Saturday, July 30, 2011

30-Day Photo Challenge Day 1

My next blog project is the 30-day photo challenge :)

30-Day Photo Challenge Day 1: A picture of yourself and 10 facts

#1: I'm one of the biggest goofballs I know
#2: I am the dancin' queen ... especially ballroom - woot, woot! :D
#3: I am a youth pastor, and I LOVE my teenagers!!!
#4: I am addicted to sweet tea :)
#5: Texas Roadhouse is my favorite restaurant ... closely followed by The Porch
#6: I am one of the biggest saps you'll ever meet - a hopeless romantic, indeed.
#7: I love crocs!
#8: I'm a huge Southern Gospel fan ... especially, The Gaither Vocal Band :D
#9: I wear all of my emotions on my sleeve
#10: I really wanna travel to New Zealand someday!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

"Kind words; Kind actions"

1 Peter 3:8-17

Wow. This is some good stuff right here. Go get your Bible, and read this passage.

God's been convicting me lately ... concerning a cheesy, little motto I use in SoZo all the time: "Kind words; Kind actions." Haha! I love this! I don't know what happened that made me think this up ... but I started saying it a couple years back, and it stuck. And I say it to the SoZo-ers all the time when they are being somewhat less than kind. It's a youth group motto of ours. And I've claimed it for myself too - at least in words. I found out recently that I only claimed it in words. ... Did you know that "Kind words; Kind actions" is not only a rule when you're with people, talking with them, interacting with them, and so on, but it's also a rule when you're not with them?

That's what God's been convicting me about. And 1 Peter 3:8-17 is more conviction. I've been struggling at The Porch lately. I've had some pretty demanding customers to wait on in the past few weeks. They cop a "tude" and ask for a million different things - most of them ridiculous. They are impatient and inconsiderate. Man, it's been driving me crazy. And I've been unkind, to say the least. I walk back into the kitchen to give my mom the order, and I'm complaining and saying mean things about them. Unkind. I cop a "tude" about them. Unkind. I talk about their shinanigans to my co-workers, Rene and Saya. Unkind. I've also been unkind in my heart about one of the instructors at Arthur Murray. I don't think he should be instructing ... much less trying to teach me to dance ... because he doesn't have much dance experience, can't keep a beat, and doesn't lead the steps right. So I've complained to my mom and to myself and to God about him many times. I need to be more patient ... more kind to him, even when he's not listening.

I've bought a few "signs" recently - at the Christian bookstore and Hobby Lobby - about kindness. "Kindness Matters" ... "Do the kindest things in the kindest ways" ... etc. And I'm reminded that I haven't been kind. ... It sounds like such a simple thing ... and to many people, maybe it doesn't sound very important, but kindness IS important. SO important. Not only 'cause it helps people like you and gives you a better reputation but because God wants us to be kind. Kindness is a fruit of the spirit. And 1 Peter 3:8-17 talks about it too. Well, it talks about "doing good" ... which means being kind.

"Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it."
1 Peter 3:10-11

And verse 14 is incredible ...
"Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good?"

Doesn't that just hit you up side the head??
Mical, if you are passionate about being kind, then how can any one person's antics get to you?

We are called to be kind. Period.
So that's what I'm going to do.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Dear Emily #3

Dear Emily,

Thanks for your text earlier today! Looovveee those! :D The timing was interesting. I was just pulling into the hospital for the second time. No worries. Nothing too serious. But I haven't told you that I have an enlarged thyroid. Not sure what that means yet, but it's the reason for a lot of junk that's popped up in my life over the past 6-8 months. I just haven't been me. I've been depressed and moody ... grouchy ... negative ... insecure and lonely. So many crazy emotions that I haven't been able to handle. My hormones have been out of whack, and I've just been a big mess. I knew something was wrong because it was so out of character for me ... but I didn't know why or how to look for the reasons why. I went to the doctor for a physical last Monday, and I told him about my symptoms - depression, shaking, stomach aches, headaches, PMS symptoms 24/7, and so on. He told me my thyroid was too big, and so I was in Indy for most of the day today being tested. Haven't found out anything much yet. I'll keep you posted. ... But gosh, I am just so thankful to know that there is a root to my struggles over the past several months. I was about to go insane - really. I just wanna be ME again. Mical Masterson - she's a keeper ... when she's herself. :)

