Sunday, December 7, 2014

One of my favorite holidays snuck up on me this year, Thanksgiving and Christmas is quickly approaching my other favorite holiday. It feels like the days are just flying by with craziness so much to do with so little time. I don’t like this feeling I have decided. I am slowly learning what it means to really enjoy the small moments of day and to not crowd my schedule so much. Of course there can always be more that I can do and want to do, but filling my schedule packed full is not helping me be all that I am supposed to be instead it stretches me thinner. It overwhelms. It makes me anxious. It causes me to wake up at 4:30am. It drains me. It makes my body tell me it is done being busy.

 It is so hard for me to say “no” to people because I tell myself it is being selfish, but God has really been working on this area in my heart. He has placed awesome people in my life to be great examples to me of living a life of less busy. They have given me wonderful wisdom on how to live a life full, but a “different” kind of full. Not a full of busy and things to do all the time, but more of creating space and being more intentional. As the year of 2014 is coming to end and we look forward to what 2015 has I want to be more aware and intentional with what I fill my schedule up with. I want to be able to have the peace and assurance that it is not always selfish to say no and that when I do have those thoughts I need to seek God for what the intentions of my heart are. I don’t have to do everything. Creating space is good. Being intentional is better than accomplishing more things. Loving people around me deeply is more important. Doing what God has called me to rather than building up my resume of what I can do is more important. To be less of me and more of pointing to my Savior is what my soul longs for and is important. I pray that I won’t get in the way of God using me. I pray that I would be less of me and more of Him in my everyday life. This journey of life is a messy, but beautiful one. Always learning, always discovery, always seeking…

My life has gotten too busy doing instead of investing and enjoying so I am. I am going to practice saying “no”. I have a feeling that it is going to be hard and there may be many tears on my end, but I am willing to surrender and allow God to work through this process that He is calling me to. He has been whispering to me for many years… “Daniella, Daniella, [Martha, Martha] you are anxious and trouble about many things, but one thing is necessary.” (Luke 10: 38-42). It is time to surrender to saying “no” and saying “yes” only to my Savior.

Christmas is one my favorite times of the year filled with so many wonderful memories. As we go through each day of this Christmas season let’s not let the busy of the season get in the way of what Christmas is truly about. Let’s allow the schedules to be less and worshipping our Savior to be more. Let's remember to come to Jesus who promises to give us rest. He just ask that we would come to Him. Just come. I am coming, Christ. I am coming.  Happy Christmas!
O Come, Let Us Adore Him

Love, Daniella

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Giving Thanks


“I will give thanks to my Lord
with my whole heart,
I will recount
all your wonderful deeds
Psalms 9:1
 
Giving thanks and having a thankful heart is something that my heart strives for each and every day. I have written many blogs post about this topic and God has continually shown different ways to look at this topic of gratitude.
Gratitude- is a word that fills my heart and makes me feel so warm and excited inside. This year I am so thankful for my Savior. I would not be the person I am today without Him. I still have so much to grow in and figure out, but God is overwhelming my soul with Him. I am so thankful for His grace and love each and every day. I am so thankful for His guidance. I am so thankful that He desires me. He does not need me, but He wants me. He loves me. He likes me and He calls me His own.
Ephesians 2:4-6 says “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespass, made us alive together with Christ- by grace you have been saved- and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”
These verses speak so boldly to my heart; capturing it and reminding me how much I need my Savior and how much He truly loves me. I am so thankful for my Savior. I can’t say it enough. I am so thankful. He carries me through all circumstances and there is nothing that I can do well without Him (John 15:5). Thank you, Jesus- there are not enough words to express how grateful I am for you and what you have done for me on the cross. You paid my debt with your amazing love. THANK YOU!
My life is full of big and little things that I am SO thankful for. Sometimes I unfortunately take advantage of all that I have, but I am ever so gently humbled by my Savior in those moments.

Give Thanks In Injustice
Thankful for… my family, the Houser’s, friends, my roommates, journaling & blogging, teaching, my students, reading, book club, prayer, shereadstruth.com, thankful list, bible reading, the season of fall, church community, earl grey tea & bubble tea, changing of my heart, homemade granola, sweet notes of encouragement, mail, being creative in the kitchen, connections, running, facetime, small group, and so many things….
Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to remember all that you are thankful for, but I challenge us to take this heart of gratitude each and every day. To live out truly in every circumstances…
Living a life of gratitude is what my soul loves.
 
