Sunday, December 20, 2015

2015 Thankfuls

To say that I am late on this post it quite the understatement, but the tradition must continue!

Usually when asked, people share people and things that they are thankful for.  I have had the nagging thought for a long time, "What if I was a starving, homeless, physically disabled, unclothed, orphaned child?"  "What does that child have to be thankful for?"

I realize that this is a sad and graphic picture to paint, but it gets to the heart of the questions, "what can I be thankful for regardless of my circumstances?" and "can I truly give thanks in any situation?"

Past Years: 2014 and 2012 (there are others under the Thankfuls tab)

According to my worldview, the resounding answer is, "YES!"  So I tried to take it on for this year's thankful list:

1.) God is Sovereign - He has supreme authority
2.) God is Faithful - He does not leave me nor forsake me
3.) God is Good - regardless
4.) God has a plan
5.) God's plan includes saving me FROM sin and evil and saving me TO a community of believers
6.) God offers believers Peace that passes all understanding
7.) God is Wise - Because God is Wise and Good, I can trust His Sovereignty
8.) God offers us Rest - not veg out and do nothing, but rest for our souls
9.) God's Word
10.) God is Eternal - I do not need to worry about a time when He will not Be
11.) God is All-Knowing
12.) God is Big - bigger than _________ (let's not create false dichotomies)
13.) God Creates - He created and continues to Create
14.) God can and does Redeem
15.) God is accessible - I can pray and be heard
16.) God Blesses - this may be repetitive of 6 and 8, He has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. (Eph. 1:3)
17.) We have the Holy Spirit
18.) We are not alone
19.) God is my Provider
20.) God is my Friend
21.) God is Light and in Him there is no darkness (1 John 1:5)
22.) God is our Hope - and offers us hope in all circumstances
23.) God is our Father - this
24.) God is LOVE - God defines what love looks like
25.) God is our Refuge
26.) and Strength
27.) An Ever Present Help in times of trouble (Psalms 41:6)
28.) God is Joy and offers us His Joy
29.) God is the Performer of Miracles
30.) God sent Jesus so that we may have life and life to the full
31.) God is Just - even when I do not see it
32.) God is Healer - physically, emotionally, relationally
33.) God does not fit into the box I try to make for Him, after all he is wild
34.) God Forgives
35.) God does not give us a spirit of Fear, but of power, love, and self control (2 Timothy 1:7)
36.) God Rescues (maybe I already said that in #4 and #5?)
37.) God is Passionate about His Glory
38.) God has shown us community within Himself - Trinitarian
39.) God has made a helper suitable for man
40.) God remembers and keeps his Covenants
41.) God has Built his Church and the gates of Hell can not prevail against it
42.) Jesus scorned the shame - so we do not have to
43.) God is the Deliverer from Fear
44.) God has proven himself trustworthy
45.) God has given each believer Spiritual Gifts
46.) The Holy Spirit is our deposit,
47.) guarantee
48.) and Seal (2 Corinthians 1:22 and Ephesians 1:13)
49.) God disciplines us
50.) We have an Example in Jesus
51.) Our Identity is in Christ
52.) God is my Joy - not a temporary emotion based on circumstances, but a permanent attitude of my Heart (because of Who HE is and What HE has done)

What are you thankful for?

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Trip to Utah Part B (2015 Summer Adventures Part 3)

At this point, I just want to skip ahead and tell you all about backpacking in the UK, but I also teach math (and am an istj), which means we must go in order:

On Friday, we broke camp and headed north towards Salt Lake City.  We stopped by Utah Lighthouse Ministries and met Sandra Tanner!  This has been on our (Ian's) bucket list for about 5 years, so it was really an amazing privilige to be able to meet Sandra Tanner and chat with her.  She was so nice!  We got to stay with some friends in the Salt Lake City area. Neal, the pastor of Mountain Road Church, and his wife, Christie, are such sweet people!  We had such a good time getting to know them.  Since we were staying with them, we stopped by the church and helped take down decorations from their week of Vacation Bible School.

