Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Catching Up!

Since starting school back in January life has changed quite a bit and sadly this is an area that has gone much neglected.  I have been thinking of my blog here lately and wanted to just catch everyone up on camp camp, school life, and life in general. 

Let me start with camp life first.  This summer we had a wonderful summer with a wonderful staff too.  This is my first summer trying to balance both camp and school life at the same time.  I am happy to say that it worked out as well as it could have.  My classes were focused on challenges that my supervisor Aaron and I had visited about.  My classes were experience based so camp was my classroom.  This summer I focused a lot on how to develop a team and what the best way was to progressively build a team that was productive in meeting camp needs while taking out time to minister to those I worked with spiritually.  I set specific goals and worked on them throughout the summer.  As my goals weren't reached then my mind start thinking almost immediately on how to improve and accomplish my goals.  Some goals were achieved and some didn't work out quite the way I had planned.  The nice thing is that it is always a learning and growing experience.  The Lord is never done with the work He begins. 

At the start of the summer we needed to restructure a bit and with that need a position in the dining hall came open.  I was asked about it and if I would want it.  With summer just starting and definite goals set for the summer I didn't feel like that was the right move for me at that time.  There were a couple of options floating in the air so for a month I watched, prayed, visited with various people in leadership, and then my camp director visited with me.  At the first of the summer I wasn't in a place to switch roles but as the summer progressed and as the options were running out the Lord started working on me as to whether I should go back into food service or remain where I was.  The Lord clearly revealed to me His will by the end of the summer and I started working in the Kitchen full time on August 1st as Assistant Food Service Director.  This has been a wonderful change for me and has helped with my class load as well.  It is strange that it is working that way because I am putting in more hours now then I did before, but I do put in most of my work hours on the weekend and some in the week which leaves more time during the weekdays to work on class work.   There are differences in how Sacramento serves and preps food compared to Ceta so there was more learning to do in the kitchen and that was a big reason for the decision to change. 

As for school life well it is fast and furious and before I know it I think I will be finished.  In the spring I took Introduction to the New Testament and Introduction to the Old Testament.  I was fortunate to have the same online teacher for both classes and I loved it.  With Intro. to the NT being my first class I started out a little slow but by the time I finished off the session I had an A.  I felt that is was a good start after being out of school since high school except for a few certification courses along the way (which all the tests were multiple choice).  Intro. to the OT went so much better I started out strong and stayed strong.  I finished off this class with an A too.  This was so exciting for me because as most of you know I wasn't the most dedicated student in high school so I wasn't sure how this would work out. 

In the summer I did 2 experience based classes as I said earlier which were Developing Dynamic Teams and Organizations as Learning Communities.  This was an interesting balance with summer hitting here at camp and trying to balance 2 classes at the same time.  The Lord was faithful and with little sleep and lots of support from my supervisor I was able to finish off the summer with and A in both classes.  I learned a lot from having camp as my classroom.  When talking with my advisor about my fall classes the Lord was amazing and my advisor worked it out that I got credit for another experience based class that was a Challenge Course class.  Because of my experience and hours that I had on our challenge course my advisor said that I could prove with that information that I was competent in the challenge course so he would see what he could do.  It worked out that I was able to get credit for this class during the summer too. 

Now I am in the fall semester and have just finished session 1 of classes.  I took my first grad online class and I have to say I was very nervous.  I had a new teacher, there was more work, and she only opened up one week at a time which meant I couldn't check out the whole class and go completely bonkers with thinking I couldn't do it.  Looking back I am now thankful that she didn't open all 8 weeks to us because I just focused on one week at a time which was so much better then looking at the whole picture.  My class was Inductive Bible Study.  We learned how to study our Bible based off of Precept Ministries format.  This was life changing for me.  I learned so much about how to study God's Word through observation, interpretation, and application.  I would suggest this form of studying God's Word to anyone and am hoping to either mentor someone on how to study their Bible individually or maybe even start up a small Bible Study group to teach them this method.  We will see what opportunities the Lord opens up.  :)  I finished off this much worried about class with an A!  I was excited and so thankful.  I did a lot of traveling during this class that caused me some concern but my teacher was so helpful and I was able to stay on track with assignments and such. 

On Monday I will be starting my next online class which is Christ in the Old Testament and another experience based class Strategic Thinking.  I am really looking forward to both classes and pray that I am able to handle both with ease.  I do have to say that Christ in the OT isn't as overwhelming as my other classes have been I think that coming off of a grad level class and moving into an undergrad class is helping me with my confidence to be able to tackle it.  I hope I do good still and will work as hard as ever.  :)  At this stage it looks as though I will be finishing up with both degrees May 2015. 

