Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Sorry I've been MIA from the blogging world lately. The past few weeks have been spent preparing for the big move home. Mal and I both moved home this past weekend. Mal is coming home to attend Texas A&M Commerce in the spring. I'm moving home because my lease was up, and I decided to save a ton of money before Joe and I tie the knot.

Mal and I also got the brilliant idea to have a garage sale this week. We have set the garage sale for tomorrow morning, so we have been SUPER busy the last few days sorting through all of our items. We have some great stuff, so I really hope the turn out is good tomorrow. We're calling this Round 1, and we'll have a Round 2 if need be. And then, Round 3 will be donating everything that's left. We don't really care how much money we make at this point. We just want to get rid of it and free up space in our closets. It has definitely been a bonding experience so far, so I'm sure Mal and I will have a lot of fun tomorrow.

Other than that, I'm enjoying my time off from work, and really looking forward to the holidays. My only complaint lately is that I can't believe the weather has been so hot the past few days... People are telling me that Christmas will be cooler, but I'll believe it when I see it. Maybe this year, I should ask Santa for a cold front! It is nice to be home during the holidays though, because mom has so many great decorations!

**Ok, the cutest thing just happened, and I absolutely must add it to this blog. Two little kids just came to our door selling mistletoe. It was bagged up in cute bags and they were carrying it in baskets. I asked them what they were going to do with the money. The little girl said "Spend it!" and the little boy said "We're gonna spend it on kids that don't have much for Christmas". How could you resist that?!?! I love it when parents show their kids how to share during the holidays and think about others above yourself. LOVE little Christmas blessings like that!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Toaster, Blender, and Dishes. OH MY!

Joe and I decided to use our free Saturday with no plans to register for wedding gifts. We had a blast! We started at Bed, Bath & Beyond and ended up finding most of the things we wanted there. We went ahead and registered for a few more things at Target so that our families and friends will have options. And, how could I not take an opportunity to go to Target. Everyone that knows me, knows that Target is my favorite place in the world!

I'm sure that some people feel really stressed out when they're registering, but Joe and I had such a good time. The lady that was helping us at BB&B kept making comments about how we were making things WAY to easy. We definitely took that as a compliment. We just enjoy spending time together, even if we're registering, which can be quite a laborious process. And, Joe was such a trooper! I also love that he was very straight forward with me about what he liked and what he didn't. I don't want someone who just says, "Whatever you want honey... It doesn't matter." I'm glad he had his own opinions and we were able to find things that we both loved. Here are some pics of my favorite items:

It was fun coming home after registering and looking through everything online and imagining it in our home. I can't wait for that day! Just 7 more months... Until then, we're enjoying the engagement period and all that comes with it.

Monday, November 22, 2010

I'm alive - promise

Ok, I've been away from blog world for far too long. Here's an update of how things are going. Joe and I just got back from Utah. We went to Salt Lake City for the weekend to celebrate Mark (Joe's cousin) and Brittany's wedding. We had a great time! The wedding was so intimate and sweet. And then we got to spend a lot of time just hanging out with Joe's extended family. We played games and ate lots of yummy food and laughed a lot. It was a blast! Here are some pics from the trip.

Joe and I with the newly married Clifton's

I was in heaven spending time with sweet Miss Avery!

Isn't she absolutely adorable!!

The result of the beautiful snow that fell Saturday night.
So, we had a good trip with Joe's family, and I'm really glad I got to be a part of it. Lots of other things have happened in the last month, but this is what's on my mind right now. I'm so grateful that Joe and I both have such supportive and encouraging families. We are extremely blessed!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Attitude of Gratitude

In an attempt to rid myself of my "negative Nelly" attitude, I'm dedicating this post to things that I'm thankful for. Here's to gratitude:

1. A fiance that loves and adores me, even when I'm having a tough week (or a tough several weeks).

2. A night spent with family, celebrating my granddaddy's 74th birthday. Happy Birthday old man. :)

3. Surprise phone calls throughout the week from my sister, whom I love dearly. She's been such a great support to me in the last few weeks.