Love, Daniella 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Half-way

Half-way. I am half way through my new committed time to Korea. Whoa that’s crazy to think about. But that’s not the half-way I am really thinking about these days. These days I am thinking about being half-way through living out the book Seven by Jen Hatmaker. This book has racially changed my life. It has challenged me to really think through how we do some things, how we consume so much and how much we waste and desire a lot. It is reckoning my life for the good.
In this book, Jen picked seven areas that she felt were areas of excess and made seven simple choices to fight back against the modern-day disease of greed, materialism, and overindulgence. She documented her true feelings throughout each month. I love the way she writes- it’s so convicting at the sometime you are smiling and laughing. I love it! Anyways, I have taken these seven things and have arranged them a little differently in my life to fit my schedule and everyday life. So far I have completed almost three months out of the seven and have I learned so much!!!
Month number one I practiced giving away seven things every day. Yes, you read that correctly- seven things every day. That’s 210 items, folks. It was great in the beginning, very freeing and felt so good to be getting rid of the clutter. It was a challenge at times because I don’t have that much stuff since I did move to Korea with just 2 suitcases, but it is amazing how much stuff you do collect over time. This month really helped me to put into perspective to think twice before I buy things. As the month continue on and I had fewer things to get rid of I started getting rid of time by myself (spending it with people), and writing notes of encouragement. It was just a different way to think of “getting rid of”.  The month ended well.  I have tried to continue to live out the lessons that I did learn from this practice of being careful of what I buy and getting rid of things that I just don’t need or use anymore.
Month number two I did my very best to not use seven types of media (tv/movies, facebook, pinterest, Pandora, intsgram, texting*, and using the internet.  *I did text some friends & family to keep update to on some things.
Surprising this month was not as hard I was anticipating. Not using these different types of media allowed for more space to be created for moments of quiet (which are much needed, but I rarely do it), moments of intentional time with people face to face and more time with my Savior. I have gotten into some pretty bad habits of checking facebook often, wasting time on pinterest and posting too much on instgram. Facebook is a great tool of communication, but also a very destructive tool for jealousy and comparing to others. It was hard to not be on facebook in the community that I am living in because so many rely on it for communication, but it was a beautiful month of not comparing me to others. I am still trying to figure out how to use facebook with more caution and not allow the lies of jealousy to feed me while I am on it.  The use of media is still definitely a weakness of mine and something that I need to continue to practice using in moderation…
Month number three has found me wearing a certain amount of the some clothes all month. Confession- Jen (the author) only wore seven pieces of clothing all month, but I just couldn’t do it with my currently lifestyle of being a teacher, running and such. So I picked out 15 pieces of clothing that I have been wearing throughout the month. It hit me this weekend that I am starting to get sick of my clothes, but I have learned a lot through this practice. (I only have one more week to go… yay!) One, nobody even noticed. I asked my roommates- they didn’t. I asked the Houser’s- they didn’t. And these are people that I see almost daily! Oh, my! It has helped me to realize that people really don’t pay attention to what you wear. People don’t really think “huh, didn’t you just wear that last week?” Moral of the month: you don’t really need a lot of clothes to live each day of your life.  I have decided that the money I spend on clothes can very well go to something else that is much more need in someone else life. This month has taught me a lot about being less selfish and more about being humble.
There are four months to go in this journey of learning what it means to conquer excess, greed, materialism, and overindulgence. I am both excited and anxious about the different practices I will be learning from! J  What a beautiful journey it is taking me of looking deeper into my heart and allowing God to show me areas that I need to work and change!
A challenge for you… read the book Seven by Jen Hatmaker! It is a great read!
                                                                                                                        Love, Daniella

Monday, November 17, 2014

the decision

The long awaited decision of what’s next in my life has been made. Through countless hours of prayer, seeking wisdom from others, stressing (I tried not to, but was not very successful), reading God’s word and learning oh, so much I now know where I will be in a year from now. It is such a relief. Through this whole process I have learned so much: 1. I am a horrible decision maker and I need to work on getting better at this… 2. I have learned more about what it means to follow God’s will (my perspective has changed in this area for the better). 3. God loves me and has the perfect plan for me. He does care about the desires on my heart. I just have to trust Him with them. I need to surrender- all of me. 4. Joy in all circumstances is a must. 5. I live by emotions and feelings which isn’t always bad, but isn’t always a good thing either. 6. Seeking wisdom is great and needed, but seeking God and His word is way more important and much needed. 7. God’s true word is so powerful. 8. There are not going to be signs of confirmations painted across the sky like I would love instead it’s trusting and walking in faith. 9. Fighting what God wants is never the easy or right thing to do and once you bind your knees your life is filled with JOY and PEACE. 10. Praising God in all things is so worth it even when your heart is overwhelmed and you can’t hear God’s voice. In those moments you cling to truth that He has given you an anchor to hold onto during these times and He will love you no matter what. I am His and He does have a purpose for me in all things.

