Thursday, July 29, 2010

My Testimony...

Sometimes I get caught up in the idea that a "testimony" has to be exciting or come with a story about living in major sin and being rescued, saved, and set on fire for God. Yes, I am a sinner, and yes, I have been rescued and saved by God and His son Jesus who died for me. But...that's just it. A testimony is about how God has changed your life, worked in your life, or allowed you to grow in Him. Sometimes it is an account of recent ways God has been at work, sometimes a life story, and sometimes a story about the past. As part of the Journeyman application I had to share my testimony, directed at some specific questions, including how/when I felt called toward international missions. There is so much more I could have said about my life, my amazing God, and the past few years. But "in 6,000 words or less..." I wrote this, and I want to share it with you too...

My personal walk with Christ began when I was a child. I was blessed to grow up in a family where I was a part of church from the time I was born. As a child, my parents and siblings provided examples to me of what living a Godly life looked like. They taught me Bible stories, helped me memorize Scripture, and instilled in me the importance of being deeply involved in a church body. 
It was through these examples and those of leaders in my church that I eventually realized my need to accept Jesus as my personal Savior. At the age of six, during Vacation Bible School, I prayed publicly, making a commitment to give my life to Christ. I was then baptized by immersion at First Baptist Church of St. James, Missouri, and my journey as a Christian began. 
Since making my decision to follow Christ, nineteen years have passed. Time has provided opportunity for both growth and challenges in my walk. Throughout my childhood, youth, and college life, I was actively involved in church discipleship programs like Vacation Bible School, Sunday School and small group Bible studies, as well as mission groups like Mission Friends, GAs, and Acteens. I was challenged to grow in my knowledge of the Bible and in faith while seeing the importance for missions locally and around the world. 
Though I was a Christian, it wasn’t always easy for me to share my faith growing up. Often I lacked the boldness and courage to openly witness to others. I tried my best to live a Christian life and show a difference to those around me, but when it came to approaching them in conversation, I never quite felt ready. I prayed often for God to use me, but always felt one step away from crossing the line and stepping outside my comfort zone.
College truly provided a time for me to grow independently as a Christian. For the first time I was on my own, making the decision to attend church myself. I grew deeply involved in the fellowship of First Baptist Church of Arkadelphia, and God provided many opportunities for me to actively practice sharing the love and truth of Christ. I became passionate about reading the Bible and sharing the truth with others, even when it meant feeling uncomfortable. I developed a passion for serving others and experienced joy unlike I had ever experienced before. Slowly, God began to lead me out of of my comfort zone, and this time, I followed. 
My first opportunity to really share my faith came when I began working with an ESL ministry on my college campus my junior year. It was during this time that I had the chance to take the NAMB church-based ESL training. After attending this training, I began teaching ESL each week, and God brought international friends from all over the world to the classes. I began to pray for boldness once again, and He provided opportunities for me to share Scripture as I taught, and eventually answer questions about my personal walk with Christ. It was through this experience that my heart for international ministry grew even stronger. 
But God didn’t stop at my campus. He had bigger plans. The following year, my heart began to develop a passion for Africa. To my surprise, I found out a team from my college would be traveling to Senegal the following summer. I knew God had put Africa on my heart, and I knew I was supposed to be a part of the team. Though at times I struggled with feeling inadequate and unsure of how God would use me, I continued to pray. When the time finally arrived to travel to Senegal, I was amazed and humbled at the ways God worked in me and through me. It was as if He put pieces together like a puzzle, taking my previous experiences with ESL, study of French, and love for people and children, and connecting them all in His perfect way. While in Africa, I truly felt God’s calling in my heart to pursue international missions long-term in the future. 
The next summer, I traveled with a group from my church to the Amazon River Region in Brazil and had the wonderful opportunity to serve and share the Gospel with many people, some who had never been visited by a group of outsiders before. My heart was burdened, and I saw those we met as God’s people, hungry for the truth and for His living word. I experienced the same heart as I traveled to Mexico recently on another mission trip. There, I had the privilege of meeting people of all ages - children, teenagers, men and women, a majority of whom were missing out on the joy of Christ. Once again, God gave me His eyes, overlooking the material needs and seeing the spiritual needs of those we met. 
The biggest lesson God has revealed to me in my calling to mission work is the importance of availability. If I had simply listened to myself and continued to feel unqualified or inadequate, or if I had remained unwilling to step outside of my comfort zone, I would not have been used in the ways I have been over the past four years. I have learned that a calling is not always what I expect it to be, or an immediate opportunity to travel overseas. Most often, God is calling me, right where I am, to be a light to a hurting world that lives around me here. I pray daily that I will be a ray of light and an example of His joy and strength to those I meet here and now. I get to share his mercy and love with children and co-workers every day as I teach school and know He has placed me here for a reason. But I also pray that the desire He has given me to serve overseas will one day be fulfilled in His timing. I trust that God will give me the skills and the means necessary to carry out the call, and that one day I will share the testimony He has given me with those around the world who have never had the opportunity to hear His Good News. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Deep, deep down, I have that longing to be a wife and mother.

