Friday, May 31, 2013



Imagine.  When I was a kid, I had no trouble imagining.  Usually I was imagining being a princess or a school teacher or traveling all over the world.  In the swimming pool in the summer I was an olympic swimmer and balancing on the 2x4s as my Dad worked on some building project, I was an olympic gymnast.  I imagined all the way up until 7th grade, when my best friend and I had half the class imagining with us, as we were a rich family from Staten Island.  Those friends were my brothers and sisters and classmates, and we had no trouble imagining a better life..

And then somewhere along the way things changed.  Imagining wasn't nearly as possible because real words spoke louder than what was in my head, and words hurt. 

Middle school girls are mean, y'all... and they imagined that because I was shy and quiet, I thought I was better than them.  Or maybe at that age I did think that I was better than them.

And now when I imagine it is that someone thinks I'm not good enough or they are looking at me funny or thinking that I'm stupid.  I imagine that I don't fit in, and it paralyzes me in large crowds. 

Yesterday Caleb came to work with me and I watched as he taught in my classroom.  He had papers out on the desks, and had assigned grades. He pulled up information on the projector and taught a lesson. He was feeling it. 

And I used to be like that. 

Since when have I been so stifled in my way of thinking that I fail to imagine?  That I don't dare to dream?  That I settle for how it has always been?

Lord, help me see me as you do, and help me realize that I can do all things through Christ... and that You can do things exceedingly, abundantly, beyond anything I could ever imagine?

Joining up with Lisa Jo Baker at Five Minute Fridays as we imagine...
Five Minute Friday

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Stressed? Me?

It's Thursday again... and that means another day of Blog Hopping at  Today, we're discussing Chapter 8 in Tracey Miles's Stressed Less Living, and whether there has been any one lesson that has really impacted us through the study.

A lot of what Tracey writes I kind of already knew.  I mean, I lecture on stress every year in Fundamentals.  I lecture on how stress can cause exacerbations of illness in Med-Surg 1.  I lecture about how stress can cause different psych disorders to worsen in Psych Nursing.  I talk about anxiety and how stress can impact my students as they study and as they test...

But to think that I am a big cause of my own stress?  Come on now...

But yes. 

Yesterday I wrote about feeling stuck, and how He is the way to get unstuck.  I did get unstuck last night... went home and actually got some work done, and read and relaxed and went to church and  had some good conversation with my better half. Woke up this morning feeling rejuvenated; even got up early to go for a walk and read some of the Bible.

And... then I got to work. Where I was trying to do a million things at once. And my sweet son came with me. Stress?  Nah! Keep in mind that most of the faculty and staff and all of my students are on summer vacation... so there really shouldn't be any stress, but I got that smothering feeling again.

Trying to do it all by myself, on my agenda, my way.

Not looking to Him.  Can I get an Amen?

Chapter 8 talks about some of the reasons why we bring all of this stress on ourselves.  Tracey talks about being an adrenaline junkie, and as I started the chapter I found myself saying, "Shew, I'm glad that's not me." After all, I'm the one who hated going to the ER to help with codes because I didn't know what would roll through the door.  I've never been one for heights or for flying or for stepping out of my comfort zone, so I just knew that this chapter was one where I could read through and learn some things to help other people.

Until she started talking about the types of adrenaline junkies.  Oh, my, word.  An accomplisher? Are you kidding me?  I'm the queen of to do lists, and nothing makes me feel better about myself than crossing off a list at the end of the day.  Taking pride in what I've completed?  Surely I can find room on my plate for one more thing... after all, there are 24 hours in a day. And then the personal deflector, who keeps busy so he or she can ignore all that is wrong in their life.  I've never been one to confront problems... and let's just say that as I ignored some major issues in my marriage last year, I was flourishing as a teacher and as a committee member and working part-time... because if I wasn't there, it must mean there was not an issue. And then there was the dramatist... who complains so that everyone will feel sorry for them.  Um, might I be a little guilty, there, too?  A little attention-seeker... hmm...

So there you have it, I met the criteria for three out of the four types of adrenaline junkies. 

No wonder when I look at what all I need to do, I feel buried alive. Tracey says, "When we are tired or stressed or overwhelmed, we may find that focusing on the task at hand, concentrating with full clarity, and maintaining accuracy becomes more difficult. Thinking may become clouded and memory may become scattered simply because your brain is on overload."

Anxiety level 2... and level 3 is.  not.  good. This isn't the good kind of stress that makes you more alert and more focused. No, m'am.  It's the kind that makes you forget where your car keys are, or forget that your phone is in your pocket and your glasses are on your face... anyone else?

In our world of multitasking, this problem is only going to get worse unless we choose to get intentional about it. 
"Each day, when we get out of bed, we have a choice to make about where our strength will come from to face the day ahead."- Tracey Miles

Where my strength will come from?  When I feel like I can't breathe?  In Him I move and live and have my being.  He is my rock, my fortress, my deliverer, my shield.  He will renew my strength... if I wait on Him.

In this world we'll have trouble (anxiety, stress).  But Y'all... He is so much bigger. Greater is He that is in me... and His grace is more than sufficient, even when you can't see it through the stress.
Lord, help us...

