Friday, August 10, 2012

PATIENCE: wait Joyfully!

“Patience is not the ability to wait but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting.”- Joyce Meyer

Why is it that patience is one of the hardest fruits of the Spirit to practice as a Christian? Maybe you're like me- you have patience for children and waiting in long lines at the ice cream store, but when it comes to people walking slow in front of you or when in traffic and driving, you have ABSOLUTLEY none! But, I'm talking about patience when it comes to things that are a bit more significant ;)

I know that a huge part of what makes waiting so hard is the fact that we live in a society that demands instant gratification. The new college grad wants the Vice President job at a top company that pays $100,000 a year, the new married couple wants to buy the more expensive house that they can't really afford, with granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances, and the teenager can't wait to be out of the house and treated like an adult. You're getting my drift I'm sure. . .The truth of the matter is that most people these days don't want to start at the bottom and WORK and WAIT to get to where they want to be.

I'll be the first to admit that I'm guilty of wanting instant gratification at times. A great example would be when I graduated college. I wanted the perfect teaching job right away. It never even crossed my mind that I might have to do something else for awhile if I didn't get a teaching job when I had planned to. Life being what it is, things did NOT go as Jessica had planned. I had to substitute teach, clean houses, work as a receptionist, and nanny all in a period of two years before I got hired at school full time. Did I enjoy working up to three jobs at a time? No, I hated that I had to work weekends and nights more than anything.  Were any of those jobs anything that I really wanted for myself? No. Did I always have a good attitude about having to work those other jobs? NO WAY. I had just spent four years in college to be a teacher and the day after graduation, I expected to get my dream job immediately.

I have friends who are in their later 20's and 30's who have been waiting for what they feel like has been forever, for a spouse and family, to buy a house of their own without roommates, and for jobs that would allow them to be fincially sound. I have watched these friends continuously wait for one or more of these things to happen in their lives and have noticed that some of them are really good at being patient, while others aren't. Some of them have days where they are doing good in their waiting process, and then days where they just are so done and wonder if God even has these desires of their hearts planned for their lives at all. But then, I've also witnessed patience pay off for some of them too!

Joyce Meyer who is my favorite Christian preacher, really caught my attention one day when I was listening to her podcast when she said, “Patience is not the ability to wait but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting.” She also went on to say that we will spend majority of our lives waiting for something, so why not enjoy the wait. It clicked for me how true that statement really is. If we are spending 95% of our lives waiting, why not enjoy life while we wait? That's what God wants us to do. Many of us have all these plans for our lives, and while they may or may not be a part of His plan, we cannot make them happen whenever is convenient for us:

“Timing is so important! If you are going to be successful in dance, you must be able to respond to rhythm and timing. It’s the same in the Spirit. People who don’t understand God’s timing can become spiritually spastic, trying to make the right things happen at the wrong time. They don’t get His rhythm – and everyone can tell they are out of step. They birth things prematurely, threatening the very lives of their God-given dreams.” ~ T. D. Jakes

I absolutley love this quote in every way! Looking back on those two years where basically nothing went the way I had planned, I learned so much about myself and what it truly meant to work hard. I did a lot of things that I didn't want to do, but it has all paid off and I know that I would not be the same person I am today if it weren't for that experience. I also grew so much closer to God! I honestly believe with all my heart that He makes us wait and go through storms because He simply wants us to grow in our walk with Him- it's like He slows us down to get our attention, which enables Him to do a huge work in us so that we become better and more like Him- "He must become greater; I must become less"- John 3:30. I know that for a fact because if I had gotten everything I wanted WHEN I wanted it, it would have been a disaster because I simply wasn't ready and had so much to learn before He finally decided to bring me to where I am now. I didn't enjoy the ride every day in the beginning, but after awhile I learned to because I got to a point in my relationship with God where I truly trusted Him and where He was taking me. . .even if I didn't understand it one bit! I got to a place where I could have a good attitude and be joyful every day. . .well, most days anyway :) Thanks to this experience, I have gotten so much better about how I wait for things. I'm a human being of course, so even though I've gotten better at waiting, its still not easy. I can honestly tell you that I am in another waiting period in my life right now, but that I am experiencing more good days than bad days because I trust God, which is giving me so much peace and joy!

