Saturday, December 31, 2016

Goodbye 2016 Thanks for all you have taught me.

Goodbye 2016 ~ Thanks for all you have taught me.  

Every year life has gotten better for us and 2016 was no different.  Life has not necessarily gotten easier, but better!  Despite still facing challenges, the years continue getting better because with each life experience God teaches me something new. 

Even the tragedies and crisis we have endured over the years have offered me opportunities.  Opportunities to grow in the Lord.  Time and time again God has showed up in our lives.  He has reassured me that he will never leave me nor forsake me and his presence in our lives reminds me that God ALWAYS wins!  Learning to put my trust in God has been a long process.  A process that has taught me to trust and embrace the journey God has us on.  

At 37, I have a better understanding of my purpose and God’s plan and purpose for our journey.  I no longer spend my time dwelling on what should have, could have, would have been.  I don’t seek to understand things, because I know my God promises to offer me a peace beyond my own understand.  

"And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:7)

Over the years I have gained tools and strategies the help me find comfort and delight in the Lord, no matter where life is at or how dark the moment may be.

My once constant need to control things for all of the complications in our lives that were out of my control, has diminished.   I have learned to lay my burdens at the feet of Jesus.   Countless mistakes have taught me that learning to rely fully on God is the only way to overcome the obstacles in our lives. I no longer waste my thoughts and energy worrying about the things I cannot control because I know I serve a mighty God who's plans and purpose for my life are far greater than I have the ability to control anyway.

I have spent many years of my life fighting an uphill battle. I have failed, fallen and learned how to get back up, and even injured myself in the process.  All of that being said, what God has taught me is that I don't need to climb mountains when I serve a God who can move them.

I know that the coming year will include challenges, for that is the nature of life. I also know that through those challenges God will allow me the opportunity to grow, better understand my purpose, the purpose of our journey, and to trust him even more. God has yet to change my situation and if that is not his plan for me, I'm content with that because I trust him.  What has changed is my heart and perspective.

So my resolutions going into do 2017 are much different than what they've been in previous years.  My resolutions are to learn to trust and rely on God even more, to let his voice and promises speak louder than the voice of fear and doubt in my mind.  I want to continue to find opportunities to grow in the Lord, relying on him more and myself and others less.  I want to love a little harder, give a little more, encourage, inspire, empower, and to allow the love of Christ to shine through me in all things that I do and all encounters that I have. 

I'm devoting 2017 to living more intentionally for Christ!

I want more intimate conversations with him.

I will read his word more frequently and faithfully stand on his promises. 

I will not spend my prayer time asking for what I do not yet have and instead will spend our time together thanking him for all the provision he has already blessed us with.

I will seek discernment, listen for his voice, and fearlessly go wherever he leads me and do whatever he calls me to do.

I will look at obstacles and challenges as opportunities to grow closer to him.  

I will learn to worship him through the storm and in the sunshine.

I will count my blessings without complaint of the things my flesh desires.

I will keep my eyes on the prize.

I spent a large part of my life questioning my purpose and how the difficulties in our journey could create anything beautiful.   Once I learned to fully rely on God, he answered those questions for me.  God is always there, he is with us even in the moments we feel so alone, God and God alone can transform any crisis, trauma, and/or tragedy into a beautiful piece of art, we just have to be willing to surrender the brush and let him create our masterpiece.

So I might not get skinny or give up habits in 2017, but I will definitely continue to give up my life as an offering unto God.

“But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ's triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume.” (2 Corinthians 2:14)

Happy New Years… and remember that THE BEST IS STILL YET TO COME!  Walk into 2017 with confidence!

Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 Christmas Project ~ Thank You!

Now that Christmas has passed and all of our Christmas projects have been fulfilled, I find myself in awe, reflecting on the events that transpired this Season.  I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who was part of making Christmas a little brighter for incredible children and families this holiday season.

Here is what we accomplished this:

As a result of our efforts, 14 children in group homes were sponsored. Each child received clothes and items from their wish list.  A group of us were able to go into the group home and deliver the items on December 23rd.  My hope is that beyond the gifts, we deliver a message to these children, that no matter where they are, who they are with, or what their circumstances may be, they are loved and cared for!

A 5 year old, recently diagnosed with Leukemia, undergoing Chemo therapy, got a special Christmas delivery to her hospital room.  

