1. Eucharisteo 2.

    So…whoops.  So far, not so good as far as the thankfulness posts are concerned.  *Rubs hands together*  Let’s catch up:

    Nov. 2

    I am thankful for sweet, beautiful “bridesmaids.”  The best friends a girl could ever hope for.  Each with a heart beating for the Lord, living a life for His glory to the best of their abilities and an inspiration to me.  No matter the distance or time between chatting with them or spending time with them, I still consider them my best friends and never worry that might not be so.

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    Brittany - patient, kind, tender hearted, bright

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    Ali - hilarious, sassy, sweet, genuine

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    Rebecca - “It’s always us,” adventurous (I mean…this picture was taken in China…or maybe it was the Philippines, or Taiwan, or something.  But you get it.), cute, friendly

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    Sarah - challenging (in a good way!), fun, refreshing, deep

    Nov. 3

    I am SO thankful for my pup.  I am SO thankful that he is MINE, all mine.  He’s my snuggle buddy, my sweet boy, my fellow adventurer, and my little protector.  He’s my best friend!

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    He makes me feel like this kitten…

    Do yourself a favor and, if you’re ready for the commitment, skip the pet store or breeder and go rescue a dog.  They will love you eternally for it.

    Nov. 4

    I am thankful for a full-time job.  Maybe it’s not my ideal, but I know God chose it for me and wants me in this itty bitty town for some special reason.  So, okay.  Here I am, Lord!  Thank You.

    Nov. 5

    I am thankful for four walls and a roof over my head.  And my portable heater.  Warmth.  Something not all people have and most people take for granted.

    Nov. 6

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    Enough said.

    Nov. 7

    I am thankful for Cinder (and her momma)—Oscar’s playmate and best puppy friend.  A true comedian she is and a bulldozer you’d better watch out for ;)

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    Nov. 8

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    This chair.

    Nov. 9

    I am thankful for horses.  If I had to be any animal, I’d be a horse.  They’re gorgeous, majestic, strong, and a little bit mysterious.  I am thankful for their humble natures that allow, even me, to ride and befriend them.

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    Nov. 10

    "I am so glad that Jesus loves me, Jesus loves even me."

    It’s stuck in my head, and I really AM so glad.  I am thankful.

    Nov. 11

    I am thankful for my family.  There’s so much I could say, but I’ll leave it at that.  Thank God above for choosing these extraordinary people to be my flesh and blood.

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    Nov. 12

    I am thankful for my jobs, past and present, as a music director and teacher.  I am learning, growing, and loving the journey.  It’s not perfect and there is much I wish I could change, but this is all part of the ride.  Here’s to many more years of this career (or not, depending on whatever curve balls Abba Father sends my way).

  2. Eucharisteo

    A Greek word meaning “to be grateful, to feel thankful, to give thanks.”

    In a town with one small grocery store and hardly anything else, I’ve been watching a lot of 19 Kids & Counting (when I’m not teaching, walking my dog, riding a horse, or adventuring in some other outdoorsy way).  It might seem silly, but I’ve been really challenged by the family’s attitude.  They use the word “grateful” over & over & I couldn’t help but be convicted by it.  During the episode in which Jim Bob (I know, right?) and Michelle learn they have lost their 20th child, the first thing Michelle says, through tears, is, “The Lord giveth & the Lord taketh away.  Blessed be the name of the Lord.”  What a perspective!  I’ve been praying for an attitude in which I could lose a loved one and still say whole heartedly, “Blessed be the name of the Lord.”  So, in an attempt to kickstart the reorientation my heart & mind, I’ve decided to be really cliche and do 30 days of thankfulness for the month of November.  On the 28th we’ll celebrate Thanksgiving & I hope that by that time, I will be well on my way to relearning how to be genuinely & humbly “grateful.”

    November 1st:

    Trivial as it may seem, I am thankful for the city.

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    Philadelphia, PA:  Home

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    Madison, WI:  Where my brother lives & one of the most quaint, artsy, awesome cities I know.

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    New York, NY:  A dream & a place full of possibility.

    It’s official.  I consider myself a city girl.  After living in this small town, there’s no doubt about it.  I long for the city.  I love its excitement, and opportunities, and entertainment, and hustle and bustle.  I am thankful for its shops, people, quirks, parks, and access to the arts.  I am thankful for the adventures I find in the city.

    // Eucharisteo.  Blessed be the name of the Lord. //

  3. "You sneaky God!"

