Warmth

Dec 14, 2010

I wish I could share this morning with you. 

I love home. I stayed at my parents' house last night. 

Warmth. In more ways than one. 

Warmth...I know every single time I walk in the  door I will be greeted by three excited dogs. Even before I walk in the door I can hear their anxious "woofs" and see their noses against the windows. 

Warmth...my parents have a gas stove. Boy, is that thing warm. I park myself in front of it as much as possible when I'm home. I may burn the backs of my legs, but the heat sure does feel good.

Warmth...the familiar feeling of family, of home, of unconditional love. 

At this very moment, warmth...the sun pouring in through the window, my sweet Abbey curled up in my lap as I type on my sister's Mac. The other two dogs are sprawled out, asleep on the couch. 

This feels good. 

I know soon I'll be permanently sharing a new home with my love, starting new traditions, starting our own family someday. 

But for now, I savor these moments. The ones where I don't feel quite as bad still calling this my home, even though I have my own apartment that is starting to feel like home a couple towns away. 

Warmth never felt so good. 




Biggest Loser

Dec 7, 2010

This week I'm gearing up to take 4 tests and a final......all in the same class. It's an online class and I've procrastinated, yet again. Today, I've had all day to study as I didn't work with my client today and I haven't learned as much as I'd hoped I would. I kept getting distracted, fell asleep for about an hour, and then drove to the grocery store because I was craving ice cream. I'm pathetic, no? 

I ate this...........

 while watching this..............

Just more proof of contradiction in my life! Sometimes comically, sometimes not. Aye-yi-yi! 

 

I need this woman to help me lose weight! If I had that screaming in my ear at 6am, I'd lose that 20 pounds fast!


Letters

Dec 2, 2010

Dear Sun,
    I dearly miss your heat. Please come back. Winter clouds just aren't as fun. 

Dear Biology class,
   I can't believe I'm letting you get the best of my procrastination problem. Not anymore! I will now (after this blog) commence to writing one of several reports due yesterday.

Dear Diet,
   What can I say? I found someone else. His name is Fast Food. I plan to break it off as soon as my willpower will allow me. 

Dear Family,
    As much as I love being mostly independent, I cry sometimes at the thought of eventually moving away from you. I may just be all talk when I say It'll be a breeze. 


Dear M,
   Thank you for helping me put up my/our tree. It's beautiful and I know I couldn't have done it without you....literally. Thanks for putting hooks on all the ornaments and letting my OCD self place all the ornaments just perfectly on the tree. 


Dear Jamaica, 
    If only you could see what my heart is doing right now. It's jumping for joy and excitement,  silently shaking out of nervousness, and breaking a little already for what I know already breaks the heart of God. And this is on a good day. 


Love your one and only,
    

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree.....

Dec 1, 2010

I don't know about you, but I had a pretty great Thanksgiving. Forgive me for not writing as much recently. Like I said, I finally got a 2nd job at Best Buy and had to work the dreaded Black Friday. I had to be there at 4:30am. It wasn't too bad....people surprised me and weren't as cranky as I had begun to prepare for. 

I had about three Thanksgiving meals last week. I'm SICK of turkey. The first meal was in Alabama with M's and my friend Jeremiah and his family. Jeremiah is M's old roommate. We went and stayed with him and his family. His dad is a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force so we got to tour Maxwell AF Base in Montgomery. We also went to a piano trio concert at this great art museum. Jeremiah's mom decided to have their Thanksgiving meal while we were there. It was delicious. 

I then had my second meal on Thanksgiving day. My mom and I cooked dinner for our family, M, and my sister's entire in-law-family. It was a house full, but I LOVE that! It was a great time, except for a few people's insistence that we keep the stupid football game on during dinner. I HATE the tv being on during dinner. Oh, well. Majority won.

The third meal was this past Saturday with M's family. We had it at his granny Jane's house. It was so nice to see everyone in his family. They made a long table that seated almost 25 people. I LOVE everyone sitting at the same table together. 

M and I spent the rest of the weekend with family. It was so nice to be home and just relax for a little while. 

