Sunday, December 16, 2012

Catch Up Post

So apparently, I'm a "post every two weeks or so" kind of blogger.  Meh...I'm not sure that's really going to change.  There are times I post multiple times a week, then there's times I don't post for several months.  I guess it just depends on what's going on in life and what I have to say about it. :)

I think I'm going to go with bullet points for this post.

  • Last night, I ran into some people from the church I grew up in.  Mike and Jacquie taught a Sunday school class I was in for a couple of years and Brad, their son, was just a few years older than me in youth group.  It was fun to catch up, see Brad's kids, hear about life for them now.
  • I've decided to join The Village Church.  This is ironic, because it was a church I wasn't even willing to visit, because of a preconceived notion I had developed.  Some wonderful Houston friends encouraged me to visit when I was struggling with the church I'd been visiting, and I'm so glad they did!  I should know better than to have preconceived notions...but I guess I'm still learning!
  • I absolutely LOVE YNAB.  If you don't have a system for how you keep track of your finances, I definitely recommend it.  It is easy to use.  It is easy to keep up with.  It is a one time fee of $40.
  • I'm finished with my Christmas shopping!  Almost everything is wrapped.  I'll probably finish up wrapping today.  Mom, Dad, Angela and I will do our Christmas celebrating next Saturday night at my house.  I'm excited to host and to hang out as a family!  (It also means that school will be out for Christmas break!)
  • I was at a Christmas party this week and was blessed and encouraged by all the people that were interested in my fostering process...and even simply the fostering process in general. Many were completely unfamiliar with how it works, and I was encouraged to be a part of raising awareness.
  • I am truly loving the Christmas decorations around my house.  They make me smile.
  • There are features of the Maps app on the new iphone OS that I like and some that I don't.
  • I'm ready for two weeks off work.  The kids are ready for two weeks off school.  We usually only have three weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  This year, it is four weeks.  Teachers have already been talking about the difference.  Yikes!
  • I have two new tutoring students.  The Lord is definitely blessing me with more work.  Thankful.
  • Friday night, I went to Humperdinks for the first time.  A few Houston girls have moved to DFW in the last few years and we had a mini reunion.  It was good to catch up!  We laughed a lot. :)  We were in Arlington, on Six Flags road, and I heard some girls screaming on Judge Roy Scream.  I always think of Six Flags as a summer time place, but it made me smile to think back on youth trips and family trips I took there.
  • I'm co-sponsoring our Lone Star Challenge team.  I'm learning a lot about Colonial America, this year's topic.  Right now, I'm reading all about medicine and science in Colonial America.  Did you know that time period is when inoculations began?  I don't know that I'd thought about it before.  We are provided with a lot of content, but they suggest students read books, watch movies, play online games, etc...all on Colonial America.  I've started a working list.  Any suggestions to add would be most appreciated! :)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Home Groups

I've been attending The Village Church and really liking it!  The sermons are very biblically based with the right amount of conviction and motivation and encouragement.  The music is worshipful and God-centered.  I leave each service blessed and encouraged.

They are "aggresively searching" for a campus in my city.  I love the phrase "aggresively searching".  It gives such a visual.  Don't you think? 

While they're aggresively searching for a campus, they are creating home groups specific to my city's location.  Love!  I went to Group Connect last night.  There were maybe 100 people there and about 10 or so Home Groups.  Some of these Home Groups were new, some were existing.  All meet in homes and most follow the Sunday sermon series.  I was blessed to see gray hair, newborns, young marrieds and singles.  I LOVED that two single men sat RIGHT BY ME for the brief introduction before we moved around the room.  There really ARE single men, in my city, who love Jesus.  They also both had steady jobs.  (I'm totally thinking of Mark Driscoll's illustration about women needing to look for a man who 1. Loves Jesus and 2. Has a job) 

I have signed up for a Home Group that meets ten minutes from my house with a range of young twenties to late thirties, married, single.  LOVE it!  I've been praying for a multi-generational, mixed gender, all life stages group to develop community with.