Walking in peace in what God has for me this next year...
It has been a beautiful messy journey in making a decision of what’s next, but my journey is not finished yet God is still working in me and I will continue on in this journey of faith. Are you ready to know the decision??!! Drum roll please…. This next year you will find me in South Korea teaching and loving on the students that God places into my life. Yes, you read it right I have decided to stay in Korea another year for round 3.(Three always a charm, right?!)  I just don’t think my time here is over yet.  I don’t want to leave with regret or unfinished work. Am I anxious about this decision- a little bit for a few reasons, but I know with all my heart that God knows the desire on my heart and I can trust Him in them. Am I excited about this decision- yes, I am! There were many amazing options that I was seeking out, but as I was pursuing them I just didn’t feel peace about them. Some of them I would love to do someday so I have definitely tucked them inside in my heart for another season in life maybe?! How did I finally make this decision? Peace. I was fighting the idea of staying in Korea for a number of reasons, but as soon as I allowed the idea to sink in I was overwhelmed with a peace that only comes from God. The smile and joy that I had been missing from my life this last month came flooding back.  Joy in all circumstances is what I am learning these days and I am sure I will need a lot of it throughout this next year.  My prayer is to not allow the circumstances in my life take away from the deep love and joy that my Savior overflows me with daily. To not allow myself or this world to get in the way of God’s will.

Romans 12:2 says “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Truth. I don't need this world. I need Him. My Savior
 
Well, there you have it. I will be in Korea another year! I will not be in the states for Christmas, but I will be home with my family this summer! J Thank you so much for all your prayers. They were much needed and I felt so much support from those around me. Thank you!

Love, Daniella

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Heart & Mind Attitude

My soul feels so so full as I sat down to write tonight. This weekend has been wonderful. It started out with the consummation of s’mores and worshipping my Savior with my community Friday night. Saturday morning I went on a short run where the sunlight shined perfectly on the rice fields making them glisten with dew followed by slipping on my fav, earl grey tea latte at Starbucks while facetiming with my dear parents then holding a sweet baby at a lovely baby shower and eating tons of carbs for my big race day. And then today was the day I have been waiting for for a long time; my half marathon race in Korea- 13.1 miles or for those of you living in Korea its 21.0975km. (That’s right! That’s exactly the number that is on my medal I got today. I love it!!!) I finished the race, felt a little sick and totally exhausted, but my soul was happy. I have spent the afternoon refuelling my body that is crying for carbs, sugar and water so of course I had to get some bubble tea at my favorite little coffee shop as a treat and spend the afternoon reading there. It was lovely. I got to skype with a dear dear friend and I just finished eating my dinner (carbs) and watching God paint a beautiful sunset before my eyes. It was just stunning and breath-taking. Anyways, you probably didn’t need to hear about every detail of my weekend and I am sorry if you didn’t want to know, but this weekend just filled my soul up to the brim and I can’t stop smiling tonight and I haven’t felt this way in a long long time.  And I have point to make with all this information! J

So I decided to reflect upon why. Why does my soul feel so happy? What is different about the last couple of days compared to other days I have been living? How can I continue to feel this way?

This past week I have been thinking a lot about how easy it is to wander. Wander away from one that my soul loves. Wander into fear, into doubt, into striving, into taking control. It seems to be so much easier to wander into these things even though they are so unhealthy for you and full of sin. Instead my soul longs to wander into joy, into love, into peace, into contentment, into trust, into being still and not striving.

How can this been done? Well, it can be done thru surrounded, lots of prayer and choosing. Choosing. The reason why I think my soul felt so happy this weekend is because I choose to be content in each thing that I had the opportunity to do. I choose to look at the small things and find joy in them like the glistening rice fields, slipping earl grey tea, facetiming with my parents, holding a sweet baby and running a race that I have been training for.

What is different? The attitude that I chose to have. I was skyping with my dear friend today and this exact thought came across my head as she was asking me about teaching. Folks, a couple of weeks ago I lost my passion for teaching. I was going through a funk and decided that I didn’t want to be a teacher anymore. I was researching and looking up other jobs that I would love to do. Although there are some other jobs that I would love to do (be a hall director, wedding planner and full-time orphanage worker). I know that God has me in teaching for right now.  Anyways, all this to say since that moment of freak out I called out to God to help me gain the passion back for teaching if it was still His will for my life and He laid this on my heart that I have a choice to make each day. I can choose to embrace where He has me or I can wander and be miserable. Of course I don’t want to wander and be miserable so I bent my stubborn knees and allowed God to give me the desire to choose: to choose each morning to have joy as I walk into my classroom; to choose to have a good attitude; to choose to invest into my students and to choose to give them my very best as their teacher. It has not been easy since I have started choosing. I actually have had only had a couple good successful days because I remember about half through the day that I need to choose my attitude. Oh, dear! But on the days that I have chosen the day goes by so much more smoothly. I see through new eyes. I have better judgements and reactions to things that happen. I connect better with those around me and I feel joy. Choosing in the mornings makes a world of differences. I know that my heart is “ponder to wander Lord, I feel it,” but like the beautiful hymn Come Thou Fount says so perfectly “prone to leave the God I love. I say here’s my heart, o take and seal it. Seal it thy courts above.

