Monday, December 26, 2011

What's YOUR Love Language?

Sorry that I haven't posted anything in a while--December is a crazy month of birthdays, trips, school, Christmas, packing, etc. etc. etc. 


Because my birthday and Christmas fall in the same month, it's often a time that I am showered with gifts (rough, huh?). This can either leave me feeling overwhelmingly loved or slightly unnerved (not sure if that's the right word, but we'll go with it for now). 


Receiving gifts has always left me with these two very drastic emotions, and I never really understand why until recently. Receiving gifts is my love language. 


When I learned this, I struggled with it for quite some time. Admitting it made me feel materialistic or shallow; however, that's not at all how God created me to be. I began to understand my heart and my love language more when I read The Five Love Languages and took the quiz. Here are my results:



Receiving Gifts
Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous—so would the absence of everyday gestures.

Thanks Gary Chapman for summing up a huge piece of my heart into one paragraph. This is why I absolutely love giving gifts. This is why I pour my heart into the gifts I give--because that's how I show my love and thoughtfulness. 

Of course, this isn't the only way I receive love (and it's not the only way that I give love), but it's definitely at the top. 



I'd love to know what your love language is. How can I love you more completely? Take the quiz HERE and let me know what your results are! 

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 5, 2011

BirthdayLOVE

Confession: I really like birthdays--everyone else's included. I know it's not as big of a deal to some people, but we've always made birthdays special in my family, so I'm a big fan. "Big fan" (in a Brick whisper voice).

Facebook has semi-revolutionized birthday greetings. Now everyone is aware of your birthday, so they can offer appropriate wishes. I really do appreciate all of those friends and family members of mine who took a moment to wish me a happy birthday on FB, through a text, or over the phone.

I decided to pick out the top SIX (since I just turned 26) birthday greetings I received on Facebook to share with you all here. Beginning from number six:

6: Another year, youngster! - David Putnam 


Thanks, David. While my brother was teasing me all day about getting too close to 30, I get called youngster. I needed that affirmation while I spent my day at the zoo. 


5. Well well well....It is an absolutely beautiful day today. You know why? Because a BEAUTIFUL PERSON's BIRTHDAY is today!!!!! WOHOOOOO!!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY my love!!!! :) I hope your day is spectacular!!!! You deserve nothing but smiles, laughter and killer dance moves! Celebrate!!!!! -Kasey Kelly


Kasey, just thinking about you puts a smile on my face. Thanks! :) 


4. Happy Birthday FC!! I hope your day is amazing and that this year would be your best one yet :) I hope Bakersfield knows what it has with you as a resident!!! -Jeff Taylor


Thanks, FC!...and thanks for not making a crack on Bakersfield for once in your life. :) 


3. What is this?? You having a birthday?? I didn't even check my calendar yesterday or today cuz I knew it was the weekend! hahah Imagine!! Happy Birthday, you gorgeous, sweet young lady!!! Sounds like your birthday WEEKEND has been wonderful!! Flying a helicopter and the lions, tigers and bears all in one weekend?? You are so special...guess you get to do all of that ! Love you!! -Mrs. G


I just love you, Mrs. G! I could hear your voice and see your beautiful face as I read this. 


2. Happy Birthday to you dear Amy Happy Birthday to you!!!!!! And many more!!!!! Love ya sweet girl, Ron and I wish you a blessed year!!!!!! Maybe this is the year of you know!!!!LOL - Debbie Jonas


Talk about laugh out loud. That last sentence is classic! Let's hope so, Debbie!


AND THE #1 TOP BIRTHDAY MESSAGE WINNER IS.....


1. Happy, happy birthday Amy!!! I just picked up my phone to call you, and I don't have your dang number! How stupid is that?! So this is my phone call... "Hey Amy! It's me, just calling to wish you a happy birthday all the way from England. You're such a wonderful friend and blessing in my life. I hope everyone is spoiling you like crazy today, because you deserve it. Let's Skype soon, k? Ok... gotta go. Love you! Bye!" -Nicole Parker


Winner by far. It would have been an even greater win if I'd have gotten to hear your voice, Nicole, but now I get to keep this in writing forever and always. Thanks! 