    Six months ago, Colorado wasn’t even on my radar.  When I arrived in Westcliffe, Colorado in May, I would have very confidently denied the potential that I might live here.  (I’m a city girl, after all, and Westcliffe is about as Podunk as you can get.)  But as I look back on these past few months, I can see that Jehovah-Raah (The Lord, My Shepherd) was chipping away at my stubborn heart and preparing me for life in the wilderness.  This is the story:

    I can’t remember exactly when, but I made plans to meet my roommate to have lunch on campus where she worked.  I wasn’t positive she’d be ready in time, so I took some Horse Illustrated magazines that I’d checked out of the library to read while I waited on her.  Recruiters from Horn Creek Christian Camp were on Cedarville University campus that day and spotted my Horse Illustrated magazines.  It wasn’t long before we were having a detailed conversation about what it would look like to be a Wrangler on summer staff at Horn Creek.  I wrote my name down on their sign up sheet and forgot about it.  Later, I was told by one of the recruiters who is now my friend, that they put a star next to my name as someone they thought would be a good fit.  However many months later I was on a flight to CO Springs to spend my summer with horses.

    After a few weeks I was in the swing of things, although wearing jeans, plaid shirts, studded belts, and a cowboy hat felt like playing dress up every day!  News got around that I was a music teacher (welcome to Small Town, America) and people started telling me about the open part-time music teaching position in town.  I wasn’t about to move 1200 miles away for part-time work.  No thanks.  And especially not to Westcliffe.  No way.  About this time I heard a sermon where the preacher talked about situations where God changes your heart.  He said something along the lines of, “Have you ever been in one of those situations where you feel God asking you to do something and you say, ‘No way.  Definitely not.’ And you are so convinced it will never happen, but then you get to thinking and praying and suddenly you find yourself surrendering to God and saying, ‘OK’ and you have no idea how you came to that place.”

    A little while later Mom and Dad decided to visit and called one of the Inns in town to make reservations.  It was the first hotel that popped up on mom’s Google search.  The man on the phone started asking about the visit and Mom ended up sharing that I was a music teacher.  It just so happens the man on the phone is the husband of the secondary principal.  Without giving any of my information, they made reservations and hung up.  A couple of days later they called my parents back asking how they could reach me.  After a couple of days I had three voicemails from different administrators asking if I was interested in the job.  I put off calling them back for several weeks.  Around that time I heard this song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dy9nwe9_xzw

    I finally called back.  I expected to tell them, “No thanks” and move on.  But the principal offered me full-time.  A week later I went in for an interview.  During the interview the super intendant said, “I know this isn’t very kosher in an interview for a public school, but I’m assuming that since you are working up at Horn Creek you have some kind of faith basis.  The reason I left my career in engineering and began a career in education is because I finally decided to surrender to the Lord.”  They set me up with an apartment and that evening I did a walk through and met the secondary music teacher.  On my drive home from the interview they called me offering me the job.

    The past week has been a battle.  When I consider leaving the show choir in Ohio my heart aches.  I feel guilty and I know I will miss them tremendously.  But the reality is that Ohio holds very little for me now.  By the end of last year I was growing weary of substitute teaching.  Working 3 part-time jobs will not be enough to pay for a full rent fee (my roommate is moving out) or to pay student loans, or to purchase a new car, etc.  On July 5 it hit me especially hard.  So I sat down with my Bible and the book Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.  This was what I read that day:

    Behold, I am doing a new thing;
        now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
    I will make a way in the wilderness
        and rivers in the desert.

    //Isaiah 43:19//

     

    When I am afraid,
        put my trust in you.
    In God, whose word I praise,
        in God I trustI shall not be afraid.
        What can flesh do to me?

    //Psalm 56:3-4//

     

    "DRAW NEAR TO ME with a thankful heart, aware that your cup is overflowing with blessings.  Gratitude enables you to perceive Me more clearly and to rejoice in our love-relationship.  Nothing can separate you from My loving Presence!  That is the basis of your security.  Whenever you start to feel anxious, remind yourself that your security rests in Me alone, and I am totally trustworthy.

    You will never be in control of your life circumstances, but ou can relax and trust in My control.  Instead of striving for a predictable, safe lifestyle, seek to know Me in greater depth and breadth.  I long to make your life a glorious adventure, but you must stop clinging to old ways.  I am always doing something new within My beloved ones.  Be on the lookout for all that I have prepared for you.” - July 5, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

     

    This morning I went for a solo horseback ride on the mountain.  Afterwards I called the principal to accept the job.  I will arrive back in OH on August 11, I will pack my things on August 12, load a truck on August 13, and hopefully be leaving again for CO by August 14 with Dad.  I start at the school on August 19.

