Saturday, August 18, 2012

30-33 of 52 in 52

What a past month it has been! I can tell you great stories of being busy with grad school, children's ministry, tutoring, preparing my classroom for 18 precious little ones coming my way (next week!), a crazy kitten, a jealous dog, and many other life things. I can tell you great times of a photography workshop with MckMama, s'mores with my sister's family, a day of deep cleaning the house before going back to work (it's already dirty now -- really, Ellen?), and having a 4.0 GPA the first semester of my grad school. But, I decided to tell you something different tonight! (er, this morning)

I haven't been sleeping very well lately. I wake up in the middle of the night rather often. Now being a prime example. :) I usually either just lie there until I fall back asleep, read on my Nook some, or just piddle on Facebook and Instagram until my eyes are droopy again. But a friend suggested that maybe God was waking me up for a reason, wanting me to talk with Him and spend time with Him. Duh, Ellen.

When I woke up about an hour ago, 52 in 52 came to mind. Ouch.

Remember those great stories and great times I mentioned earlier? Yeah. They've taken the place of my 52 in 52. Now they seem not so great.

So I have 4 scriptures to share with you this morning. Enjoy! :)

Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.
1 John 3:18

Actions speak louder than words, right? What have you done today to love someone with your actions? Have you prayed for (with) them? Offered help or council? Brought someone needing some extra love a special surprise?

These questions are as much for me as they are for you! Teacher workdays started on Wednesday for us, and I've been so extremely focused on my own classroom, my own Meet the Teacher needs, and my own list of last minute craziness that I haven't been very available for the new teachers on our grade level -- or the "old" (not old in age!) teachers either. I need to leave my room and be of help to them. 

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus a Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
Colossians 2:6

Our church has a new pastor now that started at the beginning of July. Friends, this man is amazing! He is so open, honest, personable, and challenging. After being without a pastor for awhile, it is so refreshing to have this leadership in our church! I am so very excited to see what God has in store for our church! (Side note: Our previous pastor was great as well, but then he left. :) And our interim was too, but there's something about having a pastor in the church.)

Okay, all of that to say...he's been taking us through Colossians lately. I don't actually get many chances to be in the service because I'm with the precious little ones about 2 or 3 Sundays each month, but I try to soak up and internalize as much as I can when I'm able to be in the service. This verse really struck me when he was walking us through it this past Sunday. (The following is what I took from this sermon after pondering it during the service and then after getting home and looking through my notes. The basic points are pulled from what our pastor said, but when I say "I", that's me. Not him.)

He started with the "continuing." The life and walk of a Christian is not a one time thing. It is not something you decide one day, and then the next you stray away from it. Of course, we all sin, but that's where "continuing" comes in. It's a continuous walk of seeking Christ, repenting from our sins, obeying God's Word, living out our faith in our lives. It's daily. Every minute of every day. Sounds daunting, eh? Just remember 1 Corinthians 10:13 (God gives us direction and ways out of sin) and Philippians 4:13 (our strength comes from Christ).

Then, he painted a picture of the "rooted and built up in Him" portion. Ever seen a large oak tree? There's one by my parents' house that has been there forever. It's huge. Ginormous, even. We used to have a tire swing hanging from one of the limbs when I was little. It's kind of one of those trees that we never ever (ever) want to see cut down. (Okay, I'm pretty positive it's an oak! ha) Actually, my parents had a neighboring tree cut down not too long ago, but I thought they were cutting down "the tree" and almost climbed it in protest. But I diverted my plan and kept on driving down the road when I realized they were cutting down a different one.

Anyhoo, so this massive tree that sits on my grandparents' (now my parents') property probably has just a few scrawny roots, right? Uh, no. The roots on this thing are just as massive as  the tree itself. Roots grow underground just as wide as the limbs on the tree. There's no way it would stay standing if it worked any differently. So if you're living a life for Christ, striving to please God in your life, it would be pretty difficult to stand in this faith without having roots that go deep into God's word, right? Without having roots that go deep into your faith, your prayer life, your continuous growth in Christ. Without those roots, you'd topple over like a rootless tree. 

Just like a tree's roots, a building has to have a pretty strong foundation, right? One of the most pivotal steps in the process of constructing a building is the foundation. If it isn't laid correctly, the strength of the building is compromised. When I was growing up, our church began constructing a new building. It would serve as a gym/sanctuary, and it was pretty big! Once they laid the foundation and did some other "constructiony" type things (I'm no architect!), we all met at the building site with chalk. Lots and lots of chalk. I think it was chalk! Maybe we used markers. Lots and lots of markers. 