On Saturday we enjoyed a slow morning of breakfast, coffee, and visiting with Neal and Christie.  We decided to head to Antelope Island State Park and go for a hike.  Antelope Island is a really cool little island.  You drive across a long bridge to get to the island.

Thank you Google Maps for showing us where Antelope Island is

We stopped by a the park office to get a map and buy postcards.  They have bison, antelope, mule deer, and bighorn sheep.  We tried to see some (or any) of these animals while we were driving to the trail head.  We did not see any animals (foreshadowing?).  The first thing I noticed when we parked at the trail head was the lack of trees.  I think Salt Lake City has a similar elevation of Denver and the sun is powerful in June.  We had already slathered ourselves with sunscreen so we set off.

We started hiking.  I said, "Wow!  There are a lot of grasshoppers!"  We kept hiking. We tried to talk, we tried to play games, we tried to pretend that the trail was not the incarnation of the plague of the grasshoppers (I am stretching it a bit...locust and grasshoppers are similar), but it.was.not.possible.

There were so many grasshoppers!  Each step there were 4 or 5 grasshoppers jumping up - which may not sound bad when you are at home in your jammies, sipping coffee and writing a blog post, but there is a reason that God sent a plague of locust/grasshopper. {Lordhavemercy, they are so annoying!} After about a mile, we stopped and tried to decide what we should do: Hike 6 miles with grasshoppers or turn around and do something else.  Since we were on vacation and there was no prize for enduring the grasshoppers, we turned around and headed back to the car.

We did take a picture before leaving Antelope Island.
We decided to drive east and check out Park City, Utah.  Ian drove the 2ish hours to Park City while I complained about dehydration and feeling nausea.  As soon as we arrived in Park City, I thought, "We are back in Colorado - this feels like a mountain town".  I am not exactly sure how to explain what that means, but Park City did not feel like the rest of Utah.  It was a cute town (by cute I mean, very clean, up to date, and suburb white girl).  We found the Wasatch Brew Pub and caught a World Cup Soccer Game while sipping a Polygamy Porter (actual name of the beer - no comment) and learning about the history of the Wasatch Brew Company.

So surprising/shocking that it is funny (that was my reaction at least)
We headed back to Salt Lake City - it was a pretty drive.  We enjoyed a fun evening of grilling out with Neal, Christie, their son, and grandkids.  It is so special to hear stories of God's faithfulness and mighty power.  Any time we have heard stories about God moving in great ways, we have also heard about the challenge, difficulty, and pain of following God - it helps keep our feet planted firmly.

Sunday we packed, headed to church, and then started our drive back to Colorado.  We took Interstate 80 back (instead of Interstate 70 which we drove on our way out).  This took us more through Wyoming.  I love driving on interstates in the west - it is so relaxing (to me).  I was somewhat concerned as we kept getting wind warnings (gusts of 60 mph!?!?) but we were fine.
One more picture from "Grasshopper" Island
I think we got home around 10pm and just went to bed.  It was so fun to camp and vacation in Utah.  The culture is different than Colorado.  The scenery is different than Colorado. We had a great time and made fun memories!

Up next: Our trip (in 25 blog posts probably) to the UK!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Trip to Utah (2015 Summer Adventures Part 2)

We got back from IL at 10pm on a Friday night and we were back on the road Tuesday morning.  I am not sure if I have perfected the art of packing for a camping trip, but I am getting better (essentially I just pack the whole apartment).  We had a good drive to Utah.  Some things to note:
  • I thought it was cray cray that the speed limit in Colorado was 75 mph.  It is 80 mph in Utah (and Wyoming).
  • If you enter into Utah and see a sign on Interstate 70 that say, "No services for the next 110 miles".  Believe the sign - it is true.
  • If a bird flies into your windshield when you are driving 85 miles an hour, the bird will die.  And if the driver happens to be Alissa, the driver will scream {loudly}. 
They had a Welcome to Utah sign at a rest stop