    {[Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
    let me walk upon the waters wherever you would call me.
    Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander,
    And my faith would be made stronger in the presence of my Savior.]}

     ”Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

    //Ephesians 3:20-21//

  4. Updates:

    1. I went on an awesome ride up the mountain on Saturday with my boss. The scenery was gorgeous and we sat and ate lunch on a little patch of ground surrounded by creek and fallen trees.  It was like a little haven in the woods—beautiful.  Although, the bug bites were not how I had hoped to remember it…

    2. At the end of the ride we got caught in the rain and hail.  Patches handled it all fine until a huge clap of thunder sent him reeling out of control and left me on the ground…it’s okay, I still love him even if he’s a scaredy cat <3

    3. On Monday I had an interview for a full time elementary music teaching position at the school in town.  Ten minutes after leaving the interview I got a phone call from the principal…offering me the job…I haven’t officially accepted it yet and could use a lot of prayer for wisdom and discernment.  I have no idea which decision to make.  I would prefer to stay with my show choir, but I don’t see how I can turn down full time work/experience.  Please pray!

    4. A half hour after that, I got a phone call from the secondary music teacher at the school offering me her apartment to live in since she’s moving.  The rent fee is right in my price range & the land lord allows pets… 

    5. In the meantime I’ve been looking up dogs at the shelters in the area and dreaming about being involved with horses as much as possible.

    Please pray for me!  Miss you guys.  Looking forward to seeing y’all (or most of you) in Ohio in a month-ish!

  5. Prayer Requests

    I have two interviews set up…one for a part-time middle school choir teaching position in OH, another for a full-time elementary music teaching position in Westcliffe, CO.  I have no idea what to do with this stuff.  Please pray if you think of it….thank you :)

  6. SURPRISE!

    Little did I know, my birthday wasn’t over when I wrote that last blog post.  My two friends had been waiting on me to finish up my blog post.  About ten minutes before I finished the entire rec center cleared out and it was just us 3…I didn’t think much of it…One of my friends suggested heading to one of the dining halls to grab a snack before bed & I said I’d go along with her.  The 3 of us lolly-gagged on over to the dining hall & went in the back entrance…I thought twice about the fact we were using the back (kitchen) entrance, but figured, “Eh. Whatever.”  We walked into pitch black & I immediately heard voices.  

    ME: “Is that a dude’s voice!?”
    FRIEND: “Nah, I think it was just the light turning on.”
    ME:  ”No. That is DEFINITELY a guy talking.”

    The lights flashed on & all of my summer staffer friends were hanging from the rafters (literally), hiding behind tables, or jumping out to say, “Happy Birthdayyy!!!”

    And then we danced.

    ***

    The next day at lunch, I thought all the excitement was over.  But I was wrong.  After staff had eaten lunch three of my friends came out of the kitchen singing the Happy Birthday song holding 2 huge sheet cakes that read, “Happy Birthday Sarah!” :)  Thanks Momma & Daddy-o.  So we ate, drank, & were very merry.

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    ***

    This past week has been easy, restful, & wonderful.  Here are some pictures:

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    // After church in the park. //

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    // This is our barn hummingbird that I fondly named, “Theresa.”  She has a friend named, “Bill.” //

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    // Pray for Colorado.  Those aren’t low hanging clouds.  That’s smoke.//

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    // Evening 2.5 mile run down the mountain with some friends. //

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    // This was one of my most favorite afternoons yet. //

  7. It’s my birthday today!

    // Woke up to notes on the mirrors and things hanging around the apt //

    // Spent a quiet morning with the horsies //

    // Checked my mail & got some notes from friends <3 //

    // Was treated to lunch by a new friend //

    // Played frisbee & botchy ball in the park //

    // Got this snap chat (& others…& texts & phone calls & FB notifications) //

    // Went to dinner with a bunch of summer staffers & was treated to a meal //

    Spent some time in the pool this afternoon too (see the video below…it was really funny, but maybe you had to be there).

    Overall a great birthday :) and who would have thought I’d be spending my 23rd birthday on a mountain in CO with a barn full of horses and so many new friends.  Funny, exciting, & a little bit nerve wracking (but awesome!) how God works life out.  Thankful for 23 healthy, full, challenging, and awfully fun years.  (A little disappointed that I won’t be able to sing 22 by Taylor Swift with the same kind of passion now…but I think I’ll get over it somehow…)

  8. "Synchronized swimming" with Stuart.

