Wednesday, June 15, 2011


In high school, I led worship for my youth group for 3 years. Our "go-to" song that we would always sing on every mission trip, winter retreat, youth group, or any other event where there was worship was a song called "Emmanuel." It was always a favorite of everyone, and it never got old. Last night, my church's college group met and had a worship/bonfire night, and it was exactly what I needed. I just thought I'd share the words to this incredible song with you, and hope that it hits you as hard as it does me.

I will seek you with my whole heart
In the center of the storm
And remember, oh the promise, of your love
You are near to the heavy hearted
And the broken, you repair
Every moment, even sleeping, you are there
You are there

You have laid your hand upon me
Let your love surround me
You are Emmanuel
I was hiding in the darkest night
And then you found me
You are Emmanuel, Emmanuel

I have stumbled, always falling
And I am humbled by my sin
But the moment that I confess them, you forgive
You forgive 

You have laid your hand upon me
Let your love surround me
You are Emmanuel
I was hiding in the darkest night
And then you found me
You are Emmanuel, Emmanuel

Tell me where can I go, from your spirit, from your presence?
Come and take me home
To your spirit, to your presence, yeah
Never let me go

You have laid your hand upon me
Let your love surround me
You are Emmanuel
I was hiding in the darkest night
And then you found me
You are Emmanuel, Emmanuel

So there you have it! This song was just what I needed to hear last night. This summer has not gone the way that I expected it to AT ALL, and that's something that has been really hard for me. Through worshipping with some of my closest friends last night, I realized that God has it all under control. Just because he's closing doors doesn't mean that he's not opening others for me. I have been so discouraged about the fact that I don't have a steady job, but that is allowing me to do so much more with my youth group and my church, and to babysit some REALLY great kids. I am so excited to see where God is going to take me this summer!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Summer Goals.

One of my (many) summer goals for this summer is to blog more. And to do more photography-type things. So right now, I'm combining the two. My grandparents surprised us this past weekend, so we took them to Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford, IL. It's absolutely beautiful, and the photographer in me went nuts. Here's some of my favorite pictures that I took, after I edited them (I had to do something with myself today). Enjoy!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Sophomore Slump...

...or Comeback of the Year.

For those of you that don't know, that's the title of an "old" Fall Out Boy song. Back in middle school I was a real big fan of those guys, and I never quite understood what that title meant. After completing my sophomore year of college, I get it. Sophomore year is definitely awkward. You're not a freshman anymore, but you're not quite an upperclassmen. You're taking a bunch of classes for your major, but you still have a bunch of those pesky gen-eds to get rid of. A lot of your friends are starting to figure out what life after college looks like, and you still have a ways to go. At first glance, I can't really think of that many good things to say about my sophomore year. My classes first semester were okay, but second semester was definitely not my favorite. I was stressed out, had to deal with some drama, and went through some pretty big changes in my life. But then, I realized that some great things happened:

  • Because I was in quite a few Education classes first semester, I got realized that there are some pretty AMAZING Education (Especially Elementary Ed) majors in my class. Since we all take the same classes at the same time, we get to know each other really well really fast. We're like a little family, and I'm totally obsessed with it.
  • In January, I got to go to the Philippines to complete one of my education practicums. It was one of the hardest and most rewarding experiences of my whole life. I learned so much about myself as a person, child of God, and as a teacher over the course of those 20 days. I definitely left a little piece of my heart over there, especially with the kids that I interacted with. (If you want to read about it, I blogged every day while I was over there. I'll send ya the link if you want!)
  • My relationship with God grew in leaps and bounds. I'm still not where I want to be, and I'm by no means perfect, but I'm growing. God has given me SO many opportunities this year to put all of my trust in him - something that has ALWAYS been difficult for me to do. Although finding a routine for devotions is hard for me, I've made it one of my summer goals to get into a good habit of reading my Bible everyday.
  • This is going to be really cheesy and probably annoying, but I have to say it. I found a pretty great guy first semester, and we started dating in November. He makes me a better person, and I've never been happier. Okay sorry, no more sap.
  • My church is my favorite. Every time I go back, I'm constantly reminded of how blessed I am to have found a church like GEBC. I love the fact that I've been able to stay so involved even after being away at school, and I'm SO excited to serve as much as I can over the summer.&nbsp;</li>
  • I've learned to look on the bright side. There have been quite a few doors that God has closed for me this year. Although it took me a while, I've learned to try and find the good that comes out of every seemingly bad situation.

