Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Fall Semester is Approaching, Summer is Ending, and The Leaves Are Changing

It's been a long year. Never in my life did I picture being so busy that I would not blog for almost 6 months!

Summer has been quick. Not as refreshing as I would have liked, but at least it did not drag on slowly. That would have been worse. I begin school as a 2nd year Doctoral student on August 30th. Also on the 3oth, I will welcome two new classes ;)

I don't have a lot to say. Life has been tough. Its been one of those seasons. Yet instead of the difficulty lasting for a season, it began in Winter, continued through Spring and all of this summer. Come on Fall! I hope for fresh air and a fresh season. I desire to move into a place of significance instead of a place where survival is the key.

We're praying for big doors to open and trusting that God is moving, while we are waiting--and complaining. For now, everything is in God's hands. And, this is His finest hour.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Surviving My PhD Program

Well, it's been a while since I blogged. Mainly because I have so much required reading and writing that blogging seems too much to add to my to do list.

So, I'll start by being honest. I am in over my head this semester. I hate the New Handbook of Organizational Communication. AND I cannot believe I read almost 1000 pages a week. I'm exhausted. All the time. I keeping telling myself, this too shall pass. I will eventually be out on the other side. But that side feels so far away. I think I did this to myself. I need to take breaks, which I do not always do. When I get stressed, I isolate myself so that I can get work done and reduce the stress.

Thursdays and Fridays are the worst days of my life, it's when I read all my work for the next week. AKA, my attempt at not cramming.

Today, I did nothing. The NCA conference deadline is tomorrow. Thank God. No longer will anyone call me and ask me to make any more panels. I am DONE. And I am returning to saying NOOOOO when people ask me to do things.

I want the snow to melt around here. Not for any wonderful reason, simply that I just want to play soccer and work off some of my stress. Speaking of stress, I thought about joining a graduate student support group, because this work load is crazy and I feel the incessant need to complain. I despise my students' complaints. Yet, I have a few of my own.

OK, that is all for now. I have to read for class.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Birthdays, Weddings, and a PhD Program!

Mikhail Turned 23~

We celebrated with a little sparkling peach juice and some cake. Then of course, their were the hundreds of presents I purchased my husband!

All and all, I would say he had a great birthday. We kicked off the celebration with a vacation to MN to celebrate the marriage of John & Nikole! So much fun! I will get to that later. Then we returned for more birthday week activities. We concluded the week with the ever so famous, A.C. Milan vs Chelsea soccer game in Baltimore.

John and Nikole's wedding was awesome. So beautiful. We loved being there.

Since returning home, we've been busy getting our apartment all decorated. we've since added some color to the place, some reds and browns. We're excited to see it come together.

August Arrives!

With the arrival of August came many changes to our schedules. Mikhail is pursuing a position with a non=profit, while I enjoy my time as a pre-PhD student. Currently, I started working on a chapter from my graduate thesis for publication. It is hard work, but fun. I must be insane. Still, in a few weeks, I will be a professor embarking on the long road to my doctorate. August brings change and much excitement about our future.

Enjoy the pictures!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Beyond What We Can See

Faith in Transition Times

This seems to be the key lesson in Mikhail and I's life right now. Things are changing. I think it is interesting how uncertain we are of the future. I do not understand why life can be so complicated. Our lives are not ordinary. 

We are both going back to school, well I am, and Mikhail is in the process of applying to graduate programs. It is difficult to resist the urge to think about what everyone else is doing with their life. Our friends, who are our age, they are working and building their careers. They are saving money, traveling, spending, living it up in the here and now. It is all very appealing, to want and to attain. Most likely, in 5 years, they will still be doing the same thing. However, in 5 years we will not. 

The fact that our lives are moving in a good direction does not make where we are any easier.  It is tough not to compare our world with other people's. I have to keep reminding myself that there is a bigger picture. We are going back to school. So we live like students, although our home does not look like this. We are blessed by what we've been given. Living like students means we hold back on a lot of things. While our peers realize the value of money, we realize that this will come later for us. We are in a different place than those around us, which is OK. Life is not a game of comparison. I seem to learn and re-learn this message. 


One thing is for sure, there are no certainties. I do not know what school Mikhail will go to, what his financial aid package will look like, or where he will be working when he goes back to school. I don't know what will happen next week. Honestly, I really don't know how we are going to be provided for. Normally, I would freak out. I would seek to gain control of the situation. I would make a plan. Instead, I am handling this time with Grace. I am learning. I know that God is a God who provides. I know that He will move Mikhail and I from strength to strength. I know that what seems good to me, might not be the abundant life planned for us. I know that sometimes we have to take steps back to move forward. 

Embracing Reality

So I have no clue what is going on. I know that I start my PhD this fall and that I will be teaching two classes. I hope to pick up one more at a community college on the side. Other than that, all I know is that God called us to move to this city, to live in this place, for such a time as this. I have no control. And it feels good to let go. This will test our faith. This will increase our trust in Jesus. This will position Mikhail and I for the careers of our lifetime. So it may be difficult, times may be uncertain. But we believe in God. We believe that all things work out for the good, even really difficult things. So, it is going to be OK. Maybe not ideal, but OK. We will survive. We have no control. And as such, this is God's finest hour. 