I'm so excited!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Money Lessons

I know I've been posting a lot about finances lately.

But, the Lord is teaching me a lot about finances lately.

It occurred to me earlier this week, one reason why I have been feeling the $ crunch.

When I arrived in Plano in July, everything was new.  When I received my first paycheck in September, I immediately set up tithing to Haiti Bible Mission.  I didn't have a church home and knew that a little bit of consistent income would be huge for them.  It wasn't even a consideration.  I don't even remember thinking about it as a maybe/maybe not option.  I just did it.

It occurred to me this week that I had not been tithing consistently for the last year in Houston, thus had become used to living on that money.  It's not okay.  I'm not okay with it.  But it happened.

It helped me to realize that.  I know my rent went up.  I know my electricity went up.  I know I need to fill up my tank more often because of a longer commute.  But the numbers still weren't adding up as to why things were so tight.  Until I realized the tithing money.

I'm continuing to tithe to Haiti Bible Mission.  The Bible is clear on tithing and I regret my decision to not tithe for the last year.

I have three tutoring kiddos and 4 tutoring sessions.  I sat down last night and realized if I plan to save for car maintenance, Christmas gifts, baby gifts, wedding showers, etc  You know, all the things that come up that you may or may not be expecting.  (There is never a normal month.  I learned that in Moneywise.  Don't think "This won't happen next month."  You're right.  THAT particular thing probably won't.  But there WILL be something else.  Plan for it!)  If I plan for those things, then my inflow is just a little under my outflow.  Not much, but enough to be uncomfortable.  And THAT is only the case if all my tutoring kids are consistent and never have to cancel.  (Which, duh?)

I have the possibility of one more tutoring kiddo that would meet 3x a week, but I'm not sure it's going to work.  It would be a one hour commute each way for me, on a toll road.  I'm not sure the time and money spent in gas/tolls will be worth it.  I'm hoping they'll come to my house.  We'll see.

I'm praying about how to cut back spending and how to earn more income.  I'm open to a holiday season job.  Discouraged about it a little, because I know they will require day after Thanksgiving/day after Christmas hours...and my family has traditions I don't want to miss...but I think it might be time to bite the bullet.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Trader Joe's...I don't understand

Plano has our very first Trader Joe's...and really, it's one of the first in Texas I think.  It opened about a month or so ago, but I wanted to wait for the hype to calm down before visiting.  Mom and I had chatted earlier in the week about getting dinner on Friday night and then going to Trader Joe' least a Friday night will be less busy at a grocery store, right?

It was still fairly busy.  A little hard to get down some of the aisles (and there aren't many...) 

I admit.  I don't get what all the hub-bub is about.  I mean,  yes, they have interesting items.  They have organic and gourment and "hard to find" type items.  But for regular grocery shopping?  No, thank you.

Trader Joe fans...what am I missing?

Monday, October 22, 2012


Do you ever have a time in your life when you feel like something is surreal?  It's not really happening?  It can't be happening?

I've been talking about fostering or adopting a child for YEARS.  Ever since my music minister's sister (who was single) adopted a little girl from China.  That is the first time, that I can remember, that someone I (kinda) knew adopted.  And I remember thinking "I want to do that!"

 I was 15 at the time.

I began the fostering process a year ago.  The actual application, classes process.  The real deal.  Not just talking about it, but actually taking steps to make it happen. 

And it still feels surreal. 

I was in full on paperwork and classes mode until about January.  At that point, I began to fully look for a job in the Plano area.  I had one class left to take for the fostering process, but a trip to Haiti was coming up and then applying and interviewing for jobs and in all that chaos, becoming licensed was secondary since a job in North Texas came first.

Of course, after accepting a job, then I was focused on packing and moving and learning a new job and getting settled into life here.

I will not, by any means, say that I'm settled into life yet.  I'm still learning this new job.  I'm still wrapping my mind around the fact that I no longer live in Houston.

