Monday, November 25, 2013

Living Out Loud, Fueling the Fire

WARNING: This post is very rambly.
Each day we are presented with hundreds of choices. From whether or not we hit the snooze button to if we go out of our way for someone else.
I am discovering that my anxiety seems to come from the unknown... or from knowing I cannot control everything and I am totally powerless at times. I have a bad habit of setting expectations for things and being really hurt when life doesn't produce what I expect. I cannot control this world. Last night I was feeling really anxious, so I sent Abby a text saying I wasn't feeling well and to just keep me in her prayers. Not 2 minutes later, sometime after 1:00 in the morning, Abby is in my bed. "Don't you ever text me saying that and expect me to just sit in my room and pray for you when I am only floors away!"
She reminded me that while there is a lot I have no control over, there are things that I am master of. I can make my own decisions... I can control myself even if my anxiety makes me feel like I can't.
I know that God is in control. I do. But when suddenly nothing meets your expectations, it seems like everything is in a spiral.
It is no doubt that the passing of Adam triggered this recent anxiety. Something such as this serves as an ultimate reminder of God being in control in all ways. Losing Adam was obviously not at all part of my expectations for life right now. I knew him very little, but hurt so deeply for those who knew him well. Before I get to my overall point, I want to share my few interactions with this incredible man.
I first met him in 2010. In fact, he was my very first experience with this whole Christian community I have come to hold so dearly and the openness of hospitality that comes with it (other than those in my local church). I had never been to a gospel meeting, but had recently started attending my congregation at home. Adam's dad was preaching the meeting and they were both staying at the Buntings'. I was sitting on the couch upstairs waiting on Kristina when a very tall man walked up the stairs balancing a laptop on his head with mild support from his hands. He proceeded to walk around in circles in front of me. After a good two minutes I finally asked what he was doing. "Looking for a signal." he replied and continued pacing. Then, he stopped and introduced himself...and continued his search for Internet. The next day he declared he would be adding me on Facebook, and lo and behold, I had a request from Batman Rodriguez. "Tina, who the heck is Batman Rodriguez and why does he want to be my friend?" Kristina cracked up and informed me Batman was just Adam.
In the time in between then and last fall (or maybe it was this past spring..), I barely communicated with him. Mainly, it was just a "Party Arthur!" from him on my birthday. But, when he was visiting FC recently we both ended up at Pie Night. From across the Village Inn he began flailing his arms "Erin Wells! That's Erin Wells! We haven't talked in so long!". Honestly, I didn't expect him to remember me. Why would he? We met once, 2-3 years ago and hadn't really talked since. But he did...and he made it a point to come talk to me. How many people do that?
I am grieved for this world's loss of such a special soul...but so happy for Adam. He no longer has to live in this world of sin. How wonderful is it that we have that opportunity?

The whole ordeal has certainly spiked my anxiety...but it has also made me hungry. Hungry, that is, for life. I have let my anxiety control me for too long. I need to let go. I cannot control it all...what I can control is how I live. I can be quiet and live in the background, or I can be like Adam and live out loud, trusting God in every step. I can take every moment and make it worth something and that is my choice. There will be days that are hard and that don't go as planned, but it shouldn't keep me from really truly living out loud.  Every day is a day to glorify God and live for Him.

I want to live out loud. I want to see the joy in every breathe I breath, every step I take, every tear that graces my face. I know it is unreasonable to do that 100% of the time, but I can aim for 98% of the time, right?

I have this fire inside me to do so much. I want to experience it, I want to taste it. I want to CHANGE it. I feel an urgency within me to help this world spin a little smoother. That's why I have chosen to go into elementary education. Not because I love children (although I do love children), but because I want to give them a chance they may not get...a view they might not have seen without me. I want to show them how wonderful learning is, but more importantly, how wonderful this world can be if we make it. If we show love and kindness...if we give opportunities. If we show others how it's done. I have a fire that begs for change by my hand. Each day I am learning to fuel that fire with hard work and lots of prayer. I know this world is not my home and that I am working towards a higher place, but while I am here, I charge forward to improve lives of others. We are given such a great opportunity of just being that it is a shame not to strive to make a difference. I am building myself up for the job, one brick at a time. Until I am ready, I will suck every moment out of the experiences I am given to get me to my ultimate destination.

Daily Scavenge:

A full house at a devotion in memory of Adam.
(I believe Brian Harbor took this picture..I stole it from Facebook)
The rest of these are from Fall Banquet (11/23/13)
Ugly Sweater day (for some reason, we look like weird shrunken people...)



Sunday, November 10, 2013

In the words of Little Orphan Annie...

