Archive for April, 2008

Helping with Habitat for Humanity
April 26, 2008

Talking about an early day today!  How about getting up at 6:45am on a Saturday morning (and being a college student)?  But it was all for a good cause.  The Southside college ministry helped with the Habitat for Humanity Organization from 8-12pm today.  Personally I have always wanted to volunteer in helping build an affordable (and no-interest) home for a deserving family.  There were so many people on the site this morning from different schools and organizations.  It was amazing all the helping hands available for work!  Anyhoo, my Church fam with a few others helped prepared a yard for grass planting.  We were the land scape crew…yeah!  And let me tell you…it was some HARD and sweaty work even with over 10 people raking, and tilling, and sowing!  But it was an awesome experience to help out a family and make a dream come true.  I will definitely do it again.  I got to meet some really cool people and really enjoyed my time helping.  Here are a few pictures from today:

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Thankful Thursday
April 24, 2008

Whew! It has been quite a busy week. One more day until the weekend, which will be busy as well. Some people live paycheck to paycheck but I live weekend to weekend. Yesterday I had my LAST TA office hours EVER (at least for now maybe). This is the last week of classes at school so I want to grade this last set of homework problems by tomorrow for the students to have back in time to study for their exam next Wednesday. Trust me, this TA position has been a blessing which allowed me to save up a few g’s for reserve once my loans run out for the semester. The past few summers have been rough because my loans ran out in May and I had very little money. And surprisingly, my loan money will not run out until the end of June if I continue to spend wisely. And I NEVER spent any of my money earned online. $1200 is still saved in my paypal account and $80 in my alertpay account. I am thankful for God blessing me with the opportunity to earn online for free!

However, on a sadder note, my advisor’s (on my graduate committee) father died in Australia and therefore will be out of town for several weeks. This means my defense date for my thesis will have to be pushed back later. Originally we were pushing for May 16th, but now it will have to be later, and I totally respect and understand that. Ultimately, I would like to be done and have my thesis submitted by my 25th birthday on June 16th. The shift in date is actually not a bad thing because I have gotten a little behind in my thesis writing process. But I am progressing in my data analysis, which is a great thing! I just didn’t want this “convenience” to happen on the expense of an untimely event. Everything happens according to God’s plan so please pray for my advisor and his family during this time!

Thanks for reading and be blessed! Check out my other blog: (Open blog in a new window)

180 in a matter of hours…
April 22, 2008

This morning started off on a slightly bad foot.  Last night, my mom and I had a small misunderstanding about my graduate school experience and why I am STILL not finished with my degree.  I just wish she would understand that I can’t guarentee a set date to be finished because research is research.  There will be issues with it until I am able to get my research in a state where I can successfully and adequate defend it and not look ignorant.  I am putting in my time but don’t have much to show for in regards to my data analysis.  I am still in that tedious trial and error mode where everything seems to not be working.  This is what is slowing down my progress.  I mean, I already have like 20 pages of information typed in my thesis but I need this hardcore evidence to get me out the door into graduation.

Ok Kristal, breathe.

But anyway, I have felt that the only way I can talk to my mom is if I only have good news because if something bad has happened or if I am not making fast progress, then she suggests that something outside of school is hindering my focus.  This is not the case.  I am still stuck in school because of school!  My outside life is great…the little of it I do have because of school.  I just want her to be positive and encourage me.  I shouldn’t have to feel down or feel reluctant to speak to her because of some setbacks with my research in fear that she would blurb out something negative.  Don’t get it twisted, I love my mom and she has done so much for me in the past.  She is only being concerned but right now, I don’t need any slight bit of negativity for her now.  I don’t need any strain.  I just need to hear from her that she has my back and that she will pray for me without being suggestively negative first (or even at all). 

But anyway, I sent her a txt message this morning expressing how I felt and that I just wish she would just see where I am coming from and why I don’t need the strain between us to get in my way.  Just a note, I prayed about the situation from the time I picked up the phone to call her until this morning after I sent her that text.  I asked for prayer that God guide my words in a loving manner because my mom and I can clash because our personalities are so different in many ways. 

