“Koinonia”

This week, I had the privilege of guest blogging over at Gentile Next Door! I posted the content here on I Am Kelly, but would strongly encourage you to check out Patricia’s blog as well. She has a lot of great things to say, and is overall a pretty amazing person.

koinonia

As soon as I saw that Patricia was going to start this blog series, I knew that I wanted to join in on the conversation.

Koinonia can mean many different things: community, sharing, contribution, intimacy, or fellowship.

 Among Believers, Koinonia is not only fellowship with Christ, but is also fellowship with other Christians in a partnership of faith.

 In the New Testament, Paul uses this word in reference to the intimate fellowship shared between the believing community and Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 1:9), as well for the sharing of material things.

(I definitely took this right from the word study Patricia so graciously provided)

 So what does Koinonia mean to me?  

For the past few days, I thought a lot about the idea of Koinonia, and how it truly relates to my own personal life.

 My desire, and what I feel God has called me to do, is to enter into full time missions. Caleb and I have dreams of starting a school and an orphanage, and ultimately hope to make this our life’s work. However, this will never be accomplished without the help of fellow Believers.

We need prayer.

We need monetary donations.

We need friendships. 

We need Koinonia.

 This spirit of communion among other Believers is so vital to the success of our future ministry. Caleb and I need people to share in our triumphs, but more importantly, our failures.

I love when Paul writes to the church in Corinth and says:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. (2 Cor. 1:3-7)

I cannot even begin to count the ways God has comforted me during what seemed to be the worst of times.

Yet, what kind of person would I be if I did not extend this same comfort and grace to others?

 We need to encourage one another in Christ, but at the same time, we need to be willing to share in each other’s sufferings.

Like I tell the kids in my preschool class, “You need to have listening ears.” It’s so easy to listen without really hearing, which often clouds our ability to understand the needs of others.

That being said, Caleb and I need people to cry with us, to laugh with us, to guide us.

We need people to fight alongside us for our vision and our ministry.

 It is so easy to get distracted and discouraged in this world, and that is when fellowship steps in and saves the day.

When you are one step closer to giving up, and you suddenly find someone else that says:

“I’ve been there, but this is not the end.”

This is Koinonia.

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Senior Year

Let’s go back to the fall of 2009, when I was a cute freshman, in an Elmira College beanie. All the new students had to wear one during orientation, and I was proud to do so.

Sitting next to me is Wendy, my very first roommate.

She made me nervous at first with her intense love for cows, but soon became one of my closest friends on campus and in the world. She is kind, caring, hilarious, and is basically Chummy from Call The Midwife.

Wendy is a nurse, and is going to impact so many lives here in the US, and around the world. (Even if she doesn’t know it yet)

Just writing about her makes my heart hurt because I miss her so much. Maybe one day she’ll join Caleb and I when we live overseas. *Wendy, if you are reading, this is a big hint.*
ELMIRA freshman

My Major: Speech & Language Disabilities

My Interests: Finding a boyfriend, looking at wedding dresses and engagement rings online, Nutella

FYI: (I wasn’t as shallow or uninteresting as this list makes me out to be, I just can’t remember what all of my interests were…)

My Goals: I think at this point it was to become a Speech Therapist, and to eventually travel the world with my rich musician husband. I thought a lot about becoming a Globe Trekker host.

Fast Forward five years: the fall of 2014. 

I am now a Senior at Valley Forge Christian College in Phoenixville, PA, donning a pair of sparkly diamond rings, and unnecessarily huge frames. Scrunched up next to me is one half of my pair of roommates; Milo, the cat. This picture accurately shows his distaste for me & my camera. 

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My Major: Early Childhood Education

My Interests: Building incredible Lego creations (haha), blogging, baby carrots, yoga, and spending great amounts of time with my husband & Milo.

(I also really love yard sales, taking naps, and going to bed at 10 p.m. I am an elderly person.) 

My Goals: To finish school next May, quit my wonderful job at the YMCA, and move to South Korea to teach English. Eventually, Caleb and I want to enter into full-time missions with Wycliffe Bible Translators as a teacher & a businessman.

Today, as I sat in 1 out of the 3 remaining classes of my Undergrad with Professor Aspito, I was inspired and encouraged. If you met this woman, you would understand why…it’s hard to be near her and not feel her passion for education, and for each of her students. I mentioned her in another post that you should definitely check out.

Before we delved into our syllabus, and started a lecture on teaching Social Studies, she began class by giving us a verse for our Senior Year.

It happened to be the perfect verse, and one that I needed for today, tomorrow, and for all the other days when I’ve wondered when I’m going to reach “the place.”

