Thursday, August 30, 2012

This Hard Week

This week has been hard.  And I've  not even been lecturing... but I think I'd much rather be lecturing than playing phone tag and working on tasks that just lead to more tasks.  The start of the semester and getting everything up and running is always hard; having a new book and new policies have made it a little more difficult.

I think it's been hard for everyone.  Our students are tired, and everyone I met on campus seemed worn out.  Maybe its the anticipation of a three day weekend... sometimes I think knowing that a change in the routine is coming actually is tiring in and of itself.

I've not been exercising and I've just been in one of those moods... but today I convinced myself it was going to be a good day and for the most part, it was.  I got a lot accomplished, and am telling myself that the growing to do list can be tackled tomorrow, and the next day, and the next week... after all, tomorrow is a Friday with just lab time, so nothing is "due" tomorrow. I met with a lot of my students today and talked with them... that always puts my mood into perspective.  So many of them are battling uphill, being mommy and daddy and working and going to school and running to little league games and helping care of sick parents and family members... juggliing it all.  What do I have to complain about, really?

Caleb and I went out to eat tonight and he is just so daggone funny. He always puts a smile on my face.  I came home and promptly went to sleep on the couch, got up and took a bath, and am headed to bed.  I am DETERMINED to get out of this funk I'm in.  After all, tomorrow is Friday night football and there will be corndogs at the Honey Festival and I get an extra day off to worry about cleaning the house.  Life is good, and even if it wasn't, I'm too blessed not to think that it is.  =)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

What I'm Reading

So, I'm still reading War and Peace.  It was my goal to read it all this summer... but somehow that didn't happen.  It's a book that you have to think about as you read, and to be honest, I just haven't been up to that. 

So I read other books.  And I'm still reading other books.  I recently started Janet Evanovich's Ten Big Ones.  I started reading the series at the beginning of the year and took a break from them.  I also am reading Skylight Confessions by Alice Monroe.  On my Kindle, I'm reading Eye of the God, which was a free book.  It's about gem thieves trying to pull off a heist at the Smithsonian.  I'm really liking it.  Sometimes the free books are a bust... but this one I'd probably pay for. I'm reading in the book of 1 Peter for a Bible study, and also reading a book called Life is a Verb, all about living life to the fullest.

My favorite that I am reading right now, though, would have to be Life of Pi.  A co-worker brought it to me at the end of the summer and told me he thought I'd like it.  I had looked at it several times when it was first published but to be honest, it just didn't look like something I'd like... but I do.  It's well-written, and reads well.  I'm not too far into it yet, but maybe with a three day weekend???

So now you know what my plans are for Labor Day.. grade some assessments and care plans, work on lecture notes, eat a few corndogs, watch the Bobcats win the Honey Bowl, watch the parade, eat some more corndogs...and read.  Maybe I'll even get 25% into War and Peace =) And dare I say I will read it all by the end of the year =)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Simple LIfe

As Christians, we sometimes make things harder than they have to be.  We place a lot of pressure on ourselves when really we don't have to. The good thing is that Jesus recognized that we'd be a big ol' mess and loved us anyway. 

We were left with several commandments to help us live our day to day lives. It is easy at times to get legalistic about church and religion, but that wasn't God's intention.  His intention was for us to love Him, love others, and seek Him first. 

"Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor."- 1 Peter 2:17... a surefire way to be in God's Will and to live a functional life.  Respect others. Treat them as you'd want to be treated.  Listen to them.  Seek their opinion.  Love the family of believers... even those we may not agree with.  Love them hard and long and regardless of what they did to you.  And while you're loving, love the world... not the behaviors, but the people.  Be Jesus to someone.  Love your enemies and pray for them... that's right, kill them with kindness.  Fear God.  Honor Him above all else.  Go to Him first and last and all the times in between.  Listen to His Word... internalize it so it is second nature... or first nature, overcoming the flesh.  Honor the emperor, or in our case, the government.  Don't steal or cheat on your taxes.  Drive the speed limit (am I having some conviction here?) Don't murder anyone. 

