Kassie Neumann

About Kassie Neumann

Midwest native and Adolescent English Education Major at Nyack College. I thrive on poetry, mentoring, deep conversations, and really loud laughter. I believe that Christ, community, and cups of tea can restore the world. Wonder and mystery are two of my favorite words.

Student Teaching Bootcamp

It’s a Tuesday morning, the kind of morning where the weather says it could possibly rain. You don’t know that yet, so you grab an umbrella as you walk out the door. Umbrellas tend to be metaphors in Western culture. You always see them marking funerals, sheltering lovers, or decorating the passage of city traffic. Perhaps umbrellas have this spot in our imagination, because the very act of carrying an umbrella is equivalent to preparation. You are preparing for the inclement, for a future you cannot see. It doesn’t mean that it’s a terrible future–people dance in the rain with umbrellas, but nonetheless it’s a future to prepare for today.

Umbrellas remind me of student teaching a little.

We’ve been spending all of ourselves to prepare for student teaching.

All the state tests, finals to pass, paperwork to submit have led us up to this point–this Tuesday morning the day before student teaching. I carry my umbrella.

That Tuesday, The School of Education was hosting a “Student Teaching Bootcamp”. We entered the Education Lab to warm greetings from Professor DAmato, Dr. Looney, Professor Nygard, Professor Luba, and Professor Mallory. These people have been standing behind us for a long time, several years in fact.

We spent the morning listening to Professor DAmato explain the forms needed to complete during our placements. Logistical information is important. Logistical information is really important when you are trying to finish your certification and graduate in December. I really appreciate that Professor DAmato took the time not only to list out all this information we would need, but also to organize it for us.

After that, we moved to lunch where we all gathered in the common area of the Ed. Lab for wraps, salad, and summer stories. One of my fellow student teachers told us about her job scooping ice cream for the summer, and another shared the lessons God had been teaching her. We all know each other. We’re all rooting for each other, moving towards the goal of graduation.

Once finished, we started the second session with Dr. Looney in which she gave us a bird’s eye view of the edTPA. For those of you who may not know, the edTPA is the final step required in the process for an Education Major’s graduation and certification. You have to videotape yourself teaching, and compile this long document justifying what you did and why. It’s a project you need to have studied before starting. Dr. Looney explained many of its intricacies, and while we still have much to learn, it was encouraging to see how all the different parts fit together.

Student Teaching Bootcamp was a lot of information, but every piece will be necessary for our success in the coming weeks. I’m grateful for the School of Education and the opportunity to attend. Stay tuned for more updates on our experiences with student teaching, and pack your umbrella this fall.

7 Ways to Share Your Faith as a College Student


There’s something about living on the hill, about trekking to Simpson Hall in early autumn mornings to learn about the wild and mysterious Old Testament.  There’s something about walking through the cafeteria and hearing kids from the Gospel Choir burst out in piano playing and praise that somehow sounds even better amidst the cafeteria plates.  There’s something about praying with your friends at two in the morning in a dorm room filled with the smell of stale pizza.  There’s something about conversations, deep, full of strength and faith on the way to intramural practice.  There’s something about going to a Christian college where you can find like-minded community, and classes and professors who will challenge and mold your faith. I do not regret my decision to attend a Christian college.

Sometimes though, we have this idea that going to a Christian college means that you give up sharing your faith for four years. There’s this idea that going to a Christian college means that you live in church for four years, only read Scripture, and only talk to kids who grew up in Sunday School. I think that Christian college and monastic living can be confused sometimes.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

It is possible to go to a Christian college and still share your faith. I’m a senior at Nyack, and it’s something I’m still learning how to do. I think sharing your faith in any context is one of those things it takes an entire life to learn, but here are some ways to attend a Christian college and not hide your faith for four years.

