Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Journals

     The other day I got a coupon for a free photo book. So of course I sat down, filtered through my pictures from the last year and put it together. That made me think about the photo books I've made in the past, so I pulled them out, looked through them, then put them on a shelf where they are more likely to get looked at. Books full of memories.
    Really, photo books are just a form of journaling, and I like to journal. Not necessarily in the traditional way, but journaling non the less. I have multiple notebooks where I keep track of different memories and moments. I have a notebook of just school stuff. The funny things my students say and do, I don't want to forget those gut busting moments of hilarity. I keep a sketch journal where I draw moments and events from my beautiful life. Just simple, colorful sketches and then I write a memory synopsis on the back. I keep a devotion journal where I write my prayers, thoughts, things I'm learning and important life events. And then I have a notebook where I keep a collection of really good quotes. Beautiful words that inspire. Journals, diaries, photos, they are all ways we preserve the wonderful ups and downs. And it is so much fun to go back at look at old entries. To be reminded of the funny, touching, and heartwarming moments. As well as remembering those moments of growth and learning.
     It occurred to me, that the One who gave us life is so much better at taking care of our memories. He really does care. It says in Jeremiah 29:11 "' For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.'" We work hard to remember, to keep track of the moments of our lives because we don't want to forget. But I think that we all to often forget the beautiful truth that the King of kings and LORD of lords knows our stories. He knows every beautiful moment that we want to remember, because He designed them.          Psalm 139:1,16 "O LORD, You have searched me and know me...Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them."
      Not only does God remember the beautiful moments, He knows our hard times, the times of pain and sadness, doubt and fear. It says in Psalm 56:8 "You have taken account of my wanderings; put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in your book?" And He is with us through it all. 
     So, whether you like to journal or not. Whether you want to remember something or not. Know that the One who designed this beautiful Spring evening, knows you and your story. And He loves you immensely! 
"The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are." ~Joseph Campbell 

Sunday, March 20, 2016


     Today is the first day of Spring. The sun was bright and beautiful. Yesterday I did some spring preparation by getting some seeds going for my garden. I can't wait till I can go out in the sunshine, dig my toes in the dirt and enjoy watching things grow! Happy SPRING!

"I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden."
 ~Ruth Stout

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Happy Saint Patrick's Day

      A Happy Saint Patties Day to you! All this week, I've been telling the kids that they needed to wear green today. I decided to go all out myself. It was fun. For quite a few years now, Ireland has been on the top of my list of places that I want to visit. Someday!
    My brother Jordan, who lives in the far off land of Nebraska sent me this picture of himself today. We are kindred spirits. I miss him a lot and really wish we didn't live so very far apart.
        This evening, there was a men's meeting at Church. So, My Love and I had supper with the Popes, then Luke and Benjamin went to the meeting while Keren and I finished our Saint Patrick's day by watching Leap Year. It's cute and they have lovely accents and Ireland is just a ridiculously beautiful country. Sweet Dreams!

"May God give you...
For every storm, a rainbow.
For every tear, a smile.
For every care, a promise.
And a blessing in each trial.
For every problem life sends, a faithful friend to share.
For every sigh, a sweet song.
And an answer for every prayer."
~An Irish Prayer

Sunday, March 13, 2016

A Delightful Weekend

      Sunday night is winding to a close and what a good weekend it has been! The weather was simply delicious. Sunshine and warm breezes plus mud and grey skies...March.
      This windowsill in my classroom has become a display area for cool things. It started with a fungi that one of my students brought in my first year. This year it has grown. I think it's fun.
 At Thanksgiving, Luke helped me make The Mayflower. We made enough pieces so that each of my students could build their own. And the Mayflower wouldn't be complete without Plymouth Rock.
 A couple of my students got the Statue of Liberty for me. The rock and shark tooth are on loan to the display by one of my third graders. 
 Luke had this turtle shell and alligator head in his bedroom at his parents house. I decided they would be fun at school. One of the boys cleverly decided to create a new creature. The alliturtle. 
        On Thursday I stopped at the library and picked up the first book in the Hunger Games series. Multiple people had told me what a good read they are. They were right. We ordered pizza for supper and I read almost half the book before bed. I finished it up on Friday night. I read the second one yesterday and this afternoon and am just starting the third. Nothing quite like a weekend of being absorbed in a book(or books)!
      Yesterday Luke's home improvement project was to remove one of the old chimneys. So for awhile there was a gaping hold in the roof. Thank goodness for sunshine. 

While Luke played demolition, I made creme brûlée. 

     This afternoon we headed out to the Williams' Farm for a relaxing afternoon. Luke decided to head up to the house through the pasture. A perfect day for a little off roading. 

