Can a Christian Teacher survive and thrive in a Public High School? Can she balance faith, family, friends, AND work?
By God's grace,YES SHE CAN!
Welcome to Graces' kitchen. Get your coffee and pull up a chair. I hope you enjoy reading grace_underpressure2011.
The name GRACE is an alias I am using because of the need to protect the privacy of my students, colleagues, friends and family. Using this alias just seems prudent to me.
Thank you for coming to see me today! Come back soon.
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.
Greetings Everybody, Today let's keep it simple. Do you believe that God Exists? If YES then AMEN! But If NO then please take 4 minutes and 46 seconds to just listen to this song. Then, If you want to talk about it, let me know. In Him, Grace
Greetings Everybody, Let's talk about Treasure! As a little girl, I used to play dress-up with old clothes and faux jewelry. It was relatively worthless stuff, but I spent countless hours playing with it all. To me, the plastic beads, bracelets, and earrings were things of great beauty. I used to run my hands through the stuff and pretend it was a Pirate's Treasure.
Then I grew up, and one day realized that my definition of Treasure had changed. There are different things in my Treasure Box now. I Treasure my Family. I Treasure a Good Job. I Treasure my Mind. I Treasure Free Time. I Treasure a good cup of Tea. I Treasure Vacations. I Treasure Peace.
Sometimes I mentally run my mind through all of the people and things and experiences that I have been blessed with; and it's sort of like those childhood days of running my fingers through all of the beads in my toy treasure box of jewelry. It makes me feel rich. These are my earthly Treasures and they comfort me and make me feel rich. Here's a thought for you guys: Have you ever seen Treasure Maps on TV before? X marks the spot where the treasure is, right? Now let me mess with your minds for minute with 2 Considerations and a Conclusion:
1. Consider the shape of The Cross?
2.Consider that sometimes instead of writing Merry Christmas, some people write Merry Xmas? The practice was apparently started because in the Greek alphabet, the first two letters of Christ's name Choand Rho, appeared to be entwined to the Christian convert Emperor Constantine; he thought it looked like an X(http://ancienthistory.about.com/od/christianholidays/f/Xmas.htm)
Even today we see some people who write Merry Xmas instead of Merry Christmas. So, let's bring this lesson to a close now. Do you get where I am headed with this? Conclusion: If X stands for Christ, then X really does mark the spot where the Treasure Is! Scripture says: "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Matthew 6:19-21
Greetings Everybody, First, I wanna start the conversation off by saying that I believe that God has plans for us that we know not of. "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 Second, I'd like to add that Not Knowing what my plans are sometimes makes me psychologically "itchy". lol My default mental paradigm is that of a strong, educated, vocal woman who enjoys a certain amount of control over her life. But that mental paradigm, though fostered by good ole American "Can Do" thinking, is spiritually flawed.
Have you ever noticed that most of the time, life makes more sense when seen through the rear view mirror?
Do you know why?
It's because though I THINK I am in control of my destiny, in reality, I am basically like a child on a merry go round who seriously believes she is in control of the horsey. The Final point of today's message is this: My God is not a linear God. I can not map His steps. I do not know what He will do or where He will take me. My God is a 3D God who is over and under and beside and within...and all around His Children. (Yes, even those of us who are on the merry go round.) Though invisible, He is at work in my life Today. Though invisible, He is at work in my life for Tomorrow. And when I contemplate all of the Yesterdays of my life, I have come to realize that God's presence and guidance are often BEST visible in Life's Rearview Mirror. In Him, Grace
Greetings Everybody, We went to church this morning and then went to my daughter's home to have a nice Father's Day Lunch. My son-in-law grilled burgers for us, fried potatoes, made salad, set the table, iced the classes and served us lunch. Amazing huh?...considering that he did all this work, and it's Father's Day! After all, He's a Father, but instead of sitting around expecting to be pampered all day, he did all the work. Nobody was waiting on him hand and foot, and yet he was happy. Rather, his approach to Father's Day was from a perspective of service to others...my husband and my dad. My son-in-law is an amazing man. He has his priorities right. I love him. Hold that thought while I segway to a different man in my life...my dad. Let's also talk about his perspective of