We arrived in Richfield, Utah and set up camp at the KOA by 4 or 5pm.  We used Richfield as our "base camp" for the first part of our trip.  We were hoping to catch the USA Women's Soccer Game (it was during the World Cup).  We drove about 20-25 minutes and found a restaurant on the side of the road (not in a town, just in the middle of nowhere on its own) and got our fix of Women's Soccer - success!
Our campsite.  We were thankful for the shade!
Wednesday we had a relaxing morning with going for a run, showering, making breakfast, and reading.  In the afternoon, we drove to Bryce Canyon and went hiking.  Wow!  It was beautiful.  The rock formations called "hoodoos" are really incredible to see.  It is hard to believe that the rocks can "balance" on top of each other.

There were so many spectacular views!
While we were hiking, we started talking to some other hikers.  They happened to be 2 guys that were studying to be priests in Cleveland, OH.  And they also happened to be from Daegu, South Korea (which is where we lived!!)  We ended up hiking with them for about a mile.  They were so much fun to talk to.  And Augustine (his English name) had a selfie stick.  

After hiking, we drove around to a different side of the park and did another short hike.  We found a place for pizza and then headed back to the main park. Once a year, Bryce Canyon has an astronomy festival.  They purposely schedule the festival during a new moon so that the sky will be really dark. There were volunteers from the Salt Lake Astronomical Society who had telescopes set up.  You could walk around to different telescopes.  We got to see Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn.  The telescope viewing did not start until 10:30 and we are old so we did not hang out for too long.  We were about 2 hour drive from our campsite so it was a late night, but it was fun!

We slept in (as much as you can while camping) on Thursday.  We went for another run, showered, read, and relaxed.  In the afternoon it was pretty warm, so we went bowling (in air conditioning!).  Ian beat me.  We had  a good time.  In the evening we headed up to Sanpete County.  We wanted to check out Ephraim and Manti, especially during the Manti Pageant.  It was very encouraging to see so many Christians loving on Mormons and talking to them.  We saw a few missionaries and some high schoolers having really great conversations.  After we got back to our campsite, we had a fire and then headed to bed.

On Friday we broke camp and headed north to Salt Lake City.  I decided that our trip was too long for one post so stay tuned!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Trip to IL (2015 Summer Adventures Part 1)

School finished for me on a Thursday and 5am Sunday morning found us driving to Illinois.  We like to make the drive in one day.  We had a quick stop in Kansas City for a late lunch.
We were STARVING by the time we got here, but it was so worth it!

Since moving to Denver, we have made friends with a family that had lived in the Kansas City area for 6 years - they have some loved ones buried in KC, so we stopped by the cemetery to put flowers by their graves.  (If you want an interesting story, I will tell you about driving through the ghetto to buy the flowers - it was quite the experience).

My husband has amazing selfie skills!
After our quick stop, we got back on the road and made it central IL by 10pm.  We met our host family for the week (THEY WERE AMAZING!) and headed to bed.

Monday - Friday were spent learning about ministering in town and country churches.  We enjoyed learning about our "home culture" (I audited the class with Ian).  I, personally, had a good reminder how tiring it is to be a student and how hard it is to sit still.  We went on field trips to area farms, ag-related businesses, and small town services.  I could probably write so much more on all that we learned, but I am trying to be concise.

My favorite is our pig selfie

One of the blessings of the week was that Theresa's parents live in Morton, so I got to see Theresa!  We had a blast reflecting on the recent school year, what God is teaching us, and what our coming summers look like (hint: FULL of adventures for each of us).  It was so great to have a running buddy for a couple of days!

So, so, so great to get to see Theresa!  Happy Hearts!
Once we finished class on Friday (Happy 5th Anniversary to us! Woohoo!) we drove down to Ian's parents and hung out for a couple of days.  It was so great to see family and friends.  We were able to go to church on Sunday, which allowed us to see a lot of people and catch up!  And I was able to see some friends from college.

