January 30, 2010

On my wall in my bedroom are some lyrics that Misty Edwards sang one year ago today. On that day, I sat at Panera Bread in Joplin and spent all afternoon working on job applications for my move here. I sat and worked, and listened to Misty sing in the Prayer Room on the live webstream. During the spontaneous song that she was singing, there came a point in the lyrics where I knew God was speaking to me. And, as Misty sang, I sat there and tears fell down my cheeks. I was in a place where I knew I needed change, and at that moment in time, change scared the begeebers out of me. I sat in Panera, with tears falling, and knew that what was being sung was what I needed to hear right then and there. I can still hear her sing the part that got me the most...

Don't give up.
Don't give in.
If you don't quit,
You'll win,
You'll win....

I'm not going to get into the battle that was raging around me, as it is done and life goes on. However, it was fun to look at those lyrics today on my wall and know that one year later, I can honestly say I won.


My One Word

In the mornings when I get ready in the morning, I listen to K-Love Radio. K-Love is a radio station that is actually broadcast throughout the country via different local radio stations. I find that I go through phases in which I listen to the radio and the Lord speaks to me more through the radio than the CD's I've bought. (Hence, I don't own an Ipod yet!) And lately God has REALLY been speaking to me through the music, as well as Lisa and Eric, the hosts of the morning show.

So, in the past week they have really challenged us to choose ONE word that challenges us, encourages us, or just fits our personality. I will admit that I knew from the beginning what my word would be, but I wanted to hear what others were choosing, so I could see if I was really getting it.

As it turns out, I was getting it, and tonight I went to myoneword.org to choose my own word.

If you're a regular reader of mine, you already know my choice....


I strive to be kind to those around me, often to the point of sacrifice and pain. While I'm far from having it perfected, I'm trying hard each day to show kindness to everyone I meet. The easiest people to show kindness to are my students. They are each very special to me in their own, unique way.

The hardest time to show kindness for me was when I was in the last chapter of my life and I kept showing it over and over again, only to get hurt again and again. God taught me more than I could ever explain in words, but it showed me that I can't let that experience hinder me. Kindness is not only the right thing to do, it's what's you do when your love isn't reciprocated back.


It has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?

So what is your ONE word?



For the First Time in About 20 years....

...I put on a pair of roller skates!

Now, the actual task was to encourage one of my students to skate around the gym because the P.E. teacher came to me a couple weeks ago and said that he was not willing to go off the carpeted area in the gym and wondered if I was willing to help him. I remember chuckling and saying, "Sure, I'll hold his hand, but I never did master the art of roller skating."

So about a week ago, we went in and I worked with the student on his skating. Sure enough, he preferred the carpet, and had to be talked into going around the gym on the regular floor. RockStarPara and I assisted him around the gym and the kid said he was "good." I just smiled and let him stop.

So last Friday we went in to the gym and RollerSkateBoy asked me to skate. It really mattered to him that I put on skates and skate with him. RockStarPara looked at me when I said yes and said, "Okay, we need a helmet, knee pads, and elbow pads because I'm not training another teacher!" I just grinned. I barely walked on the carpet. It made RollerSkateBoy happy though!

So today was our last day to skate, and I joined the kids! I wanted to just stay on the carpet, but RollerSkateBoy wanted me off the carpet. So, I did it! I will admit, it looked rough and ugly, but I only fell once and had a lot of fun.

I found it ironic that RollerSkateBoy stayed on the carpet while I went around the gym.

When I returned to the carpet to take off my skates because our time was up, I turned to RollerSkateBoy and said, "What do you think? I did it!"

To which he replied, "Yeah, but you fell down!"

I just grinned.

Ah well....

Interesting, but FUN! *grin*

Ms. H's Response....

So, last night's post has brought a few comments to my Facebook "inbox", and all have encouraged me incredibly.

My favorite response was Ms. H's. Ms. H. and I have been friends for over ten years, so we've been through a lot of stuff together. I have decided to cut and paste her response, as it brought tears to my eyes when I read it. Granted, I won't have the shirt made, but the idea brought a smile to my face.

She suggested I have a shirt made with the following statement:
"Hi. My name is Shortone. I have a limp because God knew I could ROCK the challenge of having Cerebral Palsy. He knew that it would help my students know that their teacher understands what they're going through...thereby maximizing the amount of progress we make in addressing their learning disabilities. By the way, I myself do not have a learning disability. I have a Master's degree in Education and a doctorate in Loving Jesus. Now, if you would please look up, you'll see that I am smiling at you....and would really like to be your friend."

