Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Greetings

But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you.”
1 Samuel 12:24

As the end of 2007 draws to a close, this verse reminds me that I should truly consider what great things the Lord has done for me and my family. It is at this time of year that we celebrate the most important thing—the birth of Jesus Christ! I am thankful for the hope I have because of Jesus and the ways that this hope has transformed my life. I pray you too know this great hope—

This entire year has been a transition to teaching for me—I student taught at Pine Ridge HS in Deltona, Florida for 12 weeks last spring. Deltona is a suburb about 45 minutes north of Orlando; I taught under Erin Johnson, a seasoned teacher who taught me much about the art of teaching but most importantly about my own motivation to teach. May was the month that I graduated with my Master’s of Science in Agricultural Education and Communication from the University of Florida—Go Gators! I figured I might as well retire for a few weeks since I hadn’t been paid for the previous five months and I thoroughly enjoyed my time as a retiree—it gave me plenty of time to say good-bye to the amazing friends and family that I had made during my short two years in Florida.

God is surely generous as He helped me line up a job before I even graduated! I came out of retirement promptly after moving back to Arizona so that I could start my job as one of two Ag Ed teachers at Buckeye Union HS, which is about 45 miles west of downtown Phoenix. Teaching is honestly the hardest thing that I have ever done but I love it dearly. There have been a few potholes, some of them deeper than others, but God has given me a heart for this age group and this topic, both of which I am thankful.

My brother helped me find a beautiful home in Buckeye in early August and I moved in over the first weekend in September. Home ownership has been fun—I love figuring out where I want to hang things and am continually rearranging trying to find the perfect spot for items. The hardest part has been finding time to maintain my backyard and it currently looks like a small jungle—my goal for the spring is to mow it more than once every 12 weeks. What can you expect though when I spend more time in my classroom than in my own house?!

I wasn’t the only one in my family to move this year—both my mom and dad moved into new offices at the beginning of this year. Paul and Gretchen (my brother and sister-in-law) moved their four kids up to Cottonwood and are living in my grandparent’s old house which sits across the road from my parents. My sister, Anna, completed the year of great moves of the Groseta’s by moving in with me after she graduated from the University of Arizona with her BS in Agriculture Resource Economics and Management in December.

God’s blessing upon my life was far beyond what I deserved this year yet He continually showered down more. I praise God for the health and happiness of my family and am eager to start a new year full of exciting changes and new adventures! If you’re ever in the neighborhood, please stop by—I am never too busy to cook a good meal for good friends!

Blessings in Christ,


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

When opportunity knocks

2 Corinthians 4:11 says, "For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body." This verse is the answer I've been looking for over the past year in my search to understand what it means when I say I want to love God more. I have prayed, read the bible, meditated on, journaled, reflected, and discussed with friends what love is and what loving God more looks like in my life. I have been confused, frustrated and almost afraid of what the answer might be at times. But (the merciful "but") this scripture made it so clear--I am to die to my worldly self (translation: my own needs, wants, desires, justifications, etc.) so that Christ's character (translation: God is love) may be revealed in me.

Hmmph. Well, that seems pretty simple. And it's clear as day in my mind. No confusion, honest. I guess it's time to see if I truly want to love God more because we all know that knowledge without implementation is useless. What am I going to do with this new knowledge?

As I updated my friend Brian on this last night, he shared some insight--oftentimes when we ask for something from God, he doesn't just give us what we ask for. Instead, he gives us the opportunity to demonstrate more effort on our part to become that way. For example, when we ask for patience God doesn't always wave a magic wand and "wa-la" make us more patient, right? Oftentimes He will provide the opportunity to become more patient. Think about it--how many times have you prayed for more patience and then found yourself in the slowest line at the grocery store and behind the slowest car in every lane for the next two weeks? Or maybe you find yourself waiting for an answer for an additional month, or six months. And it's in these moments of opportunity that we find that God is more than enough for whatever it is that we want. He has enough patience, joy, love, grace, kindness, and mercy for any situation that we're ever in. Once we ask for it, we must make the connection between wanting it and knowing that God provides it.

So go on, ask for it. Do you want, to want God more? Do you want more mercy for those around you? Are you desiring more patience? God can knock your socks off if you let him.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Pictures I am thankful for...

Thanksgiving Day was absolutely beautiful! I couldn't have asked for better weather or better company. I am so in love with my nieces and nephews that it's not even funny. I hope you enjoy a few of my favorite pictures from Thanksgiving~
Gracie, my two-year-old niece is snacking on a cute!

Check out this super cute pilgrim on my lap-Dylan made this at school and sported it all day! When I asked her who the pilgrims were, she couldn't quite remember...but she learned real quick and could tell me the rest of the day!

