My Favorite Part of Minisry

I love working with girls and letting God use me to be a light in their world. I love that we have a “Girls Only” forum on our Youth Chat Board where girls can open up more and we can discuss things going on in their life. After seeing one conversation I signed onto AIM which I haven’t done in a while and think I should start being more available. I had a wonderful conversation with one of our girls and I loved being a listening ear and offering advice when asked for. That was a highlight of my week.

Another highlight was going to an orchestra concert of another girl in youth group. After the concert, Tim and Jessica, and I went to CiCi’s with our youth and her family. It was so great to get to meet her parents and siblings. We had such a fun time and I think we really started to build a good relationship with them. I’m looking forward to getting to know them better.

I think parents are such an important part in youth ministry. Both of these girls I just wrote about are community girls. Meaning that they were invited by a friend in our youth group and their parents either attend at a different church, or don’t attend anywhere. With church kids we see their parents on a weekly basis, but community kids it’s a rare moment to meet their family. Another reason why I think it is very important for youth leaders to make it to student’s events.

Community kids parent’s let their students attend our church every week without knowing what kind of people their children are hanging out with. We all assume that youth leaders have to be good people since they’re at church. I think that parents really appreciate though when they can meet the youth leaders and see that they really do care about their child by showing up to their extra curricular events. It’s great to see the parent’s faces light up when they see a group of church people at their child’s even cheering them on. It’s good to know that their child is plugged in with good people.

Since I started student teaching and Tim and I got married I’m exploring a different role for my position in youth ministry that God is setting up for me. At church my heart is with the 6th-12th grade girls. And I think I’m starting to find that my area is in supporting these girls outside of the regular youth group setting. We have lots of youth workers who are available on Sundays and Wednesdays, but it’s sometimes hard to juggle more days than that with their families and work. I’m blessed that God has made me available for other days of the week. They also make for fun date nights for me and Tim.

Fake Beauty

I got an email from a friend with a link to a YouTube video, and forwarded it to Tim, who then put it on his blog.
Go here to see the video, and then you'll understand this blog. :)

My heart broke for all the girls when I saw this video come to an end. Even after knowing that this girl doesn't look like they advertise her as, it's still hard to overcome all that culture has put into our heads on what we "should" look like. I would love to see magazines and billboards with real people on there who haven't had computerized touch-ups.

Even with watching tv, most of the women on there wouldn't normally look like they do 'cause they spend hours in the dressing room with professional make-up and hair artists working on them.

It's so sad what they're feeding girls! I'm curious to know how many guys actually expect girls to look better than what reality lets us.

Growing up I would force myself to not wear make-up for a period of time 'cause after a while I started feeling like I had to wear make-up. But I was just covering up what God has made. I didn't want to become dependent on it, and so self concious of what I really look like.

I love having a husband that likes what I look like naturally!

1 Samuel 16:7 (New Living Translation)

7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Small Town Girl

I am watching "Deal or No Deal" right now and theres a girl from a small town of about 500 on the show talking about her tractor races and what not that they have in her town. This weekend in Austin something spured me thinking of the small town of Golden that my family once lived in, and I mentioned that there was probably less than 500 in the town when we lived there.

Well, while watching this show I wanted to check up on the demographics of Golden and of the little information I could find on the town I found out that in the years we lived there the town had about 156 people there. Wow that is small! I didn't realize how tiny that town is! I haven't had the opportunity to take Tim to Golden yet and show him around. I like going back to the towns my family use to live in. Golden has been my favorite to revisit. I love the small town country atmosphere. It was perfect for me and Jon to ride our bikes all over the town, and our parents didn't have to worry about us. Last time I went to Golden the little convenience store that Jon and I would by 1 cent candies at was still open! I have lots of great childhood memories from Golden.

LOL, okay, so I did some more internet searching for Golden just now. They are famous for their sweet potatos so I looked for their festival, which is actually the last saturday of October! Well, when looking for info on their festival I came across a site that has a little clip from the Oprah show a few years ago and she did a little segment on their potatoes!
Right now I am so pumped and would love to go visit Golden and be there for the sweet potato festival. Tim doesn't sound too excited about the idea, but maybe I can either convince him about it, or see if my family would go. :) I'm sure I just have my hopes up, but I just think it's great!

Dealing with Difficult Girls

*One in five girls will experience some sort of domestic violence by the time they graduate from HS (family or on a date). These girls are dramatically more at risk for suicide, eating disorders, drug usage.
*If one is female and under 18 years of age, one is more at risk to be the victim of a violent crime than anyone else in America.
*Parents are busy and more stressed than ever ... The average mother talks a mere 7 minutes a day to her teenager; the average dad only 5 minutes.