In any case, we had a lot of writing utensils, and we covered that foundation with God's Word. We wanted the foundation of that building to be covered in scripture and prayer, because that is the foundation of our lives. Now, did our scribblings actually help the construction of our new building? Probably not. But was it a perfect example of our lives? Absolutely. When our foundation is built on and covered with scripture, prayer, obedience, and repentance, we are able to stand firm in Christ.

And then overflowing is something that has always just been a neat illustration to me. I usually think of an overflowing cup, an overflowing swimming pool (why in the world? lol I've always thought it'd be cool to have a pool that is just continuously overflowing for some reason. But then there'd be a ginormous sized water bill and lots of muddy/soggy grass. Sad.), or an overflowing bathtub. But a pot of boiling water came to mind this time for some reason.

I love mac and cheese. I seriously could eat it every single day and not tire of it! (kind of like my love of Chick-Fil-A, I reckon) Actually, I did eat it almost everyday during the summertime in highschool. Cheese and pasta. Two of my favorites, all mixed up together. Yum! (Hmm...early morning snack?...) But I have this problem in that I get very distracted very easily, and I sometimes (ahem...often times) have an overflowing pot of boiling water before I realize it! I step away for what I think is only a minute or two and return to a mess.

But what if that mess was a glorious, thankful, God-praising mess? What if my love for Christ was so active, so hot and on fire that it bubbled up inside me, out of my daily living, and splashed all over the people around me? Of course, it wouldn't actually be scalding hot, so there would be no real physical harm to others (I couldn't hurt a fly! A spider, yes...I can do some serious bug spray damage there. But other creatures are safe), but there would be effects. Others would be splashed with my overflow, hopefully creating a bubble inside their own lives and hearts. I want to be infectious and overflowing. With thankfulness and love.

Phew! That's a lot more than what Pastor Dave said, but he of course expounded on the surrounding scriptures as well. I didn't expect to go so far with that, but that's why I love sharing my 52 in 52 on here. It makes me reflect and really think about the scripture, and sometimes more comes out than I had originally internalized about the scripture. 

So, with that, I'm going to share the remaining two later. It's not almost 4:00AM, and I have to be at my grad class in just 5 hours. Eek! Another 3 or 4 hours of sleep would be marvelous!



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Saturday, August 4, 2012

life

Wow! It's been over a week since I've posted.

Life is good.

That is all for now! I'll post some next week!

Monday, July 23, 2012

friend of sinners

Jesus, Friend of Sinners
(by Casting Crowns)


Jesus, friend of sinners, we have strayed so far away
We cut down people in Your name, but the sword was never ours to swing
Jesus, friend of sinners, the truth's become so hard to see
The world is on their way to You but they're tripping over me
Always looking around but never looking up I'm so double minded
A plank eyed saint with dirty hands and a heart divided


Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
Open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks Yours


Jesus, friend of sinner, the One whose writing in the sand
Made the righteous turn away and the stones fall from their hands
Help us to remember we are all the least of these
Let the memory of Your mercy bring Your people to their knees
Nobody knows what we're for, only what we're against when we judge the wounded
What is we put down our signs, crossed over the lines, and loved like You did


Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
Open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks Yours

You love every lost cause; You reach for the outcast
For the leper and the lame; they're the reason that You came
Lord I was that lost cause, and I was the outcast
But You died for sinners just like me, a grateful leper at Your feet

'Cause You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever
You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever
You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever
You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever

Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
Open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks Yours

And I was the lost cause, and I was the outcast
Yeah...
You died for sinners just like me, a grateful leper at Your feet


This song has been on my heart so much today. It came on the radio, and I almost broken down thinking about the depth of the lyrics and what they mean.

This verse in particular hit me strong:

Jesus, friend of sinner, the One whose writing in the sand
Made the righteous turn away and the stones fall from their hands
Help us to remember we are all the least of these
Let the memory of Your mercy bring Your people to their knees
Nobody knows what we're for, only what we're against when we judge the wounded
What is we put down our signs, crossed over the lines, and loved like You did

In light of the current events going on, it's hard to remember that even the people we despise, the ones we long to see come to justice, are still loved by God.

He doesn't love their sin. He loves the person.

And I'm reminded... He doesn't love my sin. But He loves me.

My prayer for the victims of the CO shooting is that they will find rest, peace, comfort, and God's healing hand on their lives during this time. Physical healing, emotional healing, and spiritual healing. I pray that they will draw near to HIm.

My prayer for the suspect of the CO shooting is that He will feel conviction, guilt, shame, and sadness over what he's done.

But I also pray that through this, he will realize his sin and his need for God.

Our God is an amazing, outstanding, miraculous, and forgiving God. He is also a just God.

