Saturday, August 29, 2015


While at the Five Minute Friday Retreat, I had been chatting with my soul sisters, and then I taken some time to sit by myself to absorb the conversations and interactions of our group.  Martha said to me, "Don't you know you are supposed to talk at these types of things?"  

And yes, I totally agreed with her, but I'm a people watcher. I'm a listener.  

And in that moment, that's what I was doing. I guess you can say that's how I notice things.  

For me,  taking a step back, observing my surroundings, the goings on, the interactions of others, those things help me when it comes to writing.  I think a lot of my writing is about relationships, whether with my coworkers, family, friends, or God.  Observing relationships is one of the best ways to write about them.

I'd love to write down what I notice as soon as it happens. That's ideal.  But these little guys get my pens and papers and take off with them.  So, the next best thing is quick pics with my cell phone.

My kids laugh at me, but I don't care.

"Mama, why are you taking a picture of that?" they ask.

"I might need it, so I want to remember it."

"That's funny!"

So, I click away on scripture, things I underline in books I'm reading, insects, scenery, and unsuspecting loved ones.  I try to capture that moment.

Because I want to remember.

I want to study that picture for what the naked eye can't see....for what the heart can.

I have to admit, when I started reading this chapter (Notice) from On Being a Writer, well, it was a little depressing.  I remember those moments when my own little guys did the sweetest, cutest things....

"Mama, I need my dip dip (chapstick)"

"I'm going to be a pilot when I grow up. Jesus talked to a pilot before he died."

"Can I eat some of those straight line things (pretzels)?"

"My name is Cheeseburger."

"Hey, Pooper (Cooper), let's play."

Yes, those sweet baby boy voices, the inability to pronounce certain sounds, the hugs out of nowhere, the one millionth "I love you, mama," of the day. I was starting to miss those.  And it's strange.....some of them go away and you don't even notice until one day, your memory is jogged and you yearn for what once was.

We do need to take time to notice, whether we are writers or not.  For one day, our little baby boys will be growing into men. If we aren't paying attention. We will miss it.

My goal is to be more intentional in noticing, giving my undivided attention to conversations and interactions.  I want to bask in the moment.  I know when I do, when I am intentional about what I notice, I'll be able to share words that will bring encouragement, laughter, and hope.

Small Victories

A few months back, my teaching plans were thrown for a loop. After years of teaching fourth grade language arts, I got the news....

5th grade

all subject areas

including math



For whatever reason, math just isn't my thing.  I was a decent math student in school. But having to do math on the fly is difficult.  I need to write it out, think about it.  Check my work.  Math was a private matter because I lacked confidence.  I knew I was better with words.  Reading them. Writing them.  Words were my thing.

Needless to say, my new teaching position within my school brought me much anxiety.

But here I am. Thirteen days into the new school year. I've taught 10 days of math.  Although I am totally behind where most of the other teachers are, I am refusing to compare myself to them.  I am, after all, a first year teacher with 15 years experience!  I am a brand new math teacher.  I am learning the content. There is no way I can teach it and keep up with the teachers who've made a career out of it already.

I can only do what I ask my students to do.  I am doing my best.

I'm taking it one day at a time. And that's working for me.

My actual lessons don't always match what my weekly overview says.  I'm teaching students. They aren't concerned with my weekly overview.  They need to "get it" before I move on.

And as we are learning together, my students and I, we are looking for those small victories.  The ones where the end of class comes and students are telling me, "Math was great today."  The ones where more and more students are engaged and participating. The ones where I get blog comments that tell me the assignment I gave was great.

Yes.  Those are the small victories.

I am thankful for the Internet and those math geniuses who are sharing their knowledge.

I am thankful for students who believe in their teacher and don't give up.

I am thankful for this opportunity (although I didn't ask for it) to grow and step out of my comfort zone.

Small victories.

Keep'em coming!

I'd love for you to check out my class blog to see what we are learning.  Click here to head over there.

Friday, August 28, 2015

What Should I Write About Today?

When I started writing here on the blog, I made a promise to God that this space would be honoring to Him.  Regardless if I were posting about my family, my job, or whatever topic came up, my words would be used to glorify Him.

But how can I do that?

I have to surround myself with books and people and sights and sounds that speak of Him.

I've made a commitment to study His Word, to hide its words in my heart.  Personal Bible study, teaching Sunday school, and daily devotions help give me the words I need to share about my Lord.