In five years, we will look back on this and smile. We will be amazed at our growth, our faith, and in awe of our God. All of this is gained from relinquishing control. It's worth it.

Facebook Blogs From the Past Two Years. I am writing a book and need these all in one place ;)

Jan. 17, 2007
I was just thinking about my life over the past two or so years. I think that as people we make decisions all the time and really don't think about what an affect they can have on your life. The decisions I have made , over the last two years have affected who I am today as well as where I am at. I love being who I am where I am at. I am happy for those over me that gave me wise advice, even when I did not ask for it and thought they were wrong. I am glad that I obeyed, as that directly affects where I am today.

Mostly I am glad that I didn't settle. Looking back, I was able to accomplish my goals while I was in undergrad at UCF, and I learned a whole lot about life and myself. I know who I am and I know who I am not. I know that the thought process of the person I once was before I was really a Christian can come back to haunt me today, but I actively walk away from my previous cognition's. 

God is amazing. I am thankful that God always kept me wanting more. Because He did, I never settled for less than God's best for my life. Now I know that I am living, and I am so thankful to be where I am at. I wouldn't want to miss this. Nope. Not one second of it. Life is Beautiful, and God, well He is soo Good!!!!


Affirmation comes from the father. It has to start with God. Everything does. Because there is so much of life we can't appreciate with out God, because we can't truly see the beauty of life until we know God. Until we are in relationship with him, it is like you have terrible vision and you are trying to look at a sunset with out your glasses on...that is life with out God, He brings clarity. He brings life, and once you have him, you know what life is. You know what love is and then God can fully bless you. I don't believe that I lived or had the ability to love someone before I knew Jesus. The affirmation that we receive from friends and people, it is great, sometimes needed, but only the affirmation from God satisfies. Only after we are filled from God can we let other people love us. Only then can they affirm us and it mean something to us. Unless we are filled by God, these words from others, they just "fill" a void. we have to be filled and loved by God before we can love others. We are then used as vessels to love others for God, and we ourselves can be loved by others.

"Wait on the Lord. Be of good courage and he will strengthen your heart. Wait I say on the Lord." - Psalm 27:14

"For no greater foundation can anyone lay, than that which is laid and is Christ Jesus." 1 COR 3:11

June 16, 2007

God does go beyond all that we can ask or believe is even possible. 
How many times does the Lord go out of His way for me, for us? And how quickly do we forget that He provides. He does provide. I forget the many things that I wouldn't have unless God had moved. He provides. I am re-learning this lesson this month, as I watch all of my financial issues being met and taken care of, including a the huge one, of the Lord providing to send me on a mission trip to Honduras in July. Humbling doesn't begin to describe it. 

I still can't believe in all of my flaws and all of my selfishness and one-mindedness, that God loves me enough to bless me like he does. Even through my flaws, all of them, HE never leaves me, He makes sure that I lack no good thing. And I am so speechless. I lack no good thing. That is Grace. A 1000 times I fail and Still His mercy remains. Hmmm. that is beautiful. 

Then there is Honduras. I can't wait to meet Jesus through the eyes of these children ages 1-10 years old. Their childlike hearts and faith. I can't wait to meet them. I can't wait to hug them. I can't wait to learn about Love through them. I can't wait to be changed by them. 

This summer has been the most humbling of my life. I never thought I would be working at a restaurant ever again. I hated it when I did it the first time, because I hated serving. And I love being there. I love the people. I have compassion on the brokenness and I love being there and being joyful. 

I am a perfectionist. But I am learning about Grace. Sometimes we need Grace more than we need justice. And looking back, I remember. Grace. That is exactly what I needed. Imagine that. And now I am asked to be a good steward of God's manifold gift of Grace. I will have to work on that.

Answering Our Call To Adventure! 
July 17, 2007

I have never really been a fan of saying that things happen the way the are going to happen.i think that we make decisions too, and that these decisions affect our life. Yes, God knows the decision that we will make, but we make them. 

it is like i have been saying for a long time, if you want something, you have to make it happen. Sometimes you have to go the extra mile and step to get what you want. and sometimes we have to sacrifice to attain greatness too. I really believe that. 

The Holy Spirit speaks. and we have a decision. we have as much a responsibility to answer to God as he leads us in our life's directions as we do to answer to the callings and the decisions that are out there for us in life- we have to move in the direction we are called, we wont just end up there. 

i think that is what separates those mature in Christ from those who are drinking milk, those that are mature answer when they are called out. they respond to the things that the Lord puts in front of them, and they go, trusting that he will provide as we takes steps of faith ~ 

I want adventure. I want to travel. I want to learn and grow and become. I don't want to sit here thinking that life will come to me. God speaks. God is always speaking. I want to answer the call. We are all here for a purpose. Let us not let fear hold us back from becoming the people that we were meant to be. Let's step out in adventure. Who knows. We might actually change the world by choosing to live and respond to our calling ~

Remembering the People in Our Lives...
August 3, 2007

I think the only thing that I know right now is that in every change, God faithfully remains.We need to be people who Live every moment. People who Enjoy people. People who Love people with all that we have. And people that are thankful to the Lord, every time that we remember those people that are special to us!!!! 