 

How can I continue to feel this way? I want my mind to be focus towards heaven and to never take for granted the days that I have on this earth. I want to be able to wake up in the mornings ready to embrace the day that Lord has made. And today I am choosing to take this risk of committing myself to this standard for each day: choosing my attitude in the mornings. Hopefully choosing joy, peace, love, contentment and not striving for something that I am not. To help me with this committed I am going to commit to writing down each morning the attitude that I want for the day and then be prayerfully about it. Would you like to join me?

Love, Daniella

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Christmas Decision

This year is filled with a few important decisions that I need to make. Decisions that will impact what’s next in my life. Decisions that scare me, but also give me excitement. Decisions that overwhelm me, but also allow for God to give me peace that He is in control. Decisions are hard for me.  I mean I have a hard enough time deciding what to eat at a restaurant or what to wear to church on Sundays. Making decisions about what’s next is over my head. My mind can’t stop thinking about it and I just want to know. I just want to have a peace about what God is leading me to do whether that’s staying in Korea another year or going somewhere else or doing something else with my life…

I know that’s God is in control and that He is faithful and that He has a plan for me, but why don’t I know it yet?! IT’s a question that has continually gone through my head this past week. I just want to know what’s next. I just want to know what to expect. It’s hard for me to just pause and wait. To pause and listen ever so carefully to what God is whispering to me. Am I missing it? I need to remind myself to pause. I need to remember to seek God and ask for confirmations. I need to open my mind and heart and allow God to do His work. Humble myself. Bend my knees and lay down my expectations.
All this to say a decision that I have made this week has been one of the hardest decisions that I have made in a really long time and that is that I will be staying in Korea for Christmas this year. It is just not realistic to go back to the States this Christmas with ticket prices and such. My soul is saddened that I won’t be with my family over Christmas, but I feel that God has something very special for us all during this time. It scares me a little to think that I will spending Christmas alone, but at the same time I have such a peace about it. A peace that Christmas will have a new meaning for me this year. I have no idea what it will look like, but I trust in my God who loves me. Who likes me. This decision has definitely caused some tension in my soul. Tension of sadness of not spending this beautiful time with my family, but also a sense of excitement to spend a Christmas in Korea. I am looking forward to long cozy days reading, drinking hot chocolate and maybe a little traveling around Asia?!  So, yes one of my two decisions is made. Yes, I am still having a little doubt as write this that this decisions is the right one (because who in their right mind would chose to not be with their family at Christmas when you are single?!?) I love my family so much and I miss them so much,  but I am trusting God. I am trusting that He knows what’s best. He will be with me no matter where I am. That’s what I am clinging to. My Savior is always with me!!!
 
Love, Daniella
 


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sabbath Day

Rest. Exhaustion. Rest. Exhaustion. Rest. Breath. Exhaustion. Rest. This is what life is like lately. I tried to “rest”. I tried to create time to rest, but then somehow I find even the days (Sabbath days) that I have set apart are filled with a little check list of things that I would love to have completed by the end of the day. My life is seriously run by check-lists- overall this awesome because it keeps me organize and on top of the things that I would forget to do if I didn’t have a check-list because I am literally feel exhausted all the time causing my mind to not think clearly and forgetting whatever I needed to do so a checklist makes sure that I at least think about and try to get it done. Anyways, that was way too long of a sentence explaining something that can be summed up in six words… I DON’T KNOW HOW TO REST.  I tried. I really do, but my life is run by a check list of things that always need to get done.

Then I have the small little problem of not being discipline in keeping a Sabbath day truly a Sabbath because I get caught up in helping others, or there is an event I should go to or something for school needs to be done or who knows what else pulls me away from practicing a Sabbath day. It’s something that I want to have as an importance in my life. I just struggle in being discipline in it…
A Sabbath day is meant to be a day were you set apart time to rest, be refreshed, to seat in the presence of the Savior and allow God to renew you. The most important thing in a Sabbath day in my opinion is to practice constantly having your mind focus on the Saviorl. To be still and hear His voice. To be still and soak in His word. To be still and sing praises to Him. To be still and sit in awe of whom He is. To be still. To not let the distractions of the world rule your life.
One of my goals for my twenty-third year of life was to practice a Sabbath day. So far it has been a struggle each Sunday, but slowly I am making progress. Slowly I am realizing what my Sabbath should look and feel like. It should not be a day that is set up with a check-list, but a day that is focus on worshiping and praising my Savior; a day that I can set apart to be refreshed and renewed by Him.  
So what should a Sabbath day look like? This is a question that I have been pondering for some time. I do think that everyone has a different opinion and way that they spend their Sabbath day according to their personalities and ect. For me I want to focus on setting apart time to practice the act of studying scripture more intently, diving into my small group bible study, reading for fun, going on walks or runs, going to church and being in community with others, baking for fun or blogging. I know you may be thinking “Daniella you have created a check-list again for yourself!!” BUT this is not a check-list this is list of things that bring me rest when I do them without an agenda! So my goal for next Sunday is to write NO check list, but to just go through the day praising my Savior whatever that may look like next week. It’s going to be hard to not have check-list, but it is much needed!! J

