Saturday, November 20, 2010

Crooked Creek Video

Here is the video capturing moments from our high school retreat earlier this year.
I thought many of you would enjoying taking a peak into this side of my life! Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Much Needed Update.

To all of my family and friends in California, I am so sorry that I have been delinquent at keeping you all updated on my new adventure. Sometimes I feel like I am on an extended mission trip and will just head home at Christmas time- then I step back and realize how real this is. I packed what I could fit in my car. Drove 4 states away. Moved in with a family I had never met. Started a career, that I never thought I would being, doing 6 days later. When I stand back and look at the reality of how my life has changed in the past 3 1/2 months, I am blown away- and yet, amazed at how God has intricately worked out all of the details.
Everyone has told me that my goal, as a first year teacher, should simply be keeping my head above water. Simple enough, right? I am treading water harder that I ever did in swim team, that's for sure. Every day, I take a long, deep breath. Remind myself why the heck I am teaching. And dive right it. To come home, start planning and finish more grading. When I decided NOT to be a teacher my first year at college, one of my arguments was "I don't like homework. I don't want to give homework to students. Because that just gives me more homework." Ironic. I am going to stop being so opinionated.
The kids are precious. Sometimes I feel like I am babysitting my 6th graders and then one of them comes up to me with an innocent question like, "Why do people raise their hands when they worship? Do I have to do that to worship?" These questions remind me how moldable they truly are. It has challenged me to look at my faith in a whole new direction. Without getting into the details of my high school classes...I will simply say that it is a challenge. It is impossible to instill passion for Christ in each student and then measure their growth. I am over "Sunday school" answers and am ready for these kids to really encounter WHO Jesus is. Understanding and experiencing how passionate Christ is for each of their hearts would set them free in so many ways.
As much as I would love to say that I have developed a fabulous social life, its not true. But enough of work. Over fall break I moved to Loveland and into a house with two wonderful ladies that I work with. They have been such a blessing in my life. We are having way too much fun together. In between the move, I hopped on a plane for my first visit to NYC! It was a four day get away that was absolutely necessary. My goal: drink coffee. sit on a bench in central park. throw some leaves in the air. drink more coffee. You get the picture. It was a great trip. Pretty sure I walked a marathon in one day. Now, I cannot wait to go back with my family for Christmas. Seeing the nutcracker in NYC has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl. One day.
Last Tuesday I woke up and realized, I am not in southern California anymore. We had a nice, beautiful, COLD layer of snow outside of our house. Gorgeous. But I do not feel equipped to drive in this weather at all. To be completely honest. I am terrified. Time to get over that or else I will not have a functional life for the next 6 months. I have had the chance to see Catherine (my roomie from college) and her great husband a couple times in the past two weeks. They are a breath of fresh air. CJ used to play for BYU, so the three of us went to the BYU vs. CSU game last weekend. SO fun. Minus the sudden attack of snow that fell on us. The frozen toes because I clearly do not know what real socks are. And the angry CSU fans because CJ flaunted his BYU colors.
For those of you that prayed for my dad when he landed in the ER, thank you. Not being able to drive my car over to the hospital and be with family was one of the hardest parts of this fall. I am so thankful for all of you that surrounded him and my mom with prayers, support and love! I cannot wait to see you all at Christmas!
I will let the Bible teacher in me come out one more time. My students are memorizing James 1:19-27 and I have become so encouraged through the conversations that are coming out of this. Verse 27 says, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." God is increasing my capacity to love by revealing pieces of His heart to me. I wonder, what would it look like if the reality of this verse, and God's love was REAL to each of us?

All My Love.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

New Chairs!

New Chairs in my Classroom :) Next steps. Rug. Coffee Pot...

The tree on the wall is the mural for the year. The kids are posting prayers, struggles, hopes and words from this year! It is exciting to have a visible representation of their growth!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Father's Love.

A while ago I posted a song my Kim Walker ("How He Loves Us").
Last night at church, Pastor Jonathan was trying to express the joy and heart of the Father towards us. He asked his two little girls to come on stage. One of the girls sat at the piano, and very cautiously, started playing. The younger of the two grabbed the microphone from her dad and turned her back to the whole church. Without hesitation she started singing the lyrics to "How He Loves Us". Back turned. Eyes closed. Believing every word that she was signing.
Their father stood over them the whole time with the biggest smile on his face. He would look at his girls with admiration and then look to the church and say..."these are my girls. I am so proud of them. And at is the most beautiful piano playing and signing that I have ever heard". As the camera panned around, it caught a glimpse of the younger girl's face...and as she began to repeat the chorus again, a huge smile came over her face. In the presence of her father, she had no worries that hundreds of people sat behind her. She was worshiping from the depths of who she was. No concern from impressing others, worries of criticism, or embarrassment.

