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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

One of my favorite things to do...

If you know my family, you probably also know that my sister and Kyle recently had a surprise wedding. You read it right...surprise wedding. Very few people knew and it had to be one of the most special days that I have witnessed on this earth...

After they were married, they made a blog. And because of the unique individuals that they are, it's not just a blog that they post on every now and then. They are posting every single day for an entire year. This blog has become one of my favorite things to do every single day. Maybe it's because they now live in Dallas and my sister and I never lived more than an hour away from each other our entire lives. I miss her. I miss Kyle. And maybe this is my way of keeping up with them. I don't know. But I do know that they are two of the most inspirational people I have ever met, yet they will never claim to be anything of the sort. They make me smile and they encourage me that someday, I too, will be blessed by a relationship that amazing.

So may it is my daily dose of Jen & Kyle, but it makes me laugh, it's made me cry and it's been a constant reminder of how we each have our own part to play in God's great big love story. Read it. It will tell their story from the beautiful engagement, wedding video and into the craziness of living in a tiny little apartment with someone you thought you knew everything about. I bet you will have a new habit each day...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Project Transformation: A Job That Is Transforming Me

I told you all in my very first blog, that I fail at writing in journals and that I would probably fail at blogging. And for the past month and a half, it definitely looks like I have. Trust me, there were reasons, such as working non-stop since May 1st. And a little problem called having no internet.

So as you can see, my life is back in order (sort of, more to come momentarily) and the internet has magically come back. And yes, for those of you wondering, I didn't have some big fight with Cox or AT&T, I might just be one of those people that is cheap. Might? Okay, I am. And I don't want to pay for internet. So for the last one and a half years of living here, I haven't had to pay for a single penny of internet. How, do you ask? No, I'm not a hacker and mysteriously am able to log into someone else's internet. So don't ask me to do that. It's not going to happen. However, my neighbors over the last year and a half, not one consecutive neighbor either, have always had unblocked internet. So why pay for internet when you can get it for free? There were a few weeks here and there without internet, but I lived. I just went to Panera or somewhere and lived cheaply. And I don't consider it stealing if they don't have it blocked. But that just may be my opinion.

I have had several people, mostly Miss Megster, begging for a new blog post. So please forgive me, I will try to do better and I will try to continue to share my life with you. A life that is seemingly returning back to the way my life used to be and to a time when I was much happier. And I do love that feeling. I still have days that the self-confidence levels are completely at a zero. But those days are becoming less and the good days are becoming more...thanks God. And I will continue to pray for wisdom, courage, hope and strength and the knowledge to just understand that God loves me more than anyone ever will, despite how I feel about myself and think about myself.

I am not a person that deals well with change and if you've read my blog previously, you know some of the changes that I have been through over the last 7 years. And these 7 years may have been tough, I can guarantee that I have had the greatest family support and have felt more love than I ever thought possible, even though the hurt is still there. Yet still, as much as those changes may hurt, new opportunities come along that I never thought would be as much of a blessing as they are. God surprises me everyday.

One of my favorite verses is Proverbs 3:5-6. "Trust in the Lord with all of your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take."

I know that I may never understand it all, but this has helped me to get through without knowing the answer. And if you know me, I pretty much have to have an answer to everything. If I ask why?, I expect an answer. That has yet to come and I'm learning that that is okay.

One of the biggest blessings that I have received lately is my new job. It was a change I was definitely excited for, but at the same time, I always doubt what God has in store for me. It's usually months later when I finally decide that this is a life changing experience that I will never forget.

I started January 2nd of this year. And I have definitely learned a lot since I began. We've planned 2 weeks of training and 8 weeks of summer camp since then. I have done financial reports that I never even glanced at in college and have figured out how to do them in less than a day...even if they aren't my favorite thing ever. I have improved my grant writing skills and already have a large grant secured and am working on several more. I didn't think I would ever do those things or want to, but I will do whatever it takes to make this job work. I love it.

I love the people I work with. I love my members, even if they are only here during the summer. I love having Bible studies and worship at work. I love praying before and after meetings. I love that people really care about you.