Some cookies made for fun today on my half attempt of a Sabbath day! :)
 
Rest is something that my mind, soul, and body are desperately crying for. It has been way too long since they have been salsify and I know that the only way they can be is if I lay myself down at my Savior’s feet and get rid of the check-lists on Sundays so that I can just focus on being renewed by Him by praising Him all day long. Rest. Renewed. Refreshed. Rest. Energized. Joy. This is what I want life to look like for now on!!
My prayer!
How do you practice the Sabbath day? I wold love to hear your thoughts and practices! The Sabbath day has always had a crush on meaning I have always wanted to get to know it- to be able to practice it, but  I just dodn’t quiet have it all put together. I am on my way now… I think! J

Love, Daniella


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Beautifully Wrecked

Last weekend was filled with soaking in and gaining a deeper understanding of how much God love us. I feel so privileged to be teaching at a school this year where we had the opportunity to take two days to refresh our souls, to gain a deeper understanding of how much God loves us and allowed God to prepare us for this school year.

The weekend was focus around what it looks like to have “unity in community.” We pressed into God and allow the Holy Spirit to minister to our hearts as we took time to worship, pray, meditate over scripture and listen to a speaker talk on the importance of mentoring groups to foster unity in a community.
This weekend God pressed onto my heart to mediate and think about what it means to say and allow God to:  “create in me a clean heart, O God”. This is a little bit of verse from a song we sang during one of worship times. It struck me hard. There is a lot that my heart feels these days… happy, joy, anger, jealousy, sadness, selfishness, tiredness overwhelmness and confused. As you can see there are more downer words then happy words- not that life has been awful. Overall I love where God has me, but there are little things that are picking at my heart. There are little things that are bringing me down. There are little things that I am allowing to steal my joy. They are making my heart fogged over. They are crowding it and this weekend came at the perfect time to begin the process of cleaning it out; cleaning out the little things that are stealing me from experiencing all that God has for me in this life.  My week after retreat has been wrecked because of it. Wrecked in beautiful messy way- a way that has made me really press into my Savior; a week where I have had to say over and over again “I cannot do this without you God. I need you!!” I need you to show me how much you LOVE me. I need you to show me that I am YOURS. I need you to COMFORT me. I need you to FORGIVE me and help me to live in your TRUTH.

Soaking this in brings me peace!
 
This weekend as a whole group we mediate on 1John 4:7-21. We were asked to underline a word or phrase that really stood out to us as we spent an hour meditating on these verses. First, I underlined the word love and it appeared twenty-six times!!! This just spoke to my heart and reminded me again how much God love us. How important loving is to Him! Then verse 12 and 18 caught me “God lives in us and his love is made complete in us”; “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.” These verses wrapped themselves around my heart and tug at it. Because God lives in me and His love is made complete in me. I can feel complete in Him because He lives in me and He loves me. Nothing else matters, but this. Why do I then care so much about what this world and people think of me? Why do I allow what other say and do affect me and bring me down? Why do I get caught up in the things of this world? Because I forget I forget how my worth is in my Savior. I forget that my life is all for Christ. I have ask Him to use me and I have declared that I want to be His. I want to be complete in Him. Which leads me to I don’t have to afraid of what others think of me if I want to experience this perfect love of His which I completely 100% do! I need to not be afraid that God will never love me even when I feel selfish and guilty which I have felt a lot lately! L Instead I rest on the promise that I am His one true love. He loves me. He is calling me to abide in Him and to cling to Jesus daily.  He has called me His daughter and He wants me to walk in the truth that He has placed in my life.

 
This season of life God has so clearly called me to the word of joy. Joy is my middle name so I have always loved this word, but for some reason this time around it has a new meaning me in my life. I am not entirely sure what it looks like yet, but I do know it is what God is calling me to walk in this year. Joy. He has confirmed in multiple times throughout this past week. Joy. Joy. Joy. I just want to be overflowing with JOY! Joy that comes from the only one who can give me the true joy, my Savior; He is my source of Joy! As God continues to work through my heart and create it clean again I would love prayer. I have felt so exhausted these past weeks and very overwhelmed. I love everything that I am doing, but I have no energy. I am losing patience as I teach and I am feeling that I am not able to fully pour into others effectively right now. As my roommate summed up what she got from the weekend she said “To know God spills over into love for others…” There is so much truth in this. We need to know God first. We need to take the time to spend with Him so that we can be used to love others.

