Tuesday, January 27, 2015

New Blog Name

You are lucky because you get TWO blog posts from me today! Yay! 

I have been thinking about changing my blog name for a while now, but I wasn't sure what to change it to. For the past few years, I have had the name Just a Little Russian, as it was about my travels throughout Russia, but that doesn't fit anymore. So the questions were, what to change it to and what is the purpose for this blog? 

Eoghan Heaslip, a cool Irish dude, wrote a song called Gathering Song a few years ago. While in Russia, I discovered this guy and I fell in love with his music, and possibly his accent as well. This song, the Gathering Song, is one that is continually playing in my head. 

Here are the lyrics:
As we gather, here together in Your presence
As your people, we acknowledge and remember
The works of Your hands, Your purpose and plan
Your word through the ages
Like an anchor for all time, as one we sing

He who has promised, will be faithful
He who has promised, will be true
He who has begun, a good work will complete it
O Lord, all our hope is found in You

You, Found in You
My hope for this blog is to have a place where people can gather and be encouraged. Where we will remember what God has promised and we will know that He is faithful. God is our anchor and we know that he will complete a good work in those who are seeking to follow after him. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Life Happened

It's been awhile since I've posted on here, and shame on me for not doing so! Let me catch y'all up to date on what's been happening over the past few years...

First of all, I now live in Kansas City, MO! Yep, that's right, KCMO! I am working on my second Master's of Art degree at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. My first degree was completed earlier this year from Liberty University online and it's a Master's of Arts in Human Services.

So, you're probably wondering, why two masters degrees? Counseling is something I've struggled with since finishing high school. I had this foolish notion in my head that counseling was one person telling a client what to do and the client never doing it and staying the same. While studying for my degree from Liberty, I was able to take several classes which focused directly on counseling, and I loved them! Also, I had the opportunity to work for a pregnancy center, and I was able to help women and I realized the women were changing and growing, and they even listened to some of my suggestions as their peer counselor. That is when I realized I actually could be a counselor. All my running and telling God no, was foolish. So, almost 13 years after high school, here I am working on my counseling degree which will lead me to become a professional counselor.

If you would have told me a few years ago, even about six months ago, that I would be living in Kansas City, Missouri, I would have laughed at you! I never dreamed that I would be living in the Midwest! It's so weird to hear people talk about the Midwest and to adjust to the Midwest culture. Yes, it's still the states and only about 8 hours north of my home in East Texas, but it's still different. So far, I am falling in LOVE with this city! There is so much culture and history here!

Also, God has provided me with an awesome apartment on campus, with an amazing roommate and neighbor who love the Lord and have a heart for seeking and following his will! I have missed the campus environment and being surrounded by people my age. Now, I just need to get used to the seminary life where women are the minority and men are everywhere! Yikes! ;)

While God has been doing amazing things in my life, and has led me here to KC, I am still figuring some things out. For example, I moved here without a job! The past few weeks have been this juggling act of adjusting to classes and studying along with searching for a job. I remember a conversation I had with a new couple from my church back in Canton. He and his wife moved to East Texas without having a house or a job, because they knew that God was calling them there. He said that he loved not knowing where the next pay check would come from because he was able to see how God would provide. Well friends, I am not necessarily loving this stage of my life of not having a job, but I am definitely increasing in my faith in God to know that he will provide for my needs. It's so comforting to read in Matthew how God cares for the birds and the flowers. For I know that if he loves and cares for those things, how much more does he love and care and will provide for me?!? Faith being increased is not always a lovely nor ideal experience, but I know it will be worth it.

Now that I've updated everyone, I will try to post more frequently, it's a new goal of mine. Remember you are precious to God, more than the flowers of the field and the birds in the sky, so do not worry or be anxious for God will provide for you (Matthew 6:25-34).

Saturday, September 7, 2013


Life is messy. It isn't neat and it is FAR from perfect. We laugh, we cry. We love, we loose love.

Life can be a beautiful thing, but it's also full of hurts and pain. It's easy to pull within ourselves and to shelter our hearts and minds from experiencing pain.

I sometimes wonder why God allows certain people to be called home and then allows others to live. Why call home a sweet little boy who was celebrating with his family his dad's accomplishment of completing the Boston Marathon? Why call home a vibrant, dedicated, 30 year old husband with a family at home...Yet leave the murderers, rapists, terrorist, and other vile human beings?

Life is messy. It's painful. It's confusing.

It's so easy to look at all of life's hurts, pains, and frustrations and say, "Why, God?" It's also easy to turn your back on God and to withdraw inside yourself and to cut off loving others because loosing a loved one hurts. But we have to live. We have to love, laugh, dance, sing, run, and play. We have to make the choice to wake up the next day and say, "Thank you God for another wonderfully glorious day!"

We have to choose to live, and to live life abundantly.

  1. Existing or available in large quantities; plentiful.
  2. Having plenty of something.
plentiful - copious - profuse - ample - affluent - rich

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." -John 10:10

So I ask myself this question- "Am I living life abundantly? Or am I choosing to dwell in the things that the thief comes to kill and destroy?" 

Update on Life

Sorry everyone that I haven't posted in almost over a year!! If I were to say that life has been crazy, that would be an understatement. Let me get everyone up to speed with what's happening in my little world. 