Simple instructions that can impact us for sure.  I'm so glad that God makes it simple...

Monday, August 27, 2012


On nights like tonight, I really don't feel like I have anything to write about.  Today's been a good day, especially for a Monday.  I'm ready for tomorrow, and ready for bed right now... so on days like today, I can't help but be thankful...

Thankful for a job to go to, for care plans to grade (I'll get a boatload of them tomorrow.  And no, I don't really like grading them, but I enjoy my job.) I'm thankful that my Grandma is doing better and that Caleb got to go make her evening. I'm thankful that Jennifer got Holly's wedding pictures posted because they made me so stinkin' happy to look at.  I'm thankful for a bus ride with loud girls on the way to Morgan County, and for a close game...losing isn't always a bad thing if it makes you grow.  I'm thankful for health and for the hope that I can get up and do all of this again tomorrow.

So many sick people, hurting people... how can I help but be thankful?  Sending up prayers for all of those who got bad or not so good news today... we may not know all of their names, but God does.  Won't you join me... first, fill His ears with praise, because He is good.  He is God, and there is no other.  Then, whisper up for the sick and broken-hearted.  You never know when it just might be you needing that prayer...

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Soundtrack of My Life

As I've mentioned before, I like all different kinds of music.  What's great about music is that you can hear a song and you're immediately transported back to that timeframe in your life.  We associate memories and feelings with certain songs, and no matter how many times we've heard it or how long it's been, those word pictures form...

Like when Janet Jackson comes on the radio, I'm immediately transported to lip syncing with a hairbrush, my hair in a spiral perm, losing myself in "Nasty" and "What Have You Done for Me Lately?".  Or when I hear Whitney Houston, I'm in my leg warmers and leotard, or sitting at my Aunt Lisa Eldridge's watching The Bodyguard.  "Islands in the Stream" find me as a three or four year old, with a wooden microphone, singing "I Love Industry". 

How can I forget music videos to "Another Brick in the Wall" and pom-pom routines to "Shout" and flashlight routines to Steppenwolf's "Magic Carpet Ride" (I like to dream... on... and 5-6-7-and 8).  "I Got Friends in Low Places" as Livi and I convinced our sixth grade friends to participate in our real-life soap opera.  Poison and Bon Jovi bring back memories of late night videos as we gossiped about our latest crushes...

"Summer Lovin'" as I watched Grease at least 50 times the summer between my Junior and Senior year with Candace and Jenine... "Low Rider", "Brown-Eyed Girl", and the Stevie Miller Band's
"The Joker" as I rode around with Jennifer... laps around and around McDonalds and Breathitt High School's parking lot. "Killing Me Softly" by the Fugees blaring as my teenaged self sang along, windows rolled down in my '86 Camaro...

"Better Man" by Pearl Jam brings a smile to my face because Wallace actually thought it was a romantic song... as in, she can't find any guy that is any better.  He's still not convinced that his version isn't right.  "Save Tonight" by Eagle Eye Cherry, though probably not a well-known song, always makes me a little love-sick because I remember listening to it on Sundays as Wallace got ready to head back to Ohio for a week away.  Pachabeli's Cannon in D was played at our wedding and it still chokes me up...

and then there are songs like "Mayberry" by Rascal Flatts because it was on the charts when Caleb was born, and we listened to it on the way home.  "Barbara Ann" because Caleb loved to listen to it...

I could go on, and on... and tonight as I took my walk I did just that.  I had my Ipod on Shuffle, as always, and every song that played I couldn't help but think about not just the song, and the memories, and the feelings that went with it... some good, some bad. 

And then I came in and read this, tonight, in a story in Guideposts magazine.  Robin Roberts said, "We sing the melody to our life's song, but the people who touch us provide the harmony. And underneath it all, guiding us and supporting us, is the rhythm of our faith." See, all those songs I listed above only brought about memories because of the people that were in my life at the time.  And the beauty in the music, if you really listen?  It's in the harmony... because everyone can make their own melody.  Only special people have an ear for harmony... thank You, God, for the harmony in my life.  May I add some special notes to someone else's...