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Getting Unstuck

It's the end of May and soon I'll be doing my monthly wrap-up.  Looking back on the past five months and daring to raise up on my tiptoes to keep looking forward.

It's hard, sometimes, to move forward.

As I'm writing this, I'm sitting in a classroom on a break during a CPR class.  The sun is glorious outside my window but I'm not letting myself go out, because I know once I go out it will be hard to force myself to go back in.

Warmth is good. Sunshine is good. 

Being stuck is not.  Being stuck is seeing the bad and not being able to correct it, and of not feeling good enough for whatever I'm facing. Being stuck is feeling like I'm being buried alive...

The papers are piled up around me as I try to categorize in my head what I need to do.  A discussion board to finish, and then another to start on. Webinars to watch for clinical hours and papers to write and ACLS online to work through.

Then there is all the stuff I want to do at home... like finally get organized (yeah, right).  Redo my bedroom and Caleb's bedroom.  And as I keep ticking off all of these things in my head, I feel like my summer is slowly slipping away...except I'm not even on summer vacation until Saturday... so how can it be slipping away?

Paralyzed, I sit staring at these articles to read and my ever growing to do list.... stuck.

Or maybe not stuck.  Maybe it's just time for me to take a deep breath and look up. 

And take one...small... step. 

The first step, it's the hardest, right?

And His grace is sufficient to help me keep stepping...

and maybe that first step will be to sit in the sun after this class, and read for a few minutes... or just sit.  Clear my head of all that chaos and breathe in His peace. 

Getting unstuck?  It's more about Him and less about me.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day Musings

"Greater love has no man than this: that one would lay down one's life for one's friends." John 15:13

"Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it,"- George Santanaya

I'm sitting on my front porch writing this. The sky is bright blue with a few scattered fluffy white clouds.  The wind chime above my head is lulling me to sleep, and the branches on the trees across the road are doing their own dance.  Wallace and Caleb are headed up to Papaw's to ride around the hill, and later today we'll head to the cemetary to visit Wallace's Dad's grave, like many across the nation.

Memorializing.  Remembering.

Some memories are good, and bring smiles and laughter to mind.  Others are difficult, and make us want to shut our hearts off to the pain.

Remembering is important. 

In the Bible, Noah build an altar after the ark came to rest, to sacrifice to God for His blessings.  Abraham made an altar.  Lot's wife became a pillar of salt, and Jesus cautioned, "Remember Lot's wife."

All of these altars were made of stone, indestructible.  More than just piled up heaps, they remained where they were as memorials to what God had done.  The pillar of salt standing where Lot's wife looked back is a reminder to look to Jesus, always keep focused forward, never backward.  Looking back will trip you up.

During the Passover, Moses cautioned the people that the dinner and the ritual they were undertaking would serve as a "memorial" to their children.  Thousands of years later, Jews across the world pull up to the table during the Passover meal and recite the same prayer and story quoted on that past night.  This serves as a memorial to what God did as He led them to the Promised Land.  It also serves as a memorial to us about what happens with disobiedance, as they wandered for 40 years.

And Jesus, at that last Passover meal, broke the bread and poured the wine. "Do this in remembrance of me." Remember that I am going to the cross for Your sin. Remember that my body will be broken, bruised, and violated for your transgressions. Remember that I love you so much that I chose to lay down my life for you.

America was founded on religious freedom, regardles of what anyone says.  Our forefathers trusted in the same God that so many today push aside.  He sustained them on pilgrim ships and in Congress halls and on battlefields turned bloody from Redcoat advancement.  He followed them as they forged the mountains and crossed the Mississippi and entered the wild west.  He protected them as they fought so that I could have the right to type this, while enjoying the beautiful sunshine.

And that bravery continued, as we sent young men overseas to fight for freedom and injustice.  Through World Wars and conflicts, Americans continued to fight for what they believe to be right, based on biblical principles of neighborly love and protection... even as that same God that protected so many is pushed out.

And today, I am humbled to say thank you.  It doesn't seem enough.  As I think of the small sacrifice I gave, 10 weeks as Wallace trained, it seems like nothing, but for me it was everything. And across the nation are families that continue to do so, for longer periods of time... and God forbid, sometimes for good.  On this Memorial Day, I'm glad my soldier is home and am praying for all those who are not. 

Freedom is not free, and nothing worth having does not contain some small portion of sacrifice. The difference here is, those sacrificing are people you will never know.  That great love Jesus spoke of?  Greatest from Him... because His sacrfice was ultimate and sealed the deal for all of us.  But that same love, it continues today in men and women dressed in camo, on bases across America and throughout the world.  I never really got it... still don't completely get it... but I have a better understanding. 

As we thank those men and women and their families, may we remember what they were fighting for. May we remember to learn from mistakes made.  May we keep moving forward, all the while clinging to that which is good, and just, and right. 

God bless our veterans, our military, and our great nation.  And may we remember to look back to Him.