  1. Give a Bible: Keep a Bible to give away, and highlight a few verses. During the school year find one person you care about to slip the Bible into their hand, look them in the eye, tell them you care about them–and mean it.
  2. Take Advantage of Breaks: During summer break go home and work. Share your faith with the people your coworkers. This doesn’t have to be anything crazy. Work hard and well. Work with integrity. Quietly let people know you’re a Christian, and your life will speak. Take opportunities that come up in conversation to speak about deeper things. Quietly find the needs of the people at your workplace, pray for them, and work to meet them if you can.
  3. Join a Ministry: Christian colleges tend to have outreach ministries run by students who are reaching out into their community. Join a ministry. If there isn’t one, start one yourself.
  4. Live Random: Do something ridiculous just because the grace of Christ is ridiculous. Pay for a stranger’s groceries, give your waitress or cab driver an extra tip, and then look them in the eye and tell that in Christ there is the truest of peace.
  5. Make a Friend: Find someone in your life who needs a friend, and doesn’t know Christ. Not everyone who goes to a Christian college will be a Christian. Just be a good friend. This person isn’t your pet-project, actually care about them, and don’t be fake. God will work through real friendship.
  6. Know Your Stuff: Know why you’re a Christian. Work through those hard questions. Why am I a Christian? What would I tell someone else if they asked? Know the beauty and power of Scripture as well. If you rarely read Scripture, how can you share what it says?
  7. Pray: Steep your entire life in prayer. Pray for the people around you. Pray that you would actually care about them. Pray consistently. Pray for the courage to share your faith. Prayer can turn the most timid of freshmen (“laughing” me three years ago), into the bravest of men or women who understands that God can work through the context of students attending a Christian college.

For Those Worried about the Semester’s Beginning


Do you ever have those moments of complete panic?  Do you ever have moments when you look towards the future, and have no idea what’s going on?  You hold nothing but the unknown.  You are filled with profound need.  You need solutions, you’re working for answers, but they’re as absent as a smile on the 5:45a.m. bus.  I think many of us are feeling some level of this panic right now, as summer slows to an end and the fall semester begins.

Freshmen, you’re probably panicking that you’ll be friendless for the next four years (for the record, you won’t be), or that you haven’t declared a major.

Sophomores, you might be worrying about grades and finances.

Juniors and Seniors, you’re probably just as worried about grades and finances, but now you’re also trying to figure out graduation and life after walking across the stage.

Don’t get me wrong, I am beyond excited about school starting again. I can’t wait to student teach, to meet my students, to wander through autumn leaves on the way to work–and yet there are so many worrying unknowns this time of year.

Sometimes they seem to creep into our hearts. They make us doubt ourselves, and grace, and the providence of God. I’m just being honest; it’s a struggle.

Let me share something with you guys.

When I was back home, during the flurry of packing where you try to fit your heart and gym socks into a suitcase and tell everyone that “you’ve got things together”, I start panicking. Actually, I started freaking out–several times in fact. All the unknowns of the next six months crept into my heart, creating this anxious and debilitating fear.

Then I stumbled on this verse. It’s in Matthew when Jesus and the disciples are sailing. Jesus is sleeping when suddenly a storm assails the boat. The disciples freak out and start screaming about drowning. Then this happens,

And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.” Matthew 8:26, American Standard Version.

O ye of little faith.

I’m still reading those words. Our worrying is almost laughable sometimes. We fret and worry, and don’t trust God. We forget that Christ is our Advocate, someone who fights for us–and yet, trusting God doesn’t mean you get that luxury car.  It doesn’t mean that everything works out the way you think it will.  It doesn’t mean life is perfect.

Have you read about persecuted Christians?

Life is not perfect for Christians.  What it does mean is that we have an excellent “worst case scenario”. Even in the grip of disease and death, we will see Jesus.  What it does mean is that the plans of God will not be thwarted. What has been decided will come to pass.  What it does mean is we have an Advocate, and there is no passivity in His nature.

Certainly, we will not always understand the business of heaven, but God can and does meet needs. My roommate has a gift for seeing this. She has way more to worry about than I do, and yet she worries less. She has a sure faith in the plans of God. She is acquainted with Providence. Her entire life has been spent in watching God meet specific needs. It’s gorgeous to watch her during times like finals, during the points of the semester when finances are due.

The plans of God cannot be thwarted. Trust. Trust. Trust.   O ye of little faith.

Staying Connected With Your Siblings in College

12400695_10206572593706560_169975887679782256_nIt’s a Tuesday morning. It’s summer and it’s August. My brother and I are sitting in this breakfast cafe located off the highway of our town. We’re surrounded by farmers in overalls, the weight of years and sun wrinkling their skin. We’re the youngest people in the restaurant, but we sip our coffee, eat our dollar pancakes, and relish in that fact. Being at school means, well, that I don’t have as many opportunities to sit in this cafe and sip coffee with my brother.