On Saturday night, M and I headed to Walmart to get some cheap ornaments for the tree I wanted for my apartment. This apartment is my "first place", really. I don't have a roommate and pay for everything on my own. I think it can be rightfully called my own place! I was so excited at the thought of getting a tree. I got red and gold ornaments and regular white lights. On Sunday night, M and I went to Home Depot and got a fir tree for about $20 bucks! It's almost 6 feet, too, which is a great price for something that tall! 






It was so nice to be able to decorate the tree with M. Although we're not married yet, he is over at my apartment a huge amount of the time and its been wonderful having him so close. It ALMOST feels like it's "our" apartment....but I guess we won't be able to officially call it our first Christmas until next year. :) 


This week will be filled with finishing up a class I'm taking and working extra hours at Best Buy. I'm going to try to blog as best I can! Hope you all are having a wonderful start to December! 





Makeover

Nov 20, 2010

Don't be alarmed, as this blog is.....

My Suitcase

Nov 18, 2010

This week, just the same as any other week, I've had a billion things running through my mind. In an average minute, anywhere from 5 to 10 topics will be spinning through my thought process. It's literally exhausting most days. I have a problem with getting things done. I may have ample time, but I literally feel like I can't slow down mentally long enough to concentrate on one task. I used to joke about this, but lately it's become a frustrating thing in my life.

While the word "topics" is so general, let me unveil what that really involves. My brain cannot think anything without my heart getting involved. I'm a passionate person. It's one of the things I like about myself. I cannot just do surface thoughts. No, mine are deep and analytical. It's like my brain creates this really deep suitcase that is full to the brim and almost every minute feels like I'm endlessly rummaging through to get to the bottom. I'm picking out items and looking and seeing how they connect to the previous one or the next one. It feels endless at times. 

Different items invoke different emotions - that may be the most exhausting thing, really. Being angry, being sad, being bitter, hoping for more, wishing for more for others, not liking myself for having that bitterness and anger and judgment..it goes on and on.

Today's "suitcase"?


The HUGE responsibility of being a FATHER - to boys AND girls. I want to shake some men I know and say "Don't you REALIZE your kids need you in more ways than just simply providing food and shelter?!". I want to go to some men I know and say "Don't you get it? You're creating a cycle and your son will likely parent like YOU". "Don't you know your daughter NEEDS you?". I want to yell at men who send their sons to their mothers when a tough issue comes up. Grow up! Face the tough issues. Show your son, your daughter that you love God and aren't afraid to show them truth. Give them boundaries. Show them that men can be vulnerable at times, too. It may seem that I have father issues when in truth, I don't. My dad was a good dad. I'm not sure where this frustration comes from aside from simply seeing it and wishing for more for others. 


Poverty. My thoughts are too many on this subject. Too heart-breaking. I feel frustrated that America is supposedly in economic turmoil but some stupid video game made 300million in its first week. What are we doing?! There are people who are starving literally to death while one of our country's biggest worries is paying off the millions of senseless dollars we've spent...or "improving health care". What about those who can't even afford soap, or food? We take so much for granted...so much. I've struggled with this recently because I feel helpless. But isn't that how it's supposed to be? Our depravity...the depravity of others...is the thing that makes redemption so breathtakingly beautiful. In our weakness, He is strong. He is in control. We cling to the truth that without Him we can do nothing. Even when I am not able to feed others or be there with them to care and comfort or share Christ's grace, the realization that HE is there and sees it all should truly humble me. I truly just haven't felt satisfied living here. But my satisfaction shouldn't lie in where I am, should it? It should lie in Christ. HE should be my satisfaction no matter what I'm doing, no matter what I CAN'T do, and no matter where I am. This blog post was good for me to read last week. 

Marriage. You'd be here all day/night if I tried to write this one out. I wish that I could grab one of my old Christian Psych. professors and talk this out. Or my pastor. Which I might just do. I know what it takes for a godly, Christ-centered, priorities-straight marriage. Maybe my concern is trying to get "others" to know and want the same thing, especially since they haven't received that at home. I'm SO glad that Stephanie over at "How Sweet It Is" wrote this blog post. It's exactly how I feel. I truly believe that one's priorities should be their relationship with God, their relationship with their spouse...THEN their kids, the local church, and then missions. There is no such thing as a godly man who is not a loving, wife-cherishing husband.