Praying for those whom we consider monsters is so hard.

But Jesus was a friend of sinners. Let us not be blinded by our longing for justice that we forget the need for God in every person's life.




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Friday, July 20, 2012

my junky wall

(This is my 100th post! Yay!!!)

Do you have a wall like this in your kitchen?


Yep. There are 6 light switch (with a total of 7 light switches)/outlet things on this one small expanse of wall. It's located on the back of my counter, and is the main part of my kitchen that is seen when you first glance into the room.

I'm sure it's functionally necessary. However, I consider it to be an aesthetic disaster! It's just so... I don't know. Switchy...or something.

A couple days ago, I couldn't take it any longer. I had to take action and make this portion of wall not so yucky.

First thing that came to my mind? Let's just move all of these electrical things to another place!!!

(Don't worry Dad, Aaron, and Bobby. Keep reading. I won't be calling you for electrical help!)

It's okay. You can laugh in my face.

I may be able to change a door nob, replace a doorbell, and fill in numerous nail holes (all skills that I've perfected since buying my house), but electrical work is definitely nowhere on my resume.

So I nixed that idea.

What else could I do? A fun curtain to cover it up? (nixed.) Paint all of the white parts yellow to match the wall? (almost did this. but nixed.) Really loooong flat screen TV that fits perfectly in this spot? (okay. that would totally ROCK! but nixed.)

See? It's tough coming up [good] with ideas for deyuckifying this wall!

And then I thought about my amazing paint skills. ha!

Well, really it's more like I got hives thinking about painting something worthy enough to actually hang in my house. But, I decided on a plan. And I'm SO EXCITED to do it!!

I went today and picked up all of the supplies.

When I told the guy at Lowe's (you know, the one that was lucky enough to be the first to ask if I needed any help) what I was doing, I couldn't help but laugh at the look on his face. Yeah. I really did laugh out loud. More than once. or twice. He thought I was a nut.

He made my plan a bit more complicated, and I almost threw in the towel at that point. But, I persevered and learned more about what needed to be done (by asking questions that were totally silly to him, I'm sure), and I did the first step this afternoon.

Want to see?


Tada! There's now a board on my wall!!

What will the finished project be?!

Stay tuned!!!



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Thursday, July 19, 2012

chasing the sunset

Izzy and I set out on a walk to chase the sunset tonight.

Well, I reckon we were really trying to find the sunset.

I could see above the houses in my neighborhood that it was full of pretty pinks and blues tonight. I couldn't wait to see it!

One thing that makes me want to live at the beach is the sunsets. An unobstructed view of God's beauty. It's so hard to catch in a subdivision.

So, Izzy and I walked. And walked.

I tried to choose the best no dog route I could think of. Since I run in my neighborhood so much, I remember where many of the dogs live. And since Izzy is not a dog type of dog (yeah, weird, eh?), I thought it'd be best to avoid the dog houses (ha!).

We had a hard time finding a good spot for a picture.

This was the best we could do.


We caught a few of the pinks!

And then we were racing the thunder and lightening back to the house.

Izzy insisted on pottying in every other yard though, so that slowed us up a bit. But we returned safely!

Have you chased any sunsets lately?

Whom have I in heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Psalm 73:25-26

Such a powerful scripture. In our weakness, we find God's strength. Out of heaven and earth, He is our constant, our purpose. Our portion.

Forever.



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Thursday, July 12, 2012

What's been going on?

What a week!! We've had some serious fun at VBS this week!

We've had an average of about 30 kids each night, which is great!!

I challenged the kids to raise $125 for missions this week. We'll give the money raised to a girl in the church that is overseas right now.

As of last night, we've collected $180!! WOO! We're hoping to reach the $200 mark tonight, which is Family Night!

Speaking of challenges, I challenged myself to run 30 minutes everyday for 30 days (Sundays being my rest days). It was going GREAT until I fell and skinned my knee last Friday.

I haven't run since. Sad!

But, my knee is healing nicely and feeling better, so I'm hoping on running today.

52 in 52 has been rough the past few weeks! No real excuses other than me being busy with school work and VBS prep the past couple of weeks. I didn't even realize that I hadn't posted about it last week until last night.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13

joy, peace and hope

I want it to overflow!!!

Great is our Lord and mighty in power; His understanding has no limit.
Psalm 147:5

This is our theme verse for VBS this week! My prayer for them is that they've truly experienced God's amazing power as they learn about Him this week!




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Friday, June 29, 2012

InstaFriday

This has been a great week so far!

Of course, I started out pretty overwhelmed and under joyed, but I realized that it has a lot to do with how I'm spending my time and what I'm investing my time in.

