The Reward for Surviving Rough Seas

The Reward for Surviving Rough Seas
We are all like sea shells tossed about in rough waters and being re-shaped in wondrous ways. But have you ever contemplated the notion that sea shells have to complete their journey through the rough waters before they get to rest on the shore? Yeah, we are ALL like sea shells and Heaven is The Great Shore.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Stand Alone Blog in a SEA of Blogdom

Admittedly I am new to the blogging world...but I find that it is addictive.  It seems that God has given me so many words, and so many thoughts, and that the more I write the more I WANT to write.  This blog is not written under the umbrella of a collection of other's just me pegging away...and writing as I feel the Lord Leads Me to Write.

This is indeed A Stand Alone Blog in a SEA of Blogdom.

If it is God's will that this blog catches on and that it blesses others, then to HIM be the Glory.
And if He Wills that it really never catch on, then HIS WILL BE DONE.

Meanwhile, I find that I am called more and more to this computer to write.

To wit...

When my daughter was a child, there was a phrase in vogue called "A Gratitude Attitude"
...and I really LIKE that phrase.

Mostly I like it because I think that it is an attitude that when sown properly is also "Harvestable".

                                                (Is that a word?..."Harvestable"???)

Well if it's not, it should be.
Perhaps the term "Harvestable" was coined here on the Grace Under Pressure blog? 

 Not certain, but am willing to pretend that it was. lol

OK...New Term just entered into the  G.U.P. Lexicon of Spiffy Words with Spiritual Applications
                                                                                fyi...G.U.P.= Grace Under Pressure

The ultimate outcome of a Faith-Based Way Of Thinking and Living

If I find that this definition is not sufficient, it can always be amended.

But for now,  yeah, I think it works!


We all know that if a crop is Harvestable, it serves a purpose for mankind in some fashion.
And in this case, when Gratitude is the crop that has been planted, the "Harvestable" crop that will serve mankind is a soul easing sense that we do nothing on our own accord, but that God in control and by His grace we live and breathe.

Americans tend to try to sow Autonomy instead of Submission to His Will...and then are shocked when we harvest Frustration.

We tend to sow Busy-ness in hopes of harvesting Personal Value and then we are surprised when the crop turns out to be a strong hybrid bunch of thistles called Failed Marriages, Floundering Children, and Disintegrating Families.

We need to sow some Quiet Reflection & Prayer in order to harvest Spiritual Discernment.
We need to sow some Scripture Reading in order to harvest an Strong Moral Compass.
We need to sow some Deep Discussions with our loved ones and friends if we want Spiritual Edification.

And yes, we need to sow a big ole crop of Holy Gratitude & Bone-deep Humility if we are to ever to find antidotes to our Arrogant Pride of Self-Reliance & our Pernicious Sense of Entitlement.

This is not just my opinion ya know...
The Bible speaks to us about the crops we need to sow and the ones we should avoid.

Galatians 6:7 " Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows."

Hosea 10:12 " Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers righteousness on you."

We have been told about the two very different types of "Harvestable" crops.

                             The first crop is called The Acts of the Flesh... which leads to Hell.
                             The second is called The Fruit of the Spirit... which leads to Heaven.

Galatians 5:19-22 " 19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law."

By God's Grace, we find comfort knowing that when we Sow the Fruit of the Spirit & Follow HIS Word, His gift to us...our a Heavenly Home.

And if that doesn't cause a person to have a Gratitude Attitude I don't know what will :)

In Him,

Monday, November 28, 2011

"The I'm So Sick 7 Dwarfs"

Today I am not at work...I am here at home...sick.
Some hostile airborne intruder has crawled up my nose, into my ears, down my throat, and into my lungs. And yes even my stomach is reacting to this assault...not violently...just causing frequent trips to the "little room".

Not very pleasant imagery to be sure.

And frankly, I don't feel very pleasant!

However, while I am sitting here with all of "The I'm So Sick 7 Dwarfs" (ahem...say hello to  Drippy, Stuffy, Sneezy, Snuffly, Hacky, Greeny & Achy, who are all present and accounted for), I am using one the perks of being in a profession with available "sick days".  