She followed with:

"Now, I know you go to church a lot....and are probably concerned about wearing the same shirt every day. Don't worry about that. We can get a better deal if we buy several...so you could have one for every day of the week and they could all be different colors. Each one could have a different Bible verse on the back. How about it?"

Tears, in a good way.
Thanks, Ms. H.
This response has made me smile all day!


A Letter to God....

Dear God,

Can you please explain something to me? I just don't understand something. Why is it that Your kids feel the need to stare at me when I walk? I know I have a limp, but my life is no different than theirs. I pay bills, go to work, drive a car that's a standard, live on my own, and am not mentally challenged. So, why do they have to stare? And furthermore, why can't they make eye contact with me after they look down at my leg? I know they're embarrassed to be looking, but I don't like it. I always smile, even before their eyes go down, so why can't they look back up?

And, why do people feel I need to be "healed" of my limp? Are their lives better than mine because they don't have a visible limp? My limp isn't a bad thing. I like me, just as You created me. So, why do they feel the need to make me healed? I have a gal who keeps saying to me, "you will be healed." Why? Is there something wrong with me, because I don't see any thing wrong with me. I like me, limp and all!!!

I was just wondering...

In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Laughing Out Loud!!!

So, before I share my story for today, I want to share with everyone that my students are VERY bright. While they have processing difficulties, they are EACH brilliant in their own way. Not one of them is stupid. They just take things literally when words are spoken to them. Needless to say, at the end of this exchange, we were all laughing, the student included!!!

RockStarPara was working with one of my students this afternoon on his writing assignment. This week we have been focusing on making longer sentences. So many of my students can write "I like Jay", but they can't tell more than that. So, today we were working with them on writing, and had them write who, what, when, where, why, and how on each of their sentences. What followed was priceless:

RockstarPara: "Okay, so put that they did something in the sentence."
The student did just that.
A little while later, I heard her say, "What? Wait, you were supposed to put what they did, not 'they did something'"
I looked at her and she said, "Well, I did tell him to put that that they did something, I just meant that he had to put what they did!"

We laughed. I laughed so hard I had to sit down.

While I may be stressed in some ways with my job, it's moments like that that keep me going...


Barnabas Bound!!!

So, I could jabber on and on about how character-building my job is right now, but I won't.

Instead, I will say that I got an email today and I WAS ACCEPTED TO GO SERVE DURING BARN-A-BREAK in March!

I am pumped!

For those of you new to my little corner of the world, Barn-A-Break is held at Camp Barnabas, located in Purdy, Missouri. Camp Barnabas is a camp for children and adults with Special Needs. I don't go as a camper, I go as a volunteer and serve as Cabin Mom for the cabin. The actual camp season is obviously during the summer, but they are holding a weekend version of camp for campers to come for a weekend of fun while parents and families get a bit of rest for a weekend.

I am so excited that I can hardly sit still. I have already started getting prayed up for the weekend in March. I always find it amazing how I go to serve, and always walk away feeling like I got more out of the deal than the kids. I know that's not true, but it certainly feels like it. God always shows me deep stuff while I'm out there.

I can't wait!

Oh and 83 days of school left to Summer Break. Yes, I'm counting.


Productivity On My Own Terms

So, today was tough, and I'll spare you the details.

I brought my laptop home from work to get work done, and then I discovered something....CIA apps for the Spring Barn-A-Break are available!!! So, instead of doing all the massive paperwork for work, I spent the evening doing my application for Camp!

Now I'm just praying I completed it early enough!!!

If you ask me, it was an amazingly productive evening! *grin*


My Favorite Part of My Day....

Today was a really good day. I mean, I sit here and have pondered what to share tonight. I think I'll share the highlights, as well as my TOP pick.

I went to church. But that story will be saved until the end.

I came home and looked at the sidewalks on the drive home and decided Jay and I needed to go for a walk. I knew that this would involve a bath afterward for Jay, but we're both showing the effects of not walking daily. Granted, I was playing it safe with all the ice on the roads and no sidewalks available, but it is time to get back to waking everyday. So, we went for a walk and I was reminded what happens to the ground after snow melts...it leaves mud! By the time we got back here, I needed to change clothes and Jay needed a bath. I must admit, it was fun. And although I was pretty wet by the end of it, it was neat. I am excited that we can walk daily again, as it lowers my stress level and (the best part) wears Jay out so he isn't in my face all the time! Woop!

