Friday, April 18, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Glue

It's that time of the week again. The time to inhale the word that Lisa-Jo throws out there and let whatever is stirred pour out from your fingertips...Yes, Five Minute Friday.  You can head over to Lisa-Jo's to find out how to join in or just read some amazing words.

Five Minute Friday
Today's word: GLUE.

Go.

Sometimes it is just hard to keep it together.  You feel as if you are about to become unglued, and the pieces are about to fall apart.  But still there is something deep inside holding it all together. 

How do you keep it together when you Skype with your husband and he must take cover because his compound is under attack? 

How do you keep it together when the doctor tells you your baby stopped growing? 

How do you keep it together when your preteen hates you because he hates everything and doesn't understand the changes that are occurring within, that crazy thing puberty?  

How do you keep it together when you are scared of 9 year olds in your classroom? 

How do you keep it together when you are tired, and frustrated, and well.....tired?

Jesus.

Sweet, sweet Jesus.

He is my glue.  He keeps me together.  I could sing that He is my sunshine after the rain. 

My sweet Jesus.  The best thing I have ever done is admit that I am nothing but broken without him.  He keeps me together. 

My Rock. My Salvation. My Everything. 


STOP

Thank you so much for stopping by today.  I'd love to hear what GLUE has stirred in you.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Paint



Our lives paint a picture, a picture filled with memories.  As I sat reading Surprised by Motherhood last night, Lisa-Jo used her words to paint a picture in my mind.  I saw what she saw. I felt what she felt (hence the wiping away of tears) and then reflected on myself. Myself as a mom, what has brought me to motherhood, and, I guess in simple terms,  a look to the future - how will this motherhood role affect my children.

I want this life of mine to paint beautiful memories for them.  I want, and pray to be each day, to be the mother they need me to be.  That I can mold them and guide them to be the Christian men God has planned for them.

I want the painted memories to be those of love, compassion, encouragement, and fun.  I want them to know when I am wrong, when I mess up, that I honestly, truly try to do the right thing.  Because this whole motherhood thing will paint a path for these boys.  They will have an image of what a mother is or is not.  It will affect them as they become men of age and start dating and then one day marry.  I want what I am to impact their decisions on the women they date and then woman that is chosen to become the wife.  

STOP
Five Minute Friday

If you stopped by here today, Thank You!  You've just read my Five Minute Friday post (Yes, I do realize this is Saturday, but a mama's got to write when a mama can write).  Five Minute Friday is simple.  Each day, visit Lisa-Jo to find out the word of the the week.  Then write for five minutes.  Don't worry. Don't over analyze (don't analyze at all really). Just write.




I Turned Around and Someone Turned Eight

Last week, we spent a beautiful Sunday afternoon celebrating Carson's eighth birthday.  What a blessing it was to have Jeff home this year for Carson's special day.

We celebrated with a Minecraft Cake,


friends and family, 

trampoline, 

baseball, 

 and gifts.


Carson, you are an amazing little guy, and we love you!  Happy birthday, Iley C!

Why I Do What I Do

When we were school age children, we would get so excited to see our teachers "outside of class" on the weekends or during the evenings.  I guess we all figured they lived at school.  It's so funny because times haven't changed.  When I see my students out and about, they seemed shocked to see me outside of room 206.

This being a teacher gig is more than just teaching reading, math, and science.  It is about teaching children.  That's what I do.  But why?

There are so many days I ask myself the same question.  The days a nine year old cusses me or threatens me or another student. The days half the class makes an F on a test that I felt they were totally prepared for. The days that have heated discussions with parents because they think the school is picking on their children.  The days when I'd rather be stranded on an island than sit through one more PLC, faculty meeting, or content planning.  The days when teaching is out of the question, and it is just about surviving until 3 o'clock.

So, why?  Why do I do what I do?

I think the last sentence of  this note I got from a student says it.....


There are kids that don't get hugs. There are kids that have never been told "I love you." There are kids that come from nothing and more than likely are on a path to nothing.  There are the kids whose parents are too busy with their own lives that they never ask for homework, check folders, or make an appearance at a conference.  There are kids whose parents get them out of every ounce of trouble they find themselves in only to place the blame on an adult because their kids are just perfect.

Then there are the other kids.  There are kids that their parents make sure homework is done. There are kids who take the assignment one step further because they just want to.  There are kids that are encouraged and loved and kissed and told, "you're great" every single day.

Why do I do what I do?  Because there are these kids,  regardless of what color they are or what neighborhood they're from or who their parents are, or that have a disability or are gifted, these kids, they have potential.  I want them to be the best they can be.