Don't get me wrong - I'm content with being single for now, and know this is an amazing time in life God has provided for me and blessed me with.

But seeing so many young families, and realizing that I'm not getting any sometimes just a challenge.

Today I'm rejoicing for a family I know who is working in Africa right now, and just welcomed their third child into the world this morning! I'm also excited for all the mothers who are expecting in my church and those from high school and college.

I'm thankful for the relationships God has provided for friends who are now married, engaged, and dating.

God calls us to share in other people's joy, even when it is not always an easy task for us. He calls us to be content with where He places us and open to how He wants to use us.

I have 300 (and more this year!) children at school who He has called me to love and provide an example for each day. He has allowed me to watch and learn and grow as I carefully provide guidance and discipline to them in the classroom setting. I got to spend last year teaching preschoolers and introducing them to joyful worship through music. And this year I get to share missions and Bible stories with another group of elementary children at church.

I'm the youngest of five children in our family, and I love watching as my brothers and sisters raise their children and I am able to learn from their examples.

I sometimes wonder what kind of mother I will be. I hope that I will be fun yet structured, creative, caring, and most of all, an example of Christ to my children. I want to be the mother who helps her kids discover the library in the summertime, enjoy simple times in the park, use their imaginations to play with pots, pans, boxes, and buttons, makes "special" pudding cups for them, plays in the sprinkler, teaches them about making their own choices, allows them to become independent in a good way, and teaches them how specially they are each created in God's image. I want to be a lot like my mother!

I know if I weren't single right now, I would not be able to apply for the Journeyman program, with the possibility of going overseas for two years. I know I could not have spent this entire summer traveling everywhere I wanted to and visiting family and friends. And I wouldn't be able to be "selfish" about certain things that I am right now, because it is only me.

But I do hope and pray that God has someone out there for me who has a heart for Him first, then me. Someone who wants to serve and live in the image of Christ and raise a family in God's image. I hope it will be a man who desires to have children and will enjoy being a dad. I know God knows my heart even better than I do, and that He gave me the desires I have.

So...not that I don't trust God's will and timing, but I do selfishly hope it will be sometime before I turn 80...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Tonight I got to talk on the phone with a friend from college. We met our sophomore year, but didn't really grow a close friendship until her last year and my last two years there. (As a music major, I was in the oh so cool "Five Year" club...ha)

It was such an encouragement to talk about all that is going on, to giggle, to share new things, and to know that we would be praying for each other. She has been through what I am going through with the long application process for JM and is one of my biggest cheerleaders. We share a heart for missions and a passion for the people we've worked with overseas.

We talked about how God surprises us with plans completely different (and sometimes more fun and crazy) than we could ever plan on our own.

I'm so thankful for that friendship! (And she would probably kill me if she knew I just wrote a blog post about her...haha) Love you lots, friend!

By the way, I just submitted one of the three major writing portions of my JM app!! You have to state your Christian beliefs in your own words about very specific things. This was one of the most intimidating parts to me...and the one I completed the fastest. I still stand firm in my statement - this will surely be God's work through me when I finish, and not my own! It was a huge step for me to make it through that part.

I've been praying that God would give me more of a passion for prayer. I guess you could say praying about prayer...ha...and my heart has felt so heavy. Like God is leading me to pray even more. A friend just posted this quote, and I love it...just thought I'd share it before I go.

