Month: September 2013

Do you have a Tumblr?

I recently discovered Tumblr. Another thing on the internet I can use to distract me! Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Buzzfeed surely weren’t enough.

I only follow 18 things. Do you use Tumblr? What are your favorites? I’m looking for more distractions!

If you’d like to follow my Tumblr, you can find it here.

Happy Tumbling!

Freshwater Church Springfield

This blog is where I share about my life, so I think it is about time I do a post about something that is a huge part of my life: Freshwater Church.

I started attending Freshwater Church in Bolivar, MO, when it was just a small church plant in the fall of 2010. There were about 40 people in attendance on my first Sunday. Today Freshwater Bolivar hosts 700+ people every Sunday, has facilitated 13 international church plants, and, as of this Sunday, has planted two churches in Missouri. I’ve helped with the kids ministry, gone to Africa, and attended a LifeGroup with Freshwater. It has been such a blessing to see what God has done in Freshwater over the years.

A while back, leaders of Freshwater started noticing that quite a few people were commuting from Springfield to attend Freshwater Sunday services and LifeGroup in Bolivar. So they decided to start a LifeGroup in Springfield. One Springfield LifeGroup quickly turned into three, which sparked another idea: maybe we should plant a church in northwest Springfield.

After much prayer and seeking The Lord’s will, Freshwater began making plans. Or rather, God started moving. Time and time again, God has provided for Freshwater Springfield and has begun to reveal His plan for northwest Springfield.

Brad and I got married and moved to northwest Springfield about when things started coming together and the church plant was transforming from an idea to a real thing. JT Patton was to be the pastor, but they were looking for a worship leader. This is where the Bartletts come in.

God has blessed Brad with the ability to lead worship. He has also grown a passion in Brad for church planting through the two summers he spent working for Power Plant, a youth ministry focused on church planting in major cities. We knew Freshwater Springfield was the reason God brought us to Springfield.

I remember the first large group meeting about Freshwater Springfield. There were about twenty of us in the basement of a couple’s house that I had never met. I looked around at the unfamiliar faces and thought, “So these people are going to plant a church together.”

Almost a year later, I’ve grown to love our core team. We’ve become a family. I was blessed to grow up in a tight-knit community at my home church, and I’ve really missed that support system since I left home five years ago. It’s awesome to have that back, and it’s so much more real as an adult.

After months of praying, planning, and preparing, Freshwater Church Springfield officially launched this Sunday.

Our core planting team is about 40 people. Approximately 30 friends and family of the core team, and current Freshwater Bolivar members came out to support. One hundred and fifty people were in attendance on Sunday.

We are so stoked to see such a response from the community. Many people said that they have been wanting to find a church, but were waiting for someone to invite them.

Freshwater Springfield exists to Glorify God and Advance the Gospel. We are a group of imperfect people coming together to live in community and seek a genuine relationship with The Lord. For a full explanation of Freshwater’s beliefs, click here.

God is doing big things in northwest Springfield. Won’t you join us? We meet at 10:00 am on Sundays at Ed V. Williams Elementary (on Kearney St.).

For directions, a ride, more information, or if you have questions about God, Jesus, faith, or anything else, please contact me! I’d love to talk to you! You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, or by email:

See you Sunday!!!!

photo: Matt and Rachel Reynolds

One Year of Grad School: The Good

Okay so I know it kind of sounded like I’ve had a terrible time in grad school in my last post, but the truth is it has been a really great experience. Let’s be honest, I love school. I’m considering staying in school forever (see #5 of my last post).

Grad school is seriously awesome.

1. My advisor is actually really great. I know I sort of ragged on my advisor in my last post, but although he does control my life, he has been a wonderful mentor this year and I’m so thankful that I ended up in his lab. He has challenged me in so many ways and guided me towards being a great researcher and technical writer. I may be biased, but I think Kim lab is one of the best labs to work in at MSU. There are a lot of great advisors out there, and there are a lot of not-so-great advisors. I’m really blessed that the Lord brought me to Kim lab. (Michelle- Kim lab is always on fire!)

2. I have a flexible schedule. Yeah, yeah, yeah, so I complained about how I get no breaks and have to be in the lab all the time, but my schedule can still be flexible. I don’t actually punch a time-clock, so I can meet someone for lunch or leave early for a doctor’s appointment without any hassle. Plus, I don’t have to be at school until 9, which rocks. All my teacher friends out there have to get up at the crack of dawn, while I still sleep until 8. I’m going to be in trouble when I have to get a real job with a real schedule.

3. I’m getting paid to get my master’s degree. Yes I wish my stipend was a little more, but let’s face it: I’m getting paid to go to school. How awesome is that? I’m going to leave MSU debt free with money in my pocket. The only thing I’ve had to pay for is my parking pass and a discounted gym membership, which was still way cheaper than if I was paying for another gym.

4. Lab-mates are my lifeline. One of the best things about grad school has been the people I’ve worked with. I wouldn’t enjoy the lab nearly as much if I didn’t like my lab-mates. I’ve been so lucky to work with Brandon, Josh, Aria, and Katie. In particular, my lab-mate Michelle has become one of my best friends. She has been such a blessing to my life and I’m so thankful for her friendship. If I have gained anything from my year at MSU, it has been a life-long friend.



