Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Split Personality Much?

Tomorrow is the last day of school.

Friday morning I'm leaving for Romania.

I need to make sure my room is clean and everything is in order.

I need to make sure I'm packed.

I have to say goodbye to my kiddos.

I'm trying to finish this amazing book before I go love on some Romanian kids.

As crazy as they can make me, I'm going to really miss my students. More, I'm sure, than I think. 

I'm slightly anxious about that long flight.

I'm going to really miss some of my coworkers.

I can't wait to see some of the Romanian staff.

Like I said...split personalty much.... 

My head is in so many places that I can't really get a grasp on it. I have to just let go and try to go with the flow. That, my friends, is not my strong point.

Honestly, this morning, as I opened up a few emails from our team leader, I was so overwhelmed that my first thought was I just don't want to do this. I don't want the year to end. I don't want to go. It's just too much...

But, God always has a way of showing His sovereignty and power. He always has a way to take me away from myself and my anxiety so that I can focus on Him and His plans.

As I read through the email showing our schedule, I glanced down and saw the name of one of the orphanages we'll be visiting--Chitila. However, my eyes didn't just see the name of that orphanage, they saw two sweet faces, precious sisters who completely stole my heart six years ago, and my anxiety melted away.

Those babies are the reason I am going....

Right now, I have no strength of my own. I am drained. I am scattered. I am tired. I have nothing left to give. Good thing, huh?

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weakness, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Good thing. The kids that I say goodbye to tomorrow don't need my strength and love alone--they need Christ. The staff and kids I'll work with in Romania don't need my strength--they need Christ's.

God, may your power rest upon me....

For those who are partnering with my team and me in prayer, here are a few points to guide your prayers:

* Please pray that I will let go and that God's power will rest upon me as I finish up the school year and go serve in Romania. 

* Pray that I will be open to the Spirit's leading as I am interacting with the staff and children. Pray that I will be obedient to God's prompting. 

* Pray that we will remain safe and healthy, specifically that my headaches will be manageable or non-existent. 

* Pray that God will move in powerful ways in the lives of the staff, the children, and our team

Thanks so much. I could not do this alone (obviously!).

If you are interested in reading more about my trip or helping me with the last bit of support, please go HERE!

If you are interested in learning more about the organization that I will be working with (Children to Love), please go HERE!

Blessings. :) 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

When it Rains... pours (or so they say--who are "they" actually? Anyone know?).

I am not a fan of your typical everyday normal rain. I could never live in the northwest ("they" also say that I should never say never). Revision: I would never CHOOSE to live in the northwest (better?).

I am, however, a HUGE fan of crazy lightening and thunder storms. The brighter the sky, the louder the boom, the heavier the rain, the better.

Whenever I see ominous clouds, I pray that God will make the coming storm worthwhile and not waste my time (who do I think I am?) with piddling rain that simply gets in the way. Unfortunately, this rarely ever happens in Bakersfield....

Except now. God said "sure thing" this time.

And during a huge, crazy, beloved storm, do I want it to end? Of course not. I want to enjoy every moment, see every unique crack of lightening, experience every crash of thunder, take in every pounding rain drop....

But do I feel the same during crazy storms in my own life? Honestly? No.

Fortunately, I have a very wise and caring pastor, and his prayer last week truly hit a heart string. He didn't ask for the storm to leave. He asked God to teach me every lesson He had for me during this time....

So, I will do my best to embrace this crazy storm as well--clinging to my Jesus, growing and changing as He wills, gratefully walking through each day, and (prayerfully) not missing out on any lessons along the way.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Quite Like, Rather Dislike, Round 2

If you'd like to glance back at Quite Like, Rather Dislike Round 1 click here! For Round 2, keep reading!

Quite Like: 

The Shadow Children series--I read another book (Running Out of Time) by this author when I was in junior high, and I liked it so much that some of my students are reading it now in their literature circles. Because I thought so highly of that book, I decided to read a few of her others. This series is comprised of seven books--I read three of them last weekend. I'm on the final book now, and I've quite enjoyed the entire series.

Neutrogena Clear Face Sunblock--for those of us with oil rigs on our faces, this sunblock is a winner! I HATE putting sunblock (or much of anything) on my face because it does get quite oily throughout the day, but this little gem truly kept my face from becoming an oil slick, AND it protected me from all of those harmful rays. Win win, I'd say.

