Saturday, January 23, 2010
I yearn to dive deeper into my relationship with my Lord. It humbles me to see the miraculous things He has done in my life and in so many others' lives.
I pray that I may serve Him with the gifts and the talents that He has given me. Through prayer, I've learned that God does listen...and my relationship with Him is continuously growing stronger. By strengthening my relationship with God, all the other areas of my life are more complete.
I ask for you to please pray with me. Please pray for a decision that Brian and I are working through together. It's nothing bad, no one is sick, we would just really appreciate some additional prayer to give us guidance and clarity on some things. In addition to that, I am going on my first mission trip EVER in 7 weeks. I am elated that I will get to participate in this to serve the WIDOWS and the ORPHANS! Your prayer for this mission would mean a lot to me and the group going. That we may serve God and help in whatever ways that we can.
I also want to share some scripture that I have been studying:
"Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow." Isaiah 1:17
"He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, loves the alien, giving him food and clothing" Deuteronomy 10:18
"He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God." Proverbs 14:31
"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." James 1:27
Isn't our God almightly, powerful, and absolutely positively AMAZING! Lord, lead me to where you want me to serve YOU.
Monday, January 18, 2010
Here is an interesting blog written by missionaries who are living in Haiti. Their account of the experiences they are having are extremely interesting. Prayers are needed and as Christians we need to reach out.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Friday, January 15, 2010
1 Corinthian 12:4-6 (NIV) 4) There are different kinds of gifts, but the same spirit. 5) There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6) There are different kinds of working , but the same God works all of them in all men.
Now, I know that God has called me into "TEACHING," and this has been something I have consumed myself in. I love to teach, I love to instill a passion for learning in children. I am still very new in this field, as this is my 4th year to teach. However, could I be getting called to "TEACH" more, reach out to more children, share my love and knowledge with children who aren't given this opportunity by their society or their environment, their country? I believe that this is where verses 5 and 6 come in. To share this service with others, to work in a world that is foreign to me, but to children who need to hear about God? Children who will never hear the Lord's word unless Christians (like me) step out into their world, an uncomfortable zone, make sacrifices, and serve God in this way?
Now, I have been asking God to prepare me and to ready me for my journey to Honduras during Spring Break. I am ecstatic to be able to join Alex and Laura on this short-term mission trip. They will be moving there this year to do long-term mission work in the orphanages in Puerto Lempira. I am so extremely blessed that the Lord is guiding me through this time. I am blessed to be able to join this effort even for just a short time. I pray that God can utitilize me to do what I can from here at home. I know that my eyes have been opened, but only to a degree. There is so much that I haven't seen, haven't thought about, haven't realized.
I pray that God uses me, uses my gifts and talents, and that I can make a difference even if just a tiny one to even one person. I commit myself to using what God has given me, in addition to my gifts, I will use my knowledge of education and of children to do what I can in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. There are so many countries in this world, with people who are lost, who will never hear about JESUS.
Could all of this have to do with my calling? Could all of this be leading me to where God has planned for me to be from before my existence? Through prayer, study, and time, I am confident that God will show me and guide me in the right direction.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Why is it so hard for me to drop work and take a day off? Not just a day off to hang out and lay around the house...I would never do that....a day off for an extremely important reason. When my kids get sick, Brian takes off. LET ME EXPLAIN this, he is an elementary P.E. coach and he also loves his job, but there are THREE full-time coaches in the gym all day long at his school. When he has to take a day off, there are NO sub plans, planning meetings, ARDs, RTI, paperwork, student council meetings, class and staff pictures, etc. that he has to worry about making up. So the reality is that it is much EASIER for Brian to take off when the kids are sick than it is for me. THAT DOESN'T MEAN THAT I AM HAPPY ABOUT THAT.
Last week, Brady was sick and had to miss school for 2 days, Brian was off both days. Yesterday, Canon had some kind of stomach bug and he started getting sick on Monday night. Brian took off and stayed with him yesterday. I was an emotional wreck. If anyone were to ask me about which of these two are of the higher priority, it is obviously my kids. The question I have is WHY? Why is it that I am not quicker to volunteer to take off when my babies get sick. I want to be the one to stay with them, to cuddle with them, make them soup, etc. Don't misunderstand my point...I absolutely love that Brian is as involved and loving towards our children as he is. He is a phenomenal daddy. BUT...I am not feeling like such a phenomenal mommy :(
Today is a new day, I am HOME! Brady was running fever last night and Canon is still trying to recouperate from the stomach bug that got him down. Today was going to be a CRAZY busy day at work, so many responsibilities to take care of, but I fought the battle in my mind and I won! (Well, with God's help, as he provided a great deal of clarity and strength!)