Today was the last day of the National Youth Workers Convention. I had the opportunity to go to Kerry Loescher's seminar about "Dealing with Difficult Girls." God has put a passion in my heart for girls. So I was looking forward to this session all weekend long. One thing I didn't think would happen at the session was that I learned a personal lesson for myself. We talked about all the different types of girls in each clique and how girls relate, both positively and negatively with each other. The thing that got me the most (where I learned my own lesson) is in "Forms of Aggression." Here's the notes from that section:

Forms of Aggression:
Relational - acts that harm others through damage (or threat of damage) to relationships of feelings of acceptance, friendship, or group inclusion. The relationship becomes the weapon. Most of the time the silent treatment is used for this.
Indirect - allows the perpetrator to avoid confronting the target. It is covert behavior in which the perpetrator makes it seem as though there has been no intent to hurt at all. Uses other people to inflict pain on the target. Such as rumors.
Social - intended to damage self-esteem or social status within a group. This is usually in the form of put-down cloaked in humor followed by "just kidding." i.e. "OMG you are so stupid! Just kidding, J/K J/K." These statements are really hurtful.

Kerry went on to tell us that we need to teach these girls how to talk out conflict with the person they are in conflict with instead of running away from the problem and "forgetting" about it. For girls it is really hard to forget a conflict that you've had with someone. I know this from experience. So while Kerry is telling me this I'm thinking to myself, "Man, I wish I had someone to teach me about this." So many times girls will get in a fight/conflict and their relationship is over. When a relationship is healthy there is still conflict, but there is also the knowledge of how to talk through and solve the conflict. With being a newlywed there are little conflicts that come up with learning how to be with someone all the time. But Tim and I have learned how to communicate through these times, and we know that no matter what happens we still love each other and are going to give our all to our marriage and friendship. I have only had a small amount of friendships with girls that have this type of commitment. And I am sorry to say that I have lost a lot of friendships because we never learned how to face our conflict and it seemed easier to run away and "forget" about what happened.

Knowing how much of an impact it would have made in my life even now if someone would have taught me earlier in life how to handle conflict, I really want to be able to do this for the girls that God puts in front of me to minister to.

There are a lot more wonderful things that I learned about in this seminar, but most of it I need to read over and meditate on and start putting into practice with youth ministry.

Great time in Austin

Tim and I are having a wonderful time at the National Youth Workers Convention. We're learning a lot. I have a lot of things in my head that I will have to take time to sort through when everything is over. Not only am I bringing back new things to implement into youth ministry, but also many things that relate to personal experiences, with me alone and with mine and Tim's relationship.

It is so good to take the time to come here and get encouragement from all these people to continue in what God has put before us. Ministry can be draining at times, and although I knew that being a pastor's wife would be hard, there have already been a couple more things that I am learning about that I didn't think I would come across. It's good to be surrounded by others who are experiencing the same thing, or have already experienced it.

I will probably blog about some of the sessions we went to later on.

Youth Specialties National Youth Workers Convention

Tim and I are leaving at 6am tomorrow morning for Austin. We will be joining thousands of youth workers all over the states to dive into a full blown weekend of seminars and worship to not only equip ourselves to better serve our youth, but to replenish ourselves. This way we can come back and implement what we learn.

Tim and I had given up on the idea to go to NYWC a while back. Our youth budget was cut tremendously so we couldn't afford to make the trip on what money was available for the convention. This week Tim decided to see if any of the youth pastors on a forum he gets on had any extra tickets for NYWC. Well, the president of Youth Specialties, MarkO saw Tim's p

ost on the forum and emailed Tim asking if he paid our way for the convention would we still be able to go.

Right after Tim got the email we both checked with work if we were able to go, and God worked through everything! I was able to get off tomorrow and Monday, so we can go to most of the convention. It started today if you paid the extra cost to get the early bird seminars. I am really looking forward to what Tim and I are going to learn this weekend. I assume it's huge since God worked such a miracle for us to come. Crazy!

Tim will be blogging throughout the weekend if you want to keep up with what we're doing.

Compliments at Work

Work has been great. In the beginning I complained a lot 'cause I'm not in the classroom, but God is helping me through that and helping me to be content where I am right now, and reminding me that he has a plan for why I am where I am right now.

I have gotten tons of compliments from work. I know I'm good at doing paperwork/receptionist work, organization and multitasking come easy for me...when it's doing something for someone else. (Now come to our apartment and you wouldn't think that of me at all.) :) Although I know I'm good at what I do at work, it is so nice to get compliments. It gives me energy and helps me to appreciate helping the people I work for when I know they are grateful for it. I didn't get my first compliment until 3 weeks of working, but it was totally worth the wait.