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Right Calls?

I've been watching football games all my life... seriously.  When I was four years old, I was in a beauty pageant.  I won over the judges by leading a cheer... the pageant was on a Friday night.  I knew I was supposed to be in a stadium.

I've seen my share of bad calls and I've also seen my share of calls that maybe gave us an advantage.  No game is perfect because let's be honest, it involves a bunch of testosterone driven teenagers.  Most of the coaches and refs are guys who played and just hate giving up on the game.  And that's ok... because that's one of the reasons I like watching games so much, I'm a cheerleader who never grew up.

I've watched this group of kids grow up. I cheer loud when they run or catch or make a killer tackle.  I get mad at them and mumble under my breath when they do something stupid.  I've got their back even though a lot of them have no idea who I am.  But I'll admit, I have my favorites. Kids I really have known all their life. and then there's Brayton.

Brayton has been a sight since he was born.  He was always mischievous. You never knew what to expect with him.  Even as a little boy, he looked for meanness to get into, and you knew he was doing it because of his sneaky smile.  He got his nickname, T.O., because of his bad attitude during a two hand touch family football game one Thanksgiving... he was mad because Jordan wouldn't get him the ball, threatened to quit, and Walace told him to stop acting like Terrell Owens. The nickname stuck.  The attitude can still be found, sometimes.  But the kid loves football.  And he's good at it.  He makes me smile to watch him burst through the line to get at the quarterback of the other team.  I'm not able to hear what he says, but I'm pretty sure he's a good trash talker.  And that's ok, too...

There can't be any louder cheers than when Brayt busts loose for a touchdown.  Last week, he had two. Tonight, he burst through that line and broke free.  As he crossed the line into the endzone, one of the members of the other team had his foot.  Brayton shook  his foot loose... that's all he did.  Shook the other kid off.  He then got kicked out of the game. 

To be honest, I'm amazed... I've seen Brayton act much worse.  Just a few plays earlier, a member of the other team drilled one of our players out of bounds, a flagrant personal foul, and he didn't get kicked out of the game.  I'm thinking the refs got this one wrong.  They proceeded to get things wrong. The first quarter took 40 minutes to play.  They threw flags right and left. 

There has to be a balance between letting kids play and being ridiculous. Tonight, I'm one disgruntled fan.  I wouldn't have a refs job for any amount of money, but I think if they are taking the responsibility, they should make every effort to get it right.  I just don't think that happened tonight. 

So Brayt, I'm still proud of you.  You've got a group of family crazy about you.  And you can bet we were yelling at the refs the rest of the game... because they need to call it both ways.  That's my say, for what it's worth.  Thanks for letting me vent =)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Eye Troubles

I've been going to the eye doctor for a long time.  30 years, to be exact.  I got my first pair of glasses in June of 1982, so I'm pretty accustomed to the eye doctor.  And I've gone to the same eye doctor the whole time.  When I  was little, they used to buy me coloring books.  The guy who makes my glasses knows all my family and even gave me free contacts when I got married...

Lately, I've been having trouble reading.  I know it's probably because I read so much, on the computer and in textbooks and then just for fun.  I've noticed things are blurry and sometimes it takes a lot for my eyes to adjust.  So to Lexington I go for an eye visit.

As I sat there with my pupils dilating, unable to see much of anything, I thought a lot about how our Christian lives are kind of like that.  There's something going on that blurs our vision, making us lose focus of what is really important.  If we're patient, it will fade like the drops that caused my pupils to be dilated.  If not, we get up and stumble around and end up hurting ourselves (no, I've never done this, because I know better.  But I do have to say that when I leave the doctor's office, I'm usually holding on to the person who is my "driver"). 