This day at home will not cause me to lose wages. 
This day at home will not cause me to be unable to buy food or pay bills.

And the reason I even HAVE the blessing of "sick days"  is that God gave my parents the ability & the will to pay for my college education...and that God gave me the ability & the will to complete that education...and that God lead me to this teaching profession, where sick days & insurance are part of the benefits package. 

There were so many factors that lead up to today...and those factors seen in hindsight are blessings.

James 1:17
"Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow."

So I sit here in the comfort of my own home (...and I might add that if one is really sick, there is  likely a complete and total abandonment of any polite manners due to all of the sneezing & coughing & spitting into tissues)...FEELING and LOOKING kinda gross lol.

But focusing on yourself is a great way to feel even worse...and I have learned to count my blessings when feeling icky.

I am thankful that I HAVE a home to sit here in...that I have the tissues to use ( for there have been plenty of times when I did NOT have them and used toilet paper instead of tissues).

I am thankful for the warm quilts and for the central heating in my home.

I am thankful that there is food here for me to eat and fresh clean water for me to drink.

I am thankful for the asthma medications that are already in the house...because as this reaction leaves my head it will inevitably go south to my lungs...and the already significant asthma symptoms that I have will be further compromised...but I have some things to help ward off trouble.  

I am thankful that I have a nebulizer and the medicine to use in it.  The plan is to preemptively use my nebulizer throughout the day.  

I am thankful that I am not sick on a holiday weekend now and that if I need to get to my doctor he will be in his office and can see me as soon as I can drive over there...if I need him.

Even though I don't feel very good body-wise...I am in great shape spirit-wise...For I have everything I need.

Philippians 4:19 "And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus." 

In Him,

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Angels Wept

There is no way for me to talk about the subject I want to discuss without it possibly being misunderstood...but it's a risk that I am willing to take.

Two Disclaimers at the Onset:
1. This is not about "putting on airs"
2. This is about being aesthetically uplifted by sight and sound.

Last night we attended a Holiday Symphony concert and I was moved to tears.

The sounds and the sights of the evening served as a banquet for the senses.
Sometimes Christmas Concerts tend to wax on through an evening,  and often even though the audience is lulled by spiritual and secular favorites, the experience does not touch the soul.

However...last night, I sat there with little tears in my eyes, because I was moved.
There were obviously instruments being played, but there were also vocalists.
Amazing vocalists.
And the combination of the human voices with the instruments reached a new plateau of expression in that concert hall last night.

There was a symphony "performance" in the air, but the there was also a sense of the joy of life and an ease of delivery that I have rarely seen among those musicians. Let's face it...sometimes the Symphony tends to take itself very seriously and come across as stuffy and pretentious.

But last night...there was just music...just was a sense of sharing...a symbiotic experience between the stage and the audience.  It was like a couple of friends wanted to show me some things they had been practicing and I, in turn, wanted to hear what they had been working on.

There was an unparalleled sense of intimacy in the air that made it seem as if the concert was being conducted just for me...and just for every other single individual in the house.

There were several times during the show that my head rested on my husbands shoulder...I just had to reach out and touch the person closest to me and share the moment with him.

The music was heavenly.

Indeed...I  believe that music is a special gift from the heavenly realm.
And I suspect that last night the angels wept with joy. I decorate my home for Christmas...I will play music...and I will sing...and I will Thank God for the ability to make music in my heart & in the air.

...and the angels are invited to my concert.

In Him,

Friday, November 25, 2011

That Baby in the Other Room

This morning I want to talk for just a little bit about how cool it is to be a grandmother.
And I also want to take just a little moment to mention how incredibly cool it is to be married to a grandfather.

For the 2nd time in his young life, my grandson (now 4 months old) had a "sleepover" at our house.

He is due to wake up in about an this is my pre-baby-duty time slot of the morning...meanwhile he is in the other room.

My daughter & son in law have trusted us with this precious little one and it is an honor that kinda makes me get all teary-eyed.

