "Be still and know that I am God." You know the signs that you have been brought into this place when He has removed many things from your life and you can't seem to change anything. Perhaps you are unemployed. Perhaps you are laid up with an illness.

Many people live a very planned and orchestrated life where they know almost everything that will happen. But for people in whom God is performing a deeper work, He brings them into a time of quietness that seems almost eerie. They cannot see what God is doing. They just know that He is doing a work that cannot be explained to themselves or to others.

Has God brought you to a place of nothingness? Be still and know that He really is God. When this happens, your nothingness will be turned into something you will value for the rest of your life.

Wednesday, May 25

Let Go and Be Led, Part 2

(First things first, the book that I am referring to is titled "Reckless Faith" by Beth Guckenberger. "Let Go and Be Led" is the tagline which I think should be my mantra in the year ahead. Per my opinion, this book is a two thumbs up...way up!)

Beth shares this story about a time when she participated in a disabilities lesson, specifically dealing with blindness. She went to this room with no windows, lights turned off, and there was only way to get from one edge of the room to the other: "The only saving grace is the voice of the guide." At times we feel lost in the thick darkness around us, whether by sharing in the pain of others or muddling through our own pains. The darkness can be stifling and overwhelming...I've been there. It helps to remember that you are not alone. However, maybe you've had times, like I've had, where the Guide is silent. I've heard it said that if you get lost, the best thing to do is stay put...sit down and don't keep wandering. Maybe it's the same spiritually...when in darkness or feeling lost, when the Guide is present but silent, that is the time to calm your spirit and settle in...perhaps the Guide has a lesson to teach.
I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness. Isaiah 42:6-7
I don't have all the answers...I'm just working through my own experiences and trying to see God and hear God myself. But maybe the darkness or the solitude is a time of preparation. "Having vision, listening to God, and stepping out in faith all mean that my life experiences are building within me principles that I need for God's next call." Times of darkness or bondages, and the struggles and learning that occur in those times, can provide opportunities for ministry in the future, in addition to strengthening your relationship with God. Naturally the process isn't fact, when in the midst, I sure wouldn't mind skipping the struggle. I pray for a spiritual "clapper" (you know that old commercial, "clap on, clap off, the clapper" it, if you don't know what I'm talking advertising gem, although it apparently works.) I start to feel uncomfortable or get weary of the darkness. I want to clap my hand and have a light to show me the way out. But I've yet to ever receive a clapper light. Usually the way it goes is that I wait and wait and wait and then one day, a little spot of light brighten the floor right in front of me. So I take a step and wait again. A slow refining process. "He's much more interested in the development of my dependence on him and my relationship with him than he is in impressing me with his plans." Okay, I'm starting to ramble...let me wrap this up by saying that I'm confident there will be continual struggles and periods of darkness, off and on, in my life until I go to be with the Lord. Some moments will be harder or last longer than others but looking back to the verse, the promise remains the same that God promises light and freedom. He has not forsaken me. He has not forsaken you.

Monday, May 23

Talking it up!

The "average" woman talks anywhere from 20,000-50,000 words a day, depending on what article you read.

The "average" man talks anywhere from 12,000-25,000 words a day, according to the same sources.

I think it is safe to say that I am below average. Every once in a while, I get chatty, especially if it's a topic that I really passionate about. But for the most part, I'm a listener more than a talker.

That's probably why I'm always drawn towards talkers. Many of my closest friends over the years are the extroverted chatty types who talk way more than I do and get way more excited than I do. But I find they are the yin to my's that for a cheesy line? Their chattiness and extroverted-ness draws me out, gets me involved, and engages more of me. I've had so many great experiences by having them as my friends.

That's all...there's no point to this post other than to share what I just wrote.
Does this count as part of my daily 20,000-50,000 words?

Friday, May 20

Remembering the scars

Today is one of those work days where starting around 9am, I was thinking...come on 5pm. There is tension in the office for reasons I won't explain. But having been on the receiving end of some of the reasons, I am sitting at my desk quietly, try to keep a pure mind through prayer and streaming music.