My first compliment was from the manager. He said that the others in the office have been really impressed and like having me there. And that I'm a great help. Wow that makes me smile just thinking of that! And then the lady who I have worked with the most so far came to me and told me what a great job I'm doing, and that even people who call the business and I transfer their call to whoever they need have been complimenting me and asking, "Wow, who do you have answering the phones now?" I even had a man who calls quite a bit and then visited one day tell me how pleasant it is to call now and have someone nice answering the phones.

My main job is answering the phones so they're not ringing all over the office bugging people while they work. And then my paperwork and data entry I do in between calls. That's when multi tasking comes in very handy, with remembering where I left off...and sometimes answering the phones while continuing what I do when I'm in a time crunch. That gets kind of annoying at times, but I know the people calling are my top priority so I make sure I always have a friendly voice and am more than happy to help get what they need.

I don't work directly for the company I'm at. I work for a temp agency who has hired me out to this place. The temp agency sent in another girl for a temp-to-hire position in the office and lasted a week and a half. I don't know if I raised the company's expectations, or if the girl was just goofing off a lot, but I was told someone new will be coming in to interview and try out for the position, and that they asked for someone like me! :) Or actually what the HR lady said was, "I told them we'd like to have another one of you." I think that was probably my biggest compliment so far at work.

My temp agency has also told me that they have gotten lots of compliments when they take our HR person out for lunch, or talk to them.

God knew exactly what I needed to help me be content with where I am working. He knows what lights my fire to keep me going. So I have started liking where I am more and more.

Hot Weather Go Away

You'd think since I've lived in Texas all my life I'd be use to the weather, or at least not mind it. But I am so tired of it. My favorite season is Fall 'cause I like when it starts to cool off and I'm not sweating every time I step out the door. Last week we had a couple mornings were it was cool and I wore a jacket, but then by the afternoon I was glad I had worn a sleevless shirt.

With our couple nice days last week Tim and I tried to save money by not using our AC and just open our windows. Only thing was there wasn't a breeze blowing through, so it was hotter in our apartment than it was outside. We tried to put up with the temperature inside as long as we could, then ended up breaking down and turning on the AC.

We went to Target and Wal-Mart the other day, to buy a fan to help cool down our apartment and go without the AC, except, the fans are all gone and the shelves are full of heaters. I understand it's October, and any normal place would start getting cold right now, but I wish stores would consider the location they're in, and tend to the weather that place has. This week is going to be in the 90s all week long, so a heater is not going to help us at all.

Although I'd rather it be cooler, it is nice to make smoothies. It's a nice refreshing way to stay cool in the heat.

I Can Cook!

I think from now on if someone asks if I can cook, I will say yes.
My roasts have been a success, and I even made good gravy.
My chicken is great and makes for wonderful chicken dishes throughout the week.
I just made my favorite smoothie! :)

I was laughing at myself this morning while preping our chicken. I noticed that my nose stayed wrinkled the whole time 'cause I'm completely disgusted by what preparations have to be made. But I just keep on reminding myself of how wonderful the chicken will taste for lunch. I even tried to stop wrinkling my nose at the chicken, but it didn't work. :)

So for lunch Tim and I had chicken, noodles, green beans and black eyed peas. With lots of left overs. We didn't have anyone over for lunch today. We enjoyed a fun and relaxing weekend together. I get so drained during the week with work and us only getting a few hours at night, that the weekend is wonderful to refill our tanks.

For dinner I sauteed some onions and through some chicken in left over from lunch to make chicken fajitas. We bought corn tortillas for tortilla soup which I will make later this week, and so decided since we've got way more tortillas than we'll need for that we'll have tortillas. So we had corn tortillas, sauteed onions and chicken, tomatoes, lettuce, sour cream and salsa. What a great meal!

I'm loving having homecooked meals instead of a meal out of a box or a frozen meal. I feel more healthy actually seeing each ingredient used too. And I'm having fun cooking too! It's kinda like science for me. Home experiments! :)

And to end my day of cooking I made my favorite smoothie so far. After I threw all the ingredients in the blender I had to come back and look at the recipe 'cause all it called for was fruit. No milk, no yogurt, no ice. This was the first only fruit smoothie I made. Well, almost all fruit, instead of oranges I used orange juice. Close enough though.

I found a recipe that was close to something I could do with what we have, and then had to tweak it a little. I definately recommend this one:

2 cups frozen red seedless grapes
1 cup frozen strawberries
1 banana
1 cup orange juice