House Hunters International--it's my new favorite show. I have a bunch saved on the DVR. I love being able to see houses around the world and hear people's stories about why they are moving all around the world. Delightful.

Rather Dislike: 

Political Ads--I seriously can't stand them (commercials, signs, junk mail, phone calls, etc.). They make me want to do just the opposite of what they tell me to do just to spite them. Anyone with me?

My head--it hurts every day, and I'm pretty darn tired of it (and of trying to figure out the cause of the pain). Perhaps it's just going to be the thorn in my flesh. Perhaps God is working in my life through it (ok, I know he is), but I'm not a fan of the pain, just sayin'...

Being pulled in two VERY different directions--in just sixteen days, I will both check out of my classroom and leave for Romania. Don't get me wrong, I am SO EXCITED about both of these things; however, it's such a strange feeling to be pulled in two very different directions. I feel like part of me is finishing out my year, getting ready to say goodbye to my kids, getting my room in order, and getting excited for the summer, while a completely different part of me is reading a book to ready my heart for Romania, trying to get the rest of my financial support, creating packing lists, and gathering what I need to take with me to serve in another country. Really? Is that even possible? I'm not sure I've ever felt so separated like this before. Thoughts? Advice? Thanks.

There you have it. Stay tuned for Round 3 in the (near or far or who knows when) future. :) 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Relay for Life (...and I'm on TV again!)

If you've never been a part of a Relay for Life event, I'd highly recommend it. Not only does it raise money for a great and worthy cause, it is loads of laughs and fun.

The cardboard car race is one of those events filled with laughs (and ridiculousness). I remember watching the races last year, and I admiringly walked by the cars this year, but I never dreamed I'd actually be a participant in said race.

Eyewitness News (our favorite news station that I've written about here and here) built a Tow-mater car (clearly the coolest one out there), but had no one to "drive" it because Aaron Perlman (the weatherman) was emceeing the event. He asked me if I'd be willing, and I thought "what the heck? why not?"

I grabbed my friend Hannah (so grateful she was around), and we suited up.

First of all, we barely fit in the car. Second of all, we were both wearing flip flops. Third of all, we were competing against people who could actually run quickly.

So, needless to say, we didn't win.

However, we did have a blast, and we certainly looked good doing it!

Here's a video of the race. Yup, we're the ones in the back. It's a cell phone video, so it's not the best quality, but this tid-bit was on the news--high def. and all (joy!)...

And if you haven't had enough, be sure to tune in to Eyewitness News Fox 58 tomorrow morning between 7:00 - 7:30ish to watch the HUMPDAY dance! I'm pretty sure I'll be making an appearance with Tow-mater!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Go Beach! (and some fish)....

....nope, I couldn't come up with a better title. I tried (not too hard).

Annnnyway, last week I had the opportunity to go with the AVID kiddos to CSULB and the Aquarium of the Pacific. I absolutely LOVED taking these kids on a tour of my college. Playing tour guide was actually more fun that I could have imagined (perhaps I should have done that in college). I did run into many of my old coworkers--so good to see them!

The kiddos seemed to love the college--warmed my heart! They also quite enjoyed the aquarium.

Matthew, my dear cousin, LOVES seahorses. :)

We got to touch the jellies--I was a bit nervous!

 I LOVE otters--they are like the puppies of the sea!

There you have it! If you're amazed at my mad picture taking skills, don't be. It's not me that's awesome, it's an app called Camera+. It's free. You should get it. You too can be an "amazing" photog. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

100 Posts = 100 Things for Which to be Grateful!

This is my....drum roll please...(ok, that was pretty lame considering I already gave it away in my title) 100th post!!!!

Can you believe it? You probably can...I'll stop babbling now.

Anyway, in honor of my 100th post, I decided to create a list of 100 things for which I am grateful. Here they are in no particular order (except the first three of course...):