My boss' wife even came in today and commented, "boy is it sure quiet in here." My reaction was to roll my eyes...mainly in response to how quiet it has NOT been in here.

It's amazing how one little action, the rolling of my eyes, caused me to have a flashback to another point in my life where there was conflict and tension. The scars from that time, for the most part, are healed. But scars, though they may heal physically, still leave a mark...a reminder of the pain, of the time, of the hurt. Inward scars work the same way, I suppose, although I suppose those can be easier to "re-open" if you allow them to.

This flashback immediately caused me to get angry and defensive when the situation happened approximately 5 years ago, and the characters in my life have all changed, as well as myself. While I've received healing for those scars in my life, my reaction reminds me just how much I really REALLY need God in my life. If it weren't for God, it would be oh-so-easy to fixate on my past scars and allow the wounds to fester. To see harm instead of good. Moreover it would be way easy to lash out at the tension in my current situation.

Praise God for silent tongues and refining hearts. I'll take scars any day if that means that God will continue to do a good work in me.

Thursday, May 19

Let Go and Be Led

I was given a book for my birthday.
It's the type of book where I looked at, thought it looked minimally interesting, and then set it aside for the next gift. "Reckless Faith"...a title that made me inwardly shrug...old story, read a book or two or three just like that already. But a few days later, I picked it up to look it over again.

Let Go and Be Led

Yes! A tagline of five little words but my heart was immediately caught...the prayer of my heart, the desire for my present/future. Then I read a small review "For those among us who feel led to care for orphans..." If those previous 5 words weren't enough, that review did me in. I knew this book had to be read and quickly!
Reckless faith isn't determined by my is born and can grow daily in the quiet moments when my flesh and spirit collide and I decide to let it happen.
"Reckless Faith" by Beth Guckenberger is a book that is part biography of how God has used and is using her and her husband, Todd, among orphans in Mexico, Nigeria, and India, and part the shaping of her faith through lessons that she has learned from God. I'm only a third of the way through the book but let me tell you, I'm ready to go help orphans.
Never again will I offer up an explanation that spins God as weak or passive. If God doesn't come through in the way I want him to, it should expand my view of faith, not shrink it. It means there is something else going on, something I can't see or understand, and I have the opportunity to be swept up in it or not.
My life hasn't turned out anything like I imagined. Some of that is very good. What is that one country song...sometimes the greatest blessings are the things that didn't work out??? Some of the other things leave me continually questioning where God is leading me, how God is going to use me, and when oh when will God send me my Beloved? The mystery of the unknown leaves me feeling like I am walking in darkness. But it is in my darkness where He can shine the brightest. It is in the darkness where I depend on His voice and presence all the more!
I believe in a God who is intricately woven into the soul of each person he knit together, and he has written chapters we have yet to read.
I don't know what's next. I don't the setting that will surround me or the characters that will be introduced to me. I don't even fully know the plot or how the conflict will present it. But I can rest assured that God is there. He has written my future. His desire to use me far exceeds my desire to be used.

Tuesday, May 17

My two-day wish list

Did uncertainty come across in my last post of what's going on?
Good...because that's how I feel. :)

I was chatting Sunday night, with a woman from my church, about all of that, and after saying "I don't know..." about five times, she asked if I could anything I wanted for two days, what would I do? Anyhow, the first two things below are what came to mind but I thought I'd expand it on it just a bit more, just for kicks.
  • Go to Germany (Black Forest Academy)...mainly because I have 11 kiddos there who I'd love to see again and again and again. I wouldn't care if I stepped back into a dorm role temporarily, taught Bible classes, or anything else. Just to be there a couple more days would be great!
  • Go to Mexico where my friends are serving, in Ensenada. Part of this is that I miss my friends and part of this is that I would genuinely welcome an opportunity to see the ministry in action and to serve however possible.
  • Go to an African orphanage. Have you ever seen a photo of African children and NOT wanted to go and hug them all? My answer is no...I don't care where in Africa...just plop me into an orphanage and I will love on all the kiddos around.
  • Go to Venice, Rome, Croatia, Prague, the Normandy area of France (especially Mont Saint Michel), Jerusalem, Istanbul, Aran Islands or Puerto Rico...all for tourist reasons, as I've never been to any of those places.
  • Visit one or more of my friends who are scattered across the North American continent. People I rarely see due to distance.
  • Interview wouldn't have to be big-wigs per say, although some of those would be interesting too. It could be people whose blogs I follow, authors I enjoy or admire, people who started or serve with charities, missionaries, etc...basically I would just enjoy the opportunity to hear their stories and how things in their life came to be.
  • Do a tour of as many of the largest (and absurd) roadside attractions in the USA as possible...I'd need some fast mode of transportation. I just think it would be fun to have the photos.
So there you have it. If you had a two-day wish list, what would be on it?

