Thursday, December 3, 2015

To My Grandpa

My sweet grandpa went to heaven, October 31st, 2015. It’s hard to believe that only a month has gone by without his presence here on earth.  Even though I live thousands miles away I am reminded of him throughout my weeks and grief hurts. I am so thankful that I was able to have two-weeks off from teaching to go back to say good-bye and be a support to my grandma  and mama. I arrived just in time to have a short, but sweet little evening by my grandpa’s bedside in the nursing home.  He was unable to talk, but he could hear our voices. My grandma says “he was waiting for me to come back.” He smiled when he heard my voice. The very last thing I said to him was “I love you, grandpa” and then I kissed him on the head as we said “good-night” and had plans to come back right away in the morning to spend the day with him. I never got to come back and spend the day with him because he entered into heaven’s gate early that morning.  I was hoping to have some more time with him, but now I just have the wonderful memories and working through grief. Grief does crazy things to you and right now I am in the “I wish I would have…” I wish I would have just stand the night with him… I didn’t sleep at all that night- I was so restless, but it just wasn’t meant to be and I have to be okay with that. I am trying to focus on the things that I loved about my grandpa. I loved his sweet tooth. He would always take 3 or 4 treats off the plate that I was serving to him and then wink his eye at me. It was our little secret… shhh!  He had a huge sense of adventure- really never a dull moment. My very favorite, but scary memory of his sense of adventure was when my brother and I traveled back to Washington with my grandparents. My grandpa decided to take a “short-cut”. The “short-cut” was an old logging road- let’s just say it was a very bumpy, high, close to the edge of the cliff kind of road. Scary! He drank at least 3 glasses of milk a day and let me tell you he had the strongest bones until the very end! He loved to tell stories over and over again, but even though I sometime tuned them out I miss them. Every summer for the past 12 summers I have spent some time at my grandparents and every time I was there my grandpa would have me cut his toe nails… oh, my! He would also always save me the Sunday morning ads from the newspaper and ask me how many miles I ran when I would come back from running. He was proud of me and it’s wonderful to have a supporter like that! There are so many wonderful memories that I have of my grandpa, but the one that I am missing the most right now is no matter how many times I talked to him on FaceTime he couldn’t get over the fact that I was talking to him all the way from Korea. It just amazed him. I miss that. Yes, I am thankful knowing that his body is renewed in heaven and that he is no longer in pain, but I miss him. I love you grandpa! Thanks for loving me well. 

And my sweet grandma is an amazing role model to me. I am so thankful for her love, support and prayers. She is grieving the lost of her husband of 65 years. She says “I am focusing on finding at least one blessing day to help me through this time.” She is a beautiful woman of God. I love you, grandma! 

Love, Daniella

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

in all circumstances

“rejoice always. pray without ceasing. give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”   {first thessalonians five: sixteen-eighteen}

This Thanksgiving finds my heart filled with many emotions: grief, exhaustion, frustration, but also deep down joy, love and overflowing thankfulness. Over the past two and half weeks I have been challenged by {first thessalonians five: sixteen-eighteen} where it says “give thanks in all circumstances.” Yes, this means even in times of valleys our hearts should give thanks. When you first think about it- it sounds crazy, but I can testify that continuing to give thanks in all circumstance of life helps you to keep your focus on the one that truly matters, Jesus Christ. It helps us keep our eyes focus heavenward even when we don’t understand why things happen or experience deep hurt and grief. Tears have been close this Thanksgiving day as I reflect over the past year and more recently the past few weeks, but in it all I am thankful that I have a God that I can trust. I am thankful that I have a family who listens and prays for me daily. I am thankful for a #familyawwayfromfamily that loves me and includes me into their family. I am thankful for friends to bake and cook with. I am thankful for cozy afternoons of listening to Christmas music and journaling. I am thankful that in all circumstances God is in control and will work it for His good. I am thankful that even when the world seems to be in complete chaos we can find peace and hope in our Savior. I am thankful. So I am continuing to chose to rejoice and praise God for all that He has done. I am committing time throughout my day to stop and pray for all the things that are heavy on my  heart today… the list consist of at least 15 things, but even when I don’t have words to pray God hears my heart and cry and I can believe that He will be near to the brokenhearted. His love will overwhelm each and every person on my heart. He will act in His way and timing so I chose to trust and be thankful for today and every day that gives me. Let thankfulness flow from our hearts as we live day for our Savior. 
Happy Thanksgiving, Daniella

Sunday, October 11, 2015

{Family} away from Family

A couple of days I go I posted a picture on instagram with a big caption that was an explosion from my heart of a topic that God has been stirring inside of me for the last year or so. And now I would love to go a little deeper into it.... 

