Sunday, September 22, 2013

"Playing" Church

About 16 months ago, I decided I wanted to go to church.  At the time, I had no clue what prompted the idea.  But, I followed my heart and stepped inside the doors of Junction City Church of the Nazarene (JCNaz) one Sunday morning--even though I was scared to death.  I remember thinking how I had to pretend to have my life together because no one else in the congregation seemed even remotely broken like me.  I was exhausted from trying to put on a happy face and "play" church  However, I loved the people, the music, and the sermon, so I went back again the following Sunday.

My fears of being in church quickly dissipated as week after week Pastor Jim shared the message that God and members of the church accept us right where we are.  Something in my heart started to change as I realized maybe there was hope for me.  I might belong in church after all!

Eventually a sermon by our youth pastor and conversations with a dear friend prompted me to confess my sins and ask Jesus to come into my heart.  God brought amazing mentors to disciple and help me grow in my walk with the Lord.  Never once did I feel like I wasn't good enough for church.  It wasn't just Pastor Jim telling us that the church accepts us; it was church members actually putting those words into practice.

I wonder how many people today are in the same spot where I was not that long ago.  Do they think they can't accept Christ as their savior until they get their life straightened out?  Are they afraid if they come to church then they won't be as "good" as others in the church?  If so, it's up to us as Christians to change that stigma and bring in those people who need the congregation to love on them.  I've hear a couple wise people say that church is a hospital for the sick.  How can we help people get over their fear?  The solution is simple--don't be afraid to be vulnerable and let people see your imperfections.  Admit your flaws.  Share your testimony and open up to people.  God used people to share their imperfections with me and also stories about how God helped them through the struggles in their life.  I never would have asked questions or grown nearly as much if I wouldn't have connected with people who let me know it's OK to be me.  I don't have to be perfect.  A couple dear friends told me that God will use the hurts in my life to help disciple others who have pains that are similar to the ones I experienced.  I can't wait for God to bring these people into my life!!

This week I found the perfect expression to drive home my point:

I challenge all of you to find a broken soul, let her (or him) see your imperfections, and invite her to church.  If she sees that God loves you in spite of your shortcomings, she will hopefully feel comfortable enough NOT to have to "play" church.  God bless you as you witness to others!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Proud Parent of Flower Babies!!!

2 years ago, I was blessed to have my Grandma come help me plant flowers outside my apartment. Ok, who am I kidding...Gma did all the planting while I provided moral support. Here's Gma (or Sarge as my fam so fondly calls her) in 2011 showing me how to water my flowers. The other 2 pics with her are my Shasta Daisies after Gma first planted them (top) and then when they bloomed the first year (bottom).

I wanted a K-State flower garden, so Gma helped me pick out cute purple and white flowers at Wally World. I soon found out they weren't ALL purple and white, but I was still one proud flower mama. 

Fast forward 2 years to 2013. Besides my Shasta Daisies, the only other plants that bloomed this year were a couple tulips. This could be because of the fact that I never watered my flowers last year and hadn't watered them this year until 2 days ago. My flower bed was a hot mess. 
Here's the "before" pics I took on Saturday. To the left of the daisies are my lilies that aren't in bad shape. In the yellow pot is Tropicana Light, an orange tree the parentals bought for me. She was a good tree until last summer when I forgot to water her. I couldn't keep Tropicana Light alive, yet somehow a maple tree (right side of the above pic collage) decided to start growing between my daisies and lilies. Go figure. The other potted plants belong to my roomie but they were all dead. 

Inspired by a friend who helped me repot Sophie, an indoor plant that I had also neglected (notice a pattern here?!?) and my daisies that were blooming, I decided to give my flower bed some MUCH needed TLC. First I weeded as much as possible. Next I removed the crazy tree. Ok, I got it started, but my roomie had to use her Superwoman strength to pull out the roots. I also said farewell to Tropicana Light. Possibly inspired by my work, my roomie planted new babies in her pots. Finally, I gave my girls a good drink and put down new mulch. Look at the updated flower bed!!