Monday, May 16

What's going on

Things in my life have been a little confusing/complicated lately.
Maybe unsettled is a better word. If you've read my blog entries since April, you've read that once or twice I mentioned things going on in my life that I wasn't yet ready to share about. goes.

There are times I pray for God's guidance and I get a clear understanding of what He'd like to do or where He'd like me to go (like the decision to go to Germany). There are other times when God is (frustratingly) silent (like the decision to leave or stay in Germany). Now is also such a time.

**Sorry, I can't write without a long story to accompany it...I'll try to keep it brief but you might want to refill your coffee cup first.**

Okay, so I just graduated with a Master's of Intercultural Leadership which I have no clue how that will be used in my life, despite it being a good program/degree/experience. The initial goal was to become a career missionary. However, as my degree progressed, I became less certain that I'd be a career missionary. Don't get me wrong...I'm still very much willing to go and live and serve overseas again. I hope very much that it will be a part of my life one day but whether or not I'll live the bulk of my next 30 years overseas, is what I'm not certain of.

But because I am still interested in missions, when I went to Germany in March/April, I had lunch with a good friend of mine, who now works in the personnel office. I intentionally asked her, if I came back, what could I do? Not that I'm opposed to serving in the dorms again but I would like to consider something different perhaps. She mentioned the possibility of being a chaplain's assistant. The current female chaplain's assistant oversees the small groups, plans the short-term mission trips, and makes herself available to listen, counsel and encourage the students. The reason my friend thinks this position may open up is because this lady is trying to get pregnant. Plus, even if she stays, the middle school (6-8th) is moving to the elementary school since the elementary kids are moving to another location. So maybe there should be a chaplain and an assistant at each location. Moreover, my friend knows I have a love for teaching the Bible so she said it would be "easy" for me to pick up a class or two/week to add to my plate, if I choose. Lastly, she encouraged me to consider getting a teaching degree.

Still with me?

So since the beginning of April, the idea of getting a teaching degree has been rolling around in my head. Do I or don't I? Do I really want to be a teacher? God, what should I do? What about a full-time teacher? God, I could use your counsel. At what point do I stop the education and move into ministry? God, help, please! Am I just doing this for BFA/Germany or would I be willing to serve elsewhere? God? What happens if I start and decide I don't want to be a teacher?

Thoughts and prayers have been swirling in my head, both when I rise and when I sleep. My prayer for God's wisdom and guidance have become like a mantra.

Shortly after getting home from my vacation, I went to the BFA website. To look for inspiration or counsel or something. The one thing that stood out, that I was reminded of, is that BFA has a connection with Philadelphia Biblical Univeristy. You can work at BFA while taking classes with PBU and can earn a Master's degree. Not that I'm going to do that. I can't imagine trying to raise support for both living expenses and tuition...even though people do that. BUT...I did check out PBU (online) and feel a draw toward their campus and program. So much so that I've already started the application process.

The funny thing is that for me to get a Master's of Science in Education degree, I have to first go back to community college to pick up a few more undergrad classes for certification. I love that I just graduated with a Master's and am now going to take classes like Political Science or History 101. :) I'm planning on taking two classes in the summer and two classes in the fall with the plan of moving to Pennsylvania at the end of the year. Yes, I realise that this means I will be traveling cross-country during winter. Yes, that should be a fun trip!