If a child's best is a C-, I'm going to push them to get that C-.

If a child never does their homework at home, I am going to give them time each day to get it done before class.

If a child has never been loved, I am going to love him.

If a child is more than just a kid in a wheelchair, I'm going to push him out of his comfort zone and the limitations others have put on him.

These kids are my kids for 9 months of the year.  It is up to me to show them what they can do if only they try.  It is up to me to love them, to hold them when they cry.  It is up to me to high five them, laugh with them, and encourage them.

I am not their friend. I am their teacher.

It is up to me to show them what I see in them and open the door so they can pursue something more than their circumstance.

In my fourteen years of teaching elementary school, I have had approximately 1,000 students.  That is 1,000 lives I've touched.  I am about half way through my teaching career, so double that.  I will have touched about 2,000 lives (if that isn't right, I am sorry. I am a language arts teacher, not a math teacher).  That is the size of some small towns.

Imagine the potential in those numbers.  Those kids can make difference in this world.  I am a piece of that path.  My hope is that something I say or do will create a spark in them to light the world afire with great things.

Teaching is like sowing the seeds of Christ.  You may never see the harvest of the seeds you planted.  There are kids that I see now as adults who are in the military, who are in college, who are becoming colleagues (wow that makes me feel old). I see that they are doing great things.  But others, I may never know if anything I did made an impact.  And if not me, maybe someone did, maybe someone saw their potential and helped open a door.


So, why do I do what I do?  Because there are these kids, and they have potential.



Friday, April 04, 2014

Book Review: Miracles and Moments of Grace: Inspiring Stories from Moms

Miracles and Moments of Grace: Inspiring Stories from Moms is the third book in Nancy B. Kennedy's Miracles and Moments of Grace Series, all of which I have had the pleasure to read. 

This book is compiled of stories that will move a mother's heart.  Each story is unique as is each of our mothering experiences.  Some stories are told from a mother's relationship or experience with her own child, while others are told from a woman's relationship with her own mother.  Either way, each story is heartwarming.  Women share their experiences on seeking God's guidance while parenting. Still, other women share funny stories that many moms can relate too. 

In one particular story, a mother is reminded of the love and compassion her mother had shown her as she was growing up.  At the time the story was written, the woman was taking care of her mother and become frustrated with something her mom had done.  She extended grace to her mother and remembered that she had once done the same for her.

This is a wonderful book for mothers.  The stories remind us of the importance of motherhood, the special bond between women and their children, and the grace that we should extend to others because of the grace God has extended to us. 

I received a free copy of this book from Leafwood Publishers for the purpose of review.  The review is my own opinion of the book. 


Five Minute Friday - Writer



When I grow up, I want to be a writer.  I am so in love with words.  When I hear songs like Speak Life and The Words I Would Say, I am reminded about the power of words.  When I read scripture, and I am still and quite, I hear God's voice, I feel Him changing me.  When I speak words to others, I can smile that I uplifted them. Sometimes I cringe because I can't believe the words that just came from my mouth. 

But words.  I do love them.

We all have story to tell.  We have words to spill from our souls to share with the world.  We can use these words, whether we have a desire to be a writer or not, and we can change the world. One story at a time.

Homeless. Tell your story.
Recovering addict. Tell your story.
Military. Tell your story.
Abused. Tell your story.
Worst mom ever. Tell your story.

Your story can change lives.

Tell the story of Jesus.  Tell of His grace and love and mercy. That, my friends, is life changing.  It is a story that needs to be told over and over and over....

This blog, this simple online place, it allows me to be a writer.  It allows me to use words that will hopefully be a lifesaver to someone.  To share my story, what God has done for me, that's the whole purpose here. I made a deal with God.  I would use this space to glorify Him. If I didn't have time to spend with Him, I wouldn't spend time here.  He is why I tell my story. He is why I want to be a writer when I grow up.

STOP
Five Minute Friday
Thank you so much, Lisa-Jo, for providing this time for me to be a writer.  If anyone else wants to join in for five minutes each Friday, just click on over to Lisa-Jo's to find out how.  Oh, and she wrote a book.  I have my copy waiting for me on the table. Just have to finish another before I start!
Lisa-Jo Baker

Thursday, April 03, 2014

So much to do, so little time


 


One of my greatest treasures is being a mom.  How painful! How heart-wrenching! How wonderful!  I love my life as a mom.  It is the hardest job ever. There are days I wonder how these children can possibly be mine; they are simply to stubborn for words. They fight and kick and scream and tattle and instigate.  Boys will be boys I guess.  Some days I feel like I am at my wits end because they will not listen, they expect toys and dirty clothes and trash and shoes and food to be cleaned up themselves, or mom the maid will do it!