I was thinking about pain today and feeling pain. God is so there right in the middle of our pain. God is right there holding us and with us and we step out into the unknown.

I was just thinking about being left behind to adjust with change. There is always going to be change. And people are going to always come in and out of our lives. And this not seeing people that we are the closest too, well, it pains our hearts. But we are living our lives right? And what a special blessing it is that people come into our lives for a time, and touch out hearts, they show us Jesus in a way that we never knew him before, they spread Jesus around and we learn what it means to be Jesus to those people in our lives. 

That doesn't make saying "until the next time" any easier, but it somehow helps in my understanding. 

I love this song.....the lyrics are perfect ~ 

"Every evening sky, an invitation, to trace the patterned stars. And early in July, a celebration, for freedom that is ours. And I notice you in children's games, in those who watch them from the shade. Every drop of sun is full of fun and wonder; You are Summer.

And even when the trees have just surrendered to the harvest time. Forfeiting their leaves in late September, and sending us inside. Still, I notice you when change begins, and I am braced for colder winds. I will offer thanks, for what has been, and what's to come; You are Autumn.

And everything in time and under heaven, finally falls asleep. Wrapped in blankets white, all creation, shivers underneath. And still I notice You when branches crack and in my breath on frosted glass. Even now in death You open doors for life to enter; You are Winter.

And everything that's new, has bravely surfaced, teaching us to be. What was frozen through, is newly purposed. Turning all things green. So it is with You, and how You make me new with every seasons' change. And so it will be, as you are recreating me, Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring."

August 4, 2007

I just finished reading a book called Hope Rising by Kim Meeder. It is a book about a Christian women and her husband who own a ranch, that is non-profit organization, and they rescue horses and pair them with children and adults who need some kind of healing. She was talking about pain and she said the following:

"The pain we feel in this life is certain. What is equally certain about the pain is that it can destroy us, or define us...We can run from it or select the ascending trail, and with some perseverance we can choose to allow our pain to motivate us toward becoming better people, to move us toward a better place. A place where love transcends selfishness, where faith bulldozes the "what if's" and where peace enfolds the heart like a warm blanket. It is a place where joy takes on as many faces as humanity. It is a place where flowers bloom in ash. It is a places where Hope Rises."

I was thinking about this with regard to circumstances. We all have them. And I think it is time that we become people who see opportunity instead of focusing on challenges, see them as growth opportunities. It is time to take our circumstances to the Lord, because He is the only one who fully understands where we are and what we think about anyways. He is faithful. And His wonders never cease.

So I am thankful. I am thankful for my friends and my family and Mikhail. And I am thankful for all of my circumstances and the opportunity to live my life where I am at. And I am thankful for pain, my questions, my aches and even loneliness. Because they lead me straight to Jesus. And there's just no better place that we can be, then wrapped up in the arms of Jesus. The one who gave everything for us. 

Live Today ~ And run the race set before you with endurance !!! Nothing else in this world matter but to live our lives for Jesus !! ~ 

Amen. Amen. Amen. 

September 9, 2007

I thought I would take this time after hours of reading to remind myself how wonderful it is to have the opportunity to go to school, let alone to go and get a Masters degree. There are so many students in America that don't have the opportunity to go to college and they desperately want to go. They want to learn. They want an education. And there is no way for them to go for one reason or another. This percentage only increases when we look at the number of people around the world that aren't able to get an education. Education is not our right. It is our privilege. It is an opportunity. I am going to try to remember that as I read and read and read. There are people all over the world that would love the opportunity to be able to do what we are able to do here everyday. And we take this for granted by not thinking about it. I am thankful for my college education. I am even more thankful to have the opportunity to be in grad school. I am going to remember that. All the suffering of reading is only temporary...and then, I will have a Master's and this time will have come and passed so quickly!!!

Live Today. Whatever you are doing, do it to the best of your ability !!! 

I Want to be a Professor! 
November 7, 2007

I want to be a professor.
A Poem to myself, so that I remember why I live my life like I do...aka, insight into why I stay up late and write instead of getting some sleep and why I prefer to read and relax than go out with friends...unless it is over coffee, which I am completely into...otherwise, I like my life of studying ;) Here it goes....

I love Jesus and I want to serve him through being a Professor of Communication!!! 

I want to be a Professor. 
I believe that education plays in empowering people to move past previous thought patterns. I want to help people realize that there is a difference between what they think and reality. 

I want to be a professor. 
I want to expand people's minds to understand that people, society, and the world are different from the one that they grew up in. 

I want to be a professor. 
I want to get paid to teach and to write. I want to get paid to be an advocate for marginalized voices in society. I want to deconstruct stereotypes and speak truth into people's hearts. I want to be a professor because I believe this can be done through education. 