We got to take him through his nightnight rituals last night...the bottle, the bath, the warm jammies...the little wind up music gizmo that sings him sleep.

We set up the baby monitor and yes I went in to check on him even though we tested the monitor to make sure it was working.
He sleeps with his little fists curled up right next to his ears.

QUESTION:  Is there anything more precious than a sleeping baby?
ANSWER: Yes there is.  I have to say that when he is in that little bathtub of his, with his head all lathered up and his little left foot kicking away, and that gummy grin is beaming at me...yeah THAT is even more precious than when he is sleeping.

And btw...Yes clearly some pixie has sprinkled me with magic grandmother foofydust...cause his drool doesn't bother me, and his diapers don't bother me...and he can scream his head off if he needs to, and it doesn't bother me.

...I remember this part from when I was a young mother myself.  There is a feeling of peace even in the midst of a dynamic hurricane of insistent baby needs.  That baby needs me to hold him and feed him and clean him...and care for his every need. When he needs something today, I will be there to make sure that whatever he needs will be taken care of. I will hold him and comfort him and shower him with love and affection and songs...and I will let him sleep when he needs it...even if he wants to fight against what is best for him and is resistant to taking a nap.

When that little fellow sleeps in my arms...all is right with the world.

And when I see him laughing and playing with his Grampaw...and I see the love in my husbands eyes being focused on that little boy...well there I go getting all teary-eyed again.

Thank you God...for this child...and for the one that is due to arrive in June.

Yes baby #2 is due this summer...and God...I am not sure my heart is big enough for this much love.

...God, how do YOU do it?  You love each of your children more than I ever loved my own daughter and or my grandchild (and the ones to come) do you do that?

..God, your heart must be a mighty and awesome thing...

Thank you for the knowledge that I am YOUR child...and that you love me with a force that I can not comprehend but can totally depend on...just like that baby in the other room is depending on me.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Dear God,
Thank you for loving me!
Thank you for blessing me!
Thank you for each moment of my life!
And Thank You for Eternity with YOU!

In Him,

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

In Praise of the Perfect Bath

Tonight the topic is The Perfect Bath.
Like many of you, I have had gazillions of baths.
Honestly, I usually take it for granted that I am going to have access to hot running water, clean towels, soap, and a milky white tub every day.
And because taking a bath is really NOT a big deal, and even sounds kind of stupid to get all excited about,
it obviously MUSTA BEEN SOME BATH for me to even mention it.

I mean, it's NOT like there's a Bathtime Hall of Fame or anything, right?

Nevertheless, last night I had the PERFECT Bath

For the sake of discussion and laughability, I offer my Bath Assessment grading rubric for your inspection:
                                              (Scale of 1-10) 
                                             Cleanliness of Tub 10
                                             Ambient Room Temperature 10
                                             Water Temperature 10
                                             Availability of Basic Items (soap & etc) 10
                                             Ability to Relax 10
                                             Duration 10                                           
                                             Really Good Reading Material 10

               Last nights' bath got a PERFECT SCORE of 70

lol Veteran Bathers will tell you that this is really kind of rare. lol
Usually at least ONE of those categories is a little less than perfect.

Anyway, as silly as this sounds, I just wanted to point out that when you really need it, even something as mundane as a bath can sometimes feel as a MINI VACATION.
Like the old advertisement used to say "Calgon Take Me Away"

Bottom line: Joy is where ya find it.
                  And ya find it more often when you seek it.

In Him,

Sunday, November 20, 2011


The apostle Paul said 

"I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13I can do everything through him who gives me strength." Philippians 4: 11-13

Humans crave contentment.  
We enjoy having Enough. 

Enough money, enough food, enough family, health, friends, clothing, education...the list grows and grows.

Yet sometimes Enough is not ENOUGH!

Sometimes, like computers, we re-quire a ReBoot...a Shut down...a Psalms 46:10 "BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM  GOD" time.

It may be harsh, but ultimately it is in our best interest.