I posted this picture and said “Words can't capture how I felt today spending the day with these two. So thankful for their little lives and their mama and dad who have welcomed me into their family so well. This is what it means to live life with Christ in the center breaking down worldly standards for Christ standards of loving people in all stages of life. If you are single and living away from your family I strongly encourage you to seek out a godly family to adopt you, love on you, support you and challenge you in your faith. If you are a family I strongly encourage you to reach out to a single in your life that is living far away from family to adopt into your family. The experience and relationship is a blessing both ways!!” 
Transitioning out of college was hard. It was hard to go from a close knit-community and place where no matter what time of day you had someone to talk to. Moving to another country was hard. Everything is/was so different and takes time to adjust to. And then both of these situations brought me far away from my family and that’s just hard in itself because my family is and will always be my #1 encouragers. They love me no matter what. They pray and challenge me. They listen and give wisdom. They are always there (even from across the ocean), but it’s hard not having their physical presence always near. 
And this is where my family away from family comes in. I am SO thankful for them and my family is SO thankful for them. I was just talking to my parents about this this weekend and my mom just kept saying how thankful she is that I have a “family away from family” here. You see this “family away from family” will never take the place of my family, but they do have another special place in my life in the season that I am in right now. They are who I can depend on right now for a physical hug, a home-cooked meal, wisdom and love in person. They can be at my door in 15 minutes. And they give me the opportunity to love on them and be apart of their family. It is hard to describe exactly, but I think this special bond of “family away from family” is exactly what I think Christ ask of us. To live life with one another. To go beyond our worldly “family” and be a family with other believers. Living life with others and not allowing “rules” of family to hinder us from walking together towards Christ. 
Yes, some of you may think this is silly or that this relationship can become inclusive, but it’s not. It’s family and you know what you hang out with your family. You do things with your family. You see your family often when you live in the same place. And you talk to them often. So why does it have to be any different when it’s your family away from family?!?! 
So, I would love to encourage you again if you are single and living away from your family to seek out a godly family to adopt you, love on you, support you and challenge you in your faith. If you are a family I encourage you to reach out to a single in your life that is living far away from family to adopt into your family. “ From experience it is a blessing both ways. 
Just some of my thoughts about the topic of “family away from family”. I would love to hear your thoughts about 
this topic or/and hear about your experience with a “family away from family.” 
My family! 

My "family away from family"with my mama! 
Love, Daniella

Sunday, September 20, 2015

{Psalm Twenty-Three}

Warning: This blog post is really honest and exactly what I am thinking…. 
A week filled with discouragement, feeling sick to my stomach, headaches, crabbiness, lost of joy and the feeling of wanting it all to go away, but just can’t seem to push it all aside no matter how much I give it to God. Surrender. Asking for joy. Trying to focus on the positive. Faking being okay. I am tired. I am tired of feeling this way. I want change, but it’s not coming. I don’t know what to do anymore. I am going to be honest: I have no idea what to do. I don’t know how to move pass where I am. I don’t know where I am suppose to be. I have spent hours praying. I have spent hours reading God’s word. But I feel like I am in a fog. I feel like I am struck and I just can’t get out. I feel so small. So indecisive and scared. I am scared of what’s to come. But my Savior has faithfully been showing me this week that His perfect love castes out all fear. 
I boldly prayed early this week that God would show me each day how much He loves me. How much His love covers me and fills me up. That I am completely His and that He is with me. He hasn’t promised that life would be easy, but He has promised that He will be with us and that ’s what I am clinging to these days when I just don’t know. He showed me in such amazing little ways throughout this week His love for me.
One way that He showed me was when I was talking to my parents. Let me stop for moment and tell you how amazing my parents are. They have been so supportive. a listening ear. encouragers. pray warriors. and have given such great wisdom from across the world. One night I was facetiming with them and my dad starting praying Psalm 23 over me. And tears immediately came to my eyes.  Let me explain that this a special passage for my dad and I. It’s a passage that my dad has prayed over  me too many times to count especially when I was little and went through a phrase of waking up with nightmares every night for a month. I am so thankful to my parents for always pointing me back to Christ in all situations. And the passage goes like this: 
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness 
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the 
valley of the shadow of death. 
I will fear no evil for you are with me; 
your rod and your staff, 
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me 
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
{Psalm Twenty-Three}
I have no idea what tomorrow will look like. I have no idea where I will be in a week or month or a year. I have no idea how I am going to move on. How I am going to be the teacher that my students need me to be. I have no idea how I am going to walk through this valley of death. Face my enemies. Face my fears. But I do know that I am not alone and that only one person can answer all these questions so I just have to keep walking with Him. He will restore my soul. Lead me in righteousness. Lay me down in green pastures. He will comfort me. Prepare me for my enemies. Anoint me. My cup will overflow again. And I will walk with goodness and mercy following me and dwell in the house of Lord. It may not be in the timing or way that I am imagining, but I surrendering that and laying my desires at the feet of Christ.  
And that’s all I have to say tonight. I am exhausted. My bed is calling my name again. Prayers are always appreciated! Thanks for listening (reading)! 
Love, Daniella

Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Storm Hit

The honeymoon phase that I was so afraid would end actually ended a little too soon at school. Emotionally. Physically. My heart. My soul. are still hurting. It has been one of the longest first two full weeks of school. I can’t believe the year is not over yet. Some of you have seen on Facebook the pled for prayer for the school that I teach at. Some of you know exactly what I am about to say. Some of you have faithfully been praying without details. Thank you!
About a little over a week ago my school administration announced that our school didn’t have enough students to make budget. We currently had too many teachers and not enough students so changes needed to be done in order for our school to stay open so four teachers were let go. I am going to be honest and say that lots of confusion and hurt followed and we are still working through the ray of emotions and consequence of the decision made. It’s hard to think that the four teachers leaving will no longer be physically here in our community. One is my roommate. Another is a husband to a lady who has loved me so well. The other is a sweet family who brings so much joy and another a teacher who has so much education knowledge.  My heart is so sadden. I am going to miss them terribly! I don’t want to go into anymore details of the specifics because I want to be respectful to all involved. I can just say it has been some very emotional and hard days. 
Emotionally and physically I am exhausted. My body has zapped all of it’s energy and started doing unpleasant things. My eyes find tears frequently and at random times. BUT spiritually God has held me. I can hope and I can trust that God is holding me close and that He is powerful in all situations. God has given me so much peace through His word and through listening to worship music filled with His truth. I have been on my knees in prayer constantly and soaking in His presence. Psalm 37 has been a passage that God has constantly lead me back to over and over again this past week: 
“Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself 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 act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light and your justice as the noonday.” 
{Psalm 37:3-6}
Something that God laid on my heart this summer was to be patience in His timing. To trust that His timing is always the best. Not mine timing, but His. As I have been reading and mediating on Psalm 37 I have been reminded again that God is in control and that His timing is always the best. I love that I can trust in this completely and whole heartily!  
I have no idea what the rest of the year is going to look like, but I do know that I can cling to God and believe with my whole heart in His truth:
“fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” 
{Isaiah 41:10}
Never would I have imagined that any of this would have happened especially with all that has happened since first arriving in Korea. BUT I know that God is working through all things and that He is drawing me closer to Him through every valley and mountain.  As I wrote in a early post about my summer I was really praying about this school year and asking God for peace, but I was having a hard time feeling at peace about coming back. God did gave me peace about being the best teacher that I could be for my students filling me with peace to pour on them and that’s what I am now asking for strength to do because right now it takes all of me to do that.  I came back asking God to help me to finish well  here in Korea. I really have no idea what is going to happen in the next coming days or even this whole year, but I do know that I am taking each day at a time and focusing on the task that God has for me. I can and do trust  in Him completely. 
"God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do NOT banish me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore the joy of your salvation to me, and give me a willing spirit." 
{Psalm 51:10-12}

Your prayers and encouragement are greatly appreciated. Thank you so much to those of you who have encouraged me so much this past week as well as your prayers. I ask that you would continue. I don’t feel like the story is finished yet and it all needs to be covered in so much prayer. Thank you again! 