This is one of my favorite scriptures of all time and God has put it on my heart to share it right now,"In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps"- Proverbs 16:9

As hard as it can be, we need to continue to tell God the desires of our heart and simply trust Him and His timing and not take it upon ourselves to try and make our plans happen prematurely.  Often times, it seems like He ends up delivering a better plan than we did in the first place, so why ruin it? We need to enjoy life while we wait for whats to come. Another favorite verse of mine,"This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it"- Psalm 118:24. I wake up almost every day with this verse in my head. Does it always mean I end up being joyful and glad that day? No, but it sure helps me get started with the right attitude! A step in the right direction!

As Joyce said, we are always waiting for something. Big and or little things. We may want to be promoted in a job, we may want to be the fastest in next year's race, want to start a family, to travel the world, start a restaurant. . .you name it. We all have a thing or two on our list, but chances are we aren't going to get it right away and that things will not go exactly as you planned- I know we all already know this too well. It may mean that you're going to have to work very hard in a job or jobs that you don't really want to work at, God may ask you to do things that you don't really want to do and you may end up waiting way longer than you ever imagined. Most people don't get anywhere without having to work hard to get to where they want to be, right? We need to remember that everyone has to start somewhere, even if it's at the VERY bottom. God wants us to learn and grow during our waiting process, and we all know that that means life won't always be sunshine and rainbows.  And if you love God and Trust Him through the waiting, you'll get blessed beyond what you ever thought possible. A verse I'd like to end on that is my VERY favorite verse of all time is this, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose"- Romans 8:28

Oops, I actually have one more verse I want to share because it is so important to PRAY and give thanks to God constantly, especially when we are having to practice patience: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God"- Phillippians 4:6

Sunday, January 1, 2012

My Top songs to RUN to!!

Hey Hey! I decided that I would list my favorite running songs for my friends to see since sometimes looking at others' playlists give me some ideas for some new music to listen to while I pound the pavement! They aren't ordered in any specific order, I'm just listing them ;)

1.) "Go Hard"- Lecrae
2.) "Enter Sandman" - Metallica
3.) "Age of Loneliness" - Enigma
4.) "Dirty Diana" - Michael Jackson
5.) "Message in a Bottle" - Matisyahu or Sting and the Police versions- I like both
6.) "Mocking Bird"- Eminem
7.) "Meet Me Halfway"- The Black Eyed Peas
8.) "Computer Blue" - Prince
9.) "Eye of the Tiger" - Rocky Balboa Soundtrack
10.) "Party Like a Rockstar" -Shop Boyz
11.) "Welcome to the Jungle" - Guns n' Roses
12.) "Gypsy" - Fleetwood Mac
13.) "Done Dirt Cheap" - ACDC
14.) "Your Love is a Song"- Switchfoot
15.) "Circle" - Big Head Todd
16.) "Exodus" - Bob Marley
17.) "Wild Thing" - Tone-Loc
18.) "Shakin" - Eddie Money
19.) "Learning to Fly" - Tom Petty
20.) "Rocky Mountain Way"- Joe Welsh
21.) "Electric Feel" - MGMT

Those are the ones off the top of my head, but I know there are probably several more; these ones are my favorites. I also listen to Joyce Meyer podcasts a lot, especially on longer solo runs and races. If you haven't checked her out, you should!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I know, I know. . .it's been Far too Long!

Pastor Shawn baptizing me!

Ash and I on the Bahamas cruise I won! Freeport, Bahamas

Dad and I after my baptism - This photo speaks 1000 words

Bridesmaids at Laura and Jake's wedding!

FUEL retreat in Winter Park!

Mom and my best friend Joni, after my baptism!

Volunteering! My softball team greeting the kids!

Volunteering at Sun Valley with Joni!