So thank you for your text ... and your prayers today. I'll update you when I have more news.
I miss you.
Love you,
Mical :)

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Carpenter's Gift

I shared this story with my youth group at Sunday School last Sunday. It went along with the theme of the lesson - "Everything's Gonna Be Alright" - and with our key verse for the day - Romans 8:28 ... "And we know that God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose."

This story really touches my heart ... I almost cried in front of my kids when I read it to them. Who knows? I might cry by the time I get it all typed out here. :)

The Carpenter's Gift

Grandpa Nybakken loved life, especially, when he could play a trick on somebody. At those time, his large Norwegian frame would shake with laughter while he feigned innocent surprise, exclaiming, "Oh, forevermore!" But on a cold Saturday in downtown Chicago, God played a trick on him.
Grandpa Nybakken worked as a carpenter. On this particular day, he volunteered to build some crates to hold the clothes his church was sending to an orphanage in China. When he finished building the crates, he helped pack them full of clothing and load them on the trucks that would take them to the shipping docks. He felt good that he could contribute to the project, even in a small way.
On his way home, he reached into his shirt pocket to find his glasses. They were gone. He mentally replayed his earlier actions and realized what had happened. The glasses had slipped out of his pocket unnoticed and fallen into one of the crates. His brand new glasses were heading for China!
The old carpenter had very little money, certainly not enough to replace the glasses. He was upset at the thought of having to buy another pair. "It's not fair," he told God as he drove home in frustration. "I've been very faithful in giving of my time to your work, and now this happens."
Several months later, the director of the Chinese orphanage came to speak at the old carpenter's small church. He began by thanking the people for their faithfulness in supporting the orphanage. "But most of all," he said, "I must thank you for the glasses you sent last year. You see, the Communists had just swept through the orphanage, destroying everything, including my glasses. I was desperate. Even if I had the money, there was simply no way to replace those glasses. My coworkers and I were much in prayer about the situation. Then your crates arrived. When my staff removed one of the covers, they found a pair of glasses lying on top."
The missionary paused long enough to let his words sink in. Then, still gripped with the wonder of it all, he continued, "Folks, when I tried on the glasses, it was as thought they had been custom-made for me! I want to thank you for your thoughtfulness and generosity."
The congregation listened, pleased about the miraculous glasses. But the missionary surely must have confused their church with another, they thought. There were no eyeglasses on their list of items to be sent overseas.

But sitting quietly in the back, with tears streaming down his face, was an ordinary carpenter who on an ordinary day was used in an extraordinary way by the Master Carpenter Himself.

Oh! Isn't that just amazing!? Wow. I just love this story. It really helps remind me that GOD is at work ALL THE TIME! In those bummer situations ... during all those times that I failed the Praxis, in these 2 years that I've been working with the youth at Calvary and working other jobs here and there, wondering what the heck God is doing ... Wow. This story helps remind me that GOD is working in these situations in my life - I just don't know what He's doing. But I'm holding on to this story and claiming it as a PROMISE in my own life - that GOD is doing something big in the midst of my bummers. And He's doing it in YOUR life too! How incredible. Thank you, Jesus, for the ordinary carpenter's story.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Dear Emily #2

Dear Emily,
How was your 4th of July? Had a new DTI group come in yesterday, right? How was the first day of work?