Love, Daniella

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Prayer for the school year

The school supplies are brought. The lesson planning is in full swing. The classroom is decorated and ready for a dozen little ones to begin exploring. My third year of teaching has officially begun. I survived the first three days with my biggest class yet since student teaching and I LOVED it!!! I absolutely loved it. To be honest I was terrified coming back to Korea after last year- it was a year filled with too many challenges that completely overwhelmed me and left me exhausted, but my summer was filled with rest, healing and seeking after God. I know coming back this year is exactly where God wants me to be even though I fought it for many months. There is purpose in being here and there is nowhere I would rather be then where God’s will is for me and for whatever reason right now it’s here in Korea. I had a lot of time this summer to pray about this next school year. I laid down all my fears, failures, desires and hopes for the year and asked God to place on my heart what He has for me this year.  He filled me with peace, JOY and an overwhelming excitement to pour into my students. It scares me a little bit that I am experiencing the “honeymoon” phase, but I am praying with all of my heart that I will depend on God each and every day to fill me with grace, love, peace, understanding and JOY for teaching and mentoring and loving on my community. I really want this year to be done well- to commit all that I am to what God has called me to and to not be stuck in the wishing of being somewhere else. And now I feel like I am rambling, but I want to share with you with my prayer each day:

"God, crate a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do NOT banish me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore the joy of your salvation to me, and give me a willing spirit." Psalm 51:10-12

the ABC's of Praying for StudentsAnd I am praying the ABC’s over my students this year. If you feel God laying it on your heart to pray over my class this year I would love that so much. I am a strong believer that prayer is so powerful. 

As I mentioned before I have twelve students this year and I am so excited. I know I know that class sizes in USA are bigger, but for my tiny school  in Korea twelve is our biggest class size and I am SO glad that I have the privilege to love on them and teach them. I have also had a huge ahha moment  that I am designed to be a teacher to a big class. It’s just the way I am. I love having twelve students. It was such a struggle last year having five students- of course I loved them, but it was so hard for me to be an awesome teacher. I love that I have received this realization to keep tuck away for the future. :)

Well, I am gearing up for our first full week of school with goals of going to bed by 9:30pm (oh, the teacher life of early to bed early to rise), running three times a week and quitting sugar (another blog post to come about this new adventure of mine).  Hope you have a beautiful week! 

Love, Daniella

P.S Here are some  pictures of my classroom this year...

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Refreshing Summer

Summer was perfect. It was filled with laughter, smiles, beauty, love, relaxing, quiet moments, family, friends and much more. It’s all that I could have asked for for this summer. Yes, of course there were unpleasant moments, but the good moments far outweighed. 

A lesson I learned this summer is that I need to slow down and follow God. I want to rush things so badly in this world. I want things to go in my timing. My way. But when I attempt to take control instead of allowing God I bring a big fat mess. Oh, Daniella- let go and let God lead you. 

This summer started out in chaos of leaving Korea terribly sick and exhausted, but transition into the most amazing time with so many surprises by God. The very first was my best friend (who was also my college roommate) surprised me at the airport. And then we got to spend three sweet weeks together in Montana. Sipping on tea. Hiking. Running. Exploring. Talking. Baking. And much more. I wouldn’t trade those weeks for anything. 

I also got to go camping and hiking in Glacier National Park. You don’t even know how long I have wanted to go camping in Glacier Park. Let’s just say it has been ever since I was a little girl and I finally got the chance. It was beautiful. Breath-taking and everything that I hoped it would be. 
Spending quality time with my family was much needed. Each member of my family encourages and challenges me in different ways. And I am so thankful for that.

Never did I think I would go to the final ladies World Cup Soccer Game and see the USA team win or a Seattle Mariners baseball game with my siblings! Go Teams! Go!
Ice cream was basically my diet this summer. You can’t pass up homemade Sweet Peaks in Montana or Edaleen Dairy in Washington or the yummiest flavor ever coffee caramel oreo in Ashland, Oregon. You just can’t, but now I have started my no sugar kick and it’s going to kick me!

Sister dates are my favorite, but I think we have a hard one to beat from this summer. Our attempt to try something new and adventurous turned into a night of laughing and talking about “live” fish swimming in our stomachs. Yes, we tried to eat sushi! Haha! And ended the night with frozen pizza! 

Friends are just great and I loved being able to spend the night in my best friend from high school’s new home and talk to friends on Skype when the midwest is still just too far. Boo! 

My older brother got married this summer and it simply was the most wonderful and perfect thing. A day filled with so much genuine love and happiness. I now have the best sister-in-law ever!!!

In the past elven years I have not missed a summer of being at my grandparents. What a special and time I will always treasure. We have so many little traditions that I love! Birch Bay. Starbucks. Gardening and much more! 