View Larger Map

This whole thing (the trip, the college, living on the east coast near places I've always wanted to visit, the future possibilities, etc) make me excited. But it also has me tense...this is a huge change. I'm willing to do this but I want to know that God is in this and that it just isn't me fixating on this idea. And since God has been fairly silent, outside of this unexplainable draw, I don't yet feel assured that I am doing the right thing. So much of this crazy idea doesn't make sense. Plus, I'd have to take out student loans for the first time.

But the thing I find greatest comfort in is that if I move to Pennsylvania and eventually decide to scrap the whole thing or conclude that being a teacher isn't part of God's plan on my life, then dropping the program and/or moving back to Washington would not be the end of the world. Plus, I have a standing opportunity (kind of) to go to Mexico, if I should choose, to work with my friends.

So, I'm going for it. I don't understand why PA (and not any of the colleges nearby that offer education degrees). I'm putting things into action and still praying my mantra-like prayers asking for God's wisdom. He's free to stop this train whenever He so chooses. But until then, I'm moving forward.

I'll keep you all posted as more develops in this area of my crazy life.

Sunday, May 15

It was a great party. Trust me.

I had a party on Saturday to celebrate my graduation and to thank the key people who have cheered me on during the years.

I made lots of food: a quiche, a hashbrown casserole, a carrot cake, a bailey's chocolate cheesecake.

I had fun socializing, hugging, laughing, giving tours of my apartment, eating, making three pots of coffee.

I had ever intention to take photos to look back on and to share on here.

I failed miserably.

I didn't take one single photo. Sadly, I didn't even think about taking a photo until it was all over, the food was considerably digested, and the people were gone. Boo.

The moral of the story: give the responsibilities of photo taking to someone else, since I won't think of it when the time comes.

Tuesday, May 10

Yummy Bran Muffins I think this is my newest addiction. You might be thinking, "bran muffins? really, Mindy??" But let me assure you that these are not only very tasty but they are very healthy! And another great thing about them is that when I eat two muffins, they keep me full for the whole morning (from 7am-12pm). Love it!!! Oh, and they freeze super well...I bag them up two muffins per bag and either throw a bag into the fridge the night before or even grab a bag out of the freezer before I leave for work.

So, let's review: tasty...healthy...keeps me full...and freezes well!!!! A winning combo.
So, without further ado, here's the recipe:

1.5 cups wheat bran (I use Kellogg's All Bran)
1 cup fat free vanilla yogurt (okay, so I buy those 6 oz yogurt containers and then add 1/4 cup milk)
1/3 cup applesauce
2 egg whites
4 packets of splenda
1.5 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup flour (I use oat flour but white or wheat would work fine too)
1 teaspoon each of baking powder and baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup cranberries (I use diced prunes because our office was sent 25 lbs by mistake...raisins, dried cherries, etc would work well too)

Preheat the oven to 375F/190C. Either use muffin liners or spray the pan well.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the wheat bran, applesauce, yogurt/milk, egg whites, sugar/splenda, and vanilla extract. Mix well and let sit for 10 minutes.

In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add to wet moisture and mix until mostly blended. Add in dried fruit and stir only until combined. Spoon into the muffin liners, approx 2/3 full. Should make 12 muffins.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the toothpick come out clean.
Yummy warm or cool. Throw into bags and freeze or eat and enjoy!
A good way to incorporate fiber into your diet...if you're thinking about that type of thing! :)

Monday, May 9

Reminders from Isaiah

I am the LORD, I have called You in righteousness,
I will also hold You by the hand and watch over You,
And I will appoint You as a covenant to the people,
As a light to the nations,

I will lead the blind by a way they do not know,
In paths they do not know I will guide them
I will make darkness into light before them
And rugged places into plains
These are the things I will do,
And I will not leave them undone.

Isaiah 42:6, 16 (NASB)
I grabbed my journal last night. I write so rarely in it but was feeling the need last night to put down a few thoughts that have been weighing on me. I took a minute at the end, to flip back to previous entries and found one from a year ago that included Isaiah 42:16. I remember how when I found this verse, it struck me that I felt like I was the blind person, unable to see what God was doing and where God was leading me. A year later, while some things have changed or developed, I still feel in the dark...very much in need of God's guidance and voice. I love the promise that He is present and is leading me.
There may be some "darkness" in my life now but the Lord promises light. And even more than that, He promises to use me to be a light for others. Oh, how I pray that would be so.