BUT.  I have to be licensed before next month...or I have to start the process all over again.

I just got off the phone with Arrow and wonder of wonders, the class I need is offered tomorrow and Thursday night and it's a class you MUST RSVP for, so I thought "no way will there be availability" but there were TWO spots left!  And I'm signed up!

I took off work today to get some appointments accomplished and so tomorrow will be a crazy day at work as some things are due tomorrow and other things are due Wednesday know, when you take a day off work, there is so much catch up to do! 

BUT.  I'm not staying late tomorrow night....and I have no idea how all that work is going to be finished...but I trust it will be.  BECAUSE I'm going to finish my licensing process!

Surreal, folks.  Oh, so surreal.  I know the children aren't walking in my door any time soon.  I know that is still months away.  But after this week, I'll be one step closer.

And that just feels weird.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Becoming Money Wise...

I have been taking a class at a church in the area.  It's called Moneywise 1 and I have really been learning a lot.  Before you tune out, because "blah, blah, money, blah, blah", I get it!  Money is hard to talk about, think about, act on wisely. 

Maybe you're an accountant, and it's not hard for you.  Maybe you don't have a brain like mine (blessings to you!) and you can create excel spreadsheets with inflow/outflow columns.  I can create an excel spreadsheet.  Heck, I used one for years as my gradebook.  Love it!  But, in all honesty, and this is admitting my naivete, I didn't even know where to start with the titles of the columns for a spending plan.  After coming up with what I THOUGHT I should be spending each month, I didn't know how to keep track of it. 

When I moved to Plano, I immediately began visiting a church with a friend of mine that moved here about a year before I did.  The Tuesday night Bible study had just started a series called $30k Millionaire (30 thousand dollar millionaire), and it was AWESOME.  It wasn't just about how to spend or not spend money.  Instead, it was about what scripture says about money.  The Minister of Stewardship (yes, they have a Minister of Stewardship...I LOVE that!) was leading this series and he mentioned he teaches a Moneywise 1 class a few times a year.  The next one was beginning mid-September.  We both felt convicted multiple times in the series and decided to sign up for the class. 

I admit, I was taking the class because I wanted to learn a budgeting system.  I wanted to figure out this whole "budget" thing.  I know it's not a four letter word, but it is, you know?

The first week, Adam led off with how a budget is not just about spending money.  We read several scriptures about stewardship.  If you've grown up in church, or if you haven't, you probably hear the word stewardship and think "giving money to the church", but that's not it AT ALL.  Listen to the definition of a steward.

Steward: a person who manages another's resources and seeks to manage those resources according to the owner's vision and values.

It's not just money, people!  "Hey, Alyssa!  It's not JUST money!"  It's treasures, yes, but it's TIME and it's TALENTS, too.  "Ok, but I'm better at giving those away.  Well, in fact, now that I think about it.  There's times I give those away too freely, then I'm exhausted and run-down."  Hmmm, tapping chin while talking to myself.  Maybe I need to become a better steward of God's resources all the way around...

A Budget, first and foremost is a HEART issue and THEN it's a math issue.

Read that again. 

God and I have some work to do.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Changing My Prayers

I read Kelly's Korner blog on a regular basis.  She recently posted a poem by Ruth Bell Graham...a mother's poem.  Now, I'm not a mother, but it reminded me of how, too often, I pray for things to be easier.  To go my way.  When, in reality, I need to be praying for the Lord's will to be done.  For my eyes to be opened to what He would have me to do.  Where He would have me to go.  Whom He would ask me to love.
Had I been Joseph's mother
I'd have prayed
protection from his brothers
"God, keep him safe.
He is so young,
so different from
the others."
she never knew
there would be slavery
and prison, too.

Had I been Moses' mother
I'd have wept to keep my little son:
praying she might forget
the babe drawn from the water
of the Nile.
Had I not kept
him for her
nursing him the while,
was he not mine?
--and she
but Pharaoh's daughter?