I knew this would happen when I made the decision to come out to New York for school. I’m okay with that. God wants me in New York.

But you know what’s interesting?

I’m closer with my brothers after the move to New York–even as we scatter ourselves across the United States with new jobs and the sunrise of new adventures.

Does that sound a little strange?

It shouldn’t.

82c97ff7-762c-468d-b1b3-d57c98aa1575College has forced us to be more intentional, more specific– to value the time we have together. In high school we all lived in the same house and ate the same breakfast cereal. We didn’t have to work at anything then. Now we do. Having strong relationships with your siblings is something we don’t always think about; sometimes we just assume it will happen on its own. It won’t, and relationships with your siblings are something to value. Your siblings may make you want to claw the walls sometimes, but they can also be your biggest allies. Mine are.

With that being said, here’s some tips on staying connected with your siblings while in college.

  1. Text Them Even if They Don’t Always Text You First: My first year in college my brothers were terrible at communicating. Texting them was like texting a really goofy but unresponsive wall. Keep at it, though. They just might figure it out, and be calling you at nine in the morning to talk about their girlfriend problems.
  2. Be Specific: Set up a specific time to call or text your siblings each week. Walking between classes is great time to do this.
  3. When You’re Home…: Spend time with them. Set up a time to go out to breakfast once a week, beat the tar out of them in Uno, or shoot some hoops outside.
  4. Be Willing: Be willing to talk about hard things. There’s no one who can get in your face like your siblings. My siblings and I have a policy of distinct honesty with each other. We call each other out when we need it.
  5. Have Their Back: Encourage your siblings. It will probably mean the world to them, whether they articulate it to you or not.

Meet Dr. JoAnn Looney

school of education nyack college


I would like you to meet someone this week. Meet Dr. Looney, the Dean of the School of Education at Nyack College. Two words I could use to describe her would be “gracious” and “humble”. We live in a world where sometimes graciousness and humility don’t translate into positions of leadership, but I cannot tell you the countless times where I have walked into Dr. Looney’s office and encountered a gracious humility. She has been a great encouragement to me throughout my years at Nyack College, whether it was listening to my eighteen year-old ideals at freshmen orientation, encouraging me to do field-experience in New York City, or answering the most random questions. I remember trudging into her office during my sophomore year to get a question answered on a day when I was masking a lot of personal discouragement, and I distinctly remember leaving her office feeling believed in–that was worth a great deal to me. Friends, meet Dr. JoAnn Looney:

  1. How Did You First Come to Nyack?

I first came to Nyack after a time of transition. I had finished another job, my father had just been diagnosed with kidney failure, my mother with cancer, and it was a time of taking care of them. Towards the end of this period, I found out about a position in the Childhood Education Department at Nyack College, so I applied, spoke with Professor Luba, and ended up getting the job.

  1. What Is Your Favorite Part About Teaching at Nyack?

I love, love, love the students and the faithful environment. You can feel God’s presence here, and as the students’ grow in their faith, so do I. Also, I love preparing teacher candidates (she’s been at it for 35 years), and teaching is such an energizing experience for me. I also love how amazing the faculty is because it’s so cohesive. Divisiveness is not an issue here, because we are all walking together. Working here is a such a blessing.

  1. If You Could Design and Teach Any Course What Would It Be and Why?

I would love to redesign and teach a course on specific learning disabilities.

  1. What’s One Piece of Advice You’d Like to Give Students?

Pray hard, work hard, and trust God.

  1. What’s One of Your Favorite Bible Verses?

Jeremiah 29:11, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’”. I love using this verse when counseling students.

  1. Is There a Book That Has Influenced Your Life?

Yes, The Chronicles of Narnia and The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. The Screwtape Letters provides this vivid description of Satan’s methodology, and The Chronicles of Narnia portrays, as much as you can describe in words, God in all his wonder and glory

  1. Is There Anything Else You’d Like to Add?

Gratitude. I am so grateful to be here, for the students, faculty, and the leadership of the institution. It takes a community to accomplish anything.

Nyack College School of Education

Morning Silence and Scripture

I’m sitting outside on my patio right now. The quiet of an Indiana evening surrounds me. For once, my mind is silent as I lean back in my chair and click my fingers across the keyboard. Silence has been rare lately.