So today I am taking care of babies, catching up on laundry, blogging, praying, reading, studying, cuddling, and playing with 2 of the most precious people to me. It's a beautiful day because the Lord has blessed me today!
Canon to feel better, he is now complaining of his back hurting...I'm not sure what that is about.
Braydon to feel better and sleep...he is crying and crying and he doesn't even know what he wants.
Guidance to follow God's will and commandment.
Among many many other things!
Monday, January 11, 2010
The Internet, when used as a Tool to SPREAD the WORD! How God can use us to reach others through the web!
It is no big surprise now that I have been going through some amazing changes in my life and my heart. Life is so joyous when you can actually see things clearly through Christ! The Lord has shown me so many ways that I can reach out to others. First of all, I consider myself to be a pretty passionate person...whatever it is that I am passionate about, becomes a mild obsession. When I say the word obsession, I mean that I don't stop until I can learn as much as possible about it, as fast as possible. The problem I've had in the past is that I haven't turned that "obsession" towards Christ. NOW that I have...man, crazy things are happening!
Okay, so I titled this blog, The Internet, when used as a Tool to SPREAD the WORD! Here's why: there are millions of people just like me in that I search the internet for EVERYTHING. I use it daily for work, email communications, blogging, and research. Just in the blogging alone, I've been able to read the stories of so many Christian men and women and to see the work that God is doing through them is extremely touching and life changing.
Okay, let's switch gears a bit. (Don't worry, there's a point to all this!) Through prayer and study I have been spending a lot of time focused on the orphans of the world. (See my prior posts to read about the journey that I've taken to get to this point.) I have googled and searched youtube for numerous missions and adoptions links. I know that there are so many different areas for Christians to get plugged into. I pray to have my eyes opened to the needs that are right in front of my face every single day. BUT, my heart has already taken a bit of the international need and there is no letting go of that.
So, as I mentioned earlier, you can learn ANYTHING about EVERYTHING through this neat contraption we call the "world wide web." GUESS WHAT: I've seen things, learned things, read about and fallen in love with topics that I was nothing but blind to 6 weeks ago. Here are some things that I found in this bottomless pit of a treasure box, JUST TODAY!
For women: women to go for prayer support, prayer groups, prayer circles, recommended reading lists, we can visit "PRAYERGATES." The idea is based on ACTS chapter 16 when Timothy and Paul visit Philippi while on a missionary journey.
"Outside the city gate...a place of prayer...where women gathered." (Acts 16:13)
For bloggers: Compassion Blogging - This website uses people who blog about the children in poverty around the world to make a difference. Compassion Bloggers are completely different people who lead different lives with a variety of interests, strengths, desires, backgrounds, etc. However, they do have 1 thing in common. They blog to make a difference, a difference for the innocent, unheard children without a voice whom inhabit millions of villages, towns, cities, and countries in this world. Compassion Blogging chooses 4 bloggers and sends them to various orphanages around the world and the bloggers take their experiences, their talent for words, and their love of Christ and they blog about their missions. This gets the word out. Man, to make THAT kind of an impact...WOW.
This next one is not one that I found today, rather one that a friend of mine posted about on her blog a little bit ago. Laura posted a link to this article and I have it saved under my favorites because of how much weight I have on my heart to reach out and to go on missions to help the precious children, God's children in this world. Is God Calling You to Give Your Life for His sake and the Gospel in Missions? By: John Piper
There is a gold mine of resources out there. For me, through prayer and hours of thought and study, I've found that I am being called. I'm being called to help change...help teach...help share God's word with the children in this world. "Learn to do good; Seek justice, reprove the ruthless, defend the orphan, plead for the widow." (Isaiah 1:17, NASB)
I ask for prayers, for me and my family to not only open our eyes to see but to also open our ears to hear the word of God. In a message I heard in church on January 3rd, it was said, "Your vision should be so great that it is doomed for failure unless God is in it." I pray that this is the standard I set myself to, no matter what the final goal is. Everything we commit ourselves to in the works for God should be set this high, this big, the unattainable. We have to remind ourselves that it is only high by our standards, but through God's the boundaries are infinte.
If you don't do anything....NOTHING IS GOING TO HAPPEN. What are you going to do? I know that I am going to continue to listen and follow and study my Lord Jesus Christ. He is all powerful, He is loving, kind, generous, and full of grace.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
I'm going to back up a little bit to explain WHY all of us teachers started acting so crazy!!!