I must admit that I did however go into this summer a little apprehensive. I was told by dozens of people that I would be completely exhausted and out of my mind this summer. And I am pleasantly surprised. Training was tiring, yes. 17 hour days trying to squeeze in every bit of training with our 50 members, followed up by staff meetings late into the night. And early mornings the next day. But we made it and we learned while we were there that we had a great group of members.

We then divided them into their 3 cities and one staff member spent a week in one of the cities. I went to Bartlesville and spent a week with them in their sites and answering last minute questions they might have about the summer. And I learned in that week how much I was going to love my job this summer. I feel like their mom, even though I may only be a few years older than several of them. And I have realized just within the last day that God has not had some doors open yet because it's just not time. I'm supposed to experience this first and when the time is right, it will happen. But that the two or three things I have been praying for would be impossible at the same time. I have grown to love my members over the last few weeks and we have had some fantastic conversations that both sides are learning from. And I am technically their boss, but in ways, I feel like I have found a great group of friends. I know where to draw the line, but it is a prayer that has been answered.

They are hilarious, intelligent, loving, creative and love the children at the sites. We couldn't have picked a better group of members for this summer. We have had terrific reviews from site coordinators (this hasn't hardly happened in the past 9 summers) and they say that they are in "Intern Heaven". They finish their tasks on time and make the curriculum even more creative than we asked them to be. They. Are. Fantastic.

Yet, they have no idea how many lives they are impacting, how many children look up to them, how many children will have lives changed because of them, or how they are changing mine.

They not only are they great at their jobs, but they have brought a piece of life back into me that has been missing for so long. And I honestly can't explain it. But I am thankful for them. And I am thankful that God knows what he is doing even if I don't understand it. He is always right and I just need that to stay in my head and my heart and life would be much more simple. But for now, I am happy, I love my job more than words can explain and I feel that my prayers are being answered. Or maybe I just started to listen.

Prayers for my members and staff would be greatly appreciated throughout the remaining six weeks of our camps. And prayers for our children that come to be open to what we are teaching them and to just soak up every bit that the members share with them. These children need our help and our love and our attention. They don't get it anywhere else and as much as it hurts to see them hurting, we know too that we are helping. And that is awesome.

Just a few pics of why my members are so fabulously creative and just amazing. The Bartlesville Members received applause when they entered the theater at the Toy Story 3 midnight opening. They also had their picture taken and were on the news the next evening. They looked awesome! Just hoping all the paint came off...

And volunteering with my OKC members at the Infant Crisis Center here in OKC. You should too! Pics of Tulsa members coming...they just have to be taken first.

At the very beginning of the summer I randomly picked up a card out of a pile with all kinds of Bible verses on it at one of our churches earlier this summer. This verse was on it. And when I feel the moments of not being good enough or sufficient enough I run this verse through my head...over and over...

This message was to the people of Israel, but I find it very relevant in my life today...

Isaiah 43:4 "Others were given in exchange for you. I traded their lives for yours because you are precious to me. You are honored and I love you.

It reminds me how much God loves me, even when I sometimes can't love myself. And that is why he is precious to me.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Summer Must Reads

So I may be incredibly busy this summer. But you can bet that I still will manage to fit in a book or two! One of my favorite people asked for some suggestions for girlie books. They are not all girlie and you may not love them all, but these will be on my summer reading list.

Have a Little Faith by Mitch Albom

If Mitch Albom sounds familiar...well there's probably a reason for that. He wrote the Five People You Meet in Heaven (I have yet to read this!, but you will see that soon!). He also wrote Tuesdays with Morrie. If you have read Tuesdays with Morrie - you need to. I actually read it before I worked at the Muscular Dystrophy Association with ALS patients. I read it when I was in high school and also watched the movie. And let me tell you it's wonderful and it makes me cry. Partly because of seeing this horrible disease happen to the sweetest, most wonderful people and knowing there's not a cure. Read it if you haven't already. Enough sidetracking, I haven't read Have a Little Faith and the Lord knows I sure could use a little.

