*new blog series*

Week forty seven – ‘1 year’

I figured it was time for an actual study update, seeing as that was the whole reason for this new blog series!
So as of about a week or so ago – I AM DONE FOR THE SEMESTER! Which also makes it a year since I began this TESOL adventure! How time flies 🙂

Next semester I have 2 subjects to go and then I can graduate with an actual teaching qualification – something I actually might want to use this time! 🙂 The final 2 things to get through don’t involve lectures – 1 is a reading subject and 1 is a placement in a teaching environment…so I’m super nervous, but they should be good experiences nonetheless and then I’ll be all DONE! High 5

I know we’re not quite at the week 52 mark of this blog series, but it’s been a year since i stepped out of fulltime work and into this study opportunity and I have learnt a few things that I wanted to share on here…

  1. I’m not an A+ student, and I do sometimes get sad when I don’t do quite as well on an assignment as I had hoped I would, but I have learnt how to be much more gracious with receiving feedback and constructive criticism in an effort to better future pieces of work.
  2. I thoroughly dislike reading when it’s not on a topic I’m interested in – and when I say ‘thoroughly’, I mean I’d rather bite down on an onion and chomp away than read another lengthy article about something I have a -0 care factor of.
  3. I actually can work well in a library setting. I was always afraid that in that sort of environment, I’d get distracted and annoyed, but I went a couple of times this last semester and found myself being rather productive!
  4. I truly appreciate the maturity and freedom that comes with post-grad study. There is so much benefit to being at this level of education because there is a lot less teacher-student hierarchy and more relationship and openness.
  5. Studying parttime has been a dream! There was a lot less stress involved, I had a lot more time to devote to the subjects that I was actually focussing on and I wasn’t overwhelmed by the amount of work required. I could deliver my best.
  6. This is where God wants me to be. As much as the season of study can be a truly tedious slog sometimes – especially because my husband and I are both studying – this is the season of life God has placed us in and called us to flourish and be present in. This is where we are at this time in our lives and…

I. Am. Ok. With. That.

So there you have it! A basic update of where I’m at having been in this stage of study for a year so far…future posts to come, especially as I’m not at week 52 yet – but thanks for staying tuned! May you feel God’s peace as you embrace your place today – the season you are in right now is where you are called to be right now, just like me!

(Photo courtesy of Pinterest, but I feel it sums up my study experiences! Coffee and tea and laptops and books…)

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*new blog series*

Week forty six – ‘joyful noise’

I like singing…particularly when no one else is around to hear me! I’m quite sure that if people were to actually listen to me, ears would bleed…my other half disagreed, but he’s biased 🙂

Anyway, another thing I like doing is joining in with corporate worship in song at church. As much as I’m sure I can’t actually sing like Beyoncé or Hayley Williams, I definitely like adding my ‘joyful noise’ to such an amazing sounding collective song…often times I’m blown away by how the congregation sounds together – it’s beautiful.

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So this Sunday just gone, we were in the middle of some songs during our evening church service when I noticed a young girl with a disability. Nothing out of the ordinary, necessarily – but what really caught me was her participation in the singing. She wasn’t singing the words as they appeared on the screen and she wasn’t in tune. But what she was doing was definitely making a joyful noise to The Lord! With hands raised and head back, she was belting out worship to the One who loves her just as she is and it was the most moving thing I’d seen in a while. It was beautiful. She was beautiful. And I admired her true abandon, as she stood there praising the name of our amazing Creator.

That girl inspired me. She inspired me to throw aside what had held me back in the past about my singing. In that moment, I no longer was afraid of what other people thought of my voice because to God’s ears – my song was just as beautiful as that young girl’s and just as worthy as that of the worship leader.

Be encouraged today to make joyful noise unto The Lord because it’s all pleasing to His ears when it’s for His name and from the heart…

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[Photos courtesy of Pinterest…of course!]

Shout to the LORD, all the earth. Serve the LORD with joy; come before him with singing. Know that the LORD is God. He made us, and we belong to him; we are his people, the sheep he tends. Come into his city with songs of thanksgiving and into his courtyards with songs of praise. Thank him and praise his name. The LORD is good. His love is forever, and his loyalty goes on and on. (Psalms 100:1-5 NCV)

*new blog series*

Week forty five – ‘no sunglasses’

There’s something about sitting still and listening to the silence. I haven’t done this for a long time. So when we were given the space to just be with God, not necessarily speaking but just being at the young adult’s retreat, it was a fresh experience.

I walked down the road and found a spot to sit. This was my view:

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In the sitting, I suddenly became aware of my surroundings. Magpies warbled. Something was rustling in the undergrowth. Tiny flies were flitting around my head. Ants were scurrying about in the dirt. The air was crisp and new. Bugs scampered around my shoes. The sun ducked in and out of clouds. A dog barked. The smell of freshly cut grass wafted on the breeze.

The moment I was spending in the quiet and stillness of the day couldn’t be captured by an Instagram photo or a status update. There was something REAL in that moment, something that brought a tear to my eye as I thanked God for slowing me down so I could actually appreciate where I was.

I’ll be the first to admit I often live life with sunglasses on – I see things with only shadowed perception and my peripherals are compromised…but in that moment of sitting by the side of the road, at the top of a hill in the middle of a Saturday, I was reminded if the intricate wonder of creation & my place in it.

*new blog series*

Week forty four – ‘blessed’

Friday morning, I got up and went for a walk. I had my iPod. I chose a podcast from the Hillsong Sisterhood. The sun was shining and the air was fresh. It was a beautiful day already. As the podcast continued, I started to hear bits and pieces about the world that I live in that I didn’t like…the speaker was sharing facts from a book – 50 Facts that actually should change the world by Jessica Williams – to illustrate that we are a church that is called to activism in this world.

She started listing facts like
– every cow in the EU is subsidised by $2.50 a day which is more than 75% of African people have to live on
– more than 150 countries use torture
– China has has approximately 44 million missing women
– more than 12000 woman are killed in Russia every year due to domestic violence
– there are approximately 44 million child labourers in India
– 7 million American women suffer from an eating disorder
– 1/3 of the worlds population is at war
– 2 million girls and women are subjected to genital mutilation each year

Do any of these make you angry? Sad? Depressed? Do you feel shocked at the figures? I sure did! I couldn’t believe some of the facts she was listing…but that last one struck a chord with me.

You know that moment when you’re standing on the shoreline at the beach and the waves are rolling in and sometimes, the force of the water is enough to nearly knock you over? Well, the gravity of that last fact was like a wave nearly knocking me over and suddenly I was acutely aware of how truly blessed I am.

Let me say that again…

I am ridiculously blessed.

Have you ever had a moment like that? Something happens – someone says something – and BAM! Everything in your world is suddenly put into perspective and the realisation that you have been gifted an amazing life by the Almighty Creator is just staring you right in the face! This was my moment. It was so powerful, so forceful, that it sent me into tears and audible praise and thanks to the One who placed me where He placed me.

It was a deciding moment for me. I knew that I had been given this life, at this time and in this place to serve God’s people and I had to do something.

Have you ever had a revelation like this? A moment that makes you reevaluate everything and puts what is important into perspective? Maybe it wasn’t as profound as mine or maybe it was even more life-shaking! I encourage you to pay attention to what God is telling you in that experience and take action!

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(Photo courtesy of Pinterest…go outside! Look around! How blessed are you…?)