My two nephews are heart throbs, aren't they? Pete turned one on November 23rd and he is so cute when and he smiles (and even when he doesn't)! I'm not really sure why Jake didn't smile for this picture, but at least it looks like I had a good time. Totally diggin' his trucker hat!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


I know it's not Valentine's Day, but love has been on my mind a lot this past year and I was reminded of that this morning as I listened to Toby Mac's song "I was made to love." I attended the Passion '07 conference in Atlanta, Georgia last year and several speakers really challenged my thoughts on loving God. I know I love God, but I have a really hard time wrapping my small mind around this HUGE concept.

The bible says God is love--how do I love love? How do I love God more? What does it mean to love God? What will loving God more look like in my life (I am very visual)? With the help of the Holy Spirit I have sorted through some of this jumble of thoughts over the past year and right now, simply put, loving God more looks like loving others more. In practical, every day ways. God created people, and He loves his creation. If I am to become like Christ that means I too must learn to love people in the same way that Christ does. Selflessly. Unconditionally. Mercifully. Graciously. Consistently. Perfectly.

On top of it all, I know that I am already unable to love the way that I am supposed to. Again though, I must remember that God's love is so sufficient and generous in my life, that I am able to, in a very small way, begin loving as Christ did.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I am thankful for...

  • My friends, family, and the fellowship of my many. Often times I sense God's favor most when I am reminded of the wonderful relationships that I am blessed with. God has shown me that he values relationships and I am trying to become more relationship focused rather than being so occupied with being productive and efficient all the time.
  • Having access to the world's safest, most abundant and most affordable food supply. Isn't it wonderful the confidence we have each time we enter the grocery store. Yes, I would like to see more American grown products in the super market, but I am confident that the food I consume is safe above all else.
  • My students!! (and my job:)) Regardless of anything else in my life right now, I feel so blessed to have the students I do. I pray that I am able to develop a meaningful teacher-student relationship with each one. I pray that not only do they process the technical content I teach but more importantly I pray that they feel valued in my classroom. With the ever-changing landscape of demands upon teachers, it is easy to lose sight of my objective in teaching. I want to develop considerate, kind young people who know how to think on their feet and make good decisions regardless of the topic or situation.
  • God! I couldn't be more blessed, truly and honestly. I am a child of the living God. I have hope because of Jesus. In all things, through all things, despite all things, I can approach each day with a renewed sense of purpose and meaning because I know that God is in control and works for the good of those who believe in him. Praise God for his goodness and mercy!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

68 degrees

No, I am not talking about a new boy band! God blessed the West Valley with beautiful weather this past week; as I left my house at 6AM on Wednesday morning it was 68 degrees. Can you believe that? Man, I love it when the mornings are finally cool...can anyone say sweater weather? Not yet anyway:)

I just completed my seventh week of teaching--that means it has been seven weeks since my last entry. So much has happened--teaching is definitely the hardest thing that I have ever done. I don't think I have ever experienced so many ups and downs emotionally as I have over the past seven weeks. God is good though because through it all He has given me a heart for this age group and each of the students that I have been entrusted with. I trust Him to bring me through it and teach me in it all.

I am enjoying the church that I have been attending (you can view the website at Our weekly home groups start this week and I am very much looking forward to getting to other church members on a more personal level. I am very hungry for fellowship! Please pray for me as I look into ministry opportunities at church: nursery, greeting, set-up, break down, etc.

I finally invested an afternoon into working on stuff around my house this past weekend. My project list is growing as I get more ideas for decorating and moving furniture. I need to plant rye grass in my backyard so I can have a green lawn this winter but at the rate I have been working it is looking highly doubtful that I will get that accomplished. My good friend, Todd Rovey, has kind of volunteered for the job...maybe I will make him dinner in return!

Fall Break is in two weeks--please pray for continued consistency and persistence in teaching as I wrap this quarter up. Also, please pray for me that I might want to want God and that I would be more focused on Him and consumed by Him than I am by work.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Fabulous First Day

Drum roll please....I survived my first day!! It actually went by very fast--my feet and my throat hurt but don't you worry, I'll be ready for 'em again tomorrow! I have been blessed with very manageable class sizes (21, 11, 10, 20, 24) and aside from one class, I think everyone will be pretty darn cooperative.

I am definitely still in the honeymoon stage of this whole affair. Actually, let me describe that differently. I am naturally optimistic and the glass is always 90% full, so I have a feeling that things will continue to be great. I have a great custodian who cleans my room, the other Ag teacher is funny and warm, and I have been blessed with a wonderful CTE director both at the school and district levels. I am so thankful that I am here and am confident that God opened this specific door for me.