We've all heard the stereotypical songs from Annie, I'm sure. And You know what? That little girl was right. The WILL come out tomorrow. Sometimes, we have rainy days, but we have to remember that the rain will stop (unless you live in Norway). Even if rainy days last months. and what may seem like a lifetime, but there are sunny days. And some day, there will be more sunny days than rainy again.

I feel like I have lived in world of rain for a while now, but suddenly, I feel like I've turned a new leaf. Yesterday, I woke up and just felt it in my heart of hearts that it would be a good day. I felt happy and I wanted to dance, which I did later in the day. Those days haven't been too common lately, and are welcomed with open arms when they show up. But for the first time in a while, I have felt like myself. For two days now (a record since August), I have felt like Erin. Really and truly like Erin. Just thinking about it makes me want to cry... I have missed myself so much. I am not done jumping hurdles, I know. My race is hardly over, but I'm ahead. It looks like I'm going to win.

My daily scavenge has really helped me keep things in perspective. I keep pictures in my brain (and my laptop) of things that make me happy and I can look at them when I feel sad. I can remember that just one bad day or bad moment is in control of my life, and that there is SO MUCH good. I can see the good again. I can talk myself out of irrational thoughts. Praises be to God, I feel like I can be of so much more use to Him now...

I have been complaining about Florida weather and missing home a lot... but suddenly, I was able to see the plus in being in Florida. I won't get sick of the cold...It will actually be a welcome treat when I get home. I might actually complain less and instead just be excited to wear a hat. Plus, the weather has been beautiful lately. Hot. But beautiful.

The people in my life are even more beautiful and I am so blessed by them.

I have the opportunity to experience so many new things. Like my first basketball game...where THIS happened...and we won!

I figured up that I spend, on average, 15 hours a week working with children. Teaching Bible class, observations/tutoring, and work. What a blessing is this? I get the opportunity to gain experience as well as be an example to a lot of kids. I pray I am a light to these kids because I love them all with all that I have.

Oh. And I have an amazing church family here in Florida that makes me even more excited to go to church than I am to begin with. We had a gathering today for the kids to perform a play they've been working on for 3 months as well as to just spend time together. It was a total blast. The kids did great with their play! The food was awesome! And the water balloon games were highly entertaining. I do adore these people.


No daily scavenge is really needed, because there's a lot I'm thankful for that I've already mentioned. So, it'll return later.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Patience to see the good... Patience in all.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who can honestly admit that patience is often a struggle for me. I remember being a kid and being told "5 more minutes"...what a life time those five minutes were.
The areas of patience I struggle in have changed over the years, obviously.
 I have to walk away and take a second to regain patience so I don't snap on my kindergarteners at least once an afternoon at work. I have to put myself back to that 5 year old mindset and remind myself that things are different for them...this whole school thing is still kind of new. But even through that, some of my kids are just poorly behaved plain and simple. So I have to remind myself to be patient, because one day they will do something so good, and I will be so excited to praise him/her for being the one kid walking in line correctly or the one who thought of something considerate to do for a peer. Because it does happen! That moment comes. When that kid who always makes poor choices behavior wise, suddenly does something that you can finally say "YES!" to...and seeing how proud he is of's so worth all of the "No!" s. But I have to have patience...

I am so ready to graduate and be done with school. I want to move into my own little place and really start my life, start teaching. I have to remind myself I am not ready, that's why I'm here in Florida working my butt off. That's why I study. That's why I chose to come here, to get experiences that just aren't available at home. I am getting those...but that doesn't mean I'm ready. And in all honesty, these next 2 1/2 years will fly by, and I'll be craving to revisit my college days I'm sure. I'll wish I could go back, just for a moment, to those late night conversations, carefree Saturdays, even the days full of stressful school work. There is good in all, but we have to 1) be patient for it to come forward and 2) be willing to do a little extra work to find it.

I've also had a tendency lately to jump to conclusions... I don't have the patience to give people the benefit of the doubt or see things from their position. That is really unfair of me AND to has caused some not so great feelings toward people I really care about.

And I've lost patience with myself in so many areas. That is a big struggle that I am working really hard on. Things are not as bad as they seem... Be patient, the good will come. Be patient, you'll see YOUR GOOD again. (and no, that isn't supposed to be "you're good"...I meant is possessive.)
Because you are (now it's you're) good. There is good within. There are good qualities. Just wait... you'll see it again, I promise.

Happy Monday, folks.

Daily Scavenge:

What could be better than getting this in a text at work?

These girls... that night.

These people...they make my days so much brighter.

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