It was an honor to be apart of YWAM Lynden and host Lorean and Darlene Cunningham. They are always such a beautiful encouragement to me.  And while I am talking about YWAM- seeing my “auntie” Amy and her husband as well as “uncle” Mac at my brother’s wedding was so good for my soul. Thank you for your kind words!

A “spontaneous” road trip to Ashland, Oregon with my sis and grandmama was just wonderful. I loved being able to listen to my grandmama go down memory lane the whole trip. And we had an oh, so interesting experience with the plays! Oh, my!

Huckleberry picking happen again which was exciting because it had been awhile since I have been in Montana for the season. You can’t beat fresh huckleberry muffins. And the hiking was just stunning!

My summer in the states ended with a night with my first friend I ever made in Korea, but has now moved away, Emma. It was a lovely night of catching up and encouraging one another in our walks in life.

And lastly I can’t get over how beautiful the sky was  this summer between early sunrises to start the day and late sunsets telling me it’s time to sleep. Breath-taking. It helps me to remember how  thankful I am for each and every day.

The past week has been spent working hard on getting everything ready for school to start from setting up my classroom to writing lesson plans. It’s a lot of work, but God keeps reminding me the purpose in it all- to use teaching as my mission to love on each child that enters into my classroom. One more teacher day. One day of open house and then it’s the first day of school round three. Oh, where has the time gone?! I have so many thoughts about this next year that I have decided to save it for another blog post! Your welcome! :)

Well I hope you had a beautiful summer!  In a way it’s hard for me to move out of summer mode into school mode again.  It’s not that I am not excited about this year, but I just loved this summer and think it would be wonderful if it could have lasted a little longer! 

Love, Daniella 

Monday, June 15, 2015


Twenty-four and so excited for this year of living passionately for my savior. For my birthday this year I just wanted to spend the morning alone embracing this time in my life. Those of you who have read my blog continuously know the journey I have been on and right now I can honestly say I am exhausted not only in my body, but also my soul. The past two years have definitely been years of learning, growing and challenging. But lately as I have been asking God why? He has pointed me so clearly to His truth. He is definitely using these years to draw me closer to His heart and transforming me to become a Proverbs 31 woman of excellence not perfection. I have tried to live my life for so long in perfection filling my schedule packed full, trying to do everything so well and putting a lot of pressure on myself. I am slowly learning what it means to depend on God completely and alone instead trying to do things on my own or depending on the world.  With all this to say I really felt like I just needed to set apart time to refresh, remember and refocus on my birthday.
My students surprised me with a "healthy" cake!  
I made the adventure to Seoul by myself. I loved every minute of it. It was so peaceful, exciting and relaxing. I found this really cute street of shops and coffee shops. I just browsed through stores and then sat at my favorite Starbucks for an Early Gray Tea Latte and greek yogurt! Journaling and blogging have become my dear friend since moving overseas- it has been a beautiful way for me to express what’s on my heart and process it all. (Really this blog is more for me than anyone else, but I am glad that you enjoy reading it and hope it points you to Christ!) Three words came to my heart as I was journaling, soaking in scripture and being still in God for this year of living out twenty-four refreshment, remembering and refocusing.

