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19 Jun 2009 Guarding Heart Wounds
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freeyourselftolove“I prayed to be a woman who had an unoffendable heart like Jesus and not someone with a bitter, tough exterior standing guard over her heart wounds.” (pg. 36) These are the first words I wrote down out of Jackie Kendall’s book “Free Yourself to Love.”

When I first read this sentence I thought, ‘Yes! I would love to not let others/things offend me and to be able to brush everything off!’ I use to be great at that when I was in college and something my Dad spent years trying to get me to learn, finally sunk in. The words of wisdom I think I’ll remember the most from my Dad is that “a situation is only as big as I make it.” I remember hearing that a lot when I was in high school and every small event was huge in my eyes. Then one day in college it just clicked. I don’t remember going through something drastic to realize that, I just remember that one day my Dad’s words finally made sense. But sadly, somewhere along the way I have forgotten those words of wisdom. I think about it, but the full understanding I once had isn’t there. I struggle getting back to understanding, and I think that is one of the reasons why I wanted this book, “Free Yourself to Love.”

The last words in Jackie’s sentence hit me even harder as I read back over it, and wrote her words in my journal. “…and not someone with a bitter, tough exterior standing guard over her heart wounds.” Ouch. I think I do that more than I realized. I don’t enjoy hanging on to times when I’ve felt offended or betrayed by someone, but it’s almost like I’ve felt like I have an obligation to remember these things and to not trust someone afterwards. In a way I tend to twist the situation around in my mind and kinda make myself feel better because of course I would never do something so horrible to another, and this person is below me because they did. That sounds really screwed up! Because I know that I have hurt others, we all have…but we don’t always want to admit it.

I’ve known for a while that my mind is the weakest part of me. That’s where Satan knows he can attack me the most with getting in my thoughts and really screwing things up. I have always struggled with thoughts of self esteem. The reason why I was so shy growing up, until college is because I thought that no one would be interested in listening to what I would have to say, so I might as well keep my mouth shut. And I think that’s partly why I like to write and I have journals full of my prayers to God because he loves me and always wanted/wants to hear from me and cares about what I have to say.

Are you standing guard over any heart wounds? Are you holding on to them so tightly so you can have control and prevent God from taking them away? I am finding that there are many aspects of forgiveness and many excuses that we make to hold on to hurts, and sometimes we try to get rid of a past hurt, but the memory keeps coming back…so then what? Already I have been more transparent that I expected as I write out my thoughts on what I am learning. But spending the extra time meditating on God’s word and learning about forgiveness is totally worth it. My prayer for writing out my journey of learning about forgiveness is so that someone else may benefit too.

Hebrews 12:14-15  Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”

06 Apr 2009 M.O.V.E. 2009
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MOVE09This past weekend Tim and I took 7 youth down to the cities for a weekend missions trip. Keeping with tradition, on the way down Friday we stop at Fuddruckers for a great dinner. This is the only time we eat there, and it is sooo good! Then the rest of Friday consits of settling into our rooms, and a great evening of worship music and a great speaker. This year the speaker was with International Justice Mission. This is an incredible ministry that reaches out those with such a huge need, needing someone to save their lives. We also found out what our project would be for Saturday.

The girls in our group lucked out and we got a room to ourselves, which was really nice because we didn’t have to worry too much about girls staying up late when we were wanting to sleep. The group across the hall was loud when we were all in bed, but once it was lights out for everyone it quieted down. On Saturday we went to a community center and did various jobs. They had a lot of cleaning and clearing out that needed to happen. We sorted through their good and bad chairs throwing the bad ones in a dumpster. Some people cleaned the kitchen and bathrooms, and others tore some old carpet off of the stage. Everyone with our church mainly did the heavy work of dragging loads of garbage to the dump.

For lunch each youth group was given one dollar per person for lunch and the teens had to figure out what everyone would eat for lunch that day. Our kids chose bagels, strawberry cream cheese, hi-c and brownies. When we got back to the church I went in search for food after started to feel weak and a little dizzy. I went to the kitchen and was able to get the afternoon snack early, so I ate a banana, apple and 2 cups of milk. I felt much better after that.