That's all I can think of for now, but I'm sure there's more. I've learned SO much this year, even if my classes were annoying and things didn't always go my way. I've been so blessed by the people God has put into my life this year, whether they be new friends or old ones. Even though I have no idea what I'm doing this summer, I'm still excited about it. I know there's a reason for everything, and I can't wait to see what God has in store for me.

"The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing."
- Zephaniah 3:17 -

Thursday, April 14, 2011

He Maketh No Mistake.

Lately, things have been a tad overwhelming. Things are changing, school is hectic, and youth conference is this weekend. My semester finally picked up right after I got back from spring break, and it all happened all at once. I took a little walk tonight to visit the bf at work, and did a lot of praying and thinking. As I prayed for myself and for the people in my life, I realized how blessed I was. I realized the fact that I have so many great people in my life, and even though things suck sometimes, He ALWAYS shows me that he works all things together for my good. Nothing that I do in life can affect the plan that God has for me. He knows my every step - every hair on my head and every breath that I take. Even though things are still hard, I'm still stressed, and now more than ever I'm ready to be home for Easter break in 7 days (not like I'm counting or anything) - I know that no matter what, he has a plan for me. A good, and perfect plan. I may not see that tomorrow, or in a month, or even a year down the road. But I know that if I give him everything and if I trust him with every single part of my life, He will do what's best for me. He'll never give me more than I can handle...even when I think that I can't. When I do go through hard times, he'll ALWAYS give me a way to stand up under it.

As I was walking tonight, I remembered a poem that my great-grandfather, A.M. Overton, wrote many years ago that has been a constant encouragement to me. That's how I'll end this post...and I hope that it encourages you as much as it has me.

"He Maketh No Mistake" By: A.M. Overton

My Father’s way may twist and turn,
My heart may throb and ache,
But in my soul I’m glad I know,
He maketh no mistake.

My cherished plans may go astray,
My hopes may fade away,
But still I’ll trust my Lord to lead
For He doth know the way.

Tho’ night be dark and it may seem
That day will never break;
I’ll pin my faith, my all in Him,
He maketh no mistake.

There’s so much now I cannot see,
My eyesight’s far too dim;
But come what may, I’ll simply trust
And leave it all to Him.

For by and by the mist will lift
And plain it all He’ll make.
Through all the way, tho’ dark to me,
He made not one mistake. 

Friday, March 4, 2011

Be the center...

A song that's been running through my head constantly all week is the song "Center" by Matt Redman. It's an extremely simple song, with a verse, bridge and chorus that repeat themselves throughout the whole song. But the main message of the song is for Christ to be the center of our lives. The speaker in chapel today talked about how we need to give every single part of our lives over to God. It's pretty typical of a chapel speaker to talk about stuff like that, and when he started talking at first I was tempted to brush everything he was saying aside, since I'd already heard it all before. Normally metaphors drive me nuts, because a lot of pastors use SUPER cheesy ones that for me, just distract from the point they're trying to make. But the speaker today used a metaphor that instantly caught my attention:

We need to yield our lives to God. Just like when we're driving a car, and we're 
told to yield. We put our foot on the brake and acknowledge the fact that we
don't have the right of the way. We need to do this same thing with our lives-
acknowledge the fact that we don't have "the right of way" in our lives...
God does.

For some reason, that hit me in the head like a 2 by 4. As much as I've tried to give up every single part of my life to God, there are still things that I just really want to have control over. I feel like God's been using the song "Center"to get that idea across to me. HE needs to be the center of my life. Not my schooling. Not my boyfriend. Not my future. But GOD and GOD alone. 