After that, I went to drive the shuttle. I really enjoyed it, as I am meeting SO MANY new people now that the new semester has begun and the new interns are here. I wound up doing the overflow lot again!!! SWEET! While service went longer than usual, I was okay with that. NO SCHOOL TOMORROW, so there was no rush to get home!

After that, I went to the prayer room and had fun. Of course, my favorite part was reading the book I'm sucked into at the moment. Gosh, I love to read! How people don't enjoy it, I don't get it, but this little gal is having fun not being able to put her book down!

All these events were good, but honestly FCF was my favorite part of my day. For most of you, this won't surprise you. I have been feeling like I'm in a weird spot with the Lord. I have felt it for a while now, but in the past week I've been seeking Him out in new ways, and not really connecting as I desire to do with Him.

I showed up about 5 minutes late and wound up on the front row, which isn't a big thing, but it was a good thing for me. I was able to focus on Him and not be distracted. Tim Reimherr was leading and while he isn't my favorite, he is a good worship leader. At first I had trouble entering in, and then we went into a chorus that I haven't heard in a while.

You're the reason that I live
You're the reason that I breathe
You're the reason that I'm here
Singing to You...

Then we followed with one of my favorite new choruses that says:

It's just a little while longer 'til I see You
It's just a little while longer 'til I know You
It's just a little while longer 'til we'll be together...

And I was grinning ear-to-ear.



(By the way, the book I'm into is "Catching Fire", book 2 of the Hunger Games Trilogy)


So tonight I went to drive the shuttle, and needed something. I wasn't really sure what, I just knew I needed something. I started driving and wound up doing the Overflow Lot. Honestly, that's my favorite route because I see the same people each time I do it, so I'm really developing some friendships. Tonight was really fun too!

So, about 8:00, I told the Lord I needed something. I wasn't sure what, but I needed something. Then Isabel got on my shuttle. I recognized her by face, but not her name. She got in and said, "Yea, I LOVE riding your shuttle!" I just smiled. I had no idea what exactly she meant by that, but I was glad she was glad to be there. Then she said, "Your testimony really challenged me. I'm praying about driving the shuttles." I was grinning ear-to-ear, she was one of my Onething riders! So, on the way to FSM, I prayed for her. I also gave Thanks to the Lord, for it was His story, not mine that touched her. :-) And that, was the highlight of my night!!!

She got off and said she looked forward to seeing me again. I looked at her and said, "Yeah, I know we'll see each other again."


Fun...on the shuttle!!!


So today was my first day with my new part-time para, and I can honestly say that I love her!

It's my third one to come to me from our LifeSkills room, and she is a hilarious! I can tell this is all going to be fun. Rockstar Para, who has been with me for several weeks, likes her too! In fact, the two of them pick on each other, which is fun! I laughed A LOT today! It was fun.

AH, while I may be completely swamped with kids, at least I have comic relief to help me!


I Have a Dream....

So today we had our big Martin Luther King Junior Lesson. It was a really good lesson with all the students. We read a book on Martin Luther King Junior, and I followed with a clip of the "I Have a Dream" Speech. It was obvious that these students cannot grasp what was done in our history to people that had different skin color. In fact, one boy said he didn't have any kids in his class with different color skin, when others chimed in and said that they did. I told them that was cool that he couldn't remember because it shows how far we've come in our society. Years ago it would have been a big deal, whereas now everyone sees each other as equal in that classroom. It was really cool.

Following the clip, the students were instructed to write their own I Have a Dream Speech. I modeled my own essay, and instructed them on what I wanted them to do. Some of them got what I was trying to teach them, and some of them didn't.

On my essay I wrote things such as:

I have a dream that one day no one will be poor.
I have a dream that one day love will be shown to others more than hate.
I have a dream that one day everyone will have food on their table.
I have a dream that one day all family's will love each other instead of fight.