Saturday ended with the different youth groups playing a game together and a last worship time with the same speaker. On the way home we stopped for a quick dinner at Taco Bell, Burger King and Dairy Queen. Then it was time to head all the way home. We had a great time, and I didn’t realize how worn out I got. Sunday was great with my 4th grade girls Sunday school class, and I was already tired for Sr. High youth group that night, then Tim and I got home later than usual and I subbed all day today. I’m feeling pretty exhausted today. As the afternoon went on I was feeling more and more achy. I hope I’m not coming down with anything, but just need rest. Tonight we have Sr. High C-Groups, which I always look forward to. At this point though I’m not sure I’ll take a subbing job tomorrow. I got about 7 hours of sleep last night, and could use a lot more.

26 Feb 2009 This Week
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snowtrees

This has been a full and wonderful week. Sunday started off with a great time with my 4th grade girl’s Sunday school class, then a nice lunch with our Sr. Pastor and wife along with our new conference camp director and family. And we have started Gospel Journey Maui by Dare2Share, and it’s awesome! We had our biggest turn out last year when doing the Gospel Journey, and again it has happened this year. Last night for Jr. High Journey I had a fabulous time with my 9th grade girl’s small group. It really is the highlight of my week when I get to spend time with these girls and learn about God together. This year we’ve been studying the Old Testament, we did the New last year.

Substitute teaching has kept me busy today also. God totally has blessed me with the opportunity to sub as much as possible. I was worried about getting as many jobs this week as possible with not being able to work tomorrow because we are flying to Ohio for the National Youth Ministry Conference and next week is Spring Break, so I figured not too many jobs would be there. But God totally came through for me and I subbed Monday-Wednesday at an elementary school teaching a Kingergarten/1st grade combined class which was just so much fun, and then today I taught in a special ed class at the highschool for the morning.

I was already planning on having the afternoon off today, but am extra happy I planned on it because we are in the middle of a big snow storm that started while getting ready for work and will stop around when I go to sleep. School should’ve been canceled, but we’ve already had to extend the school year ’cause we’ve had too many snow days already. They did decide to close early, but after lunch so the district doesn’t have to make up the day. Now I will spend the afternoon cleaning up the house, doing laundry and packing for tomorrow. Tim and I are leaving our church tomorrow morning with 6 of our youth leaders to go to National Youth Ministry Conference. I am really excited to go to a different youth training and see how it goes and get to connect with hundreds of others that have a passion for Christ and teens. I will be trying to blog each night we are there, tomorrow-Monday. And having my own macbook this time should make that a lot easier because I wont have to wait for Tim to be finished with his blog before I can get online. 🙂

17 Feb 2009 National Youth Ministry Conference
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Tim and I leave in 9 days along with a handful of youth workers in our church to go to Columbus, OH for the National Youth Ministry Conference. This is the first time for us to attend NYMC, Tim and I up until this point had been attending the National Youth Workers Convention, but felt like we needed more experienced training since NYWC stopped being as challenging, and figured we’d see what kind of challenges we can learn from by going to NYMC.

For the last 2 days I have been going through the conference handbook trying to figure out which ministry learning track/s I want to sit in on. There are quite a few and I can’t make up my mind. This is what sounds interesting to me…

Deeper Learning Tracks: Thinking Theologically in Youth Ministry by Chap Clark or Partnering with Parents by Jim Burns & Barry St. Clair —  I would love to go and listen to Greg Stier speak, but I think I’ve already learned quite a bit from Tim with D2S’s Deep and Wide Youth Ministry and being in a youth ministry that implements this. I was also considering the Married to a Youth Pastor track with Cathy Fields and Amanda Maguire, but I went to one of these at NYWC and it seemed more like a support system of women venting about experiences they have had in their churches, and what I would really want to learn is how my transition is going to go this next Fall when Baby Schmoyer is around, and wanting to know how my role in ministry will change with a little one around. I already have faith that it will be a smooth transition because Tim and I are so blessed to be in the church we are in, so healthy and supportive. There will be change, but I don’t think it’ll be a pain.

Workshops: Bridging the Gap: Transitioning Kids from Children’s Ministry into Youth Ministry by Ricky Chromey; Helping Kids Experience God, Not Just Talk About Him by Jeff Berger or Using Service to Create a Servant’s Heart by Toby Rowe & Jeff Thompson

Brown Bags: Bridging the Gap: Transitioning Kids from Children’s Ministry Into Youth Ministry; Marriage Matters: Thriving as a Couple in Youth Ministry or Make the Most of Your Short-Term Mission Trip

Affinity Group: Married to a Youth Pastor

Here’s the deal though, Deeper Learning Tracks are made to go to just that track the whole time (you can come and go to which ones you want, but they’re designed to build upon each other) and the workshops are at the same time as the Deeper Learning Tracks. I’m kind of leaning towards the DLT of Partnering with Parents, but I would also like to attend the workshops I listed. The Brown Bag options I like are all during the same time, so if I had to choose I’d probably pick Make the Most of Your Short-Term Mission Trip. It’s also a bummer that these Brown Bags I like are at the same time as Tim speaking at one.

