Sorry this is coming at you a day late, but I hope everyone is having a great weekend- it’s the last day of fall break for MNU students and I’ve had a great time.
School breaks or even weekends can be a great time to get to know some friends better- by having them come to your hometown or you going to theirs. It’s so fun to see all of the places in their hometown your friends talk about, meet their family and friends from back home, and get a home cooked (free and delicious) meal!
Having friends over to see my house when we need a break from the non-stop busyness of the campus is a great time to connect with them, but going out of town to someone else’s house is amazing, and that’s what I’ve been doing this weekend.
This weekend, my friends Rico, Taylor and I all packed up into Grace’s car and headed to Carthage, Missouri for their annual Maple Leaf Festival.
We got to have fun with her family, eat smoked ribs and chicken, stay up late and watch movies, and even go to a haunted house in Joplin, Missouri. The Maple Leaf events were exciting as well- we saw an almost three hour parade featuring some great marching bands, saw a band festival/competition, and got to do some great people watching.
We’re on our way back to campus today feeling refreshed and ready to take on the rest of the semester, ready to see all of our other friends, and ready to talk to them about their fall breaks and ours.
I hope you have an amazing week, and I’ll see you this weekend!
I’m a firm believer that God uses His creation to speak to us and teach us. My favorite thing to do is go out in nature and spend time in His presence. My heart always expects Him to show up, and He always does.
A few weeks ago, God used the idea of metamorphosis to remind me that I have been transformed. When I gave myself to Christ, I gained a new identity.
2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (ESV)
I was walking back from dinner one night with some friends and found a huge green caterpillar crossing the sidewalk. Long story short, it ended up in my dorm room inside a Starbucks cup. The next morning, I woke up to find it inside its cocoon.
That day in my Environmental Biology class, we spent the entire period catching and tagging Monarch butterflies. I couldn’t stop thinking about my caterpillar and how it was going to completely transform into a butterfly (or a moth) in a few weeks.
“How is that even possible? How does a caterpillar make itself a cocoon, live in it for weeks, and then come out with wings and fly away?”
There were so many questions running through my mind, and as I would stare at my caterpillar’s cocoon in my room, I couldn’t help but think that this is a metaphor for our lives.
The moment that I fully surrendered myself to Christ and decided I wasn’t going to live for myself anymore was the day that I was completely transformed. Sure, I looked the same on the outside, but not on the inside. The way I lived my life from then on was completely different… and still is.
My priorities changed. My friends changed. My schedule changed. My desires changed. My passions changed. Everything changed.
As I look at the cocoon in my room and then walk outside to see Monarchs flying around campus, I am filled with joy knowing that Christ has the power to transform us into new and beautiful creations. It doesn’t matter where you came from or where you are now. God has the power to transform anyone.
A lot of people think my fascination with nature is weird. I could watch bugs crawl around for hours. I love collecting leaves because I think they’re so cool. I enjoy laying down in the grass, not even caring about how many bug bites I’ll get. I’m not really scared of bees because I think they’re pretty. When I find something in nature that I’ve never seen before, I will most likely try to find out what it is… and it’ll bother me if I don’t. I think nature is an adventure.
I love nature so much because it’s the rawest form of God’s creation. I have come to know and understand Him more deeply by spending time in His work of art. He creates and cares for the smallest, seemingly insignificant aspects of this earth. I think that’s awe-inspiring.
My challenge to you this week is to set aside time to be in nature and let your mind wander. Talk to God and ask Him to reveal Himself to you. Bring a journal and doodle or write about what you experience. Bring your Bible and read your favorite Bible verse. Enjoy the moment.
I hope you’ll set aside time to do this, and if you do, I want to hear about it! Feel free to leave a comment sharing about your experience. I promise you won’t regret it!
My caterpillar crawling on my homework. He’s so cute!
My caterpillar’s home. (He made his cocoon before we could transfer him to an actual bug cage.)
So I spent last weekend in Juarez. Crazy, I know, but it was pretty tranquil and the people were wonderful.
I went with my gorgeous friend Taylor. Her grandparents have a branch of Compassionate Ministries, which gives relief to areas in the world through supplies. Normally, they make a trip to Mexico before Christmas to give Nazarene pastors and their families gifts and clothing and other various things in time for the cold, winter season. They have a banquet and there are like 20 pastors from the area with their whole families in a restaurant. Taylor and I went in place of her grandparents this year. She speaks English and French, so my pseudo-Spanish skills came in handy. We flew to El Paso Friday night, met up with the other 6 people on our team, went into Juarez for most of the day Saturday, and flew home Sunday. It was quick! Don’t worry, I documented our weekend.