Father's Day for a minute. My dad was up early today, I know because I called him at 7:30 a.m. and we had a nice phone visit this morning. His day started with going to church, but he was by himself at church today...because as of 3 days ago, my mother is in a psychiatric hospital. My Dad is 78 years old, has remained faithfully married to my mother for 54 years, and most of that time she has been mentally ill. For over a year now, she has been suffering from very agonizing delusions. Yet he has stayed with her. She has some pretty extreme physical conditions in addition to the psychological ones, and yet he has stayed with her. He has endured her rage, and her anguish and her fears...and for years now has changed her adult diapers, and been her nursemaid. So yeah, let's talk about his perspective of Father's Day too. He got up, went to church by himself, drove to another city to visit my mom, drove back to our city & over to my daughter's home for our Father's Day celebration, and then he took himself home. Today he has wiped my moms tears, hugged on me, played with toddlers, eaten ice cream, sipped coffee...and not once did he expect to be waited on hand and foot because it is Father's Day. Not once did he cry. Not once did he whine. Not once did he play the "poor me" card. Despite his age, his own dimished health, and the hardships he is enduring regarding my mom, he was peaceful and pleasant and kind. BTW...On his way out the door, he slipped a 50 dollar bill into my hand because he knows things are tight with us this month. He didn't take out his wallet, he had the money prefolded in his shirt pocket and slipped it into my hand as I walked him to the door. Do you GET that??? In the middle of his own troubles today he had pre-planned to give that money to me. Once he drove away from where my mom is today, his focus was not on himself, it was on me. Just like my son-in-law, my dad approached today from the perspective of service to others. Hold that thought while I segway to a yet Another man in my life...my husband. My husband got up this morning, took a shower, dressed for church, greeted people, shook hands with some folks and hugged others, listened to the sermon, held my hand, sang songs, drove to the store to pick up ice cream for dessert today, played with toddlers, helped my son-in-law change out the butane tank on the grill and gave the baby a bottle. In case you are catching the theme here, he too approached this Father's Day from a perspective of service to others and he did not expect anybody to wait on him hand and foot today. I have reason to praise all three of the men in my life: my son-in-law, dad, and husband. They understand that being a good Father is not something that is done passively...it requires action, it requires energy, and it requires putting others before yourself. I am proud of the men in my family. They are strong. They understand that being the man of the family is not a position of entitlement but rather of service. They do the right thing, even if it's hard to do so. They put others above themselves. The give sacrificially. They bring honor to God by being God-centered men. They understand:
Philippians 2:3-4 "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others." and Colossians 3:17 "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."
I thank God for these men. If you have men like this in your life, please let them know how much you love & appreciate them. Let them know how much their service approach to life means to you. Pray for them. Lift them up. Thank God for them.
And then go and tell others about how these Fathers bring glory to God by the way they treat their family. America used to be so much stronger. We used be known as a God-based nation. We need to remember that our country is only as strong as our family units. We need to claim the strength found in following God's Ways. America needs to turn back to God. We need to humble ourselves and remember HIS WAYS! 2 Chronicles 7:14 "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land." Can I get an AMEN????? In Him, Grace
Greetings Everybody, Sometimes there just isn't alot of food in the fridge, freezer or pantry, and when that happens it's important to dig down and get creative. Tonight was one of those nights. We are on a pretty tight budget right now, but as always...God provides!!!
So, tonight I have a recipe for you guys. We have all heard of Sloppy Joe's right?
Here's a modification of that concept...
Sloppy Soft Taco's
These are a hit in my house.
You can modify this in a zillion ways, but here are some basic ingredients:
1 pound hamburger meat
1 package small flour tortilla's
1 medium purple onion
1 medium zucchini
1 yellow bell pepper
1 can of Italian Stewed Tomato's
1 can of black beans
Salt, Pepper, Chili Powder, Cumin, Dried Cilantro...season to taste
The Secret Ingredient (step 6 below) season to taste, but don't use too much.