Refreshment: Something that I have been striving for for so long is rest and longing to have energy. It has been a struggle, but I believe this is my year to be refreshed. And I am starting it by having a nice and relaxing summer with family and friends. Many hours will be spent sipping earl gray tea, reading, soaking in the sun, time apart with my Savior, and being spontaneous.  For the rest of the year I want to be intentional and not feel guilty about setting apart time each day to relax and reenergize whether that’s through reading, running, journaling or napping J! I have been learning that “our mornings, our evenings, and our every hour-in between have purpose, and that purpose is to know Christ and to make Him know”, but this can’t be done apart from feeding on the Living word of God and choosing to have our identify rooted in Him.  I say this because I believe that my soul will find refreshment the more I focus on God and see that everything that I do has a purpose even the little things like washing dishes or big things loving on my community or students.  Instead of allowing these worldly things to suck my energy I am choosing to change my mind-set to see them as a way to bring glory to God and make His name known!
Remembering: I believe of a lot of this year will be remembering. Remembering the past twenty-four years and how faithful God has been.  Sometimes when you go through hard seasons it’s hard to see how faithful God is, but can I tell you He is so faithful in every season. Oh, my! How faithful God has been. Remembering the people who have impacted my life and encouraged me so much the past twenty-four years. Remembering the memories that I have been so blessed with you. It hit me hard this birthday how blessed I am to be alive and that I have been given twenty-four years of life so far. I don’t want to waste a single day focusing on worldly things, but instead living each day as an ambassador of Christ! One goal for this year is to complain less and focus on trying to see the best instead.
Refocus: I really believe this year is a year of refocusing on what God has for my life. Pressing into Him with the desires of my heart. Deep down in my soul I feel (expect) God is going to do BIG things in my life this year and I am ready! I have no idea what He has planned, but I am so ready to listen and be obedient! J A piece of scripture that God has laid on my heart for this season is Psalm 37:3-7:
“Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heat’s desires. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you. He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun. Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. “
This scripture speaks so clearly to my heart- there is so much in this chapter and it has so much more meaning to me than I going to write out because there are just some things that are meant to be kept between God and I. Just know that Psalm 37 brings hope to my year of twenty-four!
Twenty-four is year of expecting and waiting patiently! J Waiting patiently is hard for me, but I want to be able to wait patiently in God because He knows so much better than I do!
The rest of my birthday was spent going to church with my roommate, shopping for a bridesmaids dress for my brother’s wedding!!!!! (unsuccessful, but still fun), trying new things like raw sushi! and a late night of talking with a dear friend! It was a beautiful and refreshing day! So far I loving twenty-four!
My birthday day summarized in pictures!

Happy birthday to me!
Love, Daniella

2nd year of teaching

This past week has been a whirlwind. Nothing in this past week turned out how I had planned it and saw going to happen, but God knew. He knew perfectly well and gave me the strength, the wisdom and support from others to walk through it.

School suddenly closed down unexpectedly on Tuesday because of the MERS outbreak in our area. NO end of the year breakfast party or real good-byes instead I have to trust that sending a letter to each of my students will show them just how much I have loved having this year with them even though personally it was a very challenging year. These students showed me so much grace and love. They taught me how to practice more patience and God used them to help me draw on Him for strength throughout the day instead of depending on myself. It’s amazing to think that most of my day is spent with little second graders trying my best to teach them the world and to show Christ to them.

 As I reflect on this past year knowing it was only my second year of teaching my heart feels overwhelmed thinking that God has so passionately placed me in this profession to love on each child that enters my classroom door, to show them the world and grow their knowledge. The past two years of teaching have been hard trying to figure out how I want to teach and help my students grow. As I quickly packed up my classroom this year in the chaos I made a choice to not transfer a lot of my files from the past two years and throw away a lot of papers because I want to change. I don’t think I have been a bad teacher the last two years, but I also slowly was losing my passion- I want to be excited about teaching each and every day. I believe it is something that my students deserve from me. They deserve to have a teacher who is dedicated, engaged and a life-long learner!
Oh, this class of boys and one girl!
This summer is going to be filled with lots and lots of rest and allowing God to refresh me so that my heart and soul will be ready to teach and love on each child that enters into my classroom. I need so much energy to teach so I am going to try to store up on it this summer (that’s how it works, right?! J) This summer will also be filled with lots of research, studying and planning how I want to teach this next year! If you have any great ideas- please feel free to share!
My original class at the beginning of the year!
Anyways, back to my class. My class changed so much this year. We started out as a class of 6 then went to a class of 5 then 6 then 5 again! This class rocked transition and accepted each other so well. We became a little family- the good and bads. How can you not get a little annoyed with each other when there is only 5ish people to be pair with. We enjoyed lots of laughs and even more physically activity with all our energy (not the teacher’s energy though)! We loved learning about camping, and Christmas around the World! Science experiments were our favorite and we enjoyed being tech pals with another second grade class in Bolivia as well as being pen pals with a Kindergarten class in North Carolina! What a fun and challenging year of my second year of teaching! J
What a year it has been with these little ones!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Sara(h)s in my life

I am completely amazed at how God so incredibly works in our lives and how He knits and orchestrates everything in my life together for His good. For His glory. For His way. As I have been reflecting on the past ten years of my life (Wow! I can’t believe that’s how long it has been since I was a freshman in high school- I’m getting old!) I have noticed a common theme more like a common name no more like a common name of three amazing ladies and one little girl who have impacted my life, pointed me towards Christ, supported me and loved me so incredibly well! These four beautiful women all have something so in common even though none of them have ever met each other. These ladies all share the same name Sara(h). They may have different spelling, but it is still the name Sara(h). Sara(h) meaning “princess”, a noble woman. Each of these ladies reflects this name so well being a noble woman of God- seeking His kingdom first and pointing others towards Christ. I feel so incredible blessed to know these Sara(h)s  and just stand in awe praising God that He so divinely placed each of them in my life at a strategic time.