I thought my daisies could use another friend, so I purchased my very first Hibiscus. Mama had beautiful Hibiscus plants at home, and growing up we nicknamed them her "biscuit" plants. Meet Grace, my Hibiscus. 

I decided Grace is the perfect name for this beauty. I got her on clearance for less than $3 but didn't know she'd be that price until I checked out at Water's yesterday. The tag said $12.99, so paying less than $3 was serendipity! If she doesn't make it, I'm not out a lot of money. She will definitely need prayers and lots of love to survive. Stay tuned for updates on Grace and all the flower babies. 

I love looking back at those pictures from 2011, especially the ones of my daisies. I was SO EXCITED when I had 9 bloom. Look at them today!!  Such happy flowers that are full of life and lots of happiness!!

I know God hasn't brought Prince Charming into my life because he was waiting for me to confess my sins and ask Jesus into my heart. He wanted someone who would be equally yoked. Maybe He was also waiting for me to grow up a little. Well, now that I own an apron, have learned to love ironing, and jazzed up my flower bed, maybe the good Lord will decide this domestic diva is ready for Prince Charming to come riding up on his white horse!!!

By the way, if you want to read another blog post about my Gma and those baby daisies, click here.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Birthday Unlike Any Other

There was a time in my life where I dreaded birthdays.  Don't get me wrong--I love cards via "real" mail, cupcakes with sprinkles, and birthday wishes from 450+ friends on Facebook.  But, with all the joy that came with each passing birthday was the reminder that I was one year older and STILL single.

Now that my 33rd birthday is just a few hours away, I am actually excited.  Like REALLY excited.  "What's changed?" you ask.  Did I finally find my Prince Charming and start a meaningful relationship that will soon include wedded bliss?  Nope, not at all.  I've started a meaningful relationship with someone even more important: the Lord!

Now that I have God at the center of my life, I no longer cringe when someone mentions getting older.  I know He has glorious plans for me, and those plans include sending Prince Charming at just the right time.  While I used to worry with each passing year that my biological clock was ticking, I no longer pay attention to the statistics the come with "older" women having children.  If it's in God's plan, I will defy all those statistics and have kids because I know children are truly a gift from above.

IT'S MY BIRTHDAY!!  Tomorrow I will shout that from the rooftops!  I look at it as one more day God put me on this earth to make a difference in the lives of others.  I will pray as I do each morning that He will send me people who need to see His glory or experience His love.  Each day holds the same suspense as opening presents because I have no idea what exciting plans God has in store for me.  Isn't that one of the greatest joys in life?

Tomorrow I will bust out the sprinkles, light the candles (scratch that--I don't want to start any fires), and get ready to celebrate another wonderful year in this world.  32 was by far the BEST year ever, and I know 33 will be even better!  Have a blessed week!
One of the many highlights of the last year includes being baptized on October 21, 2012!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Stop Killing the Love Of Twitter!

Have you caught the Twitter craze yet? Crazy question, right? Some of you are thinking, "Um, HELLO! What social media rock have you been hiding under for the past few years?!?" Ease up for a minute because I know plenty of people who refuse to jump into Twitter. Don't bother giving them a life jacket because they don't need it. Then there are others who take off their flip flops and dip their feet into the Twitter ocean, but quickly turn around and head back to the safety of the beach where they are comfortable. 

What's stopping these people from one of the greatest social media tools out there?!? THE RULES!!! It's people like me who hand people a list of hyperlinks for getting the most out of Twitter. Geesh! It seems like EVERYONE has some rule you should follow on Twitter, and the amount of rules is crazy. Some of the most ridiculous ones I used to believe (which gives me the right to make fun of them now) include:

*Be original. Don't just retweet what everyone else says. 
Why not? There are plenty of people in the world who are smarter and funnier than me. If I learn from or laugh at their Tweets, why not share that wisdom and humor with others?? Why reinvent the wheel? Retweet away, my friends!

*Decide who you want to be on Twitter.
This one makes me giggle. Um, don't I want to be ME?!? So many people today think we should separate our personal and professional lives--and pick one of those lives to portray on Twitter. Am I starting to sound like a cat food commercial? Get it?? Cats have 9 lives and I'm talking about establishing which "life" you want to lead on Twitter...oy. That joke was a lot funnier when I first started typing it. 