I haven’t decided if I’ll join an Affinity Group, ’cause I could use that time to take a break in the day, but I’m curious to know how they go, so I guess I could try it once and then make up my mind.

I’m not gonna stress over any of this, just wait until next week when I have to make a decision and also know what the other volunteers in our church are thinking about going, ’cause we can split up and tell each other about the tracks.

23 Jan 2009 Last Day at the High School
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melting snowToday was the end of my two weeks notice I put in at the highschool. It was a bitter-sweet goodbye. I’m really going to miss the adults I worked with at the school, but I’m happy to get to substitute teach again, and in the elementary school where the kids like to please you more than try to see how much they can get away with. I was shocked to find out that some of the students that I thought didn’t like me, were bummed to find out I was leaving. I guess that constant sarcasm is a sign of affection, but with being in youth ministry we’re trained not to use sarcasm, so I’m really not a fan of using or receiving it.

I really hope that I get to keep in touch with the friends I made at the school. And I gave 2 students mine and Tim’s contact info to stay in touch. I gave one girl my email address who I loved getting to help, she is such a sweetie and stayed close to me in class. And then there is a guy that I clicked with, even though we had our tough moments, that I gave Tim’s phone number to and when we have Sunday night youth group for him to start coming to. So we’ll see what happens.

I didn’t know how far I could push talking about God and Christ in the public school here. I would talk to co-workers about my life and make sure to give God credit, and I would bring up church and youth group to kids in the school. I wish I knew more of how far I could’ve taken Christ into the school so I could’ve witness fully. I’ll have to try to find students on facebook and work from there.

19 Jan 2009 Cold Snow, Warm Heart
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Tim and Dana (dating years)I’m sitting inside at our local ski hill resting. We came out here at 5, and it’ll close at 9, so we might as well take advantage of the whole night. Tim and I met and brought 3 girls from the youth group to come enjoy the evening since school was closed today. We were wanting to come in the afternoon, but when Tim called he was told they were out of rentals, which wouldn’t have been fun to sit and wait. This was our first time to come out and ski this season. It was really fun, I just needed to take a rest. I think between skiing and shoveling snow this morning, I’ve had a good workout today.

Skiing is such a fun time with youth, and we are so blessed to have a ski hill close by. We have fun with the youth on the way down and have a quality time to talk with them riding up the ski lift. Going in a group is great ’cause there is someone there if you fall (don’t worry, it wasn’t me that fell) and people to encourage you and keep you up and going.

Our exciting news of the day is that I had my monthly checkup today and Tim and I got to hear Baby Schmoyer’s heart beat today! And the other good news is that I have only gained 3 pounds in the last 11 weeks. I feel hungry so much, but then can’t eat much at a time, so I was wondering how I was doing, and know that I don’t need to gain a lot of weight right now, ’cause that weight would not be the baby. I’m still not showing, which I am really looking forward to, but I know I need to be patient and wait. It’s actually nice that I’m not showing yet ’cause that means I get to enjoy this time of being comfortable since it seems like my nausea has subsided for the most part! Everything is going well. No worries with anything. I could use prayer to keep me from getting stressed and worked up over the little things, especially the bad memory I have now. It really frustrates me that I can’t remember much short term stuff. I still can’t find my car keys that I hid before going to Texas, and I’m thinking I wont find them until we make the office into Baby Schmoyer’s nursery this summer. Luckily Tim has an extra set of my car keys.

17 Jan 2009 Christmas Memories
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Christmas coupleI finally got around to uploading the pictures from Christmas onto my computer, and since I was on a roll I decided to put them online too. Tim and I spent Christmas Eve and Day at his brother’s house and then flew down to Texas for a week. We had a wonderful time. A week later we had Tim’s family over to our house, but we didn’t have the camera out for pictures, sorry. The last 2 months have been wonderful with being around so much family.