4. A yearbook survey that my kids filled out that ended up reminding me how much they like me. One of the questions was "Who's your favorite teacher?", and at least 90% of them had my name on there. It definitely was a reminder of the fact that I'm doing a good job, even when I don't feel like it.

5. Some kind/concerned words from 4 of my sixth grade girls that showed me I've got to snap out of this bad mood I've been in lately. If sixth graders are noticing, there's definitely something that needs to be fixed.

6. Tuesday night's dinner with our mentor couple from our Sunday morning class at church. We have such a good time whenever we're around Tom and Suzy, and Joe and I are so grateful for their words of wisdom and encouragement. Not to mention, Suzy makes a mean coconut pie!

7. My friend, Betsy, who's always there to offer a listening ear and never thinks twice about spending time with me. I always enjoy spending time with her, and she offers some great advice! Love that girl!

8. That I wasn't involved in the car accident that slowed down my commute home this evening.

9. That I grew up in a home where I never doubted that I was loved and going to be cared for daily. Not all of my students have that comfort, and it definitely shows in the classroom.

10. I get to spend time with some of Joe's family this weekend and see the newest addition to the Clifton clan. Joe's cousin, Megan, had a sweet baby girl about a month or so ago, and we get to meet her on Saturday. I can't wait to hold her!!! She's absolutely precious!!!

11. The phrase "I'm not going to let Satan win" that I got from one of the other mentor's in our class this past Sunday. She was referring to times when her and her husband have arguments. She said that she will stop in the middle of a fight and say "I'm not going to let Satan win". She was referring to the way that Satan uses petty arguments to tear apart marriages. I think I'm going to coin it as one of my "life quotes". They are such good words to remember. Satan's trying to win in many areas of our lives all the time, and I refuse to let it happen.

12. That being said, I'm most grateful that I have a God that I can turn to and plead for extra doses of patience. I know He's with me every minute. And I know that He is going to work in me if I will just let Him. "Let go, and let God".

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Productive Day

You're not going to believe this!! I found a dress and booked a venue all in one day. It was amazing!!! I was so happy to have my mom, my sis, my aunt and cousin and Mary Kay (Joe's mom) join me for such a special day. We had a lot of fun and took a lot of pics, but I can only share a select few.

Dress - Absolutely beautiful! That's all I can say, because obviously, it's a secret (from Joe). Here's the pic Mal posted on facebook to taunt Joe.

Venue - Old Red Museum - June 26th, 2011 - I can't wait. It's going to be gorgeous!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Christmas Eve

I know it's October, but tonight feels exactly like Christmas Eve for me! Tomorrow morning, I have an appointment at 10:00 am to try on dresses. I have an entourage of family joining me for the exciting event, and I can hardly wait!! After that, we're going to look at two wedding venues, that I'm very hopeful about.

Joe left for Utah on Wednesday night, and is currently on the top of a mountain, with zero cell service. And he won't be back until next Saturday... So, needless to say, this weekend's wedding plans are the perfect distraction from missing him.

Also, I got the link to my engagement pics today, which totally brightened my Friday! Here's a few to enjoy. Thanks Betsy! You are amazing!!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Engagement Pics and Wedding Trip

Here are a few pics to show what I've been up to.

Engagement Photo Shoot at the State Fair of Texas

My cousin's wedding in Arizona

We had such a fabulous weekend. Arizona was beautiful, and the wedding was amazing! I'm looking forward to next weekend because I get to go look at two wedding venues and dress shopping with my mom, Joe's mom, and hopefully Mal. Joe's going to be out of town for the next two weekends, so he's trusting me to look at the venues without him. And then, on Sunday, we're going to the Bridal Show here in Dallas. Looking forward to hopefully finding the venue and being able to set a date!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Busy Bride-To-Be