Sloppy Soft Taco's: 1. I start with a medium sized skillet & pure coconut oil. (The coconut oil gives the onion a really sweet undercurrent of taste.) When the oil is hot enough, I sautee sliced onions, zucchini, and a yellow bell pepper into a really nice blend with garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, and some dried cilantro. HINT: Season it to your tastes...a little...or a lot. Feel free to add other veggies to the mix and experiment. I often add yellow squash and mushrooms. HINT: I also like to brown slices of chicken breast and/or beef fajita meat instead of hamburger meat...it actually makes for a much prettier presentation. 2. Open, rinse and drain the black beans, and then stir them into the vegetable mix. 3. Open and drain the liquid from a can of italian stewed tomatoes, then add to the vegetable mix while stirring it all together. HINT:I really prefer to dice up fresh tomato's, but improvised with the canned ones. 4. Set the vegetable mixture aside for a wee bit. 4. In a separate skillet, brown a pound of hamburger meat, rinse and drain it well. Use a paper towel to wipe out the skillet before adding meat back into the skillet. 5. Put the rinsed and drained meat back into the skillet, add the vegetable mix, stir, taste, and add more seasoning if needed. 6. Next add the SECRET INGREDIENT: just a wee bit of Ketchup...careful not to add too much. HINT:I prefer Salsa as the SECRET INGREDIENT, but Ketchup can be substituted. 7. Stir it all up, heat for a few minutes to allow all of the seasoning to meld. 8. Warm up the flour tortilla's. 9. Plop a generous amount of the mixture on a tortilla, gently fold it over and serve. 10. They are pretty filling, so plan on Women eating 1-2, Men eating 3-4, Kids 1, and give it your best guess on the Teenagers. But basically, I would say that if you double the recipe you can feed a large family pretty inexpensively. HINT: Hubby and I ate this for supper tonight and have enough for supper tomorrow. This recipe holds up well for leftovers and usually tastes even better the 2nd day.
HINT: Sometimes I add shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream on each serving...the presention is prettier and of course it tastes great too. HINT: Most of the time humans tend to take blessings for granted. I am as guilty of this as the next person. As it happens though, tonight I am keenly aware that my supper was a blessing from God. He helped me make a really good but really inexpensive meal...out of not very much. It was delicious and it was a joy to serve this to my hubby tonight. The reason it was a joy is not that cooking supper is the highight of my existance...but rather, the joy came from realizing that every single ingredient used to make supper tonight was a gift from God. He helped me make something that tasted good. I am reminded of a specific scripture... Psalms 34:8 Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
Greetings Everybody, Since I am now back from my "blog sabbatical", it seems we have some catching up to do:) For those of you who might remember, when last we spoke, I had two grandchildren...but now its three.
According to The Urban Dictionary, my daughter has Irish Triplets.
"Three children born of a mother one right after another. A very derogatory term, the slur was actually a triple-whammy, implying that the Irish were more likely to bear children in quick succession because of the Catholic Church's proscription of birth control, less likely to restrain themselves from procreating, and unable to understand the proper meaning of the terms "twins" and "triplets." "
As it happens, our family is neither
Irish nor Catholic, and though the term
"Irish Triplets" is probably very offensive to many people... apparently the term is still quite commonly used.
Meanwhile, The Reader's Digest version of how I became a Grandmother of 3 kids goes like this: My daughter had 3 full term pregnancies. All 3 of the babies are under the age of 3. None of the pregnancies were "accidents". I do have to say that my daughter handles being a stay at home mom like a pro. She is patient, relaxed, and impressively organized. She has an awesome grasp of Einsteins Theory of Relativity and how time runs differently in some dimensions (like a 3 baby household). My son-in-law does his share of the household chores and totally steps up to the duties of cooking supper and cleaning up dishes when he gets home from work, so that my daughter can have some time off from her work too. They impress me with their approach to life. I am very proud of them. And I totally smitten with those babies. btw...lol...my daughter says that at any given moment it's highly likely that at least one of her kids bottoms needs a clean diaper... because her kids seem to think that making poopie diapers is a competitive event lololol. She cracks me up!!! Thanks for reading:) Grace
It's been a very very very long time since I have written any entries.
God has been working on me because I showed some knowledge gaps
about Doors and Gates and Submissive Trust.
So let's start this entry by talking about doors.
I keep seeing doors that I want to go through.
I keep asking God to bless me and help me go through these doors.
So many job applications.
So many days of hoping for job interviews that are never granted.
I have continued to teach.
For 25 years I have continued to teach.
And I reach kids that nobody else can reach.
I am fully aware that I am involved in a type of Mission Work within the walls of a Public School.
But I am a tired little Missionary.
Still at the top of my "A Game" in the classroom.
But my heart is weary and I have been seeking the door that will lead me OUT.
But the only door I can get into is a revolving door.
The ongoing cycle of applying for jobs that I am highly qualified for... but being invisible is shocking to me.
I have never EVER been an invisible person.
Yet, in this case...it's as if I am totally 100% invisible.
I have asked and asked God to bless me and make me visible again.
He has blessed me in every other way.
But I remain invisible.
Meanwhile for years now I have been trying to find the door that will lead me out of the classroom.
I have been doggedly trying to find the right door.
Speaking of doors, here are a few famous ones (Yes I know that this seems a little abrupt, but please keep reading. I assure you that I will bring this all back together in a just a bit):
Perhaps you will recognize The English Prime Ministers door at #10 Downing Street?