His Truth!
Thank you so much for reading about what God has been doing in my life. I would love to hear from you and what God is doing in your life. I would love to pray for anything that is on your heart. Please send me an email or facebook message!

Love, Daniella

P.S The place where our retreat was reminded me so much of “home”, Montana. I felt so at peace all weekend soaking in the amazing creation that God has created. (Psalm 148 sums up how creation praises God- it’s amazing!!) And this is what was talked about in church today- so GOOD!!


Korea's Montana! :)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Teaching Boys

Exhausted, but overwhelmed with love. That’s how I feel after two weeks of teaching my class-my class of 6 energetic students. 5 of them being boys!!! These students though have captured my heart already. I may end each day exhausted, a little bit frustrated that I had to repeat my directions for everything at least 5 times and then sometime we still didn’t do it right and worried that I am not teaching my boys the right way for them to learn. Boys are awesome, but they are different than girls. (If you remember from last year I had a class of 7 girls and 1 boy- let’s talk about complete opposite this year)  I mean we end each day with so much energy (the students not the teacher) and our desk completely messy.  The classroom turned almost upside down with cricket desk, pencils on the floor and papers stuffed into their desks. We end each day with lots of noise and jumping around. MY first reaction is STOP. Be still. Be quiet. Why so much energy? But I don’t really say these things out loud- thank you, Jesus for giving me self-control with my words even when it is so hard sometimes. Because sometimes all I want to do is just scream STOP. My patience these past two weeks has been tested. To be completely honest I have failed a few times with keeping my tongue quiet in moments of complete overwhelmness (I think I made this word up?!?) and have come home sad that I reacted that way. So my daily prayer is for JOY, PATIENCE, REST in GOD, and GRACE. These students have captured my heart no matter how much energy they have or if I have to sound like a parrot all year long- God placed me as their teacher for a purpose. I believe in this with my whole heart- that nothing is by accident.
My little ones (we made ice cream as a science experiment)!
SO this year I am focusing on how I can be a better teacher to boys. Really, school is not design for boys- so not fair!!! So my mission this year is to figure out how I can incorporate the best way for boys to learn into an education system design generally more for girls. Lately, I have been trying to soak up all the advice I can get from mamas who are raising little boys. I really do believe they have so much wisdom into how and why boys do things the way they do. One mama sent me an article last week that really gave me some great perspective and ideas to maybe weave into our energetic day. The lady who wrote the article is mother of two boys. Her blog site is called The MOB Society (Moms of Boys). The very first thing she talks about in her article is to understand that it’s a battle. Little boys’ bodies must be in motion and sometimes, their bodies take over their minds and hearts leading them to disobedience not always on purpose. She talks about how we have to have understanding and grace and lots of physical activity, but it is also important to teach them that sometimes we have to be able to control our bodies even if it is a hard thing.  The basic line is I need to create opportunities for physical activity- I need to figure out how I can physically create a space for activity into each and every lesson. I need to make sure that I check my frustration and not let my emotions control the words that come out my mouth. I need to remind myself that I am not perfect so why would I expect them to be. I need to fill my classroom up with Lavender smell- it is said that lavender has known sedative properties. (NO, I am not drugging up my students I am just trying to create a calming atmosphere- that’s all). But I think out of this whole article the very last thing this lady talked about resounded in my heart the most and gave me a ah-ha moment. These are her words:

 It is important to set healthy expectation early in the day and tell them that I know it’s hard, but do it anyway and I let them know I believed that with Jesus’ help, they could do it. I think that’s the key to making this little exercise be more than just a way to control your boys. The bottom line is that there will be things they don’t feel they can do for the rest of their lives—hard things that threaten to master them instead of the other way around. If we build a sense of “everything in life that’s worth anything requires hard work,” with a heavy dose of, “you must ask Jesus to help you overcome the hard things because you can’t do it yourself,” we’ll be that much further ahead in teaching them how to be godly, hard-working men who overcome in the name of Jesus.

This is exactly what my heart is screaming for my students- I want to teach them how to be godly, hard-working men (women) who overcome in the name of Jesus. I want my students to know how much God cares about them and loves them. How much He wants us to learn about Him and the world He created.
Look at all that energy! Haha!

So, as a teacher and so many other roles I take on throughout the day I know that I need Jesus more than anything. I can’t be a teacher to 5 boys and 1 girl if I don’t ask Jesus to lead me in it. If I don’t ask Jesus to give me the joy, the patience, the grace and the wisdom to teach these precious children that God has so graciously placed in my life for this school year.

A blog site that I have been reading each morning called She Reads Truth (it’s a devotional blog site) has been going through the book of Hebrews. It has been an amazing time of learning more about Jesus. As I was spending time reading the other day this verse and quote stood out to me:
We have met the One, and He is Jesus.
We have experienced the truth of the Gospel.
We have been reminded of who Jesus is—that He is greatest, sufficient, BEST.
And He gives us all we need to move forward in faith.