Now on to life in general.  This is a hard one because between camp and classes there isn't much time for anything else.  I was able to make a trip home back in August which was really fun.  I little difficult with online classes already going but it worked out just fine.  In September I went on an Emmaus Walk at the end of the month which was a life changing experience.  I was really challenged to look at myself and if there were changes that needed to be made.  Since returning home the Lord has been working in my life in a way I never would have allowed before.  It is always hard experiencing change but it is always a good thing. 

At the first of October my niece Rachel and nephew Luke accepted the Lord as their Saviour and was baptized.   I am so thankful concerning their decision.  I wish I could have gone to their baptism but I wasn't able to.  I also went to see the Kellogg's Tour of Gymnastics Champions which a lot of fun.  It wasn't what I expected but still wonderful.  I had a good weekend with my family even though it was a quick trip.  I left Saturday night and got home late Monday night (close to midnight).  I think that is the quickest trip I have ever made.  Other than that I am just trying to catch up on life this week.  I have been working on addressing Christmas cards, getting pictures in them, and will be writing a Christmas letter soon.  I know it is early for Christmas but once classes start it will be busy until December 21st when they end.  This is the best time to work on them.  I am close to completing my Christmas shopping and it will feel good when that is complete.  I try to have it all done by Thanksgiving so that I can take my Christmas to my family then instead of mailing it.  With that being said the current plan is to remain home at Sacramento for Christmas again.  I hope I get snow for Christmas like last year!  :) 

Well I don't know much else I just wanted to catch yall up on life and let you know I am still kicking and doing great.  I pray that this update finds everyone abiding in the Lord and doing wonderful. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Introduction to the Old Testament - Week 4

It is a good feeling to have completed this week! This class has seemed a bit harder then my last class and has challenged me more then I thought it would. Thankfully my grades haven't suffered in the challenges yet but I just keep praying for wisdom. I have learned that I need to spend more time in the OT and not just reading it but actually studying it in deeper ways. :) I am enjoying the class even with the challenges though but it sure will feel great to have this one completed.

Week 4 Summary:

As I worked on our assignment this week I saw through all the kings in both Israel and in Judah that there is a decision to make. We can choose to walk in the ways of the Lord or to live in disobedience. The Lord will reward those who walk in the ways of God and there are consequences to not walking in His ways. We saw that both Israel and Judah were taken captive due to disobedience and the same is possible for us today spiritually speaking. If we chose to disobey there are consequences that can lead to captivity but if we walk right in the sight of the Lord then He will be with us and prosper us. As I continue to walk in service to the Lord my prayer is that I would commit to follow the commands of God and to live a life that honors the Lord. I desire to do what is right in His eyes and in His eyes alone.

God has been teaching me so much through this experience and I am really looking forward to my summer class which is an experienced base class. It will be quite different from what I am doing online because my classroom will be camp. The class I am taking is Developing Dynamic Teams and it is going to be my first grad class. I am excited but nervous too. :)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Introduction to the Old Testament - Week 3

It is hard to believe that Week 3 is already complete in my online class. After this next week we will be halfway done. Wow! Time goes by too fast sometimes. It is getting time for me to begin the research on my paper that is due at the end of the class (it is sorta like our final since it counts as a third of our grade and a summary of what we have learned in class).

This class seems to be harder then my last class (Introduction to the New Testament). I think that there is just a lot of information being covered in one week compared to my last class. God has been good though and has helped me to understand the information. My class has already started out really well and actually better then my last class as far as grades go even with it seeming harder.

Week 3 Summary:

There has been so much about this week that has been such a learning experience for me. In our discussion time it was wonderful looking deeper into the need of having Christian mentors and being willing to mentor the next generation. The assignment questions were very thought provoking and I appreciated looking at the life of Samuel, the prayer of his mother, and the willingness to give her son to the Lord after being barren. It was also interesting looking at how Saul and David were chosen as kings over Israel and why they were chosen. As I finish up this week my desire is to be a woman after God’s heart, to look at the heart of man verses the physical appearance, and to make it a point to pass down to the next generation the things of God so that they won’t forget who He is and the mighty works He has done to reveal Himself to us.

Introduction to the Old Testament - Week 2

I am a bit behind seeing that I have just finished up with Week 3 so tonight I am catching up my blog. :)

Week 2 was met with a few challenges. The website for my online class was down 3 days longer than anticipated so Week 2 & 3 overlapped some. I am thankful the new website is up and running and we are back on schedule.

Week 2 Summary:

This week I was encouraged by our discussion on Deuteronomy 6 concerning passing on to the next generation what the Lord has done for us. God has brought me so far in my journey with Him just as He had with the Israelites and as I work with young adults, teenagers, and children I hope to pass on to them the things the Lord has taught me. I was encouraged by one of my classmates to remember Him always whether in times of trial or in times of ease. I pray that as I will always keep before me God’s word and make the most of each opportunity to pass on the things of God to the next generation.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Introduction to the Old Testament - Week 1

Classes have started up and all is going great so far! I finished off the week with a 100% on both my discussion time and on my assignment so that was really exciting for me. :) My goal is to get all 100's on my discussion time, at least two 100's on my assignments (which will improve on last session), and get into the mid 90's with my paper. I am really excited about this class. It feels good to be excited because my last class I was very nervous. This week was a pretty easy start since we did personal introductions and short biographies about ourselves to help with getting to know each other. As the class progresses it appears it will get a little harder but it was a great week.