Or the door of Mr. Sherlock Holmes of 221b Baker Street?
Don't forget about the door upon which Martin Luther nailed the 95 Thesis.
It seems that the world is just filled with doors.
And all of them represent a way in or a way out or sometimes both.
Doors are really kinda symbolic of our life journeys.
It's all about choosing of the right doors to go through.
Consider the lessons that C. S. Lewis taught us in The Chronicles of Narnia.
When Lucy went through the doorway of the wardrobe, she was trying to hide.
She thought she would enter and then come out without consequence.
But entering that doorway changed her.
She entered a place that defied logic because it was bigger on the inside that it was on the outside.
Those children learned about a power much greater than themselves.
They learned to trust that a higher power controls their circumstances.
I know all about that kind of door.
I know about THE DOOR.
I know about faith that defies logic because it is bigger on the inside that it is on the outside.
I know about a power much bigger than me.
I know to trust that Higher Power that controls my circumstances
THE Door is Jesus Christ.
"I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture." John 10:9
I entered into that Door a very very long ago.
Yet in sneaky way, the evil one whispered to my pride that THAT DOOR expected me to be self-reliant.
So I puffed myself up with pride and started filling out job applications without asking God if he was finished with me in the classroom yet.
I started knocking on doors to get a job that would take me out of the classroom.
It has been a heartache and an exercise in frustration and disappointment.
The more doors I knocked on, the more options I saw.
I saw doors that I want to go through in order to make more money.
I saw doors I want to go through that would grant me more power or more fame or more visibility.
I have been knocking on all sorts of doors with no answer despite how faithfully I have knocked.
Stupidly and in frustration, I tried quoting scripture to God.
(As if I mentioned scripture it would snap Him to attention and He would grant me my request.)
I tried Luke 11:9
"So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."
I quoted the scripture and then told Him that I believed that scripture, and then asked him to bring me to the door and open it for me.
He did not.
The more I claimed this scripture, and tried to show faith, the more invisible I have become.
In time God lead me to understand something about another type of doorway...a gate.
Take a look at Matthew 7:12-14
"So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."
I thought, "Hmmm...it's not much of a door is it?"
And God whispered, "Did you notice that this gate is always open?"
Next I thought, "I can't take much with me if I go through that skinny opening."
And again God whispered, "Don't rely on yourself, I will supply all your needs."
And then I thought a whole lot of thoughts:
Hmmm! So what's my lesson here?"
"Am I supposed to NOT apply for spiffy positions that I am more than qualified for?"
"Am I supposed to give up on wanting to advance and make more money?" "Am I supposed to surrender my pride?"
"God you KNOW what has happened to our finances!"
"God you gave me a good brain and a ton of skills that could be used in profitable ways."
"Why do you want me to stay in the classroom where I don't get to use all that you have given me?"
And God whispered once more, "I will provide what you need."
Eventually the truth of what I needed to do dawned on me.
And that truth is counter intuitive to my All American Sense of Self-Reliance.
The truth is that I need to simply submit to God Almighty in this area.
I need to stop applying for other jobs, because apparently He isn't finished with me in the classroom yet!
I need to trust Him.
I need to praise Him.
I need to write about Him again.
And I need to confess right now to My Heavenly Father and to whomever is reading this
that I have been angry at God about my not being able to advance professionally,
and that in some kind of twisted logic
I stopped writing about His Love, Peace Grace and Mercy.
That was a stupid thing to do, because writing about God is something that brings me great joy.
God, I am so sorry for trying to run my own life,
and find my own doors,
and seek my own counsel,
and make my own way in this world.
I walked away from that kind of thinking a long time ago.
I entered into your household of faith through The Door of your son, Jesus Christ.
He is the only door I need.
When times got rough, I stopped trusting you.
I tried to find the door that would help us financially instead of simply asking you to help us.
I tried to do it on my own. And I am not good enough, or big enough or smart enough to do this. But You Are!
You have patiently shown my hard-headed, pride-filled self that I need to simply trust you.
Please forgive me for my pride and arrogant thoughts and actions. Please forgive me for not holding fast to the knowledge that you will protect and provide for us.
Father, the lesson finally got through and I now know what I need to do:
It's called Submissive Trust.
Lord, I believe that you are more than able to guide our future, our finances, our marriage,
and every aspect of our lives.
Please help me in my moments of weakness.
And Please give me the strength to fight the Evil One
when he tries to whisper "Entitlement" to me.
"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen" Ephesians 3:20-21 In Him, Grace