On this Monday, counting my gifts with Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experiece... gifts such as:
freedom.  Wallace being home.  Caleb laughing.  My grandpa who served in the Army and my great-uncle who was killed in WWII, the military legacy of Breathitt County (only county in the US during WWI who did not have to draft to fill their quota.  Breathitt may have been known for its bloodiness, but it was brave.) The sunshine and the wind and my fingers on this keyboard.  You are good.... and You are God.  Thank You. 
I'm on 915... on my way to 1,000.  And counting makes all the difference.

Friday, May 24, 2013

My View

I'm sitting on my red couch, looking out the window at the green trees.  It's a familiar view for sure, one that I see almost every day of my life, just in different light.  Sometimes it rains and sometimes the sun pours in the window so that you can see the dust particles floating in the air... ok, let's change the subject on that note.  I might be inspired to get up and dust and I don't necessarily like that kind of inspiration.

I stumbled on this blog via a rabbit trail of visiting other blogs, prompted by another writer's discussion of song from last week, and decided to join up. A prompt to help me write?  Awesome idea.  But no editing... hmm... that's a little different.  Life is full of edits.  We pick and choose what we post on facebook and how we allow others to view our lives.  Do we ever give full access?  We want to paint a picture of a view that is pleasant and good rather than what is real. 

View- to look at.  To see.  What you see.  What is framed in your lens cap.  A view in your mind.

What you choose to see... because sometimes we can choose to focus on the very thing that will cloud our vision, that will overwhelm the eye, that will take our eye off the prize...

And get our view on that which it shouldn't be.

Linking up with Lisa Jo Baker.  Thanks for the inspiration... and for allowing me to muddle through this brief exercise. 
Five Minute Friday

Thursday, May 23, 2013

No More Stinkin' Thinkin'

I hesitate to write this blog post, lest I look like a hypocrite.  If I have one problem, it's that of stinkin' thinkin'.  You may know the type...

You can't do this.  You're not pretty enough... smart enough... Why can't you be like...  You're not a good Mom.  Noone understands you. Why even try.


Many leadership books stress that attitude is the key to success.  A negative attitude can infiltrate everything that you are doing, everything that you try, and attitudes are contagious.  How you feel about something and how you approach it affects everyone around you.  This is one thing addressed by Tracey Miles in her book Stressed Less Living, how our attitude affects how we handle our situations, the giants in our lives we may be facing.

This may be why Phillipians 4:8 was penned. "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are hones, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of a good report, if there be any virtue and if there be any praise, think on these things."

What a verse to verse map! 

Finally... one final thing.  In the end. Conclusively. Jesus said it was over at the cross when He hung His head and said It.  is.  finished.  This verse is written in conclusion to two of my favorite verses.  Phil 4:6 basically says, Don't worry about anything.  Be thankful and pray for everything.  Then, if we follow this, verse 7 says... if you don't worry, if you're thankful, if you pray, then you will have the peace that passes understanding.  Peace that guards our hearts and our minds.  Peace that will help us carry out verse 8. 

Brethren- we're all in this together.  You. Me.  Our churches. Our families.  The people in your inner circle. The people you run into at the grocery store.  We're all fighting the same fight.

One translation says Finally, brethren, fix your thoughts.  Fix your thoughts... hmmm.   Cut the stinkin' thinkin'.  Instead, focus on...


is true- actual reality, authentic, sincere.

honest- honorable...worth fighting for. Having value.

just- lawful, righteous, right.

pure- free from contamination, not ruined, seperate.

lovely- beautiful in the heart and mind and physically pleasing; delightful.

good report- admirable- worthy of admiration; excellent.  (I noted, not gossip but gospel.  I'm bad to gossip. I should be spreading the good news, or gospel instead.  Major conviction here.)

If there be any- while in our world, there aren't many good things, we are not of this world.  It's easy to get caught up in that stink' thinkin' when you look at the news and the job market and the crime rate and all that is around us...

But we are to look up. We are to look to the author and finisher of our faith. We are to look toward things that our eternal.

Think- have a conscious mind... use reason.

On these things... the things of God. 

Lord, help me to banish all these negative thoughts, and instead bask in the facts...

I am chosen.  I am dearly loved.  I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  I am full of promise.  I am holy, set apart.  I am Yours. 


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

What I've Learned in the Past Few Days...

Been a few days since I've posted. I deliberately didn't bring my laptop with me because I didn't want to be on the computer all the time... but since Wallace is working I thought I'd hop on here and post a little about some things I've learned on my trip to Texas.

1. Plane rides aren't nearly as long when you are sitting around friendly people, especially when you have a sleep deprived, excited 10 year old who hasn't seen his Daddy in two and a half months. Case in point: on our first flight to Detroit, Caleb and Papaw sat on one side of the aisle, and I sat on the other next to a nice guy headed to Los Angeles. Apparently, he flies the route pretty often, and his conversation helped me not concentrate on takeoff.  Caleb had all of his electronic devices out, and this guy wrote data software, so he and Caleb talked about technology.  Then, we arrived in Detroit... and Caleb's biggest concern was finding a phone charger to plug his iPhone in.  Let's not worry about essentials, like the bathroom. There was a couple sitting near the charger station and they, unfriendly. Imagine my distress when I determined that Caleb would be sitting behind them on the three hour flight to San Antonio. They rolled their eyes when he accidentally hit their seat, gave him hateful looks when he talked to the stewardess, and just generally expressed misery. Now I'm sure they were very nice people... and it probably was aggravating to sit in front of Caleb.  Especially Caleb that is very excited... but you don't have to be rude. That's all.

