Post-It Notes

Post-It Notes

This past week I was a counselor at a kids and pre-teen camp. It has been awhile since I was a counselor and honestly, I was a little nervous. Would the girls in my cabin like me? Would there be any drama? Would someone get sick? All of these thoughts consumed my mind on top of making sure that everyone got safely to camp from my church. Self-doubt starts kicking in and you lose focus on what is going on right in front of you. Sometimes you forget to breathe.

However, I forgot about all of those questions once I met the girls in my cabin and we had our first chapel. Throughout the week we talked about Affinity War. According to the Dictionary. the word Affinity means “a spontaneous or natural liking or sympathy for someone or something.” However sometimes it is hard for us to like everyone we meet and even those we see from across the room. So how do we change this and create an Affinity for everyone? The simple answer is LOVE. Not the mushy gushy kind of love but the love that Jesus has for us. The love that is so big that He died on the cross for us.

One way we were creating an Affinity within the camp was telling people meaningful things, like “I like your smile”, “You are always positive”, “You did a great job in dodgeball”, etc. However, we didn’t just tell it to them we wrote it on a Post-It and stuck it on them. The first time we did this the girls in my cabin mostly wrote notes to each other. As the week went on they branched out to other kids and counselors. We also saw that we are all more alike than we think and that our differences shouldn’t stop us from reaching out to people and getting to know them.

I could tell you that my favorite part of camp was sitting on the beach, the endless amounts of ice cream, or watching my girls dance during worship, which were all pretty great. Ultimately though my favorite part was watching everyone write out Post-Its to people in chapel. It was not just in chapel though, my girls decided that they wanted to do it throughout the day, and they did. It brought so much joy to me to see them love on other people. I was inspired by THEM to write more notes and take notice of everyone there. Reading the notes that I received made me cry every single time and sometimes the notes that I wrote made me tear up because that person impacted me in more ways than one.

What if we did this all the time? How would our world actually look? What if we each carried Post-It Notes and gave people encouraging words throughout the day? I don’t know if it would make a difference or not, but it might spread the true kind of LOVE that we need to hear.

Who would you write a Post-It Note to?

What would it say?

Would you give it someone that is different from you?

Would you give it to someone that maybe you know but don’t like?

Would you give a Post-It Note if you knew it could change someone’s day or even the world?

I know I would.

 

 

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So it’s been awhile!!

Wow! So it has been a long time since I have written a blog post…like over a year…and I have missed it so much. I am going to try to get back into writing at least twice a month but first let me catch you up on what has been going on this past year.

In May 2017 I graduated from Olivet Nazarene University. Before I graduated though, I went through a period of loneliness. I didn’t feel loved or wanted by those around me. However, God intervened and placed certain people in my life that would help me whether they knew it or not.

Graduation

Graduation!!

At the end of May I traveled to Kansas City with Olivet, my Best Friend got married, and I went to St. Louis with my family. Oh and that all happened within the last couple of weeks of May. 

Kansas City

Enactus team @ Kansas City

Jen

Love ya Jen!!!

 

St. Louis

Gotta love Ted Drewes Frozen Custard!

In June 2017 I started my job at Samaritan Ministries International in Human Resources as an HR/Staff Development Assistant. I cannot believe that I have been there for a year and it has been the best year ever! Honestly, I never thought I would be back in Central Illinois after college. I had a plan for my life but God said “No, I have even a better plan”. I am so thankful that He is in control and that I said YES to His amazing plan. I love what I get to do every single day, I have made amazing friends, and I cannot wait to see how God will use me even more there. In the last week of June I went to Indianapolis to the Nazarene General Assembly. It was amazing to see old friends and be surrounded by Nazarenes from all over the world.

Friends

Love these new friends!!!

General Assembly

Gotta take a picture with the General Superindents…even if they are cardboard cutouts!

Later on in the summer months I was voted into a leadership position at my church as Sunday School Superintendent. Now you might be wondering what that means. As the S.S. Superintendent I oversee Sunday School classes, Kids Church, and help with some outreach events. I never thought I would ever do something like this before. It has been a joy to serve in this position at my church that has done so much for me over the years.

Let’s see what else has happened…oh yeah!! We went to Walt Disney World during Christmas! It was so good to be back in one of my favorite places in the world! As a family we learned that people don’t know how to slide down an entire row so more people can get in, people don’t know how to turn the flash off, if children are under 5 they really need to take a nap, and as a family we really need to learn how to take selfies…it was a struggle. We had so much fun as a family and it is was nice to take a break and relax!!