Had I been Daniel's mother
I should have pled
"Give victory!
--this Babylonian horde
godless and cruel--
Don't let him be a captive
--better dead,
Almighty Lord!"

Had I been Mary,
Oh, had I been she,
I would have cried
as never a mother cried,
"Anything, O God,

With such prayers importunate
my finite wisdom would assail
Infinite Wisdom
God, how fortunate
Infinite Wisdom
should prevail.


Help me to change my prayers.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Friends, Stretching and Heartache

I went to Houston last weekend. 

I read that sentence and there is so much emotion wrapped up in it that I cannot even explain, certainly not in written form, but I will attempt it anyway.

Houston has been my home for the past 10 years.  Houston is where I stepped out on my own.  Paid my own bills.  Found a church.  Developed friends outside of college.  Learned how to have "non-college" roommates (because you KNOW it's different!)  Learned how to live alone.  Became a teacher.  Survived my first year.  Became a better teacher...and a better person.  Learned how to grow as a teacher.  Lost some arrogance.  Learned how to develop relationships with students' parents.  Developed an even deeper love for people.  Traveled abroad with friends: sometimes on vacation, sometimes chaperoning students, sometimes to show Christ's love to a hurting people.  Went back to school.  Figured out how to pay bills.  Grew closer to the Lord through an intimate relationship with Him.  Developed deep relationships with sisters in Christ who also desired to walk intimately with Him.  Observed and lived through messed up relationships and learned from them.  Observed and developed healthy relationships and learned from them.  Saw friends get married and not be able to relate to singles any more.  Lived life with friends who got married and were still my friend...and I was blessed to continue living life with them. 

Houston is a place that is synonymous with so much in my life.

Moving away has been hard.  I KNOW this is where the Lord has me.  I KNOW I'm walking His path.  That does NOT make it easy.  The Lord does not promise His children a life of ease.  He promises to walk through life with us.  With His strength.  As strong tower.  I don't always cling to Him the way I should.  The way He wants me to cling to Him.  I am an errant child at times, stomping my foot on the ground, wanting things to be different. 

At the moment, I don't think I'm being a tantrum throwing two year old.  More of a 10 year old that understands this is the way things are, understands things will change eventually, but still, stubbornly, wants it to be different NOW.

 I LOVED seeing all of my Houston friends last weekend.  They are dear to me.  I have lived so much life with them.  But seeing them was hard, too.  Because we don't live life together, anymore.  We call.  We email.  We g-chat.  But we don't have dinner.  We don't go walking.  We don't worship Him beside each other. 

And that is hard. 

I don't like it. 

One wise and beloved friend said it best.  "You lived with us for so many formative years.  20s are that.  We were a part of that.  And you were a part of our formative years.  30s are important too.  There will be more forming.  And we won't be as much a part of that."  And we both cried.

My self-esteem has always been on the low end in regards to how others view me.  The fact that she cried, knowing she missed me, knowing she valued me, knowing she DESIRED to be a part of my 30s, was a balm to my heart....and one I didn't realize I needed.

The Lord is stretching me.  He is working.  I am trying to unclench my fingers and let Him have more access.  I mean, He has it anyway, why not struggle less?

Oh, stretching is hard.  Lord, help me to lean on you. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Babysitting...a new definition

I just got off the phone from a 1.5 hour conversation with a friend I've known a few years.  We became pretty close last summer when I joined her small group.  Last Fall, we started "babysitting" each other once a week.  I love babysitting.  Think about're sitting at home, on facebook or reading a book or watching tv and somebody calls you.  What do you do? 

I don't know what you do...but here's what I can't do anymore.

I can't read anymore.  I can't scroll through least not while actually paying attention to the conversation.  I'm not the type of person that keeps the tv on for white noise.  If it's on, I'm watching it and fully engrossed in the story.  If I'm not watching it, then it's turned off. 

But, I digress. 