It's easy to lose focus.  I'm glad I've got God to keep me looking in the right direction.  And while I'm talking about eye doctors, can I just say that I HATE the refractory test?  Surely I'm not the only one who can't tell the difference between 1... and 2... and this is 2... and which is better, 3, or 4?  I'm worn out just thinking about it. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Isaiah 40

"Do you not know? Have you not heard? Yahweh is the everlasting God,  the Creator of the whole earth. He never grows faint or weary; there is no limit to His understanding.  29 He gives strength to the weary and strengthens the powerless." Isaiah 40:28-29

I've always loved the verses that come after these in Isaiah.  I mean, there's just something poetic about "mounting up on wings like eagles".  No growing faint.  No growing weary. 

But today, as I read these verses in my morning quiet time, they really resonated in my soul.  Basically, Isaiah is talking about a time of salvation... following a long period of captivity, where the people of God were carried into a foreign land and their temple was destroyed, their city left in rubble.  He's saying, "Man, don't you know?  Don't you understand?  You've not heard the news?"... and then there it is. Our hope and promise for everything.  God is everlasting.  He created it all.  He never grows faint or weary, even when it's all we can do to take one more step.  He understands everything... even things we don't even know to be thinking about.  How awesome is He?

So I've had these verses on my mind all day.  This piece of news is a balm to my soul.  I can't imagine everlasting, all-compassing knowledge, and unending energy... but God's got it.  And He gives us His strength. 

I needed to hear this today.  As I struggled to get work done.  As I lectured and lost my train of thought... as I found out my Grandma is sick, with acute kidney failure, looking at dialysis tomorrow.  As I stood and talked with my Papaw, listening to the oxygen machine swishing as he talked about his time in Michigan and Grandma being sick, saying, "I'd spend any amount of money to get her what she wants if I could." Tears came to my eyes...

and then I remembered.  "Hey, Lauren, aren't you listening?  He's the Creator, the everlasting, the One who knows ALL things." He's got things covered...
Strength to the weak.  Power to the powerless.  Renewed strength... Thank You, Jesus. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

This Love is Ours

I like all kinds of music. My Ipod is full of 80s classics, contemporary gospel, some Pearl Jam (I know, I know... contradictory to the contemporary gospel), and lots of songs from teenage pop sensations featured on the Disney channel.  My mood usually dictates what I listen to.

Tonight I was walking I had it on shuffle and to be honest I really wasn't even listening to the words.  Sometimes I just like to have noise in the background.  My thoughts were racing... how fast this week was going, things I still needed to do, how hard I'm finding 4th grade math as I'm helping Caleb with his homework.  Life in general is busy, no matter what you do... and it's hard, sometimes.  A lot of the time. 

And then a Taylor Swift song came on and the lyrics really hit me.  "And life makes love look hard
The stakes are high, the water's rough, But this love is ours." See, life doesn't just make love look hard.  Because let's face it, sometimes it is hard.  To quote Wallace, sometimes things get heavy.  Life happens and we get lost in the motions and somehow find ourselves sinking as we grow... people change and circumstances change and we find ourselves lost sometimes. 

The stakes are high.  It's about more that just love, and some people today just don't get that.  It's easy just to get up.  You get your feelings hurt, you see things differently, you don't take time... and before you know it, there you are, not sure how you got where you are and totally unsure on how to get back.  The water's rough, and sometimes the salt water goes up your nose and you find yourself choking...

But then you realize that if you're by yourself, you're lost.  You're not really sure who you are without that other person, and even though you may be seperate you're connected in a way that you're not.  And that love... is yours.  Together. And yes, it's hard and sometimes it's ugly, but it's also beautiful and worth the heart ache.  Because we were made for community and relationships and our whole purpose on this earth is to love each other... even when it gets heavy. Especially when it gets heavy.  And then, somehow, the storm clouds pass over and the water calms and you're standing there in the sun... together. 