1.     God
2.     Jesus
3.     Holy Spirit
4.     Family
5.     Friends
6.     The Bible
7.     Living Grace Community Church
8.     Crying until I laugh
9.     Forgiveness
10. Eternal life
11. Music
12. Hope
13. Good long conversations
14. Long walks at night
15. Bakersfield nights
16. Dewar’s cookies and cream ice cream
17. Dodgers baseball
18. 3rd period prep
19. Sushi
20. Orange chicken
21. Big smiles
22. Not setting my alarm clock
23. Guidance
24. Healing
25. The Olympics
26. Gymnastics
27. Random text messages from friends
28. Writing
29. Little gifts/notes
30. Breakfast
31. Traveling
32. Easter
33. Being high up in the air
34. Poetry
35. Reading
36. Old books
37. Tears
38. Taking pictures
39. Roller coasters
40. Target
41. Being with friends
42. Pedicures
43. Hugs
44. Christmas
45. My FC
46. Love
47. Forehead kisses
48. Nicknames
49. Journals
50. Traditions
51. My pillow
52. Stars
53. The moon
54. Children’s books
55. Babies
56. Finding things I’ve been missing
57. Babies’ laughter
58. Good movies
59. Learning new things
60. Prayer
61. Clean sheets
62. My home group
63. Wisdom
64. Laughing until I cry
65. Sunsets
66. Disneyland
67. Romania
68. Cross-body purses
69. Smith’s cookies
70. Doodling
71. Coloring books
72. Theater
73. Jesus Calling devotional
74. Sharpie Pens
75. Running into people in random places
76. Singing as loud as I can in the car
77. Swings
78. Painting
79. Baking
80. 4th of July with my family
81. Puppies
82. Blankets
83. Ice water
84. Writing and receiving notes
85. Trying new things
86. Elephants
87. Helicopters
88. Good grammar
89. Diet soda
90. Sweatshirts
91. Listening to people’s stories
92. Growing
93. Rainbow sandals
94. Water sports
95. Dancing when no one is watching
96. Road trips
97. Old photographs
98. Teaching
99. Watching a kid “get something” for the first time
100.                Memories

Did you actually read that entire list? Thanks! I'm impressed.

Now, for what are YOU grateful? 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

One More Month!!!!

In one month from today, I'll be checking out of Warren Jr. High and boarding a plane to fly to ROMANIA!

Have I told you lately how excited I am?

I am excited to see old friends...

...make new friends...

...hold some dear children...

...share God's love...

...laugh until I cry

...cry until I laugh...

...grow... challenged... changed.

I am excited to work side by side with the incredible servants of God who are in these orphanages day in a day out--like these guys:

I am excited to be a part of this culture, rich with tradition--like this civil wedding:

Can you tell by now how excited I am? :)

I have raised about $1,100 so far, and I still have about $1,500 to go. Would you prayerfully consider being a part of my team (whether through prayer or financially) so that God may touch and change more lives?

If you are at all interested, please read on:

Dear Family and Friends,
            As we all know, time sure does fly! I can hardly believe it, but it has been six years since I last served in Romania—a country that is, and forever will be, dear to my heart. My heart leaps with excitement to inform you that I again have the opportunity to travel to Romania with Children to Love International (CTL). I will serve and help meet the physical, mental, social, and spiritual needs of orphaned and abandoned children living in Romanian government orphanages and those at risk of entering them.
            Our trip is scheduled for June 1-12, 2012. During this time we will travel to Bucharest, Romania to help CTL share the gospel with 600 orphans and support and encourage the CTL national staff. Amazingly, the team will be led by Victor Popa, who grew up in an orphanage in Romania and was raised through CTL’s ministry. Today Victor serves on the Board of Directors for CTL in CA.  He is also pursuing his Masters of Business at Cal Baptist University in CA. God certainly works in incredible ways!
            As thrilled as I am to be able to serve God and the people of Romania this summer, I definitely cannot do it alone. I am asking you to prayerfully consider being a part of my support team. I will need you behind me in prayer and financial support to make this trip possible. I need to raise $2,800 to cover the costs of travel, lodging, food, housing, and health insurance. My deadline for raising this support is May 20thjust around the corner. I am asking you for a gift of your prayers and whatever amount of money you are able to share. I greatly appreciate your support in both areas (and of course, all of your financial gifts are tax deductible!).
            Please partner with me as I serve this country that is so near and dear to my heart. My prayer is that we can bring the gospel to more children like Victor—in hopes that hundreds and thousands of lives, in turn, will be touched and changed now and in the future. If you choose to be a part of my support team, please send a check to Children to Love or visit to make a donation online (please designate “Amy Erickson’s trip to Romania” on your check or online). If you are unable to send financial support, but can partner with me in prayer, please email me and let me know.
Thank you for your consideration in joining my team and touching the lives of children and staff in Romania.

Amy Erickson
Children to Love
P.O. Box 9575
Bakersfield, CA 93389