An then there is this cutie pie. A pianist in the making(photo credits to Katy Murray)

"The beautiful spring came; and when Nature resumes her loveliness, the human soul is apt to revive also." ~Harriet Anne Jacobs

Thursday, March 10, 2016


       I learn so much from my students. I've learned patience and laughter, and what it's like to have a job I absolutely love. And lately, I've been learning lessons about myself.
       I have a student who likes to argue with me. I can be sitting right next to him, looking at his paper and know the correct answer to the question he is struggling with. And he will still argue up one side and down the other that I am wrong. This makes me think of myself arguing with God.
       I think I know what's best. I think I know because I feel it intensely or because my limited understanding simply can't grasp the bigger picture. And so, I argue with the One who designed this life. Why do I do this? Why do I cause myself so much heartache and strife? Because I am still a stubborn student who is learning. Learning to trust that God is truth and peace and that He is trustworthy.
       Another thing I am learning about myself from my students is that sometimes we as learners are all to eager to jump ahead and simply rush through the work. As a teacher, it frustrates me to no end, when a student asks for my help and then two seconds into my explanation, they brush me aside because they think they have all they need to get the right answer. Often, this results in them asking me for help again a few seconds later, because they still don't get it. Surprise surprise. In this life I do this far too often. I hit a road block and I cry out to God for help. But then instead of being patient and allowing myself to be helped, I rush ahead, trying to get to the end of whatever the problem is. A cycle of frustration.
       And then there are the times when I am trying to get my students to understand something, or work through the stages of some assignment and they get hopelessly confused, and I realize that I have thrown too much at them all at once. Sometimes as a learner, you just need the directions in simple, concise, steps which are given to you one at a time. Now, as the saying goes, God never will throw more at us than we can handle, but we sometimes will do this to ourselves. We want to see results in our lives and so we pile on the goals and steps and instructions, only to find ourselves hopelessly confused and frustrated. Whatever lesson you find yourself struggling through, quit trying to follow all the steps at once. They are called steps for a reason. You take them one at a time. Trust in the One who created the steps and you will get through.
     It's almost Friday so smile big and soak up the Springy sunshine!

"You are always a student, never a master. You have to keep moving forward" ~Conrad Hall

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Make a Statement For Spring

      Oh what a lovely day it has been. The sun is out and the air is warm. Spring is coming, despite the fact that we got a decent snowfall yesterday. Luke and I cut and stacked wood today. It was so warm, a sweatshirt was all that was needed.

     Awhile back I had seen an ad for a Bible that had coloring designs in the margins. I thought that was pretty neat and then I realized, my Bible has wide margins, why not just create my own coloring Bible. A good decision in my book. 
Noah's Ark Genesis 7-8
 Jesus calls Peter to walk on the water. Matthew 14

 The Fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5
 The Armor of God. Ephesians 6

      This afternoon we headed out to have ice cream with the Popes. A lovely Spring thing to do. I pulled my converse sneakers out of the closet since I'm now thinking Spring. Perhaps not the best decision what with all the piles of melting slush, but hey, I was making a Spring statement. 

Mr. Ephraim and I enjoying our time at the ice cream shop. 
     Tonight we had supper with the Murrays. This picture is pretty sweet if you ask me! Miss Nettie and My Love getting some serious coloring done. 

    So there you have it. Spring, coloring, ice cream, and babies. All wonderful reasons to smile!

Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush. ~Doug Larson 

Friday, March 4, 2016

March is Here...Hurray!

    Last weekend was my Church's annual winter retreat and it was so much fun. In the week leading up to the retreat, we were so busy getting everything ready for house guests and such. This week, not so much, the house has pretty much stayed as is since Sunday when everything ended. I plan to get to that today.
    March has arrived and it came in like a lion with bright sunshine but cold temperatures. I am now thinking Spring despite the fact that huge, chunky, snowflakes are falling at this very moment. I started a countdown with my kids at school. As of today there are 16 days till Spring. It's been making me very happy.
     Luke's sister Martha and here family came up for the retreat and have been here all week. It has been such fun to get to see them. They introduced us to one of my new favorite games, Telestrations. Even Luke enjoyed it and that is saying something, since he is not a huge fan of games in general. We got quite a few good laughs from it.

                                              Luke and Martha Jane
Heidi and Mara
Telestrations Fun

Jonathan and Lars and and their battle zone
       We caucused this week. This is the first time that I have taken any sort of interest in politics and the election process, but I've been finding it quite interesting. At the beginning of the school year I had decided that I was going to focus on the presidents. At the time, I wasn't even thinking that it was an election year. But it's worked out great, has been fun, and I have learned a lot as I've been working through stuff with my students.
    Yesterday was parent/teacher conferences. They went well and it was a beautiful day. Last evening we had supper out at Luke's sister Abbi's house. Since I was at conferences till 6, Luke and I drove separately. I've never gone out to Abbi's from the school and I knew that if I went the way that I knew how it would take me close to an hour to get there. So, I used the GPS. As I followed the electronic voice's directions, I wound my way through the woods and around the lake. It was a very pretty drive.      The GPS got me to where I needed to be with no hassle, but there were moments when I thought that something looked familiar or I felt like maybe I wasn't on the right road based on what I thought I knew of the directions. But I just kept following the GPS's advice. And as I drove, I thought about how the GPS is a lot like God's word.
    So often in my life, I find myself confused about which direction I should take. I know what the Bible says, but I get confused by what I think I know or what I feel. Just like my drive last night, if I had deviated from the GPS's course because I thought I knew a road, or was worried that maybe the GPS didn't quite know what it was doing, I would have ended up lost or late or maybe both.
    Despite my feelings or preconceived notions on what direction I was taking, I just kept following the GPS. God's word is life's GPS. When I take a turn in life based on what I think I know or on what I feel I end up lost and confused. Proverbs 28:25b-26 says, "But he who trusts in the LORD will be delivered. Whoever trusts in his own heart is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered." I've got to stop trusting in my own mind. It's just not very reliable, but God's word is. Happy Friday.

Springtime is the land awakening. The March winds are the morning yawn. ~Quoted by Lewis Grizzard in Kathy Sue Loudermilk, I Love You