Last fall after returning home from Russia, I was still having a hard time finding a job in the "real world", even with my college degree, finding a job was not easy in my small home town. So, while I was working for my family's business, I also started volunteering at a local crisis pregnancy center. For several years now, I have felt the need to volunteer there, but because of my transient lifestyle, I wasn't able to make that commitment. Last fall it was finally the right season of life for me to volunteer. I went to the center, filled out an application, had my interview, and started volunteering. A few months after volunteering, I was offered a job with the center! How amazing is our God?! I am now the Client Services Director and I work with our clients and manage our volunteers. I love my job and it is great experience for me. 

After thinking about what I want to do in life, I decided that I needed to start pursuing my graduate degree. Then came the overwhelming task of answering the following questions: where I would obtain this degree, what type of grad degree do I want/need, and how am I going to pay for it? Thankfully, I found Liberty University based out of Virginia and they have an amazing online program. They have 8 week semesters, so I am able to get this degree knocked out in a little more than a year. Getting this degree was not always that I wanted, but after searching for a job for more than 6 months, I realized that I needed one. Again, God provided me with the perfect job and the perfect degree. I am so excited to eventually use the degree I'm currently pursing. When all is said and done, I'll have a Master's in Human Services with concentration on Military Resilience. 

Hopefully, by the middle/end of next summer, I'll be able to work with our military and their families, helping them adjust and handle problems within their families. 

So this is just a little summary of life over the past year. Sorry for not posting regularly, I'll try to do better! 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Pablo Ortiz and Frank De Martini. Who are these men and why in the world am I writing about them?

Before last night I had never heard of them, yet their stories greatly moved me.

Last night I was channel surfing and came across a television special on 9/11. This particular one was called Heroes of the 88th Floor. It had survivors sharing their horrific stories, how they were trapped on a floor or in an elevator. They gave up hope of being rescued. Then two men came, pried the doors open and helped people find their ways to the stairwell. The show had survivor after survivor telling how Frank and Pablo helped them. "If it wasn't for Frank and Pablo, I wouldn't be here," was something I heard often from their lips. At the end of the show, one man said, they gave their life for me, and I am willing to give my life for others like they did.

Pablo Ortiz and Frank De Martini were simply two average men. They didn't possess supernatural strength. They weren't body builders who could bench hundreds of pounds. They were fathers, husbands. They saved over 70 people. Many of those 70 people then turned around and helped others escape.

At the very end of the program, a chorus was played in the background while they continued to show footage and survivors recounted their stories. Not many people would recognize the song by the music alone. Here are the lyrics:

What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.

Oh, how sweet to walk in this pilgrim way,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
Oh, how bright the path grows from day to day,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
Leaning on the everlasting arms?
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

Elisha A. Hoffman 1887
"Leaning on the Everlasting Arms"

I will never forget what happened on 9/11/01. I will never forget the stories I heard how God used two simple men and how their actions of courage, valor, and honor brought peace, hope and comfort to those they saved, and to all of us who have heard those stories.

Out of this truly horrific evil event, people found peace, comfort, and safety-all these things that only come from an everlasting Father.

Do you want to have this peace?

Frank De Martini

Pablo Ortiz

Monday, May 28, 2012

Looking Up

Lately, I've been wondering why God is leading me to go home. Don't get me wrong, I want to go home, and I miss my family and friends, but I don't know why I'm supposed to go home. I have vague ideas of why, but no real path set before me.

It's weird to not know what is next in life. I know what I want to do, but God isn't telling me to do what I want!

So what's next?

Tonight, I was reading my Bible and came across this devotional about the Israelites in the desert, and how God showed them His will by the cloud during the day and the fire at night. (Numbers 8:15-23) All they had to do is look up and see God's will!

How amazing would it be if God did that for me!?! How easy would it be, to just follow God faithfully, and to know that He is leading you each step of the way.

It's not so easy for this modern day girl. I'm not an Israelite and I'm not living in the desert. I've never seen a cloud that looks like fire at night. So, how am I supposed to know God's next step for me?

I guess it comes from reading the Word each day, and spending time with Him, which by the way, is something that I've been neglecting! :(

So, what to do when you don't know what to do next? Do what God told you to do the last time you were sure He was speaking to you...and KEEP LOOKING UP!

Even though my heart is telling me to stay here, my brain is reminding my heart, it's time to go home. It's time to return to my roots and to see what's in store for me next. I'm praying and hoping that it's something great, because it's sure going to be hard to leave here, only something truly great can refill the Russia size

d part of my heart that I'll be leaving here.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Bigger Than I Can Imagine

Today, on the way home from church, I was with one of my dear Russian friends and she shared that her parents had recently been in the states for a conference. At the conference, they found out that the church had been praying for my brother, John, and me. Somehow, this church knew of our struggles that we are dealing with in our current living/working situation. I have no idea how they found out, but I am so grateful for their prayers!

I think that's just like God to not only reassure us that people are praying for us, but to also put us in our place and to show us how big HE is.

Sure, I have friends in California, but I haven't really shared with any of them the struggles that we are experiencing, and I know that my brother and John as well haven't shared with anyone. We have no idea how this church knows, but just knowing makes it much better! People are standing with us, and seeking God for us! Wow! I am amazed at how God works for us!

What an amazing God we serve!!

And to the people out there praying for me, my brother, and John....THANK YOU!!! Just knowing that others are praying for us, helps so much!!!

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