  9. I’m very sleepy today and feeling pretty mellow.  I’m hoping I’m not fighting off a sickness.  Horn Creek staff has been hit pretty hard with a stomach bug and nasty head cold.  I think it’s passing now, but you never know…I spent my afternoon with the horses up at the barn, watching them and petting them and just being with them.  It struck me, for the first time, the kind of humility it requires for a horse to allow man to lead or ride him.  A horse could kill a human with one swift movement, and instead they allow for relationship.  And I am SO thankful when they do.  There’s one horse at our barn that has not allowed that, however.  His name is Kingston.  He’s one of the most beautiful horses I’ve seen and he’s very kind on the ground.  But get on his back and he refuses to listen.  He’s dangerous.  He rears and runs and has even laid down (with a rider on him) in his meanest temper tantrums.  What you have to understand, is that horses are not usually this way on their own.  This kind of malicious behavior usually is created by wrong-doing or mishandling by a human being.  Kingston was a rescue horse.  We aren’t sure of his background, but chances are he was not always well-treated.  Today we sent him back.  The reality is, is that he will probably meet the glue factory.  And I don’t say that as a joke.  (Let me be clear: if it were my horse, he wouldn’t be going to the slaughter house, but out here it’s just how the farmers handle “problem animals.”  I have no control over it.)  It makes me sad.  What a waste of life.  And so I was humbled this afternoon, by the idea that such powerful animals are so gentle with humans when we more often than not do not deserve that kind of respect.  And convicted, by God-breathed life wasted.

    I love the people I’m meeting here.  It’s both refreshing and challenging the hearts they have for Jesus and for serving Him.  They’re also hysterical.  I’m laughing a majority of the time here.  Very often I find myself in a room full of my new friends saying prayers of thanks for them.

    In other news, today marks 2 weeks.  It feels like 2 months.  I’ve loved every second of my time here, but it feels like forever since I’ve been in little town OH.  I miss friends and the comforts of home, but I know already that I’m not going to want to leave this place.

    There’s a lot that I’ve done since I’ve blogged last, but maybe I’ll update about those things later on.  For now, I think I’m gonna go back to my room and relax.  Dinner in a half hour.

  10. A Day Off - One Week Down

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    // This is Rocky the pony.//

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    // He thinks he’s all that. //

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    //I may never get over these.//

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    // Bishop Castle—Sketchiest place on earth.//

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    //Beneath that little bit of wire is a million foot drop (or it looked that way)//

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    //Not okay with heights//

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    //Jim Bishop loves the government//

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    //PATCHES!//

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    Friday was our day off and it was awesommmme.  We went to this sketchy castle on a cliff.  This dude named Jim Bishop decided to build a castle and now lets people come walk around in it.  Only thing is some walls aren’t there and balconies don’t have railings or if they do they’re made of chicken wire and steps have fallen through and the towers rock in the wind and walkways end with a drop off.  If you look at the pictures you can tell that I’m terrified.  Not only do I not love heights, I don’t love heights that sway in the wind.  But don’t worry, Mom…It’s safe kinda.  Only one person’s died there that I know of.

    After Bishop Castle we boogied our way right on over to Florence (CO, not Italy, but don’t worry, I called it Italy all day), the antique capital of Colorado.  Then found a Goodwill nestled along the streets of Canon City.  Holler!  Got a 3x men’s sweatshirt & a comforter & the sweetest pair of riding jeans. (OH! We also rolled up on a Colorado yard sale and I bought a blue mason jar, a vase thing, and two tea cup mug things…none of which I needed, & more importantly none of which I know how I’m actually going to get home.  But whatever.  Life is best lived on the edge.  Oley!)

    After Goodwill came dinner.  Noms. I had a beggin’ chee-boigah (translation: bacon cheese burger) and it was delicious.  The other half is in my fridge and now I want to eat it. Thanks.

    I’m a little burnt.  Sorry, Dad!  But I have 110 SPF sun screen.  Yea, I think that should do the trick.

    Also, I missed Sam McLeod’s wedding today.  To think!  He’s a married man now & I missed it :( 

    In other news, I want to buy a hammock.  It’s the thing to do around here and it’s awesome and I want to. (Helpful Hint: My birthday is June 8.)

    In other other news, all the wranglers were assigned horses.  Mine is Patches :) pictured above.  He’s awesome & tall & spotty…patchy…if you will.  But he’s a little jumpy, so yay for a quirk to work out!

    If you care to mail me snail mail style (PLEASSSEEEE!?) you can reach me at:

    My name
    Horn Creek
    6758 County Rd 130
    Westcliffe, CO 81252

    So, now that I’ve divulged a good deal of private information, see ya lata! :)