I've been intentional about my quiet times and 52 in 52 studying this week. It's a breath of fresh air!


Just like these lovely wildflowers. Aren't they happy?

My friend Ashley and I were driving down a back road Monday morning, and these little beauties were growing on the side of the road. I said, "I want to pick some!!!!" So she pulled over!

Yay!! I picked some for myself and some for Ashley.

They're still on my kitchen table right now.

I had to shake out all of the pollen (or whatever it was that was falling off) today. I should probably throw them out, but they're too happy still to be tossed.


One of my tomato plants outside has a baby tomato.

But I think I killed the plant, therefore killing the baby tomato. Oops.

There's still another plant going strong, and it has flowers on it so far! Hopefully baby tomatoes are in the neat future!

The other flowers in my garden are doing pretty well. I may have a green thumbnail at this point.

Definitely not a whole green thumb though.

2 Chronicles 3l:20-21

In everything he undertook ... he sought his God and worked wholeheartedly. And so he prospered.

Love that passage. 

Philippians 2:14-16

This is so hard, isn't it?

Well okay. Maybe it's just me, but I find it hard!

I don't even realize I'm complaining sometimes until after it's done and time has passed.

But this is my prayer, my ambition. 

Remember when I said I was trying to be more intentional about my quiet times and my scripture memorization? Well, I'm trying to be more intentional about not complaining or arguing as well.


So this bitty kitty has kind of taken over the house. Her name is Chloe, and she's only about 5 weeks old now.

I know, she's supposed to still be with her mommy, but she didn't have one when she was found, so I've become her mommy.

She drinks goat milk. And sleeps in a little cradle formed from my shirt. And climbs the curtains like an American Ninja Kitten.

And...she drives Izzy crazy. For real.

For the first week that Chloe was here, Izzy hid under the bed all the time. This week, she has been coming out from under the bed.

She does well until Chloe decides to play Simba from The Lion King and pounce on Izzy.

Yeah. She's pretty feisty!

I discovered a "Documentary Network" on my TV tonight.

And I just watched an hour worth of a documentary about these four Irish women talking about their late husbands and their many quirks.

Wow.



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Monday, June 25, 2012

overwhelmed

Confession time.

I didn't pick out a verse for this past week. I will be doing two this week because of this.

I do believe I have hit the overwhelmed phase of my grad school, and I'm afraid it won't get any better.

I feel as if my life has been nothing but school work lately. When I'm not doing school work, I am either walking Iz, a feeding bitty kitty goat's milk (I should probably post about that, eh? lol), mindlessly watching TV and being a bum, tutoring little kiddos at the YMCA and my school, working out with a friend, or doing things for church (especially now since VBS is only a couple weeks away).

And then there are those other life things that happen - like actually seeing my family here and there, babysitting when needed, cleaning my house that seems to be overwhelmingly dirty these days, and sleep would be nice as well.

Yeah. I'm pretty worn out. I went to bed around 10:30 or 11:00 last night, which isn't exactly early, but not really late either since I've been staying up late doing school work this week.

This morning... I woke up at 9:15. I'm supposed to be at church at 9:30 for Sunday school, so I was late. Obviously. I reckon I needed some extra sleep.

Classes also keep me from family gatherings, which is extremely hard.

I missed my mom and niece's family birthday gathering because of class. I also missed our family's Father's Day gathering. And then I'll miss my dad and nephew's birthday weekend as well because of class. I haven't looked beyond that yet though. :)

I don't feel like I have to be present for these events to be complete for my family. Rather, I desire to be present because I need that time with my family.

Living by myself, I've really come to value family time so much more. Yes, I've always enjoyed it. However, now, I sincerely need that time because it's just me. I sometimes go several days running around doing things without having a chance to talk with my family. Not out of a lack of desire, but simply a lack of time and energy. So when I miss those precious times with my family, it really hits me hard.

Okay, so this is not me trying to have a pity party or gain sympathy at all. It's just me venting. :)

Crazy to think that I'm so overwhelmed with all of this when I don't even have a husband or children, eh? Yeah. God knew what He was doing when He orchestrated me getting my master's now and not later in life. I don't know how the moms of young children are handling the program, but they're rock stars for sure!

And in the midst of this craziness, I've noticed my time with God suffering more and more. This definitely doesn't help with my outlook on things either.

So, I'm asking for a bit of help from my friends! Our Bible study group finished up our study on Esther awhile ago, which was amazingly great with keeping me focused and on track with my time with God. Not that I can't just read God's word without a guide, but it's good to have some direction in my studies.