Disney

Still working on taking selfies.

Since Christmas I have been really busy with work and church but I am loving every single minute of it. While my life has been very busy these last few months I would not trade it for anything!

The reason for “re-starting” this blog is because when I was writing my relationship was closer to God because I was seeing all of the little things that He was doing that made a big impact in my life. It’s important to take time out of our busy days to reflect on everything He has done. This is just one way for me to do that.

I hope you join me on this journey and find those little things that God has put in your life.

A journal a day: Day 5

March 8, 2017

Ephesians 4:1-16

    Make every effort. Put in more effort than anyone would imagine.

What happened today?

  • During breakfast we each received a letter from one of our teammates. Danielle wrote me the most encouraging note and it was just what I needed to hear. 
  • After some more painting at the job training center we headed into our next lessons. Today’s lessons were on inventory and finance. These have to be the most complicated lessons, but at the end of it they seemed to grasp the ideas and concepts we taught. 
  • My favorite part of the day was making cookies with the girls. After being in a room learning about really hard topics, it was good to see them moving around and wanting to learn how to bake these cookies. For some it was the first smile I had seen all week. It was a really encouraging moment for me because I was able to connect with them even though we did not understand each other.
  • A break through moment for me was telling part of my testimony during debriefing. Not many people know about the experience I had on this trip two years ago and how I pushed God away on that trip. Telling this story is something that I typically would do. However, I knew that I needed to share my story so that if others were going through the same thing that they would be encouraged to run toward God rather than push Him away. 
  • I have already seen God at work this week through the kids, through teaching, through the simple project of painting. Everything that we have done He has had His hand on it. I have already seen a transformation in my life and I know that it will continue to grow throughout the rest of the week.

 

 

A Journal a day: Day 4

March 7, 2017

Ephesians 3: 1-21

    May have power TOGETHER

    To be rooted and established in LOVE

What happened today?

  • Started the morning off by washing dishes and while we were washing dishes this huge bug (almost like a giant moth) came up the drain. So gross!! 
  • My favorite part of the day was being able to go to the job training site and see the progress that was made. Two years ago it was a field and a pile of dreams. It was amazing to see the progress that had been made but also the dreams that will be fulfilled. But also to see how God has provided the funds for this project. I loved being able to paint on the walls of the building that will be home to small businesses, but it was also amazing to have moments of prayer as I painted. Praying for the youth, the success of the businesses, the customers that will walk through the doors, and for the town of Santa Barbara. job training
  • After our painting party, we came back for lunch and went straight into our lesson for the day. Every day I am more impressed with the dreams and goals that the youth have. 
  • At the end of each day our team has a debriefing time. Each night we talk about moments that we see God and what God has been doing in our lives during this trip. Tonight was a little different though. We broke out into individual prayer and the whole room was filled with our prayers. It was an experience I will never forget. 
  • I see why God has brought me back to this place. To truly see just how we can break the cycle in the most unlikely of places. I wish I could go back 2 years and do it over again. But if I did that then I would most likely not be here right now. I am so amazed at how God works in our lives. 

A journal a day: Day 3

March 6, 2017

Ephesians 2:11-22

  1. 18: For THROUGH Him we both have access to the Father by one spirit.
  2. 21: IN Him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.

What happened today?

Our Enactus team went to the store today to find ingredients to make cookies to sell on Friday. It was so much fun and very different from home. After we got back from the store, some of the kids came and we got ready for lunch time. I find it interesting that we can communicate with the kids yet have no language in common. 

My favorite part of the day was teaching the youth about goals and dreams. Some wanted to be professional athletes, some wanted to be doctors, and some wanted to be psychologists. I hope that this week gives them the confidence to reach these dreams and achieve them. 

The last part of the day was walking some of the kids home. While I have made this trip home with them before, but it hit me again just how much we need to show them love. There was one girl that become a mom at a young age and seeing her carry her child home made my heart break for her. 

How did I see God?

Through the interaction with the bus driver: he spoke very little English and I speak very little Spanish, yet we had a meaningful conversation about the love of God. 

Hearing about the goals and dreams of the youth. 

Looking at the mountains and seeing His creation and how faithful God is and will always be. 