2. There's nothing like seeing someone waiting at the gate for you.  That guy looked good. That's all I'll say.

3. The Alamo is pretty small, considering, but amazing.  Caleb wasn't too impressed at first... but again, he was sleep deprived and overstimulated. We watched an Imax movie about the history of the Alamo, though, and as we walked by there the next day, he understood what it was all about.  I'm in awe of the bravery that was demonstrated there.  Caleb kept saying, "If this ground could talk..." and he is right.

4. Ripley's Haunted Adventures is not a place Caleb will want to visit again.  They had some really good actors. And I can be brave when I want to be... haunted houses and dark places are not my cup of tea, but I got to lead the way on this one. And I was happy to see sunlight!

5. Wax museums are pretty awesome.  I thoroughly enjoyed the visit... especially seeing The Passion of Christ. 

6. When you haven't seen someone in almost three months, it's amazing how you can just sit and stare. How someone who seemed completely familiar seems different, yet the same.  And how stupid this halfway intelligent girl can get...

7. Caleb is more like his Dad than I ever thought.  He had an hour long conversation with a guy from Perth, Australia in the pool.  Surprisingly, I'm becoming a little more extroverted, too... because I maintained my end of the conversation with the guy on the plane and with this guy in the pool. 

8.Menthalip shine NO. 190 in Cinnamint from Bath and Body Works is the bomb.

9. I can actually get tired of reading... for a few minutes.  Hop on facebook on my cell, then right back to my books, though. 

10. It's more about the journey than the destination... and the people you're with along the way.

Stay tune for more insightful, completely boring posts in the next couple of days.  I love Texas... but I love Kentucky more =)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Personal Growth...

I talked yesterday about the John Maxwell book I am reading.  At the end of Chapter 5, the author discussed using your personality style to help you grow.  Recognizing areas of weakness in order to work on these is a sure way to improve on your people skills. 

Because it had been a while since I had taken a personality test, I hopped online and googled Myers-Briggs available online.  This personality quiz tells you four key aspects of your personality.  I knew I would be an introvert... no surprises there.  In addition, I was SFJ, or sensing, feeling, and judging.  Basically, this means that I am quiet, tend to be loyal, care about others, and like harmony.  Pretty much on target.  Some of my weaknesses in this is that sometimes I care too much about what others think... so I can improve on that.  And I have improved a little on my introversion, letting my husband talk me into being a little more social.  A little...

Today, at our last nursing meeting for the academic year, we had a presenter that spoke on listening and communicating. She addressed four additional personality types.  I found myself fitting more into the relational style.  I do tend to like direction, don't like change or conflict, and empathize with others.  I tend to be a pushover sometimes, and can allow myself to get too caught up in what other people "need".

Each of these types have strengths, and each have weaknesses.  Part of personal growth is making decisions to change what you need to change, and build on what you need to.  As the speaker said today, the most important thing is to Know Yourself.  I'm trying...

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Living for Tomorrow

I'm linking with Melissa Taylor's blog hop for Chapter 6 of Stressed Less Living by Tracey Miles.  One of the assignments was to verse map or talk about our reflection verse, Matthew 6:33.  This is my roundabout way of getting to that... I promise if you'll just keep reading I'll get there on this rabbit trail.

"Life lived for tomorrow will always be just a day away from being realized."- Leo Buscaglia

I have to admit, I've been wishing my life away these past few weeks. Counting down the days until May 19th, counting down the days until the beach... and while most days I've lived the days, there have been some when I've been absent in mind, present in body. 

Today, when I read this quote in one of John Maxwell's book, I was convicted.

I've spent my life planning.  I take it after my Dad.  Planning is a good thing.  It gives you a goal to try to obtain, and a means to get there.  Really good planners have a plan A and plan B and plan C.  I will admit that I sometimes get more pleasure out of the planning process.  I'm a really motivated planner... a motivated doer, maybe not so much, unless it is something that I really like. 

I've been just as guilty as the next person of playing the "what if" and "if only" game.  I think often about the future, planning what I want to do and what I need to do and where I will go and what I will say.  I play scenes in my head until I have built up expectations that noone can live up to... which leads me to disappointment when the anticipated event comes to pass.  Spoiling it for me.  Totally unfair to whomever is involved.

Living for tomorrow... but never appreciating today.  While I've been doing better about being appreciative, and counting my 1000 gifts has helped me live in the moment, I'm still guilty at times of dreaming.  Not that there is anything wrong with dreaming... I think God wants us to dream.  Dream big.  As one of my favorite authors writes, Holley Gerth, God sized dreams. 

But it isn't enough to dream. We have to act.  And acting is in the present tense... today. In our action, we are working toward obtaining our dreams of tomorrow.