It was such a loooong week, the kids were going NUTS, the teachers were loosing their minds, and the weather was all over the place! We were cooped up from cold weather a majority of the week, grades were due and kids were antsy to get a break (kids meaning students and teachers!!!).
Rundown of the week:
The week that grades are due is always crazy in my classroom. I'll be honest, grading is a weakness for me...why? because I HATE it!!! I would much rather do the hands on class assignments, read read read, and conduct class discussions! BUT...part of the assessment process is to see if my students can take what they've learned and apply it the way they will be asked to do on TAKS!!!
We were also doing an in-class assignment called a "VOCABULARY PARADE," and THAT was fun, so it became an additional distraction from grading. However, I was going to be counting this project for 2 test grades for 2 different subjects - English and Reading. The kids worked extremely hard and it really paid off!! We actually had our fourth graders march around the school chanting a cool verse that we wrote about reading and learning new words, etc. They each chose a word and got to dress up as that word! Their presentation of the word needed to represent the word's meaning in some form or fashion!!!
Okay, so I've gotten a little side tracked...
Back to WHEN ALL the Teachers Loose their Minds on Thursday afternoon, December 17....
Well, if you checked out Mindi's Mind, then you know that the second grade teachers did!
NOW...teaching second grade and fourth grade have some similarities, but then there is A LOT that is different!!! Here's the thing about teaching fourth grade...it seems that the higher the grade level you teach the more "boring" you are supposed to be...at least that is the assumption that people have! Well, maybe not boring, but definetely not the fun, creative, bubbly, bouncy type of teacher that students are used to having in the primary grades! Which, people are right, not a lot of the upper grade level teachers are, but COME ON...FOURTH GRADE teachers at my school KNOW HOW to have fun!!! Plus, on this particular afternoon, Mr. Keith was lucky enough to join our team!! (He is Mason's Pre-K teacher!! He is married with 4 daughters, so he is used to being around the girls!)
The staff was invited to a Christmas lunch, catered by Uncle Julio's, YUMMY! The fourth grade team spotted the "Christmas Carol Challenge" and we were frantically determined to WIN THIS COMPETITION! My team asked me what the prize was for the grade level who figured out the most answers, and I exclaimed, "I don't know and I don't care...I just wanna win!!!" So we pulled out our IPHONES and googled Christmas Carols. We figured out that the "scramble" wasn't a scramble after all...it was the first letter of each word from the first line of the song!! Hehehe...so maybe using our cell phone internet might have been considered "cheating" by some, but it was not cheating by my books, it was being RESOURCEFUL!!!
As soon as we finished eating, my principal announced that there was going to be a picture scavenger hunt and that we would have 30 minutes to conduct various activities on the "list" from the handout that was being passed out and take a picture of ourselves doing these things. The most thorough and the most creative team would win the challenge!! Well...in the fourth grade team minds' we automatically assumed that there was also a requirement to see who could be the fastest to complete the "list." Obviously we caused ourselves a lot of un-necessary excersize by racing around the school and playground to "win" because it wasn't a race!
The first things we did was....write out "Holiday" words with objects, and needless to say, ours wasn't as creative as we thought! BUT...we thought it was a RACE!!
We spelled out the words with peppermints...which by the way we later realized wouldn't count because WE were supposed to be IN the picture! Just like a bunch of teachers not to READ THE DIRECTIONS!!
Me, Mary, Cristy, and Kim
Our human pyramid...which I just knew was "my thing" with the cheerleading background and all, but we didn't have time to get technical because we trying to go AS FAST AS WE COULD!
umm...ya, it was fun!!!
So on our way back into the building from the pyramid, we reread some of the directions. THis is when we realized that we had done the first activity WRONG, so we did what we tell our students to do...REDO!!!
After that we had to have a Santa...me...and sit on "Santa's" lap...it was funny, because we were going as fast we were running as fast as we could, when we went into the library I somehow became voted as the team "Santa" and ugh...so hot, tired, and ready to be DONE!
Finally, we were supposed to paint our faces, which NONE of us were thrilled about so we laughed at the thought of being smarter than the average bear. We decided to do rudolph noses, which we didn't get any credit for because it wasn't one of the options we were given to choose from to paint our faces as!!! Oh well...we had a blast being a team of rudolphs!!