After the Georgetown to Idaho Springs half!
My Punk and I on Thanksgiving Day in Eagle, CO
Wow! Feels so good to be back on my blog! I'm am not going to lie, I forget that I have a blog anymore. . .but then today, I had a lot on my mind while driving home and wanted to write it all down. . .and then it hit me, "Hey Jess! Remember that thing called blogging that you used to love??" I need to write in my blog more often I've decided, because I absolutely love to write and speak my mind- as most of you, my friends, already know ;)
One thing I was thinking about on the drive home tonight is how 2011 is over already! I reflected on this year and just thought about literally everything! From struggling to find a job once substitute teaching ended, amazing friends I've met, even friends I've lost, having the running bug hit me again BIG time, all the ice cream, Mom giving me the jeep with the BEAST engine, volunteering . . .you get the picture. EVERYTHING! I felt myself smiling and thinking,"Wow, God is Great!" This year naturally, had ups and downs, but because of Him I got through it all and had by far one of the very best years of my life.
At the start of this year, I didn't really know what to expect! Most of my life and going to school, I always knew what was coming. . .but after graduation in May 2010, holy cow! Hello WORLD! It was the first time that I had no idea what was coming next. I had hopes and ideas of where I'd might be and where I'd want to go and do, but let me tell ya. . .I've learned that things don't always go as planned! Even though I didn't get a permanent teaching position this year, God blessed 2011 in a way that I never expected and in way that was far better than I could have ever even hoped for! The best thing that has happened for me this year is my relationship with God.
Even though I was saved 2 years ago, I spent real time with Him and we've never been closer :) At this point, I can't imagine not being at the level I have reached with my Lord and Savior. Even though this year had stressful times, I feel that I have changed in the way that I handle things and I've never felt so much joy (even when nothing exciting or amazing has happened). . .as I've said before on numerous facebook statuses, the Joy that can ONLY come from God! I just feel peaceful in most situations I get tied up in, even if they are stressful. I find that I'm nicer to people, especially people I don't even know. I'm caring less all the time of what people thing of me cause I finally have it in my head that all that matters is HIS opinion. That alone has made me learn to love myself as well- I think people don't realize how important it is to love one's self. This was my first year of being really involved in volunteer work and helping people who are living in poverty, the elderly, at-risk children, and basically working in settings where people really need to be loved and understand God's love for them. This volunteering has changed my heart completely and each time I do it, I feel my heart as happy as it can possibly be (although you see things that are sad and even devastating). . .just such an incredibly enriching experience and I honestly can't get enough of it! If you have never voluteered before, you need to try it; it will change your life!
FUEL (20 somethings group at my church) has also changed my life and made it so so much better! I have made lifelong friends in the 6 months or so that I have been attending. In that short time, I can confidently without a doubt, tell yout that there are a handful of friends who will ALWAYS be there for me. . .as well as me be there for them. We had our first amazing, incredible retreat in October, where we got to make new friends and grow closer to each other and to God. That retreat changed me in a really positive way, and to tell you the truth I'm still not sure exactly HOW or what I mean by that. I guess I just felt even closer to God, very thankful for the friends I've made through FUEL, and just so thankful for all that I have. I've told a few people that what amazes me about God is that He chooses us and I don't understand why he put me here in Colorado- one of the most beautiful places, why he gave me the BEST set of parents that anyone could have, gave me the friends, the opportunities, and just EVERYTHING that I have been blessed with. . .when He could have decided instead that I should be born in Africa with aids. I'll never know why, I'll never know how, but I thank God every single day for giving me the life that I have- EVERY aspect of it. Don't get me wrong, although I'm thankful for what I do have, I have dreams and goals like everyone else does but I always pray for His Will and not mine. It's not the easiest thing to do I'll admit, but at this point in my almost 24 years of life, things may not have gone as planned but as I look at my life now, I see that He has taken the BEST care of me through all these years, even before I Believed. I'm just going to keep Trusting Him and I know that my future is going to be better than anything I could probably even come close to imagining!