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."- Matthew 6:34

This verse came to mind when I read the above quote... and when I looked up the reference, I realized it immediately followed our Melissa Taylor Online Bible Study's reflection verse, Matthew 6:33.    Seek... pursue.  Look for.  Long for. 
Him first.. priority, in preference for others... putting God in His rightful place.

 and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you- clothes.  Food.  Monetary needs.  All these things...and more... because He is able to do exceedingly abundantly more than we can ever ask or imagine. 

How do we start living not for tomorrow, but for today?  By living Matthew 6:33.

His grace is not just sufficient... it overflows. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Counting to Make the Time Go By

I've started this post several times throughout the day but nothing came out right.  Busy weekend, busy start to the day today with Caleb testing positive for strep and running to Walmart and the pharmacy and getting him settled in. 

I did pause for an afternoon nap (Thank you, xbox) and took a walk (thank you, Papaw).  I'm ashamed to say I haven't opened my Bible today but I did read three or four articles and answer a question for my Nursing Informatics discussion board... and the night isn't over, so I'm headed to bed to read some Luke and John and Matthew.  Covering the Gospels pretty well tonight.

That's the plan, anyway.

Today I sat watching Caleb play x-box and I thought about how time passes in a flash. Tomorrow should be his last day of the school year... he's staying home, though.  But after tomorrow he will be a 5th grader.  He got pills from the doctor today instead of liquid antibiotics.

While he's still my baby, he's not a little boy anymore.

Mom brought Taco Bell and Kami, long and lanky, brought it in and made me smile. 

And talking to Wallace on the phone tonight... 8 weeks has went by so fast, for which I am thankful.  He's tired and I think ready to come home... and I'm ready, too.

On my walk the wind was crisp but the sun was golden and my mother in law's rhodenderons were a bright purple and her azaleas were a lovely pink and I basked in the glow of springtime.

Will laughed after his bath and came right to me and I nuzzled those fat cheeks.

Time is passing, and through it all, His blessings continue. 

Even on the dark days, blessings.

The Great Gatsby with Mom, Kami, and Holly, and salty popcorn and blessings from my parents such as a legacy of love and a Christian home.  My iphone and Caleb's x-box and gas and my car.  Gifts in my closet like my cap and gown (worn for celebrating graduation with all my students) and shoes and flip-flops, for painted toenails and cute dresses and God's love and snuggles with my boy.  For airplane tickets and carryon luggage from a friend and books... always books. 

Counting 1000 gifts with Ann Voskamp at because counting makes time goes by faster, or slows it down, whichever you want to happen... depending on the perpective.  Over 840 now... and His Grace is sufficient to see the blessings continue to multiply.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Good Morning?

Saturday dawned this morning with me in a foul mood.  I went to bed in a bad mood, and it didn't look better this morning... to me, anyway.

The sky was dark and cloudy and it was spitting rain... which really gets on my nerves.  Just rain, if you're going to, enough to sound good on the tin roof.  This half business does absolutely nothing for me, but make my dark mood even darker.

I sat on the couch for about thirty minutes, on Facebook, perusing and posting and feeling sorry for myself.  I'm ashamed to say, I didn't use that time like I needed to... like I knew I should.

I finally gave in to the nudging and picked up my Chronological Bible.  I am behind in my reading by over a month, so I opened to 1 Samuel.  Hannah has just had her prayers answered and Samuel has been sent back to the temple. 

Samuel is ministering to God and Hophni and Phineas are doing what they shouldn't be doing, and Eli is getting old and feeble and turning a blind eye to their sins... or maybe he's just overlooking them because he's their earthly father, and sometimes we tend to overlook things, because maybe we are partly to blame... revisiting the sins to the children and that kind of thing.

So, anyway, here's a young Samuel.  Ministering... working, serving.  Yet when God calls him in the middle of the night, he doesn't recognize God.  He didn't know God. 

He was doing lip service. 

Is that me?  Am I going through the motions and serving, doing the work... but not really hearing God?

Lord, forgive me.

And then I kept on reading.  I read about the Philistines taking the Ark of the Covenant... God's presence... and being plagued.  They sent it back to the Israelites!  I've read this part of the Bible a few different times and never realized this... but as I was reading, I thought about the difference between wanting His presence... and seeing Him as an inconvenience.  I think sometimes in our world, He's seen as an inconvenience... and people avoid Him.

Lord, help me not to do this... but to seek You.  Seek You first.  And look to You when I am wallowing. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Peace in Any Circumstance

Stressed Less Living... just the name of this book told me it was something I needed.  I often cause undue stress to myself by planning too much or doing too much or not saying no or not knowing how I'm going to keep my yes.

Add that up with Wallace being gone and the end of school and these past couple of weeks have gone by pretty quickly... and I may or may have not have had a couple of mini emotional breakdowns. As in my 10 year old patting me on the back while I said, "Sometimes a woman just needs to cry." We'll understand if he never decides to get married based on his nutcase of a Mama...

This week, though, it is settling down. Wallace has been able to call more and classes are finished.  Caleb is done testing and so there hasnt' been any homework to fight over.  And chapter 5... oh, boy.