It’s so easy to think right now when it’s the quiet of the evening. Prayers come easier. Thoughts are not so tangled. It’s in these moments when I understand why Scripture calls us to “be still”. We’ll drive ourselves crazy with
ourselves otherwise.

Lately though, I’ve been troubled by a question:

How are you supposed to be still in a world full of to-do lists, the steady repeat of responsibilities and requirements? Sometimes I long for quiet, monastic days when I am by myself and chasing nothing, simply because on those days it can seem easier to be a Christian. It can be so easy to seek Christ in the silence, in mornings filled with Scripture, a cup of coffee, and the calm before the day. It seems to be a great deal harder when your to-do list interrupts you, and people are depending on you to follow through. We live in the reality of movement. We live in the muddle and mix-up of daily life. How do you find the presence of God when the requirements on your life shift your focus to everything else? Days ago, I realized that I was doing a poor job of seeking the presence of God in daily life. I was letting my responsibilities and concerns overshadow everything else in my life–I began to focus only on what was required of me.

I’ve been thinking a lot about these questions lately, and I don’t pretend to have it all figured out, but I’m learning a few things.

I’m learning that in moments of chaos we are allowed to reach for Christ, and that He’s our Hiding Place (side note that’s a book that everyone should read before graduating).

I’m learning that the Holy Spirit moves in our lives to sustain us in ways more real than these typed words, and I can stop having super-hero complex where you alone carry the world on your shoulders.

I’m learning that peace is indeed one of the Fruits of the Spirit–being stressed out is not.

I’m learning that worry and anxiety will glue your focus onto yourself more than anything else, and continue that cycle.

There’s a reason Christ tells us in the Gospels to avoid worry.

I’m learning that the voice of Scripture is more like a roar. It can be louder than the chaos, and that those quiet moments before the chaos can be your strength.

I’m learning that trusting God is better than trusting yourself.

But..I’m still learning all this. I think it’s the kind of thing you learn your whole life.

It’s my prayer that no matter where you are, whether you are visiting beaches, clocking into work, pulling weeds in a garden, riding a bus, packing for college, taking care of a grandparent, grading papers or whatever else you might be doing, that we would all learn to seek the presence of God wherever we are–that we would learn to be still even in the midst of chaos.

Unity Among Upper and Lower Classmen

You know something I’ve noticed?

It’s something about unity.

I’ve noticed something that snaps unity in half, crumbles it out of existence.

Unity crumbles when groups form who refuse to associate with each other. Unity falls apart when “us” and “them” becomes the constant conversation. We have something that they don’t have. We are more experienced; they are annoying. We do more work than they do, and on and on goes the beat of our complaint. I’ve watched unity fall apart: at my high school job between different departments, on sports teams, at community events. The “us” and “them” is what destroys us.

This can happen among Christians.

This can especially happen among Christians. Satan wants what is unified to fall apart. He wants to destroy our unity, shoving us into a space where we are ineffective, hurt, and wandering around alone. We need to be united.

You know something else I’ve noticed?

It’s something about unity.

If we’re not careful the unity we now possess will fade as if it never existed. At Nyack right now, we have a crazy amount of unity between the upperclassmen and the underclassmen. The upperclassmen will actually help the underclassmen at Nyack, whether that means running a P.A.V.E Mentoring Group, answering questions for them in the cafeteria, or praying with them in the dorms.

My major does this really well. I’m an English Education Major and there could be so many opportunities for the “us” and “them” to develop among the different majors and specializations within the department. Instead, the upperclassmen actively reach out to the underclassmen. There were several upperclassmen in my department who reached out to me. They sought out conversations with us. They answered questions about passing State Tests, understanding class assignments, and spent a great deal of their time encouraging the freshmen Education Majors, the “us” for them. They treated everyone the same: with the gracious dignity of Christ. You never felt like an inadequate freshman with them. I won’t embarrass them by mentioning their names, but you know who you are. Thank you.

You know something else I’ve noticed?

This unity I just spoke about…well, Nyack, we have to work at it if we want to continue in unity. Upperclassmen, it’s our decision if we want the unity of the last three years to continue. My call to you, to us, is to continue to reach out to the underclassmen.