Somebody calls, so I pause the tv, put down the book or close the laptop and get off the couch.  I might empty the dishwasher, start a load of laundry, make my bed, fold clothes, clean the bathtub.  It doesn't matter what it is...I do SOMEthing, all while chatting with my caller.  I call this babysitting.

For the last year I lived in Houston, Jamie and I babysat each other once a week.  When we first started, I wasn't sure how long we'd last.  I mean, I loved what all I accomplished during babysitting, and already knew I did.  But, would she like it as much?  I just didn't know.  Turns out, she's a HUGE fan, too!  We got SO much accomplished.  We would meet at a home and the hostess would provide dinner (something simple or a new recipe, whatever we wanted) and we'd chat through dinner.  Then, we'd get down to business..quietly working.  If we were at my house, I was cleaning or cooking.  If we were at her house, I was paying bills, grading papers, responding to emails, finishing up homeworking, wrapping Christmas presents.  She was typically studying...whichever house we were at that week.  The visitor left at a decent hour, usually around 9 or 9:30 and each week we raved about how much we liked it, because of how much we accomplished!

Truly.  It was a blessing!

Just knowing Jamie was coming over, meant I cleaned off counter tops, made my bed, got out clothes for the next day....yes, stuff that needed to be done (or maybe not "had" to be done, but nice nonetheless), but either way, I stayed busy.  During our babysitting, our friendship developed and deepened.  We were still in small group together, so we'd talk about those lessons and how our week was going and how we could pray for each other.  We'd challenge each other on the homework our pastor had given us that week.  Whatever was relevant to that week.  It was wonderful.

Well, tonight we babysat each other from afar.  We were on speaker phone instead of face to face.  There was no common dinner table.  And we couldn't get down to business of quietly working (because we had too much to catch up on!)  But, I emptied the dishwasher, put away clean laundry, sorted through a pile of papers on my get the idea.  She was making dinner for herself before studying.  We caught up on life.  We both have a new job.  We both have some changes looking us in the face in several other areas of life, too.  We shared.  We laughed.  We advised.  We listened.  We shared some more. 

Babysitting...and friendship.  They both make me smile. :)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Thinking Before Speaking

I've been in situations over the years where it was clear SOMEBODY did not think before they spoke.  Sometimes that person was me and sometimes it wasn't, but either way these times can be funny, hurtful or simply memorable in some way.

I still think back with major embarassment on the time I asked my date to chip in a couple bucks for dinner so I wouldn't have to wait for change.  It was a group Sadie Hawkins college experience.  I needed two dollars or I was going to have to give another 20 and wait for change...and nobody else needed change.  I'm sitting here typing this right now and still I shake my head at myself in embarrassment.  I asked my date to pay!?  How rude is that!?

I remember a time a friend was describing a food blogger that was becoming quite popular.  She was off on some descriptions and when she said something that was correct, I said, "Well, that's the first thing you got right."  Ouch.  Who does that?  People who don't think (aka: I'm the culprit in this situation.) 

As a teacher, it amuses (and sometimes frustrates) me when a student asks something like, "Do I put my name on this?"  because...really?

I have had two men at various times tell me they find me unattractive.  They didn't come out and use the word unattractive.  One said, "I can talk to you about this because I don't find you attractive."  Seriously?  Oh, yeah...and at the time, I had a major crush on him.  I got to smile and continue the conversation when I wanted to slap him and walk away.  (I'm not trying to man bash here...just an example of not thinking before speaking.)

We all do it.  We all speak before we stop and think.  Sometimes it drastically affects a relationship...and not usually for the positive (I mean, does it really ever drastically affect for the positive?)

It's something I work with my students on each day.  It's something I need to be more aware of in my own life.  It's something I feel like God should shake His head at me for doing...and maybe He does...but I'm so glad it doesn't drastically affect our relationship for the negative.  Because He's God.  That's something else I need to remember more often, too.

Still a work in progress...