"Love is patient.  Love is kind.  Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not conceited, does not act improperly.  is not selfish, is not provoked,  and does not keep a record of wrongs. 6 Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth.   7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends. " 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8

Sunday, August 19, 2012

God's Promises- YES and AMEN

2 Corinthians 1:20, ESV, "For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory."

He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us. He has promised great plans for us. He has promised that nothing can seperate us from His love. He has promised that while we will have trouble in this world, He has overcome this world. He has promised eternal life for them who love Him. He has promised us love, forgiveness, mercy, and grace... even though we are not always faithful, He is.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

A Full Week

First week back in classes and needless to say I am worn out =) Taught two out of four days, meetings in Hazard on a third, work in my office getting caught up and ready for class... two volleyball games and church and a football game...

And I loved every minute of it.  Well, mostly.  I do enjoy my job and actually enjoy preparing for class when I have the time.  I'm blessed in that...

The Lady Tigers are 2-0 in district play and the Bobcats kicked off the 2012 season with a W against Estill.  Today, I got to hang out with my two favorite guys and watch Jackson get another win on the soccer field.  Now I don't  understand soccer much, but it's still fun to watch a great group of kids pull together. 

Saturdays are meant for relaxing, and that's exactly what I did.  Caught up on some DVR, read a little, straightened up my office desk so I'd be ready to do work, and took a long bath.  And now, before 10 PM, I'm going to bed.  I'm not ready for Monday so I'm going to spend tomorrow after church catching up... again. 

Sweet dreams.  I'll try to be more interesting tomorrow ;-)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Living on a Prayer

He sits in the red chair, forehead wrinkled in thought as he reads his Social Studies book.  His mouth moves as he mouths the words he's reading. 

And his Mama, unsure of anything, sits on the couch and watches. 

She sits at the desk, tiny mouth drawn as her hand grips the pencil, lead pushing into paper as she pain-stakingly writes her letters.  And her sister sits at the desk next to her, an Anatomy book open.  This 4 year old who is learning the names of the bones of the hand so her sister could grow up to be a nurse.

He is a pro at Ipads, at legos, at music.  She was a pro at tea parties and dress-up, necklaces and high heels at a young age clomping through the old wooden floors in the log house. 

And that Mom and that sister, she was taught how to play Barbies and how to love by the first, and how to text and love deeper by the second.

And tonight, she fights back tears as she thinks of that little girl, yellow car all packed up, knowing that he'll be next and then her heart really will be ripped from her chest.

But last night, all together, for once the boy and his aunt pretended to get along.  And the Mom and the sister sat and reveled in their presence. Tiffany was on the Iphone, "I Think We're Alone Now", and that girl told her sister, "We did a dance to that when I was little." And what seemed like not really long ago, and in the seat she went through the moves.  And the younger sister said, "That's adorable..." and the Mama thought about the video where the little boy refuses to say, "That's so cute" for his aunt... "That's so stupid..." he'd say over and over. 

"Put on Living on a Prayer next", the younger sister said.  And the Mom, the older sister did.  And they sang to the tops of their lungs as she fought back those same tears she's fighting back tonight.  And she wanted to tell her, "Don't ever be afraid.  Never let anyone tell you you're not good enough.  Or that you're not beautiful.  Or that you can't do something.  Because you can.  You knew the bones in the hands when you were in fourth grade, for goodness sake... and you made me learn how to worry about something besides me." But she doesn't, because the time isn't right. 

And the little boy in the back complains because they are singing too loud... but the Mom/sister doesn't care right then. Because the words of the song are so fitting.  We're all living on a prayer, day by day, moment by moment.  We're halfway there, and we can make it.

Prayers, please, as my first little girl heads off to college.  This big sister will be missing her something crazy... and realizing that I'll blink and it will be Caleb going...

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Words Matter

I'll be the first to admit it, I'm not the most effective communicator in the world.  I'm a tad bit passive aggressive, the word "No" is rarely in my vocabulary (unless I'm talking to Caleb), and I really, really dislike confrontation.  I tend to skate around certain issues because they make me uncomfortable, and bottle up a lot of feelings until I explode... usually with Wallace as the victim. 