Sooo...that was our crazy "RACE" that wasn't a race of a scavenger hunt! When we sprinted into the cafeteria and we were the first group back, we started cheering!!! That's when we were so kindly informed by Mel, the school secretary that it wasn't a race and that we could have been more creative because we had more time!!! Well, of course I jump at the opportunity to at least finish the "Christmas Carol Challenge." We got all but 1 of the songs!!! I was so proud of my brilliant team...well when it comes to Christmas carols!!
BUT...apparently that was just for fun...no winners, no prizes, not even any ackowledgement, so once again we were so anxious to WIN, we didn't even think that it would be "just for fun!!!'
It was a great way to loosen up, enjoy some "play" time...and yes, teachers need that too!! It made Friday so much easier and more enjoyable to have been able to release so much energy the day before!
I am so lucky to get to work with such amazing teachers, women, and administration. I love my job, I love what I do, and I love my Lord for blessing me with my gift....
the gift of teaching, teaching reading, teaching writing, and more importantly teaching children about love. That each and every child is special, they are precious, they are unique individuals who are just needing to know that they are worth it...they are worth everything!
Saturday, January 2, 2010
Friday, January 1, 2010
*During this time, Brian and I are attending church and going about our church routine on Sundays, and then busy as ever during the week. I was pregnant with Braydon and we were running wild through Brian and Mason's soccer schedules.
May 20, 2009 - My adorable nephew (Mekele) was born, however, none of us knew what was to come in just a few short months. We were all completely unaware of who he was, where he was, or how he would come to play such an important role in so many lives.
June 2009 - Mason had his 3rd surgery for his cleft. (For those of you who do not know, Mason was born with a unilateral cleft lip and bilateral cleft pallate.) This was such a trying time because for this surgery Mason was semi-aware of what was going on. The mistake I made was that I didn't turn to my Lord Jesus Christ like I should have. I tried to take this one on by myself and I actually wondered to myself why it was so hard...silly to think back about this. (I WAS raised in the church, I had already committed by life to Christ, I had accepted him as my savior, I even knew what God was capable of...yet ignorantly it didn't occur to me that He can pull me through ANY and EVERYTHING, including this.) The reason for this surgery was because his nasal cavity was collapsing and he couldn't breathe correctly. 5 days after Mason's surgery (they had to do a nasal and lip reconstruction) he fell and busted his face, which did mess up a portion of the correction part of the surgery...which means that there will be another surgery sooner than if he had't decided to flip over the side of the chair and bust his nose on the floor.
July 6, 2009 - Braydon Jacob was born to us...I realized that it is a WHOLE NEW BALLGAME WITH 3 BOYS!!! Throughout my pregnancy, I thought that I was so disappointed that I wasn't having a girl...and then realized that all boys can be a blast! But...then months later I now have a outlook on this too!! Who knows, MAYBE God didn't give me a biological little girl because he knew that I would be answering his call to pull me into the missions and adoption worlds. MAYBE I have a little girl out there somewhere!!! Who knows!!
July 2009 - I think Braydon was 2 weeks old - Pin Oaks Christian Fellowship hosted their first Vacation Bible School - CHANGED OUR LIVES
In the Fall of 2008 - Brian and I chose to explore various church options with the hopes of finding a stable and engaging youth program for the boys. We had been attending church all along, but had not yet found a church home that we felt fit the entire family. Then Aunt Whitney told us about how POCF was having their VBS. Brian and I decided we should take Mason to this, it would help get him out of the house and it would be a great experience for him! It was his FIRST VBS ever...and BOY are we glad we did that! The experience for Mase was phenomenal. Mason was excited about church, he was making friends, he actually opened up a little bit, and he asked us if we could always go to this "new church". The "light" that we saw in our young 4 year old's eyes instantaneously made the decision for Brian and I - from that point on we would attend Pin Oaks Christian Fellowship.
--------Brian and I have stayed true to this decision even though we were thrown through the wringer here at home throughout the entire Fall of 2009.
September 2009 - My eyes began to open for what seemed like the first time in a REALLY long time! My sister-in-law, Whitney, called me one afternoon extremely pumped up and in tears of joy exclaiming that after the long process throughout the year 2009, they had finally had a referral and they had been matched with the boy who would hopefully soon be their son. I don't remember exactly what I was doing at that moment, but I do know that I became extremely emotional and aware of various aspects of the adoption process that I had not been aware of prior to this day. I didn't get the whole story over the phone but Aaron and Whitney came over that evening. (This is when the seed was planted and I began to have thoughts that I considered to be ludicrous and unrealistic for myself, which now I know that I was insane for not trusting these thoughts as God working in my, softening me up to new possibilities!) As was to be expected, Whitney and I were extremely emotional over the fantastic news of the placement of baby A into the Pratt family! Brian and I were extremely blessed to have them share their baby's story with us and to be able to begin praying for this specific little angel whom we couldn't wait to meet!