So, let’s move our feet! Let’s continue down this gospel road. The God of peace will equip us with all we need! (Hebrews 13:20-21)

 


Thank you, Jesus for equipping me with all that I need. I proclaim right now that I need you each and every day as lead my students in the discovery of becoming lifelong learners. I acknowledge that I can’t do this on my own- that I need your daily grace, faith and you are sufficient, you are the best and you are the greatest. Thank you that you equip me with all that I need!!!
So much JOY!

*If you are a mama or an educator who knows how to work with boys well or have any pieces of wisdom for me- please contact me!

**And if you would love to pray- please pray for my class that they would experience Jesus in a new way this year and that they would use their energy in a positive way. Please pray that I would have the energy(!!!), the patience, the wisdom and the grace as I teach these little ones!! J

Love, Daniella

Sunday, August 17, 2014

seeing through new fresh eyes


Rainy days make for perfect days of being cozy, feeling peaceful and being refreshed. Lately, there have been quite a few rainy days with it being typhoon season in South Korea. I am loving them (I mean I would not be enjoying them if they happened every single day, but a few here and there over the past few weeks have been wonderful).  

Rain always reminds me of being refreshed, renewed, washed cleaned and overflowing.  And these words describe exactly what is going on in my heart right now as well. Since arriving back in Korea for another year of teaching I have felt peace that this place is completely where God has me right now.   He will use all that I learned last year from Him to show me even more this year. It is a journey. Journey that is beautiful and sometimes not so beautiful, but it always has love from a Savior who loves no matter what.

I feel refreshed from a summer of weddings, friends, lots of ice cream, being outdoors, and loving on family. I feel renewed with a new desire to serve those in my community with Christ-like love. I feel washed cleaned of all that happened last year and ready to embrace that I have established myself in Korea for now. I feel overflowing with contentment, peace, loved and knowing that I am creating a space here in Korea that I call “home”. My home will always also be where my family is, but my own home for now is Korea. I am so thankful that God has worked in my heart and open it to accepting that my home for now is here. I feel completely at peace about it. It’s exciting. It’s fun. It’s wonderful.

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of being a part of a team that helped the new teachers and their families’ transition to Korea and our community through a week of orientation. Showing these wonderful people around Songtan and explaining Korea to them gave me a new set of fresh eyes for this community and country that I live in. It helped me to feel the overflowing feeling of contentment that it is right that I am here. It was funny because I felt all week that God had purposely place little things throughout my days to show me/remind me why He has me where He does, but the really funny thing is that it has continue over the weeks. One day in the market a sweet old man threw some cherries in with my nectarines giving me new insight to how sweet Koreans really can be. I feel so safe running around my city. When it is really hot there is a fountain that refreshes you and actually makes you feel cold for a second (I needed this on the hot humid days).  I am relearning how to take public transportation and loving how easy and convenient it is. I love that I can walk almost anywhere! I see the adventures again in Korea (renewed) - there are many things that I want to discover this year.  There are many things that I want to do, see and explore. I feel accepted and loved in my community. I feel taken care of. I love that I can be a part of people’s lives here and walk a journey with them. I love that I can see how much my students from last year have grown and my heart is truly thankful to my Savior for giving me wisdom in coaching a student in my class from last year in dealing with anger in appropriate ways and seeing him use the techniques this year just makes my heart explode. I love that I can teach a class of second graders.  I love that all of these things are only possible because I serve a God who is perfect. I could not do any of these things, but because my Savior lives in my life He gives me His strength, His wisdom, His love and His guidance.  It is only because of Him and what He is doing in my life that I am where I am right now. I am clinging to Jesus.


Refreshed I am! Renewed I am. Washed cleaned I am. Overflowing I am. Thank you, Jesus for working in my life. Thank you, Jesus!



Love, Daniella

P.S Here are some pictures of how I have decorated my room. My lovely roommates and I are still in the process of decorating our apartment, but I will have pictures up as soon as we are finished with all the details! J

My desk area... still waiting on finding the perfect desk chair!

My bed area

Walk into my rom with joy, wake up in the mornings reading "Today I am grateful" and "welcome home, Daniellas!" Also, my view outside my big bedroom windows that bring so much sunlight in! Yay!

My room! :)

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Second Grade. Round 2.

Tomorrow’s the day: First day of Second Grade. Round Two! I can’t believe that I am already a second year teacher. Where has the time gone? In some ways it has seemed to go by so fast, but at other times it has really slowed down.  This past year I have learned many lessons through a patient God. A God who never gives up on me. A God who loves me even though I am sinner and daily saved by His grace. A God who has my life in His hands and promises to be always faithful! The lessons that I have learned (and to be honest some of them I have to be reminded every once in a while still) are  becoming my own (owning my own faith), what true thankfulness means, grace, forgiveness, not striving for perfection, depending on Him completely, and being pursued by loving God. These lessons have deepened my faith in Christ and have given me hope for the future.