We talked about the bigger picture, etc. That being said, some of my students have trouble thinking outside of themselves. So, as I collected papers throughout the day, I found myself chuckling at times, as well as fighting tears. Here are some examples:

#1: I have a dream today that me and my Mommy stop fighting.
#2: I have a dream today that my Dad will stop drinking beer.
#3: I have a dream today that my Grandpa wasn't sick.
#4: I have a dream today that Annoyingboy would become a KU fan.
#5. I have a dream today that the poor had money.
#6: I have a dream today that it was warm.
#7: I have a dream today that chickens keep their eggs with them.
#8: I have a dream today that my Mother gets more nice. (Before writing this, the student asked if His Mom would read it!)
#9: I have a dream today that MeanMan does not come back in my life.
#10: I have a dream that I get a chicken.
#11: I dream that I get a KU Rocks Shirt.
#12: I have a dream that one day people will get the jobs they wanted.
#13: I have a dream that everyone will have the health they need.
#14: I have a dream that people will have enough money to pay their bills.
#15: I have a dream that kids won't do drugs.
#16: I have a dream today that no one will commit a crime.
#17: I have a dream today that people will not have car wrecks and leave their family behind.
#18: I have a dream today that one day I will have lots of books.
#19: I have a dream that one day everyone will be loved. (This was a favorite!)
#20: I have a dream that everyone that's bad will go to jail.
#21: I have a dream that everyone will have water.
#22: I have a dream that everyone will be unhungry.
#23: I have a dream today that everyone will have a pet.
#24: I have a dream that everyone will have a home.
#25: I have a dream that I will have better grades.

I loved this assignment, as it was very enlightening to where their hearts are at this time in our history.



Quote of the Day!

Me: Who is Martin Luther King, Junior?
4thgradegal: He was president of the United States!
***She will understand things better tomorrow!

Me: So, there were different rules for where blacks could sit, eat, drink, and go to the restroom.
AutisticKid: What do you mean, blacks?
Me: Well, people with black skin....
AutisticKid: You mean this (as he touches his skin.).
Me: Well, ya.
AutisticKid: Oh. You mean because of the skin color?
Me: Yeah.
AutisticKid: Oh. So you mean sweetiegal (girl in my class who has dark skin) wouldn't be at school with me?
Me: Well, not back then. It was quite an ordeal back then.
AutisticKid: Oh. So, you mean because of the color of their skin?
At which point, I put my head on the desk. Sometimes you gotta know when to move on...

Fun, with kids around.

Drivin' His Kids Around...

Driving the shuttle tonight was A LOT of fun. My favorite thing about driving tonight was that people kept getting on the shuttle and calling me by name. I know, to those of you in your comfort zone, this will seem like nothing. However, for this short little gal who is missing her friends in Joplin, tonight was JUST what I needed. Now, don't ask me everyone's name, because I can't...there are SO MANY of them and just one of me. *grin*

The other cool thing is that we have a new group of interns and students here. So, there are MANY new people for me to meet this Semester! I LOVE IT!!!

And now it's time to go back to work tomorrow. After five days off, I am ready to go back. Afterall, the Summer is shorter the more we're out now. So, I'm ready!

Fun...drivin' the shuttle!


I just got done chatting with a friend in Joplin for an hour and a half. It is so much fun to have a friend to bounce stuff off of and laugh with! I don't take friendships lightly. My friend said tonight that is was clear that I am "deep in thought" tonight. Perhaps. I imagine it's because I have pondered a lot today. But, ya know, the highlight of my day was that chat. Don't get me wrong, being a bum on the couch, cuddling with Jay, and staying inside from the FREEZING temperatures was good. But, it was fun to have someone hear what I was saying and say "Yep, I get that." That is a gift.

So now I'm going to get lost in my book again. It's good I have a Border's gift card to spend. I see myself buying book #2 in the series tomorrow!

GREAT, with wonderful friends in my little corner of the world.

Snow Day #4

I have thoroughly enjoyed my fourth snow day. I was actually productive, as the living room is clean and the Christmas Tree is put away in my storage area. After my cleaning phase, I found my way back to the couch. I have spent most of my day here, which has been nice. Considering they are predicting REALLY cold temps tonight and tomorrow, I think staying on the couch with Jay sounds WONDERFUL!

I did take Jay out a few hours ago, and we wandered over to the mailbox. When we came back, I looked at the snow bank in my lawn. I walked up to it, and noticed that it was as high as my knees. I honestly can't remember seeing snow that high! The snow is so BEAUTIFUL! I LOVED IT! Of course, Jay liked it for a few minutes, and then plopped down and refused to walk. I imagine that the cold temperatures are a bit much for him. We came in and he was happy to be inside.