This semester has been an huge eye opener for me. I have the first healthy relationship that I've ever had with a guy, and it's been so encouraging. I have amazing friends in my life that are constantly building me up and loving me. I have a family that I've gotten so much closer with as I "grow up." Since being back from the Philippines, I've grown so much as a person and in my relationship with God. God's closed quite a few doors for me this year, but it's just taught me to trust him and to accept the fact that he has a plan that is bigger and better than I could have EVER imagined...and THAT is why he needs to be the center of my life.

Since I'm on a picture editing kick (since I haven't had time to do anything else photography related recently)'s the lyrics to "Center." I hope they encourage you as much as they've encouraged me :)

Monday, February 28, 2011

Missing my kids today...

Some days are harder than others. Some days I only think about the Philippines when someone mentions it or asks me about it. Others, it's all I can think about. I have pictures of my kids all over my dorm room (literally), which usually doesn't get to me unless I spend time in my room...which I haven't been doing much of recently. But today, for some reason, my kids have been all I could think about.

I had a dream the other night about Alexandra. Alexandra was "my kid" in the Philippines, and I got so attached to her over the course of the 3 weeks. (If you go to the blog I kept while I was there, you can read all about her.) I don't remember much about my dream, but what I do remember was seeing her again. And she ran up to me (because she remembered me) and gave me a HUGE hug and a kiss, just like she always did. It felt so real, and when I woke up, it was hard for me to figure out whether or not it was a dream. When I did wake up though, I remember feeling SO thankful that God gave me a dream like that. I know I didn't really hug her in real life, but it was almost like God knew how much I missed her, and he was giving me a glimpse of that joy again. It's so hard to be away from them sometimes, and it's even harder to think about the fact that I'll never see them again. I'll never be able to check up on them or hear how they're doing. I'll never be able to send them cards or letters or pictures, and I'll never be able to talk to them on facebook or on the phone. The only thing that I can hope and pray for is that someday, I'll see them again in heaven. It sucks, and sometimes I hate it. But I just have to trust that God has them under control. Today I killed a good half hour editing pictures that I took of them. (I've also been missing photography lately like NOBODY'S this is as close as I can get for a while.) Thought I'd share some of them.

"Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God." Luke 18:16

"He will defend the afflicted among the people and save the children of the needy; he will crush the oppressors." Psalm 72:4

"See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven." Matthew 18:10

"For he will deliver the needy who cry out; the afflicted who have no one to help. He will take pity on the weak & the needy & save the needy from death. He will rescue them from oppression & violence, for precious is their blood in his sight." Psalm 72:12-14

"Mahal Kita" - "I love you" in Tagalog

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Ok, It's Alright With Me.

I'm sitting in my room (which has just been cleaned), listening to this great song by Erik Hutchinson. This song just makes me think about how great today has been, how great this week has been, and how GREAT God is. Today started out kind of so-so, with my 8:00 class...not my favorite. But then, I found out that one of the bands I tried out with for Nostalgia Night got in! (We'll be singing "Open Arms" by Journey. Good stuff.) Then, I had my weekly lunch with Travis, and then we watched Glee (he's pretty great, isn't he? :) ), followed by my group PA interview. I feel SO good about that interview, but I'm trying not to get my hopes up too high. I want to be a PA on 3CO so badly, but I can't get all psyched up about it. If I do, and I end up not getting PA, I know I'll be devastated. I'm just trying to trust that God has it all under control. If I'm supposed to be a PA on third center, he'll make it happen. If I'm supposed to be a PA on another wing, then he'll prepare me for that and make THAT happen. I just have to trust that he always always always knows what he's doing, even if I have absolutely no clue.

I decided to start up a blog just to help me process my life. When I was in the Philippines I blogged every day, and it was almost like journaling for me. It's so much easier for me to think through things if I write about them. Also, I love pictures and I love editing them, so I'm going to add a "verse of the day" at the end of each post. God's been doing some great things in my life and in my heart, and I can't wait to see where this semester goes. :)