Short-term missions. I agree... and I'm glad I read this because I believe it will radically change how I live my life. 


I could write on and on. I really am working through a lot in my life right now. I'm trying to "find my place". I'm working through anger and resentment. I'm trying to rid my life of judgment of others and their lives. Who am I to look outward when my own heart is filled with such things? My responsibility is to build on my relationship with Christ and draw up to Him. To know Him so intimately that when he calls me to a task, whether short-term or long-term, I know instantly that it is the voice of my Savior and I obey. THAT is my goal. THAT is how I want to live my life. Not in constant analysis of people and their lives to the point where I allow bitterness and anger to set in. That is not of Christ. 

This passage truly encompasses the Truth of human depravity. It also encompasses on a smaller scale how I daily feel. I relate to Paul.

Romans 7:14-25
For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin.
 For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.
But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good.
 So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.
 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.
 For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.
 But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.
 I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good.
 For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man,
 but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members.
 Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?
 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.

Whew. What a battle we as Christians face. It's never-ending. 

I like being honest here. I like being vulnerable here. 

I like finding out through self-revelation what I need to work on..what I need to surrender to Christ...how much renewing of my mind and heart needs to happen. 

 


Miscellany Tuesday?

Nov 16, 2010

{one} I'm truly terrible at blogging daily. But I'm pretty much terrible at doing anything daily so I'm letting myself off the hook! 

{two} So you know how I've been expressing concern over not having a job/steady paycheck? I can now turn this prayer request into a praise - I got a job at Best Buy for the holidays (perfect for timing for my trip to Jamaica! I'm very thankful! 

{three} Ever get to the point where you realize you've only been fooling yourself? Maybe you want to believe someone/something is different/the way you want it to be to the point where you almost convince yourself it truly is that way? Let me tell you, it's quite a let-down when you're hit with the truth. That's been my last few days. I'm praying for wisdom. 


{four} Right now I'm craving salt and vinegar pringles. I'm only resisting buying some because I'm thinking of my rear. 


{five}  This is my precious poodle, Abbey. She usually is so dainty and prissy, but in the weeks prior to this picture, she had surgery on her teeth and had to endure a grooming during which they brought razors near her privates. She needed to let it all hang out.

That's all until tomorrow! ;)
 

Veteran's Day

Nov 11, 2010

I wrote a post awhile back that I think is truly fitting for this day of remembrance. It was my first experience on a marine base watching the hundreds of men leave their families and friends to go serve our country...me...you....us. I left with an overwhelming heart of gratitude and thankfulness.

I cannot express my feelings adequately enough to do the meaning of this day justice. My heart truly is thankful for the lives that have been lost in pursuit of freedom and the lives that are continually put on the line today. A special thanks to my brother-in-law who is, as I type, serving in Afghanistan. 


You can read my post HERE.

Happy Veteran's Day and a HUGE thank you from the bottom of my heart for being so willing to lay down your life for those of whom you have never met.

redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be 'til I die.

Nov 10, 2010

Tonight, I'm not much in the mood for words. But in my attempt to blog daily, let me leave you with one of my favorite songs. A classic hymn, it has such moving and powerful words.


Jamaica

Nov 9, 2010

As I've mentioned in previous posts, I, along with my friends Grace and Hannah, am going to Jamaica in January for a month-long stay at Jamaica Christian School for the Deaf

My friend Sarah (Grace and Hannah's sister) went to Jamaica for a week this past summer and ended up visiting this school for a small portion of the day. After learning from her about the school, seeing pictures, and contacting the headmaster, God put a clear burden on my heart to go there and serve. God has truly been working in my life the past few months. I've been doing the Experiencing God bible study at my church through which I have learned that God is always at work and our responsibility is to find out where He is at work and join Him. I truly believe that is what we are doing. 

First, a little background about the school...