Here is my summary for the week:

This week I really enjoyed getting to know my classmates and seeing through their biographies how the Lord has worked in big ways in their lives. I am always standing in awe of God and how He accomplishes His will in so many different ways and can use each of us as we are willing to be used by Him. I have been so encouraged this week in getting to know each other and by our assignment in how God used each person in special ways according to His will. As I walk through life I want to make the most of each opportunity because God can use anyone He chooses to accomplish His will through.

I want to thank everyone for your prayers and encouragement through this process. It was a scary decision for me to go back to school and it feels good to know I have support out there. I am loving this decision and enjoying every minute of it! :)

Spring Break 2012

I can honestly say that I never would have imagined spring break relating to me ever again after graduating from Pasco High School but this year it did.

This year I loaded up my car with my stuff and my pups and we headed to Snyder for a few days. It was a lot of fun seeing family and friends while I was there. I think I slept the first full day I was there. The weather turned cold, windy, and rainy (I guess I had brought it with me) and I ended up staying out at Grandma's most of the day. With the time being an hour ahead of New Mexico my alarm is set every night so that I don't accidentally sleep till 10 or 11 am. So I got up, cleaned up, ate breakfast, and then had a nap. I woke up had lunch and had a nap. Then my Dad called and gave me the plan for when they would be done with dialysis, and then took another nap. Then my Dad called and said they would be ready by the time I got there and that Mom wanted to eat when she was finished at Colorado City (sometimes she is pretty weak after her treatments) so I officially got up and went to meet them at the clinic and went to have supper with them. When I got home my Grandma and I watched a bit of television and then at about 10pm guess what I went to bed! I couldn't not believe how tired I was when I didn't have to do a reading assignment, discussion question, or an assignment. It felt great to sleep and sleep some more though I felt like I lost my entire day and I had.

You should check out my sister's blog. If you look on my blog list click on "The Stansell Family" she posted about my time at her house and posted some pictures. I didn't get any pictures this go around. My Grandma made the day trip with me to Midland and we had a lot of fun. I went to see my nephew Luke play soccer but his game was canceled because of the weather. Instead we just visited and made St. Patrick's Day cupcakes! After they had cooled off we decorated them and each had one. It was a lot of fun.

This was a great spring break for me and it was a nice break from classes. I did start my reading assignment during spring break to get ahead a bit though. Classes have started back up and are going great. I am really looking forward to another great session. I am already working on what class I will be taking in the summer. I am hoping this will work out good because summers are very busy for us and I am hoping to take at least one class every summer to help the progress of classes. As of right now once this class is over I will be finishing up in 4 years if I remain on this pace of only one class per session (2 classes in the fall semester, 2 classes in the spring semester, and 1 class in the summer). This would be a great time frame for me and a realistic goal for completion. I hope everyone had a wonderful spring break too! :)

Friday, March 2, 2012

Things I Have Learned: Intro. to the New Testament, Week 8

Wow I can't believe that this is the last summary I will be posting for Intro to the New Testament. It feels good to have this class complete. I am feeling good and so excited for the rest of my classes.

Here is my week 8 summary:

I really enjoyed this week of study and more particularly I enjoyed our assignment. I was reminded of the emphasis that John puts into his letters concerning love and what that means. As I leave this week the Lord convicted me to be willing to lay down my life for those around me and that perfect love casts out fear. I had been struggling with making a decision to help my Mom get off of kidney dialysis by donating a kidney to her. This week the Lord showed me that if this is His will then He will provide if the day comes that I may need a kidney myself. Though I don’t know if I will qualify or not the lesson I am taking away from this is to be willing to lay it all down and trust Him with the outcome. I hope that this works out for my Mom’s sake though and I believe that this will be a wonderful lesson to take hold of as summer is approaching and our camp starts to pick up. There are a lot of kids out there that need to experience the love of Christ.

I can’t believe that these 8 weeks are coming to a close. Thank you all for the encouragement I have received from yall. You have been a huge blessing in my life. I hope to see everyone again sometime down the road as I continue my studies and may the Lord bless each of you as you continue in your studies. :)

I am really excited for my next class which is Intro to the Old Testament. I will be starting it on March 12th.

After figuring things out I found that if I go light for the rest of my classes doing 1 per session I will finish in about 4 1/2 years (5 classes a year) and if I want to push things then I will finish in 3 1/2 years (7 classes a year). For now I am planning the lighter route but I may change my mind. I am really excited about this journey though. I hope everyone is doing well. Take care and may the Lord bless you always.