Why do I need to establish a profile that only relates to one aspect of my life? I really can't do that. As an educator, I believe student learning should extend beyond the typical school day. Aren't I being a hypocrite if I say my personal life and professional life are two separate things? My professional life certainly doesn't end at 3:30 every day. And I carry my faith and Wildcat pride--two major aspects of my personal life--with me every day to work. So, scroll through my Tweets and you'll find great tips for implementing technology in the classroom, powerful words from Max Lucado and Joyce Meyer, links to news articles and blogs about a variety of education-related topics, and thoughts about and by my beloved Wildcats. I don't actively seek followers. I'm not some high-profile user with over a million followers. I'm just Jenn, and the beauty of throwing out those rules is that you get variety when you read my Tweets. 

Disclaimer: If you're a business on Twitter trying to market a product and connect with clients, scratch everything I've said up to this point. But if you're just an average Joe wanting to jump into the world of Twitter, don't let people scare you off with all these so-called rules you should follow on Twitter. Just throw on that life jacket, plug your nose, and dive into the wonderful world of Twitter--you'll be glad you joined the fun!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

There's an app for that!

Yes folks, there's even an app for blogging from your phone!! I'm sure the Blogger app has been out for awhile, but I'm just catching on to the craze!! This means my randomness at can be shared with ease. Yeeesssss!! So, what do you do when it's almost midnight and you can't sleep? You got it--WRITE!!

Random factoid: 94 days until KSU football season kicks off!! Tonight I made a fun collage in all my excitement. Yep, I've joined the collage madness finally--although you definitely WON'T find me on Instagram. Too many kinks in their privacy system for my liking...Anyway, check out this beauty:
Yah buddy. Look at me go! By the way, I borrowed the "Family" sign in the middle of the collage from KSU on Facebook. Go Cats! If I knew how to insert a hyperlink from the Blogger app, I'd totally add a hyperlink to KSU on Facebook. 

Maybe before I write a ginormous blog entry I better post this and make sure it works. More excitement still to come...

Saturday, March 23, 2013


Have you ever had one of those "wham bam, thank you mam" moments that hit you out of nowhere while listening to a song?  That happened to me yesterday when the song "Blessings" by Laura Story was blaring on my Spotify app.  I've heard that song plenty of times, but for some reason it hit me in a different way.  THAT's the Holy Spirit at work in me!

The first part of the chorus really made me think.  How many times in my life would I consider raindrops to be blessings?  I can definitely relate to healing coming through tears--I've shed plenty of those in my lifetime!  Then the next sentence resonated in me.  How many nights have I tossed and turned worried about something?  Too many to count!  But, now that I have God in my life, I've realized how much calmer I am once I take those worries to Him.

So there I was singing my heart out to Laura's song, and I had to pause and think about the chorus.  Then I hit play again and listened a little more closely to the rest of the lyrics.  Once again, the very last verse of the song spoke to my heart.

I recently experienced a trial in life.  Well, compared to what some people have to deal with, it's merely a hangnail.  But to me it was a HUGE trial.  I had my path in life planned, prayed about it, thought I was on the same page with God, and then He quickly steered me in a different direction.  I even let the devil jump in my head and fill my thoughts with bitterness toward God.  After 2 days--thanks to the love, support, prayers, and wise words from a few friends--God's voice was able to drown out the devil's voice.  I was reminded to TRUST God's plan for me.  That's an easier pill to swallow when I'm not wallowing away in my misery calm and thinking rationally.  One of my dear friends told me that God may have been saving me from heartache.  Definitely a mercy in disguise--only I was to stubborn to realize it at the time.

This song has got me thinking about what I consider to be blessings.  I also realized I don't thank God nearly enough for all the blessings in my life.  I'm quick to turn to him when things aren't going my way, yet not so fast to thank him.  With fierce determination, I'm making it my goal to stop and thank God for even the smallest blessings.