  
JCSD is a residential school that has about 34 students currently enrolled. All of the students are either deaf or hard-of-hearing and some have slight learning disabilities or are developmentally disabled. Over the years, the school has actively sought out deaf children in the area and have attempted to bring them to the school and give them the opportunity to receive an education. JCSD is one of the only schools in Jamaica that has any kind of special education program.

Although some may see Jamaica as a beautiful vacation island that isn't far behind America in societal progress, many parts of Jamaica are truly suffering from poverty, drugs, and disease. Much like America in the early to mid 90's, children born deaf in Jamaica are often thought of as mentally retarded and unable to learn. JCSD gives these children the opportunity to learn that most of the public schools in Jamaica do not. Some of the children go home to their families on the weekends and some only go home on holidays or summer vacation. Many of the children come back after summer vacation extremely malnourished, evidence of some pretty bad home situations.

In the past couple of months the school has struggled greatly, having gone through some severe storms and hurricanes that have left them with limited electricity and availability of getting to town for supplies and food. You can read about their struggles as well as updates here. The school relies wholly on volunteer financial support to stay up and running. Because there are limited resources, we are even having to pay a weekly amount to the school to stay there. 

Some other great things about the school? They've started a vegetable garden in an attempt to become more self-sufficient. I love that this also gives the children opportunity to work and gain that specific kind of experience. Agriculture is a huge part of the workforce in Jamaica and the better equipped the students are - the better.

The school also gives the students the opportunity to be involved in extra-curricular activities like dance teams and academic clubs. Recently, the school has set up a vocational program in which the students who are close to graduating can learn specific skills to help them in the work force.

A tour of the facilities...
Entrance to the Campus
Classroom Building
 


Miss Sophia Reid, the school administrator standing in the computer lab.
Student Dorms

Staff Quarters
Laundry Facility
The van that was finally fixed and given a face-lift. Surely a blessing to the school!

Our part....

Because the school has limited resources and makes changes as funds come, there are always improvements that need to be done. The  following are a few areas in which we plan to help:


1. Painting
2. Cleaning
3. Food Preparation
4. Grounds work
5. one-on-one influence with the children


Aside from our work at the school, we are hoping to do some work with Tammy and Cletis Titus, missionaries that live a mere 20 minutes away, on the weekends. 

As you can see from the computer lab picture, the school's computers are extremely out of date. Recently an electrical outage has blown the computers and the school is now in need of new ones. In an effort to help the children keep up with technology and learn using specific computer programs, the school desperately needs new computers. Our goal is to be able to raise enough money to cover our costs as well as give a love offering to the school so they can use them to buy computers or whatever else they need. We are also praying that used computer laptops will be donated so that each of us can bring one in our checked baggage to give to the school.


My part....

When I first read about the students and their brief information I learned that not only are the students deaf, but several have been diagnosed with autism, a mild developmental disability, or a learning disability. My degree is in Psychology and for the last year and a half I have been working one-on-one with individuals that have been diagnosed with an intellectual or developmental disability. This, along with my passion for the deaf community and my experience as the daughter of a deaf father, really hit home.  Jamaica does not have such an extensive service for the same individuals in their country. Many of the volunteers teaching at the school have not had any such training or experience. 

The school administrator that I have been in contact with has expressed their need for two teachers and their lack of funds to adequately pay them. The Lord has given me a strong desire to be able to teach or tutor one-on-one with some of the children during my time there. It is my hope that in addition to our work as a group at the school, that I can assist the children and the school academically, as well. 


I'm so excited about this trip. My heart feels like it's been in Jamaica for awhile now. I'm ready to go. I truly know God is using that school to not only educate these students and strengthen their future, but to provide them with a Christian education and the opportunity to hear the gospel of Christ. We are praying as a group and as individuals that God would prepare our hearts for the work that needs to be done and the things that we will see. 

This past weekend we held a benefit concert to try and raise money for our trip. God blessed so much and we were able to meet our halfway mark! We have two months to raise the rest and we're taking a step of faith and buying our tickets in the next couple days (with a leave date of Dec. 31st and a return date of Jan. 29th) without having the money raised to stay at the school. We know God has called us and we're trusting Him to provide.