It amazes me how we can all be in completely different seasons of life, with completely different circumstances, and a writer can zero in on just what we need to hear.  That shouldn't surprise me, though, because it's a God thing... and that's what I'm hearing from chapter 5. The girls in my online Bible study group are being quiet, and a couple of them have commented back or private messaged me on Facebook and said they are soaking it all in. There's a lot to soak in...

If I had to give you one takeaway, it'd be kind of hard.  My favorite quote from the book, though, is something that I need to remember.  So often, as women, we believe that we can change things... and sometimes, we can. We look for ways to manipulate the circumstances to somehow make it better for our particular viewpoint.  Miles says in her book, "Peace is not a matter of circumstance; it's a matter of the heart.  God can change our circumstances at any time, if He chooses to do so, but He is always more interested in changing us through our circumstances than changing the circumstances themselves."

Get that? Jesus promises peace in every circumstance.  Paul said he had learnt to be content in all circumstances.  It's not just a pipe dream.  It's not just for those in the Bible.  It's for  us, today... peace in any circumstance, because of God's presence.  Allowing God to infiltrate our heart. 

And change us.  Change us, not what we are going through.  He gives us peace for the moment.  And when we get through the end of whatever trial by fire we're going through, we're refined. Changed.  Stronger.  More like Him. 

And better able to meet whatever is thrown our way next.

When Wallace first told me he was going to Texas for 9 weeks, I wasn't real happy.  I thought about all of these military wives who did this on a regular basis, for extended periods of time... but then rationalized that I thought Wallace was done with his playing Army, and it wasn't fair of him to spring this on us.  I thought of Caleb...and of having to do things by myself.  I pouted and wasn't really fun to be around.

And then, the weeks before he left, I hurt.  I cried.  I prayed... and God kept giving me His Word.  Be strong.  I'm with You. I'm Your Rock, Your strong fortress.  I will not leave you. 

And by that second week... peace. While I've still had my moments, I realize that God has a plan.  He's using this to refine me... and maybe to change Wallace a little, too (Not that I don't think he is perfect just the way he is... )

Peace through any circumstance. 

Because His grace is sufficient.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Teacher Appreciation Day

From the youngest age, I wanted to be a teacher.  I would play school at home, lining my dolls up and teaching.  I'd play school in the Coliseum while my Mom had cheerleading practice. I'd play school in the swimming pool on vacations, having swimming contests with pretend students. My best friend and I played school when we were older, writing fake names in old textbooks we had at home and changing classes.  I'd write and write, poems, mostly.  Funny... I don't remember voluntarily doing any math...

Part of that enthusiasm for school came because my Mom was a teacher and my Grandma was a teacher.  I grew up around the school system, and spent many an extra hour there as Mom coached cheerleading.  I admired teachers and their hard work, their perfect penmanship, their compassion and caring.

And the rest of that enthusiasm came from some really great teachers.  I don't think I'll be able to remember all of them, but Robbi Ramsey got me started off in kindergarten.  I painstakingly glued pictures and copied letters and words for my kindergarten scrapbook... but my penmanship definitely was not that of a teacher.  Cathy Hollon was my first grade teacher and I remember getting my first spanking from her at school.  I'm sure I deserved many more.  Then there was Jayne Deaton Risner.  Jayne was my second grade teacher and fostered a love for reading in me. I was her flower girl and I never will forget she treated me to books at the Dayton Mall the next summer when we went up to meet her.  Sarah Plain and Tall... which was wonderful. Third grade I had Gladys Turner, who encouraged my creativity when my friend Elesha and I decided to write a book, The Haunted something another... complete with childish illustrations.  Fourth and fifth grade I had Ruth Haddix, and was introduced to working at your own pace... and actually worked ahead in Math.

Sixth grade I started at SMS and had numerous teachers from then on out.  Some of them that I remember with a fond smile include Mattie Ruth Riley, who sang good morning to us every morning of our lives with genuine joy and happiness;  Don Napier, who taught me in seventh grade to go above and beyond what was expected;  Jack Strong, who was full of music and laughter and helped produce our first music video, complete with a classmate singing Pink Floyd's Another Brick in the Wall; and Debbie DeHoag, whose confidence in me made me feel like I was a star even when I wasn't, and who continued to believe in me all through my high school years, encouraging me and believing in me... and I could go on and on. 

High school brought class changes and more homework and the realization that college was not that far off.  Teachers like Addie Murphy taught me grace and kindness.  I never will forget the time when I was in sixth or seventh grade.  We were at a Regional tournament in Knott County and Breathitt had lost, and I was mad.  I was behaving rather unseemingly, and Mrs. Murphy called me on it.  I have forever more respected her, and think of her when I want to yell at a referee (and sometimes apologize in my head when I do yell at a referee).  I had Mrs. Murph for freshman English and for Journalism, and what a classy lady she is.
Teachers like Lavonne Hubbard, who taught me that oftentimes when someone is hard on you, it is only because they care about you and want the best for you. Mrs. Hubbard made me her target my sophomore year, when she would pick out books for me to read, even though I didn't actually have her until my junior year.  That year, she expected me to have my homework done and if I failed to do so, she promptly sent me across the hallway to my Mother. 
Teachers like Joannie Gross Gillum, who encouraged me through Algebra and Precalculus and Calculus, sang to us and pushed us and made me work hard... and while Math is still by far my least favorite subject, she made it fun.
Teachers like my Journalism teacher, Annette Coomer, who provided me and my classmates with a good place to eat lunch and taught by example... plus, she's got to be great because she's a Steelers fan!