I mentioned in my previous post that my students have been so funny over the last 6 days. Here's a few things they have said and done that just make me smile:
  • Me: (At the end of 1st period on Thursday) "Does anyone notice something different about Ms. Griffith today?" (Two girls instantly raise their hands) Girls: "Yes! You're engaged!!!!" And then once I told the story 1st period, word spread like wild fire
  • "Ms. Griffith, can we come to your wedding?"
  • "Ms. Griffith, can I be a bridesmaid?"
  • "How did your boyfriend engage you?" (instead of propose)
  • A little girl drew me a picture of a bride with a green veil and blue dress (picture highlighter colors) and Joe's response was "I think we found our wedding colors!"
  • I received a homemade card from a little girl that was addressed to "Ms. Griffith and Mr. Thompson" and on the inside, it said "Congrats on getting engaged. Mr. Thompson, I really like the way you proposed!"
  • In the middle of a huge group of girls looking at my ring, one of my boys took my hand and inspected my ring and then said "Pret-ty Go-od"
  • Girl: "Ms. Griffith, when you go to look at dresses, don't take too many people with you, because there will be too many opinions, and you'll get stressed out" Me: "Have you been watching Say Yes To The Dress??" Girl: "YES! I love that show!"
  • "You're engagement story spread faster than the flu!" lol
I'm loving these priceless moments with my fabulous 6th graders. They make me happy. :)

I've already started my wedding binder, which is complete with tabs for each part of the wedding, and page protectors. I've browsed through 2 Bridal magazines over the weekend, which was so much fun! I went through and cut out things that I like, and filed them into the binder. We have tentatively picked a date, but it will ultimately depend on our venue. We're hoping for July 3rd, 2011. Our families agreed that it's a good weekend since family and friends will already be off on the 4th, so that makes things a little easier. And, venues are so much cheaper on a Sunday than on a Saturday. So, needless to say, we are super, super, super excited about picking a date! I'm so looking forward to all that the next few months hold for Joe and I!

Friday, September 17, 2010

THE Story

What an amazing week this has been!!! In case you've missed facebook, Joe and I are engaged!!! Some of you have been asking for the full story, so here it is. :)

On Sunday night, Joe invited me over to his apartment for dinner on Wednesday night. When he asked if I was available, I thought it was kinda odd for him to plan this a few days in advance, but he cooks for me every now and then on a week night, so it wasn't completely out of left field. I told my mom that I was slightly suspicious, but definitely not getting my hopes up about anything special occurring that night. Well, I arrived at Joe's on Wednesday night, and there was nothing that indicated that this would be a special night (i.e. no flowers, candles, etc). So, I told myself, "Ok, it's just dinner. No problem". We ate dinner while watching 50 First Dates (which was one of the first movies we every watched together), and dinner was fabulous! We were pretty stuffed, but when Joe asked if I wanted some dessert, I obliged. I never turn down sweets. He went to his kitchen and came back with ice cream from Yogurt Land, which is one of my absolute favorite frozen yogurt places. I was pumped! He had gone by there and gotten my favorite ice cream with all of my favorite toppings. Awesome! We started eating the ice cream, and after a few minutes, I saw something silver in my cup. I quickly said "What's that?" And he of course played it off like he had no idea what I was talking about... I dug the silver object out of the cup and realized it was a cheap ring... (Side story - A long time ago, when Joe and I were casually talking about proposals, I mentioned that I don't like when people put their ring in food because it's gross when you pull it out of there). So, I turned to him and again asked "What's this??" Joe said, "It looks like a cheap ugly ring to me..." I replied "Yeah, me too...." Then he said "Well, maybe you should have this one instead..." He reached under his coffee table and pulled out the box that contained the real ring. I was so surprised! He had me stand up and he got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. I cried, of course, and said yes (although a few minutes later, he had me confirm that I said yes, because he wasn't sure that he heard it). LOL It was so perfect for us! We got to spend the rest of the night celebrating with my mom, Brian, Annie and Clay and calling all of our nearest and dearest. I could not have asked for a better night.

I am so blessed to have found someone who loves me unconditionally, and who sees marriage exactly the way that I do. A 100% commitment to one another forever. We are thrilled to begin this journey together, and looking forward to all that the next few months hold for our families and our relationships.