Dear John by Nicholas Sparks

Nicholas Sparks Ladies! Need I say more?! I have read this one already, get the tissues. However, I have yet to watch the movie. So apparently the movie will be on my summer blockbuster list instead! Nicholas Sparks is not my favorite author...shocker! I know, I know...I feel like you never really know why they are in love in the book. I need detail! (Not that kind of detail sickos) Just more romance. It's hard to explain. I always like the movies better...can anyone say The Notebook? And yes, I know I'm like the only human being who didn't like the book. Sorry. I'm picky.

Belong to me by Marisa de los Santos

I have read Belong to Me. But I want to read it again! My friends and I decided on a Girls Night to go to Barnes and Noble and pick up one book that we would want to read. The catch? We went back to my apartment and wrapped all the books, placed them in a pile and then we drew numbers of who got to pick first. We would then switch books after we had finished reading. 5 for 1! I didn't get to read it first...heartbreaking! Especially since it had the cutest cover of all the books! Eventually I was able to read this book...however I didn't know that it was actually a sequel to a book called Love Walked In...I know, it says it on the top of the book. I was looking at the cover, remember?! Anyway, I honestly can't remember a lot of what it's about. I just know I liked it. So Belong to Me is on my re-read list this year. And another side note - I bought Love Walked In and didn't get past the 3rd page. Maybe because I read them in reverse order? Not sure. I still have yet to figure that out! Maybe I should try to read it again the correct order.
The First Counsel by Brad Meltzer

I have spent many summers in Colorado reading thrillers by Brad Meltzer. My favorite: The Millionaires. There are still so many that he has written that I have not read and I may have to read a couple this summer. I would read any book available by Brad Meltzer. This is just my pick this summer! Brad Meltzer is creative and you just have no idea what is going to happen next! I can't wait to read it.

Plan B by Pete Wilson

What do you do when God doesn't show up the way you thought He would? I'm currently reading Plan B right now. And yikes, does it speak to my life. I mean I never planned to get sick the way that I did...and I can tell you that there were times that I was just mad, angry, scared, crazy and just lonely. But you know what? I lived. God didn't have to make me live. So how am I going to handle those Plan B's in the future? What if I'm not married at 27 like always planned? What if I don't get to be a stay at home mom? What if? What if? What if? What do you do when God doesn't have the same plan that you do? Do you listen?

Every Last One by Anna Quindlen

Cute book cover? I pick it! I have no idea
what this one is about, but I will find out! I'm serious about me picking books this way. Anna Quindlen...don't let me down.

The Hole in Our Gospel by
Richard Stearns

Believe it or not, this is the book that I won from my friend that he had a drawing for. I still haven't received it. However, it is supposed to be life changing. And well, so far, even though I've never had the book in my hands. It did change my life. I learned about where he got this book from for FREE! BookSneeze! No need to say God bless's THAT'S where I got it from. Whether I not I get it from him is not the question. I will read it. I just might embarrass him a little a long the way!

Wild at Heart by John Eldrege

No, I haven't lost my mind. I know that this book is for guys. However, I strongly recommend that all guys read Captivating. The need to know why we are the way we are. Why we like things that sparkle, why we love sunsets, why we love to be treated as if we are a princess being rescued by our prince. Maybe then they would understand us. I'm not saying all guys are completely blind to this theory...but the rest need to learn to protect a woman's heart, to romance her and love her the way that God loves her and the way that God intended man to love her. That's why I want to read Wild at Heart. It's been on my list for so long, but I've never gotten there. I need to know why guys want to be the rescuer, the caretaker, the man of the house. I need to know these things so that one day, this knowledge may actually be needed in my life.

Harry Potter, Books 1-7 by J.K. Rowling

I will forever have Harry Potter on my reading list. If you haven't read them, stop what you are doing, run to Barnes & Noble (or drive if you prefer) and buy Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone NOW! After you're done reading and you love can buy the next and the next and the next....and so on! I started reading these books as a senior in high school. I swore I would never read them...EVER! And now I have read them probably 127 times each. Okay, not that many...but lots. And if the movie was coming out this summer...well I would make you add that to your blockbuster list, but you will have to wait until Christmas. They're not kids books. They're magical stories that take you to another world that actually seems real. Harry Potter Land at Disney World here I come!! (MEG! Road trip there!?!?! YES?!) And another side note of wonderful goodness - J.K. Rowling is thinking about releasing another Harry Potter book in 10 years. I was devastated at the end of 7. Now I have hope there will be another! And 10 years...that's nothing.