I want to be a professor. I want to serve as an ambassador for Christ. I believe that learning helps others learn about truth. I believe that Jesus is the only truth. I believe that when people set out in search of truth, they will find Jesus. I believe that through learning, people will be drawn to Jesus. And I love that!
And be thankful for the opportunities that you have and are given. They are life changing !!!

For the Ladies Only
February 6, 2008

I guess this is for the single ladies really, but by all means please keep reading. 

I was thinking the past few days about the Lord and all the times that I cried and asked Him, "why?" He was so loving to me. I didn't have the answers, but He did. And He asked me to trust Him as even through my tears, I petitioned, "there must be more than this?" 

Looking back now, I am sure He was smiling because He had more planned for me all along, I just had to wait. I had to give God all of my heart and learn to trust Him, even when it didn't make sense. Even through the tears. 

I beg you. Wait for the Lord to put someone in your life that romances your heart in a way similar to how Jesus does. Please don't get bored and talk yourself into liking someone or settling. This is such a battle and when you talk yourselves into being "into" someone, we are letting the enemy win. 

Wait for the Lord. Wrap your life and ID around Jesus. And trust Him that He knows the desires of your hearts because He created both You, and Your desires!!

I am pleading with you through the Love of Jesus to wait on the Lord. To fall in Love with Jesus. To make him the most important thing in your life. I am begging you to wait and not to settle. If you settle, you will always wonder what you might be missing. 

Relationships get to points where the require extreme sacrifice and full preference and consideration of your significant other. This is hard enough. But what makes it beautiful and easy is that you will have waited. You will know the person you are sacrificing for is the best person for you. 

Soooo please, wait on the Lord. Don't talk yourself into anything. If you don't like him, you don't like him. Who cares if everyone else is in a relationship? You are in a relationship too. The most important one in your life, one where you get to pursue the Lord with your whole heart. This is the most significant time in your life. Fall in love with Jesus. And wait for the Lord to whisper, "what do you think of him? Isn't he great?" 

With all my heart, I am pleading with you...wait for the one the Lord has for you. It is better than anything you can imagine. And it is worth waiting for.

Who I Am.
February 19, 2008

It has been four years since I started writing my book. I have not attempted to fill the pages in a long time. I cannot believe I have ignored the calling inside of me. 

I was thinking about grad school. I just wrote a narrative about interracial relationships for a conference. It is a great paper. But it is great because the narrative came from within, from my heart. I wrote the story and was able to do so. I like narratives. 

If I am learning anything as a Christian, I am learning that God tells beautiful love stories. He is a great storyteller period. And I have a desire inside of me to tell stories. I am compelled to tell my story. Not for my glory, but for His. With the hope that what comes off the page may touch someone else's life. That it will touch their heart and change them. 

This is what I desire. Knowing this I asked myself today: What am I doing with my life? I should be writing. If I never write this book, I will wonder how different my life might have been if I tried to be an author? How might this change my life? In reality, I think that writing might change everything, including me. 

So. I am going to write. I do not want to look back and wonder what might have been. I do not want to wonder what my life would have been like had I followed an aching deep in my heart. I do not want to wonder whose lives would have changed as the words from my book's pages touched their hearts. I have to know. If I write and it is not published, that will be enough for me. I will walk away. Maybe I'll write for myself. But I cannot remain. I cannot sit still. I cannot ignore this desire. Not when it makes my heart be faster. Not when I wonder if writing was why I was created. 

That is the funny part. For the last year in my grad program, I have been trying to write as a scholar. However, I think I am an author. Certainly a scholar, but that is not my best work. I am an author. I want to share and exchange narratives. 

Since grad school, I have been kicking myself to try to be the best, to do the best. To respond with the best answers. To ask the best questions. To think quicker, to write clearer, to understand faster. I have been trying to get it. In the process, I doubted the only thing I was sure of when I entered the program, I can write. And I can. I might not be the best student. I may not get the highest A. I may not understand quicker than anyone else. I may not be anything of these things. But I do not have to be. I just need to be me. I need to live with passion. I need to love other people. And I need to remember who I was before I started: a person that loves to write. A woman with a story to tell. 

Giving My All.
February 21, 2008

Ok. I want to be a professor of Communication Studies. There are so many reasons. I will not list them here. I know this is what I want to do. 

There is a mountain in front of me called the GREs. There is the road before me, called Get Straight As. There is research to be done. Papers to write. Conferences to attend and present at. Papers to submit for publication. Revisions to make. A thesis question to discover. Hours of writing. Followed by hours of revising what was written. PHD programs to discover and apply to. Then there is waiting. All of this and the end result is uncertain. I might give this everything and find that I will not be able to earn a PHD. And I don't care. 

I am going to climb this mountain. I am going to give this everything that I have. I am going to take the math courses to brush up on my skills. I am going to sift through GRE prep books, learn some vocab--even if it is 3000 words. I am going to write papers that I send to conferences and off for publication. And I am going to do this with all of my heart. And if I fail, at least I will have tried. 

Still I hope that I succeed. Because one day, I'd like to sit behind the desk, in the chair, and be the professor that says, "this is a process" and "I know you will be great at this," or "You just have to finish, you are already doing what you need to do. Keep Going."