Ian's parents spoiled us the entire time we were there!  I also got to go to Greenville and see Theresa again.  And go running.

in Southern Illinois

at 3:35pm

in June


Beam me back to Colorado ASAP, Scotty.  I have turned into a humidity wimp.

Swell the chorus, speed it onward...
We then headed north and hung out with my parents for a few days.  And we got spoiled some more!  We made bubble pizza with Mom, heard the details about Dad's job (yes, you will use math in everyday life dear 15 year olds that know more than me...ahem!), and got to see my sister-in-law!  My brother was traveling for training for his job, but we had squeezed in a quick visit with them the week before.  We left for Colorado a day early so that we could stop in Iowa on our way through.  We got to see my Grandpa, his wife, Aunt Wanda, and Uncle Gary.  What a blessing family is!

The hubs comes through with his selfie skills again! (I think the picture is a bit fuzzy, but that is okay!)  

Saturday, May 9, 2015

A Day in the Life {May 2015}

Although I have no intention of reviving this blog in the near future, I have set a goal of writing 4 posts before August 15th.  This will be the first.  The main objective is to remind myself what my life was like on May 8th, 2015 and what life was like in general during this season of life.

4:45am - Alarm goes off

4:50am - Exercise. I typically exercise after school, but today is busy so it is at 4:50am or never.  I use a 7 minute workout app on my phone to squats, lunges, planks, push-ups, wall sits, jumping jacks etc.  Even though it is only 7 minutes, it is a good workout.

5am - Shower/Make-up/Hair/Get ready - rejoice that it is Friday and I get to wear jeans!

5:40am - My amazing and dear husband wakes up and starts on coffee and breakfast (he is the best!)

My favorite (and daily) breakfast.  I started eating before I remember to take a picture.

5:55am - Eat breakfast while Ian reads something spiritual - usually the Bible or Charles Spurgeon Morning and Evening.

6:15am - Leave for school.  One habit that I am currently examining in my life is silence.  It is not very often that I find myself in silence.  I have been noticing how long I drive before turning on the radio.  Usually the louder my thoughts, the sooner the radio comes on.  So I have been driving in silence to and from work this semester.  If I remember, I will pray for my students.

6:38am - Arrive at school.  Prepare for the day.  Say good morning to co-workers.  Make copies.  Check my mailbox. etc.

My office space at school.  I don't have a classroom so I push my cart around to different classrooms throughout the day.

7:35am - Period 1 :: College Algebra - This is a class of seniors.  I appreciate that they have figured out the system of high school.  We are reviewing for their final next week.

8:32am - Period 2 :: Algebra I Part I - This is a class of freshman.  I appreciate that they have energy.  Most of the students have low math self-esteem (and self-efficacy).  I attempt to transform them into math warriors that can conquer any math problem.  I am rarely successful.  This class makes me laugh because you never know what someone will say.  They 

9:29am - Period 3 :: Algebra II/Trig - This is a mix of sophomores, juniors, and a couple of seniors.  I appreciate that this class is really well behaved and respectful.  Algebra II/Trig is a really challenging class for the students, but I am impressed daily at the work ethic of some of my students. 

10:27am - Period 4 :: Algebra I Part I - Another class of freshman.  I have a teacher aide in this class - I am so thankful for Mr. Cole.  He does a great job with students and it is so nice to have another adult in the room.

Not the best selfie, but it communicates what I look like on a Friday.

11:19am - LUNCH - I have a student who has been struggling on multiple levels stop by with his guidance counselor.  We try to brainstorm ways to help Joseph be more successful.  The meeting goes much longer than I expect (all of lunch).  While the bell is ringing for 5th, I grab a cup of coffee and a larabar.  