Monday, September 10, 2012

Change is simply that...change

This school and district are COMPLETELY different from my school in Houston, and I am having to learn how to swim all over again.  The grade level is the same.  The subjects are the same.  Teaching is the same.  So what could be different?  EVERYTHING else.  Planning lessons, how to make copies, guided reading, workshop model of instruction, new stories (aka: different curriculum), how to communicate with parents, the involvement of parents, assigned duties and the duty schedule, handling the grade level website, dismissal procedures, assessments and assessment schedules, the assortment of technology, the overwhelming use of technology through the building, the learning of all sorts of technology, heck even how to schedule an assessment (yep, it's through technology!)...EV. ER. Y. THING.  

And, I'm LOVING it!  I really like my team.  I'm enjoying my students and their parents.  I'm overwhelmed with change and feel like I'm struggling to learn the ropes, but I'm enjoying my environment!

Sunday, September 09, 2012

God's Provision

I wrote earlier about trusting in myself for my daily needs instead of the One who created me.

This has been a tough summer of lessons.

1.  Transition is hard.
2.  Starting a new job is difficult.
3.  Moving away from a beloved city, and all those that live there, had heartbreaking moments.
4.  Finding a new church...well, let's just say I have a softened heart for the visitor and pray I will remember my experiences for a long time.
5.  Going without a paycheck is humbling.

I had to learn to trust God for my needs each day.  I clearly remember one evening, about a month ago, when I was getting in my car in my parents' driveway.  After my monthly car payment, I had $14 in my checking account.  I had just paid August rent out of my savings account.  To put it mildly, I was broke.  I almost asked Mom for money.  I didn't have the words formed.  But my mouth was opening and for "some" reason, I simply said "Have a good night" and drove home.  That night, a friend called me and offered to cover my rent and car payment.  The Lord provided rent and car payment!  The LORD closed my mouth and provided.  The LORD!  Not me.  Not me having to ask.  HIM!  Praise His Holy Name!  God used several friends through finances, encouraging phone calls, emails, and working hands, to pay my bills and get my classroom ready.  God knows what I need.  Knew what I needed.  Provided for it before I needed it.  That is who He is.  I forgot that and am blessed that He is patient with me.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Does God have a husband for me?

A friend and I were talking on the phone the other day and our conversation was reminiscent of so many others.

We're single.  And, lemme tell ya, that can cause some awkward conversations.

"Oh, HI so-and-so-younger-woman-I-haven't-seen-in-a-long-time-but-used-to-teach-in-Sunday-School, How are you!?  Are you married yet?  Gasp!  No? Well, why not?  What are those men thinking?"

How are we supposed to reply to that?

Even better is when they start giving platitudes.  "Well, when you stop looking, is when you'll find him."  or "I know it's hard, but you will enjoy the blessing so much more later."  or "Look at all the things you've been able to do because you're NOT married."  or "I'm sure he's out there somewhere.  God must still be working on him, because you're great!"  (Really?)

I just love when a friend who's been married, divorced and married again tries to give encouragement.  It's a little hard to take seeing as how they've gotten to have TWO men and I just want one committed man.  (I'm not trying to be disrespectful to the pain of divorce.  It sucks.  I've walked through it with close friends.  I know it sucks.  I'm just describing the flash of pain on the part of a single.)

Anyway, that's some back story.  I've always had a glimmer of something.  Not something I can really put my hands on, but...something.  That I may not get married.  The Lord may not have a husband planned for me.  When I tell people that, they typically react with surprise and more platitudes.  "Oh, Alyssa, you can't know that!  I'm sure He has someone for you!  The desire of your heart is to get married and you will be a great mom some day!"

With that kind of reaction, I've learned not to mention my glimmer of something very often.

Yes, I would love to have a man pursue me.  Yes, I would love to be found worthy of a man's pursuits.  Yes, I crave to be found cherishable and valuable in the eyes of a brother in Christ.  So cherishable and valuable that he wants to be with me for life.