Here's to giving this my all. I can. And I will ~

April 6, 2008

I have been thinking a lot about life. I love life and I feel happy. Most of the time, I know how much I have to be thankful for. I remember how much I have when I realize that people do not appreciate the little things that make life worthwhile. 

Think about it for a second. How much time do we spend complaining? And worrying? And being sad or depressed? How much time do we spend trying to control other people? How much time do we waste daily on the things that do not matter? 

In contrast, think about it. How little time do we spend enjoying the life that we are given? This moment is precious and we need to live in the moment. Otherwise we are missing what we are living for. And here is my question: What are you living for? What are we giving our lives to? Where do we send our time? How do we spend it? And with whom? What is the reason that you get up in the morning?

I was recently on a bumpy plane ride and it got me thinking about life. It scared me and I thought to myself that I waste a lot of time. If I was really faced with my life ending, that I would want to tell everyone about the love of Jesus. 

Specifically, I would tell everyone that Jesus is good and that he cares for you very deeply. WHen you have felt pain in your life, He is there aching with you and alongside you. Sometimes bad things happen to us, and it is not at the hand of God. It is at the hand of men who make bad decisions that hurt other people. 

There is more to life than what we are living for. I am learning that Jesus is the very reason that I live and breathe. And I hope that I can share the love Jesus with everyone that I know. Because He offers more than I can explain. It is time to give being in relationship with Jesus a try. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose by pursuing relationship with Jesus. Who knows, you just may find that as you develop a relationship with Him, He will satisfy your deepest longings. He satisfies in a way that nothing else in the world ever could. 

May 6, 2008

This is the hardest thing I have ever done.
To love like I have never loved.
To consider others first and love others as I love You.
It is the hardest thing, You've called me to. 

Yet it brings so much joy to my journey.
To know that when I fail, You're perfecting me.
Yet this is the hardest thing I have ever done. 
To be vulnerable. To really love.

But this is the call of those who follow you. 
we lay down our lives because You asked us to.
And when we sacrifice to love, just like You.
It is the most beautiful thing, we'll ever do.

And I am humbled now. Because with out you I fail. 
I recognize this, but it is to no avail. I fail one thousand times. 
And hundreds more. Yet there you are Lord, knocking at my door.
Seeking me, lovingly. And when I fail, even more. 

I realize you are teaching me, that I am becoming who you created
me to be. And to be that woman, I will go through the fire. But I'll be perfected, I'll be more like you. So I will go through this valley if you want me to.

I believe in your promise. I believe in your Grace. And though 1000 times I fail, I believe I am fearfully and wonderfully made ~ 

So I will not doubt, I say no to fear. I believe in your promise and declare that there is not room for doubt here. Because deep in the corners of my heart, I know that you have gone ahead of me and prepared the way. So though I fail, I will pray. I will chose to see You in everything and to believe your promises above everything.

Perfect love casts out fear. And because you are in me, only perfect love resides here.

"You Better Start Living, Today's All You've Been Given: Days Go By!"
August 8, 2008

Today, I feel fully engaged in this present moment. For the first time in a while, I am enjoying the moment that I am presently living in. Last week I did a lot of thinking about life and I realized that while I may physically be in a certain place, that my mind is focused else where. 

Yesterday I was whining about how quickly time passes. That was Wednesday. Now it is Friday. The weekend is here. And this week has flown by. 

Today I was reminded of how blessed I am to be in graduate school. Though being a graduate student is my current station in life, this is slowly changing as the work force is calling my name, demanding a season or two of its own. 

Yesterday I was procrastinating on my thesis and tired from school. I did not want to write. I forgot how far I have come and how much I fought to be where I am. 

Today I am reminded that this moment is a gift. My time is grad school is ending. But I have work to do here if I want to get a PHD in the future. I need to prepare today so that this road to a PHD is smoother next year when I apply. 

Yesterday I wanted to throw in the towel. I wanted to be married right now and I found solace only in time with Jesus or when I was playing soccer. 

Today I am not going to give up. I am going to complete the research that I have started and give writing these papers my all. Today I am remembering that I what I am doing now is shaping me into the woman that I need to be for tomorrow. 

Yesterday is history. Today is all that I have. So I am going to give today 100% of my energy and attention and live each moment that I have to the fullest. I will not give up on research until I walk across the stage in December. And even then, I will continue to write and do research so that I am an outstanding PHD candidate. 

Today, I have a new perspective. Thank you Jesus!!!

Thoughts About the World & My Jesus.
October 6, 2008

"I have to think of the world, I have to analyze the world as a Christian first." I wish these words were mine. They are those of Steve Hambrick. While they are not my words, I think I am starting to understand their meaning.

Those of us who know the Lord, must underestimate our power to make him know. I can think about several times in my life where the people around me, picked up on something that was important to me. 

When I was an RA, I was also a Kappa. I loved it so much that nearly 9 girls on my floor went Kappa. Imagine if I told them about Jesus. Now teaching classes, I am afraid my kids have picked up on my optimism and joyful outlook on life. I am only afraid because I am not sure where they attribute my optimism to be coming from. It is definitely not the world. 