I am convinced that we must all endure Spiritual Hunger sometimes, in order to draw closer to God.  This is when we DEFRAGMENT.  The times of Spiritual Hunger are when we clean ourselves. This is when we get rid of the things that slow us down so that we can "RUN THE GOOD RACE".

 I Corinithians 9:24-27  24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

I am convinced that going through hard times draws us closer to God.

Nobody ASKS for those hard times, and we hate them while they are with us.

But when we SUBMIT to His Will we are transported above the pain somehow and into the reality that we are immortal beings who are residing in an alien land.

We are transplants on a hostile planet.

Our real home is with God.

And regardless of the pain, suffering, and lack of food, family, friends, job, health or anything else...WE, like The Apostle Paul, somehow learn to be content in whatever state we are in.

Perhaps the secret is twofold:
1. Submitting to HIS Will
2. Finding Blessings even when they mask themselves as Troubles.

As we draw close to Thanksgiving...perhaps its worth mentioning that contentment is not about the amount of food on the table, but in the sharing of whatever we DO have with those we love.

Contentment is a precious thing.
May you seek it and find it in HIM today.


Student A Re-mix

As Paul Harvey used to say here's "The Rest of The Story".

The last post I shared with you talked about a young man in one of my classes...and told the story of how he shared with me that as a child he had been sexually abused.

It was so ironic to me that he decided to tell me this AFTER our class discussed the Joe Paterno/Penn State situation...which all boiled down to the obligations adults have to report such incidents to the proper authorities.

And then Suddenly there I was...knowing that I needed to report this situation to the proper authorities too; in this case that's Child Protective Services.

For the record, it wasn't quite the same as the Penn State scenario... I hadn't witnessed anything personally, but there was still an obligation on me to forward the report to the correct authorities.

And I did.

There is an online way to file the CPS report, but it still takes quite a while to fill out all of the questions.
And then there are several follow up emails with various confirmation numbers.
And next came an email from a CPS caseworker who wanted to talk with me.
And after that came a phone interview with the same caseworker.

All in all I was VERY impressed with how quickly this report was processed in light of the fact that the student in question was NOT in immediate danger.

After all was said and done, the CPS caseworker told me that since the incident happened so very long ago...and since the victim was in elementary in school at the time the alleged abuse occured...and since it happened in a different city...and since I didn't even know the name of the alleged abuser but DID know that he was a kid too a the time of the alleged abuse...that there was nothing that she could do.

She gave me some free counseling contact information to pass on to the young man.

I  took the numbers...

I did what I was supposed to do legally.
I did what I was supposed to do ethically & morally.

But it was not enough
A child had still been damaged physically and psychologically.
And that child is now a young man, who has unresolved conflict in his life and pain in his heart.

He is still suffering.
He deals with all sorts of emotions and basically just tries to numb himself into not feeling anything at all.

Here's the crystalized lesson I learned:
After taking the right legal, ethical and moral steps in reporting the incident, The ONLY REAL HELP I can offer him is prayer and being available to listen and talk with him.

The rest is up to God!
No amount of crying on my part can heal Student A.

It's a faith thing now.
And I had to release this painful situation to HIM.
For HE is more than ABLE to help heal this young man in EVERY aspect.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Student A

Today I have to talk about something that is weighing on me.
Today I have to write about Student A...he will remain anonymous, but I assure you that he is very very real.

Recently I put my students through a Socratic Seminar; a student engagement strategy designed to get them to look at a "text" and fully process it.

The text in question was a news article about Paterno, Sandusky and the whole Penn State situation.

The story involved an alleged incident in 2002.
It was about the molestation of a young boy by a former Defense Coordinator, a graduate assistant eye witness, the Penn State head football coach, the University President,  and the quintessential question of whether or not proper actions were taken in response to the report of the alleged incident.

I teach at the high school level, which means that the article was age appropriate.
The subject was treated with extreme dignity, but still the topicality was very intense to say the least.
I told my Principal in advance what we would be doing, and she came to watch one of my classes as we went through this process.  She was impressed and told me so.

Every class I teach went through this process. And by the last class I was tired.
Socratic Seminar calls for the teacher to Bring Her A Game... it is not for the faint of heart.

Watching Adolescents struggle to formulate cogent questions and statements is somewhat beautiful.
You have to allow wait time, and sometimes you have to help them by supplying supportive nonverbal messages. But they shine.  They can say remarkably insightful things and ask quite pointed questions.

Running an effective Socratic Seminar is not something to be attempted without preparation.
It is fatiguing for all parties.

But when done well... Socratic Seminar shows TEACHING & LEARNING at their finest!

My Principal observed my students as they examined legal, ethical and moral parameters.
She watched them deliberate compliance to the letter of the law versus the spirit of the law.
Like I said, it really IS impressive.
Too often teenagers can be jerks plain and simple.
But they can also be attentive and quite grown-up given the right set of circumstances.
My kids rose to the occasion for this class.
They were proud of them themselves and had every reason to be.

And the end of each period, the kids and I congratulated ourselves on a really good class.

At the end of the very last class of the day, the final bell rang, everybody left...except one student.

I was exhausted. Ready to be done for the day.
Student A remained in my class slowly walking toward me as if he wanted to talk.

He is a very polite young man with serious eyes.
A good listener.
Slow to speak.
An Athelete
Intelligent, but has a history of performing lower than his aptitude.

As he approached me I saw tears in his eyes.
He said, "What happened to those boys, happened to me."

And he told me his story.

Tear after tear rolled down his face as he told me his story.
And suddenly I wasn't exhausted any more.
This kid needed me.
And I was there.

He told me that from the time he was a little boy until 5th grade that someone in his family molested him.
It was a male family member who ironically had also been molested as a child.

And the cycle went on.

Student A later found out that one of his male cousins had also been molested for years by the same person.
But both boys had suffered in silence for a long time without anybody knowing about it.

This young man told me that the only person he ever told about it was his mom.

The tears rolled down his face as he said,
        "It really messes you up. I mean I don't remember much of my life except THAT part before 5th grade.  I do have ONE memory of having what they said was a panic attack in the 2nd grade. But thats it.  I don't remember my childhood. I have pictures that show that I played sports my whole life but I can't remember it.  I just can't remember it any of it."

The tears kept rolling and he told me more.

      "In 2nd grade there was this one day when I couldn't talk or walk anymore.
I was so scared. I was being hurt but I couldn't tell anybody.
I just kept my fear and my guilt and my pain inside cause I didn't think anybody would believe me.
That day I stepped into the hallway at school and then I just froze.
I couldn't move or speak.
I couldn't say my name.
They called my mom and she took me to the emergency room.
The doctor at the hospital gave me two Motrin and sent me home.
All I know is that I was afraid and I didn't know what to do.
And I froze.
Now I am STILL quiet and when people tell me to speak up louder I can't.
I am afraid that if I talk at all, it will all come out and I will cry, just like now.
I cry.
I can't stop crying.
I froze again this week.
A teacher in the hall asked me my name and I couldn't tell her.
I just handed her my student ID card, cause I couldn't talk
Mrs, I got scared again. It hasn't happened in a long time, but it happened this week.
And I knew I could talk to you.
I knew you would listen."

He went on to tell me that for years he wondered if this meant he would turn out gay. He told me that he's not, but that his cousin is. And he said he thinks that it is because of what happened to them both.

He said he'd been in jail before because one of his female cousins got raped by her step-father too and when he found out about it, he went to the mans house and beat him nearly to death.

Student A said that a few years ago he started doing "weed" to try to help him deal with what was going on in his head. He said that he got in with a bad crowd, got into alot of trouble and that eventually his mom couldn't cope with him anymore...and that's why he is with his dad now instead of his mom.

He told me that since he had to leave his mom, that he has nobody to talk with about everything that happened.... and he just can't handle it anymore...and is going to beg his mom to let him come back home.

The conversation then took a bit of a turn.
I thought he was going to continue telling me about his history, but he came back present time.

He looked me in the eye and said "Thank you for pushing me to get my work done."
He told me that the day I posted "Do or do not, there is no try." by Yoda, (as our Thought For The Day) it changed his life.