12:04pm - Period 5 :: Algebra II/Trig - Another class of sophomores and juniors.  This class LOVES to waste time which means I tell a lot of stories (and they encourage me to savor my coffee).  I appreciate how they pretend to be interested in my life so they don't have to do math.  However, I always make sure we get through all of the material.  This class also makes me laugh!
Whiteboard at the end of 5th - we were reviewing Rational Functions - (for me at least)
1:01pm - Period 6 :: Plan Period - typically I am off 6th period, but today I am subbing for a teacher who is in interviews.  I have subbed for him before - I have been blessed with the ability to memorize names fairly well - so I impress the class with remembering names from last time.  The class is Tech Theater, so we work on cleaning the shop.  I have learned to be as laid back as possible while subbing.  As long as no one is in emotional or physical danger, I try to let it all fly.

1:58pm - Period 7 :: Algebra I - I get to end my day with 30 energetic freshman.  I have a special ed. teacher in with me for 7th.  I am so thankful for Mrs. K - she has taught me so much about the world of SpEd (special ed.).  I can hold my own in an IEP meeting:)  Throughout my day I have 21 students that have a variety of disabilities that qualify them for Special Ed services.

2:50pm - School day is done - head back to my office to pack up, organize, and head home.   I can not leave until my desk is clean.  Typically I workout at 3:15ish, but we have a meeting so I head out.

3:20pm - Leave school - TGIF!  I will be back to tomorrow to catch up on grading/planning ahead for the next week.

3:48pm - Arrive home and eat a snack while talking to Ian about our days and the meeting.

4 - 6pm - Mission Team Meeting - Ian is the leading the Mission Team at our church right now.  We love encouraging and supporting the missionaries that our church supports spiritually and financially as well as keeping our congregation informed about what is going on with our missionaries.  Most of the time it seems a bit overwhelming, but we have a great team and Ian is doing an amazing job leading.

6:05pm - Change into yoga pants.  Head to Dan and Sara's.

6:30pm - Arrive at Dan and Sara's - we have the best Friday night tradition.  We go to our friend's house, hang out, and catch up.  It is so relaxing and Sara and Dan are so much fun (and they feed us).  We also love to see their son, Sean.  You never know what he is going to say, but whatever he says will be hilarious.
Not the best picture, but the only one I have of all 4 of us.  Good friends are a blessing!

10:45pm - Head home.

11pm- Get home and head to bed.  It never takes me long to fall asleep.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Kingdom Mentality Convictions

Ian and I currently enrolled in a course called Marriage Plus.  It is one of those life-changing things.  We have met amazing couples and are digging deeper into how we can bring glory to God through our ministry and marriage.

We have assignments each week for Marriage Plus.  One of the assignments was to write a paper on our Kingdom Mentality Convictions.  The following is what I have submitted as my convictions (we had to keep it to one page double spaced.  I could write quite a bit more):

Jesus is Lord. Kingdom mentality has to start here. When asked what the most important commandment is, “Jesus answered, ‘The most important is, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and your strength.’ ”(in Mark 12:29 ESV). The idea that Jesus is Lord is an easy concept to understand, yet a difficult concept to live. Many Christians would say that Jesus is Lord of their life, but their life does not align to this belief.

In the same way, many Christians would say that the Gospel is Jesus-centered, yet live their lives as though the gospel is comfort-centered or financially responsible-centered or doctrine-centered. Kingdom mentality needs to preach, live, and show a gospel that is Jesus-centered. Because Jesus is my Lord and my gospel is centered on Jesus, I am called to be a servant of Jesus. Being a servant of Jesus requires humility and perseverance. One way to serve Jesus well is show others that to love is to obey. When I hear God speak into my life, I obey. When I read Scripture that is contrary to my current life, I submit.

I apply my kingdom mentality to my whole life. I reject what culture tells me is important and look to Jesus. I continually study Scripture to convict me, remind me of the Jesus-centered Gospel, and saturate my mind with Truth. I surround myself with others who have a Kingdom Mentality to find encouragement and strength. I continually pray that I may have the strength to comprehend what is the breadth, and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ (Ephesians 3:18 &19a).

