Wednesday, July 5, 2017

My First Five

So this week I, along with 29 others, are down in Orlando, Florida attending the Mennonite USA Convention. Over the years I've been to 5 of them and have loved and cherished all the times spent in different cities across the nation.  These conventions have greatly impacted my walk with Christ and have shaped me into the woman I've become today.

This time it is a little different because my brother, Cameron, and I are youth leaders instead of high school students! We have enjoyed getting to know the students better and to see them grow in the few days we've been here.

The theme for this week is "Love is a Verb." Seeing what it looks like to love like Jesus did and put that love into action.

Well tonight's worship session hit me like a ton of bricks. It was as if God was shining a spotlight on me, speaking into a megaphone saying, "Alright Kenz....listen up. This one is for you."

So we've all heard the question - "If you could choose any five people in the entire world to have dinner with, who would you choose?" Answers usually range from celebrities, favorite singers, family members who have passed, people throughout history, etc.

But tonight's message had a twist.

They challenged us to think of the five people we would NOT want at our table.

Who would be the absolute last people we would want to serve our favorite recipes to? Using our fanciest plates & glassware. Who would be the people we wouldn't let sit at our table to laugh and fellowship with? Who would we say "no" to if they asked to come in for a simple glass of water?

And so I asked myself - who is in my first five?

I often think of myself as someone who can get along with anyone. Someone who can meet a stranger and become friends instantly. (My mom jokingly tells me I could make friends with a wooden chair - LOL)

However, I hold the worst of grudges. Like bad grudges. Like ones that last years. When someone does me wrong and deeply hurts me, I honestly just want to write them out of my life. Erase them completely. It has gotten so bad that even someone's name can instantly put a fire in my belly and trigger immediate anger.

Well that sounds like someone who is kind, loving, fair, and full of grace doesn't it??

WRONG. That sounds like a terrible person full of hate, hostility, and just plain full of crap! This part of me is a major downfall in my life. It hinders me to grow toward my full potential and cuts off ties to people that I can reach.

One day I will be married, have a house and kitchen of my own, and I'll even have my own dining table. A table that will hopefully serve many, many people. A table that will have people young & old, from near & far, and people like & unlike me.

But before that can happen, there has to be a revolution. A transformation and complete renewal of my heart. If I want to love like Jesus and live according to how He would live and serve - then I have to get my head out of my butt and start acting more like Him.

It's simple, really. But simple doesn't always mean easy.

I've made mistakes. I've burned bridges. I've hurt others because I've been hurt. But I want to change that.

My home, wherever that may be, is always open to you -- whoever you are.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Dear younger me...

So I heard a song the other day called "Dear Younger Me" and it made me think about what I would tell my 15 year old self if I had the chance and this is what I would want her to know.

Dear younger me,

I didn't know where to start with this letter because I don't want to change who I've become. I've fought so hard to become a woman I'm proud to be. A woman who I would be proud for you to know.  So I thought of some nuggets of "wisdom" that I wish I would've known at your age.

Basketball is pretty much full go right now. You're in high school and getting to play on varsity! That is pretty impressive, but it isn't the most important thing in life. Don't get caught up in having your name being announced for the starting lineup or having your name in the paper. Those things won't matter after high school. Those things are fleeting and will perish...Now don't get me wrong. Basketball will be the best and worst thing to ever happen to you. You will meet your best friends, you will set records, and you will find joy in the game. But you will also find heartache in losses, frustrating practices, and get pushed around. Keep going. Work harder than you think is possible, because your body is capable of extraordinary things.

That shy blonde haired kid that will ask you to prom? Say yes. Get used to him, because he's going to be around for a loooooong time ❤️ And no matter what anyone tells you, you're never too young to fall in love. Remember that.

All 130lbs of you is wonderful and beautiful and lovely. I know you don't always love your body but embrace it. You can run, jump, shoot, rebound, and do things that not everyone has the luxury of doing. And your body is going to change drastically as you keep maturing. But that's okay because you don't want the body of a 12 year old forever. You're becoming a woman, and that is a beautiful thing.

Go visit Grandma Freda and Grandpa & Grandma Sundheimer more. You don't have forever with them.

Do the musical. Sing the National Anthem. Sing at church. Sing in the talent show.  Just do what you love without the fear of "judgy" eyes.

Remove toxic people from your life.

Invest in the people you want in your corner. When you find the person that will help hide the body of the person you just killed without question or hesitation, you've found your person.

You're not alone.

Always be kinder than you feel.

Fight for the underdog.