College brought more good teachers.  One of the benefits of going to a small community college is that it truly does have a personal touch.  This was evident when I wanted to take calculus and anatomy... both 4 credit hour classes that would overlap.  My calculus teacher, Mrs. Pennington-Price, agreed to meet with me outside of my class time so that I could complete both courses. Ms. Mary Jo Rudd, my communications teacher, was always there with a smile on her face.  My English teacher Joyce Harding was a tough teacher, whose papers came back marked up in red, but she was truly one of my favorites. 

Then, my nursing instructors.  Jean Deaton... who talked me into pursuing nursing education.  She believed in me enough to not just ask me once, but to ask me multiple times.  Getting to teach with some of my former teachers has been awesome as well. 

Teachers truly do touch lives, and I'm honored to join the leagues of these awesome individuals listed above.  I hope that I can impact others only a smidgeon of how they have blessed me.  If you're reading this, thank a teacher... because sometimes it is a thankless job.  Hats off to each of you!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Monday Musings

Monday Musings:

1. Rain really does make Mondays worse. Unless it's the end of the semester, and you cross everything for the day off your to do list so you can spend the rest of the day staring out the window.

2. I agree with Kami Griffith... rain while the sun is shining really is the pits, especially if you don't even see a rainbow in it. Tonight as I was getting ready to go for my walk, it started misting, and the sun was shining... made me think Mother Nature was just a tad bipolar.

3. There is nothing like snuggling with your baby boy.  Even if he is now eye level with you.  I got Caleb to snuggle with me for approximately 10 minutes this evening and it was wonderful.

4. Hearing the author read a poem makes the poem so much better.  After reading Ann Voskamp's blog today, I was reminded of the Giving Tree, so I googled it and there was a video of Shel Silverstein reading it out loud.  Beautiful story. I might have got teary-eyed a couple of different times.

5. I'm really sorry that my Mom is so short, but it rocks when she buys dresses on sale without trying them on, only to find that they are a little too long so I end up with them.

6. Evenings without anything to do are absolutely the bomb.  But I had something to do... and got it done.  And I'm now going to shut up because if you'v read this far, you deserve a medal. 


Sunday, May 5, 2013

May edition- What I'm Reading

If you know anything about me, you know that summer means one thing to me... reading!  Since I was a very little girl, my best memories involve me and books.  Today, I have to tell Caleb to put his phone up at the table... Mom was forever telling me to put my book up.  I packed a book with me wherever I went... and today it's pretty much the same.

My goal for the year is to read 80 books.  I'm well on my way.  I've been averaging just over 8 a month, and am pretty sure that number will go up this summer, as I only have one class I'm taking...

So, what am I reading right now? I'd love to tell you! In my car is Midnight Promises, a Sherryl Woods Sweet Magnolias book about a couple having marital difficulties.  It's a light read, with likeable characters.  I really like Woods.  She usually writes three series books, and I've been trying to wait until all three are published.  This is the first in that series, so I've got two more to go after this one.

On my Kindle, I'm reading Stealing Jake, a free offer that I downloaded about a lady working in an orphanage and a Deputy Sheriff and a bunch of kids living on the streets.  Even though it is set in Illinois, it reminds me of home because it has coal miners... good read so far.  I'm about halfway finished.

Saving Max is also on my Kindle, and I'm just starting it.  Not in far enough to tell how good it's going to be...

I'm reading The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, the last book in the series.  These always take me a little bit to get into them, but then once I do, I can't put them down.

The Sound of One Hand Clapping takes place in Tazmania, features workers in a hydraulic plant, but for some reason it reminds me of home.  Probably because of the people.  It's a sad story, and one I'm having to think about as I read.

Stressed Less Living and John Maxwell's 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth round out my list.  Unless you count War and Peace... dare I say maybe this summer?

Lots of books to read.  I bought two new Angie Smith books that I've been looking forward to.  The other two books in this Sherryl Woods series.  A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and The Boy in the Suitcase and Crazy Love and Gone with the Wind (if I can find it again... somebody borrowed it).  I've got a whole bookshelf and lots of titles on my Kindle and I.  can't.  wait. 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

A Weekend of Education

I'm getting educated.  So is Jenna Boothe. Some of the things I learned on this trip to Bowling Green:

Past Bowling Green, toward Nashville, there are zero exits off of I-65 until you get almost to Tennessee.  Zero.  Meaning you have to drive until you are 2 miles from the state line to turn around... or fairly close to the state line, anyway.  Or drive a four wheel drive vehicle so you can cut through to the side road.  Or perhaps a tractor, because there was some lovely plowed fields of rich red dirt.

Jenna and I do not have future careers as singers or rappers, despite our delusions of grandeur.  We may, however, have futures as comedians, Karaoke singers, or authors when we write our memoir, Doctoral Studies for Dummies.