"There is no more significant involvement in another's life than prevailing, consistent prayer. It is more helpful than a gift of money, more encouraging than a strong sermon, more effective than a compliment, more reassuring than a physical embrace." -Charles Swindoll

Saturday, July 24, 2010

"We place too much emphasis on ability when God looks for our availability to be used by Him now, with whatever we have." -Sheila Walsh

I just spent the week teaching little children in kindergarten and first grade missions lessons at our church VBS. Our theme was Saddle Ridge Ranch. It was a blast! Check out my new "look!" Hahaha...I totally made the belt buckle myself out of cardstock. Oh, and please excuse the flip flops...Too bad I don't own any cowgirl boots yet!

My room was "Firefly Cavern," and we had fun gathering around the campfire every day with the "fireflies" above us, learning about missionaries all around the world and the United States. 

I guess the coolest part for me was that two of the stories during the week were about places I had been, and I really got to share my passion for missions with the kids through pictures, stories, and instruments I had brought back from Africa and Brazil. My prayer all week was that they would see how they could be missionaries right where they are now. 

One day we talked about two Journey Girls in Mali, West Africa who do Bible storying with the people in a village there. I couldn't help but wonder if when I finish my Journeyman application (sometime this week!), I might have a story like theirs. 

Every day had a question with a Bible verse to answer it. I'm a "grown-up," and I even have these questions. My heart was fed along with the kids' hearts this week. 

Most days I don't feel qualified to go. My heart longs to be overseas teaching, serving, and loving people where ever God sends me. It's kind of crazy, but when I look at pictures and read stories about missionaries in hard places...I want to be there. I know it is going to be tough, and I will long for home while I am there, but my heart gets really excited about the thought of going somewhere and serving people who are hurting, or in poverty. It's hard to explain, but I just long to be a part of what I see.

But sometimes I feel like I don't know enough about the Bible, or about other cultures and religions, or how to disciple others. Then God gently reminds my heart like He did this week - the willingness to go is what He is looking for. The availability and the heart that is listening intently for His call. And just as I shared with the kids this week...God can call and use anyone. And He wants to use us every day, no matter where we are. Maybe He is calling them to invite some friends over to swim and have ice cream (they really liked that story!) while they tell them about Jesus. Or maybe He is calling a preacher to start a cowboy and cowgirl church so that people feel comfortable where they are worshiping. No matter what it is, He has a plan for each of us. And that plan is for us to be more like Him in all that we do every day, sharing His love and truth with those who don't know Jesus. 

All we have to do is ask for His wisdom...and He provides. 

"Now if any one of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him."
 -James 1:5

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Sweet Smile

I've been teaching missions at Vacation Bible School this week to three kindergarten classes and one first grade class. It's been fun to share a passion I have with them and hopefully instill in them (in between all their wiggling, whispering, and distractions by the decorative camp fire and "rocks" around the room in our "cave") a curiosity about missions and how they can tell others about Jesus right now!

Today a little girl who had blessed me with her precious smile and sweet spirit all week came to me at the end of the day Worship Round-Up and asked, "Are you a grown-up?" I told her I was, and she said, "Do you have kids?..." I told her, "No, not yet, but one day maybe I will!" After which she just looked up at me for a minute with her precious smile and then gave me a big hug and went back to sit down. I needed that hug today.

I love kids. So much. And God has given me a job where I get to work with them every day during school. How lucky am I?! And I get to sing and dance and play instruments while I do it! I don't always feel "good" at what I'm doing, but I do feel like I do my best to love the kids and to show them that I care. And I think they know that. I would love to have a husband and a family with my own children one day. But for now, I thank God for all the children He has given me to "borrow" and enjoy where I'm at now. And for the examples I see in other friends and family members as they love and raise their children in Godly homes.

"Children are a gift from the Lord..." -Psalm 127:3

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I Just...Know?

Have you ever felt so strongly about something, you just know it is going to happen one day? Or how about feeling that way, but then doubting it because you don't want to be wrong?

Well...I guess I could spend all my time worrying whether I am right or not. Or I could just put it into God's hands where it already is anyway and rest in the fact that if it doesn't happen, He has better plans than I could ever come up with on my own.

And meanwhile, maybe I just need to realize that if I feel like I know, maybe God is the one who has led me to feel that way, and I just have to wait on His timing, which makes more sense than mine.