This is how we remembered where we parked at the airport.
Successfully across the border! I love this city.
This is Juanita. She is a pastor’s wife with a killer sense of humor. She many times offered her school aged boys to me when I commented on how cute they are. Hilarious!
Taylor, Ana, and baby Santiago! Ana is a pastor in Mexico and this is her nephew! Her brother (Santiago’s dad) is also a pastor, and they look just the same.
Me with my new friends! They are wonderful women of God and like to laugh!
Me and Taylor at the airport. Isn’t she adorbs??
Okay so I’m also kind of a jerk friend. Because Taylor doesn’t speak Spanish and would mostly smile and nod along with whatever I said, I may or may not have misrepresented her multiple times. For one, I asked the pastors if they had any single young men in their congregations because my friend wants to get married to a Mexican man. Then told them it was a practical joke. Juanita heard what I said, and responded with, “Tell her if she marries a Mexican man he’ll want her to have 8 kids!” (this captures her sense of humor tremendously.) People also asked if she was the Doctor’s granddaughter, and then asked what her name was. Taylor isn’t exactly a name in Spanish, so after a couple people struggled through her name I came up with a solution. Her name sounds very close to the Spanish word for “trailer,” so I told them just to call her “Tráiler.” Problem solved!
Here are some obligatory pics from Thanksgiving. I got inspired by my hours of Pinterest endeavors.
We even spray painted the sticks navy blue.
Yeah my family never decorates for Thanksgiving.
yeah we never set the table either.
We do this a lot.
I know. My nephew Lennox is the cutest.
Also the Today Show stopped by campus this afternoon to shoot a story about Granny Franny. I made the B-Roll, but Joelle Garguilo is the best! She seriously has a heart of gold and loves life. Thanks for hanging out with us, Joelle!
This past week was our Thanksgiving break! I got the chance to go home and eat some delicious home cooked meals, catch up with some pretty cool friends, and spend time with my lovely family! My sisters were even waiting for me when I came home, which is pretty awesome to come home to! Here are some pictures to show you guys the things I did this past week!
One great thing I got to do was go see Catching Fire! The movie was pretty amazing. I really wish I would have read the books though because I heard from multiple people that if you read them the movie would make a lot more sense. But other than that, I still thought it was amazing. Also, I want to be Katniss when I grow up.
Thanksgiving day was also pretty wonderful. We picked up on playing the card game Nertz this year in my family, and it. was. intense. That game can get super crazy, but it’s really fun at the same time. I had a blast playing it with them, and it was double awesome because I got to drink some hot apple cider, which is always wonderful. I was in heaven.
Saturday night my friends Zack and Sydney played music and sang at a coffee shop in Hutchinson, KS. I had the privilege of going with them and be serenaded by their angelic voices. It was also a super cool coffee shop with twinkly lights and amazing coffee! I maybe bought 2 cups of coffee..in the time span of 2 hours.. and I’m not ashamed.
This is the view of the coffee shop on the inside.
This is my friend Sydney. Not only does she have an amazing voice, she does some pretty awesome artwork too! :] She is lovely.
Well this is all I have for you guys this week. It was wonderful to be on break, but I always love coming home to MNU. It has definitely captured a place in my heart already. :]
Classes are up and starting again at MNU after a wonderful Thanksgiving break! We had three different Thanksgivings this year with my family, and I got two of them on camera! This was also my first year going Black Friday shopping… which was an experience to say the least. Didn’t get much accomplished but I did pick up quite a few movies for our movie nights in the dorm. (If you didn’t know, Walmart has 2 dollar movies! Check it out next year!)
So here is just a snippet into my family life over the holiday! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Thanks for stopping by!
Follow me @haleyraydoo and @mnublogs
(P.S. I loove the music in this video! Check out Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s Noel, O’ Come All Ye Faithful, and God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen! Let me know what your favorite Christmas music is!)
Well, hey, It might be epic…Possibly…Like maybe if I wish on a shooting star and find fairy dust in a secret forest somewhere.
Regardless of the stars in the sky, and Tinker Bell’s leftovers, my Thanksgiving break will consist of three things: Food, my laptop, and Netflix.