I have TONS of stories from school and how my students reacted to the news, but I'd hate for this entry to become a burden to my loyal readers. ;) So, I'll save those for a future post. Thanks for all of the sweet well wishes. I am overwhelmed with joy.

A piggy bank for our Honeymoon Fund :)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Back on Track

Tonight was the first night in at least 3 weeks that I got myself into the gym. Phew! It has been WAY too long! I have come up with every excuse in the book to not run, and I finally got real with myself this weekend. I realized that I feel so much better when I'm in the gym. Ok, maybe not when I'm IN the gym, but after I'm DONE with the gym. It's a neat feeling to know that I'm pushing myself and challenging myself in a personal way. It's something that no one can make me do. I have to take control and make myself do it. So, I had a "come to Jesus" talk with myself last night/this morning about getting back on track in my jogging journey.

All that being said, my time in the gym tonight was really good. I won't say great, but it was good. I jogged/walked 2.18 miles. I thought I was going to lose my dinner at one point, but that's to be expected when you haven't been running for the past 3 weeks. It was really cool, because in the heat of the hardest part of my jog, the song "I Will Rise" by Chris Tomlin came on, which was such an encouragement.

I will rise when He calls my name. No more sorrow. No more pain.
I will rise on eagles wings. Before my God, fall on my knees. And rise...
And I hear the voice of many angels sing, 'Worthy is the Lamb'.
And I hear the cry of every longing heart, 'Worth is the Lamb'.

Then after that, Mighty to Save came on, which was empowering. That was the song that Jenny's family adopted during her time in the hospital, and I can't hear it (or sing it at church) without thinking about her. I feel like God's reminding me to keep going. To never give up. To remember that He's fighting for me every day. I'm resting in God's faithfulness tonight.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Happy Friday

Ok, this is going to be a short one, but I've got to tell you what this sweet little girl said to me this afternoon before I forget. Two girls are talking at their desks, and I overhear one of them say, "Just tell her" and then this convo occurred.

Student: Hey Ms. Griffith....
Me: Yes, ma'am?
Student: You're beautiful.
Me: Aw!!! Thank you!

I saw her again after school and made sure to tell her that she totally made my day. The coolest part is that she's not even a student that I actually know very well yet. She's pretty quiet, and we haven't had a chance to talk much. She is quickly rising on my list of favorite students though! ;)

Joe and I are off to Marietta this evening to spend some time with his parents and Michelle (sister-in-law) and Gavin (nephew). We're looking forward to spending some quality time with Mr. Gavin! He's such a cutie! I'm also super excited about Sunday because my whole family is going to church at Highland Oaks and then we're having lunch together and taking a field trip to see Natalie (my cousin) and David's new townhome! Busy weekend, but I'm looking forward to all the family time! Happy Labor Day everyone!

Monday, August 30, 2010

From the Desk of Ms. Griffith

The beginning of the school year is so hectic! It's like I forget each year how stressful those first few weeks can be. Here's a short situation that happened last week that made me smile. I love how 6th graders think, and how middle school is literally a whole new world for them.

(End of the day on Wednesday - the first normal schedule day for our middle schoolers)

Ms. Griffith: Bye guys! Have a good afternoon. See you tomorrow!
*I walk out into the hallway to help with lockers and monitor the halls*
Student 1: Ms. Griffith, where do we go now?
Ms. Griffith: Um... you go home.
Student 2: Ms. Griffith, do we go home now?
Ms. Griffith: Yes, honey, it's 3:25 and it's time to go home.
Student 3: Ms. Griffith, what class do I go to now?
Ms. Griffith: You go home. You're done for the day.

LOL It's cute that they don't think all the way through their questions, and they're just so afraid of doing something wrong, that they don't even want to leave until they're 100% sure they're supposed to. I wish I could bottle up their innocence and sweetness, and keep them that way all through middle school. :)

So, overall, school's going great. Just trying to keep all my ducks in a row and I feel like I make tons of "to do" lists every day, and just try to tackle one at a time. I'm trying lots of new stuff in my classroom, so that's been an adventure. Lots of group collaboration, which requires a different kind of classroom management, so it's definitely a learning experience this year. Overall, I'm excited about the way things are going so far, and I'm looking forward to this year being really great!