Friday, May 6

the countdown has begun

No, this will not be a post predicting when the world will end.
Nor is this a post about me standing a crossroads which will change my life...even though I am...more on that later.

This, my friends, is a post on my parents.
Their childhood home...which has been on the market since last August...has sold.
The home that I've repeatedly come back to, like a well-trained yo-yo (bible school-1 yr, home-2 yr, bible college-1 yr, home-1 yr, bible college-1 yr, home-1 yr, Germany-2 yr, home-1 yr, my apartment-4 yr).

Soon, much too soon, my parents will be moving south. To a magical land of sun and warmth. To a place where skin cannot stay pasty white year round. A place where sunglasses and air conditioning are used more than two weeks of the year.

They are moving to Arizona.

Part of me want to balk at them dare they! Don't they know that I'm the one who leaves (although I seem to always come back)! Home is Washington but mostly because my parents are there! Now home will be a state I've never visited (as of yet)?? Baffling!

But most of me is very excited for them. My dad gets to retire (again!) from Boeing. They get the warm weather they've missed all these 30+ years of living in rainy, cloudy Washington. And they get to see a dream fulfilled. Plus I will have a "vacation home" in a warm place to visit if I ever get too chilled or pale!

But it will be strange. To not see my parents every Sunday. To not swing by the house for whatever need. To know that someone else is living there. Ahh well...maybe this just means that its a good time for me to move too...more on that later. :)

Thursday, May 5

Gratitude revisited

Every once in awhile, I feel the need to revisit the need for gratitude in my life. Usually I am challenged about this when I journey through worries or frustrations. That is when I need gratitude most.

At the Lutheran school I attended, we had one teacher who frequently said, "Attitude check!" and all the students would respond with "Praise the Lord!" It's about moving the head from downwards to outwards/upwards. Easier said than done, some times.

Anyhow, I found this checksheet, from A Holy Experience, that gives me a chance to list one thing I'm grateful for each day during the month of May. It's not too late to join in, if you'd like. I have this sitting at my work desk and each morning I've written down something that I'm grateful for from the last day. Writing them down, I find, serves as a reminder that I am not forgotten. God has His handprints all over!

Praise the Lord indeed!

Tuesday, May 3

A glimpse into my youth (L-Z)

(aka...13 15 things you didn't need to know about me but will learn anyways)
(**clearly I wasn't thinking and didn't split the alphabet in half correctly...oh well...que sera, sera**) :)

L. I went to a Lutheran school from Kindergarten through 8th grade. What this means is that I got to memorize the Lutheran catechism every year for my Bible class. I got to say the 10 commandments and "what does this mean" each year. I learned the apostle's creed and later on learned it by song, in choir class, which is actually the only way I can recite the creed to you nowadays. And I said the Lord's prayer every single chapel. It was an interesting experience...some good elements, some less good. From my nine years there, I vowed I'd never go to Germany, which was "Lutheran" to me. Clearly God had a good laugh over that one!

M. I was a wee bit legalistic as a teen. For most of my teenage years, I thought any music that wasn't by a Christian artist was not Christian and should therefore not be listened to. I am honestly not sure where I got that from...

N. I never dated in high school. I observed some friends relational ups and downs and thought no thanks! Plus I like this one guy the whole time was waiting/hoping for him...but he never asked, which I see now is a good thing.

O. The fear of the Lord and of my parents (good fear, not scary fear) kept me fairly obedient growing up.

P. I switched to the public school in 9th grade. That was a hard, emotional transition. But transition I did and now I look back on those years with fondness and gratitude.

Q. For two years (I think), I did Bible Quizzing at my church. Bible quizzing is a youth activity where over the course of a year, you memorize a book of the Bible and then have meets where you compete against other churches/youth. It was a good experience but I do wish I had invested more in it.