Too often we forget that our Father is SO proud of us. He is signing over YOU. He is proud of YOU. And while we are so concerned with everyone around...He still stands there. So passionately in love with YOU. And says, "I love you. YOU are so beautiful to me."

Father's love. Unconditional.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I could literally write a 500 page book retelling the events of the past few weeks. I have been terribly at keeping this updated. For my huge fan following- forgive me :)
Diving right it.
Days after I updated my blog, speaking about how darkness cannot be where light is- I was confronted with a situation that really forced me to understand what this meant.
While at home, with the other girl that lives here, someone broke into the house. Just picture two terrified, shaken up blonde girls being escorted out of a house by 3 police men with guns and dogs...while the interior, exterior and surrounding street is covered in police. There are so many crazy details to this story, but now that weeks have passed I have been challenged to learn to live a life of confidence in God's power and love instead of continual fear.
I took this story into my classroom. It was one of the first times that I allowed myself to be vulnerable with them. This led to GREAT conversations and really started opening up avenues of trust with several of them.

Teaching has to be one of the hardest jobs a live. I am convinced. Trying to balance what it looks like to be a teacher and youth pastor at the same times is ridiculous.

I have decided that I am going to try to dive into the church that the school is connected with. There is an undeniable hunger for Jesus in their community that I am excited to be a part of. They have a young adult group. One step at a time. I will get there.

SO. Monday we made the trek up to Winter Park area for the annual high school retreat. The three young, beautiful, new teachers were assigned to a bus full of freshman and sophomores (mostly boys that smelled like they dumped bottles of ax on their person before walking on the bus). Our bus had the infamous nickname- "The Prison Bus". I am pretty sure we were assigned to this bus, with this group of students as initiation. There is no other explanation.
We stopped at a famous pizza place in Idaho Springs called BoJoes. My world was kind of rocked. They put HONEY on their pizza. Literally. Ever table had bottles of honey to put on your pizza. These crazy Colorado people.

The camp that we went to was a Young Life Retreat Center. It was gorgeous. Nothing like what I ever experienced as a camper or leader. The food. Completely edible. AND enjoyable. Crazy. Young life knows how to do something right!

The theme of each of retreat was "Risk". The kids were challenged to look at what risk in their relationships looks like. Lives were changed for eternity. There was such an overwhelming response to the presence of the Lord the very first night at chapel. I was blown away. In all my years of working in youth group settings and camps- I have never experienced anything similar to this. I was in a cabin with 16 of my junior girls. Those moments were so precious and delicate. When people look at teenagers and underestimate their depth of pain and the degree of life that they have experienced, they are severely wrong. These girls hold deep scars and wounds- but are ready to free fall back into the arms of Jesus.
The next day was full of sports activity. Me getting knocked out with a volleyball. Taken out in softball by the art teacher. Bruised up from dodgeball. Talent show. The giant free fall swing off a mountain (where literally 40 of my students watched me FREAK out and scream at the top of my lungs). There are so many fun details to this experience....but I walked away from 3 days immersed with students, having completely fallen in love with all of them.

As I walked the halls of the school this morning and watched the students flood into my classroom- it took everything me to hold back tears. They have stolen my heart. End of story. No longer do I see the surfaces annoyances...but students crying out for someone to love them. to hear them. to walk with them.

On top of all of this, God has blessed me with an amazing sister to walk through this process with. Kendra is a new English teacher at the school. Just moved to Loveland with her new husband...and is a complete God sent. She and I have daily venting sessions. Chocolate consumption sessions. And cry sessions. Being at retreat with her, I was overwhelmed by how united our hearts and visions are for our students. Its a beautiful friendship I am excited to keep growing in :)

My lovely friends and family. I do miss you like crazy. Your prayers are appreciated. Cherished. and so special to me.