If you haven't heard Laura Story's song "Blessings," check it out below.

I also found her story behind the song on YouTube.  Powerful!

What about you?  Have YOU thanked God for all the blessings in YOUR life today?  If not, take a moment to do that now!

Random sidebar: I didn't copy these pictures from anyone.  I saved clip art, uploaded it to Pixlr express, and added the words.  So, if you want to swipe the pics, feel free to steal them!  I'm happy to share!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Boo KU!

This blog post is sure to send a few tempers flaring.  While some may view this as a bitter rampage in light of K-State's heartbreaking loss in the NCAA tourney today, I assure you that couldn't be further from the truth.  I'm here to set the record straight and explain to the rest of the world why you won't find myself or a majority of the other KSU fans rooting for KU in the NCAA tournament.

Some KU fans say that we have to root for teams from Kansas.  Support our home state AND the Big 12.  Pretty sure the Big 12 is doing fine without me rooting for KU.  Other KU fans claim to have cheered for K-State.  Great.  I sure didn't ask for your support, and I bet Bruce Webber wasn't out there pleading with KU fans to support his boys.  So, if you're a KU fan (or a fan of any other team for that matter) but were cheering for KSU, don't expect us to pat you on the back and tell you what a great person you are.

You see, at Kansas State we are deeply committed to our university and our teams, win or lose.  It's in our blood.  Sure it's a lot more fun winning, but every team has its share of highs and lows.  When our team loses, we pick ourselves up and keep moving forward.  We're family, and we support each other no matter what.  I was reminded of this when I looked at the cover of the 2013 season ticket catalog on Tuesday. 

Check out the entire KSU football catalog by going to

The pride the Wildcat Nation has in our teams is indescribable.  It's all about family.  That's why we love Saturdays at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.  While we may not spend the day with our blood relatives, we're connected with 50,000+ other family members who bleed purple just like us.

It's also a matter of class.  Look at Coach Snyder.  He's the epitome of class.  I don't just say that because I'm a Snyder Super Fan.  He's earned that reputation on his own.  The way his young men carry themselves and represent the team is partly due to Bill's leadership and the example he sets for them.  He wants them to succeed in life on and off the football field.  The same is true of all our coaches.  They represent the university with the highest standards.  I can't say the same is true of other teams.  Look at the allegations of scandals throughout the NCAA.  Remember the great ticket scandal down the road just a few years ago?  If not, check out this article.  Another article suggests the possibility of police officers being involved in the scandal.

In no way am I writing this to bash the Jayhawks.  I know my beloved Wildcats are far from perfect.  But the level of integrity is just different.  That became VERY clear for me when KU beat Iowa State back in February in one of the most controversial games of the year.  I watched Coach Self stand on the sideline not even 2 feet from Jeff Withey when Withey committed a foul.  After the whistle blew and Withey left the court, Self should have patted his player on the back and congratulated him for a game well played.  Instead, he motioned for Withey to get back on the court, and then the refs called the foul on another KU player.  Here coach had the chance to step in and do what was right--tell the ref that yes Withey did commit the foul.  Instead, he encouraged Withey to get back on the court and keep playing.  It was as if the rules didn't apply to Self and his star player.  What kind of example did he set for his players, fans, and the rest of the world watching that game?  It certainly isn't an example I would be proud to follow!  If you were hiding under a rock that week and missed the buzz, check out this article from the KC Star.

There was one point in my life when I was heavily influenced by peer pressure and actually bought a KU shirt on clearance for $4 (kids department at Alco before they went out of business in JC).  I even cheered for the Hawks to win the NCAA tourney that year in what can only be described as a temporary moment of insanity lapse in judgement. 

I have and always will be a Wildcat.  I join the other alum from around the nation in supporting my team because it's in our blood.  We poured our time, money, and energy into our education at Kansas State University, and couldn't be more proud.  It appears that the loudest KU fans scrutinizing KSU fans for not rooting for them didn't even attend KU.  They don't truly understand that faithfulness to their alumni.  You can't tell me T. Boone Pickens has ever rooted for OU, because he has that OSU pride rooted deeply in him as a graduate of OSU.  Case closed.  While I will wish KU well in the tourney, you definitely won't find this girl rooting for them to win!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Wal-Mart, Trusting God, & Bill Snyder

I'm not a patient person.  I'm the girl who flips the lever on the toaster to make it come up instead of waiting for the toast to pop up on its own.  I rarely EVER leave water in a tea pot long enough to actually hear the pot whistle.  So, guess how much I enjoy waiting in line at Wal-Mart?!?  You got it.  I'd rather make a trip to the dentist than stand in line at Wally World.  It seems like everyone is in line at the same time as me, and somehow they only have half the cash registers open whenever I'm there.  Surely this has happened to you.  Anyway, I recently had the stress joy of waiting in line once again at Wal-Mart.  I knew it was getting bad when I caught myself doing the "impatient bounce."  Yep, I kind of bounce up and down on my toes when it's really hard to wait.  With at least 5 people still ahead of me in line, the bouncing became more frequent.  So, I closed my eyes and prayed.  The bouncing stopped, I was calm, and was in good spirits by the time I finally reached the front of the line.  Crisis averted, thanks to a quick chat with God!  You better believe I'll be praying in line more often!

When I selected my second Bible verse to study in depth, I had no idea just how much I would need the verse in my life last week.  I hit my stress limit by the end of the day Tuesday.  I prayed and asked God to help me with one particular situation.  The next day I realized He answered my prayer.  But, instead of embracing His answer Tuesday evening, I pushed it to the side without really thinking.  Thankfully God placed some angels in my life to help me with the situation.  This experience taught me to TRUST the Lord and stop trying to ignore His voice.  I'm glad He didn't give up on me, despite my wavering trust.  God really will answer your prayers.  Just simmer down and listen to what He tells you!  Oh, don't worry about Copyright on this one.  I uploaded the hearts pic from Microsoft Office and added the words in Pixlr Express.  Feel free to swipe it and use it in your own life!

This week's verse is one I found it on Pinterest a couple months ago, but repinned it without really thinking about its meaning.  Yep, if it's sparkly or pretty, I'm going to read it.  That doesn't mean I read it carefully!  However, I went back and looked it up in my Bible.  When I read the notes in the margin for this verse, here's what they said:
How can we control the thoughts that come uninvited into our minds?  Thoughts of temptation or discouragement can come unannounced.  But we can discipline ourselves, making conscious choices to contemplate good things.  Reading uplifting Bible verses and meditating on them, making a mental checklist of God's attributes, counting our blessings--these types of things can get our thoughts on the right track.  
Yep, this verse is perfect for me!  It took me awhile to track down the original person who created the picture for this verse, but I finally found it.  Head to the Family Bees blog to download a printable PDF of this verse!

Last weekend I had K-Love playing on my car radio as I was driving home from school.  This amazing song came on, and the words spoke to me because they totally describe my life!  I pulled out my phone and frantically opened my Shazam app so I could learn the name of the song.  I narrowly missed side swiping a car, but it was worth it because I got Shazam opened in time.  Turns out the song is called "When Mercy Found Me" by the Rhett Walker band.  Check it out!

The last time readers tuned in, my beloved Wildcats were getting ready to face Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl.  Although the outcome of the game wasn't favorable for anyone who bleeds purple, I'm still a proud Wildcat!  When I was cruising the K-State Sports website looking for next year's schedule, I came across this gem.  It's an article about my favorite Wildcat, Bill Snyder.  I love how Bill credits his infamous 16 Goals to lessons his mother taught him growing up.  What an inspiring story that everyone should read.  And, in case you are wondering, I found next year's football schedule.  Good news, sports fans.  Only 230 days until kickoff on August 31st!  Yes, there's even an app for THAT!  iPhone enthusiasts, check out DaysUntil.  It's a freebie!  I'll leave you with one of my favorite quotes from Bill.  I took the photo at Fan Appreciation Day, so feel free to swipe it.  I'm always willing to share with fellow Wildcats!

Have a blessed week!  