With that said, does anyone have any suggestions for great devotional books that I can work through? A precious mom of one of my students gave me a daily devotional that has a passage with a small excerpt about it for each day, which has been great! I'd like to add something with a little more depth to it.

------
EDIT after maybe 10 minutes of hitting post: So, I realized this post was pretty much all negative about my grad school experience so far. I want to make sure I intentionally say that the things that I have learned and the changes I am hoping to make in my classroom next year are totally worth these rough patches! I have met some amazing people, and I am completely excited about how God will use this program to reshape me as a teacher. So I'm whining tonight, but it's all totally worth it. And I realize that. :) But I'm allowed a post to vent, right? Sure!




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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

loud love (52 in 52)

Love is patient, love is kind. it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record or wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Do you know someone that embodies that passage?

For me, that would be my grandma.

I've told you about her before, but there's nothing wrong with being reminded of someone great, right? :)

Of course, I'm not saying that she was perfect: She had her faults. But you could never fault her for her love towards my grandpa.

She loved him out loud. Way out loud! When he had to be put into a nursing home, she drove to sit with him every day.

Every day. Without fail.

If she wasn't feeling up to driving, she made one of her children drive her to the nursing home.

Loud love.

She spent her time there making sure Grandpa was taken care of properly. She kept him company. She entertained visitors that came by to see her and Grandpa.

The nursing home staff came to love her. They expected her to come in. And they knew she would scold them if they didn't do something the way they should. But they loved her.

We lost someone very special the day she died. But hopefully her legacy won't ever die.

I had a different passage picked out for this week's 52 in 52, but I've decided to go with this passage instead.

Because there's nothing wrong with being reminded of someone great, right?



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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

summer walks and undivided devotion

Izzy and I are enjoying our summer so far.

We went on a "long walk" last night and this afternoon. They're long walks because it's about 30 minutes as opposed to our walks of going out, Izzy doing her stuff, and then us coming back inside.

We're going to take a long walk everyday.

That's the plan anyway!


I've come to the conclusion that I am a stay at home mom during the summer. I just happen to have a baby with four legs that wears a harness while we walk instead of riding in a stroller.

That should help my, "I want a family"-itis...right?

Hope so! :)

So far, during the first week of summer, I have...

-Spent two mornings working out with a couple friends. Love them!! (the workouts...and the friends)
-Bought more [clearance] plants for my garden. Hope they make it!
-Spent an entire day...minus about 2 1/2 hours...devoted solely to grad school work. I got most of it done! Woo! About 2 1/2 more assignments to go for now.
-Challenged myself (and have already started) to eat healthier and be more mindful of what I put into my body.

And that's about it. Doesn't look like much, but it's been pretty busy so far!

Okay, so since I mentioned my "I want a family"-itis, I guess that's a good segue into my 52 in 52 for this week...

An unmarried woman is concerned about the Lord's affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is conceded about the affairs of this world-how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.
1 Corinthians 7:34-35


I apparently have a thing for the books of Corinthians. This is my 4th verse from these two books, which is the most from any book so far.

This isn't the first I've come across this passage, or the first that I felt compelled to camp out and store its words in my heart.


Not sure when I wrote that, but it is most definitely still my heart's cry today.

This season of being single (well, more like life since it's all I've known lol) can either be a blessing or a hardship. I pray that I allow it to be a blessing for me.

A time of growth in Christ, devotion to God, and learning to live for Him. 

And then when He blesses me with more than what I'm experiencing now, it will be all the sweeter.

Right now, though...

Undivided devotion.




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Saturday, June 2, 2012

my life (aka craziness) ...according to Instagram.

Things around here have been crazy! Hence why my 52 in 52 updates have been running late for the past couple of weeks.

I started grad school in May! I am getting my Master's in Education in Divergent Learning.

It's only a year long program, but it is very intense.

It's not all serious business though.


Last night, we made cookie people, choosing the different toppings according to our personality styles.

I apparently have a yummy personality because all of my personality style toppings were among my favorite treats! Yay!

(my cookie didn't last long...obviously)

On a serious note, I am learning SO much in my classes. I'm glad I started in the summer and not this fall because I'm able to transition into the work load. However, it's a bit frustrating at times because I want to implement these strategies right now.

Patience, dear teacher. Patience.

My homeowner-ness is continuing to stretch my handy woman skills!


I put in a new doorbell several weeks ago.

The original one that "came with the house" had part of the plastic button part missing, so people feared for their lives when they came to my house, choosing to just knock instead of risk electrocution by ringing the doorbell. No need to worry any longer, my dear friends!

Right after I finished changing out the doorbell, the UPS man came by to deliver a package (containing a grad school book - woohoo...). I was so excited and proud that I very enthusiastically exclaimed to him, "I just changed my doorbell!!!"