All My Love.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


I think having no time to think is good. Right now. Don't get me wrong, I think about a lot of things- Like how to explain to 65 6th graders how Adam woke up one day and saw a beautiful woman that was unlike any of the other creation he had seen...with out them giggling for the next thirty minutes. Or how am I going to have prom planned in a room of loud juniors, once a week, for 50 minutes and actually be productive...what is it going to take to get through to the students that make going to the principals office a daily goal... how do I minister pastorally to the students that are open and hurting while still maintaining the boundaries of being an authority. These thoughts. Great. Absolutely necessary.
But the moment I slip out of these thoughts, step back and look at where I live, what I am attempting to do and the fact that I am all alone. That is terrifying.
People keep telling me that I am brave. But I have always figured that this was the natural process of growing up and growing into who God has created you to be.
Week three is officially done. The reality and intensity of my situation is settling in. Everything in me wants to retreat to my safe place or safe people in moments like this- but knowing that is not even a possibility will keep my feet moving one foot in front of the other.
I have faced more struggles in the classroom this week than I anticipated. I am comforted by the knowledge that where God is at work, Satan presses in even more.

What's on the horizon?
Labor day. YES! You have no idea how nice a 3 day weekend will be :)
Camp CCR- High school retreat for 3 days. Did I mention I am not a mountain girl. Yeah. We will see how that goes.
Middle school chapel. I am speaking! Wahoo!

The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me;
your love, O LORD, endures forever—
do not abandon the works of your hand

All My Love.
Ms. H :)

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Before I could even start writing this, I had to take the deepest, longest breath I have ever taken.
Week one. Done. Hallelujah!!!
If I can get through this week, I know I can get through the rest.
So, a little over view.
Monday was 6th grade and new student orientation. It was so precious seeing all of the 6th graders SO excited to be in middle school. The most anticipated event. Getting their lockers :)
Learning how to open them is pretty similar to getting into a bank safe, but they are determined! The classes of the week seem to all blend together. I have accepted the fact that I am going to be on most high schoolers' bad side...for a long time. Our superintendent's heart is communicating a message of "love" and "unity" within the school this year. To piggy back on that, I took time to go through 1 Cor. 13:1-8 in my high school classes (and I am making them memorize it by friday!). We wrapped up the week with the ancient form of prayer, meditation and revelation in practicing "Lectio Divina". This week was a good intro, but I am definitely excited to jump into the curriculum on Monday! My 6th graders are going to be spending the week intently looking at Genesis (with a fun twist of course)!

So. That is school. But I am quickly learning that school is going to encompass so many aspects of my life. I am making wonderful friends. Girls that keep me laughing when I want to cry, keep me on my toes, and tear me away from my classroom to go out! One of them put a beach ball on my desk with a note saying, "for the days when you miss the beach". Not that I actually went to the beach every day, but that moment that I can't have it, I want to go so badly. Lame.

Your prayers for strength, clarity and health would be much appreciated!

Love Never Fails.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Pics of Road Trip...

I have not had much time to breath lately. It has basically been 13 hr work days between training and prep. So for now, I thought I would share a few pictures of my adventure out here (They are backwards. This week I have realized how technologically stupid I am)!! Enjoy!

My New Baby Flying Free and Breathing Real Air!

Stuck in the mountain pass for 4 hours. So much for a scenic route.

Beautiful Waterfall that we stumbled upon in Utah. Bride's Vail. See it?

Padres Game the Night Before We Left!

Monday, August 9, 2010

First Day of Training.

So. Today was the first day of "training". I woke up bright and early ready to rock. Left a little bit early just to be prepared. And on the way, realized I had a little bit of time to find some coffee (you know. to help settle the nerves.) I pulled into this little drive through coffee shack on the way to the school expecting it to be a quick in-and-out. Decided to be a good representation of true California drivers, I nicely let a car pull ahead of me...bad decision. I waited for 10 minutes just for these people to pay. By this time I didn't even need my coffee. My heart was racing and I literally thought I was going to be late for my very first day. Didn't happen. I was perfectly on time. But lesson of the morning. Drive through coffee shack on the back country road does not equal Starbucks on Mission and Quince.
Anyways. Today's agenda was a course in the Philosophy of Christian Education. Each of us were assigned a book to read over the summer. My book was called "Total Truth" by Nancy Pearcey. I highly recommend it. In a nut shell, she used a long line of history to talk about the division of the sacred and secular in life. She urged Christians to pursue detailed Biblical knowledge and form solid worldviews in order to be the best ambassadors for Christ. I got a little bit worried when I was half way through the book that she was focuses completely on the intellectual side of Christianity and disregarding soul care and spiritual formation. In the end, I was so pleased with how she wrapped things up. She commissioned the Church to lead genuine lives that allow Christ's love to invade EVERY aspect of life to let His light shine brighter than ever.
So now you don't even have to read the book. There you go.
In our seminar we were split into groups with people that had the same book as us. Organized a short presentation and gave the overview of the book to the class. NO ONE HAD MY BOOK. Yeah. Great. That was a shocker.
All of that set aside. I met some amazing new teachers (and a few returners) that I am absolutely ecstatic to get to know. The nerves are still there, but they are not overwhelming. Over and over again I am being reminded that this is where I called to be right now. It is great.
Another early morning tomorrow. Another book to discuss.