6. The tables have turned: I’m the teacher now. Muuuaahahahaha. But seriously, I love teaching. I taught BIO 121, the intro biology lab for science majors, for the last year. I taught 5 sections and have had over 100 students! I loved teaching this class. It was really fun to get students excited about college and their major. This year, I am teaching cell biology lab. I was sad to leave BIO 121, but cell bio is a great opportunity. It’s an upper level class, so we get to do more technical labs and concepts. In addition to my regular teaching schedule, I have been assigned to teach a class of all chinese students this semester. It’s a new special program and they arrive in a couple of weeks. We currently don’t know their level of english-speaking ability, so that will be a challenge to say the least. Guess I should start working on my chinese.

7. I get to work out at a sweet new gym I didn’t have to pay student fees for. I like the gym at SBU, but it’s pretty lame compared to the gym at MSU. (Although neither come close to Mizzou’s fitness center.) MSU increased student fees years ago to build the new fitness center. I was lucky enough to come in the year that it opened having never paid the student fees to build it. #score

8. I get to do science all day. Grad school has really grown my love for science. I’ve always loved science, but it’s become much more real to me now that I’ve experienced it hands-on. Getting my master’s has been about researching the unknown and coming up with new ideas, while undergrad was about stuffing as much information into my head as possible. God has put a passion for biology in me, and I’m excited to see where He leads me in the next year.

Grad school has had its ups and downs, but I’ve really enjoyed it. I’m so blessed to be where I am, but I’m also anxious for the next step. The Lord is so faithful to provide just what I need, so I’m really looking forward to seeing what He has next for Brad and me. But for the coming months, I’ll by busy finishing up loose ends in my research, editing and submitting my review, writing my research publication, and completing my thesis (I’m up to 30 pages!).

One Year of Grad School: The Bad

I’ve been in graduate school at Missouri State University studying cell biology for a little over a year now. As I reflect on the past year, I realize that I have made new friends, learned a lot, improved my reading and writing skills, and gained a whole new passion for science. I’ve really enjoyed this year, but it has definitely come with its challenges. In honor of one year down, 8 months to go, I’m going to do two posts about the best and the worst of grad school. I’ve decided to talk about the bad first.

Grad school can seriously be the worst.

1. Your advisor owns your life. My advisor has complete control of my life. It’s Labor Day weekend and I’ve already been to the lab twice. (Today (Labor Day), my advisor happened to show up at the lab the same time as me. Part of me has a feeling he only came in to see if I would actually come in and prepare the cell biology lab we teach together tomorrow.) Whatever hoop he provides, I have to jump through without question. My livelihood as a grad student and future as a scientist depends on him. Therefore, what he says, goes.

2. You work at least 40 hours a week for a meager TA stipend. My advisor requires (see #1) I be at school from at least 9 to 5 Monday through Friday day, I rarely take longer than a 15 minute lunch break, and I come into the lab almost every weekend. There is no summer or spring break and Christmas and Thanksgiving breaks are abbreviated versions of what undergrads enjoy. I know, that’s what real-life is. Real life is having a 9 to 5 job and only getting off a few days around holidays. I just wish I got paid a little more for all the work I put in. Sigh. Someday, someday.

3. You have to listen interestedly to whatever the professors want to talk (or rant/complain) about. I don’t know how many times I’ve gotten caught in the hallway and ended up in a 20-minute conversation about some bacteria I’ve never heard of. Grad students are perfect victims for chatty professors because they usually see undergrads as incompetent, while other professors have better things to do with their time. Of course I often have better things to do with my time, but I am a lowly grad student, so I stay, nod politely, and agree with whatever they say. I tell myself that this will someday pay off when a professor hooks me up with a sweet job.

4. So much for reading for fun. Journal articles are your life now. As an undergrad, you do a lot of studying, which most often includes reading. This reading is usually from a textbook. The life as a grad student doing biological research is a whole other world. I haven’t opened a textbook once in the past year, but I have spent hours and hours reading journal articles. What are journal articles? Here is an example. They are usually long and confusing, but they are the whole point of doing research. (I plan to do a post about journal articles when I publish my own later this year.) Burying yourself in stacks of journal articles is an essential part to understanding your topic of research and creating a thesis. Fortunately, better reading, critical thinking, and writing skills have been a result of all this reading.

5. Always being asked: So what are you going to do after grad school? Versions of this question began in high school and have haunted me ever since. And it just keeps getting worse. Especially with grad school. Because you’re supposed to have it figured out by the time your 23, right? For those of you who are wondering the answer to this evil question, I’m not sure. My curse in life is that I want to be all the things. Currently, I am cycling through wanting to be a biotechnology lab tech, research lab tech, doctor, optometrist, professor, high school teacher and professional crochet-er. Maybe I’ll get to be all of these things at some point. Probably not, but I can try.

6. No summer break. I know I already kind of talked about this in #2, but seriously its so depressing. What’s the point of still being in college if you don’t get a summer break??? Furthermore, you make so little money that you can’t go on vacation anyway because you are too broke. This is the least tan I have ever been at the end of summer, and I take a lot of pride in how easily I tan (yeah, I’m vain about something people can’t even control about themselves). I wore my swim suit once while at kids camp with Freshwater Kids for about 45 minutes. Plus, it was a one-piece, so my stomach has never seen the sun this summer. I knowwwwww, real life, blah blah blah. I miss having a summer break, okay. Doesn’t everyone?

Wow that was a lot of complaining. I normally don’t like to complain. Let’s just say that I’m telling it how it is. That sounds better than a whole post devoted to complaining.

Don’t worry, grad school has actually been really great. There are many more great things about grad school than sucky things. Stick around for why grad school is the best.

A good portion of the pictures on my phone are science-related. Here are a few: