Friday, February 26, 2016

Five Minute Friday: Morning

I am totally a morning person.  My favorite thing to do is make a pot of coffee, check out the sunrise, and read my Bible.

Morning is just a special time. It's quite for the most part (I'm usually the only one up). The beauty of the sunrise amazes me.  Although the view out the back door is the same, the image is always different.

And morning reminds me of renewal.  A fresh start.

There's so many ways to connect that thought to Christ.

Joy comes in the morning.

Morning by morning new mercies I see.

He makes all things new.

The earth is filled with His glory.

I like to think that God is a morning person too.  Its full of beauty and peace and so is He.

I'm thankful for mornings, not just for my routine during this time, but for the new start.  Waking to the realization that God has blessed me with a new day, and regardless of what the day brings, He is in it. He's ordained it.

Because I know, "This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it."

And I can rejoice each morning because of Him.

And there are so many things to rejoice right now.  One of those things is the release of the book Even If Not by Kaitlyn Bouchillon. I met Kaitlyn at the Five Minute Friday Retreat in August.  We roomed together and got to spend time chatting. You FMF friends know that there is something special about this community.  And Kaitlin is one of the people who makes it so special.

You can order Even if Not today (right now, just click here).  I think you'll be touched by her words.

And another thing to rejoice about....

In a matter of weeks, the second Spring Fever Giveaway will be going on here.  I've got some amazing treats lined up!  Like monograms? Makeup?  Home decor? Jewelry? Yeah, me too.  You don't want to miss the giveaway!

Happy Friday, Friends!  Thanks for stopping by! Head over to Kate's to share in the Five Minute Friday fun.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

52 Books in 52 Weeks

I am continuing my 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge with my online group.  I'm excited that a local friend has joined us!

Recently, I completed book 5, Something to Sing About.  This is a yearly read for me.  Our media specialist included it on our Battle of the Books list a few years ago, and I fell in love with it.  I led a book club at church with our children shortly after the first time I read it.  Since then, I read it to my students at school as a read aloud.

Don't be fooled by the fact that it is a kid's chapter book.  It has a wonderful message for us all. I don't want to spoil it for you.....just read it for yourself, and then let me know what you think! I am putting this one under the category of a book based in your current town.

I finished book 6 just moments ago. I chose to read I am Malala (the young readers edition) because I want to use it for lit circles in my classroom.  I love this story and the message of using your voice to stand up for what your believe.  This book fulfills the autobiography category.

I will admit that I was in a rush to get finished with this book (although, it is one that you want to finish and not put down until you do so).  One of my homeroom students found my 10 Book in 10 Weeks challenge I am doing with my reading classes.  She asked to participate, so of course I said yes.  One of the categories is  A book recommended by a teacher.  I felt certain she would love this book, so I gave her a copy to read.  The competitor in me couldn't let her finish first!

How's your reading going?  I'd love to hear about it!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

52 Books in 52 Weeks: Book 4

Today I finished book 4 of my 52 Books in 52 Weeks Reading Challenge.

I think I read this in school. My friend Emily said she read it in middle school and high school. I can't remember, although there were some parts that seemed familiar.  I haven't decided which category it will go under yet. Lots of possibilities for this one.

How is your reading going?  Read anything good lately?

Friday, February 12, 2016

Five Minute Friday: Limit

There's a limit to the things I can do.  I get tired. I get to that point of ENOUGH.  I can't do it all.  I have a limit.

But God
He's limitless.  
There's this mighty creation that He spoke into being.

There's His mercy.
There's His grace.
There's His love.
The Bible says that His Faithful Love Endures Forever.

God is the Alpha
The Omega
The Beginning
and The End

He is limitless
and for that
I am truly thankful.

When I'm at my limit, He is there supplying me with what I need.
When my cup is dry, He makes it overflow.
When I am lonely, He provides companionship.
When I am sick, He provides healing.
When I am empty, He makes me whole.

My Lord, My God
My Jesus
My Savior

There is no limit to what He can do.
His power
His strength
His goodness
His faithfulness
With God, all things are possible.
I am thankful that when I can't, He can.

Thank you so much for joining me for this edition of Five Minute Friday. Head on over to Kate's to see the limitless possibilities from today's prompt.

Spring Fever Giveaway

Last year, I hosted my first Spring Fever blog giveaway.  I need your help as I plan for this year's giveaway.  I am looking for small business owners, authors, health/beauty consultants, anyone who has a product or service to offer my lucky readers.  

Last year the following items were donated: 

a monogrammed hat from Barn Door Designs

a Shakeology Starter Kit from Christy Jasper

a personalized cup from Cindy Sopko

Moments and Miracles of Grace: Inspiring Stories from Moms donated by author Nancy B. Kennedy

a $15 gift card for Pineapple Lily

My hope is to offer more great prizes this year.  If you are interested in providing (donating) a prize for this year's giveaway to promote your business, please contact me. 

Thursday, February 04, 2016

I Draw Stick People

A while back, I began following certain people and online stores on Instagram and saw post after post of bible journaling.