Oh. By the way. The thunderstorms out here are ridiculous. And my new nic name after one day. Is "SoCal". Because I wouldn't go out in the downpour to walk to my car. Nothing like being a foreigner :)

Love you All!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Culture Shock.

The United States is huge. You do not realize this until spend time in other states.
I have not even begun to experience the beauty and culture of Colorado to its fullest...but have come to the conclusion that I am experience a degree of culture shock.
1. There are stars in the sky. Lots of them. Not just one or two scattered.
2. Rainbow sandals look ridiculous here. Tevas are a much better option. Although I will never, ever wear them.
3. SoCal people can pretend to be "Green" but the true "Green Peace" followers are here. Walking through Denver a guy was carrying a sign saying, "I don't hug the tree, I smoke the tree". Classy, huh!?
4. The best mullets on the planet can be found here.
5. I have been told that I look like Hannah Montana. Looking like a 16 year old ditz will be great when teaching 17 year olds. Perfect.

All of that set aside, the transition has gone very smooth! The family that I am living with is wonderful! They have been involved in many different aspect of ministry for a long time, so I am excited to bounce things off of them throughout the year. I have officially had 3 meetings at the school, been given most of my curriculum (with no clue what to do now), nailed down most of my classroom decorations and am ready to attack this weekend! Training starts on Monday for the new teachers! My brain is so full of new information. I think I have an ulcer I am so stressed. And my eye will not stop twitching. But all of that set aside, I am moving forward with the confidence that I have been called to this position and God will not abandon me.

I have decided that my verse for this season is Isaiah 43:1-2. This was the verse that I chose as encouragement for my girls when I was an RA...but it is not until now that I am clinging to it with all of my might!

Thank you again for the continual prayers! I miss you all like crazy.

All My Love.

Friday, July 30, 2010

On the Road Again. or just Now.

Recovering from a hour visit to VEGAS BABY!

Thank you Cedar City, Utah for not listening to crazy mormon rules and blessing us with your caffeinated beverages.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

New Adventure

My life never went according to my plans after graduation.
But the past year of my life has been at time of stretching, breaking, growing, crying (lots of crying) and most of all restoration and a renewed sense of calling.

My freshman year philosophy professor posed the question, "What can you not, not doing with the rest of your life". I knew immediately my answer was to mentor and walk with youth...To what capacity- I had no clue.

Looking back on my childhood there are 3 significant things that I can now laugh about.
1. I wanted to be a teacher...and literally had a chalk board in my room, with desks and animals lined up, and taught them.
2. I became consumed with interior decorating and planning. My room looked more like a classroom than a bedroom. Irrelevant fact. But completely true.
3. I like being in charge and am way too "type A". What 2nd grader plans their own birthday party?!

As I ventured on to college I continued to pursue this dream of teaching only because it was all that I had ever dreamed of doing. Until my professor asked me this question. I then abandoned the ship. Changed my major to Religion and prayed that I would figure out what the heck I was supposed to do by the time I graduated. Graduation came and passed. That same question still resonated within me. I knew what I was built to do, but had no clue how to actually accomplish it. The moment I stopped trying to plan out my every move (and no. I do not plan my own parties anymore) and released my whole self to the Lord, I received 4 phone calls from great friends who all presented me with the same opportunity, all claiming it was the job for me. The process of applying for this job was terrifying. And in the end, I was offered the opportunity of a life time. It took me abandoning my WHOLE self to the Lord to see what was before me. Teaching is something that has always be intrinsically built in me. It is a gift that learned to accept and love during college. I just needed to find something that I was truly passionate about teaching. End of story.

All this to say. Tomorrow morning I am heading off on an adventure of a life time. It is the most terrifying step that I have taken, probably ever. At the same time, I am more ready for this move than ever before. I am walking boldly in the confidence as the Beloved.

Thank you to all who have been huge supporters and prayer warriors for me. Never before have I felt more supported by the body than right now. I love you and and will miss you like crazy. Please continue praying for preparations for my classroom...and especially for my students. They have no idea what is about to hit them :)

Oh and did I mention that Max and I are driving there together. That adventure in itself needs to be covered in prayer.

All my Love.