Sometimes I feel like Phoenixville is Egypt, and I’m working my way through papers, and long days at the YMCA to get to the promised land.

“See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared.” (Exodus 23:20)

I think back to my first day of college in 2009, and how little I knew about where I was going in life. I think about all the times when God protected me, and guarded my life, my purity, and my heart.

He brought me to Peru and stirred up my love for the people of South America, and gave me a desire for full-time missions. God provided the finances, grace, and patience I needed to get to and through all of these places, and you know what?

He’s not going to stop now.

God is going to bring me (and Caleb), to the place He has prepared.

And not only has He prepared the place, but He is constantly preparing usChanging and molding our hearts so that when the time comes, we’re ready.

Grateful Heart Monday

grateful heart monday

I loved linking up with Ember Grey so much last week that I decided to do it all over again! I really want to continue doing Grateful Heart Mondays because let me tell you….I found that it was extra hard for me to be grateful today, and I would have much rather wallowed in my bad mood than put in the effort to be positive. But when I stopped & thought back on my seemingly “bad day,” it honestly wasn’t as bad as I had originally thought. 

So, for my second Grateful Heart Monday, here are two things that I am grateful for:

1. My friend Chelsie:

Chelsie and I have been best friends since high school, and I am so thankful that we have remained close. She was in my wedding last summer, and I was able to see her this weekend….over a year later! I hope that we’ll be able to see each other again soon. 

We made waffles together, went window shopping at KOP, spent a rainy day watching movies, and went into Philly where we ate Pho, got hit on by a shirtless Rocky impersonator, and got a free chocolate ice cream cone from the nice ice cream truck man.

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2. Creative Inspiration: 

On Saturday night I came across a post by Megan over at No Small Life blog. It was all about how sometimes what we want and desire most in our lives is far from where we actually are. And you know what? This is how I’ve felt for the past four years of my life. I have these lofty dreams of traveling the world, and entering the mission field, and yet, here I am, in Pennsylvania, starting another year of school. Sometimes I just feel stuck.

And then I was reminded that God wants me to follow Him no matter where I am, and that He can use me here in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. I just need to be willing to give Him what I currently have: my talents, my time, my finances.

Megan also wrote about using what you have in your home to make it a new, fresh space. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I read this after visiting the shop West Elm, and drooling over all the beautiful furniture, centerpieces, owl salt & pepper shakers….oof the list goes on and on and on. I left the mall feeling discouraged, and jealous of people that have money to furnish their home.

I most definitely needed to be reminded that what I have in my hand, and in my home, is enough. 

Caleb and I have made our apartment cozy and beautiful, even while on a somewhat tight budget.

And you know what else? I can use my small space to show love and hospitality to others – I just need to be open and willing.

That Saturday, I raided through my closets, and found an old canvas square, paint, and a few brushes. 

I ended up creating this: 

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 I’m so excited to hang it on our wall! 🙂 

What are you grateful for today? 

-Kelly

kindergarten

Little did I know that I would love my preschoolers as much as I do.

I have watched them grow, and learn, and discover.

I have seen them cry over squished ants, wood chips, and misunderstood words.

They have captured my heart with their curiosity & hilarious anecdotes, yet driven me crazy with their love of Frozen

(If I hear “Let it go” one more time…)

As they move onto Kindergarten, I envy the teacher that gets to guess the contents of Benjamin’s surprise lunch container, hear Jeannie tell stories about her big sister Amy, or teach every one of these littles how to read. 

I want them to stay little forever, but I know that’s not fair to the world.

It would be a shame to keep them from releasing their potential, ideas, and passions into this world.

It would be a great loss, because they are smart, and capable, and bright.

They are funny, and sweet, and compassionate.

And they feel with greater feeling than most adults do.

So, dear Kindergarten teacher,

Please remember to encourage my students.

Let them know they are important, creative, and that they will make an impact with whatever gifts and talents they possess.

                 Not every one of them will be the same, and some will make you wonder if your words are being heard. Because chances are, you might have to repeat yourself a couple hundred times.

Love them, cherish them, inspire them.

And most of all, don’t forget to hug them and ask them about their day. 

Because you might be the only one that does.

 

grateful heart monday

I recently joined The Peony Project, which is a group for bloggers to find community among other ladies that have a passion for Jesus. I am so thankful for this new group, and I’m really excited to discover how I can expand my blog through the concept of a blogging community.

Anyway…

Today I decided to try something called Grateful Heart Mondaya linkup with Ember Grey.

I really love the idea of being grateful…even when you want to be negative and eat away your feelings.