A place to showcase students' work and then my blank word wall for vocabulary

A new strategy I'm trying this year to keep kids from saying "I don't know" when I ask them to answer a question.

A place to keep my sports calendars for the year.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Ready or Not!

I made sure to plan a fun, relaxing weekend so that I can really feel refreshed and ready for school to begin. Friday night, I got to eat dinner with my mom and Brian (and Mal of course) at Tillman's Roadhouse. It was fantastic! Then we went to a place called Barcadia and played their fun outside Jenga game.

LOVE them!

Mallory (aka Vanna White)

Bri - Bri did a good job!

And Mom was the unlucky one this time. :) We had so much fun!

Saturday was a perfect girly day. I got to spend the majority of my day with my awesome sister. We got a massage and then had a fantasy football draft at my apartment (for an all girls league of which I was the champion last year!). Then Saturday night I went to dinner at Abacus with Annie and Megan. It was so great to catch up with my girls.

Now it's Sunday, and I'm still not 100% convinced that I'm ready for our first day of school tomorrow. I guess we'll find out when my alarm goes off at 6 am. Good luck to all my teacher friends! I hope this next year is full of students ready to learn, and teachers willing to take some risks to become the best we can be for our students.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

So Content

What a fabulous weekend I have had. Having such a great weekend makes me really grateful to be where I am in life. I have a wonderful boyfriend and family that I love spending time with. I'm very very blessed. Joe came home Friday night, so that was definitely a great way to begin the weekend. Saturday was a relaxing day at home just hanging out. Then, Joe and I went to Kelsey and Rebecca's house for dinner and to watch the Rangers game. Kelsey is one of Joe's friends from high school. He's just as much into cars as Joe is, which Joe loves and Rebecca and I get along really well, so it works out perfect. The Rangers lost, but overall, it was a really fun night.

Today, Joe and I went to North Park and saw Despicable Me. It was definitely the best 3-D movie I've seen in a while. It was hilarious and the theatre was packed with families and lots of kids, so I really enjoy that too. I love hearing the kids gasp as a weapon or character comes flying toward the audience. And who doesn't love popcorn and ICEE's for lunch!!! We had a great time!

Then, tonight, my sister came home! YAY!!!! I surprised her by being at my parents house when she got there, and we all had dinner. It feels good to have her home. I've totally been spoiled in the past, because I'm used to her being with me all summer. However, this summer, she's been working as an intern feeding baby deer in south Texas. It was a really good experience for her, and I'm proud of her for sticking it out and staying down there all summer. I definitely don't think I could have done it! I fully plan on spending as much time with Mal as possible this week before she heads back to Aggie Land next weekend.

I'm really glad I was able to have such a nice, relaxing, fun weekend, because tomorrow, it's back to reality. Teacher work week begins tomorrow at 8 am. I am looking forward to a new fresh year with my sweet 6th graders! I am not looking forward to waking up at 6:30! So long summer time!

"Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." - Romans 12:11-12

Sunday, August 8, 2010

First (Unofficial) Day Back

I spent 6 hours at school today working on my classroom. It was good to get back in there and start unpacking some of my desk stuff. We always have to pack everything up at the end of the year so that they can pull everything out and clean (which I love!). So, I started working on getting things back to normal today. I got a lot accomplished, but also enjoyed the time chatting with some of my coworkers that were up there today as well. I have had a fabulous summer, but it's always fun and refreshing to start a new school year with brand new students, so I'm really looking forward to the upcoming weeks. Here's a pic of my classroom from the first day of school last year. Most of it will stay the same, with a few updates here and there. And I'm hoping for tables instead of desks.