I love you all! Thanks for all the birthdayLOVE! 



Sunday, December 4, 2011

Elephants and Helicopters.

For my birthday, I told my mom and brother that I wanted an elephant and a helicopter. Why, you may ask? Well, I couldn't really think of anything I wanted, and I really like elephants and helicopters....

Who knew that on my birthday, these wishes would actually come true. :)


I opened my gift from my mother at breakfast, and I found a "grow your own" elephant and a certificate to actually FLY A HELICOPTER!!! This was my reaction...




I believe my face turned beat red and tears fell from my eyes--I was THAT excited!! (I still am!).

SIDE-NOTE (while we're on the topic of presents): I also got a stuffed sushi later in the day. I received some really neat gifts as well, but this picture just had to make it to the blog.


Thanks Jensens! 

And because I wanted to see real elephants, we headed to the LA Zoo after breakfast with some family and friends. Here are some highlights: 

 Beautiful Koala! One of them was carrying a baby on her tummy--amazing--too bad I couldn't catch a picture of it. 

 Dude in front: Whatchu lookin' at?
Dude in back: I don't like time-out. 

 LAZY zebra

 Silly giraffes 

 Cousins

 Erin! (Christy and Carrie and Shelly and Lauren also came, but we failed on the picture front)

 Family with the elephants

 So pretty!

 YEAH! The elephants! ...and not just any elephant, a DANCING elephant (see video below) 

 Yup, my trunk gets heavy sometimes...

This little big guy danced the entire time we watched him. It was hilarious!

video


And what birthday would be complete without an amazing dinner...

YUMMY dinner at C&Os!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What I Learned at the Eye Doctor...

I had my annual eye appointment today. As I sat in the waiting room, I thought back to my minor panic attack last year around this time when I realized that I could no longer see the bottom row of letters. You hit 25, and it all goes down hill apparently... :) Well, let's hope not because 26 is just a few days away.

Anyway, I learned a few things at the eye doctor today, and I thought I'd share them with you:

1. I am not terrible, but I am a little off (thanks, Doc).

2. I really HATE those eye numbing drops. My eyes still feel funny hours later. Is anyone out there working on a better system? Please?

3. I most likely don't sleep with my eyes completely closed (hence the INTENSE eye watering  weeping that occurs at night and in the morning). Strange.

4. I can't get through an eye appointment without laughing because Brian Regan won't stop running through my head....

How can instantly improved vision not be at the top of your to-do list?!?

And finally...

5. I'm going to look rockin' in my new prescription Aviators! :)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Observations: Part Five

Here are a few observations for your enjoyment (in no particular order):

* Sometimes I find it difficult to hold it together when my kids say the darnedest things. For example....
     ME: What's the base word of condensation?
     KID: Condom? (not trying to be a smart alec)
     ME: (couldn't keep a straight face--oops)

* My students can be quite clever. For example...
     KID: What are you doing for your birthday, Ms. Erickson?
     ME: Going to the zoo!
     KID: Why? You have one right here!
     ME: Touche!

* Kids eat up rewards (literally). I've been handing out hugs and kisses (of the Hershey's variety) for high scores, good tests scores, good behavior, etc. and they are loving it!

* I'm remembering how much I HATE being cold. It also doesn't help that I HATE wearing shoes! I was shocked today when I had to walk out of my warm cocoon of a classroom out into the elements.

* I am a complete SUCKER for tradition. I could venture to say that I'm obsessed with it. I love love love it. I am so grateful for my family who also loves tradition--from Thanksgiving dinner to Black Friday shopping to this lovely one...


Watching Elf and eating pizza with family and friends the day after Thanksgiving. 

* I love kids. I especially adore my cousins. But, as much as I can't wait to have my own one day, I do enjoy the quiet every now and then. :) 

* God has been showing me lately how to be thankful for my singleness during this time in my life: the quiet like I just mentioned, the freedom to travel, the ability to shop when I want, independence, time to work out when I want, more time to read and study and serve (I'd like to focus on those last three a bit more), etc. 

* I don't want to waste this time I have in the Land Between (good book, check it out). 