This is probably a little confusing and vague, but it is hard to explain what goes back and forth in my mind sometimes with words, and I can't really explain the situation either. It really comes down to this...God knows. And sometimes we just don't. And we don't have to, or need to...until He reveals the right timing.

Lord help me to wait. Patiently. Not to doubt, and not to worry, but instead to trust in your plans which are far better than the ones I make up in my mind!

"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..." Jeremiah 29:11

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths." Proverbs 3:5-6

"Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4

Monday, July 19, 2010

Gentle Prompting and Cold Water...

Where do you draw the line between being "safe" and "wise" about a situation and following God's gentle nudging in your heart to reach out to someone in need? How do you discern what the "right" choice is in a situation?

I've been praying for God to give me wisdom as I look at others around me who are in need. I have been asking Him to help me discern when I am being too "safe" and when it is important for me to be cautious.

Last week I was returning from visiting wonderful friends at their church in Hot Springs Village. It was a very hot afternoon, and as I drove in the comfort of my air conditioned car, I was thankful that I had this luxury. As I pulled into a small gas station to buy some gas and use the restroom, I noticed a man walking toward the store. He didn't go inside, but just had a seat on a small bench outside the door. As I walked toward the store, he stood up to open the door for me. I gave the cautious, "Thank you..." avoiding much eye contact and hurrying in.

Sometimes, as a single young woman, I allow myself to feel too threatened in all situations. I know it is important to be aware of my surroundings, but with God's protection, there is no need to be in constant fear.

While I was in the store, I began thinking, "It is a really hot afternoon, and that man could use some water. Maybe I should buy a bottle and give it to him as I leave the store." That thought continued to go through my heart and my mind. But as I left the store, I tried to ignore it, using "caution" as an excuse. As I drove away, the man was still sitting outside the door in the heat.

Was he asking for money or help? No. Was he causing any problems? No. In fact, I think he was resting, because he had been walking for awhile in the heat. The area was busy with customers, and it was daylight outside. He had gotten up to open the door for me, and had not said anything, nor had he given me any need to feel threatened. But did I buy the water and share a refreshing drink with him? No. Even after driving a couple of miles, my heart continued to feel pulled, and I considered turning around. But again, my human nature kicked in, and I thought I might seem "silly" if I went back.

I believe God was prompting me to share with the man that day. To give a simple gift of cool water on a hot afternoon. In a safe situation, where I did not need to feel afraid.

So - though I missed the opportunity to share the love of Christ that afternoon, I can only pray, asking God for forgiveness in "ignoring" his prompting, and seeking wisdom for future situations. It is important to be wise about where I am at and my surroundings, as I said earlier, but even more than that, it is important for my heart to be in tune with the gentle "nudges" God gives me. It is critical that I not miss opportunities to be His light in a hurting, dry, and thirsty world.

I am so thankful for the Living Water that He has provided for me so that I do not have to thirst. May I be that example to others.

"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go visit you?' The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'" - Matthew 25:37-40-

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I have some things to post about floating around in my mind...but have not had the time to write much in the past week! This week is no different - I'm still at my Orff-Schulwerk training until Friday, and then it will be finished. Composing melodies in Ionian mode with melodic ostinati and single moving drones beneath them and playing alto recorder have taken over my life for now. If that last sentence was way over your head, you are not alone and only slightly behind me in understanding! But - I am learning lots, and it is great to be with friends from last year's training again, and I know the last four days of class will fly by, and the assignments will be finished eventually.

Until then, here are some lyrics that have been going through my mind...

"I am not skilled to understand, what God has willed, what God has planned. I only know at His right hand, stands One who is my Savior." -Aaron Shust

(I've been playing this c.d. over and over and over lately...the words of all the songs just speak to my heart so much!)

Have a blessed and joyful week.

Friday, July 9, 2010


The. Best. Flip. Flops. Ever. And my first ever post about my opinion of a purchase...

And a Target special, at that! Well...not a "sale" special...but a great buy, for sure! I'll admit, I paid the full $12.99 for them, and mostly because I liked the way they looked.

But also because I had friends who owned flip flops like these that were some fancy brand (possibly only found online) at an expensive price a few summers ago, and had wanted some, but just hadn't made the effort to look them up and wasn't really thrilled about the idea of paying a lot of money for them. Then I saw these at Target this year, and I was pretty stinkin' excited! And after buying them...