He told me that I inspired him to get his work done.

Apparently his dad had been amazed at watching him type out a  manuscript speech and it caused them to have a talk about the quote by Yoda...and then his dad said, "Son I am proud of you."

Student A said, "I have never worked so hard for a grade in my life."

He also told me that he was pretty sure that he would be leaving to go back to his moms house before Thanksgiving, and that basically he was saying goodbye to me.

I stood there.
I listened.
And I asked God to give me the right words to say to this young man.

I told Student A that he was stronger than he realized and that one day he would be able to help somebody else BECAUSE of what he had gone through.
He thanked me, and then went through the door and into the hallway.
I watched him walk away.

I prayed some more.
And I prayed all through the rest of the evening.
And in my dreams I saw the tear stained face of a little boy who had been raped....and I woke up.

And I prayed yet once more.

I realize that God put me in the classroom to help kids.
I realize that He made me one of those teachers who kids talk to.
I remember a post I wrote, in this very blog, about how Teaching was Mission Work.
And another post in which I mentioned being a tired Servant.

And no wonder I am tired.

What teachers do is huge.
We do hard work
And for Christian teachers, there is the added element of doing daily battle with the evil one.

And I know why this Servant has been has been so tired.

The evil one would like nothing better than for me to stop teaching, to stop healing hearts, to stop touching lives, and to stop doing God's Work.

But here I am...still in the classroom...after all these years.


...And Still Healing Hearts, Touching Lives, and doing God's Work in a Public School.

By the Grace of God, I TEACH!

Student A doesn't know that I will carry him in my prayers to Jehovah's throne room  for years to come.

But I will.

I thank God that I am a Teacher!

In Him,

Friday, November 11, 2011

Quit Hoggin' the Hummus

Tonight I am discussing the need to reward myself.
Rewards are important motivational tools.
Most folks forget to reward themselves.

Tonight I am rewarding myself for getting through several hard weeks at school.
All I need is a simple reward tonight.

The SIMPLE REWARD Plan : Write in my Blog, Eat, Go to Bed Early

However, I MY case, this SIMPLE reward plan comes with some VERY SPECIFIC requirements!

Tonight...NOTHING but HUMMUS & CHIPS will do.
So here I sit, typing away, eating Tostitos Roasted Garlic & Black Bean chips with copious amounts of Pine Nut Hummus.

(Don't give me any grief about this lol...some folks get drunk on a Friday night. That's not my style. I DO however, enjoy the occasional dollop of Hummus on an Artisan Chip OK? lolol)

On the drive home from work tonight honestly, all I wanted was chips and hummus for supper. That is UNTIL I went to the grocery store to get said "chips and hummus". Once in the store I realized that I still wanted the chips and hummus, but that I also wanted a Red Bell Pepper to slice up and dip in Ranch dressing.
And then I decided I wanted a steak.
I was counting on the Red Bell Pepper covering the need for veggies to go with the steak.
So yeah...bit of a carnivore's supper.
I guess you can call Red Bell Peppers and Ranch dressing a salad right?

Ok...once the food issues were all cleared up in my mind, I knew I wanted a good conversation with my hubbyman...and then a hot bath...and then my new winter jammies...and finally my wonderful bed.

...oh yeah...and I wanna watch tv in our bedroom this evening.
I mean, I plan on being in there by 6:30 pm yeah...all of my recorded shows are ready & waiting.

And one more thing... I want to OWN the remote control tonight.
Honestly, the Remote Control is NOT his birthright. He SOOO over reacts when I reach for the remote control. He thinks it's his exclusively. Good Honkus...It's not like I am asking him to surrender his liver, I just want to use the remote control sometimes.  I just don't get it.  What is it with men and the need to dominate the remote control?

I'm getting into The Zone while dreaming up this plan of mine and am thinking to myself..."Go Gracie Go!"