Yeah. I get excited about small things. But it's just me. I don't have someone to run to for an impromptu celebration...because you know. Adding another notch in my tool belt as handy woman calls for impromptu celebrations! So this would be why my life is often on Facebook.

Just in case you were wondering!

But anyhow -- back to Mr. UPS. Upon hearing my jubilation in a new doorbell that I changed all by myself, he turned around, gave me two (not just one!) thumbs up and said, "Alright!!"

Yep. I'm a dork! At least I'm a smiley dork though, right? :)

So, along with my grad classes and my brand spanking new doorbell, I'm also experiencing empty nest syndrome...


Sad times.

I had become so accustomed to checking on my little feathered friends every day that I was super sad to see them gone.

Ever need a reminder of God's love for you? Yeah, me too.


The church down the road from my parents has this great reminder for all the world to see! It's on their ball field fence.

It makes me smile every time I drive by. And makes me wish I had an obnoxious chain link fence in my front yard to broadcast love to all as well.

Okay, maybe not to that extent. But it does make me happy. I love it!

And look what I have on the windowsill above my sink! 


Baby marigold plants! I've been plucking the seeds out of my [dead] marigold flowers in my flower boxes (another post about that soon-ish!).

I'm excited to see that the seeds I "harvested" are growing! Woo!

I also planted LOTS more, but they're on the deck rail in the back yard. I'm experimenting a lot with seeding flowers. We'll see what happens!

I also have some squash, sunflowers, morning glories, celosias, and forget me nots planted to grow some before putting them in my flowerbed.

Speaking of...



I now have a GORGEOUS flowerbed in my backyard! (Thanks, Mom and Dad!!!!!)

It has some of my grandpa's lilies (my brother had them in his yard, then shared them with me) along with some plants I bought at Walmart for 50% off.

Hope they don't die!

I have a knock out rose bush, two tomato plants, and two other perennials that I'm not sure of their names. 

So this has been my life lately. We finished up the school year this past week, so now I'm focusing on church, grad school, and my home.

Sleep is always nice too.



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be kind



Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with Whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Ephesians 4:29-32

Can we just say that God is teaching me about being an example? Having a tender heart, speaking truth and uplifting words to people, forgiving, and so much more. This goes for people I don't know, to people I work with, to even my own family members.

Sometimes, we are harsher on those that are closest to us than we are to anyone else. 

My prayer is that everyday that I live, my life will become more and more of a reflection of His love, grace, and forgiveness, to everyone that I come in contact with.

I totally wouldn't be able to even strive for His reflection unless I have received His love, grace, and forgiveness every single day of my life. Why I keep that only to myself?

I want to share it, show it, emulate it.

Friday, May 25, 2012

above all else -- 52 in 52

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gave directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.
Proverbs 4:23-27

God has been showing me a lot lately that my life is a live example of His love to the people around me. For some of the people I come in contact with, I may be the only example of Christ they experience. Yes, I've known this - it's something we're taught in Sunday school growing up. However, it's becoming so much more real to me every single day.

The things I say, the things I do, and the places I go are all a testimony of my life. Sometimes these things point others to Christ, sometimes they don't. My prayer is that my life points to Christ and bring Him glory more than it doesn't.

My heart has conflicting emotions many times, however it is solely invested in serving Christ. Guarding my heart is tough (I am a girl, after all), but so important. 

Definitely something worth striving for.



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Sunday, May 20, 2012

under His wings -- 52 in 52

He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
Psalm 91:4

We had a really big thunderstorm the other night, which woke me up around 1:30AM and kept me up for a couple hours. Poor Izzy was plastered to my side and shaking because she was scared.

But do you want to know what kept coming to mind as I tried to comfort Izzy?

The baby birds!!

I found these little guys a couple weeks ago in one of the hanging baskets on my porch.

And it's been super fun to watch them grow!!

Of course, they started out looking a bit like aliens.

With mouths open wide begging for food.

So during that big storm, all I could think about was the baby birds. Three tiny little birds that are hanging in a basket on my front porch.

I actually thought about going out to put them on my porch so they would be a little more covered from the rain.

But that would have required me to get out of my bed in the middle of the night. Which I was not excited about at all.

So I checked on them first thing in the morning...

And they were fine!!!

I like to think that their momma came and covered them with her wings to protect them from the storm.


Do you ever feel like you're in a nest of twigs, dangling in a basket in the midst of a violent storm?

Do you ever wonder how you'll ever live to see the sun shine again? 

When that happens, God covers you with His wings. Just like these baby birds were covered during the storm.