I did basically nothing today. It was great. :) I slept in till 10am, talked to my brother for the 20 minutes he was home (he just came in to town to see his girlfriend ... oh, well), headed to Wal-Mart to buy I Am Number Four and Beastly, got a medium Donatos pepperoni pizza and ate all but two pieces in one sitting ... needless to say, I had a bad stomach ache for the rest of the day. ... And then, believe it or not, I started taking everything down off of my walls in my bedroom!!! Ahh! I can't believe I'm doing it ... but I've been thinking lately that the things on my walls (not all of 'em but most) are outdated - God's using new scripture in my life, the majority of the people in the pictures are not my friends/barely my friends anymore, and I just felt like doing something new ... starting over. It's gonna take a while ... but it's a new, little adventure I started today. :) I've got about 3/4 of my pictures still on the walls, but just about everything else has been taken down. I took a break a few hours ago, to cook some soup beans and cornbread for dinner ... and then I watched State Fair, which I've decided is one of my new favorite movies. I just love Pat and Margie's love story - all two weeks of it. Haha! Good day, indeed.

I hope your day was great too! Watching any fireworks? I can see the ones going off at the high school from my bedroom window. Hope it was a great day for ya ... make sure King Barry doesn't kill himself if he's doing huge fireworks again this year. ;) ... Wow, it sounds like a bunch of guns going off outside my window! ... Talk to ya soon.

Love ya,
Mical :)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

6 Things

I'm copying Emily :)

6 Positive Things about My Life ....

#1: I have HOPE and JOY in Jesus!
I am quite the worrier ... quite the spaz ... quite the striver. The tiniest things shake me up and stress me out. And I'm constantly beating myself up, thinking that I have the ability to be perfect. Ha! Riiigghhhht ... Ultimately, it's a trust issue and a negative attitude holding me down. I'm working on it. I really am. But these things are real struggles for me. BUT!!! In the midst of these DAILY trials ... GOD in all of His GRACE, helps me through it. He reminds me of His mighty promises ... things like ... He's gonna finish the good work He started in me. He's gonna work all of my difficult times out for my good and His glory. He's gonna reveal to me the path of life. He's willing me and working in me for His good purpose. And so many others. And that gives me hope. And He places an unbelievable joy in me at times ... unexplainable. When things are going all wrong, I have joy because He is my Savior, and He takes care of me.

#2: I have INCREDIBLE parents and a very INSPIRING brother!
My parents are my rock. They have supported me, stood by me, encouraged me, pointed me to Christ, listened to me ... all of my life. I've been in a season of trials for the past 5 or 6 years, and no matter how much I complain, vent, cry, pour myself out ... they always listen, give godly advice, and love me through it. They are two of the most godly people I know. And their love and support has meant more to me than almost anything in my life. I have the greatest parents in the world.
And Wes ... wow. He amazes me most of the time. Sure, he occasionally steals some of my stuff and takes it to school with him!! But that's okay, I guess. ;) ... He is growing in the Lord so much right now. He is so positive and upbeat and outgoing and determined. His constant energy and dreamer-mentality and positive attitude inspire and convict me more than anything else. I really want to be like Wes when I grow up. Confident. Always smiling. Always positive. Determined to not settle for less than his best. He's just an all-around great guy. And I'm quite proud of him, if you can't tell. ;)

#3: I get to work with and love on TEENAGERS every week!
I may not be a school teacher like I dreamed. But wow! Look at where God has placed me! Look at what He's done through me! I can't think of anything better than working with teenagers. They fill my life with so much joy ... I have a hard time believing that God's grace is that big. :D ... I will say that they make me insane sometimes ... their antics can get old. But God CALLED me to love teenagers! I. Am. Called. And somehow, no matter how nuts they can make me, no matter how hard the task in youth ministry (and there are a lot of 'em!), God gives me the grace and patience and love to NEVER wanna give up, to always love them. And I do. I. Do. Wow. Thank you, Jesus, for calling me to youth ministry!!!

#4: I get to DANCE, and I have an INCREDIBLE dance instructor!
Yep. Who's jealous? Everyone, I know. ;)
I get to take dance lessons 5 days of the week. I'm learning to be graceful and beautiful and confident ... and I'm not too bad of a dancer either. ;) It is a blast!!! But the best part about it is hanging out with my dance instructor, Randy. He is one of the most happy, upbeat, encouraging guys you'll ever meet. And I adore him! He is a ton of fun and has helped me more than he's knows. He is a gift from God, without a doubt.