Next step.
I think to top off the whole night, I'll make a cup of hot chocolate with a cinnamon stick and a splash of real vanilla and a plop little marshmallows on top. (The Gracie Special)

MMMMmmmmm...yes this whole plan sounds wonderful.
THIS is my treat to myself tonight.
All of the above.
All in the comfort of my own home.

yeah its true..."There's No Place Like Home!"
So, Ok...maybe my Reward to myself isn't all that simple; it has multiple steps and specific wants.

But in MY world, Specific and Simple are not necessarily opposites
Specifics sometimes make Simple deeply satisfying.

Thank You GOD for HOME!

In Him,

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Bless This Day

Father, your servant is tired.
Please bless this day, for it daunts me and stands before me mocking me.
Teaching is a passion, but it is also very hard work.
I learned long ago that it was Mission Work.
And God, your Missionary is feeling tired and weak.

Renew My Strength God.
Let me Fly with the Eagles
Help me to Run and not be Weary.

Help my mouth to share YOUR words and my teaching to reflect YOUR ways.

God, infuse me with the mental clarity & energy & passion to do all that You have set before me today.
Help me to walk worthy of the name of Christ.
Call me to Excellence today Father, and then please take over for me when I find I am incapable without you.

God, thank you for prayer.
Thank you for the ability to empty myself... only to find myself full again.

Prayer is an amazing thing.

God, please tune my students hearts and minds and ears to me today.
Help them to focus and help me to reach them.

God, please stand in my classroom and block the evil one's attempts to cause disruption,strife & apathy.
God, hide my classroom in the hedge.
Let it be a place of enrichment and prosperity for the minds and souls of my students.

Father please:
Protect me/us, Provide for me/us, Prepare me/us, Purpose me/us, and Position me/us.

In Jesus Name,

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Life Tapestry

Figurative language can be so very expressive and create such imagery.
It aids us as we seek to get others to understand our perspectives.
The following is clearly figurative language:

I believe that each of us is weaving a tapestry that represents our own life. 
The threads we select come in various shades and thicknesses and blends. 
The Fruits of the Spirit  that we experience in this life somehow weave themselves into each tapestry.
These are the beautiful glossy threads in rich hues and tones.
But The Works of the Flesh also show up in our tapestries.
These are the knotted threads and the sections of our tapestry where the pattern seems flawed or the colors are just all wrong.

What if your Life Tapestry were to be unfurled before God when you die one day.  
And What IF God inspects it to review every thought, word and action of your life

And What IF, just before God pronounces your LIFE tapestry unsuitable...what if just before He does that, Jesus declares "This worker is one is my apprentices! Her life may have been less than perfect, but I gave MY life on Calvary, to be able to buy her pardon today."

Perhaps this isn't quite as figurative as first imagined.

Galatians 5: 19-25 "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are [these]: fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousies, wraths, factions, divisions, parties, envyings, drunkenness, revellings, and such like; of which I forewarn you, even as I did forewarn you, that they who practise such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control; against such there is no law. And they that are of Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with the passions and the lusts thereof. If we live by the Spirit, by the Spirit let us also walk.

He is the Master Weaver.
And He changes lives.
Regardless of the shape your tapestry is in, He can make it beautiful again.
He makes all things beautiful in HIS time...and HIS time is bigger than we can grasp.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 "He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.".

Jesus please help me choose my threads today!

In Him,

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I'm A List Maker!

Is anybody else out there a list maker?  If you are, then clap your hands so I can hear you.
I hear alotta noise out there lol. that we've established that I am not the ONLY list maker in the world, lets get down to brass tacks, shall we?

Ok...what is the highest number of lists that you have had going at one time?
I probably won't win that category, lol...cause some people go off the deep end over list making.
I don't actually make lists for everything, but there ARE some essential lists that just MUST be made.
Grocery Lists
Vacation Packing Lists
To-Do Lists ( not only listed lol...but prioritized as well)

That's about it.  It's a very utilitarian thing to me.
Sometimes the lists are typed, other times they are hand really doesn't matter to me.
There is a certain sense of security in list making, in the writing and reading of the LIST itself.
Don'tcha kinda dig it when you get done with a list?