Of course, between my food breaks, the overheating of my laptop, and stretching time between episodes of Scandal, I’ll have plenty of time to praise God for every graceful thing in my life.
What are you thankful for this year?
When I think about all that this year has consisted of, it’s hard to choose just one thing.
Honestly, I am so thankful for school. I know that sounds witty and what not, but I’m serious. I don’t know where I would be if it weren’t for MidAmerica–I can’t imagine my life any other way. And though I have four jobs that keep me on my toes, homework and papers up to my elbows, and professors who assign the same due dates, I am glad to be in college.
SO yeah, considering everything else going on in life, this Thanksgiving might actually be epic.
I get a break from work.
I get a break from homework (Ha, well sorta).
And I get a break from stressing out completely!………..well, that’s debatable…..but you get my jist, don’t you?
Tell me, what are you thankful for this year? Is it for the same thing I’m thankful for? Or, I bet it’s something different. Feel free to share if you’d like. If not, I guess you can keep all your grace to yourself
But Hey, I guess I don’t need the fairy dust and falling stars after all!
It’s another great day to write a blog and share with you my thoughts! The past few weeks I have been thinking a lot about thankfulness. It makes sense considering we are approaching Thanksgiving (which by the way is my favorite holiday!).
I was listening to a sermon at my church a few weeks ago about this idea of thankfulness. It’s funny how often we use words on a regular basis, but never really dive down deep and figure out what they really mean. My pastor talked about the difference between gratitude and thankfulness, thankfulness being something more than just a feeling. “Gratitude is like wrapping a present, but never giving it.”
This has been a new revelation for me these past weeks. Thankfulness is gratitude expressed. How often do I feel gratitude for what people do for me, but never show it? I would say a lot, and the difference between the two is significant.
My pastor challenged us to write three things down we were thankful for each day of the week, and to share them with one another. I thought it was such a great challenge that I thought some of you guys would consider trying it! The importance of writing it down and sharing it is important because it takes it a step further than just thinking about it in your head. It requires action. If you find yourself writing a person’s name down, share it with them! If you find yourself writing about food and shelter, volunteer and bless those who don’t have those accommodations! The easy part is thinking of them and feeling gratitude, but let’s take it a step further and be thankful!
These are the three things I wrote for today!
1. New Experiences! My MNU family!
I have been so thankful for this new stage of my life. Meeting new friends, learning new things in new ways, and being apart of a new community!
2. My Brother and Sister!
They are such a support for me, and I love them very much! Plus they are just really cute
3. The Month of November
November is my favorite month of the year! We have a 9-1 Chiefs team, we have a Jayhawk team that beat Duke last week, we have the Missions Conference at my church (my aunt and uncle are missionaries and I get to see them!), we have pretty fall trees at the beginning of the month, we have Christmas music at the end of the month, and we have Thanksgiving!! What else could be better?
That’s my blog for the week! Accept the challenge I give if you are so brave… Oh and if you are looking for a church in the area, check out Cross Points Church in Shawnee!
Thanks for stopping by!
Follow me on tweeter and insta @haleyraydoo and @mnublogs
(Please enjoy the sweet sounds of Sleeping At Last while reading this post)
Attention Blog World:
You may have been misled by our blogfeed as of this week. You may think based on the title of this post that the current season is that of TWIRP, which as you have probably figured out by now stands for MNU’s annual tradition: The Woman Is Required To Pay. While I did not TWIRP anyone, (see my post about dating,) I’m here to introduce a new topic to our faithful 6 readers out there.
The holidays are upon us! It’s official. Thanksgiving is less than 2 weeks away, Christmas is 40 days away, and the new year is 47 days out! (ish-depending on how you count.)
I have spent approximately 40 hours this week on Pinterest looking at fun Christmas decor and Christmas crafts and Christmas vegan crockpot recipes, all the while listening to Christmas music. The Target Christmas commercial really gets me in the mood and I’ve been to Target about 3 times this week just meandering throughout the seasonal section. I love the Holidays!
Now, before you formulate your comment about how much you hate that I’m skipping over Thanksgiving and jumping right to Christmas or how Christmas is too materialistic, I’d like to address them right off the bat.