The designs and colors were beautiful.  I absolutely loved the thought of doodling and coloring God's Word.

There's one thing though.

I don't consider myself very artistic when it comes to drawing and sketching.  Seriously, I draw stick people.  You should have seen my life cycle of a frog and butterfly diagrams when I taught fourth grade science.  They were quite comical to say the least.

Well, I'm one of those girls that sees something awesome and beautiful and want a piece of it.  So, for months, I considered buying a journaling bible.  I even carried one around LifeWay and then put it back. While in the checkout line, I sent my 13 year old son back to get it, but he brought back the wrong one. I decided against it. I was hesitant because I'm not very good at drawing.  I saw those beautiful pictures on Instagram and then on Pinterest and convinced myself I would never be able to make something so beautiful.

I talked to my coworker Jane about the journaling bibles (she's a former art teacher turned media specialist). She was in love too, and we encouraged each other to get one.  But still, I had this fear that I would mess it up.  I love my bibles. All of them. I highlight and circle and write and underline and draw clouds around certain verses.  I didn't want to risk ruining a bible with crayons and markers and stickers.

My mother-in-law got me a journaling bible for Christmas. I loved it and was terrified at the same time.  I let it sit. And sit. And sit some more.

Until one day.....

I decided it was time and created my first journal entry.

I admit that I was quite pleased even though it wasn't exactly like what I'd seen on social media. I didn't ruin it on the first try and that was a very good thing! And I realized.....

It's not supposed to look like the other examples on social media.

This is MY journaling bible.
This is MY artistic ability (or lack of).
This is MY time with God.

And that, my friend, is what is important.

I'm spending time in God's Word. I'm reading and listening. I'm creating from being inspired by Him. And I'm in love with it because I am in love with Christ.

How many times do we let our fears stand in our way?  We doubt our abilities and give up without trying.  We fear judgement from others and ourselves.  We don't believe we are good enough.  But we are good enough.  God says we are, even if we draw stick people or dance like a duck or sing off key.

Colossians 3:23 says, "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men." 

Sometimes we forget that.  We judge ourselves before even getting started because we fear others.  But my bible time, that's for me and God. I don't have to post pictures of what I create during this time.  I shouldn't care if you like it or not.  I should care that my time was pleasing to the Lord.

Are you holding back from something?  Are you wanting to do something for God, but you're gripped by fear?  God will break those chains.  He loves you, and He doesn't care if you are like me and draw stick people.  Do what God calls you to do.  He will bless you when you are obedient.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Bringing Out the Mama Cheetah

I decided today that it’s a good thing I’m not a mama cheetah.

We were watching a video today in class, and the narrator told how cheetah cubs learn through play. The cubs were seen pouncing and rolling and nipping at one another.

This mama wanted to say, “Boys! Stop that!” I was really nervous for those cheetah cubs, afraid they would play a little too rough and one might get hurt.

Yes, I’m serious. Don’t laugh.

I pictured my boys playing and learning, and being, well, boys.

And yes, they make me nervous.

I know they are going to play rough. They are going to wrestle and punch and kick. And they will get hurt.

As their mama, I want to protect them.  I want to have padded walls and floors and full body armor and helmets.  I don’t want them to get hurt.  But all that might seem a bit psychotic, so I won’t go there.

Seriously though….

I’m the mom of three boys.  I do want to protect them.  I want to keep them from making mistakes.  I want to keep their paths straight and painless.

But I know I can’t, and I know even if I could, then it still wouldn’t be right.

It’s difficult to admit this, but our kids need to get hurt. They need to experience disappointment and loss and heartache.  As much as I want their lives to be perfect and carefree, I know deep in my heart that my children would never learn from that. The world is an imperfect place because it is full of imperfect people.

Doesn’t our learning and growth and wisdom come from trials? 

If we never experience despair of some sort, we will never really know how wonderful life is.

I look at my 13-year-old.  I think about what lies ahead for him.  There is so much I want to protect him from, so many experiences I don’t want him to have, but if I shelter him and protect him too much, how will he ever learn?

I think we can shelter our children too much, and I think we can be too lax.  They are children.  We shouldn’t allow them to be adults too soon.  One of these days, my boys will be out on their own. They will have their own lives (and it won’t be in my basement when they are 40 years old).

 Part of living is knowing how to deal with trials and hurts and loss.  Part of my job as their mother is to teach them how to handle those experiences.  I need to teach them perseverance, compassion, forgiveness.  They need to see me demonstrate those qualities in my life. They need to see how their father and I handle stress, anger, and disappointment.  They need to witness us showing love and kindness to our enemies.  I need to teach them about Christ and His love for them.  They need to see Christ in my life.

I can’t protect my children from everything, but I can teach them how to respond to their imperfect world. And when I do that, and God willing they live Christian lives, they will make this world a better place.

So, maybe I need to be a little more like a mama cheetah, letting my boys explore a little more, but yet, grasping their napes when danger is involved.  I can do that, can’t I?