Being with others who share my beliefs, who are in the same season of life as I am, or who mentor to me also gives me inspiration for writing.

Motherhood always provides detailed topics as well.  And don't forget the  adventures (and misadventures) of being a military spouse.

Now, not every single exposure brings about writing inspiration.

Sometimes it takes me losing my witness or dealing with difficult people to inspire my writing.  Those are the times that a "slap in the face" stirs the words to the point they have to be written down.

Although I do my best to surround myself with things to inspire my writing, it isn't always easy.

Being a full time school teacher, a mom of three boys, a supportive wife, a soccer coach, and taking on other roles, I don't always have the time to indulge in the things that inspire me.  Reading, writing, traveling, and fellowship are not always possible.

In my dream world, I'd love to have a flexible schedule (and lots of money) to be able to read and write, experience and write, and well....just write.  My husband tells me I need to write a book. I told him to get rich so I don't have to work and I will!

I do find that some of my experiences stir my creativity to write, but I often don't.  Sometimes its the time factor, and sometimes its the personal factor: will this person read this blog post and get offended.  There have been  several times I've wished to share my insight or thoughts here, but I felt it wasn't appropriate to risk offending a loved one or friend.  That's extremely difficult since I so desire truth.

My schedule may not be perfect, but I am trying to learn how to surround myself with things and people that influence my writing in a positive manner. That's the goal, to use truth, real life, the ugly, to show how God works in all things.

Five Minute Friday: Alone

One thing I've noticed since becoming a mama, a teacher, a wife....well, basically from being a woman....we all have this fear that we are messing up.

We worry that....

I am the only mama that yells at her kids.

I am the only wife who is so dog-tired that she falls asleep in the middle of a conversation with her husband.

I am the only teacher that is feeling in over her head.

I am the only one who secretly eats the last Little Debbie snack cake.

I am the only one who......

Yea, just go ahead and fill in the blank with that one.

Sweet girl....

I've learned something.

I've got a secret to tell you.

You, my friend, you are NOT alone.

Don't ever feel that way.

I so apologize if I've ever led you to believe that I have it all together.

I don't.

Not one bit. Not at all.

Girls, listen.  We've got to stop. We've got to stop comparing. We've got to stop posting only how glorious our life is.  We've got to stop putting on a show.

We've got to tell the messy truth.  Life is messy. It's hard.  We aren't perfect.  Those are such simple truths, yet so hard to believe.


Yes, you

with the spit up on your shirt

unwashed hair

sleep deprived

coffee drinking



You are not alone.

There is strength in numbers.  Let's be encouragers.  Let's share our messy.  Let's be real.

Thank you so much for joining me today.  I hope you will visit the Five Minute Friday community and share the love of words.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Striving for Spiritual Intimacy

I've just finished a personal Bible study from Women of Faith called Experiencing Spiritual Intimacy. Before I started reading, I just assumed that it would focus on being more intimate with God.  Although God the Father was mentioned in the study, it was mainly focused on the Holy Spirit.  I was surprised because most of the studies I've done (and most of the sermons I have heard) focus on God the Father or Jesus Christ.  

I was pleasantly moved and blessed by this study.

I think it is so easy to forget about the work of and the relationship with the Holy Spirit.  Sad, but true.

The Holy Spirit is just as much as part of our Christian lives as God and Jesus.  

Job 36:24 reminds us how big God is.

"Behold, God is great and we do not know Him; nor can the number of His years be discovered."

When we begin our relationship with God (and continue to grow in Him), we trust He is who He says He is.  And this builds our faith in Him.

As in Exodus and Deuteronomy, we know there is no other like Him.

We know that Jesus Christ is God's Son.

As Carson puts it:
When does 100 + 100 = 100?
100% God + 100% Man = 100% Jesus.

We believe that Jesus Christ lived a perfect life. That He was crucified on on cross and died for our sins, so that if we believe in Him, we should have eternal life.

And we believe that Jesus lives in us.

I think often we forget about the Holy Spirit, the third part of the Trinity.

God sent the Holy Spirit to live in us, to be our Helper.  The Spirit is that still small voice that guides us.

So many times, we entertain the thought of behaving in a manner so if that were the moment that Jesus came back, then we would be living right, that He would be pleased with us.  There's nothing wrong with that, but I think the more important thing to consider is this:

The Holy Spirit dwells in us that are saved.  The Spirit (and God and Jesus) already know if we are living right.  Therefore, we should not grieve the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30).