She sent me a text back and I cried.  I was shocked when I read it all.  I was like “Did this come from my mom?”  It was so supportive and positive and encouraging.  She said that she understand how it is when life gets hard and that I wasn’t giving her much credit for understanding.  She said that she’s proud of me for being real and being determined when things aren’t going the way I would like.  She said that she is always willing to listen to my struggles (which I haven’t been telling her because of fearing she would twist my obstacles into negative triffles).  I cried when she said that I wasn’t giving her much credit for understanding.  I guess this is true.  Sometimes when I have tried in the past to discuss my fallbacks in grad school, she tried to relate it to something on a lesser level that she had been through.  But my mom has been through some really rough spots and survived it all.  She is strong.  I felt bad after reading that.  I asked God for forgiveness and prayed some more.  I am about to send her a message back apologizing for my response last night and how I appreciate that we can relate on some level about the situation.

I felt a sense of relief that I don’t have to be this overachieving perfectionist graduate superwoman when I pick up the phone and talk to my mom.  I can be me because I am human just like she is human.  I thanked God for this.  God answers prayer all the time if it is in His will.  I will continue to pray that my relationship with my mom will strength in due time.  We are not as tight as some mother-daughter relationships.  But I will be persistant with my prayers and actions so we can be strengthened together.

All in all, I am happy.  God is truly good.  If you don’t know, you need to find out about it real soon.  God blessed me with a helpful lab meeting with my advisor and an encouraging conversation with an older guy at the gas station.  We were using the same pump (one of us on each side) and were discussing the gas prices and how it is getting ridiculous (it is around 3.50 a gallon around my area).  Nevertheless, he told me that I have a beautiful smile and a nice personality.  I was like “Awww, thanks!”  That cheered me up even more.  He jokingly asked if I had a boyfriend and I told him yes.  He laughed and said that I am a ‘few’ years too late.  I ended the convo by saying maybe I catch you at the next cheapest gas station next time.  I told me he will meet me there.  We both chuckled and went about our ways. 

You never know who my cross your path in life to bring a little sunshine along the way.  I am feeling so motivated right now and blessed.

Thank you God!

How to Handle A Storm
April 6, 2008

It has been a LONG time since my first post. 

I have been troubled with some personal storms in my life for awhile now.  I say I have three major storms going on right now but my main one of the three is getting done with grad school.  I have been in graduate school for almost three years.  My time in school has been like this spiritual, mental, and emotional rollercoaster.  There was a time that I wanted to give up grad school.  I felt like I wasn’t ready, and it wasn’t for me.  I felt defeated over and over again.  I was unfocused when I first got to grad school.  I was still in that “I just graduated from 4 years of intense biomedical engineering work and need a mental break” mode.  On top of that, I was not baptized in the Church.  Therefore, I was only concerned about “self”.

My relationship with someone very special in my life is one that I will always cherish regardless of what we go through.  I was very foolish back then but now I have become wiser.  I was selfish back then but now I am learning to give more. I really appreciate him putting up with my pettiness and staying by my side.  We have a history…a MAJOR history…only a history between us and God.  God used my relationship with my special one to bring me into His Church.  April 09, 2006…the day I was added to the Body of Christ.

I am DEFINITELY not the same Kristal I was when I first started grad school.  PRAISE God for that!  If it hadn’t been for my graduate school experience and my relationship with my special one, no telling where I would be right this moment.  I no longer regret being in grad school anymore.  God brought me here for a reason and now I see life in a completely different light compared to when I was ‘lost’ in the world.

Ok ok, I am getting off topic with what I want to discuss.  But hey, it is MY blog so I can do this MY way.  Anyway…

I have been in a spiritual low lately.  I have been doubting myself in regards to my capability to get through my thesis.  First off, I haven’t been able to get into contact with my advisor for awhile now. I still have data to analyze but am not even sure my data is adequate and of statistical importance.  I am having a hard time organizing my background and lit review of my thesis.  I am grading papers as a TA, which is taking up time from my thesis. My committee wants me to have my thesis completed by the 18th of this month (less than 2 weeks). I have no clue on how I am going to pull this off.  On top of that, I am facing a very personal issue that is really weighing down my self-esteem.  Plus, I am having some slight issues with a relationship of mine.

Last night, my heart was so heavy that I cried myself to sleep.  I felt like I just couldn’t take it anymore.  I lost sight of God and what He can do for me.  I was lost in my storms…all I could ask God was “Why me?”