Last week, I had the privilege of attending a Wednesday night service at Saturn Road Church of Christ to hear Rick and Beverly Ross speak. They were fabulous. They shared details of the past 5 months since Jenny died, and they are truly an inspiring couple. I admire their honesty in sharing their trials. One thing that Beverly said really stuck with me. She said, "You have to realize that you may not have another thing go your way while you're feet are on this dirt, so you have to intensionally decide to have a 'no matter what' faith." Isn't that awesome? I've never heard it worded that way, but Beverly said that Jenny always talked about having a no matter what faith. I love the implications that come with that. It reminded me that I'm not in control of anything in this world except my attitude and actions. So, I've got to make the choice to be a true, 100% follower, no matter what, of Jesus Christ. It's not an easy task. But it's definitely one worth striving for. And that's the attitude that I'm taking into this school year. Allowing God to use me the way that He wants to and just trusting that He's in control of it all.

On a lighter note, my sister comes home in a week, and I'm more than excited about that. So here's a pic in honor of the time we're going to spend together next week!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Catching Up

Five things you've missed in the last few weeks:

1. Joe and I had a blast on the cruise!

Ice cream at least three times a day made me very happy!

2. I got to spend my birthday in Cozumel, which was so much fun!

Yummy cappuccino ice cream cake

3. Answered Prayers - Joe's dad is doing much better than he was two weeks ago. While we were on our cruise, he went to a cardiologist and they discovered some serious blockage in two of his arteries, so they put in stints. He has to wait 6 weeks before going to the neurologist for them to run some more tests to see if they can determine the cause of the seizure. All that being said, he's feeling better and that is a huge relief to everyone!

4. Camp Erin - I just spent three great days at Camp Erin. I was in a group with 2 male counselors (Cabin Big Buddies), and our campers were 4 sixth grade boys. I wasn't sure how I felt about having boy campers, but I ended up having a blast. Our team name was "Miranda and the Blues Brothers", and we had so much fun! If you don't know anything about Camp Erin, it is a camp for grieving children. It was different from any camp I've ever been a part of, and I loved it. Camp Erin is a nation wide camp, and if you want more info, you can check it out here: http://camperinworld.blogspot.com

5. Blessings - This past weekend at Camp Erin was a huge reminder of how grateful I am for every person in my life. I have a fantastic family that loves and supports me daily. I have friends that I love spending time with. I have a boyfriend that adores me. I have a new appreciation for how much God has blessed my life. I hope I never take those things for granted.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Pre Cruise Events

This has been one eventful weekend! Friday, I had a fabulous day. Betsy and I went to get pedicures and manicures, which was wonderful, and then Friday night I saw Eclipse with a few of my best girlfriends. It was a great movie, and I'm glad I got to spend time with some of my girls. Not to mention, we stopped by Yogurtland after the movie for a delicious yogurt treat! I love that place!

Then, Saturday morning, Joe got a call from his mom that his dad was in the hospital. We both packed a quick bag and headed to Marietta. Johnny had a seizure episode early Saturday morning, and they ended up admitting him to the hospital. It was a super traumatic experience for Mary Kay (Joe's mom), and I know she was thankful for us to be there to help out. And it was a true blessing that Joe's uncle Paul was there and able to help Mary Kay through it all. They are going to keep Johnny in the hospital over the weekend, and then send him to Ardmore to see a neurologist on Monday. Hopefully they will be able to get some answers about what happened, and how to prevent it in the future. Say a prayer for him for sure. Also, keep Mary Kay in your prayers. They had to put her mom in the nursing home on Friday, so it's been a really tough weekend for her. I was glad that Joe and I were able to go up there to help her out and we came back to Dallas this morning.

Yesterday was Joe and I's anniversary, so we did find time to exchange gifts, and Joe gave me a beautiful heart necklace! I absolutely love it! And now, it's time to get into cruise mode! I'm about to start the fun task of packing. We will be leaving bright and early tomorrow morning and heading south. I can't wait!

Here's the latest from the book I'm reading: "When you wake up in the morning, you can feel completely confident in saying, 'Okay, Jesus, today you lead, and I will follow. Whatever I have to do in my relationships, my body, my health, and my finances are in your hands. I won't try to figure out the rest of my life. I won't try to solve every day. Just today. You lead. I'll follow'"
- John Ortberg The Best Version of Me

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Weekend of Blessings

Not a whole lot to report this week. I did finish Week 4 of C25K yesterday, and I'm getting myself ready for what Week 5 will hold. I'll start that tomorrow, so say a little prayer for me. Week 4 was tough, but I'm pressing on.