I really LIKE checking things off when I have put them in the shopping cart, or packed them or done them.
Somehow it makes me feel good, helps me keep me on track, keeps me from over spending, over packing, and sometimes keeps me from over-doing.

Making a list is kind of like mental de-cluttering to me.
It supplies order and help bring clarity to erstwhile chaos.
And by chaos, I mean that horrible feeling you get when you forget something you need or should have done.

Is there anybody else out there who can't hold all the little details of  life in your head the way you used to?

Or is it just me?

Basically, if I don't write it down, whatever it IS, I probably won't remember whatever it WAS.
I have to write down appointments which most people do, but sometimes when life gets stressful I end up having to write out even the simple stuff like "Get Your Lunch".
You'd think I would remember that WITHOUT a little note... but not so much anymore.

RIGHT NOW, there is a note inside my car, placed where I can't miss it, reminding me "Get Your Lunch".
And that note is the fail-safe measure, the last, of the last, of the Last reminders to myself lol.

There is also an empty LUNCH sack hanging on the doorknob of the door that I have to go through to leave to go to work. It's placed just right, so that I can not go through that door without touching that empty lunchsack. It's just another way to tell me to "Get Your Lunch".

Oh and did I mention the little Note Card that says "Get Your Lunch" that I will put between the keys on my computer keypad, so that I will see it when I come in to do my morning prayer journal before work tomorrow?

Now before anybody asks...

:"No I do not have early onset dementia!"


"No I do not need a therapist!"

And (prepare yourselves to slapped by a big ole run-on sentence ...consider yourself warned!!!)

 "Yes I might be a little hormonal, but y'all just need to hush-up about that, cause yes I'm in my 50's, and yes I therefore know what it is to experience 'my own personal summer heatwaves', but that doesn't have anything to do with this, and my brain is just fine, so how dare you imply otherwise, and btw have you seen my list cause I can't remember what I was supposed to take to work with me tomorrow, but I know it's something important, and if I don't find my list I just know I'll regret it"

Oh...THERE's my says "Get Your Lunch".

Man oh Man, I mighta forgotten my lunch if hadn't written that note and taped it to the toilet.

See I told you that lists were important.
Don't make fun of me and my lists.
You should probably make your OWN list .
And the first thing on your list should be "Keep Your Mouth Shut About Grace's Little List-Making Thingie".


In Him,

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Strength To Teach

Today was one of those days that just didn't stop!
I arrived at school at 6:30 a.m. and left school at 5: 45 p.m. ...worked straight through my lunch...and had no conference period today. 

Yes,this "only get a conference period every other day" concept is the new money saving strategy the financial guru's came up with. But I have a news flash for them.  

This brand of pseudo-slavery is not new.  MORE BRICKS/LESS STRAW has been around since the Pharoahs. 

And btw, didn't those slaves (The Children of Israel) eventually get up and walk right out of Egypt? 

Perhaps the financial guru-types, who are guiding my school district right now, should read a little Biblical history to see what this new practice of theirs could lead to.   

But I digress.

Anyway, on days like today I am now so keenly aware of my age. 
And of my growing fatigue level. 
And of the fact that my own strength faded out hours before I left the building today, but God's strength sustained me and got me through all that had to be done today.

God got me through it.
And I need to count my blessings instead of complaining.  

He has blessed me with good health, good students and supportive parents this year. 
He really really HAS done so very much for me.

And I really don't mean to whine.

Still, I find myself thinking that I do not know how much longer I can sustain this pace: these 12 hour work days are killing me.

I take comfort knowing that He will be my strength when I think I can not go on.

                          The words of  Jesus Loves Me ring true in my ears:

                              "Jesus loves me this I know,
                    For the Bible tells me so
                    Little ones to Him belong
                   They are weak but He is strong".

                            Tonight, I kinda feel like one of those "little ones"

A while back I started asking God to please:
"Protect me, Provide for me, Prepare me, Purpose me and Position me."

I pray this every day.

And I know that if God wants me to keep teaching, He will supply all that I need to be able to do so.

In Him,