Sept. - November 23, 2009 - The fall semester was challenging for Brian and I. I had strep throat every other weekend for 10 weeks. If you look for a blessing inside these months...aside from the many many daily blessings that the Lord gives us...I ended up only being sick from Friday - Mondays...I didn't have to take a single sick day due to the strep crisis! With 3 babies under 5, I always feel like I can't afford to take a sick day for myself.
After missing a ton of church, but watching Brian gain more and more of a comfort level within our church...he got to where he would take all 3 boys to church by himself. And, not only on Sunday mornings...he attended a chili cook off with our 3 rugrats in tow...and me in bed once again trying to beat the infection.
November 21 - My little sister got married to her amazing husband!
November 23 - I had my tonsils taken out...WHOA!! That is the most painful experience I have ever had! Can you believe this though: I still tried to do most of this on my own!
Intermission: Now, when I say that I tried to do these things on my own, without God...I still said my daily prayers, but I never thought to ask for help! Seems so idiotic to me now!! Now, I still thought about how amazing things were for Aaron and Whitney and their new baby! They passed court and they waited for their travels dates.
December 2009 - Aaron and Whitney began their travels on the 8th - met their angel on the 13th, got delayed and missed their expected arrival time on the 18th and finally made it home on the 19th. Now...here is where things go BIG...for me (this is so bizarre because of how this was so NOT about me or my family...but it impacted me so deeply...just a great example of how God works in our lives). During the time that they were gone, I thought about it constantly...I was so worried about them when they were delayed on the 18th. That might have something to do with my need to know what is going on all the time!! (J/K...I just get so irritated when things are communicated to Brian and then he can't remember exactly what was said!!! We laugh about it now!) So on Friday night at 9:45, I was on the computer looking up flight information that we were HOPING that A & W with M would be coming in on, I was on the phone with Brian who was at his dad's house and they were talking. I got a beep and I told Brian to hang on...I thought it might have been someone in Whitney's family or from church, curious about the arrival times for the following morning. I clicked over and it was Whitney and she was letting me know that they had arrived in New York City!!!!!!!! Of course I started bawling my eyes out...like a child!!! She was trying to give me as much information as she could about their arrival the next morning, about their beautiful new baby boy, Mekele, and about their trip. Of course there wasn't enough time...but what I did have time for was to actually STOP and recognize the work of God that was taking place. This is when I acknowledged what was transpiring within myself.
The next morning, this is when it ALL wrapped itself up and became the "slap" in the face that I needed to get my priorities in order. I wrote about the morning of the arrival of my nephew Mekele in a previous post.
God does not do things "by chance." He has it all planned out, things don't happen on accident. I met with an amazing woman this past Wednesday and let me tell you...I firmly believe that God brings people together FOR A REASON. Something that I acknowledged and was reminded of at this get together with Laura is that God doesn't waste anything. People have certain knowledge, training, experience, and passions...they are given to us for a reason. Everyone is given a gift, (1 Corinthians 12) - in my last post I discussed how I plan on changing my life to make a difference...and I am proud to say that I am ALREADY seeing changes in my life, my family, my relationship with God, etc.
I have stayed true to my goals so far...and now that 2010 is upon us...there's no telling what will happen, not that I have acknowledged God's love and the amazing things that can happen when I open myself up to actually HEAR what he is saying to me.
I am thankful for my parents for raising me with God in our home, with the stability of church, and for modeling Christian choices and behavior. I am blessed with my family (Brian, Mason, Canon, and Braydon), they are truly a phenomenol team to have behind me. I value my friendships, including the old ones that continue to get stronger, and the new ones that are to special to my heart and I pray they continue to grow and strengthen and continue on for years and years to come!
Now, as I am heading into this new year...I have a mission, a mission for my life and a mission to impact others' lives. As my friend, Laura says, ONE CHILD AT A TIME. I am going to Honduras in March during Spring Break this year...I am praying that God utilizes my gifts and talents, my love for people...especially children; my love of education, and my desire to make a difference. Please pray for my journey as I know that this will not be a 1 TIME mission...I pray that the missions becomes a significant part of my life...something that NEVER ends.