SO thinking about the world in terms of a kingdom perspective, I need to think before I move, is this going to further the kingdom of God? Because when I think about my purpose here on this earth, that is it. To know Him, and to make Him known. 

Is time running out? I do not pretend to know. I know that the world is really messy. That people hate one another. That people run over one another. And so I am glad that I know Jesus. 

He's personal. He cares about every aspect of our lives. And He loves us more than we will be able to comprehend while we are on this earth. 

The world may be messy. There may be many questions we cannot respond to. And I will leave you with this one: Who are your following? What is your idol? Do you know Jesus? In the end, knowing Jesus is the only thing that will matter. 

Don't wait. We will not know the hour, which He will return.

His Ways Are Not My Ways
December 13, 2008

I did not want to stay, but the Lord would not let me go.
When I wanted to give up, I heard the Lord say "NO."
Looking back I am so glad that I did not make my own way.

Although I wanted to be somewhere else, the last 5 months changed me.
I will never be the same. 

How thankful I am for the challenge of transition, for the challenge of being in the present.
To live in uncertainty, waiting for the future, yet content. 
This is beauty.

* His ways are not my ways, His thoughts are not my thoughts * - Isaiah

Because I Have to Write This.
February 19, 2009

I am learning so many things since my move to DC. I have to get this out. 

First, I am the most selfish person that I know. And since I have been here, this is something I am really trying to change. As the Christian song goes, "Lord I want to be a sweetness poured out like an offering, a sweetness poured out for you." And I truly do. Serving others may just be my spiritual act of worship. Not because it comes natural. Because it doesn't. 

Second, I am not where I want to be professionally. I miss being a student and a full time college professor. While I enjoy using contractions instead of writing out do not and cannot and so forth, I miss being challenged. Being a regular 9-5 girl is different. It seems like the moments pass so slowly nowadays. I feel as if I am wasting away in the nothingness of my office. I don't know why people want to work outside of their passion. I want to make a difference in the world. When I look around at my government job, I do not like what I see. People waste their time as if they have forever. I feel as if the wastefulness will suck the life and time out of me. I like what I do. I am organized. However, I have learned that the show the Office is not a joke someone thought up. It is a real life working reality for some people. Yuck. A real life reality that I passed up teaching more college classes for. Why did I do this? I didn't want to think. I guess I momentarily forgot that thinking and overanalyzing are passions of mine. 

Now, I want to scream. I want to shake people's souls and tell them that they matter. That their life is important. Yet, if I spoke I won't be heard. So I have to live this reality and show my coworkers that there is more to life than they are living for. I want to leave this job having taught the girls in my office that they are important. 

Personally, I want to teach. I want to get a PhD. I want to be an author of novels, not just articles. I might even go so far as to say that I want to do some transcribing....maybe not that far. I am aware of one terrible thing: I momentarily forgot my calling is to teach and do research. I gave up my calling for a job that relieved the pressure in my head from doing so much research. I like the release. However, I know I was created for more than this. 

Why did I take the job? Why did I settle? Simple: I was afraid of rejection. I was afraid I don't teach well. That my tests wouldn't be good enough. That I wouldn't be a good professor. I was afraid I didn't have what it takes. So I took a job doing what I knew I could do well, but also one that I knew wouldn't satisfy my thirst for life and serving Jesus through teaching and interacting with college students. I thought that corporate or the government would give me the break I needed. However, I found the opposite. The silence, the stillness, the laziness, the laziness, though I am being paid for it, it is killing my enthusiasm. 

I know that life is short. I've experienced loss. I have to have more. Why do people settle? I'm making a vow to use my Saturdays to write my book. Not to do research. Not to catch up on school. To write my book. I wonder if people aren't affected when they give up their dreams. For years I wanted two things, to write & to teach. Now I want to publish novels. This is nothing knew. These are my dreams. Everywhere I look, it seems people gave up their dreams for government benefits and a steady pay check. Now I understand this logic, but how can one really live that way? I don't think it is possible to really live with yourself like that. While I want to run out of my office, I can't. I see the game. We become slaves to money if we don't manage it. And at some point in our lives, we mismanage everything. So people get stuck. This cannot continue if people are really to live the life the Lord created them to live. I can see how people go insane from doing nothing. It is torture. I want to do something. I want to fully live.

Third, So I made a decision. Never again will I do something that I don't love because I am afraid of rejection. I forgot that I do not have to be the fastest, the smartest, or the best, I need to do my best. And I cannot hold myself back because of fear. All of a sudden I remember that four more years of school is worth it. I want the PhD the Lord is calling me to get. I want it for the students whose lives I will touch while I teach them with the wisdom that the Lord gave me. I want to help people wake up. I want to be a doctor. It is worth the endless hours of reading and proofreading. Of writing, transcribing, and begging my friends who write better than me to proofread my paper. I want the coffee, the study groups, the classes. 