Welcome them as you were welcomed.
Purposefully choose to sit with an underclassmen at lunch, get involved with a P.A.V.E. group, answer their questions, pray with them, and know many by name. In such a way, with such a lifestyle, the unity we have can be preserved. 

Finding Vision


I had the idea for this week’s blog while rollerblading in my driveway. Sometimes ideas just come while rollerblading. I thought it would be best to share that piece of trivia with you.


Right now I’m surrounded by this strange and rather awkward time in life. Graduation is approaching but it’s not here yet, and I am sifting through options, inking out forms, finding programs, and learning to let go of the idea that I can control life. I’m learning to trust, but I’m also finding a direction—finding is the key word. It’s in process. Sometimes God uses the smallest of tasks to help us in this process.7bc56f4f-1669-4a23-9a46-046610c6260d

For me the smallest of things was something that happened last week. Last week I was applying to a program I’m trying to get into, and one of the requirements was that I write an essay about myself.

One page about yourself.

What do you write about? How do you write about yourself in a professional manner? How do you write about yourself so it doesn’t sound like a journal entry you wrote at three in the morning?

I decided to start by writing about my background, but as I wrote the essay something began to take form. I began to write. Writing can help you figure yourself out–writing can fill in the blanks. As I typed out my plans, dreams, uncertain hopes for the future I began to understand why I had those dreams and what was motivating them. I began to understand not only a dream, but a vision. I didn’t understand the difference between a dream and a vision before writing this. I think that a dream is a hope you have, one that is filled with intentions, but also vague thoughts. You’re not exactly sure why you’re doing what you’re doing. That can be a problem when challenges to that dream make pursuing it harder than the day before last. I also think you can’t always explain why you have dreams, but when you have a vision that dream suddenly becomes grounded. You suddenly know why you’re following this. It’s then that you find a vision.


My advice to you…if you’re in one of those places where you’re lacking direction and not sure why you’re doing what you’re doing, Write out your dreams. Then write out why you are following that dream. You might finish and realize that you have found a vision.


How to Prepare for Last Semester as an Education Major

Nyack College education degree in student teaching

I’m writing this blog towards the end of summer and right before my last semester as an education major. The heat is wilting our town, and the blessings of air-conditioning are being praised. These last few weeks are when we begin to shift our focus for returning to school. Whether you are an incoming freshman or a graduating senior, we’re all beginning to make plans for when we return. Depending on what your major is, you may need to begin planning some specific things now. I’m an Education Major going into my final semester of the program. This semester I’ll be student teaching, and I’d like to give some advice on what you will need to do as an Education Major to be ready for student teaching.

  1. Get to Know Your Adviser: They are one of your most valuable resources who can be the first to help you know things such as what classes you need to take, and when you need to take your ALST.
  2. Start Saving those $$$: You’re required to pass several state tests as an Ed. Major. Find out the costs for each test and begin setting that money aside. You don’t want to be caught broke.
  3. Plan When to Take Your Tests: Friends, please don’t be that person who waits until their final semester to cram in taking their state tests. That’s setting yourself up for trouble. It puts way too much pressure on yourself to be able to pass those tests in order to student teach the following semester. Spacing them out will save you a lot of stress.
  4. Start that Student Teaching Application: The process to apply for student teaching is a very involved one. I would recommend that you start filling it out during the Christmas Break of your Junior Year. Here’s why: 1. You’ll most likely be at home and have easier access to the important personal documents you’ll need (do you really want your parents mailing you a care package of government papers?). 2. It gives you more time to get everything submitted. Your Junior Year will be stressful enough.
  5. Find Some Buddies: Get to know people in your program. They will become your most fearsome allies and loudest cheerleaders.
  6. Pass those Classes: Make sure you’re passing all your classes with the grades required for you major. You’ll need to ask your adviser what these grades need to be.
  7. Build Strong Relationships with Your Supervising Teachers: You’re going to be spending hours of field experience with different teachers in the Nyack area. Serve them well. Sometimes really amazing doors open up because you did.
  8. Constantly be Pushing Yourself Out of Your Comfort Zone: Your Senior Year as an Education Major can seem to be a bit daunting to say the least, but keep stretching yourself, and seeking growth in different areas of your life. These areas could be spiritually, socially, academically, or anything else you can come up with in your life. Stretching yourself will build that character muscle needed for your final semester.
  9. Pray: Pray, pray, pray. Pray about the little things and the biggest of things. God cares all of them.