Be somebody who makes everybody feel like a somebody.

And please, for the love of all things holy and just, don't chop your hair off. It looks horrible. So just don't.

And really, you're going to be just fine. ❤️

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

A Year of Growth

Well, it's been almost an entire year since I last posted on here! I've been wanting to post some things for quite some time, but I just didn't have the right words to really say what I was feeling.

It was nothing philosophical, because Lord knows homegirl doesn't have those sort of words....but it was some of my thoughts and feelings and at that moment in time I wasn't ready to let those words out.

These aren't those words, but something else that has been on my heart....


So I'm finishing up my student teaching internship at West Holmes High School and I am 2 days away from being done with school and 10 days shy of that long awaited diploma! (cue the confetti and balloons, am I right?) But the other day I was walking into the school around 7:15am. It was a gloomy morning - to most people a crappy way to start a day - but I was in serious awe and just happy...But I had this overwhelming feeling of thankfulness and gratitude. 

I was thankful for a family that I can come home to; a warm house with a decorated Christmas tree and a coffee pot that is minutes away from a fresh cup of coffee to sip on. 🎄⛾

I was thankful for my two brothers and new sister-in-law! 💜

I was thankful for a boyfriend that constantly makes me laugh and gives me a reason to smile every single day, but in the same breathe, can tell me how it is and put me in my place when I'm being a brat (LOL). I was also thankful for a new found love of hunting in me that lets us enjoy more time together in the woods. 💙

I was thankful for my 7th grade basketball team that continually teaches me patience but has also reminded me that basketball is FUN. 🏀

I was thankful for my 79 year old grandma who is still kicking cancer's butt. I'm fortunate enough to get to spend another year of holidays with such a crazy, special lady. 💚

I could go on and on and ON, but I'll spare you. I don't know why, when I walked in that morning, I felt such a sudden feeling of gratefulness, but I needed to share! Maybe it's just the holiday spirit in me and the excitement of Christmas coming up or that I have "graduation goggles" on ("Graduation goggles" is a term used to describe the relief and nostalgic feeling one has about a time in their life when it is about to end, even if the time was horrible. You can thank How I Met Your Mother for that one haha).

When I think about graduation coming up here on the 17th, I get excited for multiple reasons. One reason being that I can say I graduated college! Growing up I never thought I would go to college, let alone finish! It wasn't an easy ride by any means so I'm PUMPED to walk across that stage in a week and a half! My other reason is that it signifies the start of a new season of my life! Does that scare the crap out of me sometime? Hell yeah it does. But does it mean that some of the best times in my life are just around the corner?

Again I say - HELL YEAH.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Closure and New Beginnings

Day 365/365

How is that even humanly possible?

This was a whirlwind of a year to say the least; every emotion was felt, countless hours were spent in the gym, a whole journal was filled with my chicken scratch, and every sense of the word "normal" was redefined. But man, am I thankful I went through each of those things.

At times I felt like I was on top of the world, like I could do anything and the world was on my side. But then there were some pretty dark days where I didn't think I would ever see the light.

2015 has taught me a few things:

1. Make an effort for the people you love and care about. Whether you've known them for 5 days or 21 years...When you care about someone, put in the effort. Don't let distance, fear, or any other factor play a part in how much effort you put into relationships.
2. It is okay to not be okay. No matter how much of a control freak you are or how stubborn you may be, it is OKAY to NOT be okay. And asking for help and admitting you aren't okay is quite possibly the most liberating feeling ever.
3. Work really, really hard for the things you want. You might not reap the reward at the exact time you want it, but eventually, your time will come and all the blood, sweat, tears, and time you put in will pay off.
4. RELATIONSHIPS TAKE WORK. I'm not just talking about romantic relationship either people. It takes work to have good relationships with your parents, friends, siblings, coaches, teachers, bosses, etc. It won't always be easy...but if you really love them, it is beyond worth it.
5. Nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing, is too silly to pray about.
6. Following/obeying what the Lord is telling you might not be what you want to hear and it might make your life messy for a short time, but I'm telling you -- when you do follow Him he is going to honor your obedience.
7. Being apart of a team that is 100% invested and cares more about each other's success than their own is one of the most rewarding experiences ever.
8. When you find those "forever friends", hold onto them and never let them go.
9. There is no pit so deep that God's love is not deeper still.
10. Three of the most important things in life: live, laugh, and (MF) love.

I hope you can look back at this last year, learn from the bad, cherish the good, and step into 2016 ready to kick some ass.