In high school, God placed Sarah Schmautz in my life as my Tuesday morning bible study leader. I would wake up every Tuesday and drive to “town” to hang out with other high school girl’s at 7am to listen to Sarah share her heart with us and point us to Christ while enjoying a yummy breakfast. She showed me so much love and how to dig deep into a bible study- one of my favorites was Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. She was so encouraging and loving. She met each of us where we were and encouraged us to seek Christ throughout the week with our actions and words as we lived out our role as students. Sarah- I don’t know if I have ever told you how much of an impact you were on my life in high school, but I want to take the time now to tell you! You blessed me so much and were/are an amazing example of a Godly woman.  My heart desire is to be able to do something like you did for me in the future for high school girls. I would love to have a breakfast bible study! J

Don't have picture of us, Sarah Schmautz, but this quote is perfect!
In college, God blessed me with another Sara, Sara James! Sara came into my life my sophomore year as my hall director and towards the end I became a PA under her meaning I got to spend so much awesome time with her my junior year. I would never trade that year for anything. Sara- I want to take the time to thank you for pouring into my life, for pointing me towards Christ, for believing in me when I didn’t believe in myself, for walking with me through heartache and unknowns. Thank you for loving on me and always encouraging me. One thing you taught that will always stay with me is seeing the fruit of the spirit as a way to see if I am living out my faith! It is something that I constantly come back to throughout my days. I miss our heart to heart talks. I miss you massaging my hair during PA meetings and your joyful spirit!

I love you, Sara James!
In my first real years of adulthood (aka. Life outside of college) God so divinely and purposefully even before I arrived in South Korea placed my name on a heart of a Sarah, Sarah Houser.  Sarah has heard my heart, my pains, my frustrations, my joys, my tears, my thankfulness, and my journey of learning what it means to live a life for Christ alone. She has been a safe place, an encouragement, a blessing, a joy, and a prayer warrior in my life. She has so graciously share her family with me and has allowed her family to become #myfamilyawayfromfamily.  Sarah- As we continue to walk our journey together here in South Korea however long God has us in the same place I want to make sure to never take advantage of gaining wisdom from you! Thank you for so faithfully pouring into my heart even when I don’t always deserve it.  You have shown me what it means to live a life of continuing to seek God even in the hard, even in the waiting and even in the unknowns, and even when we don’t see the reason, but we can rest in God because He is faithful and His timing is perfect, not ours. Thanks for being my cheerleader!
Sarah Houser- I love you!
One little girl, Princess which means Sarah!!! What this is crazy!!! God works in such amazing ways! This just blows me away that God so perfectly orchestrate this all together- my heart is overflowing with praise to Him. If you were sitting next to me as I am writing this you would see the biggest smile on my face and hear my voice singing! God- you are SO good. You are SO incredible! You are SO faithful and provide in such amazing ways. I completely blown away by you! Princess is the little girl who captured my heart in Kenya when I felt defeated, not valued, not loved or supported. She loved me, hugged me, laughed with me and smiled with me.  God used her to show me how valuable we are to Him. We are His beautiful daughters who are so loved, so cared for, so worth it and completely in need of Him alone. If you would love to hear more about Princess and the impact that God used Princess in my life you can read this blog post!

Forever in my heart, Princess!
Each of these Sara(h)s have allowed God to touch my life! It just overwhelms my heart to think that God loves me SO much. He cares about me SO much that He would take the time to orchestrate each of these Sara(h)’s into my life and use them to bring me closer to Him. How GREAT is our God!
Love, Daniella

**Just to clarify if your name is not Sarah it does not mean that God has not used you in my life. God has placed so many incredible people in my life and I am SO thankful for each and every one of you. The Sara(h)s that are mentioned are ones that God has been placing on my heart again this year as a reminder to me of His faithfulness in my life as I live out my 24th year- a year of refreshment, remembering and refocusing! (More to come on this in another blog). Please don’t be offend or hurt that’s not my goal behind sharing this with you all! If you would like to talk to me about please do! **

Monday, May 25, 2015

Kenya captured my {heart} Part 8

This place holds a little piece of my heart. A little beautiful girl captured it here. God used her in an amazing way to speak to my heart and show me how loved we both are from Him. We are so valuable in His eyes. He loves us for who we are. He loves us no matter what our story is. He loves us through our joys and through our tears. He loves us when we surrender all of our heart to Him, but He also loves us the same when we have a hard time surrendering. He is so patient. He is so gracious. He fills us with JOY. He fills us with HOPE. He fills us with GRACE. He fills us with LOVE. We are complete in Him alone.