Bottling up is ok, as long as you eventually deal with it. Tonight we talked about forgiveness in Bible study, and several of the verses talked about things that we say.  The Bible speaks extensively about being angry and not letting your anger control you.  It also talks about how our emotions can control our tongues, which is the most lethal weapon we have.  Let's face it, people. Words hurt.

They can cut deep and leave you bleeding, wondering when you'll just be put out of your misery.  They can paralyze you and make you doubt why you even try.  They can take a good experience and make it... not good.

"Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. "- Ephesians 4:29, ESV

But just as words can hurt, words can heal.  We've been called to build each other up.  It's too easy to tear each other down. The flesh causes self-doubt and insecurity to cause us to become jealous and spiteful.  With God's Spirit, though, we can use our words and our tone to comfort, to bring peace and joy, to bring acceptance.  Through our words, we can make an eternal impression on those in which we come in contact.  A smile, some encouraging words, and a shoulder to cry on...

My prayer is that God will let me see His purpose in my life and for me to be able to fulfill it for His glory.  I think part of that is for me to be an encourager, for me to help others feel better about themselves and their situations. As an educator and a nurse, I've been blessed with opportunities to build others up.  It's a priviledge that I don't take lightly.  A lot of my students have a lot going on.  They have lives outside of class.  I'm thinking especially of my beginning students, making the transition to nursing classes from gen ed, many of them first generation college students with family and kids and work and responsibilites.  May I never get too busy to offer a kind word and a smile.  May my tone never convey interruption.  May I always remember that they are the reason I'm able to get up and go to a job in the morning.  May I be able to shake off getting up on the wrong side of the bed and put a smile on my face to be a positive influence in the lives of someone who may not otherwise have a positive influence.

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”- Maya Angelou...

May people always remember me with a smile on their face... Thank You, Lord, for a position to bless others.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Be Credible

Words can't express the wonderfulness of my weekend. Beth Moore is even better in person... and to stand in a crowd of over 13,000 singing, "Shout to the Lord" acappella... well, you just haven't lived.  I can't help everytime I am in a big crowd like that thinking that it isn't one drop of what Heaven will be like. 

Beth spoke from 2 Corinthians 5-7.  Her basic message was about being "credible", or believable.  In this world, that is exactly what we need.  It's what I need to do, and what I try at.. being authentic. Being who I say am I, all the time.  It's something we struggle with for varying reasons.  Me, sometimes I don't  necessarily like myself a lot of the time.  I'm too full of insecurities, a big ol' mess.  That's why I needed to hear this, and it's roughly paraphrased.  "God's biggest miracle is you." Not that He created us, which is a miracle in and of itself, but because we are able to go about our business being real, being ourselves, walking the walk... something incredible, impossible without Him.  Living the Christian life, a life with a heart wide open, is IMPOSSIBLE without God. 

I'm learning to like me.  I have all kinds of faults and failures, but I think that Jesus died on the cross to cover those, and that's enough to let go of them.  I'm extremely humbled to think of that.  As I stood and listened to the music swell to "In Christ Alone", I realized (for what is probably the hundreth time, at least... I just need reminders.  Apparently I'm a slow learner...) that Jesus is enough.  I don't have to be anything, because He is enough. As Beth reminded me, with Jesus, nothing is everything, and everything is nothing.  We can have it all together and be the envy of all men, but if Jesus isn't Who we are about, it's all in vain.  His grace is in vain.  And I don't want that to be my case. 

Jesus isn't just a person in a book.  He's not just a bearded man with kind brown eyes and long flowing hair and sandals.  He's a soon returning King, a Lamb who was slain before the foundation of the world, a Lover of the unloveable.  He's my best friend, a friend who is there when I feel like noone else is.  I don't deserve Him... but that's the beauty of it.  He loves me anyway.