Forth, there are many cultural issues all around me. At first, I was offended and felt like an outsider. I felt disliked. I felt angry and even judged. But then I realized something--the issues have nothing to do with me. They have been there to begin with. I am an outsider. The issues are not even directed at me. I just witness them as they play out. People have battled with these intraracial issues for a long time. I realized the issues may have nothing to do with me, but my response means everything. So what do I do? My MA advisor told me this: Remember who you are. I thanked her. And I remember. I know what their behavior defines them, it does not define me. 

Finally, I get what I did not understand in the past.

Racism in America
Feb. 20, 2008

My response to something I heard on the Metro today.....

Don't tell me racism is dead.
It is very much alive. 
I can hear it in your words.
I see it in your eyes.
Some say our nation's changed.
Yet, as I look and listen everyday
The racism we've been fighting, 
hasn't gone away. After all I hear and 
see, racism seems alive to me. 

You tell me racism is dead.
Yet I listen to what you say.
We will never change our nation,
as long as we talk that way.
So we want change. I believe that we can.
However, we must start by changing the 
malice in the hearts and minds of every man.

Do What It Takes, And Then Some.
February 23, 2009

So the learning continues. Week 10 in DC and I never stop learning. 
This week it is about doing what it takes for the long-term goal. 
I think that so many times in life, we have a do-now, suffer-later philosophy. 
So we do what we want to do and we pay later.
I think we should pay now and plan for later.

So I am dedicating the next few weeks, 8 to be exact, to preparing for the wedding and to saving. To accomplish this, I will eat Peanut Butter sandwiches for lunch and whatever I have around for dinner, rice, beans, even ramen. I will do what it takes. 

I think that we forget what it means to sacrifice. We want everything now.

So let's just be honest. Everything good in life is worth waiting for. What you do not wait for, you experience prematurely. And while that may feel good at the time, you give up something far greater, to have something now. You give up anticipation. And I am certain we may learn more about life through sacrifice. 

Take debt for example. If I could tell anybody any one thing, it would be this: Cut up your credit cards, get on a budget, and pay cash. Yep. It is time to budget. Live in your means. Share what you have with others. 

I want to be a person that gets over herself and over the now now now philosophy. 

So here's to savings accounts, fiscal responsibility, PB&Js, rice, corn beef & hash, lasagna, and eggs. To waking up and doing what it takes. To sacrifice & unconditional love. 

Here's to learning. 

It doesn't matter how fast you travel, as long as you are moving in the right direction. And like the commencement speaker said at my masters graduation: "Bloom where you are planted, and then some." 

April & My Mom
April 2, 2009

Who would have thought, five years ago that five years later, April could be the sweetest month I would know?

One simple thought comes to my mind, I wonder if mom would be surprised, that the little girl the doctors diagnosed with a lazy eye, who couldn't read between the lines, would have her doctorate in just 4 years time? April could be the most bittersweet month I know.

The questions flood as I think about how far I have come and how I am who I am because of who she was and how she loved. Am I still the same little girl that she sat with for hours? The one she set up a marker board and taught long-division to everyday for the 8 months it took my brain to comprehend the concept? Am I still the little girl that she taught to make flash cards so that I could memorize concepts, theories, and difficult terms? Am I the same little girl that she blacked out countries on maps for so that I could practice writing in their names 10 and even 15 times before my test? Am I the girl she quizzed for hours about her test material? The same little girl who hated to read? The one that found school to be so difficult? Am I the same little girl who did eye exercises for hours a day and months at a time so that I could strengthen my eye sight and read on my own. I remember how my eyes followed her hand as she moved that pencil from side to side. Even today, I can almost smell her lotion. April could be the sweetest month I know. 

I wish you could be here to see this mom. I am getting married this month to the best man I have ever known. And in 4 years, I will be a doctor of education. The same little girl who could barely read, now can't get enough of articles and even transcribing. 

Thank you. What a beautiful and bittersweet month. You gave me Jesus when you died 5 years ago. You taught me about life during those hours you spent studying with me. Mostly, you taught me about motherhood. Thank you for that blessing. 

Yes. April, you are the sweetest month I know.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

~ Living Now ~

Updates & More

Well, life has settled down a lot here in Virginia. My health issues have passed, I am adjusting to the culture of my new town, Mikhail and I continue to learn more about one another daily, and we are growing as a couple! 

Since getting fired and then turning down a new position, life has been quiet. Beautiful is more like it. The extra time I've gained from not having to run out the door is priceless. Mikhail and I soak up every minute of it. We make breakfast together most mornings, we sleep in, and we read the bible together. When he leaves, I prepare for my upcoming PhD experience ;) I do a lot of reading, mostly course texts that I did not really delve into during my graduate program. I am re-learning theories and brushing up on what I know about the Communication field! It is nice. I already like my new schedule!


One feeling I cannot shake is the desire for a good girl friend to pal around with ;) I miss my good friends from Orlando. It is so strange not to be able to just drop by their homes when I would like to. I can call them on the phone, but it is not the same. I hope to make a good friend in my PhD program, someone in my cohort that I can share life with for a few years. I would really like that. 