You can see our pictures by clicking on the “Photo” link at the top of my blog, or click on the direct link below.

http://picasaweb.google.com/rockinyp/Christmas2008#

12 Jan 2009 Don’t Rush
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frostHere is my intellectual thought for the day…. (bare with me…it’s late now and I’m tired). 🙂

While waiting for our last student to get on the bus today to start our route I saw that she was fine until she heard the buses start up, which kicked her in gear to rush, making her bag break, spilling all of her stuff out on the icy ground. That reminded me of so many times in life where I let myself stress and try to hurry which brings so many more problems for me, than if I just relax and do what I can with the time I have and keep a level head.

I have been trying to stay extra calm lately (which can be really hard to do!) mainly because I’m pretty sure that stress cannot be a good thing for the baby God is forming inside of me. I get practice every morning before school with something almost always coming up that will make me shorter on time. I figure it’s better for me to be a couple minutes late to work than to stress myself out and get worked up which would last the rest of the day.

I’m slowly learning that life is much better if I go with the flow and not let myself make a big deal out of the small stuff.

07 Jan 2009 Quick Update
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I’m still around, just been busy and not feeling the greatest. I’m 9 weeks pregnant right now. The baby is about the size of a green olive and gives me a hard day about every other day now, today being one of those not so pleasant days. I know it was bad today ’cause I got 9.5 hours of sleep last night and people still said I looked pale and like I’m not feeling well. I’ve had a little nausea that lasts most of the day, but nothing I’m running to the bathroom for. I don’t look pregnant, but my clothes are already starting to get tight. Could be all the wonderful sausage gravy and biscuits I got to eat at Mom and Dad’s last week. It was worth it. 🙂

Tim and I enjoyed Christmas Eve and Day with his brothers down near the city. Then the day after Christmas we flew to Texas to spend time with my side of the family. It was so nice to see everyone and be able to just relax. I really needed that, especially after not feeling to great towards the end of school. I actually had 3 days in a row that I didn’t feel sick! Praise Jesus!

Speaking of school, I will be getting to substitute teach again in a couple weeks. I have really enjoyed working with my supervisors, but the highschool just isn’t my place. I got my degree in elementary education, and so I look forward to the 1.5 hours I get with elementary and pre-school aged kids in the afternoon on the bus, I just have to get through 4.5 hours of highschool kids before I get to do that. A couple days before Christmas it dawned on me to get a short-call subbing license, and with this I can also sub next year after Baby Schmoyer is here on the days that Tim has off, to bring in some extra savings. In order to do that it would probably be wise for me to go ahead and get back into the swing of substitute teaching this year and get my name back in there so I can sub next fall. Thank you to those that I talked to about this.

So that’s whats been going on. I have pictures from Christmas, so I’ll put those online somewhere sometime. I’ll let you know!

22 Dec 2008 The Best Christmas Gift
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baby's first picGod has blessed Tim and I with a little baby to come. I’m in my 7th week of the pregnancy, very excited, and not feeling too great. We’ve had to wait a while with insurance, so that the labor and delivery wont come out of our pocket. And we are so happy that the wait is over! I can’t wait until I get a prego belly, but I’m sure once I’ll have it I will be ready for the kid to come. I actually haven’t done too bad with the pregnancy. I’ve been completely exhausted, as I am now, and I’ve been a little sick to my stomach, but not full blown. Today was the hardest, I felt like I was close to loosing my breakfast while at work, but I just stood a lot and ate my saltine crackers I have stashed in my supervisor’s filing cabinet. I’ve been guzzling water non-stop, I feel like I can’t get over my thirst.

The fun side has been getting to tell friends and family about our soon-to-be new member of our family. A few people were surprised, but a lot have been waiting a while for the news. I think my favorite time of telling was to my 9th grade girl’s small group. I thought I had it all planned out ’cause the girls the week before had said that they wanted to start our Christmas party early and skip out on the large group game, so I would tell them at our party and Tim would announce it to everyone else, but as usual, my plans seem to change. The girls knew we were gonna play dodge ball, so they didn’t want to miss out. I told my co-teacher and she helped me gather up the girls outside of the gym before the game started. When I told them the news all I heard were screams and squeals and joy! Then was surrounded by 8 hugs! It was so sweet, I had dreamed about the day I got to tell my girls, and I’m glad I got to, some even said it meant a lot that I told them before everyone else. God has really blessed me with my small group, and my girls have such a special place in my heart.

We’re excited about what’s to come with having a kid around the house. We’re also nervous with the unknown, but have confidence that God will be with us and help us through. The Christmas Story feels closer at heart now with a baby in the making.