Heshima Children's Center
This place is called Heshima Children’s Center.  Heshima means “dignity” in Swahili. It is a children’s center where children with special needs are welcome to come to for physical, occupational and speech therapy. Most children with special needs in Kenya live a life that is undignified and full of broken dreams, but at Heshima they believe that Jesus Christ has a special purpose filled with dignity for each child with special needs. All human beings are made in the image of God, regardless of their outward appearance. Genesis 1:27 says “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God HE created him, male and female, He created them.” Heshima was started with the vision to meet the needs of these hidden children in Kenya. They provide breakfast and lunch, basic educational instruction depending on the need of the child, as well as occupational, physical, and speech therapy. One thing I loved about Heshima is their community development thinking. They offer all of these programs to the families for basically free, but they do have the families paid a small amount each month. This way the families are choosing and investing into making a difference in their child’s life and not taking advantage of something free. When things are given out free people start to depend on it and not change things for themselves. * This community children’s center is filled with so much JOY and HOPE. It is such a peaceful pace to be.

We had the amazing privilege of volunteering here two mornings at the end of our trip. I could have stayed forever. The children and the caring, sweet workers were so encouraging to my soul. Our mornings were filled with playing games, brush therapy, snack time of porridge, singing and play outside. There were many giggles, singing, cheers to be heard. There were many smiles, dancing, running and swinging to be seen. There were many cuddles, hugs and holding hands to be felt. These beautiful children wiggled their way into each team member heart. We were all so captured by them. These beautiful children who are pushed away by their society most possibly made the biggest impact on our team. We saw God’s heart in such a real way- how He loves and uses each person no matter how big or small. We are created in Him and for Him. He values us so deeply. Wow! What amazing take-away, but more than that we want to live out what was reviled to us!

Snack Time!
One little girl will never been forgotten in my heart. And I am not just saying that. This little girl stole a piece of my heart- it will always be with her. She loved me, hugged me, laughed with me and smiled with me in one of the hardest times in my life where I felt defeated, not valued, not loved or not supported. This little girl has hypotonic cerebral palsy causing her to not be able to talk or walk on her own, but it does not stop her from loving music and filling others with JOY. One of the directors told me that she hardly smiles and it has been a long time since she has smiled, but all she did with me was smile and laugh. Oh, my heart is overwhelmed as I type this. Somehow and for a reason God allowed us to bond and share two mornings of precious time together laughing and smiling. One of my favorite memories was when we were swinging on a swing and I started singing worship songs quietly and she just started smiling and “singing” along. We worship our amazing God together both in our brokenness. I pray that this little girl knows how valuable she is in the eyes of God. She is so loved. She is so important. She is so worthy to be dignified.  This little girl’s name is Princess. Princess fits her well- she is the bride of Christ.

She captured my heart with her beautiful smile!

Her beautiful mama also works at the center as a teacher’s assistant. She is a sweet and caring lady with a huge heart for loving on each child. She is so patient and compassionate. {Thank you for allowing me to love on your daughter and allowing me to hold her. You have both touched my heart incredible way! }

Giggling with goofiness
Princess and her mama are often on my heart and mind throughout my week. I pray that they have patience and feel God’s love always. I hope to someday see them again and if it is not on Earth I pray that we will have a celebration in heaven. Thank you, Princess for allowing Jesus to work through you to speak to my heart. I am truly still overwhelmed by it!

Joy from the Lord
These children are so worth it! They are so valuable. They are so beautiful and created perfect in God’s image! You can check out the website for more information on this awesome place and how you can purchase jewelry to help the mothers of these children!

Love all of her!
I would love for you to at least take away one thing from my experience and that is that you are valuable!  The word of God points it out so clearly so many times- read Romans 5, Ephesians 2 and Psalm 139 and more. God sent His only son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for YOU! So that YOU would be saved and washed clean of your sins so that YOU can one day go and be with Him for eternity! You are SO valuable!

With an overflowing heart, Daniella