I prayed last night that the lesson preached today will REALLY touch my heart and prick me to the point that I can get over my foolishness.  Seriously I was doubting myself=doubting God.  I couldn’t continue this way.  I needed a word from Him.

After the singing of “Keep on Making A Way” (my favorite song!!!), Bro. Stephens got up and began his lesson.  The title of it was “How to Handle a Storm”.  I immediately was very attentive.  God heard me and this lesson was for me!  Here are the major points of the lesson:

  • Lesson taken from James 3:1-6 with emphasis on v. 4
  • One thing we all have in common is that we will all go through storms.
  • Only God cangive the accurate/adequate answer to our answers.
  • If I am seeking peace, joy, healing, strength, restoration, etc–>Ask God for these things!!!
  • Everyone who goes through storms won’t make it (or will perish) due to lack of preparation and faith in God
  • 1)  Outward appearance WON’T stop storms from coming into one’s life. 
  • Outward appearance doesn’t dictate how one will respond to a storm.
  • You never know how much energy it took for a person to actually get up to go to service this morning.  People can be crying deep inside feeling defeated while smiling at others on the out. 
  • We are nothing but little ships in a big sea full of storms no matter how great we THINK we are. 
  • Ex. Paul was a great teacher but had many storms in his life.
  • We are weak vessels when we don’t trust God during our storms.
  • 2)  Fierce (harsh, violent) winds accompany storms.
  • Bad news about those winds is that they can destroy you and others around you.
  • Good news is that the storm won’t last long.
  • The storm is not made stronger by the winds.  The winds actually blow the storm away.  The storm only gets stronger when there are no winds and the storm is stagnant.  Therefore, we must keep going in our storms because when the wind is blowing there is hope. 
  • Jesus shows up and shows out.  Help is on the way.  Thank God that the winds are blowing the storm out of the way.  Therefore, we must not be frightened.  We must praise God in the midst of our storm!
  • 3) Secret of handling storms is to control the helm of your ship.  This is the rudder (a small part of the ship that is hardly ever seen), which determines which way the ship goes in the sea.
  • The rudder is synonymous to our tongue. Our tongue has the power of speaking life and death into existence.  It determines our outcome to our storms. 
  • Therefore, we must countrol our rudder (tongue) in order to get out the storm.  We must say the right thing in our storm.
  • Stop saying “I give up, I quit, I can’t do this, I can’t take this.”
  • Start saying “God didn’t bring me this far in the storm to leave me…He is my Shepherd”
  • We have to have the right perspective while going through a storm.  We don’t have the insight to get through on our own. This is why we need a resource…Jesus.
  • Angels are appointed by God to watch over us.
  • Just remember that God will NEVER exhaust His riches to people outside His House!!!  God will definitely take care of us because we are His children!
  • Morning (calm) always follow the night (storm)

These are the major points of the lesson.  There is more but these are more than sufficient to convict me of my foolish thinking and doubting.  God didn’t bring me to this stage of my graduate career to leave me out on my own.  Yeah, it is taking me longer than average but there were some things God needed me to go through during this time.  God has been testing my faith in Him the entire time.  There were times I have strayed but because He LOVES me SO much, He brought me back to where I need to be.  I have witnessed many great blessings God has given me over these past three years…blessings that are not even comparable to when I wasn’t “saved”.  Trials aren’t supposed to be easy…my thesis isn’t supposed to be easy.  But now I know that God is making me stronger…just what I asked for in prayer time and time again in the past.  Brother Stephens has said several times “Be careful what you pray for…your pray for patience and you will go through things to test and strengthen your patience.”  How can you pray to God to help you love your enemies if you are never approached by them?  God is teaching me to be stronger through this experience.  But only through Him am I stronger…I am not stronger because of ME!

Ok, I can go on and on because this lesson touched me SO much.  I am more confident now.  God is with me ALWAYS even when I feel like I can’t take another step.  I must remember to keep my eyes on Him.  He is going to get me through!!!  God is going to get me through my storm…Thank You God!

I am spirtually high again.  Thank You God for answered prayers….I am now ready to conquer my thesis!!!  Please pray for me.

God bless!!!

(Excuse any grammatical errors…it is getting late)

Love ya!