I think it’s absolutely absurd that Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years have to be separate. When I say “Christmas,” I’m not talking about one single day- It’s the season. The one thing I’m thankful for most is Christ, so the whole season is a time to be Thankful. To separate the holidays is to abide by the materialistic component. There is no research in what I’m about to say, but I think it’s poetic that the Christmas season is kicked off by Thanksgiving: a time to reflect on all the things we are thankful for, which then leads into the birth of our Savior, which is the top of the Thankfulness chart, and then into New Years- a time to put our reflection to action start new.
It’s possible to focus on the lasting memories made at Christmas time, and not just the passing material gifts. Let me give you an example: I was in 1st grade and woke up on a snowwy Lawrence morning to what seemed like a MILLION Christmas presents under the tree. It’s always been one of my mom’s things to make sure that we open presents for hours- One year when we were broke, she even wrapped up necessities like cleaning supplies and a new toilet seat to give us the “Christmas Miracle” feel. ANYway, while I remember waiting patiently to open what felt like my hundred presents, I don’t remember what I got, except one prized gift.
Yes, my Nsync “Home for Christmas” album. I’m listening to it as I type! While it may be that I remember this moment so clearly because I then and still on occasion believe Justin Timberlake is who the Lord has set aside for me, it meant so much to me that my mom went the extra mile. She took interest into what I was interested in, which is the biggest service you can do for a person IMO (in my opinion.) I didn’t even ask for this CD, but she knew how much I love(d) Nsync and got a special CD for me and even marked it, “From Santa.” I totes knew it wasn’t from Santa because I didn’t put it in my letter I sent him, and that made me love it even more. It’s not about the gift, it’s about the demonstration of love.
3.“The Man”is notout to get you.
As a marketing student, I can tell you that I’ve had a lot of conversations about campaign ideas, none of which started out with, “How are we going to drive America into materialistic death today,” OR “We gotta get those people to stop focusing on the God component of Christmas and more on the cheap crap they’re gonna need under the tree.” If you feel like you are having a hard time focusing on “the reason for the season,” it’s not because of advertisements, it’s because of overindulgence. I’m just as guilty of this as the next American Citizen. Turn off the TV, put down the ads, stop filling your Cartwheel coupon book. The things advertised are not meant to be the focus of your holiday- they are meant to enhance it. It’s kind of like makeup. Makeup is not your beauty, it just enhances it. (Realizing that this as well as any other analogy eventually breaks down, don’t think about it too hard.) It is your own choice to be consumed by consumerism, so take some responsibility.
While it seems like the whole world revolves around Christmas this time of year, it is definitely important to realized that it doesn’t. For many people, Christmas is just another day. It is a privilege to be able to take time off and spend even a day with loved ones reflecting on all that we are thankful for. A heart wrenching statistic I recently read was that 100 million people in our world are homeless. A related stat estimates that 80% of humans trafficked are homeless when taken. This post is not to guilt you by any means, but it is important to keep in mind the bigger picture. Slaves don’t get time off with their families.
I found this Slavery Footprint tracker online through Amor’s Blog. I was shocked to know that I personally employ 43 slaves. It takes like 5 minutes to calculate, and I would encourage you to try it.
While you may have many different feelings regarding your results, I want to encourage you that there are things you can do this Christmas to contribute to making our world a better place. Part of my internship this summer was creating an advent calendar called “24 Days of Disruption.” This is a cool 24 day challenge to Disrupt your ordinary Christmas and become more Christ focused this season.
Here’s a blog post with more information:
If you don’t click any other link I’ve provided, please read and watch more about this. Do Christmas differently this year. As your pinning your crafts and shopping for gifts and baking pumpkin bread, remember to take time and think about those who are not as fortunate. Commit to 24 Days of Disrupt and start new traditions to drive out the American tradition of worshiping “stuff” in the Christmas season. Take responsibility and action: you have been called to live a life higher than an imprisonment by your own things.
Your heart is beating out of your chest, your hands are clammy, the answer seems to be inevitably NO, but you hope for a miracle, questions and concerns involving the “what ifs” are running rampant, breathing is not possible because you forgot how, AHHHHH… welcome to TWIRP week.
The main topic of blogs this week is TWIRP- The Woman Is Required to Pay. It’s obvious that this event can be for those with significant others or someone who is simply eyeballin’. The ladies define this as a risky scenario of putting themselves on the front line of the battlefield known as dating.
A couple of our other bloggers have made it a point to address this. Now from a man’s point of view. Here are 4 reasons this time of the year is a bipolar occasion for the fellas as well.