I am amazed by this little furry kid. Whenever we come in from outside, he sits while I take off my boots and get his towel. He won't move until I tell him to do so! What an AWESOME little guy! Love. Him.

I was blessed by another 2 hour chat with a friend from Joplin. I love it here, but miss my friends in Joplin sometimes. So tonight was REALLY cool.

So, now I am headed to bed to read the COOL book Scienceguy and EnglishGal got me for Christmas! It's a really good book, and I have spent a lot of time tonight reading. It's been a while since I've had a book I couldn't put down. Love. It.


Snow Day #3

Today I have strived for Bum Status. And, I have reached it. I have watched made-for-TV movies, cuddled with Jay, watched several episodes of NCIS, went with Jay to a run a few errands, and chatted online for 2 hours with a friend from Joplin. If you ask me, that's an ideal Snow Day! I'm not sure if tomorrow will be the day I get stuff done or not. Something tells me it will be Saturday before I dive into schoolwork.

Love. Snow. Days.

GREAT. Especially with bum status on a Snow Day!

Snow Day #2

Today we had Snow Day #2. I had to get up early for a doctor's appointment, so it didn't feel like a snow day at first, but it definitely turned into one! After going to appointment #1, I had a call that my 3:00 appointment was going to be re-scheduled because of the weather. As it turns out, that doctor's office was closing early. I was cool with that, especially when it started snowing this afternoon. It started REALLY snowing and I started to wonder if we would have school tomorrow.

Later, I was on Facebook and my Mom said my district wasn't having school the rest of the week. I was surprised, because I hadn't received a phone call from the district. Sure enough, the phone rang right away, and it was the district saying we wouldn't have school Thursday or Friday. I can't remember having school cancelled for TWO days on account of snow like that! Wow!

So, I have relaxed and enjoyed it today. A little while ago I took Jay out and the snow is blowing and falling in a way I haven't seen in YEARS.

The snow is beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. Oh sure, I know it's a pain in the neck, and I am sure that I'm housebound for a couple days. That being said, it's BEAUTIFUL. It reminds me of how we are as human beings. There is a scripture that says we are "Dark, Yet Lovely." Just as the snow causes problems, it also is a blessing if we stop and look at it. And, while I know I make mistakes and have to repent daily for things I do wrong, I also know that I am beautiful and special before the Lord.

Kinda Cool.

Two more snow days to go! SWEET.



I prayed SO HARD last night that school would be cancelled today, but it wasn't. So, I got myself out of my nice, warm, bed and went to school. My 8am meeting was cancelled, which turned out to be a blessing as I had stuff to do before my little people arrived.

As it turned out, several were absent today. Therefore, my day felt odd...weird. I had 5 absent, which I've never had before at this school.

As usual, once the kids started coming in, I realized how much I had missed them. There were several smiles and AutisticKId came in and when I picked on him for wearing the wrong shirt, he said, "I'm wearing the right shirt!" This went on the whole class period. It was fun.

RockStarPara and I had fun picking on the kids together. I will admit, it is fun to have another adult in the room to joke with throughout the day. It was even entertaining to watch her with AutisticKid, trying to get a very hard worksheet done. At one point she turned to me and gave me a look and I started laughing and said, "I really don't think you're paid enough!" to which she just laughed. Ah, it was GREAT to be back.

I stayed at work late to get ready for a substitute tomorrow because I have two doctor's appointments tomorrow. (Regular Checkups, nothing new) I stayed until 5:30, and got everything ready. When I got home, there was a message from the school district saying we have a Snow Day tomorrow! I think the approaching Snow Storm played a major factor in the decision. SWEET!!!


While today was good, I am not about to turn down a day with Jay after my appointments!


The Power of Our Words

I had quite a day today. I will admit, the alarm went off and all I wanted to do was sleep. I looked at Jay and he looked at me and I wanted to stay home. However, there is a difference between what I want and what I actually do. So, I got up and went to work.

All day I kept thinking, "One week ago I was at Onething. Here I am in the real world...can I rewind a week?"

Of course, that was just a thought. I have report card stuff to get ready, lesson plans to write, and meetings to run this week.