Well, that's the end of my list. I don't know about you, but I have a lot of reading to do! Maybe it can be my 2010 Must Reads list? Do you have a favorite book suggestion for me? I'd love to hear it! Happy Reading!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

My Little Secret...

If you haven't met BookSneeze yet, well you need to introduce yourself. It's my newest, favorite website! For some reason, my friends who know that I LOVE to read decided to keep their little secret to themselves. How did I discover it you ask? Well, it just so happens that I actually won a free book from one of my friends that was giving one away. I was excited! I won! And then I discovered wait, he got it too - for FREE! I actually still haven't received that free book from my friend (you know who you are and I hope you feel reaaaaally guilty right now!), but you know what I have tons of other free books to choose from too. And they're actually really good reads! I'm telling you...I am one of those people that judges a book by it's cover. If it's not pretty, I am NOT picking you up to even read what you're about. If it is pretty, well you get to be the lucky book I pull off the shelf. I first read the back and if I'm interested I go ahead and read the first page. If I'm not captured in that first 20 seconds. You're done. Back on the shelf. On to the next book. I'm serious. This is how I choose my books at Barnes and Noble. I eventually find that lucky book that I take to the register and I am rarely disappointed. And needless to say, when I hear that will be $27.89 it hurts. We shouldn't have to spend that much on books! I do shop on Amazon for a lot of my books, but the only problem is that I have to wait for it in the mail. And while I do LOVE mail...when I want to read a book - by gosh I want to do it now! So I have decided to go the free way...and it still gets mailed, but I think BookSneeze is faster than Amazon. It's simple. All you have to do is visit, and create an account. Choose your first book - I am currently reading Plan B by Pete Wilson and let me tell you it speaks to my heart. They will then mail you your book in 7-10 days. Read your book. Then post a review about the book you read on your blog and on a review on a consumer website (,,, etc.) and mention that Thomas Nelson allowed you the opportunity to review the book. After you have done that, let BookSneeze know and submit the pages where they are posted. Then request your next book! Easy, huh!? I hope you enjoy this website that I had been hidden from for so long. Happy Reading!!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Marathon Weekend!

Most of you know that I am NOT a runner. Every year I was in elementary school we had Little Olympics. Everyone had to participate and I always had a great time...until I had to run the 100 yard dash. I placed 5th every year. And no, that's not 5th out of my class of 74. That's 5th out of the 4 other people that I had to run against. Sad. I am NO Michael Johnson. In fact he could probably run a mile before I even finished 100 yards.I have loved sports all my life, but was always the slowest girl on the basketball court...well almost. In college, I did run 3 miles a day at 6 am, but I still wasn't great at it. We also played softball in college with the greatest team ever called the Black Sox...I was on 3rd base, my friend Kyle hit a home run and we will say that he almost lapped me by the time I got to home. You get the point. I may like to's a good stress reliever for me, but I am definitely the turtle, not the hare. You might ask why I placed running in a marathon on my bucket list. Well, I honestly still cannot answer that question. But I am. This weekend I will be running in the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon...the shortest distance of the relay I might add. But I am doing it, even if I'm not fast, even if I don't have perfect form, even if I want to quit while I'm running it. I'm going to run the entire distance. I am ready and I am ready to mark it off my bucket list. You can do anything that you put your mind to, even if you aren't good at it. And while I am running I will remember the people that I have lost that have been so important in my life and I will remember the 168 people that lost their lives 15 years ago in a terrible tragedy. They live on in our hearts and that is why we run...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Why I Celebrate Today!!