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thankfuls 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

The tradition continues:

  1. Emmanuel - God with us!
  2. Ian - my best friend, protector, and provider
  3. Family - we have been blessed with some awesome people in our families
  4. Contentedness
  5. workout friends
  6. Colorado friends
  7. college friends
  8. Korea friends
  9. friends that do not fit into any of the above but are still kindred spirits
  10. Babies - James, Elijah, Miriam, Emersyn, Haddie, Raegan, Solomon, Ambrose,Hannah, Nehemiah, and I am sure I am forgetting some - each time I get on Facebook, I am greeted by some CUTIES - thankful for the miracle of new life and seeing friends become mamas and daddies.
  11. Reliable cars that start when it is 5 below
  12. A light at the end of the seminary tunnel
  13. seeing Ian learn and transform throughout the Seminary Experience
  14. amazing mentors!
  15. CHRISTMAS MUSIC - don't ask Ian when I started listening to Christmas music this can one genre of music bring so much joy!?!?!
  16. Turkey, cranberry, stuffing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, broccoli and cauliflower casserole, fruit salad, green beans, carrots, beer bread, and pumpkin pie
  17. American grocery stores to buy all above items/ingredient for items
  18. American sized oven to prepare food from #16/ food we make daily in our huge oven
  19. American washer and dryer
  20. Skype 
  21. social media
  22. Christmas Wreaths
  23. Hummus and Pita Chips
  24. Moscato, Chardonnay, and Sam Adams
  25. Friday nights (the best night of the week!)
  26. sticking to our budget
  27. Paper Snowflakes
  28. Teaching Math - changing the world
  29. Getting paid to teach math
  30. Getting paid extra to cover classes
  31. Health Insurance
  32. Amy Grant's A Christmas Album and Michael W. Smith's Christmastime
  33. Days off
  34. Gorgeous sunsets
  35. Half and half
  36. Black gold a.k.a coffee
  37. God's faithfulness
  38. Ian's patience in watching ridiculously cheesy movies with me
  39. Gracie and Lauren - they have changed my life and perspective many times
  40. those who serve (and have served) in our military
  41. Dual Control Electric Blanket
  42. 1636 days of wedded bliss
  43. GPS watches
  44. warm running clothes for the winter
  45. God has taken really good care of us
  46. planning meetings
  47. Costco
  48. Email
  49. Texting
  50. the Bible app
  51. those who are veterans of teaching Algebra IA and have empathy
  52. sex
  53. people who are crazy generous to us
  54. cozy slippers
  55. The Bible
  56. fireplaces 
  57. my students - they challenge me daily 
  58. math teacher blogs
  59. hot chocolate
  60. the Biggest Loser
  61. Space Heaters
  62. pedicures
  63. safety
  64. Ian's ability to make me laugh nearly regardless of the situation
  65. world vision/compassion international/other similar organizations
  66. Eggs and Bacon - my daily breakfast
  67. my husband waking up at 5:30 with me to show solidarity and making me breakfast
  68. running 
  69. lifting
  70. push-ups
  71. the ability to do chin-ups and pull-ups
  72. planks
  73. feeling strong and accomplishing the impossible in the gym
  74. blue Colorado sky
  75. cliff bars a.k.a the best on-the-go lunch
  76. bananas, blackberries, apples, oranges, grapefruits, peaches, raspberries, plums, pears... I love fruit!
  77. Korean children - the cutest children ever - I can't take the level of cuteness that Korean babies and small children present - I go crazy
  78. In America crazy means crazy and not an insult
  79. the Holy Spirit
  80. good health
  81. God's grace
  82. knowing that the only difference between an ordeal and an adventure is my attitude
  83. going on adventures with Ian
  84. God's sovereignity
  85. grapefruit seed extract
  86. warm coats
  87. rocking chairs
  88. coupons
  89. almond butter
  90. library
  91. Ian's servantheartedness
  92. Cards for Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Halloween, and Thanksgiving
  93. 24 hour fitness - the choice of being a wimp and running on the dreadmill or braving the crazy Colorado weather
  94. summer break
  95. camping
  96. double hammock
  97. finding Korean ginger-honey sore throat tea in America
  98. crockpot
  99. God's compassion
  100. Grandpa and Kathryn!