He is our shield and rampart.


**I started this post on Wednesday of last week, but I fell asleep before finishing it up. So this was the 52 in 52 for last week, not this week. :) And sorry the pictures are so miss matched - I kept forgetting with Instagram filter I used for the pictures.





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Monday, May 14, 2012

face plant

I went to the Strawberry Festival with my friend Ashley, and I took my oldest niece Tess with me.


It was fun!!! 


Tess and I decided we'd get tickets to slide down this massive inflatable slide.


She very gracefully bounded down the giant slide. So cute!

Me?!


Not so much!!!


Face plant. Graceful, eh?


Still smiling though!!!


Crawling my way out.


Had to get a picture with my favorite 6 (almost 7) year old niece!

It was totally worth the (painless) face plant.



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Sunday, May 13, 2012

if moms were flowers...

I'd pick mine a million times over! :)


Last week, my students took home the plants we've been growing for their mom's. They were all VERY excited!

(Are kids not the cutest when they're missing teeth?! I absolutely love this part of first graders!! So adorable!)


We packaged the plants very carefully into paper bags my students decorated with their mom's favorite colors and many, "I <3 you"s written all over. They were instructed to not let their bag tip over. You know, so the soil won't fall out of the pots.

I didn't grow plants for my mom for Mother's Day. But I did make my momma these...


There's one for each of the grandkids, as well as one with all of them on there.


My brother's three boys. Love them!!


And my sister's four kids. Love them too!

So, what are these things?!


Coasters! When my mom opened them, she immediately said, "But I can't put anything on their little faces!!!!"

I assured her that they're safe and protected from any liquid messing them up.

I'm pretty proud of them. :)

I also gave her, my sister, and my sister-in-law necklaces...


My sister-in-law's is on the left. Three little blue "eggs" in a nest for her three boys. My mom's is in the middle with seven "eggs" for the seven grandkids, and then my sister's on the right with four "eggs" for her kids.

They were really fun to make.

Today, I celebrate my mom! The woman that I love to laugh with, feel free to cry with, and am blessed to call my momma.

I love you, Mom!!!



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Monday, May 7, 2012

seasoned with salt -- 52 in 52




Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
Colossians 4:5-6

So my sister-in-law loves salt (hehe - if you're reading this, I hope you don't mind!). She told me once that she puts salt in the shaker with the most holes - that way, more will come out at once. ha!
I like salt as well, but I'm okay without it usually. However, some foods seriously require salt. And maybe more than just a grain.

Brustle sprouts. I love them! But, they need salt. Bad! Without, I'm not a big fan.

Potatoes. I'm a not a big potato type of girl. I don't mind a baked potato every once in awhile. I absolutely love sweet potatoes. But, if I'm going to have regular potatoes (in the form of fries, mashed potatoes, baked potatoes...), I want some salt!

Salt just seems to make things taste better. It can take a bland tasting food and add some spice to it (no pun intended...).

Sometimes the things we say are better received with a grain of salt. No, I'm not saying to butter your conversation up so as not to hurt someone. Not at all. However, be mindful of what you are saying and the impact it could have on another person.

Words hurt. It's as plain and simple as that. And sadly enough, sometimes the thing we remember most about a person is the negative words they've spoken to us.

Often times, we are judged by our words. People may watch us and look to see how we respond to certain situations. If we aren't careful, we may cause these people to stumble based on the way we've reacted. It hurts my heart to think I could cause someone strife with God because of my words.

Am I saying this because I think I'm perfect? No way, no how! I know I have to work at keeping my words full of grace, seasoned with salt, and glorifying God in all circumstances. That would be why I chose this verse for this week. :) But the first step is always realization, right?

-----------

So, I'm sitting here in my hallway typing this post. Something about me heading to bed, deciding to write a post really quick, and then my dear dog wanting a late night snack/supper. She won't always eat if I'm not within sight, so I plopped in the hallway to finish up the post. I know. She's spoiled.

Anyway -- sitting here, I decided to open up the air conditioner filter thing (my own technical term). Dad mentioned getting a new thing to put in his, and it made me wonder if I needed new one for mine since it's been about 8 months since I bought the house. Hmm...

I think I am officially grossed out. Are they supposed to look that nasty? Or am I in serious need of a transplant? I snapped the picture to show the guy at the store when I go to get a new one. Classy, eh? 

I thought you'd enjoy the picture. Don't worry - it'll be changed soon (hopefully).



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Friday, May 4, 2012

quiet life -- 52 in 52

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.
1 Thessalonians 4:11-2

I've been praying through these two verses as well as some others this week.


high fives and smiles

I teach at the best school ever. Seriously.