#5: I have the greatest FRIENDS in the world!
I am incredibly blessed to have lots of friends ... but Emily, Hannah, Mags, and Shelley will probably always be my best friends. Emily is my bosom friend - the closeness of our friendship is not something that comes around in every friendship. We sometimes say that God made one person and split her into two beings - me and Emily. Hannah is my cookie cutter friend. We say that, at the beginning of time, God knew how much we needed each other, so He cut us out of the same cloth and decided that we would be friends one day. (Yes, my friends and I have lots of cheesy analogies). Mags is my LLF - my longest, loveliest friend - she has been my best friend longer than anyone, and the thing I appreciate the most about Maggie is that she is always my friend - always and no matter what. And Shelley is my youth pastor ... or his wife. :) She loves me and holds a special place in my heart ... since the 8th grade. Her influence and love is something I will never forget.

#6: I live in a FREE country!
You may say our country is going down the drain, but we still live in an amazing country. And I'm very thankful to be an American. I get to speak Jesus in my school and at work. I get to go to church every Sunday, and it's not underground. I get paid to tell teenagers about Jesus! In this country, I am FREE to be FREE in Christ. What a gift that is.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Dear Emily #1

I'm starting yet another series of blog posts ... will they ever end? Haha! They are called "Dear Emily" posts, and they will help me stay connected to my bosom buddy who now lives in Nashville ... 5 long hours away from Indianapolis. Sad day. Err ... but (this is supposed to be a happy idea) it's all good. We are staying close - thank you, Jesus, for facebook and blogs ... and BBFness. So here they begin ...

Dear Emily,
Your blog is amazing! And I'm so impressed with how often you post on it. I go away and don't read it for just a couple of days, and you have 3 or 4 posts up. Amazing! And they are always so fun.

Thank you for telling me ... ha! I mean everyone ... wow, I really do want you all to myself, don't I? Thank you for sharing so much on your blog. It really helps me stay connected with you.

I'm so thankful that you're doing well - in the midst of crazy emotions - and that King Barry is loving you so completely and taking care of you.

I want to tell you about some new plans of mine. :) I'm taking the Praxis again! Well, the first step is ordering my scores again. The Praxis people have started something new ... something called a composite score. If my math, reading, and writing scores from the Praxis 1 add up to 527, then I PASS!!! Even if my reading score is not up to snuff, the composite score will make up the difference. I ordered my scores yesterday, so I'll find out in a few weeks if I have to take the test again. But my plan is to pass the Praxis and start back to school to finish my teaching degree. I'm gonna work at Calvary with SoZo and go back to school. If things work out, I'll be ready to look for a teaching job for the fall of 2013. ... Whew. There's part of me that can't believe I'm gonna try this again. What the heck? What am I thinking? ... But I'm not at peace. I love my SoZo-ers, and I want my mom's business to succeed ... but I can't do what I'm doing forever. I can't even do it for another few years, really. Whew. I've gotta try again. I'm going to.

What do you think? Do you think I'm doing the right thing? Am I crazy for trying a 10th time!? Wow. God's going to help me. I can't do it without Him. It'll be devastating to fail again. But I've gotta try.

Missing you ... oh, so much.
Love you,
Mical :)

A Prayer for Today ... and Every Day

Gracious God,
Help me to keep my mind focused on You this day. Help me to understand more about myself today, especially who I am in Your eyes. Lord, calm my fears, relieve my anxieties, and teach me how to rely on You for security and support. Show me the pathways to joy and peace so that I may truly rejoice and sing praises to You. In Jesus' name I pray.

This prayer touched my heart and brought me one step closer to letting go of my fears and worries ... while I was at a spiritual weekend experience this past May. So powerful ...