Joyce Meyer has also been a huge part of my life this year!  Incredible preacher if you have never heard of her- I always listen to her podcasts when I run and watch her shows on her website. I love her book "Battlefield of the Mind" and I just bought her Daily Devotionals book, "The Confident Woman." She says one of my very favorite sayings relating to growing as a Christian: "I may not be where I want to be but thank God I'm not where I used to be, but I'm okay and I'm on MY WAY!" Amen to that!
Anyway, wow! I meant to tell you guys about numerous things on my mind, but as most girls tend to do I got off on a tanget about the Love of My Life- My Lord! I'm feeling so good right now ;) I've lost some friends because of my "becoming a Jesus freak," but I wouldn't trade it for anything and it has taught me who my true friends really are. I'm still the same silly, blunt, laughing, clumsy, nonstop, ice-cream loving Jessica Taylor, who has so many blonde moments at times that people wonder why I came out brunette! :P I just love God now, that's the only thing that's different!
Well, it's close to bedtime so I'll come back sometime this week and write the other things that have been on my mind! Goodnight all!
p.s. Sorry for typos or grammar errors (and yes I did get an English specialty with my Elem Ed degree), but I'm a tad tired and this is MY blog, so there! :P

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

2010 is over? Already?

It occured to me today that there are 10 days left of 2010! I just can't believe it...where did the time go? I've noticed that as I get older, the years seem to go by even faster. I must say though, that it has been one heck of year for me!

As I reflect on 2010, I realize that it has been probably the most exciting and significant year of my life. January through the end of April was by far, the busiest I had EVER been in my life thanks to finishing my last semester of school tied in with student teaching. Then of course, the big day of graduation came in May! I look back at pictures of that day and I can't believe how big my smile was and how completley happy I was in every single picture! I just am so happy that I made it to that stage and got my degree with my wonderful family and friends looking on. My graduation day is a day I'll always cherish as it meant so much to me and I'll never have it again. . .thank God! haha. I mean that in the way I won't ever have to go to school again for four years!

This was also my first year of really being away from Greeley and Durango, and living on my own. For the most part, I've really enjoyed it! This was the first year that I didn't go home to Durango for the summer and of course there is no place like Durango in the summertime, but I really liked staying here in Golden and checking out all there was to do around here like hiking, and numerous other things to do around the Denver metro area. I enjoyed hiking and running Lookout Mountain as well as doing some hiking in Golden Gate State Park. The one thing that was unquestionably the highlight of my summer was spending it with an incredibly amazing guy! There are so many things I learned, did and saw around Denver this summer that Dan introduced me to! No matter what we did, we always had a good time. . .and still do (-:

This has also been a big year of transition and growing up! Whoever thinks life after college is easy is gravely mistaken. Don't get me wrong, it's definitley nice not having homework anymore (and being out of Greeley!), but when it comes to job hunting when all your friends are getting jobs and moving away, it has been tough at times. I'm very thankful that I got hired as a substitute teacher for Jeffco Public Schools and Littleton Academy, although I would have loved to have gotten hired as a full time teacher. On the other hand, I feel very lucky to have gotten substitute positions this year because I've met some incredible teachers, students and parents! I've learned so very much about how different schools work as well as the different curriculum, styles of teaching and classroom management. Right now, I've been long-term subbing for a teacher on maternity leave at Littleton Academy. I've just finished three weeks and starting in January, I have three more weeks! It has been a blast working with grades K-4 in all different subject areas. . .its nice to be in the classroom full time again! This longterm job is done at the end of January and then I hope to find another part-time job to go along with subbing. There was a period of three weeks or more that I didn't have any sub jobs and had way too much time on my hands. . .so I'd love to have some other kind of part time job to prevent that from happening again!