In my faculty meeting this morning, we had several team building activities. I really enjoyed them. My favorite quote came from our art teacher who said, "We don't teach curriculum, we teach kids." I love that!

I had a doctor's appointment in the middle of my day. As I was talking to my doctor about my philosophy of life and season of singleness he said, "You are wise beyond your years."

And honestly, that made me grin ear-to-ear. It's cool to know that what God is teaching me is impacting others. While it was a minor thing, that quote really touched me. God doesn't waste time, and it's cool to see that my season is blessing others! Woop!


Cool. Well, cold, but cool too! :-)

Amazing Stuff!

Today I slept in and cuddled with Jay. It was my last day of break, and I wanted to spend my last "free" morning with Jay. It was nice. We cuddled, watched NCIS, and he fell asleep! It was great.

After cleaning up and eating lunch, I headed out to drive the shuttle. I was signed up for a double shift because they were short drivers for the Leadership Summit. I drove from about 1-3:30, and then came home to let Jay out. He didn't do his "duty" before I left, and I knew he needed out. I returned to drive my shuttle (#4, my favorite!) and had fun driving people to and from FSM. I wound up doing the Overflow Lot for a while and had some repeat riders from last night. It was fun.

My favorite part of my day came at the end. I was scheduled to drive until 10, but someone showed up at 7:30 and took over. I was hesitant to stop driving because I was having fun, but since tomorrow is our first day back at work, I wanted to go to sleep early. So, since it was 8:00 I went to the Prayer Room for a little while.

I went in and Laura Hackett was leading. I really enjoy Laura's leading. She was singing some really good stuff and it was fun to just enter in and not worry about anything. A little while later, I was debating about leaving, but the Lord told me to sit still. I will admit, I didn't understand why because I still had to go to the store before getting home. But, I sat.

A few minutes later I saw a family getting up to leave. I didn't recognize them, and honestly didn't think much of it because people come and go from the Prayer Room all the time. Next thing I knew, the Mother of the family came over and sat by me and took my hand and started whispering in my ear.

She told me that she was blessed by riding in my shuttle at Onething. She said the my prayer at the beginning of the drive really helped her. (I should mention that my prayer at the beginning of all my groups was that we would have safe travel and that if someone was sitting by someone they didn't know that they would easily strike up a conversation.) She told me that it was because of my prayer that she stepped out of her comfort zone and met about 5 new people. She finished, and left.

I just grinned ear-to-ear. In a setting like that, you step out and pray and share stuff, and then you're not sure how it was received. Not that it totally matters, as God is in the midst of it, but it made me smile.

God used me to help someone else.

I pray I don't lose the wonder and amazement of that. Not that it's me, it's God.

It's just cool to know I am hearing and following His lead!



Joy on the Shuttle...

Today I got up and drove the shuttle all day. I expected to only shuttle 11:30-3:30, but they were short drivers and so I offered to come home and let Jay out and then go back and drive. I am glad I did.

The first shift was odd for me, as it was for Derek's Memorial Service. The traffic was crazy, and you combine a memorial service with a conference starting tonight for the Leadership Summit, and it was BUSY. During the first shift, everyone was dressed up (IHOP is usually a jeans kind of place) and quiet. It was a day I'll never forget. It's hard to put into words, but it was different. Memorable.

After that, I came home and let Jay out. It was SO HARD to put him back in the box because I wanted to sit and cuddle, but I knew I was supposed to go back and drive the shuttle.

I went back to drive, and got the same shuttle I had before I took a break. Tonight was fun. I saw someone from my old church, which was fun. While it was incredibly busy, it was also incredibly fun. Slim drove tonight, and the joy of the Lord was always making me smile due to what he said. It was neat. I laughed a lot and got to know a lot of really neat people. I'm glad the conference is going on the next couple days. I can't wait to see who else I get to meet.


FUN, driving the shuttle! Woop!

Onething '09

I was sitting with my friend Karen back in November, expressing my heart's desire to hear the Lord in a clear, precise way. To which Karen replied something like, "you can." I have always respected Karen's ability to hear from the Lord and encourage others with His word. I have wanted to be able to do so in a similar way. Not in Karen's way, as only Karen can do it Karen's way, and only I can walk out my walk with the Lord. But, I have wanted to have an ear for what He hears and see what He sees.