R. I shared a room up until my last year of college...a perk of having siblings (and then college). I shared a room with my older sister until I was 14. Then Cari and Amy switched places so I had Amy as a roommate from 14 on. It was rough start for Amy and I but I adapted. We became close because of that time.

S. My most embarrassing moment involved Spanish class. Let's just say that I pronounced something very wrong in front of the whole class. That's all I'm saying. (I'm happy to tell you in person...just not on here for the world to read). :)

T. I was voted in one class as "most likely to become a teacher." My reaction way, jose; not gonna happen! Now I'm thinking about it. Another chuckle for God.

U. When I was 15 and 16 (I think), I went on my first mission trips to Ukraine. Both summers, I went for one month with a group that was half comprised of church people. They were great experiences. We held camps for orphans or neglected youth. I would love to re-visit Ukraine one day.

V. I played volleyball and basketball in 7th and 8th grade. That was the extent of my sports career. For the record, I preferred basketball.

W. In 12th grade, I tried out and was chosen to be a part of the Women's Ensemble choir, at my school. That was a fun experience. One song we all hated was a version of the nursery rhyme "This Old Man." My favorite songs were "Count Your Blessings" from White Christmas and "Fairest Lord Jesus" for our baccalaureate. And those are about the only songs I remember...

X. In 12th grade, I worked as an office assistant as one of my classes (don't judge...I took three AP classes...this and choir were my only easy classes). I processed checks, helped the registrar (which meant I got to see people's grades), and frequently had to use a Xerox machine. How's that for using the letter "X"?

Y. The only time I yelled at someone was in 6th grade. I was "the good girl" and the teacher's pet and hated the latter. I saw this one girl yell at the teacher and that stuck me as the thing to do. I genuinely hoped to be sent to the principal's office. My teacher listened and then quietly/gently apologized...not the reaction I hoped for.

Z. I hosted this birthday party, at some point in high school, for several friends who had May birthdays. We played one game where we acted like animals in a zoo. Bet you wish you had been there!

Monday, May 2

I'm so glad God is patient

If you hear God's voice, it's best to listen.

I loved my job in Germany. I keep saying that I'd go back in a heartbeat but then every time I've thought about going back into the dorm assistant position, I feel if I'm moving backwards in life. I've reflected on this from time to time with no clear answer. Anyhow, back in March, I believe, I saw that another boarding school, in Malaysia, was hiring...and they pay their staff...and they needed an dorm assistant. SOOO....I thought and thought and finally gave myself permission to apply. I figured I could always do this again for two years and then maybe move into another living in Asia would be kind of cool (okay, not cool-temperature because it is warm and humid there, I've heard, but understand). So I went online and printed up all the reference forms and then started the application.

However, just as I start the application, God breathes "just wait."
Well, I couldn't wait! Hello, the deadline for the applications was the end of I needed to get things wrapped up before my vacation! My rationale was that I figured I'd go ahead and apply and then if needed, I could always tell them "no thank you" later on. However, if didn't apply, then it would be a no-go from the beginning. Make sense?

So I filled out their essay-question application...all 15 pages of it. Requested all the references from the four required people. Requested the transcripts from all my colleges (3 as of now). Mailed it all in and waited. Then when I was on vacation, I made arrangements to skype with them, which I did. We had a nice hour long chat. This was all fine and good, until the end of the chat.

At the end of the chat, my friends asked me how it went and if I'd take the job, if offered. All I could say was "...I don't know..." All I felt was this great uncertainty over moving into that ministry, into that location, and into that school. I started praying about it (novel idea!) and the uncertainty remained. Two weeks later, the lady there emailed asking for a final couple documents to complete my application. I emailed back saying...thank you, but sorry, please don't consider me.

Clearly, I should have obeyed. I knew that I had heard God's wasn't even one of those times where I was uncertain (was that Him or was that just me?). But I chose to act anyways. I wasted so many people's times, including my own, on the possibility that God would say "haha, just kidding, glad you didn't listen to me...go ahead and take the job."

So let this be an encouragement to you (and to me!) that if you hear God speak, it's better if you just obey.