The Storage room

About a month ago I got home from a short term missions trip in Thailand. I was working with missionary kids during a mission conference. After a missions trip, I don’t know about you, but I always search for some takeaway that would change my life drastically.

Unfortunately on the few missions trips I have been on I have yet to find the big, special life changing moments. But there are little things. Like a little five year old boy whom hadn’t spent much time with me at all remembering my name when saying goodbye. Or when the missionary kids ooh and ahh over strawberries because they don’t get them in the countries that they live in. Or the night where I watched the children watch a movie. I laughed at the sea of laughter that happened whenever something funny did. And prayed over them as they giggled. About where they would go, what they would do and who they will be.

The Australian nine year old who had to go get her cutlery. The little girl who held my hand and was sure she had seen me before (which is impossible). Even when they put too much icing on the cookie at snack time.

Anyway, the big moment, that mysterious epiphany, the calling and life transformation Is not as good as it sounds. It turns out that the little sweet, and tender moments can be more impactful.

One of these precious moments from my trip takes place tucked away in a little storage room. With an old couch, a few baby toys and a mustard yellow blanket on the floor. Here about eight babies would be dropped if each day to be babysat and taken care of. Here I held a sweet four month old baby girl and rocked her to sleep. She fell asleep with her tiny fist around one of my fingers. And here I held her for about an hour. And it was here in the little storage room with baby in arm that was my big moment. A big moment of peace, of joy, of love. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

So all this to say, when you are looking for the big moment when you are expecting a life change. Maybe look for it in the storage room.

The Kid who “can’t”

In one of my classes a couple weeks ago, I was trying to teach a group of ten 4 to 8 year-olds their ballet dance. But one of the girls who is on the younger side of this wide age span stood motionless as the sweet sugar plum fairy song played through the air.  She stood there staring absentmindedly at herself in the mirror as the rest of the little ballerinas boureed and turned around the floor.  After the song was through I asked the little girl why she wasn’t dancing with us.

“Miss Alley, I don’t know how to. I can’t do it.” I know in fact that this little one is capable of all the moves that we were doing, the problem was that she thought that she couldn’t do it. She didn’t even try.  “You can do it!” I say, I encounter this little issue often so in my usual fashion I get on my knees behind her and help her balance so she doesn’t fall and I take her foot gently in my hand and maneuvered her foot for her. I am manually moving her body for her because she will not even try to move on her own.

Now that I have manually moved her foot for her I know for a fact that this kid is capable.  So I let go and say now you try.  And she stands there un-moving. “I can’t” she says once again. “Well you’ve got to try.” I tell her and then move on to work with the other littles in the room.

Isn’t that just human nature though? I know I tell myself I can’t do things. Like I can’t get my homework done now, I am too tired. Or various excuses.

I have had a very real encounter with this truth in my faith recently.  I have struggled this year to have the time to do my daily devotions.  For years I have woken up and done my devotional spending about forty-five minutes with the Lord, praying and reading the word. But this year with a new job I have been stretched very thin. I have been waking up an hour and a half earlier than last year. And when I try to sit and do my study I fall asleep, or at least have very heavy eye lids, even with coffee in my system.

Therefore I have been starving myself of the word and not spending nearly enough time with God.  It makes for long busy days and a lack of my heart. And I feel like I can’t keep myself awake in the morning. And I can’t make time in the rest of my day to open my Bible. I am the kid who can’t. 20171016_180830

But God in His graciousness has gently bent down and taken my hand. And despite the fact that I have not been able to spend much time with Him daily. I have the word poured over me through the people that I see at church and my friends and family.  And He has taught me so much even through what has felt like a spiritually stretching time.  God has used sermons, stories and songs to teach me.

Although, a spiritual walk still takes effort on our part. God please help me to find a way to spend time with you and to grow with you, you have given me all the tools to do that. And I know by His power I can. I can wake up a little earlier, I can pray in my car on the way to work. I can shut off this little thing called social media.

Oh and about that little ballerina, she dances like the sugar plum fairy herself now.

Alley the Dancing Chef

How do you not awkwardly start blog?  Probably not like this, but I guess I will start with sharing a few things about myself. First of all, I’m Alley!

I am a dance instructor.  I get to share the love of dance with a bunch of little kids on a daily basis. Imagination in a necessary qualification for this job, as is a certain capacity of patience.  But there is nothing more rewarding when a little girl in a pink tutu tells you how much she loves you every time she sees you. Or when another comes in with a grin ear to ear eager to tell you about her grades on her report card. Sometimes I get funny gifts like a colored picture of a tractor, or a page full of random math.  There is nothing that makes me feel more like a super hero more than a little ballerina exclaiming ‘Miss Alley!’ when I walk in the room.20171104_175945.jpg

I am also a cook. I just graduated from culinary school and I have started working at the café at the school I just graduated from. I love to cook and I am passionate about helping people with my cooking. Serving people makes me feel happy and satisfies me, it makes me feel like I am doing something worthwhile.  One of my favorite moments of serving food to someone happened at Bible camp.  I was serving brownies my back facing what felt like a mile-long line of eager kids.  Then a little girl wrapped her arms around me from behind me and hugged me.  She looked up at me with a huge grin and exclaimed how excited she was to have a brownie.

I love my family dearly, my mom and dad are amazing, loving beautiful people and my five siblings much the same.  Growing up in a big family is a huge part of what makes me who I am today.  I have been so blessed beyond measure.  Not to say we haven’t seen our share of hard times, but I have the best support system to back me up.  God knew exactly what He was doing when He put me where I am.

There are many other things that enjoy, like crafting, drawing, hiking, gardening and the outdoors in general. But there is one thing that I hope defines every part of who I am.  My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. There is not enough I can say about my God.  He saved me from my sins, and has carried me through the hard times, and has restored me to new life.  He has never left my side even though my heart is so prone to wandering.  He challenges me, renews me, and teaches me.  I want everything I am to point to Jesus.  Because I owe everything I am to Him.  This blog is a place where I will share about my varied adventures, lessons and experiences as I navigate life.