Thursday, January 3, 2013

God, Goals, & the Cats

Well folks, after not being able to find time a year-long hiatus from blogging, I'm back!!!  Boy howdy, my life has changed for the better since my last post in December of 2011!  Most notably, I started walking with the Lord.  It's a pretty cool story I'll share sometime, but in a nutshell, I wouldn't be where I am today without the wisdom, guidance, love, and support of a few dear friends.  They know who they are.  I'll stop before I get all emotional...

Why start blogging again?  How does God factor into my blogging?  Excellent questions you may be asking yourself.  Or if not, I asked them for you.  Humor me.  When I blogged previously, people told me they enjoyed reading my random thoughts posts.  I LOVE telling a good story, and love sharing it in writing even more! Well, I've recently discovered that my ability to write is a gift from God.  Stop rolling your eyes at the sound of my arrogance.  I realize we're talking about a little blog here, and not a top-selling book on Amazon.  But, the fact that I seem to have somewhat captured even the slightest attention through my writing has only happened by the grace of God.  Isn't He amazing?!?  So, as long as I feel like I'm using this blog to serve others, I'm going to keep on writing.  Lucky you!

Fast forward to the start of a new year.  With any new beginning comes the dreaded resolutions people make, only to break them not long after they've been set.  Well, this girl  has set a few goals that I'm happy to keep.  The biggest goal is to choose one Bible verse per week to commit to memory, pray about, and apply to my daily life.  Each week I'll add a new verse.  But, the best part is that I'm not going to just "drop" the verse once the week is over.  Instead, I'm going to keep applying more verses.  So, by the 6th week of the year, I'll be applying 6 different Bible verses to my life.  It's definitely a lofty goal, but one that will help me grow.  In church every week, Pastor Jim encourages us to be "not just hearers of the word, but doers of the word."  I love that notion.  I even came across it in the Bible (James 1:22).  Anyway, hearing Pastor Jim say that phrase every week also inspired this goal.  I must confess it's not an original Jenn idea.  I modified it from a goal set by a very wise friend who I can only describe as the best thing since hairspray in a can (borrowed that phrase from "The Help").  Once again I's the verse I chose to start my year off with:

This verse pretty much makes the claim for why I would spend my year really digging into the Bible.  It seems like everytime I open this wonderful book, I find the most incredible nuggets of wisdom tucked inside each page.  I spent 32 years of my life lost without God, but now that He's in my life, everything has changed.  I still have lots to learn, but will definitely use the Bible to direct my path. It's also part of a song that I could listen to over and over again.  Here's a video of Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith singing "Thy Word."

By the way, I know what some of you are thinking.  Where'd she get that picture of the Bible with the verse?!?  I didn't hijack this from Google images.  I MADE IT!!  I got the image of a Bible from Microsoft Clip Art, uploaded it to Pixlr Express, and added the text.  I heart Pixlr Express because it's easy to navigate, has fun fonts, and is free.  If you've never heard of it, check it out here.  I'm warning you, jazzing up your photos is addicting!

I hope to update my blog weekly this year.  If nothing else, I'll share the verse I'm working on for the week, and maybe a few other random ramblings fun thoughts about life!  Speaking of random thoughts, my beloved Wildcats are playing in the Fiesta Bowl tonight and I couldn't be more excited.  I'm living vicariously through all my friends who are in Arizona cheering on the Cats in person.  I'll be watching from the comfort of my own couch, and will make no apologies to my neighbors for any ruckus that comes from my apartment this evening.  I've waited over a month to yell "BILL!!!!!!!" and "ZIMMERMAN!!!!!!!!" while cheering for my team.  This morning I was reading Ephesians and happened to run across a verse that really spoke to me, especially in light of tonight's game against the ducks.  Here's Ephesians 4:29, courtesy of my YouVersion Bible app:

Talk about the Holy Spirit bringing that verse into my life at the perfect time!  Great reminder for me.  I will not say anything bad about Oregon.  I will NOT say anything bad about Oregon...Let's hope the Wildcats can bring home a W for themselves, all the members of the Wildcat Nation, and especially my favorite Wildcat, Bill Snyder!

Have a blessed day!