1 Corinthians 6:19  tells us point blank what we are to the Holy Spirit.

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?

I've read that verse many times.  I just never really did much about it.  However, since doing this study and really focusing on the Holy Spirit, this verse touches my heart deeply, especially in areas that I struggle with: anger/temper and gluttony.  When I stop to think about my body being a temple for the Holy Spirit, that the Spirit really and truly lives in me.....well, it does something to my soul.  It makes me think twice about my reactions when I'm upset.  It makes me think twice about making severe unhealthy food choices.  It just reinforces the fact that God....Jesus....the Holy Spirit....they are here; they are a part of me.  And because of that reinforcement, I want to be caught living right every moment of every day.  I am more aware of how I react to situations. I am more aware of how I spend my time. I am more aware of what and how much I eat.  I am more aware that They are closer than I think.

And in all this....thinking about intimacy in our relationships....we want that.  We want to be so close to people that we know all about them and they know all about us.  That we have a deep connection. That when they day comes to an end, when trials come, those people are here for us.

And that's what we can have with God, with Jesus, with the Holy Spirit.  With any relationship, it takes time and effort. We put those into our earthly relationships. We need to do so even more with our heavenly relationships.  When we live in unity with the Spirit, God gives us the gift of peace, the gift of wisdom, the gift of joy.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Five Minute Friday Update

I'm certain that yesterday's Five Minute Friday post had everyone on the lookout for some missing items.  However, you can call off the search party.

I am happy to announce that I'm no longer missing my keys and flash drives.  They were hiding out in a purse that was crammed inside a plastic bag full of ball caps.

Oh, Happy Day!

Now, if we could only find those missing shoes!

Happy Saturday Friends.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Five Minute Friday ~ Find

It's been a loooonnnngggg week.  The first full week of school.  I'm tired.  But not too tired for a little Five Minute Friday action.  Are you game?  Join in.  Just take the prompt and write for five minutes. That's it.  No overthinking. Supposedly no editing, but some of us can't help it.  Just write for five minutes.

This week's prompt:

I can't find my hot pink keychain that I bought last year. It has my first initial on it.  And it has my work keys.  I kinda need it.

I can't find my flash drive....well, three of them to be exact.  They have my entire school life on them from the past 4 years. I kinda need them.

My husband can't find his Sanuk slip ons.  We have no idea where they are.  I figure they are in cahoots with the keys and flash drives and they've done R-U-N-N-O-F-T. (Any movie lovers out there?)

But seriously..

How many times are we searching for something???? I swear I'd lose my head sometimes if it weren't already attached to my body.

But how about those times we are searching and we find the wrong thing.  We find a pitiful substitute for what we really need?  For many people that happens too much.

We seek, but we choose poorly.

God is always the perfect choice.  He satisfies the longing of our souls.  When something is wonderful it is to be found in Him.

Sometimes we search for Him and don't see Him.  There's something clouding our view because God, well, He's always there.  He's always waiting for us.

Thank you so much for allowing me to share these words with you.  Don't forget to head on over to Kate's to join in.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Making Room for Being a Writer

While at the Five Minute Friday Retreat, we were treated to a video chat with Ann Kroeker and Charity Singleton Craig, authors of On Being a Writer.  They asked us to go around the room and share some goals we had as writers.

One of my main goals was write consistently.

If you go back through my blog, you'll see that there are seasons where I posted quite often and seasons where I rarely posted anything.

Consistency is quite an issue for me.

I work full time as an elementary school teacher.

I am married and have 3 children.

I coach soccer.

I coach robotics.

I volunteer in our church.

I am a resource teacher for interns and student teachers.

I have laundry, dishes, a cat, and 3 hermit crabs to take care of.

I seriously have a lot going on.

As much as I want to make writing a priority, it doesn't always happen.

Like Kate Motaung and many others, I often feel guilty for taking time to write.  There's laundry to be done, dishes to be washed, and kids to look after.  I can easily forget the laundry and dishes. I've learned they'll always be there.  But my children....I feel guilty for allowing them to sit in front of the TV or play on the iPads longer than they really should while I peck away at the keyboard.  Shouldn't I be spending time reading with them? Playing with them?  And my husband.....shouldn't I be spending that time having meaningful conversations with him? After all, when the kids are asleep, that's our time to really catch up on our day and activities and connect (Currently, we are in bed. Me with the laptop, him with the iPhone, and Cubs on the TV. Go Cubs! Go!). I think as moms, we do guilt ourselves into neglecting our time to do "our thing," whether its writing, exercising, crafts, or gardening.  However, what I'm realizing, even if its just for me, is that I need that time to refresh. Time for myself is good.

