BALTIMORE

There’s so, so much to say about Baltimore, but before I just jump right in, I will try to give you a background here.

So, you may have noticed that I have been absent from this blog for a few months. Props to my amazing friends for stepping up to the plate and allowing me to have a break while I was serving in Baltimore! I have missed writing here, tho, so now I am back for the foreseeable future, although, the older I get, I realize that life doesn’t always go exactly to our plans, and sometimes God will surprise us with something much better! Now that I am back from Baltimore I am anxious to see what God has next for me.

I lived in Baltimore and worked at Hampden Christian School as the elementary assistant for 3 months. Their elementary assistant had gone to Bible School for 3 months, so I was basically a substitute, although 3 months is certainly long enough to get into the rhythm of things and make it feel like home!

Hampden Christian Shcool is a mission school in Baltimore. It is a Mennonite-run school, but most of the students are non-Mennonite. The school has a daycare that offers care for infants-pre K and a school that educates K-8 children. It is a beautiful mission. The children get a 100% Christian education and are loved and cared for each day.

In an average day I would get up at 4:30 to do my own school (I am currently working online to get my bachelor’s degree in elementary education) before walking to school to teach several 2nd and several 3rd grade classes, spend some time taking care of the kindergarteners, help with all 3 recesses, and do aftercare, which lasted from 3:15-5:30. In the evenings I would either work on more of my assignments or hang out with other staff girls.

It was not exactly easy to move to Baltimore. In some ways I felt that I didn’t fit in. Some days I felt so lonely. I could not have lived with out my friends and family at home who supported me every day. I felt that support through calls, texts, cards and packages in the mail, and even a few visits from very special people! There are also many amazing people in Baltimore who really welcomed me and helped me so much during my time there.

Another teacher and I were teaching the K-2nd graders how to jump rope. Very few of them had ever jumped rope before, so it was a real learning experience. We were also trying to instill in them how to be good sports, gracious winners and losers, and how to encourage their friends. One day after we had been working on jump rope for some time already, we were jumping rope and one of the 2nd-grade boys did 282 jumps! When he finished all the children clapped and cheered; they were so happy for him! Right after him, one of the kindergarten boys got up to jump. This was a boy who has coordination problems and getting even one jump was difficult for him to do. However, he got up and did 8 jumps. When he sat down all the children again went wild clapping and cheering. It was a beautiful scene. To the children, the number of jumps really didn’t matter, all they cared about was that their friends were breaking their own records, and improving their skills. That makes me think, how many times do I rush to judge others and compare the people around me to each other and myself when in reality, it doesn’t matter where each of us is, what really matters is what direction we’re going!

Baltimore has somewhat of a bad reputation, but it also has beautiful places to visit and many amazing people!

I also can’t forget to mention all the amazing food that Baltimore has to offer!

I can clearly see God’s leading hand in directing me to Baltimore, and even though sometimes I just wanted to scream and cry, I really loved it and I’m so happy to say that I am going back in August! Those three months changed me. It’s an experience that I’ll always think of with fond memories. Mostly thanks to all the incredible people down there! Please pray for me as I seek God’s will for my life. -Kinza

It Took the Cross

What does Easter mean to you?

The birth of Jesus is a wonderful story; the fact that God became a man and lived on this earth is incredible. We read so many stories about the life of Jesus in the Bible, and we’re amazed. But, if we only knew of Jesus birth and life as a man on earth we wouldn’t know salvation. For us to have the possibility of a renewed relationship with God, we needed more than Him to send His Son to live on earth, we needed the sacrifice that He made on Calvary. It took the cross to unite us with God. The one and only way we can be right with God is through believing in God and the sacrifice that Jesus made for us. My prayer for you this Easter is that you can comprehend the meaning of Jesus death for you. He died to bring you life, but His death wasn’t the end. He arose and conquered death and sin and the grave. Hallelujah!

Waiting

I’m in a spot of waiting.

Waiting for God to move and speak. For doors to open and eyes to see more clearly.

I have questions and am searching. Evaluating my life and heart.

Where am I?

Am I living out who God created me to be?

Asking questions forces us to come to a place of personal brokenness before God. To admit I need help and don’t have answers is humbling. We don’t want to look closely at our souls and hearts. What are we going to find? Are we still going to be accepted by the people around us?

Looking for answers and asking questions tries our patience and makes our hearts heavy. The place of waiting and being still, craving to understand when you can’t, and waiting for light that our hearts are the most pliable. This is when we are the most used for God’s work. It’s only through these times of coming to a place of heart searching that we can become vulnerable and receive fullness of Jesus and His Joy.

Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. Psalms 16:11

May we surrender to the God of TRUTH!

Words: Damarus

Growing Into What?

I work in a greenhouse, so obviously this time of year I think a lot about growth. Growth is not something we obtain, it is a process in which we are taking steps in one direction. Am I growing in my relationship with God? We aren’t just living, we’re either moving closer or further from God. In which direction are you growing? -Ginger

“When you stop learning, you stop growing.” -Unknown
“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 3:18
“If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.” -Gail Sheehy
“But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.” Ephesians 4:15

Beginners Guide: De-cluttering and Organizing

Is your room, apartment, or house an incessant mess? Even when it is clean, does it still feel cluttered? Maybe you don’t even know where to start on that mountain of…stuff. Hey, I’ve been there, done that. In this post I would like to give you a few tips on tidying, de-cluttering, and organizing that have changed my life. And my bedroom.

1. This is not an extensive “get-your-house-in-order” list. It is meant to be a spring-board to learn more. I would recommend that you get Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up at your local library. It’s an awesome, fun, and easy read and very helpful.

2. What do you want out of your space? Do you want space for a desk dedicated to art, or a shelf by the window for your plants, or (my favorite), room for another book shelf? If you really want your place to be crowded, messy, and dis-organized, then help yourself, but I would rather a neat, bright, and calming space where I can just chill with a book.

3. Attack! The fun begins! I’m going to come right out and shoot down the saying we’ve probably all heard, “Do it cupboard by cupboard, drawer by drawer.” I am taking Marie Kondo’s advice, something that has worked beautifully for me, and so we will be sorting by category, not by place. When you go place by place, it is hard to see how much of one category of stuff you actually have, even if your things (i.e. scrap-booking supplies) are already fairly neat.
So, starting with category Clothes, (the easiest one!) pull out all of your clothes; dresses, shirts, skirts, pj’s, shoes, accessories, and purses. Put it all on one big pile. When you are sure you have everything, grab a trash bag for donations and sit down by Mt. Apparel. Remember that anything you happen to find after this, excluding items in the wash and the clothes your sisters are borrowing at the moment:), will be immediately donated, no choice. If you didn’t remember it before, it obviously isn’t too important to you. Now, simply go through your pile, one article at a time. Here are a few questions to help you assess your need of the items.
A. Does it “spark joy”? When you look at it do you say, “Yes! This is totally me.” or are you more like, “Nah, not really my type.” sometimes trying the clothes on to see how they look or feel can help you clarify if you really want to keep it. Remember, it’s not about getting rid of as much as possible, but only keeping what you actually like. And, I always feel better in clothes I adore, rather than something that is not high on my “like “list.
B. Have you worn it in the last 6 months? If not, you will most likely not miss it at all!
C. Can you replace it in 20 minutes for under $20? When you’re just not sure if you do or don’t like it, think about rarity. Is that sweater something generic that you can find cheap anywhere, or is it a bit more high end or unique?

4. So once you have gone through all your clothes, we can learn how to store! You can fold practically all your clothes. It is a bit more practical to hang dresses and coats, but everything else can be folded. Start by folding sweaters, jackets etc. as shown in the example below.


Don’t put them all on a vertical stack in a bin in your closet! When you have a large stack of sweaters, the pile can go up, up, up until it either hits the sky or your closet ceiling! However, if you put your sweaters vertically, you have easy access to all sweaters, not just the ones on the top, and there are no hidden, wrinkly sweaters on the bottom. You are probably like me, and less likely to wear something if you have to iron it. Again, I’m trying to make this post brief, so we’ll move on from clothes.

5. For your other things like crafts, collections, and misc., ask yourself if you really are going to use it, or if you want it clogging up your life. Also remember, tomorrow doesn’t come! If you don’t know when you’ll do that one project you probably never will. When you store things you need to keep, have them organized into like categories. A cup for pens, a bin for cards and envelopes, a file for important papers, a drawer for a relevant hobby, etc.

I hope you all have found this helpful and informative. One thing that challenged me in the area of belongings is keeping in mind that “my” things have only been given to me for a short time to use for God’s glory.

Note from Ginger- This article was written by my younger sister, Kylie. She is, obviously, very passionate about keeping things neat and organized, and keeps our bedroom in top order. I have to admit that the closet is a lot fuller with my stuff than hers!