amo.says

my life in my words


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Counting Rope

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The counting rope knots never lie

One. Two. Three. Four. Five.

One brave little girl that dared to dare

Two adults running fast, running scared

Three more days to plan the escape

Four hours spent cutting cautious red tape

Five years of fearful regrets fill my eyes

Another knot now, welling up in my core

Hold out the rope and reach for the drawer

One little lighter fueling this fighter

Two clicks to flame, blaze burning brighter

Three knots engulfed in the sun-kissed gleam

Four burning burdens give way to new dreams

Five tears of freedom lead to something more

The counting rope singed in a pile on the ground.

What was has been burned, new endeavors abound.

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Greatest Love Of All

Winston Churchill once said, “History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.” I was at a youth conference years ago when I heard those words repeated and they have stuck with me since. It was a constant reminder that we have a chance each day to set up ourselves and our world for a bright future. The change and the hope that we push to the forefront of our lives to reveal to others carries with it much merit. Like many, I crave purpose and want to know that what I am doing makes a difference.  For that reason, I have made it a point to keep that mentality posed by Churchill at the heart of the things I invest my life in. I want to have a bright future, and likewise I want the generations to follow to have a fulfilling and bright future.

After grabbing breakfast, we headed over to her school where I got the grand tour, met her teaching teammates and helped set up for the day.

After grabbing breakfast, we headed over to her school where I got the grand tour, met her teaching teammates and helped set up for the day.

One of the simple ways I was able to invest in the future lately was volunteering at a local school. One of our Westside Kids ministry workers is a teacher there and after hearing more about her passion to see kids succeed in life, I asked if I could come in and serve alongside her to bless the class. She works at Seattle’s first charter school in the city. This particular charter school is both an educating school and social services agency for children and families struggling with the risks and realities of homelessness. Their school provides Pre-Kindergarten through 6th grade education for traumatized, abused, or homeless children. For the families, they provide wrap-around social services to stabilize their housing and end the crises which put them at risk of homelessness. This school seeks to break they cycle of poverty and homelessness.

After assisting kids with questions during their Math Quiz, I would listen as the kids would take turns quietly reading their books to me. One boy pulled me over to this pole and proudly showed off that he could say all of the words posted on it!

After assisting kids with questions during their Math Quiz, I would listen as the kids would take turns quietly reading their books to me. One boy pulled me over to this pole and proudly showed off that he could say all of the words posted on it!

It may seem odd to volunteer at a school where I have no kids (because I don’t have kids at all) but I found it valuable to give my time and energy to invest in a crew of kids that my teammate was investing in daily. One of my younger nieces currently attends a different brand/style of Charter School back home and I know that if I lived there still, I would offer the same services to the teachers there. It was an honor and blessing to work with this particular crew of kids and to serve my friend/their teacher in some simple but impactful ways. I walked away with such a positive experience and a renewed passion for the younger generation!

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As a volunteer, I got to sit with them in story time at the Library and lead them in a class craft about Harriet Tubman. The Library time was awesome because two of them crowded around me and snuggled in as the Librarian read the story. Then, they let me help them pick out books (oh Heaven!). It was also great to work with them on crafts and to see their wonder and awe at the flip books that they got to make and take home! 

I am looking forward to volunteering in her class once a month and getting to know everyone better. Her kids definitely think, behave, and feel differently than most kids I’ve worked with in the past, but to see them grow beyond their limitations is exciting. One of the kids in her class particularly has severe learning and behavioral disorders so they have a special aide that stays in class to assist with that one child. Still, their classmates cheered on when progress was noted and made sure that that child felt loved and included. It was also so sweet that the classroom kiddos were asking questions about the kids that go to our church—if we do crafts, what we do to have fun, and if we have church every day. While these kids may never get a chance to darken the door of our church in Ballard, I do love that they get to experience the love of Christ through their daily interactions with their phenomenal teacher, Ms. Reddy!

Social Studies time included a book about Harriet Tubman and her work with the Underground Railroad.

Social Studies time included a book about Harriet Tubman and her work with the Underground Railroad. The kids loved hearing about Harriet Tubman during Social Studies and were even able to correlate the information from the class book to others they had read in their free time. When they heard that Harriet wasn’t allowed to go to school, they chimed in agreement that it was probably because schools weren’t built in her time. It was fun to hear their varying perspectives and to enlighten them as they asked their questions.

What about you? Have you ever volunteered at a local school/community center/church? If so, what was your experience like? If not, what has been holding you back?

I'm super proud of all the hard work that my friend (and teachers like her) put in to give kids a chance to learn and build confidence. If you know a teacher in your life, please give them a great big hug and a word of encouragement—it means a LOT!

I’m super proud of all the hard work that my friend (and teachers like her) put in to give kids a chance to learn and build confidence. If you know a teacher in your life, please give them a great big hug and a word of encouragement—it means a LOT!