In reality though, my writing time is what Kate described as scraps. Pieces from here and there stitched together.  The kids are playing, laundry is going, and the dish washer is running so I sit to write.  Then I hear, "Mama!"  I get needs taken care of and then try again.  That's the way it usually goes.  I won't even mention how many of my Five Minute Friday posts took at least an hour to get through!

But time is definitely a factor.

As far as space, my writing spot......its usually somewhere close to all the action in the house.  I've realized the closer I am to my 3 boys, the less they need me.  If I go to the bedroom or outside (anything that even hints at privacy), they realize they can't live without me and are completely unable to do anything on their own.

We've just moved into a new home, and although I am typing from the comfort of my bed, my usual physical space for writing is my breakfast table.

It's in the kitchen which means my boys are usually in the next room. It also puts me very close to the coffee pot.  The view is excellent.  I can gaze at the horses out the door during the day. And at night, the yellow walls brighten up the room. Its a nice consistent spot to be.

The biggest thing I have done in arranging my life to be able to write is spend time with God.  That's huge considering the purpose of this blog is to bring Him honor and glory.  He and I made this deal when I started blogging that this space is for Him.  He would come first.  Then I would use what He's teaching me through Bible study, prayer, and life to give hope and encouragement here.  As you can see from my picture above, my Bible is always close by when I'm writing. I take pictures of scripture as I'm doing Bible study so I can use it in my writing.  God speaks to me like that,  and I have to share it.

All in all.....

I'm trying.

I'm trying to give more attention to this thing called writing that I love to do.

I want more of it.  I want more out of it.

One day, I'd love to make a career out of it.  Not sure if that would ever happen or even if God wants it for me, but that's a hope and dream of mine.

I am realistic and realize right now that I can't quit teaching to pursue writing. Student loans, a teenager who is going to need braces soon, a car payment, and two mortgages tell me so. You can help a girl get closer to her goal by buying my old house!  That'd save me some money each month!

But I do have goals, and I think that's a start.  And knowing what those goals are, I can arrange my time and my space to reach those goals.

I encourage you to do the same.  Whether it's writing or something else, make time for it.  Get rid of some time wasters.  I'll tell you what...I'm NOT missing Frozen Free Fall or Hay Day.  But I do miss out (and feel it in my soul too) when I don't take time for me. And writing is me.  It's what I do. It's who I am.

And I feel so brave typing those words. You can too.

Monday, August 17, 2015

I am a Writer

I've never considered myself a writer.  I guess the fact of the matter is, I've unconsciously felt that writers were published, sought after, paid, and famous.

But me? A writer?


Until this....

As an attendee at the Five Minute Friday Retreat, I received a door prize.  This lovely gem....

I took that picture and sent it to my husband with this comment: Could this be a sign?

And it was.

That cute little necklace gave me the courage to call myself a writer.

If I go back to the prerequisites I listed above, I can only check off one of those. I am "published," and I say that lightly. I have written for Wives of Faith and Planting Roots, two wonderful military spouse communities. I also publish here on the blog. That orange button up there in the top right corner says so!

But seriously...

I am a lover of words.  I love how words can lift people, can boost their imaginations, can change their perspective.

I am a user of the written words.  I write notes of encouragement. I write love letters to my husband and children. I write here on my blog and in my journal. I write for me. I write for you.

I am a writer!

I'm not a writer because you say I am. I am writer because God has given me that gift, and as I am learning, I am to be faithful in using that gift.

Whether I publish a book or not, 
Whether I am a sought out author or not,
Whether I am paid or not,
Whether I am famous or not,

I will continue to write
Because I am a writer..

Sunday, August 16, 2015

LEARN (Five Minute Friday Sunday Evening)

I am a mama.
I am a teacher.
I am a wife.
I am 37ish years old.

When my kids ask me how I know something, my reply is, "I know everything."  They laugh because they know it's not true.

And it's not.

I still have a lot to learn.

And I do learn....every day.

The most important life lesson that I've learned and am still learning is

God's not done with me yet!

Thank you, Lord.

Some days I'm a hot mess.
Some days, cool as a cucumber.

