Monday, July 25, 2011

God's Calling

This is long, so bear with me....

Are you one of those people who know beyond the shadow of a doubt what God has called you to do? Or are you one of those people who have always wondered, but you go back and forth and have never felt that affirmation? For me, I'm the first.

From the time I was little bitty, like three, I've known I was supposed to work with kids. Of course I had the natural maternal, nurturing trait, but I knew I wanted to grow up to be a teacher. I remember walking around with a baby doll on my hip at all times, strapping them in the seatbelt in the car, making my mom babysit while I was at school, and putting them to sleep in their "crib" (aka a box with a blanket in it). But, I also remember taking stacks of old forms from mom's work and putting them neatly organized in folders and notebooks. I would sit all my dolls and stuffed animals on the couch or in the floor and play school. I made assignments. I stood at the front of the room, taped a piece of paper on the wall, and wrote "lessons." I even remember putting my dolls in timeout! So, I've never struggled to understand God's will for me in that aspect.

However, I'm still figuring out what that will looks like. I'm 27, and I work full time in an office shuffling paper. I never finished college, and I could BEAT myself for it now. It haunts me daily, because now, I can't afford to finish. I take 1 class at a time, hoping to finish someday. But, lately, God has been speaking volumes to me. See, I always assumed that because I felt called to teach, that I had to go through college and teach in a daycare or public school setting. I felt that if I wasn't teaching as a career, I wasn't fulfilling His calling. He's been showing me how wrong I was!

I've taught in my church's preschool for 8 years now. I love every second of it. In December 2009, when we were ready to quit trying to get pregnant but hadn't yet decided to adopt, I was in a very dark place. I was angry at God, and depressed, feeling hopeless. So, I quit childcare. I took almost a year off. It just became entirely too difficult to take care of everone else's kids. I became bitter toward the parents. So, I took a break.

In August 2010, my dear friend Shannon called and said she needed a co-teacher on Wednesday nights and asked if I wanted to help her. So, only to help her, I agreed. I was in a better place, and ready to face kids again. I took that job as a volunteer (Wed. night employees used to be paid, but due to the economy they had stopped paying). Unbeknownst to me, the first night I came back, we were told they were starting to pay again! Just a little blessing from God for being obedient, I believe. Then, earlier this year, our coordinator at church asked for help on Sunday mornings as well, so I accepted...again, just to help her. I didn't really want to. For the past several months, I've been working both hours on Sunday mornings. A few months in, I felt God telling me I needed to volunteer to teach a Sunday School class this Fall. I argued with him on that one for a bit. I didn't want to...I was hating having to get up early on my day off to drive all the way to church. I missed my lazy Sundays! But, I finally threw my hands up and said, "Fine, God. I'll do it." So, I told our coordinator that I wanted to teach, but that I wanted to have the same class on Wed nights and Sunday mornings. When I first told her that, I really didn't want to do it. But, I knew I had to.

Over the last few weeks of preparing for it, God has totally changed my heart. He has given me the heart I need to do this, and I cannot WAIT! I am so excited. I haven't been this excited about teaching in a long time, because I've been too focused on feeling....what's the word....apprehensive....sad....downright bitter. Through all of this, God has shown me that just because I don't teach full time doesn't mean I can't fulfill His calling on my life. He has shown me that by being obedient and seeking him with all my heart, I AM fulfilling His calling on my life!

I've come to realize lately that if I were teaching full time, I may become tired and burnt out. If that were to happen, I would be ineffective. But, by simply teaching at church, and loving the little ones like Jesus does, I am fulfilling His calling and more!

So, remember, if you know what your calling is, don't assume it has to be your career or your entire can fulfill it in a number of ways!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Show Hope

I got home from work yesterday, and it was already after 6:00. I had an appointment right after work, which ended up being a huge waste of time. I was starving, it was a rough day, and we had to be at the town hall for a city meeting by 7:00. I was pretty tired and grouchy. I wanted to eat, and our only options were McDonald's or Taco Bell, and in light of my efforts this week, I wasn't happy about either one, and I was in a huge hurry to eat and get to the meeting. Right before we left for the meeting, I noticed the stack of mail on the counter, so as I waited for Brandon to get his shoes on, I started shuffling through it. Halfway through the stack I saw an envelope from Show Hope ( I thought, "well, here's our denial letter." I had sent our application in several months ago for an adoption grant, but we had already been denied by a couple of other grants. We never get grants of any kind, so I immediately got frustrated.