On The Road Again

This summer, Mikhail and I traveled a lot! We went to PA to visit my grandmother, we went to Virginia Beach to visit Ali and Will, we went to Old Town Alexandria, we participated in the movie festival over at Rosslyn on Friday nights, we went to Richmond on a company trip to King's Dominion with Mikhail's work, we visited his mom in NY over July 4th weekend, and we went to Maryland for the Hillsong United Concert. We've been busy! This weekend, we travel to MN for Johnny's wedding! We are so excited! Two weeks later, I go to New York to help Mikhail's mom do some things around the house. We are busy travelers! I look forward to some time off though, I want to cuddle on the couch, take long walks, and relax!

That is all for now ~ I have to get back to reading, my husband will be home soon! 

Love, Gina 

Friday, June 26, 2009

Joy in Transition

On the Job

Thursday evening, I received an interesting phone call. I learned that I got fired. With 6 more weeks on my contract, they preferred that I did not come in any longer. Today is my last day. This is more than a little humbling to say the least. If I felt the reasons behind this firing were legitimate, I could walk away without anger, though my pride would surely be hurt. However, I was told, "It just wasn't working out with me here." Basically, my direct supervisor and I have a serious personality conflict. Never before have I been treated as if I was incompetent and unable to preform the duties on my job. Never before have I been micro-managed to this extent. However, there is a first time for everything.


There are a couple of things that employees are entitled too on their job. In my position, many of these things were overlooked. Below are the lessons I learned over the last 5 months.

1) Employees should receive training for their position. They should not have to figure the job out on their own. A lack of training leads to serious miscommunication about job details and performance expectations.

2) Employees should have a desk to sit at, especially when the job is administrative in nature. Having a new employee sit in a chair for 4 days while IT sets up their computer and the business 'finds space' for you is completely ridiculous. Actions like this tell employees that they are not valued right from the beginning. This should not happen.

3) Employees should be treated with respect by their supervisors. Often, being treated like you are not competent enough to complete your tasks diminishes employee's value as a person. This also could cause an employee to resent their supervisor, rather than respect them. This is not good for business. People often rise to the standards you set for them. Set high standards, encourage people to do better, and reward success.

4) Employees should be allowed to finish the job they start. If a supervisor continues to micromanage and never lets an employee complete a project, the employee never has a chance to shine. Further, the employee has no incentive to finish if they know their boss is going to take the task from them at the end of the day. Supervisors should delegate and then get out of the way.

5) Employees have a right to feedback concerning their performance. If there is something that can be done better, they ought to know about it.

OK. That concludes my venting session.

Where to go from here?

Well, as Hillsong says, "My God is a God who provides." I had a job interview yesterday. I pray that it went well. I was told I was a perfect fit for the position, so now I wait for the details to be worked out. If all goes well, I will be switching contracts and would be able to start work next week. That is ideal.

However, even if this does not happen "My God is STILL a God who provides." I will start working on papers that I want to write while I pursue my PhD. I need to write anyways, as it will impact the job I get when I finish my PhD. It is all about conferences and publications now. So, whether I turn to the left or the right here, the Lord works all things out for the good.

Heart-felt Thoughts

It is hard for me to understand all of this. I don't understand the reason for this. But like in all things I do not understand, I still believe that God is a good God. I know that He has plans for me. I know that the direction I am moving is more important than where I am standing. In six weeks, I'll start working on my PhD. That is the direction I am moving. So in between now and then, all I can say is, "Lord this life is yours and my hope, is rising. You are glorious." - Hillsong.

Our First Year of Marriage

People say that the first year of marriage is very difficult. For Mikhail and I, this is no exception. However, this is not because of internal circumstance, but external ones. This seems to be the story of our lives. Par for the course, if you will. Since January, we have changed jobs a total of five times, Mikhail twice and me three times now. We learned how to stick to a budget that some would consider impossible. We learned to live simply. We were showered with blessing. We got married, helped pay for the wedding, and saved so well, we got our apartment too. We learned to handle our families in the transition of marriage & we became one flesh. We have been challenged with health issues on a regular basis for the past two months, all of which affect & concern me. The car's brakes need repair. All of this may be difficult, but we are well taken care of. We lack no good thing. Praise the Lord for that.

As I look back upon this year, I know that the Lord blessed us with all of our jobs, our apartment, helping pay for the wedding, furniture, mini-trips to visit friends, good friend in DC, a wonderful church here, a marriage mentor couple whose personalities each mirror ours, and a whole host of other things. In the midst of this, we are learning to communicate. We are learning to listen to each other. We are learning to love each other better. Our care for one another is redemptive and I can see Christ working in us. We're growing. So, as I look back on this year and all we experienced, it was worth it. We are who we are today because of what we experienced and the trails the Lord helped us overcome.

Our lives continue to play out just like the Lord promised when He said, "No weapon formed against you shall prosper" and "I will not leave you or forsake you, especially in your hour of need." Truly, we lack no good thing. Our perspective continues to be challenged regarding what is important in this life. This can only be a good thing!

* This is my prayer in the fire, in weakness, trial or pain: There is a faith proved in more worth than gold, so refine me Lord through the flame. *
-Hillsong United