Today is a day that I love to CELEBRATE!! I almost bet that anyone I ask, besides close friends and family, wouldn't even know what I am celebrating today. Today I am spreading awareness for Cushing's Disease Awareness Day. What is Cushing's Disease you ask? Well, you will have to look it up. I won't go into details because it took 3 very long years for me to tell anyone all of my symptoms, but I had Cushing's Disease and I lived with it for years not knowing that I had it. I can't say that I didn't know anything was wrong, because I definitely knew something was wrong with me. However, doctors didn't believe me and thought that I was lying (literally!) when I said that a ran 3 miles EVERY SINGLE DAY, ATE NOTHING and still GAINED 10 pounds in a month. Not just one month...but month after month, after month. It was a time when I would look in the mirror and not even see myself because I looked so different from what I had in recent years...even months. I had a moon face...not just the cute chubby face that I've always had. My face was gigantic and my whole body was completely swollen. It was a time when I didn't believe in myself, didn't have any self-confidence, didn't believe that I was worth anything. It destroyed a lot of myself that I am working so hard to get back and I can't explain how it even left, but it did. I didn't understand it then and I don't understand it now, but I do know that I survived after having brain surgery on January 3rd, 2008 to remove a pituitary tumor in my brain. How it got there I will never know, but I know that it would have never been found had it not been for Dr. Harvey Cushing who discovered this rare and deadly disease in 1912. Dr. Cushing is widely regarded as the greatest neurosurgeon of the 20th century and often called the "father of modern neurosurgery". Just a few of Dr. Cushing's accomplishments include: considerably improving the survival of patients after difficult brain operations for intracranial tumors, using x-rays to diagnose brain tumors, using electrical stimuli for study of the human sensory cortex and he played a pivotal role in development of the Bovie electrocautery tool with W.T. Bovie, a physicist. He was the world's leading teacher of neurosurgeons in the first decades of the 20th century. He was one SMART man! Although he passed away on October 7, 1939 he made a huge difference in my life without ever knowing it - someone else may have discovered Cushing's Disease before now, but it may have not been as advanced and there may not have been a solution to this disease. My story may have ended very differently, but it didn't. Today is Dr. Harvey Cushing's birthday and that is why we celebrate Cushing's Disease Awareness on this day. They say that Cushing's Disease is a rare disease and only happens to 10 in every one million people...however, it happened to me and I have found that it is not as rare as everyone might think. There is a group of Cushing's Disease fighters in this world and we are spreading the awareness. My prayer is that one day, the response of people won't be - What is that?!? It will be - you can beat Cushing's Disease! I am thankful that I had God to lead me through this time. I am thankful that I had wonderful friends and family to help me fight Cushing's Disease. I am thankful that today I can celebrate instead of my body fighting against Cushing's Disease. I am thankful that today I am living and I am thankful that I can say I survived Cushing's Disease. Celebrate Cushing's Disease Awareness with me and tell everyone to celebrate with us!!

(To the left are some pictures to show you what Cushing Disease does on the outside...not to mention inside your body! The first picture of me is before I was sick, the second is when I was sick...and the third picture is NOW!! I have to this point lost 35 pounds after my surgery. Still have a ways to go, but I am getting there slowly - the healthy way with diet and exercise and I feel so much better already!!!)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Thoughts of Summer

I haven't stopped talking ALL day or ALL day yesterday. For most of you that know me, this is very unusual. I guess I should feel lucky that I lost my voice for the entirety of last week - instead of this one. Why didn't I stop talking? Well, I had 20 interviews back to back for college students that will serve as our interns this summer. And let me tell you...they were quite impressive. I am a good interviewer, I've done it a lot in my few years of my big grown up jobs and I like to think that I am a pretty good judge of character from the time that I meet you. I had my guard up, ready to catch any and every flaw from every single one. And did I find any today? Any yesterday? Nope, I don't think so. Not one. They make me so excited for what is to come for the summer. I know that we will have ups and downs (that's a given), but to bring in interns that are so dedicated and excited about working with our kiddos...warms my heart. These kids are come from low-income families, are abused, neglected and some even live in their cars. They come to us for a summer of fun and reading. They learn with our program...and they LOVE it. I know it's going to probably be the busiest, craziest summer of my life, but I'm EXCITED. I am excited for it to be here and for these interns to learn how to lead and just to grow in their walk with Christ. I really believe that some lives can be changed by this program and I haven't even experienced it yet. Please pray for these interns, to prepare their hearts to help these kids and pray that the kiddos come ready to soak all of this love up. It's so exciting. I'm so excited. I don't even care if I talked all day and will be talking all day for the next week. I know that this summer will be amazing.