I realized how comfortable they really are and how much arch support they have! Totally worth the full $12.99 so much so that I went back to Target and bought an extra pair this week...just in case my others wear out! 

So there you have it friends...a super buy for flip flop season...ah, Summer! 

By the way...I won't be giving up my day job anytime soon to become a foot model or anything, and this is a super random post! But I always enjoy it when other people pass along advice about good deals they've found, and these are at the top of my summer list of favorite things this year! :)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Even in the Summertime...

I still love to learn! And I've been meaning to share pictures for awhile now of the conference I went to last week. A man named Chris Biffle created a system of classroom management and effective learning strategies that work wonderfully in all classroom settings, and I got to attend his conference in West Plains last week. If you are a teacher or work with a large group of children, teenagers, or young adults, I really encourage you to check out the website for Whole Brain Teaching! (Click on Chris Biffle's name above.) His system has been proven to work with K-12 AND college-age students. Crazy, huh?

Chris Biffle and Chris Rekstad - teachers and co-founders of Whole Brain Teaching

But I didn't tell you the funniest part! It was a two-day conference, and I planned to drive back and forth each day, but decided to take things to stay overnight "just in case." When I got there, I ran into another group of teachers from my district who happened to be camping out there and invited me to join them for the night. I was so excited to add another adventure to my list from the - here are some pictures of our fun! Teachers in the summertime....gone camping! (Bet you thought I was going to say gone wild, huh? haha)

Home sweet home...we had it so rough! ;)

Marianne was a great fire builder!

She even cooked a lot of the dinner over the fire...she is a multi-talented teacher!

Kathy is excited to show off our yummy dinner and picnic area!

I thought I should try to be "primitive" somehow during the adventure...this is me failing to use a Swiss Army Knife-ish open tuna! haha


Gotta love a good camp fire!

Roasting, toasting, melting away!

Golden brown!

This is how I got the nickname, "Flaming Marshmallow Queen..." Need I say more? haha

Well...I managed to get a shower despite the 5c sign!

We had some high-class facilities...they even had doors and hot water! haha

Twin Bridges Camp Ground

And here are the bridges in the beautiful morning sunshine!

I like to call this one "Rose's Redneck Clothesline" :)

Time to hook it up and go...I was a great "supervisor" haha

Group picture! I had a blast getting to know a couple of these ladies better and spending time with the ones I already knew! They are some wonderful teachers!

Day 2 of the conference - we were smart! We brought our "comfy" chairs and decided to show them off! Note that I kicked Melinda out of the comfy chair so I could stretch out and make it into my throne as "Flaming Marshmallow Queen!" ;)

So this is Rose...she was the owner of the trailer and is a super-animated and fun second grade teacher! Here she is mocking...I mean ummm....practicing "rule #2" from our conference..."Raise your hand for permission to speak!" Don't you love that face?! haha

This one's for my sister...we stopped at a Western store, and I took this picture just for her! She just moved to Kansas and says she is going to find me a cowboy to marry so I will move there too...haha...maybe she can put this one in a personal ad for me!

I really do enjoy being a teacher! And learning all the time...there is always SO much more to learn. Sometimes it is overwhelming trying to figure out where to start with implementing what I learn in my classroom, but I'm trying to take it one day/year at a time. And having fun while I do's to lifelong learning...with a few adventures in between! :) 

Monday, July 5, 2010

I have enjoyed sharing my summer with everyone so much! And I feel blessed to have had so much time to travel and enjoy it this year. I can't believe it is going so quickly. But - the next two weeks are an exciting time for me! I am taking a two-week training at UCA in Conway, Arkansas in the Orff-Schulwerk approach to teaching music. This is a three-level training, with one each summer. Last year I completed Level One, and this year I am taking Level Two! It has been great to catch up with friends from last year and meet other new teachers who are here! So...if you don't see any posts for awhile, this is why! Because with the training comes....homework! Yikes! :) But it is also SO worth it for the wonderful training I am receiving and the new ideas I will be able to take back and use in my classroom. I'm looking forward to being the student again for a couple of weeks, playing instruments, singing, and creating music! And if you are thinking, "Orff-what?" you are probably not alone! I'll share more about that with you soon, and hopefully some pictures from my time here! I'll still make time to read other blogs while I'm here, and look forward to updating my own again soon! Have a joyful week!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

My Service Heart...