* I am currently really into elephants and helicopters. In fact, I told my family that all I wanted for my birthday was an elephant and a helicopter. I'm not sure why, but I have a feeling that that's not going to happen... I guess I'll settle for seeing the elephants at the zoo. As for the helicopter? Perhaps that'll have to wait a few more years. 

Anyone know any pilots? ;) 








Friday, November 18, 2011

We Have No Lives.... ("WOW Walmart" is Christy's preferred title)

....so, what do we do on a Friday night? Venture to Walmart (in BAKERSFIELD--it's supposed to be a whisper says Christy) of course!

We just couldn't help ourselves.


Ahh, no you didn't BRA!


This is my cabin sweater. 


This is my everyday wear. 


Sneaky, sneaky, SNUGGIE!


You SNEAKY slipper!


Which shall I choose?


SpongeChristy? ChristyBob?


Woof.


Scandalous! ("I think they mention themselves" -Christy)


You SNEAKY, Amy!


Gambling Lalapalooza doll--way to start um young!


But the pirate is surely ok!


She's a brunette? 



Ummm?


Lady wheeling into the aisle: "Did you get the picture? Am I in it??"


It's what I've always wanted!


It's what I've always wanted!


Lunch and no clean up!


Can life get any better? I submit that it cannot!


Fruit cake mix = epic fail. 


Note: If you did not understand the "sneaky" reference, be sure to watch THIS VIDEO!


ANOTHER NOTE: If you did not understand the"lunch and no clean up" reference, check this out!



It's almost ten.... bedtime. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thank You for the Worst Morning Ever...

Thank you, God, for the worst morning I've had in all of my many few years of teaching....

Thank you for the kids you have placed under my care to love and guide with your help.

Thank you for the very real feelings I felt this morning (and for teaching me all about them in this book) and for the tears that I used to express them.

Thank you for showing me your love through the kind words, clean tissues, and sweet hugs from the greatest librarian ever.

Thank you for offering me guidance through a counselor who took one look at me and dropped what she was doing to sit down and help.

Thank you for the blessing of staff members who listened, helped, and hugged me, and for a VP and security guard who checked on me later in the day.

Thank you for offering me peace through a student who sincerely apologized later in the day.


Thank you for showing me your gentleness through a girl who asked for a hug, not knowing how much I needed one too. 


Thank you for giving me laughter through the rest of my kids throughout the day.

Thank you for your prompting to wear my hair straight today so that when kids asked later why I looked different  (I'm sure due to a lack of makeup), I could blame it on the change of hair.

Thank you for sweet messages of encouragement through FB and texts even after I got home today.

Thank you for helping me to see your amazing provision, even in a time of turmoil. 


Thank you for your tears, your love, your guidance, your blessings, your peace, your gentleness, your laughter, your prompting, and your encouragement. 


Thank you for using your children (young and not as young) to teach me more about you today.


Thank you for making beauty from ashes....

Thursday, November 10, 2011

One Word Wonder (I was on TV!)

In case you missed it, the madre and I were on the news this week. Our favorite news team, Eyewitness news (mentioned here) , planned a segment about carbon monoxide detectors in homes. They asked for someone willing to open their home to do a few live segments at the crack of dawn  before the dawn cracked, and of course, the madre and I were all over that.

So, on Wednesday morning at a time that is completely ungodly, the news reporter Cambi Brown, the fireman Sean Collins, and the photog LJ showed up on our doorstep (with Polly Pocket--Cambi's adorable dog).

We chatted for a bit, filmed a segment, had some donuts and hung out, filmed some more, and hung out a bit more. Although it was super early, we really did have a blast. Unfortunately, there was a fatal car accident early that morning, so they had to pack up quickly and leave before we filmed the last segment.

And in case you missed it (I know, I know, it's tough to wake up that early), here is one of the segments for your enjoyment:


It's true what they say....tv adds 10 15 pounds. It also turns your pretty purply sweater into a greyish color, makes your eyes look like they are closed (or was that because it was so early?), and turns a person who talks for a living into someone who can only blubber out one word--definitely!

All ridiculousness aside, we did have a blast!

Now go get a carbon monoxide detector if you don't have one!