Enjoy Travis Cottrell as he sings In Christ Alone.  May it go to your marrow like it did me... and may we always stay changed.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Wonderfully Made

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.- Psalm 139:14
Hoping your Sunday is blessed with the realization that we are wonderfully made, no matter how un-wonderful you may feel. The creation is filled with His glory. Magnificent are His works, with us being His best =)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Wednesday night ramblings

So, I really don't feel like writing tonight.  It's been a long day (but a good one), complete with student orientation and meetings, and church and homework and helping my Mom and Dad pack what seemed like a million boxes left from the wedding (ok, the number was probably closer to 20).   But I did make a resolution to write every day this year and while I'm not batting 100, Ive been pretty consistent, and I'm afraid if I get out of the habit I won't start back.  Surely, I can manage my time to squeeze in 15 minutes to write...

Two thoughts- one thing that has really been pressing on my heart as I complete both my Nehemiah and my Proverbs 31 study is the importance of people.  At this time during the semester, with all of the things we instructors have to do to get ready, it is VERY easy for me to look at the list of stuff that I have to do and get perturbed when I am interrupted.  I'm  not a very patient person by any means, and when I'm feeling overwhelmed, my patience tends to go out the window.  What's been hammering on my heart, though, is it's not just about productivity. I've written about this before... it's not a list of tasks... the reason I am doing those tasks centers around people... and it's not about works, it's about the people the works are for.  Proverbs 31:31 says, "And her works praised her at the gate." That's because her works were the people she performed them for.  So one thing I'm praying for this semester is that I never lose sight of the fact that it's about my students, my coworkers, Wallace and Caleb and my volleyball girls... the kids in childrens' church and the people attending the Hundred Years concert (Sept 20... mark your calendar... Douthitt Park... I am so excited).  It's about the people I'm teaching CPR for and the people they may potentially save.. our patients laying in the bed who can't help themselves... the people I meet in Walmart and on the sidewalk and in the football stadium that I smile at who might not see any Jesus in anybody else but me... boy, that's a scary thought sometimes!

And my other random thought came tonight in Bible Study. Pastor Gary was talking about how everything we have, every gift we have, comes from God.  He talked about the Israelites and how God knew that when they came into the land of plenty they'd get all self-righteous, which is exactly how I am when something starts going good. Anyway, somehow he ended up in Acts, where Jesus blinded Saul and asked him, "Why are you persecuting me?"  I almost got tears in my eyes when I wrote "God takes things personally... He takes our troubles personally."  When I'm hurting, He hurts.  So maybe I should take things personally, too... which gets me back to the whole people thing.  Break my heart, Lord, for what breaks Yours. 

Ahh... am I up for the challenge? 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Monday All Day Long

It's Monday when you wake up and it is raining... not a good rain but just the drizzly kind that makes it too wet to walk and makes you want to pull the covers up over your head.  Not to mention that when you do manage to get up it's after you've hit the snooze button three times.  It's Monday when you're running late and you know you have a to do list a mile long, with not enough time in the day to get it all done.  It's Monday when you rush out of the door, thoughts full of how you're going to be productive... only to slip on the wet steps and land flat on your butt in the wet grass. With your ankle bent under you.  And did I mention the grass was wet?

So, normally this would be one of those sit down and cry moments... or scream in my head or even out loud.  This morning, though, was different.  Even though I woke up late, even though I was already striking out and I hadn't even really been pitched to yet, I had decided that it was going to be a good day.  Yes, I had a lot going on, but I'm excited about the new semester and was actually looking forward to working on it.  I read my Nehemiah Bible study (only two days late) and finished up reading Proverbs 31.  The Proverbs 31 Woman's works praised her at the gate, because her works were about people, and I had made it my mindset to make today about people. 

So, I gingerly got up.  I looked at the swelling and the spreading bruise on my right foot and the grass stains on my pants and thought for a minute about crying.  But I didn't.  I ran in, changed clothes, put some Shout on my pants and threw them in the washer and headed out the door.