As I entered into Onething this year, I knew it would be different because I was serving this year, instead of just going and soaking. I felt the Lord's leading in this, and knew it would be different, but different is good when you're led by the Lord. From the beginning of the conference, I was pumped!

On the first day of the conference, I served as an usher. I was put in a section fairly far back from the stage, which was actually a blessing because it was my first time to ever be an usher and I was kind of nervous.

The first service Misty led, and I was excited. In the midst of the first worship set, I was walking around my section, praying and singing. I was having fun, even though I was occasionally helping someone find a seat or telling someone to not block the aisle. In the midst of my walking, a gal walked up to me and told me that the Lord told her and her husband to bless me, and she handed me a dollar bill and prayed for me. I just received, put the money in my pocket, and went on. I didn't even look at the bill to see how much it was because I needed to focus on ushering. Later, during the sermon, I looked in my pocket, and the gal had given me a $50 bill! I just smiled and thanked the Lord. I have never been blessed by that, so that was REALLY cool.

Misty led the following service as well, and I enjoyed it. I enjoyed praying for others and helping out whenever I could. I must admit, I was tired by the end of the ushering shifts because I walked the whole time. So, when my shift was over, I sat and enjoyed the music. It was really fun. It was a great way to end my day.

Everyday except the first one, I drove the shuttle from 11-4. Whenever I had a full load of passengers board, I started out saying, "HI, welcome to the Onething shuttle. My name is Shortone and I will be your driver to the GloryDome today. I want to start out by praying for us, and then after that I will share a brief story before you enjoy the rest of your ride. But, as I pray my eyes will be open, so don't think that I'm praying and driving with my eyes shut." Everyone always laughed after that. I proceeded to drive and pray and then share my testimony of becoming a shuttle driver. Everyone seemed to enjoy it, and I met SO MANY cool people. I met several visitors as well as people from IHOP that were simply riding the shuttle to save money on parking. I prayed and shared my testimony with every full load of passengers I had, and it was really fun. The only disadvantage is that today my voice cracks and I have a sore throat off and on. But, it was really cool, and made shuttling God's kids REALLY fun. I want to drive again this coming December, as it was truly a highlight of my week!

Every evening I ushered, and I enjoyed it. It was a bit harder than driving the shuttle because I had to tell people to stay out of the aisle and where to sit, but it was fun. My favorite part was getting to pray for people. Several times I would go over and pray and then the Lord would give me a word for them. Over the course of the four days, I grew in my ability to hear from the Lord and encourage His kids in the process. I am finally walking into what I had shared with Karen that weekend in November, and that excites me.

Last night, I saw a young man seeking Him with all he had. Typically guys pray for guys and girls pray for girls, but the Lord was speaking to me to go over and pray for him. So, I went over and started praying for him. In the midst of praying, I got a word for him, and started sharing it, and by the end of it, he was on the floor sobbing. I stayed with him and prayed over him. We were on the floor for a long time, and I was so excited for him! He got a breakthrough in those moments and God used me to help him!!! It was AWESOME! Afterward, he got up and said that what I said was right on. SWEET.

I also had a gal walk over to me and ask me to pray for her. This RARELY happens to me, but it was really cool and fun. I like that God is having me pray for others and bless them as they are seeking him.

Finally (and really I could go on and on, but I won't!) after we entered in the new year, SingingGal came over and joined me in worship. We had THE BEST time! We were making up moves for the song, and singing. Of course, my voice was incredibly hoarse, so it wasn't pretty, but we laughed a lot and had FUN. It was the PERFECT way to end the conference. It's so cool how God always gives us what we need and when we need it. It was AWESOME!

The conference was a blast, and part of me can't believe it's over. However, this year I'm not sad like I usually am when it's over. I think that's because I live here now and Onething was just a bigger version of what IHOP normally is, so I don't have to wait 12 months to experience God like that again. That is really cool in my book.

While I was at the conference, some friends of mine kept Jay. I figured that it would be more fun for him to be with a family than to be in a box 12+ hours a day. He had a GREAT time with the family, and he's now asleep at my feet. Between the adoptive family for the week and SingingGal's family here this afternoon, he is pooped. I thought it was cute when he first saw me when I went to pick him up! He went NUTS and was incredibly happy to see me! It's good to have him home. I have missed him.

Well, I need to relax. The conference is always good, but I am exhausted tonight.

Seriously. That's what I'm talkin' about! :-)