Monday, October 31, 2011

For the Message of the Gospel is This...

I caught sight of a debate/argument on Facebook today, and I am afraid that it is all too common in our society. The original post read:

Just encountered another "born again", who was caught in an affair with her preacher, costing him his job and her the marriage she was in. The response: "we all fall short" but she says that she is saved because she is born again in Christ (before the affair) but people who aren't "born again" but [live] righteous and pious lives are going to hell......................

Uhh.............................. how does that work?


This broke my heart. Incidences like this have been all too familiar in my life. It is terrible and awful. It rips people apart.

Many comments followed this original post. You can only imagine people's thoughts. Problems in the church....hypocrites....how can bad people go to Heaven and good people go to hell....church today is a joke...would Hitler have gone to Heaven if he confessed right before he died...do the people who broke the 10 commandments have a blank check?...etc. etc. etc.

I wanted to ignore it. I wanted to remove the post so it wouldn't upset me. But, I couldn't. My God is sovereign and righteous and just. And, I too am a sinner. I had to respond.

My response was too long to post on Facebook, so I ended up sending it through a message. I also wanted to share my response on here for the purpose of trying to preserve the gospel. I want to shed a bit of truth where there is much confusion and darkness. There is no better way of doing this than through the gospel itself.

Here is my response:


I don’t in any way condone the behavior of these two you posted about, but the message of the gospel is this:

Romans 3:21-26
21But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.  For there is no distinction: 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

Yes, they sinned—we are all sinners—and…

Romans 6:23
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Because of our sin, we all deserve death. Yet,

John 3:16
16"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

God sent his son to die so that those who believe may have eternal life—not those who have lived good lives.

Ephesians 2:8-9
8For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

There is nothing we can do—no righteous life we can live—to deserve or EARN Heaven.

Romans 10:9-10
9because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

That is the only way to receive grace and eternal life!

1 John 1:9-10
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Just because a believer sins, that does not mean that he can lose his salvation. If that were the case, Heaven would be empty…

Titus 3:3-7
3For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. 4But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

There is nothing we can do that will make God love us any more. There is nothing we can do to make God love us any less. 

May God continue to speak his truth into the lives of people. May we, his children, not keep silent. 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

My Weekend...In Pictures

This weekend has been awesome (every weekend should be like that according to Mrs. G., and I'd have to agree). I thought I'd share it with you all through some  (a lot of?) photos....

Friday began with the birth of my nephew (my step-sister's son) Logan! Welcome to the world, Buddy!


After work, we tried out Buffalo Wild Wings. Our staff didn't have a great showing, but it's the quality not the quantity, right? I did get to hang out with my old junior high PE teacher from Tevis. When he realized I was in his class, he told me he hated me. We had a grand ole time...


Friday evening was sushi and Target--always a delightful combination. 

On Saturday, Mom and I headed out to Solvang to celebrate Lauren Jensen's birthday. This was the view for the first part of the trip:

A cotton truck?!? Really?!? Not cool!

When we arrived, we had lunch at a golf course...



...and embarked on some wine tasting adventures.



Of course, I was the DD (or the DVD as I like to call it).

(The water had quite the refreshing flavor!)

The winery was GORGEOUS!



The next winery wasn't beautiful, but it had lots of personality...


We walked around and shopped before dinner. Solvang is OBSESSED with Halloween. Strange. All the stores were participating in a Scarecrow making contest.


The sunset that night was beautiful. Notice the moon?


The evening held many rousing games of Dutch Blitz (appropriate, much?) and a delightful slumber party for six!


This morning we ate an incredible (and filling) breakfast! I could not come to Solvang without a piece of this deliciousness!



(Here is where we enter our food comas)

We had to work off our breakfast by shopping, olive oil and balsamic vinegar tasting, and of course, laughing. 

On the way home, we picked up many unwelcome visitors on the windshield, so we had to drive through the car wash before coming home. I chose the best option, and it came with a PICTURE! Check it out!


Amusing, because I really hate Halloween, but hilarious because it's a picture from the car wash. :)

I hope you enjoyed my weekend in pictures. Let's hope that there's many more of these to come!