But, much to my amazement, the letter said we will receive $5,000. $5,000!

Aside from what we already are in debt for with the adoption, we will have to pay another $7,000-$8,500 (rates are going up, but we don't know how much just yet) upon placement, we have to pay for our own attorney, AND any travel costs incurred should we receive an out-of-town or out-of-state referral. So, five grand will take an enormous strain off of us! This means we will only have to pay $2,000-$3,000 upon placement! God is SO good! Brandon and I have been struggling with feeling like God doesn't he's just overlooking us, so it was like God was saying, "I'm right here, and I haven't forgotten about you!" Thank you, Jesus! I immedately started screaming and crying and jumping up and down. Now, in the big picture, $5,000 is only a fraction of the cost of an adoption, but it still will make an entire world of difference for us to know that that is $5,000 more that we will NOT have to go into debt for! PRAISE THE LORD! :)

It also makes the remaining amount seem MUCH more attainable. I need to get started on some more fundraisers. Wouldn't it be awesome if we didn't have to pay ANYTHING at placement?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

One step forward

On Monday I randomly decided to get up and go to the gym. We joined Anytime Fitness back in March, and I love it there. I did GREAT for about a month. But, I don't have the best pair of walking shoes, and I have a flatter foot, so I started having some pains in my feet and calves. I got to where I could only walk for 10 minutes before I had to stop. Not having the money for shoes, I "took a few days off." Ok, more like a few months :/ So Monday I got up and went before work. I really enjoyed it. It was really quiet. Only 2 other people there and no staff at that hour, which I like. So, I've gone every day this week and I'm planning to go tomorrow and Friday, too.

Is it bad that my only thought is, "how long will this last?"


I'm ready for Fall......

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Random Update and BIRTHDAYS!

I'm still alive! Because I know that you are so enthralled in my exciting life that you just couldn't WAIT for my next post! ;)

We recently celebrated both mine and Brandon's birthdays! I am now 27 and he is 29. It's hard to believe how fast time flies! Speaking of birthdays, I'm starting to plan Brandon's big 30th birthday bash! Ok, Ok...bash may not be the best word. We're not exactly partiers. BUT, I plan on making his day very exciting nonetheless! I've pretty much settled on a theme, IF I can get one major detail worked out. If not, I'll have to choose another theme. Yes, I'm one of those. I HAVE to have a theme for any party I throw. I can't stand buying plates with birthday hats that just say "Happy Birthday" on them. Brandon rarely reads my blog, but because he may snoop at some point before his birthday, I don't want to divulge too many details. I had thought about a video game theme, since he loves his stupid video games and I found these adorable cupcakes:

but I decided a video game theme would be really difficult. No one we know other than Brandon really likes video games, so a video-game related activity was out, and finding decoration ideas for it was....well...unsuccessful. So, I've got another good idea that is easy to personalize, yet easy to find stuff for, too. No, it's not a Luau, although Brandon would look hysterical in a grass skirt and coconuts....*scratches chin in thought*

For my birthday, we went to the drive in and saw Cars 2 and Pirates of the Carribean. I slept through the 2nd feature. On Brandon's birthday, we met my parents and his parents at Red Robin for dinner. I love that at RR on your bday, your meal is free. Sweet!

In other exciting news, I got my Cuttlebug! That was my birthday gift, thanks to a good sale, a coupon, and a gift card. If you're not a scrapbooker, this is a Cuttlebug:

It's an embossing and die cut machine. You buy little embossing folders for it and it makes plain cardstock into textured paper. Which, if you're not a crafter, probably sounds boring. It does this:

Anywho, that's about all that's been going on lately. With heat in the upper 90's/low 100's, I've pretty much stayed inside.