Cause 2015 was a game changer.
But I'm ready to see what 2016 has in store for me.


Sunday, September 27, 2015

25 Things I've Learned from my Mom

Mothers are everything. I mean, the world wouldn't be able to move on without them! And on that note, I HAVE THE BEST MOM EVER. Yes, I know that everyone thinks that their mom is the best, so we'll just agree to disagree who has the better mom...

But in my short 21 years (when did THAT happen?!), I've learned so much from the one and only "Shelly Bea" and I wanted to share some of those things with here goes nothing!

25 Things I've Learned from my Mom

1. Always wash your face and take off your make-up before you go to bed.

2. Learn to say "no" to people if you don't want to do things they are wanting you to do. You aren't forced to do anything you don't feel comfortable doing.

3. Never quit something, like a sport for example, in the middle of the season. Stick it out until the end and then decide if you still want to quit.

4. Find a man that treats you like a queen.

5. Don't be afraid to start something just because its scary. And when you start that "something new" don't stop until you've kicked it in the ass.

6. She handed down the best recipe of cookies known to man. She taught me how to soften the butter without melting it too much, how to put the pans in the oven while you are mixing the cookies so they don't take as long to cook, how to use newspaper as drying racks, and of course - how to eat them with milk right out of the oven.

7. Laying in bed with your mom on a Saturday morning will always be the best thing ever...even when you're in your twenties.

8. Show love to every person that you meet; despite the color, religion, disability, age, etc. of that person. Everybody deserves respect from you.

9. She taught me that music is good for the soul. Whether you need a good jam sesh of Taylor Swift or you're going use music as your way of worshipping the Lord - music is just so good for the soul.

10. There is NEVER a time when coffee and chocolate aren't a good idea.

11. Shopping the clearance rack, shopping at Good Will, and hand-me-downs aren't lame.

12. On the topic of shopping: When your mom grabs something off of a rack, don't wrinkle your nose. Chances are it will fit perfectly and it will be your favorite item in the whole stack of clothes.

13. You aren't weak if you cry.

14. Nothing is ever too small or too silly to pray about.

15. Always make time for the people that you love....You never know when the last time you get to talk to them will be.

16. Don't dry clothes that you don't want to shrink (Sorry for all the clothes of yours I've ever shrunk mom....)

17. No matter what you do or say, your mom is always going to support you and love you more than you can ever imagine.

18. She taught me to be a woman of God in this messed up world.

19. Never let someone walk all over you. It doesn't matter if you are a Kindergartener or a grown woman, bullying is going to happen...but NEVER let anyone treat you poorly - and if someone does mistreat you, its okay to sit on your mom's lap and let her hold you.

20. She taught me to be beautiful in my own skin. Even though that is one of the toughest things I battle with, she reminds me day in and day out that I am the daughter of not only her, but of a king that is not moved by the world!

21. You have to work at relationships. They aren't always going to be roses and rainbows and that is OKAY! You will go through trials and hardships but if you truly love someone you will always find a way to make it work.

22. Always behave and use your manners. (I've heard this every single time I've left the house)

24. Moms know EVERYTHING you do...and if they don't know they will be able to find out in about .05 seconds.

25. Its cool to have your mom as one of your closest friends.

This is honestly just scratching the surface of the wisdom that my mom has instilled in me. I could go on and on and on about Shelly Bea, but I'll just stop right here.

If you're reading this and you smile and you're thinking of your mom, call her.....tell her you love her and thank God because you've got a good one.

Monday, March 9, 2015

A Full Heart.

It is already 9 days into March...We've had 68 days of 2015. Unreal I'll tell ya. 

Time moves so fast the older I get. Days just fly by, especially if you have a rare day off for basketball which today is one of those days. When I was younger, I used to think that I would never grow up. I thought a 21 year old was just the oldest, coolest, and most mature person I had ever seen. (Probably because my aunt Stacy was that age and she was, and still is for that matter, the coolest person I knew) HA! I'm 21 now and I feel like a baby and don't have my life together. 

But when I really think about it....Yeah, what I'm going to do after college is up in the air, but WHO I'm going to be with? There is no question. 

My heart is so unbelievably full. With love, with passion, and with hope. 

Filled with love because I have the most wonderful guy to do life with. Kenny Miller is a rare gem that stumbled into my life as a 15 year old girl and easily became one of the most special people I've been blessed to know. HIS heart makes me want to be just like him; I want to see the good in every single person I come into contact with, love people unconditionally, and be the person everyone can count on no matter what the circumstances. That's what Kenny has filled my heart with...Not to mention the endless laughter, late-night heart to hearts, and overwhelming support. (This guy drove 13 hours with Mom and Cam to Michigan Tech to watch me play the sport I love...Unbelievable.) 