You see, a decision can make or break your day. If you decide it's going to be a good day, it can be.  When I got to work, I got most of my to do list marked off, and a plan to conquer the rest in a reasonable manner.  I even did some stuff I hadn't planned on doing.  We've got our plan for this semester, and I got a lot of stuff finished.  Caleb did his homework without a fight, I was almost on time to the Woman's Club meeting, and I even got to walk for 30 minutes when I got home.

So yes, it's been a Monday.. but it's also God's.  He's in charge of all time, and when I choose to spend my day with Him, looking for ways to glorify Him, every day is a good day. A day to rejoice, and be glad in it.  And now, I'm headed to bed so I can get ready for Tuesday =)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

His Word... A Sunday Post

Isaiah 40:8 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.

The beauty of the flower above will fade. We will fade ourselves... but as long as we hold true to God's Word, we have eternal hope. Renewing daily. Endless love. The promise of life forever. His Word is true, and all His promises are Yes and Amen in Christ Jesus, our Lord.

Friday, August 3, 2012


The Olympics bring out many emotions for me.  A sports fan, I love cheering these athletes on.  I especially love the excitement of swimming and the concentration of gymnastics.  I grew up loving Mary Lou Retton, and can fondly remember the Magnificent 7.  Ahh... Kerry Strug's vault, landing perfectly on one foot... how can you beat that?

As I watch the Olympics, I'm struck by how old I am.  I'm also struck with how young they are... I just watched a 15 year old swim the race of her life, showing those much  older just how it was done.  So young, but the hopes of a nation on their shoulder.  Especially foreign countries, where kids are pulled away from their parents to train, religiously training.  Sacrificing their childhoods for constant training. 

Anything worth having is worth sacrifice.  Those Olympic athletes know the price. Is it worth it when they stand on the podium, gold medal around their neck, as the Star Spangled Banner plays?  I'm sure it has pros and cons. Their example, though, can be applied to our life.

Practice.  Work hard.  Recognize when sacrifice is needed.  Realize when maybe enough is enough.  While I was never an Olympic champion, I am the only person who can do what God has put before me... the only person that can fulfill His unique job description. So, like the Olympic athlete, I should do the best I can in everything I do.  And while I'll never stand up on the podium and receive a gold medal, I will recieve a crown of righteousness.  And then I'll give it back...

Thank You, Father, for the spirit of competition.  Go USA... and congrats to all these young kids.  May the rest of their lives be just as golden =)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Not Knowing...

At almost 33, I'm sometimes thinking that I've got life figured out. Work hard.  Play harder. Love others.  Be respectful.  Admit when you are wrong, and try to fix it.  Keep pushing. Hold on to those who are most important, and let go of those who maybe aren't.  Learn to tell the difference (isn't that the hardest part sometimes?)

It's easy to get in our comfort zones and stay there... not trying new things, doing the same old thing that we've always done because life is good.  But life can be better... we just have to learn to step out of our shadow and embrace the new.

Today, I embraced the new.  Yesterday, I drove across the state with my friend and maneuvered around downtown Bowling Green to visit WKU.  Today, I figured out campus parking and trekked across the campus, dodging construction zones, to sit in a classroom all day and revisit life as a college student.  Yes, I may be crazy, but it's a good kind.  Having my DNP won't necessarily help me in my career at this point.. it's not required, and probably won't even give me a pay raise... but it will be worth the sense of satisfaction from completing a goal.  And no, I have no idea what my research project will be about, but I'm excited to get started.  Even though my eyes kind of glazed over during the orientation to Advanced Biostatistics.  I'm sure it had as much to do with the carbs from my pizza at lunch than the content of the lecture... although I'm really glad that I'm married to someone who does stats for a living.  Maybe he can be my personal tutor and pay me back for all of those papers I proofed for him in college =)

Tomorrow is another day on campus.  And then, on Saturday, Holly will start her great adventure of not knowing... because marriage is certainly the unexpected.  I survived today... so I'm sure she'll flourish with this! 

So, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and take that step.  Because even when we don't know what we're doing, He does...