Our principal is amazing. He has a heart for the Lord, and a heart for the children that set foot into his building each day.

Our school is packed full of amazing teachers. They support each other and celebrate with each other.

The PTO and parent support is crazy. They rock it out with raising money for the school, and it's amazing how many parent volunteers we have coming in every day.

And the students. They make us laugh everyday, they have fun learning, and they make work enjoyable.

I love my school!

Today was no exception.

Next week, students in 3-5 grade will take our state test, the PASS. It's tough. It's long. And honestly, boring. 3 days (4 for 4th graders) of tests. yay.

Our principal loves to encourage the students in any way he can, so the first year the school was open (2 years ago), he started a huge PASS pep rally. SO much fun!

The younger students (k-2) line the hallways, and while the 3-5 grade students walk to the gym, the younger ones cheer them on. Very loud. Very exciting.

It makes me tear up every year. Yes, I'm a sap.

The kids love it. The little kids, the big kids. It's such a sense of excitement and togetherness as a whole school.

Today was this year's PASS pep rally.


The teachers had just as much fun as the kids! Lisa was having fun pumping the younger kids up while the older kids made their way to the gym.


And when the older kids started coming, it was even more exciting! Of course, the younger kids don't fully understand what's happening - they just enjoy the fact that I told them they could be as loud as they could. ha It was a nice release for some of the little ones in my class!


Too many high fives to count.

Too many smiles to count.

But one lasting memory. A memory of unity, encouragement, and genuine fun.

(Our principal wasn't able to be here today because his wife had a baby this week. I'm sure he greatly missed being here today, but I'm also sure he knew we had some great people to help carry on without him!)



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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

sentences

I went running yesterday. 2 miles. It stunk.

I walked up one of the hills instead of running it. I'm a wimp like that.


I was finally able to get a picture of a family's sidewalk while I was being a wimp though. I've run by it many times now, and I've never stopped to snap a picture. Love!

We only have 21 days of school left. I'm excited. But I'm sad. Definitely conflicting emotions here.

I need to cut my grass. I was going to tonight, but now I'm not feeling it. Ever have days like that?


I won this print through a giveaway on a blog awhile ago, and I've never put it in a frame. Until now!

I got the frame from a friend's yard sale, but it didn't have any glass in it. So I got a frame for $5 at a discount type store in town, and I used the glass from it for this frame (wasn't fond of the frame itself). Score!

It now hangs by my bedroom door. Perfect place for it.

I was accepted into graduate school last week. Excited? Totally! A bit nervous? Yes! Ready for the work? ha!

Excitement wins out though.


Izzy is still her cute self. She takes over the bed when I have it in disarray with the sheets in the wash.

That's the only time she's allowed on my comforter. Otherwise, it's covered with another blanket so she won't get it dirty.

I love her. Dirt and all!

PS - It's now 8:37 and I just finished cutting my grass. Yes. It was worth it. :)



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Friday, April 27, 2012

watching them grow

One of my favorite things about teaching is watching my students grow throughout the school year.

Seeing them grow leaps and bounds in reading.

Watching their love of math develop through the weeks.

Hearing their imaginative stories about volcanoes, dinosaurs, and venus fly traps. Yes. Venus fly traps. Everyday. :)

I'm actually hoping to find a venus fly trap to get for my classroom since they are so interested.

I looked into getting seeds, but they take too long to germinate.

These little guys though...


We planted seeds one day last week. On Friday to be exact.

Lots of seeds. LOTS.

Sunflowers, cosmos, zinnias, celosias, marigolds. Even rye grass.

The students have been so excited to come everyday to see that the plants have germinated, sprouted, and now growing leaves. Some of the students have learned the hard way that some seeds germinate sooner than others. Sunflowers are the fastest. Celosias has so far been the slowest.

Today, we decided to transplant the little guys into pots. We took them out of the little mesh bag things they were in, and put them into pots so they can continue growing into pretty plants to give their mommas for Mother's Day.

As I was separating the seedlings into the pots, my students were SO excited.


They could see the roots! And some of them had the little seed covers still on the leaves.


They were also very impressed that they could see the roots coming out of the soil. I assured them that this meant it was time to transplant them!


Roots are so neat!! (Okay okay, I may have been just as excited as my students the whole time!) 


This one was also very exciting to see! 

It was germinating, but it hadn't come up above the soil yet! This was so cool!

Some of them were worried the plants were going to die because we were moving them. However, I explained that if we do it carefully and make sure the roots are buried correctly, they should be fine.

I should have taken a picture of the pots, but I didn't think about it.

Can't wait to see these little guys grow bigger! Love them!

Both the plants and my students.




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