ASU adopt a family sponsored 7 low income families from Ignacio Conchos Elementary, providing those families a Christmas they couldn't of had otherwise.

A team from Wells Fargo sponsored every child in my classroom with a toy that they wished for and Treasures 4 Teachers presented each of my 15 students with a backpack filled with school supplies.

Remnant South Phoenix church held an event called Affordable Holidays which provided 16 families from both the community we serve and my church to shop for Christmas items at a 90% discount. 

In addition Re/Max New Heights Reality, The Birthday Club, A Second Look Consignment Superstore, The Greater Purpose Project,  NFL Yet Academy’s leadership program, Students from I. Conchos, and my classroom (room 28) collected donations and made 60 stockings for children spending their holidays in a crisis shelter while waiting for a placement/home.  In addition to the 60 stockings we were able to collect over 500 sensory items for Child Crisis Arizona to distribute to new children who may come in traumatized and afraid. 

Now that things have slowed down and I've had the opportunity to reflect back on the many projects completed this season, I find myself overwhelmed by God’s faithfulness and provision.

Christmas is not about the gifts we give it is about the love we share. Watching so many strangers and companies come together to share love and support for those who need it, was such an incredible experience that I am proud to have been part of..  Not only did our efforts impact the children and families we served, it taught the children involved in the projects some very valuable lessons.  They leaned the value of sacrificial giving, they where empowered knowing that no matter what adversity they may face, they too have the ability to make a difference in the lives of others, and most importantly they learned that love truly does conquer all.

None of these projects could have been successful without the support, collaboration, and partnerships of willing vessels like yourself.  Watching a community, churches, business, and individual’s all come together to rise to the challenge and serve it’s own, was just the hope I needed this Holiday Season. 

On a personal note, this was the first time in many years, that instead of grieving the loss of my father this holiday season, I was able to see his passion for giving live on, which has been a very healing experience for me! 

I wanted to take the time to personally thank everyone who has inspired and empowered me through their generosity and willingness to help. 

My personal mission in life has always been to "change the world one person at a time".  A special thank you to all of the participants who were willing to be “world changers” with me.  Thanks to you, hundreds of people were impacted by your desire for change and mission to love. May you be blessed beyond measure in the coming year. 


Treasures 4 Teachers Remnant South PHX Wells Fargo Arizona State University The Greater Purpose Project A Second Look  Remax New Heights Realty Child Crisis Arizona

Monday, December 26, 2016

This year is the first year since my father passed that I have been able to find the strength courage to overcome my holiday blues!  For me it was a matter of perspective. Once I was able to keep my focus on Christ and everything he has blessed us with instead of the things we were yet to have, God opened incredible doors for us.

I don't have my own little ones to be excited about Santa, but God gave me over 100 children who don't have parents to bless this Season.

My son is still in a wheelchair, but God gave us a vehicle that makes this world more accessible for us.

Although our family was not able to come together for the holidays, God provided me a beautiful family to share these special moments with so David and I did not feel all alone on Christmas.

And to top our Christmas off, today we blessed one of our youth James Cardenas Byus as he begins his journey in ministry! A young man that I have prayed for for many years!

God is a loving and faithful God, but the minute we take our eyes off him we risk missing out on incredible experiences God has planned for us!

Merry Christmas and a special thank you to everybody who made this Christmas extra special for us!

Friday, December 16, 2016

One of my students Michaels sister Brianna struggles with her speech. Since I have been doing inclusion during reading intervention in the morning, she's been coming to my classroom for reading. We have been working diligently on her speech.  Today her teacher called me with some proud news.  None of us have ever heard Brianna say more than two words together, but this morning after coming in she went to her teacher and said "Michael's teacher wants me"!

God has spent this entire month showing me how abundant his grace and mercy is for me.  These are the moments in teaching that deposit something very special into my life. #room28

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Love in Action!

As Educators we are responsible for teaching our students far more than academics.  My students have been learning valuable lessons about kindness and giving.  Witnessing my students love in action today made me extremely proud!  One of my Kindergartner's Christmas wish was "to give presents to the kids who don't have homes".  A special THANK YOU to all the extraordinary people have supported our cause, helping me teach my students young, that they have the ability and power to be "World Changers"!