I opened escrow on the second house that I made an offer on on August 10th; the sellers want to complete everything pretty quickly and we are planning to close on August 22. I just may spend my first night on an air mattress in the living room:-) My parents and I (and anyone else who doesn't mind moving boxes) will be helping me move on that Saturday. I am so excited about this--again, God has blessed this venture. My brother found the house and everything else has fell into place.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Countdown to school-2 weeks

I have just about made it through a sweltering Arizona summer, enjoying each moment back in this unique landscape. It has been wonderful being so close to my family and I have tried to take advantage of spending time with them each chance I get. My brother and sister-in-law are actually in the process of moving up to my hometown, which is still where my parents live. I have spent the entire summer living like a gypsy--staying with family and friends all over the place as I travel and work odd jobs for various people. I am currently house sitting for a college friend of mine while he and his wife are in Wyoming.

I started looking for houses upon returning to Arizona in May and finally made an offer on one last week. The owner was not very cooperative and the counter offer was out of my price range. While I was a bit disappointed at the time I am at peace about being back on the house hunt again. I have been praying about whether or not I should continue looking right now or take a break for 4-8 weeks while I get my feet under me at school. Will you please pray for both this decision and the process?

School starts in two and a half weeks and I am soo looking forward to it! I have been organizing, cleaning, filing, and hole punching to my little hearts content and am ready to meet my students. I have six more whole days to work on lesson plans and then I start my new teacher orientation on July 31. I will start off with an FFA review and recordbook update in all five of my classes and then I will branch off into other areas after that. I have been spending lots of time trying to prepare for my two Ag Mechanic classes and the first unit we will cover will be woodworking/framing. Following that we will cover electricity....after that.....I can't actually remember right now. Good thing I have it written down!

Sunday, June 3, 2007

My first classroom

Last week I had the chance to tour the Ag building at my high school and.....(drum roll) classroom!! I still find it hard to believe that I have a classroom but I am so excited about it! While the classroom is bare right now, the walls will soon be covered with Arizona Ag posters and a bulletin board where pictures from the entire year will be posted. I'm pretty excited about decorating it:-)

The Ag building/facility is beautiful--so many resources that it is mind boggling. One of our assignments during a teacher prep course at UF involved designing our ideal Ag facility. Well, in all honesty this facility comes pretty darn close. The following is a list of resources that we have been blessed with:
  • The two classrooms have an air wall between that can be removed for larger, social functions.
  • Biotechnology lab
  • A computer lab for use only by our students
  • An office separate from the classrooms
  • A storage room...this may sound boring but storage space is definitely a commodity for any teacher, but especially Ag teachers!
  • A wonderfully large Ag shop where I will soon be teaching for half of each day
  • Greenhouse
  • A covered animal working facility where the annual Buckeye Ag Day is held
  • Several large tractors

As you can tell from the list, we have an enormous space and plenty of resources to keep us busy! I am beginning to think about the scope and sequence of my classes for this coming year, also know as what I will teach. I will post pictures of my classroom once I get it decorated in July.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Long Trip Back

After four days of driving we have safely arrived in Arizona! My two friends, Bonnie and Sara, flew out to Florida on Saturday, May 19th and we left Gainesville on Monday, May 21. The four day trip was a whirlwind trip of 2,150 miles and 36 hours. The following is a brief recap:

Monday: Drive through south Georgia, and eastern Alabama. Entered the Central time zone. Toured Auburn University and stayed that night in Birmingham.
Tuesday: Left Birmingham and drove to Memphis to tour Graceland. I never knew so much about Elvis! Left Memphis around 3PM, entered Arkansas and drove to Alma, AR to stay the night.
Wednesday: Entered Oklahoma--stopped by Shawnee, Oklahoma where my sister-in-law, Gretchen, grew up! Met some of her family and toured the small grocery store she worked at in high school. Drove to Norman and toured the University of Oklahoma. Drove to Amarillo, TX where we ate at The Big Texan, home of the 72 ounce steak eating challenge and stayed the night.
Thursday: Left Amarillo, entered New Mexico and the Mountain time zone. Ate lunch with my great Aunt and Uncle, Flora and Frank in Albuquerque. Entered Arizona and the Mountain Standard time zone. Arrived at my parent's house at 6PM and my parent's treated us to a fantastic mexican dinner at Su Casa-one of my favorites!

As you can see we enjoyed the trip--thank you for your prayers along the way! We didn't encounter any bad weather and we truly enjoyed catching up with each other. My game plan now is to begin looking for a house to buy in Buckeye before I start new teacher orientation in early August.

Love to you all and thank you again for your prayers! For my FL family--I look forward to staying in touch across the miles. For my AZ family and friends-I am glad to be home!

Love in Christ,