I like what Emily said in her post: no matter how big or small the thing is that my heart is grateful for, it is still valid. It’s easy to look down upon yourself, or to belittle your feelings just because someone might have it “better” or “worse” than you. It’s not fair to think that way, and we should always look for ways to encourage and build others up. It’s actually really very important…

So, here are a few things that I am grateful for this Monday. 

1. My job & my supervisors: I don’t thank them enough, and it’s easy to be negative when you don’t see results and changes right away. However, I can’t even begin to think how much stress they must be under trying to find new staff members, or trying to boost morale within a group of people that complain…a lot. I’m also thankful that I can take classes like Piloxing and Yoga for no charge. It’s been a huge blessing.

2. Freezer Meals: We froze meals for the first time about a month ago, and have continued doing so every two weeks. I cannot begin to tell you how grateful I am that I didn’t have to cook today when I came home from work. I just popped that pan of Baked Ziti in the oven, and we were good to go. 

3. Running water & Electricity: This past winter was pretty ridiculous, and at one point, we lost power for five days. It was romantic at first….snuggling under blankets with Caleb, and watching a movie on my dying laptop by candlelight. But eventually, it just became annoying. I’m grateful that I was able to come home to light, and to a shower.

4. Finally, I’m grateful for my goals, and my work ethic: I thought about not including this one in my list, but I really am grateful for these two things. I’m grateful that working at the YMCA is not the end, and that I know in my heart that this is just a season. I’m grateful that I was taught how to work hard, and that I can contribute something to our bank account, even though I only work part time during the school year. I’m grateful that I am finally graduating this year with a 3.7 GPA. I’m grateful because I have hope that I will make an impact on this world.

What are you grateful for today? 

i am more than my ______, but mediocrity won’t change the world.

I am on tumblr…a lot. And I often come across this mantra:

You are more than your GPA

You are more than a number on a scale

You are more than your debt, or your scars

You are more

I understand this, I really do.

I understand that it’s easy to think you aren’t good enough because you don’t have a 4.0 GPA, or even a 3.0 GPA. I know what it’s like to have to retake a teacher certification test multiple times because I can’t seem to comprehend basic math skills.

It’s easy to hate your body when the media bombards you with images of perfectly photoshopped women. 

And it’s so hard to stay motivated when you are attached to $80,000 in debt.

I also know:

am more than all of these things.

I am kind.

I am creative.

I am gentle.

I am thrifty.

But I will not use this as an excuse to be mediocre.

I will not become lazy and stop trying my very best to achieve the very best grades. 

I will not stop eating well, and drinking water, and exercising.

I will not stop budgeting, and saving money, and working extra babysitting jobs to pay off my student loans.

I will not confine myself to my living room, hiding away from the world because I struggle with the fear of failure.

I am destined for greatness because my Heavenly Father told me so.

I am a missionary, and will forever be used to spread the love of Christ, whether I am here in Pennsylvania, or adventuring through the jungles of Peru.

I will never settle for mediocrity simply because society thinks it is acceptable to do so.

And I will not use this mantra to accept any less than what I know I am capable of achieving. 

I am more. I am more. I am more.

And so are you.

new york | pictures & words

city city

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This past weekend, Caleb and I took our last vacation/long weekend of the summer. We visited the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island, ate a sicilian pizza at L&B Spumoni Gardens, and were able to spend time with my Aunt Cindy and four younger cousins (Emily, Luke, Aaron, and Baby Joy). 

I learned four very important things on this trip: 

1. Be nice to everyone – especially the man in charge of the entrance to the Statue of Liberty.

I left my photo ID at my grandparents’ apartment, but he still let me go up to the crown after seeing my ticket, and my Facebook profile page. Thanks again, Ryan the ticket man. You’re awesome.

2. Children will always have more energy than you.

I work 32 hours a week with young children, and let me tell you… just because a child is your cousin, is cute, and is well behaved, does not mean they won’t wear you the heck out. They will most likely also eat more pizza than you.

I came back tired, but very happy.  

3. The Lego store is a let down. But building with legos is SO much fun.

4. Making sauce with my Papa is something I wish I had done more when I was younger.

For me, this was probably the highlight of our time in the city. Papa is one of a kind, and anyone who meets him is impacted in some way. He is encouraging, supportive, giving, and makes the best sauce and meatballs. I woke up early on Saturday morning and followed him around the kitchen, watching him measure throw in handfuls of oregano in the pot, and even helped to make the meatballs. I hope that I’ll be able to recreate it on my own…but I can’t make any promises.

This time with my grandfather was so precious, and helped me remember why I love him so much. He claimed he doesn’t have patience, but he was a pretty great teacher this past weekend. : )

Hope your summer is ending well! 

-Kelly

 

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