Nyack College

A Diverse Friendship

I grew up in Indiana, rural Indiana.IMG_1026

It’s the kind of place where people settle, have kids, and before you know it there are four generations tilling vast stretches of corn, beans, and a melon patch. People live close to the earth and close to family here.

Growing up, there wasn’t a lot of diversity in my town, only because that was simply the makeup of the place. There were a few immigrants from South American countries, but in high school I only had one Latino friend. Now there are immigrants from Burma, Thailand, India, and other places who have settled in beside the farmers who have been there for the length of a century.

This growing diversity is a beautiful time for my town.

From my time at Nyack College, I’ve learned the value of diversity. Surrounding yourself with people who are different than you, will change you, offer you a different perspective, and bring a great deal of humility into your life–and Nyack is intentionally diverse. Let me tell you a story about diversity at Nyack.

My friend, Casey is Puerto Rican. My family came over from Germany close to a hundred years ago. Casey grew up in the heart of New York City, and I grew up near the Hoosier Heartland. We both grew up in church, but we grew up in different denominations. I grew up in the Christian and Missionary Alliance, and she grew up in a Pentecostal Church. She is fluent in two languages, while am only in one. My culture holds to a precise timetable, while Casey’s culture holds time with a relaxed hand. We even realized that we grew up being taught how to set a table differently.

You might wonder how two people from such different backgrounds could become friends?

On paper we look like people from different parts of the galaxy, but friendship ought to go deeper than paper. We became friends because we realized we shared what was most important in our lives, Christ. We also shared this affinity for tattered, old books, for the poetic, for the absurd and bizarre things in life, for laughter and strong coffee. One of my first experiences with Casey was the time she brought a C.S. Lewis book to read at a campus social event. It made me laugh, but more than that I realized that we had deeper things in common, that we could be friends.

But this diversity has also taught me things. It’s challenged me. Casey has introduced me to her culture, whether it was tres leches cake, stories about her family or church, or Spanish music. She has given me a different perspective on a great deal of life.


My challenge for you is to go out of your way to be “intentionally diverse”. Make friends with someone you think you have nothing in common with at all. You might be surprised at what you actually have in common. Learn from your differences. As we are readying ourselves to return to school, challenge yourself to be intentionally diverse this semester. You just might make a life-long friend.IMG_1073

20 Ways to Be Grateful in All Things


In the last blog, I wrote to you in a confessional sort of way. I shared that one of our generation’s specific struggles seems to be that we tend to wander into a lifestyle of complaint. In my last blog, I shared an instance where conviction made me realize that I was struggling too.


It’s not enough to write down a catalog of our problems. It’s not enough to talk, to comment, shut our computers down, and walk away.58c30de3-05c6-413c-97bb-5966887f5626

We must do something–

We must be something different.

Father, make us something different.

I’ve been thinking during the loudness and silence of these summer days. I’ve been thinking about specific ways we can live out the cry of Scripture to be grateful in all things. It is my hope to offer you something less vague, rather something that is full of the rawness of our lives–something that through Christ we can carry out together.


“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” 1st Thessalonians 5:18. 596e93ab-d0d2-4818-967f-cbba7e3b3d9a