If you're willing to pray, please do. If you'd like to give, use this link from PayPal(my e-mail = krgunter@liberty.edu) to donate or contact me about sending cash or checks.


 But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus -Phil 4:19






 

Miscellany Monday

Nov 8, 2010

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

{ONE} JOB. After about 3 months of only getting ten hours a week and having to depend on the generosity of my family (without whom I would literally be out on the street...either by the lack of funds or the lack of somewhere to go), I finally have a job interview at Best Buy tomorrow at one o'clock! I'm hoping this is a done deal because my sister works there and I really don't think they would find me unqualified for the job. I'm so thankful that I have something seasonal to last me until my trip to Jamaica (which I will be writing about in detail this week).

{TWO} CONCERT. This past Saturday, we had our Jamaica Benefit Concert. It went so well! God really blessed our time and we were able to raise almost HALF of what we need for our trip. God is so good. We're moving forward in faith and buying the plane tickets without having raised the full money for our room and board. We know God has called us and we KNOW he will provide.

{THREE} GYM. I'm trying to get back into the swing of things. Previously my goal was to lose about 15 pounds...well, let's just say that goal has needed to increase to 20 pounds...if you get my drift. I went to the gym Friday and today I went to the park and walked/ran. It felt good! I know I can do this!  

{FOUR} RE-ARRANGE. I rearranged my "dining room" today. I put the quote, un-quote around dining room because it's such a small room that it serves as my dining room, closet, AND desk area. Anyway, as I explained here, I can't go for a long period of time without changing something!  So because I didn't have much time, I just switched the desk and the bookshelf. I also took all the books down and started from scratch - organizing them based on topic and then alphabetically by author. It feels good to have done that. To be honest, I've been wanting to change my blog around. I just think it's too busy. Is it too soon? Should I just wait until Spring and call it my "spring makeover"?

{FIVE} TRIALS. These past few months, because of my cut in hours and not really being able to find a second job right away, have been pretty stressful. There have been times I've had only a couple dollars in my account and haven't even been able to buy any groceries for the week much less pay my bills or rent. As things are beginning to look up this week, I look back and am glad that I've gone through this. My whole life all of my needs have been met. I've never gone hungry or worried about shelter and even through college, my parents helped me with getting loans and paying what needed to be paid. This past summer when I was making plenty of money - I was not very wise with it. I spent it on things I didn't need and although I didn't blow it, I took things for granted like occasionally buying a new shirt or eating out. It wasn't until this trial came into my life that I really realized all that I had begun to take for granted. It also made me thankful for such a wonderful family. They supported me in more ways than one while I've been struggling to get back on my feet. If it weren't for their mercy and generosity, I truly would have been in trouble. The Lord has put amazing people in my life and has used so many people to bless me and take care of me..I'm truly thankful. 

{SIX} CHEAPO. Contrary to the past when I've spent money frivolously, I'm a dictator when it comes to my bills. EVERYTHING is unplugged after I use it and I rarely have the lights on until it gets dark. As a result, my electric bill has been extremely low. I've had the AC off since mid-august. I haven't let myself (or M when he's over) turn the heat on yet. I know that's like those people who ONLY eat somewhere if they have a coupon - oh wait! that's my grandparents! - but I just can't do it. It's currently 60 degrees in my apartment. My fingers are cold as I type. I just put extra layers on when I get cold. At night it's the coldest, but my bed is awfully warm. I think it's getting closer to needing to put it on. We'll see if I can get over my cheapness this week!

Alright. That's it for my randomness today. I'm going to go put a second layer of socks on. BRRRrrrrrr. 

Husker Country

Nov 4, 2010

Want to know something? I have just not felt like writing these past few days. I really haven't had anything to say. I know a good blogger is supposed to write daily, even if it's something small. I haven't even been able to pull "something small" out of my thoughts enough to type it out here. 
Today, I'm ready to start writing again. I'm out of my funk. 

This past weekend, I went with M and his family to Nebraska for the Nebraska v. Missouri game. Because Nebraska is about a twenty hour drive, we decided to fly. M's mom and I originally weren't going on this trip because I was supposed to be in Jamaica and I don't think she was interested in going and being the only gal there. My plans for Jamaica got delayed and it turns out that M's dad was able to get two extra plane tickets! 