Filled with passion because I'm still playing the game I love for another year. Yeah it gets tough, but what isn't tough at some points? I also know I'll some day have a classroom of my own and be an Intervention Specialist which is my dream to change the lives of children with disabilities. I have a passion for teaching and nobody can take that away. 

Filled with hope for so many reasons. I know who I am in Christ. I am the daughter of the KING for crying out loud! I know that the people I love are filled with the holy spirit and are alive in Christ. I know that some day in the future I will be married to a man of God who isn't afraid to show it. I am filled with hope because I know who holds that future. I may not know what that future will be filled with, but I do know who holds it. And for that, I am hopeful. 

In this life I know who is going to be by my side through thick and thin. I know I'll have Kenny, my family, and my life-long friends (you know who you are).

I know that pain comes to destroy you, but I also know that joy comes in to save me from that pain.  

But through all the things life throws at me... I have a full heart. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Saying Goodbye.

November 18th, 2014. 

This was such a whirlwind of a day. So much emotion.

I had 3 missed calls on my phone...I knew something was wrong. 

After finding out that my grandma wasn't doing well, Cam and I raced back home from school to my grandma's house along with the rest of my family -- Jordan still on his way back from Akron. 

We had gotten there around 1pm. And thus started the longest waiting game of my life. 

Long story short, we waited until around 7 or 8pm until Grandma Freda took her first breath in heavenly air. Her first breath in years without an oxygen tank. As hard as it was to let her go, she was in SUCH a better place. 

Yeah. But it sucked. I didn't want to go through that. But you know what was amazing in the midst of this? My family came together. Closer than we have ever been before. We were all surrounding her when she went and that is something I will treasure my entire life. 

I don't think it's fair that I had to lose my grandma at 20 years old. But that is me being so INCREDIBLY selfish. I know there are people who have lost parents at younger ages than I am now. I know I am blessed to have had those 20 years with her. But that doesn't make it any easier. I wanted her at my wedding. I wanted her to see her great-grandchildren. And I'm sure there is a window in heaven where she will be able to, but it just won't be the same. 

My grandma Freda was such a giving person. She basically raised 4 children by herself and then helped raise my brothers and I without ever complaining once. She just loved giving her time and energy to others. Whether that was giving out plates of cookies out during the holidays or painting Christmas ornaments and giving them as gifts. Or like when Cam and I were born, one of us was lying on a nerve in my mom's leg (I think that was me....oops) and she could barely walk. My dad was trucking at this time, so my grandma would come over every night to help my mom out and help with us and Jordan. Her and Stacy were constantly coming over for supper.  

She came to every soccer game, baseball game, track meet, and basketball game she could of ours. I could always count on her. I loved seeing her in the crowd and knowing she was cheering me on. 

I'm going to miss going over to her house and getting all my favorite treats out of her candy drawer. That thing was always filled with goodies. 

I'm going to miss getting phone calls from her and leaving voicemails that always started with, "Hi McKenzie, it's Grandma..." (Almost as if she didn't think I knew it was her even with caller ID ;)  ). I'm so thankful because I have a handful of voicemails I have saved over the last year or so. Whenever I want to hear her voice I can go listen to those little treasures. 

I'm going to miss her calling our dog Lilly "Milly." I'm going to miss her tickling my back whenever I asked her to. 

I'm going to miss baking and decorating Christmas cookies with her every year and playing Rummy Cube during the Holidays. 

These are just a snippet of the things i'm going to miss about my grandma Freda. 

This coming holiday season is going to tough not having her here. But knowing that she gets to spend her first Christmas in heaven with the Jesus that died for our sins is beyond comforting. How amazing is that? She gets to spend Christmas celebrating with the Heavenly Host. *chills*

The song that keeps coming to my mind is one that we sang at her funeral and that my grandpa Sundheimer sang in his quartet....

"Well there's a golden street to walk upon, a bell i'm gonna ring. A brand new angel in the choir, I wanna hear her sing. There'll be a lot of friends a waiting when I walk through the gates. I've got more to go to heaven for than I had yesterday." 
That image of her getting into heaven on those golden streets and singing in that heavenly choir makes me beam. This is what makes it better. For now...

I'm thankful for the lives she touched.

I'm thankful to know she loved the Lord.

I'm thankful for the legacy she left in my family. 

I'm thankful in the midst of sadness.