Ways to Be Grateful in All Things

  1. Remember this: no matter what we have been redeemed.
  2. Pray. Cry out to God about whatever’s going on.
  3. Stay up to date on world news. Reading about famine and heartache in South America can flip the perspective on our own problems.
  4. Take some time off social media. The airbrushed lives we post often shove us into discontentment. If only…I had…
  5. Ask yourself, what would happen if I got the thing I was complaining about not having? Would my life really get any better? Could I possibly be catapulted into a new set of problems?
  6. Decide that you will do one thing each day to help someone. It could be as small as holding the door for someone or as big as paying for a stranger’s groceries. It gets the focus off ourselves and our personal complaints.
  7. Make a list of what you have to be grateful for in your life. See how long you can make it.
  8. Find wonder in the mundane: The startle of a sunrise on the way to that morning shift, a conversation with your mom about how to properly brown hamburger, or the way that crazy neighbor lady always remembers your name.
  9. Pray in the situations that are bothering you.
  10. Pray for someone else.
  11. Read a book on Christians who have suffered for Christ. Bring their stories into your life. What is their complaint? Is it possible to have joy in outrageous suffering? Voice of the Martyrs is an organization that does an excellent job of telling the stories of persecuted Christians.
  12. Take a walk.
  13. Take a deep breath.
  14. Drink a cup of tea, slowly.a8207fa6-6ffa-4711-8221-8b0279d8da50
  15. If you have a problem, think about someone who’s problem is not having your problem. For instance, if you hate your job think about places where the unemployment rate has skyrocketed, because no jobs exist and people will do anything to feed their families.
  16. Go exercise. Use up all that energy you were using to complain.
  17. When you feel the urge to complain, stop, close your eyes for a moment. Let the moment pass.
  18. Hang out with some joyful people (not necessarily peppy positive people. There’s a difference between peppy positive and joyful). Are your friends dragging you down?
  19. Write down your complaint. Get it out. Then crumple it up and slam dunk it into the trash can. This will be beaten.
  20. Remember that there are people on your side. Remember above all else that Christ is our Advocate.56542efa-29c9-4fbd-b206-94bf98303217

Keep struggling on, my friends. We will beat this.

How Easy to Sink into Complaint

2a046365-19a7-4b50-be64-64aa6b478338It’s the mystery of waking up each morning. It’s your elbows deep in dish suds, the swish of the broom across a dirty floor, the groaning of sunrise hours. It’s the wonder of lessons we learn in the most unlikely of places. I believe we are called to learn even through the mundane, through the times when we would rather be doing something else. And yet?

This idea can sound more romantic than practical. It’s easier to drag ourselves to the air-conditioning of our home and complain about the this and that of our day. It’s easier to sink into the comfortability of a complaint. I’m speaking to myself too. It’s so hard to fight this lifestyle of complaining, well, about everything. Millennials, we really struggle in this area. I’m not one of those people convinced that our generation is worthless. That is false–we are worth a great deal. There is much stacked against us, we have areas of failure where we need to learn, but there are also many, many areas in which thrive. This…though…this idea of a lifestyle of complaining is an area in which we excel, and it would be better if we didn’t. Think about it. We have so much. We expect so much. Sometimes we believe that it is our right to get so much, and when our open hands remain empty, we shake our fist to the sky in a cry of complaint. As a generation, we have to fight against the idea that it is our right to complain about everything. Perhaps this is one of the tasks we have been given.12bba012-9989-4c69-a55a-61bd4cdd7937

This has been heavy on my mind lately. It’s my struggle too. It is far easier to open my mouth and complain. Tonight I was at work and I ended up staying way beyond my shift time because of something out of my control. I was frustrated and honestly kind-of hungry for the spaghetti in the fridge at home. The clock kept ticking and I was still stuck at work. I got so frustrated that I complained…out loud to a coworker. This was so unfair. This was my time, my money, my this, my everything….my… This coworker doesn’t know Jesus. Suddenly I was struck by what I was saying. I was struck by the thought, “Kassie, is your life no different because you do?”. What are you saying to her? Conviction washed over me.. Maybe that’s why this blog sounds a little more like a confession this week. I  do believe that there is a time to vent. Just because you’re a Christian doesn’t mean you need to act like your life is all cute flip-flops, beach trips, and Bible studies all day. Don’t be fake. I know your life isn’t all like your social media pictures. I’m slowly understanding that there is a difference between authenticity and sharing everything you think and feel without any thought, especially in the area of complaining. I’m still learning.



And yet, amidst all of this there is the wonder of being able to use my fingers on this computer to type to you. There is the wonder of waking up each day to the wind chimes outside my window and the field of beans growing across the street from my house. There is the wonder of being alive. It is written in 1st Thessalonians 5:18, “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”.  And yet how do we do this in life’s mundanity, or in the despair of a crisis, or in the weight of grief? I’ve been in all three of those places, and friends, how do we be grateful in all things when life tears us apart or when we’re just plain bored with what is being required of us? I’ve been thinking through some ideas. Let me pray about them. Next week I hope to share them with you.

P.S. I’m rooting for you, me–our generation. We will not live a lifestyle of complaint.

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