Then there are days (many times found in those crazy days) that I wonder how I deserved to be so blessed with these children.  My children.

There are the hugs I get every morning.  Sometimes it is that "hold me close" hug that just wants to cuddle. Sometimes its that quick "head on hip, pat on back, outta my way" hug.  Regardless, it is a hug from a precious child that is glad to see his mama first thing in the morning.

There are those kisses. Sweet boy (sometimes sweaty, stinky, and sticky) kisses.  Colin on the cheek. Carson on the cheek (the kids has kissed me 10 times in his whole life - no joke). Carter full blown on the lips, sometimes on the eye, cheek, nose or wherever he has the desire to plant one.  But kisses from my boys.

There are those shrills of laughter, giggles galore, one of the greatest sounds in the world.  Laughter brought on by Spongebob and America's Funniest Home Videos, Minecraft shenanigans, and the stinky toots from across the room.

There are the silly jokes, "Hey, Buddy! You wanna race?"  that make no sense at all, but just the way it sounds cracks you up.  There are the holy moments of saying grace at meal time only to have your toddler sing it like he is straight up Full Gospel. Not sure where he got that. Us Southern Baptist just don't do that sort of thing!

There is the catch phrase of a child that lasts years. The memories made while on vacation and the park or at Chuck E. Cheese's.

There are the tears and the boogers and the blood and the vomit and the poop and the "only mama will do moments."

There is the cuddling, the sharing of the last cupcake, the hand holding, the bath time messes, the tickling, the praying, the singing in the car, the five more minutes at bedtime to spend with a child.

There is so much to do with these little people that God has given me.  There is little time to do it. There is no time to waste.

Instead of wasting my day working on laundry piles that will NEVER go away, I am going to build memories. I am going to create memories that me and my children will hold on to for years to come.


Monday, March 31, 2014

Not a lot of Talk


Last week, I completed week 2 of Survival Sisters through Wives of Faith.  One of the discussion questions asked, "If God's grace brings salvation, instruction in godliness, and hope in Christ's return should it reflect how we live?"

My answer was, "Yes, most definitely."  

You see, when we enter into a relationship with Christ, we usually say that we gave our hearts to him or that we asked him into our heart.  That means that Christ lives within us.  If he does indeed live within us, then we change.  

We allow him to take control of our lives.  Thus, our lives should reflect that.  When people look at me, especially those that knew me before I knew Christ, they should see that I am a different person.  Even those that know me and see me day in and day out should be able to see Jesus in all that I do.  I should reflect his love and compassion.  I should try to be teaching others about him.  I should reflect Christ in all that I do.

It is one thing to say that I am a Christ Follower, but it is another thing to live it.  1 Corinthians 4:20 says, "For the kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God's power."  

There is truth in that.  

So many times, I have said these things:
I want God's will to be done in my life.
If God brings me to it, He will bring me through it.
God is in control. I trust him.
I know that God will never leave me.

The list goes on.  Have you said these things too?  

Like me, you may have found that living those statements is more difficult than saying them.  Living them shows whether or not we have true faith.  It shows if we are walking the walk instead of talking the talk.  

It is easy to live for the Kingdom when we are on that mountaintop.  But what about when we are in the valleys?  Deployment? Loss of spouse? Loss of child?  Loss of job?  Cancer?  Depression? Loneliness?  What about those times?

It is in those times that we find out if we really believe in the power of God.  God asks us, "Do you really believe?"  And we want to say yes, but how can we be sure?  

Surround yourself with Him.  Read His Word. Talk to Him through prayer. Fellowship with other Christ Followers.  Worship and praise Him through song.  The more time you spend with God, the stronger your relationship is.  

Think about it.  If you never water your flowers, you never tend to them and protect them, then they will wilt and die.  Likewise, if you never tend to your relationship with the Lord, it will wilt and never be what you want it to be.  

The best thing I can say to you today is this....

God loves you. He wants to spend time with you. He wants to strengthen you. He wants to give you hope.

Sounds simple doesn't it?  Here's the kicker....you have to pursue Him.  Put down that iPhone. Get off Facebook.  Stop pinning on Pintrest. Turn off the TV.  Take time away from those activities and.....