1) A taste of their own medicine. The ladies get to experience what guys do the other 51 weeks of the year. The fear of rejection, laughter, and possible urination station is experienced on the reg! Us guys go through the “asking out” antics consistently. This is a breathe of fresh air and relaxation for guys to sit back and let the ladies flock….or not.
2) That awkward moment when… This time could also be a morally convicting one. There are girls that TWIRP you, as we call it, that came out of the woodwork. Basically, you didn’t see it coming! The moral standard is to be a good guy and say yes. However, some guys, like Terrin Garber #shoutout get asked by 3 different girls #hotcommodity and you have to decide if you’re going to be “that guy” and turn the poor girl down or you would feel too bad because you know the taste of rejection all too well. I would say always say yes, it’s free. Plus, the ratio of good to bad TWIRPs is in the positive’s favor.
3) In my khaki pants, OH OH OH.The ability to live out the beautiful structure of Relient K’s ever-famous Sadie Hawkins Dance. It’s as simple as that. I mean come on, who doesn’t want to be stopped by a girllll soooo stunning.
4) Chivalry is…? hmmm The ladies pay in this scenario. For some of us dudes, it’s not cool to let the lady pay! We want to be the care taker and open the door and pull out the chair and pay. It’s weird being the one who is receiving the chivalry. While it’s weird, it won’t always be around. My advice: EMBRACE IT MY BROS!
TWIRP, overall, has got to be a fellas favorite time of year. Beautiful ladies, free stuff, and women experiencing what us men do regularly.
FELLAS: Wear the clean underwear, fix your hair, for goodness sake shower at least twice this week, BE TWIRP-ABLE LADIES: Rejection is known by the gentlemen, they feel the pain. Get out there and be stunning to stop the dude in his tracks.
So this weekend I was blessed with the wonderful opportunity to go to Quapaw, Oklahoma to help lead worship for a fall retreat that was taking place for Central Church of the Nazarene and Mission Church! I got a chance to meet SO so many wonderful people, worship Jesus with them, have fellowship and laugh a TON. I was also able to go on a Zip-line, which was terrifying, but SO worth it at the same time! It was really an amazing weekend. I went with a worship team that was put together of 6 of us Mid-America Students and we lead worship throughout the whole weekend for the kids that were there.
If you don’t know me very well, I have a HUGE passion for worship. (Side story) When I first became a believer, worship was one of the things that really drew me closer into knowing the main attributes of God. I believe that worship brings us into a time with God that can be transforming for us in our lives and it also expresses to us who God is. I believe God uses worship in such a way of reminding us how loving, gracious, merciful, powerful, and mighty He really is! Not that other things can’t show us that as well, but I believe that God has placed a passion for music in my heart that really accentuates who God is personally to me. It has been such an amazing journey to come to this point, and I have definitely grown SO much through it all (and I am definitely still growing!)
I am just so thankful for Gods faithfulness in my life.
His unconditional love that has transformed me in every way possible.
And his grace that He has given to me every single day.
So here is a view of what all took place this weekend! Enjoy! :]
I had to put this picture in here because I just really love clouds and sunsets. You guys know that already. :] I took this picture on the way to the camp! It was the sunset as we were driving there! I really think this is also a way that Gods glory, his beauty, and creativeness is displayed.
This is a view of where the messages and worship took place! We also brought basketballs and other bouncy balls that the kids could play with!
This is after we got all set up and were about to practice for one of the worship sets!
Guys, this place was absolutely beautiful, and it was especially beautiful because of this time of year! I LOVE FALL!
Its kind of hard to see us, but this is my friend Erin and I! Erin is an intern at Central Church of the Nazarene and was helping run this camp! We got to go on the Zip-line together! It was such an amazing experience. The Zip-line was pretty high up there, but the view was absolutely breathtaking! We had those harnesses that strapped on to you, and you had to take a rope up with you (which was called your baby) and that rope attaches to the zip line so you can just hang from it as you glide down the line! It was also a freezing cold day, so by the time we were done, our hands and feet felt like they were going to fall off!
But overall, it was more than worth it! :]
This is Sarah and I! She has definitely been a huge blessing in my life and is teaching me every day how to be a wonderful leader and messenger of the truth that is Jesus Christ. She lead the worship team this weekend and I feel so incredibly blessed to know her!
Well I hope you enjoyed taking a look at what has been taking place in my life! I had a blast this weekend being with some wonderful people and resting in Gods presence. :]