I've also noticed that so many of my closest friends from college and Durango are all so spread out now! I know it happens, but I didn't really realize that until after graduation. Some people have moved an hour and a half away, while others have moved half way across the world (Tiff!). I didn't realize until just a few months ago of how I took having my friends around while in college and in Durango, for granted. For years while in school, it was easy. . .if I wanted to see my friends, I could no problem. Now, it's like wow. . . Everyone is far away now and I miss them! It's okay though, thank God for Facebook! haha. I am happy to say that two of my good friends are getting married next year and I am honored to be a bridesmaid in both of their weddings! (-:

I've also been thinking about the New Year's Resolutions I had set for myself last year. One, was to go to church every Sunday and making my relationship with God stronger, and the other was to read more books for leisure this year that I had in the past! I am proud to say that I have succeeded on both of these resolutions! I have been attending Red Rocks Church every Sunday of 2010 (except of course, if I've been sick or out of town), and I have read two more books for leisure this year than I did last year!

God has worked wonders in my life and I've never had a better relationship with Him! At my church, I was on the Greeting team in the Spring (where you greet people when they are coming in for church) and then in August, I became a part of the Prayer Team, where we pray for people who come up after service that are in need of prayer. This experience has really changed my life as it has reminded me about the many things that people go through, both good and bad. It constantly reminds me how lucky I am to be where I'm at in life, and to have the family and friends that I do. Its funny because sometimes when someone comes to me for a prayer and they are telling me what is going on in their life, I have no idea what I'm going to say. . .but then all of the sudden, when I open my mouth to pray, all the right words seem to come out. It's like the Lord is truly speaking through me and it's an incredible feeling!

Well, I think its safe to say that I've said all that I have to say! For those of you who know me well, you are probably not surprised that this blog has turned into a novel! I hope everyone has had a great 2010, and I pray that more of your dreams come true in 2011- I can't wait to see what God has in store for everyone (-:

P.S. Oh and did I mention my parents got me LASIK for graduation? It's INCREDIBLE! If you ever get the chance to do it and are tired of wearing glasses and contacts, you should! I CAN SEE

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

May 8, 2010 is Over. . .

It's Tuesday May 11th, and I can't believe that graduation has come and passed already. I have waited my whole life for my college graduation day May 8, 2010 to come. . .it always felt so far away no matter how close it got and now that it's over, I kind of don't know what to think about it. Of course, I couldn't be happier to finally be done with my undergrad and have my degree, but now I kind of have that feeling now of "what now?"

I have applied for lots of teaching positions in and around the Denver area and am patiently waiting to hear back from school districts. This isn't really a good time to be applying for teaching positions in a lot of places so I'm not getting my hopes up about anything and I know that the right position will come up at the right time. If I don't get something by the fall, I just might have to do something else for a little while, which I think is okay. I still know that teaching is the right field for me, no questions asked.

This summer I'll still be living in Golden and I'll be working for two different families nannying and tutoring their children. The kids are between the ages of 3 and 8 years and I'm so excited that I'll be around youngsters again! I've already spent a lot of time with all of the kids and I'm already crazy about them. Not surprising right? I will also be doing some housesitting on the side, which I always enjoy.

I'm going to miss Durango this summer, but I'm coming down for a visit during Dad's 50th birthday on the weekend of June 25th. On the other hand, I'm really excited to see what I'll get myself into this summer up here in the Denver area. . .

Reality still kind of hasn't set in yet that I am finished with college. It's so weird coming home and not having homework or something that I absolutley need to be doing that is related to school. A lot of people keep asking me if I'll go back and get my masters and the answer is yes! I want to go back to school within a year or so and start working on my masters in Special Education. I'm really looking forward to it, but for now I need a little break from school, haha.

That's pretty much what's going on right now for me. I've very very happy and still can't believe I'm a UNC grad! I couldn't have done it without GOD, my amazing family and friends. I love you all very much! Now that I've accomplished the biggest goal I've ever set for myself, now its time to do some more and I'm excited to see where my next journey will begin. . .

Thursday, April 29, 2010

"Better When We're Together"

The day that I have both been anxiously awaiting as well as dreading, has finally come. April 30th is here and it is the last day that I'll be spending with my 2nd graders at Kyffin Elementary. I knew I would be sad, but I never imagined I'd feel the way I do now. . . my heart hurts way more than I expected it to. I've been a little down all week and for the first time in awhile, I wish time would slow down so that my last day would never come.