I think I was a child when I first began learning about serving others. My church had an organization called Girls in Action (GAs for you fellow Southern Baptists out there...), and we worked together to do mission projects for our community.

In junior high, I went on my first in-state mission trip with my youth group and loved the chance to work on a small construction project and help with Vacation Bible School.

In high school, a teacher encouraged us to begin building community service hours for our "resumes." Though I did work hard to earn hours, I always felt there was more to it than that. 

I always felt such a joy while I was serving. Helping others and encouraging them was something that my heart was passionate about. It wasn't just to "get hours" or to "look good" on a was a way God was using me to share His love through actions. 

During college, I attended First Baptist Church of Arakadelphia, Arkansas. They have always been a very mission-minded church - both home missions and foreign missions. But while I was there, they had an idea. Why not continue to focus on and support home and foreign missions....but bring missions to the community our church was in too?

And out of this desire to minister to the local community, Arms Around Arkadelphia was founded. It began with a few small projects around town doing minor repairs on some homes. Then it grew to a project through which every home in the community was provided with a set of batteries for their fire alarms. 

This year two homes were repaired during the first weekend project in May, and five homes were repaired during the week-long June focus. Repairs included painting, rebuilding, roofing, plumbing, electrical work, gardening, sanding, moving, hanging cabinets, and much more. The motto became, "It's not a mission's a mission life!" 

I think one of the things that touched my heart most was the variety of ages, skills, and work involved.

There were youth and young adults, senior adults, and children...all working together for the Kingdom of the Lord. (The precious picture above is our pastor's wife and her grand daughter, who had her own special pink rake...what a wonderful helper she was!) :)

We started every morning with a team devotion at our worksite. I enjoyed working alongside men and women who I had known before, and some who I had the blessing of meeting during the week. The sweet girl in the bottom picture is one of my favorite youth! I met her when she was in the children's choir I helped with at church in college. Now she has grown into a young lady with a beautiful heart that loves God above all else and longs to serve in missions as well. 

There were so many jobs to be done throughout the week. Some people served on the prayer team. Some served in the kitchen, preparing the lunches and dinners we shared together each day at the church. Others brought popcicles and gatorade in the morning. (Our favorite crew! haha) Still others were the "go-fors" who drove from site to site and made trips to the hardware stores while others served by picking up loads of trash that gathered at each site. 

Of course there was time for some fun too....and a little playing in the paint! :) You can see, we had lots to keep us busy! 

Testing out the stepping stones by jumping back and forth was also an important job! :) 

And of course we needed a video man to capture all the hard work and memories going on!

Being a part of this church in college was a tremendous blessing to me, and I still feel like I am going home when I visit there...almost like no time has gone by, and I'm just supposed to be there. I love each and every person I have grown to know there from children to adults to senior adults. 

As I've been working on my application for the Journeyman overseas missions program, I have begun to really look deep into my heart. What makes me who I am? What are the passions God has given me, and how does He desire to use me? Maybe you have heard Christians talk about "spiritual gifts" before. I used to hear this term and wonder what kind of gift God had given me. But as I've grown as a Christian, I have begun to see the desire He has given me to serve and to encourage others. I also have compassion and a burdened heart for those who are hurting and in need of love. So I was not too surprised when I took a spiritual gift inventory and found these results...

God has gifted each of us in such unique ways, and it is through the mixture of all these abilities, desires, and passions, that He builds the church. I love knowing that there are so many different "parts" to the body of Christ, and that no matter what your gift, He will use it if you are only willing and ready. 

How about you? What is your gift? Have you ever taken an "inventory?" I would love to hear about the unique ways God has made each of you and encourage you to take a closer look at your gifts! There are tons of resources to help with this, but I took a simple quiz I found through searching online. 

So - here is another one of my summer adventures. And my heart has been overflowing with joy from serving since last week...thanks for letting me share that joy with you! By the way, I am still trying to get the paint out from under my fingernails, and yesterday when I was combing my hair, I found a few strands with paint in them! Gotta love taking the work with you, even a week later! :) 

"Therefore, whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as if working for the Lord and not for man." -Colossians 3:23

"Serve the Lord with gladness..." -Psalm 100:2