This past weekend was a real blessing. I got to go to Houston with Joe to spend time with his entire family. His aunt and uncle celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary by renewing their vows. It was a beautiful ceremony, and a great weekend with his family. They are all so genuine and devoted to one another, which is cool to see. I really loved the weekend with them. Here are some of my favorite pics.

The beautiful beach area at Lake Livingston

Joe's nephew, Gavin :)

The Bride and Groom

My honey is so good at Sing Song face :)

"Set out each day believing in your dreams. Know without a doubt that you were made for amazing things" - Josh Hinds

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Lacking Motivation

I hope everyone had a fabulous 4th of July weekend. I had a lot going on this weekend, so it was a busy one. Saturday, I cooked a meal that was all completely new to me. It all turned out very tasty. Kelsey and Rebecca joined us for dinner and then we were going to go see fireworks at KaBoom Town, but the rain (and fear of a muddy mess) kept us away. Sunday, I went to church and then that night, we surprised my stepdad (Brian) by meeting him and my mom and their small group from church at Vapiano in Mockingbird Station. If you've never been there, you've got to try it! Their chicken pesto pizza is amazing and the chicken alfredo is delicious as well. Then on Monday, Joe and I spent some time laying by the pool, since the sun finally decided to come back out. And then, we went to Fair Park to see fireworks! I was so happy! I just love fireworks, and it doesn't feel like the 4th of July if I haven't seen them!

In other news, I'm lacking motivation for running this week. I think I got myself worried about it because I looked ahead to see what Week 4 would hold for me, and it seems like more running than I'm ready for. Joe assured me that it's a mind game, and that I'll be fine. I guess I'm about to find out, because I'm heading to the gym soon.

Also, a big shout out to my roomie: Happy Birthday Kat! I'm looking forward to Sprinkles cupcakes tonight! :)

"Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer" - Romans 12:11-12

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Bright Idea

I had a great idea today after my training for school was over. We got out an hour earlier than expected, so I thought "Well, I'll take advantage of this semi-cloudy day and get outside to do my C25K run". Wow... Not the best idea I've ever had.

July 1st + Dallas, Texas + Running = One VERY Exhausting Girl!

This was my first time to do the C25K run outside. I'm not gonna lie, it was a big struggle. I wanted to stop at one point, but I didn't give in. I really felt Satan in my head today. He started saying things like, "Are you sure you can do this? Did you forget that you're not a runner? This is too hard, why don't you just walk?" Once I realized that my thoughts were turning toward the negative, I quickly identified it as Satan and told him that he was not welcome in this journey. I started praying that God would give me strength. I prayed that the Spirit would enter my thoughts and drive Satan away.

As always, God delivered. I looked at the pond (the center point of my running path) and realized there were several sweet baby ducks swimming around. Oddly enough, this was something that I had not even noticed on the previous 4 laps around the pond (and I always notice babies of any kind!) I started thinking about how those baby ducks must feel the first time they get into the water. Unsure of themselves maybe. Uncertain of what lies beneath the water. And what happens to them? I've never seen a duck struggle to swim, so I'm sure it's probably second nature to them. But, I saw the comparison to my running. I'm unsure at times. Uncertain that I'm really going to be strong enough to reach my goal. It makes me think of an old saying I remember from my youth "If God brings you to it, He'll bring you through it." Isn't that powerful?

I'm certain of one thing: God has brought me to this running journey. He's said to me "Challenge yourself, and trust me. I've got a plan. I'm going to help you. You're not alone." These are things I've got to keep reminding myself.

"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." - Psalm 46:1

Friday, June 25, 2010

Running For Jenny

One of my goals this summer is that I am training for a 5K. My goal is to run a 5K in the fall. If you are close to me, you know that I am not a runner. I really can't emphasize that enough. I'm really not a runner! I took track my freshman year in high school, and after the first week, I did everything I could do to NOT have to run! Haha! I became very good friends with our SRO (School Resource Officer) so that I could do work for him to get out of track. Looking back on it, obviously my track coach agreed that I was not a runner, because she didn't seem to mind that I had other things I'd rather do. Anyway, this is something that I feel like God is challenging me to do, and so I've accepted the challenge, and I'm doing everything I can.