Either way, far from perfect.

I am learning, as a woman, that I am ME. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Scars and all.

I am learning that my journey is different than your journey and that's perfectly fine.

God didn't intend for us all to be the same.

I am learning more and more every day that I want to be found in His holiness. I want Him to fill my soul with His presence.  Because really....honestly...without Him, I am nothing.

I am learning more and more every day that I crave His grace and mercy.....especially on those "hot mess days."

And as I learn, I have to share, to teach, to show others what God has done in my life.

Wow! That five minutes went particularly fast today.  Thank you for allowing me to share my Five Minute Friday thoughts with you on this Sunday afternoon!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

These Are My People

I'm a homebody.  I don't like to bring attention to myself.  New social situations are uncomfortable for me.

So the thought of attending a weekend retreat with total strangers terrified me.  With the encouragement of my husband, I clicked submit and marked my calendar for August 7-9: The First Ever Five Minute Friday Retreat.

And y'all, let me just say this: 
These are my people

Different Ages. 
Different Races. 
Different Backgrounds.
Different Hometowns.
Different Experiences.
Different Denominations.

One Heart.

The Heart of Jesus is the way I'd describe these women.  Amazing women.  Women who are now a part of me.

As a writer....and yes, because of these women, I can boldly say, I am a writer.....I've learned so much in such short amount of time.  

I was reminded that we are the body of Christ.  We've each been given different spiritual gifts, different life paths, and different hopes and dreams and realities.  But in all of this, we need to be content with our own journey, our own path.  We need to realize, as Mary said, "My big is someone else's ordinary."

And for me, the Five Minute Friday Retreat was my BIG, very big.

Where else can you walk through the door not knowing what's on the the other side and be greeted by strangers who already know you?

Where else can the theme of the weekend, whether woman planned or God planned is bravery, when you feel like the least brave person you know?

What else can make you feel a little empty when you walk away from it that last day?

Y'all, these are my people.

I'll never forget Martha's sweet manner.

I'll never forget Janel's contagious personality.

I'll never forget listening to Kate read about Spanx as we laughed til we cried.

I'll never forget praying for Christy and Melinda when they were stranded with a flat tire even though I'd never met them in real life.

I'll never forget praying for women that I'd never know, only God would know, as I cut denim petals.

I'll never forget dinner at Hadley's with fried everything and saying a few Spanish words with that southern twang.

I'll never forget sweet Haven and the joy she brought to us.

This was a time of many firsts for me.

The first time to leave my family and do something on my on, by myself, for myself.

The first time eating grits. 

The first time cooking with black beans (Thank you Mollie for letting me know I needed to rinse them!).

The first time sharing my writing face to face.

The first time connecting with women on a different level than I am used to.

The first time using my bar of Zest to wash my hair because I grabbed body lotion instead of shampoo.

I admit.....It would have been easy, oh, so easy for me to back out.  With Space Camp, Army Training, Soccer Tournaments.....yes, I could have easily said it just wasn't the right time for me.  I was a too busy. I wasn't quite ready to jump into this.


God gave me a peace of mind. He never gave this socially backwards girl a nervous heart.  He sent me right where He wanted me.  And Kate, I agree with you.  We were meant to be there.

I take away from this experience many things.  New friendships. Wisdom.  Memories.  I take away a little piece of the bravery shared through our devotions. I take away gifts from obedience and following through with what God has asked me to do.  I take away the reminder that as a writer, I am called to write TRUTH.  My audience isn't necessarily you, the blog readers, my audience is Christ.  When I  click publish, my words should reflect His Truth. His Love. His Mercy. His Grace. His Hope. His Redemption. His Story.

And that's what I've found in these women.  I've found that He lives in their hearts and in them, they have a story to tell, and as Kaitlyn says, a story that matters.  We matter.  We matter as women, as mothers, as daughters of the One True King.

And y'all, these are my people. These are my sisters.  Forevevermore, because of a little thing God put in the heart of Lisa-Jo Baker and she passed along to Kate Motaung, these five minutes we spend on Fridays, knit together a bond that is strong, that is pure, that is God created.

I'm grateful.  I'm grateful for the time spent with these women.  For their love, their sincerity.  I'm thankful that although we are all different, no judgement was passed. Our insecurities were out the door because of love, because of kindness, because of compassion.

I am grateful for these people, my people.  

Love and hugs to you all until we meet in real life again!