Ready to greet my little ones each day with a "Good Morning!"
 
As I think about this year of teaching I feel giddy. I feel excited. I feel at peace. I feel like a little kid waiting for Christmas morning. I do feel a little anxious. I do feel a little overwhelmed- what do you with 5 boys and 1 girl?!?! Let’s just say it will be a very active year! J But overall I feel that I am exactly where God wants me to be. For some reason He has brought me to ICS-P and He has a created a community that I can live in and love well.

Beautiful Sunset at Open House reminded me of new beginnings and gave me peace about this coming year. Thank you, Jesus!
 
There are many big ideas that I have for this year and many different changes that I want to make in the classroom. I love “new” things, but keeping the old as well- just mixed in. We will have lots of themed weeks again this year, but maybe not as many. I want to stretch some of them out so we can go more in depths with them. Our school is having a huge focus on community service this year which is always dear to my heart so I am very excited about this. I would love for my students and I to be involved in at least 1 community service activity a semester as well as any school wide ones. Of course as we see needs arise I would love for us to jump in and do them. If you know of any community service activities (in Korea as well as around the world) my little second graders and I could do please let me know.

To go along with all the changes I made for this year I changed my classroom around. I kept the same decorations/theme, but I switch things up little, added a few things and I absolutely LOVE it! I can’t wait to spend eight hours a day in my classroom teaching my little ones and hopefully shaping them to be Christ-like life-long learners!

My Teacher Desk as well as a Center Table

Classroom Library. 

Back of the Classroom
 
 
Front of the Classroom (missing a few posters)
My heart and soul are ready for this year. I just have a good feeling about it.

Happy Face with our school mascot!
Second grade. Round two. Here I come!

 

Would you please pray with me that:

-my students would experience Christ in a new way this year and want a personal relationship with Him.

-I would have the grace, knowledge, patience, and wisdom in teaching boys.

-more second graders would join our class! J

-ICS-P would continue to grow in student population and be a witness for Christ in all that we do.
With much love, Daniella


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

For-get-me-not

My soul is happy. My body is tried. My heart is encouraged. It has been an amazing summer soaking in so much of God’s grace and goodness. Someone asked me “What has been your favorite part of the summer?” And I can honestly answer every single minute of it.

I loved spending 3 weeks with my dad, mom and sister. I loved having dad-daughter dates, mama-daughter dates and sister dates. I loved spending the weekend in Bozeman with my whole family.  I loved talking with my montana mentor, Annie. I loved hiking in Glacier Park and meeting new friends at YWAM MT. I loved helping my best friend from high school with her wedding and stand by her side as she said “I do”. I loved spending quality time with my grandparents. I loved being a part of my college el ed friend’s wedding. I loved that I got to see Christy and just talk. I loved being in Indiana. I loved running again with Kristin. I loved talking with Danielle. I loved being adventurous with Kat. I loved going to the park with Laura. I loved eating dinner with Cath. I loved having lunch with Dr. Tyner and Stan. I loved sitting by the president’s pond with Kari for a quick little visit. I loved walking around TU campus with my college housemates. I loved visiting Ivanhoe’s twice in two days. I loved talking with Jess about life ahead. I loved sitting in Starbucks chit-chatting with Dereck. I loved the worship at my college church. I loved walking around 100 acres with friends. I loved reconnecting with Ann, a high school friend. I loved seeing aunts, uncles, and cousins. I loved my summer.
It was a full summer of rich conversations, encouraging words and reflecting on so many memories. I am so thankful for each person who took the time for me this summer and allowed me to be a part of their lives for a little bit. Please do not for-get-me-not. You each have a dear place in my heart and I am serious when I say you are always welcomed in South Korea! J
My soul is happy. My body is tried. My heart is encouraged. This summer has been good for my soul. It has helped me to gain perspective and excited for this next school year. I feel joy, peace, giddiness, and contentment for what is next. I am excited to get on the airplane tomorrow and make the long journey to my home for now, South Korea. I can’t wait to settle into my new apartment and decorate it. I can’t wait to set up my classroom and met my new little ones. I can’t wait to see Sarah, Caleb and Evelyn who I have missed so dearly this summer. I am ready to embrace this year for whatever God has for me. I have learned that through all things He gives me strength and wisdom. Yes, this year may have some challenges, but I have grown to know that when you have a hopeful perspective it gets you far. Round 2 here I come! J Remember don’t for-get-me-not because I won't forget you! Please continue to keep me updated on what's going on in your life and how I can pray for you! I love you much!
Remember
                                                                                                                        Love, Daniella