We flew out of Roanoke. This was only the second time I've ever taken a plane trip. The last time was to Disney World when I was thirteen and Megan giggled the whole way there because she was so nervous. M's dad travels for his job and ended up having to meet us in Omaha. 

So M, his mom,  brother, and I headed to the Roanoke airport for our flight to Atlanta around noon on Friday. It was a gorgeous, clear day. I'll admit, I felt a little giggly when we were taking off. My stomach tickled. 
The view of Roanoke from the plane just after taking off. It was so neat to see some of the places I know from the air. 
 We had a connecting flight in Atlanta with a three hour layover. That is the BIGGEST airport....ever! It was bigger than any mall I've ever been in with tons of escalators and even a Subway. I mean...seriously....huge! We walked around for what felt like forever just looking at different shops and restaurants. There was a huge food court with a grand piano and a fantastic pianist. I'd LOVE to have a job like that!  

We didn't end up getting on our flight to Omaha until that evening and got to see this beautiful view from the plane.

 
 


 Once we finally arrived in Omaha, M's dad met us with our rental suburban and we headed to our hotel an hour away in Lincoln to settle in for the night. 

The next day was a full, busy day. The game didn't start until 2pm so we had some time that morning. M's dad was born in and spent his early life in Lincoln. Several of his family members still live there. We met at a cousin's for breakfast and M's dad caught up with a childhood friend that he hadn't seen in about 20 years. It was fun to hear their stories and meet some people I had been hearing about for awhile. 
 After breakfast we headed to downtown Lincoln to start our "football frenzy"! We walked around amidst Husker fans clad in red and black. Every pub had pre-game shows going on and were already packed with fans who didn't have tickets to the game. M's mom and I didn't have tickets because we came along too late.The NU campus was right next to town. We walked around campus and around the stadium until it was time for the guys to head into the stadium.
Watching the team arrive at the stadium!


Where's Waldo?
Shortly after this, the guys went into the stadium and M's mom and I headed back downtown. We went and got some refreshments and then headed to the NU Art Museum.

There was a special gallery that required us to wear these....interesting booties. 

 After sitting in the squishy chairs and feeling silly, we walked around the rest of the gallery.
The theme was basically death in honor of Halloween. Weird stuff.




Minutes after this picture was snapped the man down at the front desk must have seen me taking pictures and put an automated message over the speakers, "Photography is not allowed inside the museum". Well geez. Coulda put up a sign or something, buddy. 
M's mom and I spent the next few hours walking around, watching the game at our hotel for a little while, then heading back into town for some more browsing and shopping. It was neat to be in town because no matter where we stood we could hear the cheers from the stadium. It was a win for the Huskers!  I got a delicious ginger lemonade from a little bookstore as we waited for the guys to come meet us. 

That night we went back to the cousin's house for some dinner and more family reminiscing. Early the next morning we were up, had breakfast at the hotel, and went in search of Husker gear. We went to the campus bookstore, got some great shirts and other apparel, and took one last tour around the stadium (with M's dad hoping we'd find an open door....no luck!) 

Husker Fanatic? Noooo...

Really...M's dad is not obsessed. Promise.

After this last minute attempt at squeezing in as much Husker-ness as we could we headed to Omaha, an hour away, to drop M's dad off at the airport. Our flight, this time with a connecting flight in Detroit, was not until later that evening. 


We headed towards downtown Omaha to grab some lunch and browse around town. We ate dinner at a neat Italian restaurant with a create-your-own pasta entree. I LOVE Italian! Afterward we walked into some cute shops and got to see little kids (AND big ones) all dressed up for Halloween trick-or-treating at stores giving away candy. We ended our trip by walking over a suspension bridge crossing the river. 






We had some pretty cool views on our flights back home....


By the time we got back to Roanoke, it was almost midnight and we were worn out! I loved flying, it made me want to travel all the time. We had a fun weekend and the guys really enjoyed the game.

Hoping to write more soon! I'm going to attempt to be more faithful at this! 
Happy Thursday!