 

A Journal a day: Day 2

March 5, 2017

Scripture Reading: Ephesians 2:1-10

  • There is going to be some hardships along the way. Vulnerability is one thing that can bring us out of those hardships, but is also something that can be hard to do.

What events happened today?

  • A group of us went on a walk and discovered the heart of San Pedro Sula before we headed to Santa Barbara. Along the way we decided to get gelato…always get a doble. 
  • Once the other group got back from grocery shopping we headed on our way to Santa Barbara (around 2 ½ hours). It has been 2 years since I was last here. However, this time is different. It is almost like it is my first time because I am a new person spiritually. Last time I was here I distanced myself and pushed God in a corner. I like being here for the “first time” because I now have a new perspective. I have taken off the Rose colored glasses and put on God’s glasses.
  • As we prayed in the center of town I could not help but praise God for sending me back to this place. After an amazing service at a local church, I can firmly say that God has something huge planned for this week.

How did I see God?

  • During the worship. Just being able to stand and clap with others was simply amazing. It puts into focus that we are not the only ones who worship God, but it is a global impact. I feel a calmness about the week. A new sense of hope and restoration is in me because I am a new person from 2 years ago and I thank God every day for that.

A journal a day

Hi friends! My team and I have made it back safely from our amazing time in Honduras. There were so many exciting parts to this trip that instead of writing a really long blog post about it I am going to be publishing a journal entry each day from my trip. So…here is Day 1!!

March 4, 2017

God is so good. Before we left for this trip we prayed that God would provide in bold ways for the travel logistics of our trip. Every single complication we had was taken care of by Him. On our way to Honduras, our team started talking about what we were looking forward to about this trip. For me, it would have to be to see the mountains since that is where I see God the most and the second is to witness to people through different interactions as well as through the business classes we are teaching.

What did God teach me today?

Verses read today: Ephesians Chapter 1

There were so many unknowns at the beginning of the day but everything worked out in ways that we couldn’t imagine. Whatever I am facing in life I know that God is good and is able to provide in more ways that I could ever ask.

 

Going on an adventure

hondo-spring-break

 

I cannot believe that today is the day we are leaving for Honduras.

During this adventure will you join me in praying for the following…

Travel and other logistics

Health

Our Leaders

The team

Spiritual Growth

The kids and youth we will be with

The country of Honduras

 

Thank You for all of the prayers!! I cannot wait to share this adventure with you when we get back.

See you soon…

THANK YOU!

 

Friends,

I have two very exciting things to share with you. 

The first is that my team and I leave for Honduras in exactly ONE WEEK!!! 

The second is that I AM OFFICIALLY FULLY FUNDED for my trip!!! 

It is because of YOU that I am now able to go to Honduras and make an impact on the kids and youth at the Garden of Love and Hope. THANK YOU!!!

When I was accepted for this trip, I honestly did not know how I was going to provide finically. However, God showed me that I am not alone. He took control of the entire process and provided in so many more ways than I could have ever imagined. 

But the story is not over yet…

God is going to do something big in my life, my teammates lives, and the lives of the kids that we will be with during our time at the Garden of Love and Hope.

There is one thing that I do want to ask each and every one of you…During the week of March 4th-12th (and the week leading up to the trip), will you continue to pray for me, my team, the kids that we will be teaching, the country of Honduras, the logistics of the trip, and that God would open our hearts and eyes to his glorious masterpiece? 

I cannot wait to update you on what God has done during this trip when we get back. 

Until then…keep on praying!! 

 

The Last Semester

How is it possible that I will be graduating in a few months? Honestly, I cannot believe it. It seems like yesterday I was moving into Olivet for the first time. Yet, here I am reflecting on the last first day of my last semester of school.

People often say when one door closes another door opens. But what if you don’t know what door is the right door? It is like a game show when you have three doors to choose from and only one has the car and the other two are not as exciting prizes. You don’t want to pick the wrong door.

While I am about to close one door, one is about to become open and I may not know what is on the other side. All I can really do is thank God for the opportunity that He has placed before me.

So that is what I am doing…I am thanking God for the door that He is about to open. Rather than just asking and praying to place a door in front of me, I am thanking Him for what is to come because I know that it will be good.

With all of that being said…instead of being sad about the closed door and worrying about what door I am about to walk through, I am taking this semester to reflect on the amazing opportunities God has given me during my time at Olivet and thanking Him for the opportunities that will come.