Here's the story of how God placed this on my heart. Early February, a family friend, Jenny Ross Bizaillion , got very sick, very fast. My family has been close to the Ross' for a while now. Rick (Jenny's dad) was the preacher at our church in Mesquite when I was growing up. Beverly (Jenny's mom) helped my family when my parents were going through a divorce. And Josh and Jonathan (Jenny's brothers) both went to ACU, so they had an impact on my life pretty regularly. I've always looked up to them. So, when Jenny became very sick, I followed her story (along with over 12,000 other members) on CarePages. Jenny died 3 weeks later. It was a challenge watching a family I loved so dearly, hurt so severely. Jenny had thousands of people praying for her healing, and unfortunately, we didn't get the result we had all hoped for. However, this is not a story about suffering, though there has been tremendous amounts of that. This is a story about how she's changed me.

One of Jenny's best friends, Paige, has shown me what it is to truly love a friend. She has taken her sorrow and pain and turned it into a ministry. I don't know Paige personally, but what she has shared about her journey through her blog and the facebook running page (more about that later) that she has created, has inspired me to challenge myself (physically and spiritually). Paige and Jenny had a dream to run together. Their husbands are runners, and they wanted to run with them. They were going to train together. They were going to grow together. Unfortunately, they didn't get a chance to do that. Paige has instead decided to take her sorrow and turn it into inspiration. She runs for Jenny, and she's inspiring people daily to do the same thing. Paige created a facebook group called "Running for Jenny", where members post how far they run each day, and share a piece of their spiritual journey in the running. It's awesome! Everyone should check it out, and join if you want a place to feel encouraged and supported. That's definitely what it's done for me.

I knew that I would be able to reach this goal if I had a specific plan laid out, so I have begun the Couch to 5K program (C25K). There's also an awesome iPhone app that I got to help me keep track of the workouts. I'm in Week 2, and things are going really well. I use my running time to talk to God, think about the Ross/Bizaillion families (and other families that have lost loved ones), and allow God to speak to me through each step. It's been a pretty neat journey so far, and I'm really looking forward to where God is leading me.

Moral of the day: Challenge yourself to do something new. Something you wouldn't normally try. God can do some incredible things when you give it all over to him.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Beginning

For some reason, in the last few weeks, I've had the urge to start a blog. I can't promise how exciting it will be, but I think I mostly need a place to post my thoughts. So, this is mainly a project for me. I'm not sure who will end up reading this, but I guess I just like the idea of having some place to talk about my life story. Somewhere to leave a mark. So, we'll see how it goes.

I have several things I plan on writing about on here, but I'm going to start with the inspiration for the title of this blog. I have just started reading a book called The Me I Want to Be by John Ortberg. It is a fabulous book so far. The goal of the book is to discover what God wants for your life and to become the best version of yourself that you can. Here is a quote that really stood out to me and ultimately encouraged me to begin this online journey.

"Every once in a while, you do something that surprises you and catch a glimpse of the person you were made to be [...] As you do, you glimpse for a moment why God made you. Only God knows your full potential, and he is guiding you toward that best version of yourself all the time. He has many tools and is never in a hurry. This can be frustrating for us, but even in our frustration, God is at work to produce patience in us [...] You are not your handiwork; your life is not your project. Your life is God's project. God thought you up, and he knows what you were intended to be."

Isn't that so powerful?? To think that God has a specific plan laid out for my life, and yours. He's working every day to form you into the best version of you that's out there. Ortberg talks a lot about never comparing yourself to others (which I definitely struggle with) and to look at your life through God's eyes. That He is constantly, and purposefully, molding you into exactly what He wants you to be!

So that's where my story begins. I'm on a journey to become the best version of me.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart"
- Jeremiah 29:11-13