Tomorrow is April 30th and I'm wondering how tomorrow is going to be for the kids and I on our last day together. . .it's definitley going to be a day full of love with lots of hugs and tears. I'm so lucky to have worked with such an incredible group of 7 and 8 year olds. I've grown to love them more than I ever imagined and although I'll miss them more than words could ever describe, I feel in my heart that I've made a difference in their lives. I'm not exactly sure in what ways, but I know that in some way or another, I made a difference, and they certainly made a difference in my life. I feel content leaving and knowing that I did my best as a teacher and most importantly, gave them all of my love every single day. I just got finished creating a slide show that I am going to show them tomorrow- it's full of pictures that I've taken of them throughout our 4 months together and the song I chose to go along with the slideshow is "Better Together" by Jack Johnson. At first I had no idea which song I should choose, but when I listened to the words of this song, I knew it was the ONE. I think it's supposed to be refering to a man and a woman (as usual), but a lot of the lyrics fit my feelings perfectly.

Anyway, I know I'll be just fine and I know my "wee ones" will be just fine too! I'm just going to miss them oh so much. I've never felt so much love in my heart and I'm thankful to be going into a profession that allows me to have these feelings. Plus, kids are just awesome. . .even the bad ones aren't so bad. On a brighter note, graduation is just 8 days away and I couldn't be happier about that! I'm looking forward to celebrating with great friends and of course, my incredible family!

Over the past year, I've worked with lots of different kids in different schools and as you know, kids can say the funniest things! I've kept a journal and written down some of the best lines I've ever heard my kids say and I'd like to list off some of my favorites:

"Miss. Taylor! No wonder your boss is coming today, you look like a nice beautiful man!"
This was earlier this semester when I wore a suit- my UNC advisor was coming in to observe me teach and apparently I reminded this little girl of her father when he dressed up in a suit for work.

"Miss. Taylor, when you went skiing and fell, did you crash your head into a tree? Because you have a really really flat forehead!"
This was after telling a group of first graders about a crash I had while skiing, although I didn't crash my head into a tree (Thank GOD!).

"Why is that state called "Misery"??
This little boy was refering to the state of Missouri and was awfully confused about why someone would name a state misery- it was very cute!

"Miss. Taylor, you smell soooo good! You smell like a sharpened pencil!"
A sharpened pencil was the last thing I expected to hear her say!

Well, listing those off certainly put a smile on my face (-: I feel better. There are so many more, but I'd be typing all night if I listed them all! Anyway, just thought I'd share with you and wish me luck on my last day tomorrow. . .*hugs*!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Coffee and Such. . .

Hey Everyone!

So I've decided. . .I am going to quit drinking coffee after today! At least for a few months anyway. I've had way too much in the past month and that much is just not good. So yeah, just thought I'd share this little fact for some reason.

Wow, this week is going to be my last week with the kids and I think I'm ready to take it on but I feel the tears coming. And believe me, come Friday there will be tears! I'll be fine though because a week after that is graduation! It's finally here, I can't believe it. Thank you, God!

I've finally had some down time this week which has been amazing! I've gone to yoga, hung out with friends and family, pampered myself a little, and did I mention that I'm sleeping like a normal human being again? It's fantastic! Well, I still wake up pretty early on my own, but the sleep has been oh so good!
The weather on the other hand, has not been anything to take advantage of just yet. It was blizzarding outside on Friday! This is a photo I took on Friday late morning just outside of my elementary school. It had maybe been snowing about 30 minutes and this was how much snow was covering the ground and our cars! Then today. . .I woke up and it looked cold out so I put on jeans and long sleeve shirt. About an hour later, it got warm and so I put on a tank top. . .but then I ended up changing back into the long sleeve shirt because it got cold again by the afternoon. Colorado weather is so confusing. Maybe spring will get here by June!
Anyway, I just wanted to drop by and say "Hello!"