Yes, scripture tells us in Psalms 37: 3-4

3                Trust in the Lord and do good;
    dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. 
Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord;
    trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, 
    your vindication like the noonday sun.
And so often, people quote these scriptures when they want something.  I have done it.  I have learned over the years though, that the Lord wants me to want HIM.  My purpose on this Earth is to glorify HIM.  He wants the desires of my heart to be to glorify HIM and Him alone.

Romans 15:5-7

New International Version (NIV)
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.

My prayer is that the desires of my heart will be to glorify Jesus Christ alone.  Yes, I'd love to be married.  Yes, I'd love to birth children and be a stay at home mom someday.  Yes, these are desires knitted in my heart deeply.  But, I am content with Christ.  I look to Him for my joy.  I seek Him for peace and contentment.  

Being content with where Christ has me right now, means I can live life now and not think I have to wait to live life once I have a husband.  I am free to serve Christ now, with whatever He calls me to do, because I'm not in constant waiting for what might be in the wings.

I'm challenging all my single friends...well, really any friends, to join me in this prayer.  Are you content with where Christ has you right now?  If not, start praying for Christ to show you Himself in an even bigger way.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

My eyes have been on the wrong prize

I've been thinking about this post for awhile.  I hope I get all the words right.

I've realized recently that I have a lot to learn.  Don't get me wrong.  This is not a new phenomenon.  But, hey, we all need to be reminded occasionally, right?

I received my last pay check from HISD on June 20.  It was 3.5 paychecks all in one lump sum.  If I had received them as individual paychecks, I would have received the 3rd one on August 1.

Moving is expensive.  Can I get an "Amen!"?

I receive my first paycheck from Frisco ISD on September 15.  For those of you doing the math, that means I'm missing two paychecks.  And for those of you checking a calendar for today's date, that means I'm out of money.  As in, I don't have funds for September's rent or car payment.  I can pay this month's car insurance, but won't have finances for next month's car insurance.

Throughout all of this, I have realized I have trusted myself for my finances.  Wow!  That's an eye opening and convicting thought.  Yuck!  Believe you, me.  I've had several conversations with myself about this.  "What a minute, Alyssa!  You mean, you haven't been trusting the Lord to provide for you daily?!  You know better than that."

I'm right.

I do know better than that.

I'm not sure when my mindset started to slide, but I began to trust in my bank account and not in the One who created me and my needs.  I began to think I was hot stuff, and did not give credit to the One who deserves ALL credit.  I'm humbled to realize I became arrogant.  I'm sickened to think that I began to take my "American" way of life for granted.  I've been out of this country.  I've seen the way most of the world lives.  We, here in America, we're the weird ones.  We're NOT normal.  I began to think I was better.  I can't excuse that.  I'm not okay with that, even.  But, in looking back, I realize that was my mindset.

I have no idea where groceries are going to come from, how rent is going to be paid, or how I will safely drive my car.  I don't have an inkling how the car payment will get paid, or the electricity bill or how I will have gas in my car.  And, right now, I'm not okay with that.  I'm working to trust...but I'm not there yet.  I'm working to believe in Him for all of my needs, but I'm struggling with how much change that means He's asking of me.

And that's the bottom line, isn't it?  He wants change.  And change is hard.  He wants all of my trust.  And I didn't think I was, but apparently I'm giving that grudgingly.  I'm praying for a heart change.  And I'm asking Him to provide that heart change.  Once He provides that, and I know He will, then I will no longer need to worry about finances, because my changed heart will know He will take care of it.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

We break radio silence to bring you...

I've actually posted more recently than I had thought. 

The Lord is putting me through the ringer lately.  From ALL angles of life.

I'll go into that in more detail later.

For now, I wanted to share a blog post that really spoke to me today.  Pete Wilson is the pastor of CrossPoint Church in Nashville.  I have followed his blog for a couple of years now.  He ranges from humorous to challenging; real life to dreams; spiritual to funny...sometimes all in the same post!

A tweet from Dr. Tony Evans this morning said something along the lines of "It's not about your pain.  What the purpose?"  That rocked my world today, too.

I think you can see a theme.

I just want to share.