Open your Bible.  Fall to your knees in prayer. Meet God right where you are.  You will never regret the time you spend with the Lord.  

Life will not always be perfect. God never promised us that.  He will, however, give us the strength to get through those difficult days, to find the blessings in our messes.  Spending time will change you in so many wonderful ways.  Just you wait. 

I was that girl in high school that got angry with a friend for praying for me.  I felt like there was nothing wrong with me.  But there was.  Now I am that girl praying for others and asking people to remember me in prayer.  No longer am I that smarty pants potty mouth gossip.  I try to encourage and build each others up. I'm not perfect. God convicts me when I am wrong.  I thank Him for doing so.  

So Friends, it is Monday. Time for a new start.  I encourage you this week to seek God. Live by His power.  When you do, you will forever be changed and others will notice.  They will want what you have. They will want Christ.  And isn't that what we are called to do, to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ?  What better way than to live a life that demonstrates the Power of the Holy One!  


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Joy

Five Minute Friday
 
 Yes, I know it is Saturday, but I have time for a little Five Minute Friday.  I love it.  Five minutes. A writing prompt.  Words flowing.  Thanks Lisa-Jo for this time.


Go.
 

You know what the Bible says, “Joy comes in the morning.”  Have you ever felt that joy? The joy that you find in the depths of your soul when there seems to be nothing else to hold on to?

Ann Voskamp talks of gratitude. Being thankful for the little things.  That there’s beauty in the ashes. 

You know that sounds all good and everything, but is it real?  Can you find joy in the ashes? In the ugliness of life?

Yes.  Jesus is there. 

He found me as I lay naked on the bathroom floor losing a baby.  He reminded me how blessed I already was: 3 healthy children, a husband who adored me.  The salvation and eternal life found in him. 

Yes, my heart aches. This baby was due to arrive in two weeks from the moment I am typing these words about joy.  I won’t know the joy of holding this babe after birth, watching him (or her) grow and learn, laugh and cry, love and fight with siblings.  But

There is joy in the morning.

There is joy in knowing that God knows something I don’t. That, even though it hurts, His plan is much better than my own. There is joy in trusting Him.  Yes, sorrow may last for the night, but joy definitely comes in the morning. 


Ruining My Witness


It is so easy to get caught up in gossip.  And sometimes, it seems that the person brings it on herself.  After all, hasn’t this person ever looked in a mirror before leaving the house or heard the words “Humble yourself?” 

So many times in scripture, God talks about our words, our gossiping.  Instead of quoting everything He says, let me just put it this way: God doesn’t like it.

So recently, I had just had enough.  Yes, I talked about this person. Yes, I snickered as she walked by wondering what she had been thinking.  Yes, I gossiped. I admit I even shared pins on Pintrest that aren’t very nice.   But I had enough.  I felt the whole thing had been taken too far, and I wanted out. 

I asked a friend for prayer.  To help me with the situation.  It was stressful trying to avoid the topic of conversation.  I searched Pintrest and underlined scripture to help me find the words to help me with the situation.  Then I came across this:

 
Hmmmm.

Slap in the face. 

What a reminder that the problem isn’t found in other people. The problem is found in me.  I have presented myself as a gossip confidant, so to speak.  God is not amused.  He is disappointed.

Romans 15:2 says, “We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord.” Umm, I didn’t do that. I did nothing to build this person up.

Proverbs 20:7 says, “The godly walk with integrity: blessed are their children who follow them.” Umm, I don’t want my children to follow this behavior.  I want them to do what is right. I don't want them to be talked about and made fun of. I don't want people to talk about me and make fun of me.  How about that Golden Rule: Do Unto Others As You Would Have Done Unto You.  Did you know that is found in scripture too?

Now that I have been slapped in the face with this, I will do what Romans 13:12 says, “So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living.”  I will also keep in mind the words of Psalm 19:14, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”

So to this person, I am not yet humbled enough to say to your face, “I’m sorry. I talked about you behind your back.  I made it “ok” to do so because I blamed you. My excuse was if you didn’t want the attention, you shouldn’t behave the way you do. In fact, you are who you are.  I should know that by now.  I was wrong. I’m sorry.”

To those that I have led to believe the conversations we were having were ok, “I’m sorry.  It was wrong of us. It was wrong of me.  I should not have made you comfortable enough to have those conversations with me.  I did not be the witness I should have been. I am not better than anyone else, but I do have a responsibility to my Lord and Savior.  He has certain expectations of me, and I have let him down.” 

 To those of you that are like me, there is hope for us.