My favorite Gigi's cupcake by far is Strawberry Shortcake. That's on this trip. And it might change, as I still have a Wedding Cake one to finish, and we all know how good Wedding Cake tastes.

I have a group of awesome classmates.  As I've watched their presentations this week and the last class, they are such an intelligent bunch of individuals.  I'm learning things about nursing that I would not have been exposed to had it not been for these classes, and this will be beneficial to my teaching.

There's something special about getting on to the Mountain Parkway.  There's something special about home. When you look in the distance around Stanton and see those green hills, it just chokes a girl up sometimes.  Especially when half of her heart is in Texas.  I wanted to send a picture just to show him what's he's missing but didn't.

And apart from K-Love, 90s on 9 and 80s on 8 on Sirius XM play the best music. 

That's all. And I'm educated enough.. at least until May 13, when my next class opens on Blackboard.

Friday, May 3, 2013

April in Review

Wow! May already!!! Before we know it this year will be half over and we'll be thinking of changes to make in 2014... but now, for my monthly recount ;-) My apologies if this is boring... I'll try to do better tomorrow (visit for a link to Melissa Taylor's blog hop.  Some great blogs there!)

Wallace tells me he's lost weight sweating it out in Texas... and I think through paper writing and final exam preparation, I've gained what he's lost here in Kentucky... but I have been consistently walking... most nights, at least 30 minutes, sometimes more.  I always do better in warm weather.  There's just something to be said for walking in the sunshine, with the wind blowing and the birds chirping.  I'll keep on keeping on... doing my best.  Better than doing nothing, right?

I'm still behind on my Bible reading. I'm in Ruth, almost a month behind.   Ruth is just a one day assignment, but somehow I split it into two!  It's also one of my favorite books.  Psalms are coming up, too, which I love, so I do think I'll get caught up in the next month or so!

I set out to memorize Matthew 5, 6, & 7 this year. Pretty lofty goal, and I've just. about. quit. I said last month I was resolved to start back... but then I got hung up in a little thing called a systematic review.  And also caught up in my joy reading.  So... no progress... but isn't God good?  New mercies... and new opportunities.  I'm also participating in Beth Moore's SSMT.  Today's verse is Ephesians 2:5.  My verses are all about grace, and while I may not know them all word for word, His Word is sinking in, and I'm looking at things through the eyes of grace a little more... a little ;-)

I've not taken a pic every day, but the pics I've taken have been good.  I've not blogged every day, either... have been averaging about four days a week. God usually puts a message on my heart, and sometimes it is pure nonsense... but it is what it is.  It's all for His glory... and to help me have a sane mind =)

I've worked through Lisa Harper's Malachi and am on week 5 of Beth Moore's Daniel (again) with a group of friends on Facebook (goal of 4 in depth Bible studies).... yes, week 5.  One month later I've done a week.  I will finish, though... just maybe not before we start our next study ;-) I'm reading Tracie Miles's Stress Lessed Living with Melissa Taylor's Online Bible Studies on Facebook, leading a group of amazing ladies.  It's hitting right at home... in this stressful time, it's been some good reading.  Caleb and I are in Chapter 13 of Luke. I've really enjoyed getting his insights. I read 9 books in April, for a total of 35 out of my 80 books; 45 to go. The last four days I've finished two books and both of them were wonderful. I highly recommend Sparkly Green Earrings and And Then I Found You.  One is a memoir. One is a fiction story about a girl who finds her adoptive parents on Facebook. More on what I'm reading now later.  I've got a list of books I want to read this summer... and I fully plan to do it.  I deserve it after that systematic review! 

Participating in the Joy Dare and counting 1000 gifts... counted a total of 789 through April.  Some of them have been hard to be thankful for... some are easy, obvious. He is so good!

Getting more sleep... not 8 hours a night, but going to bed at a decent hour most nights, and feeling more rested in the morning. I've actually been going to bed pretty early most nights, 930 or 10. I'm still not a morning person, but I'm trying... and last weekend I actually got up at 815 by myself, without the alarm!

May brings lots of excitement... final exams for my students, the end of the year for Caleb, the beginning of summer vacation. Wallace will be home and we'll have to figure out how to settle into a new routine.  I'm hoping for lots of exercise and lots of book reading... we'll see.  These past four months of my year of grace have been good for the most part, but I'm learning that's how it is when you change your attitude.  His grace is always sufficient when you look up!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Not Conformed... Transformed... Renewed

This week in my online Bible study Stressed Less Living, our Bible verse was Romans 12:2, "And be not conformed to this world, but be transformed to the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."

A lot of the girls have been trying verse mapping, so I thought I'd give it a try.  I didn't go into nearly as much depth as some of them did, but the lesson on Monday focused on three key words in the verse... Conformd, Transformed, and Renewed... so those are what I focused on.

Conform... "act in harmony, comply, act in accordance to standards." Our world is one of conformity. Everyone wants the definition of normal and wants to abide by that.  I can remember as a teenager, I did not want to stand out from the crowd. Acceptance was a must.  What is accepted in the world today is not always acceptable to God... far from it, in a lot of cases. And here we are told not to conform... not to fit in.  "Be not conformed."  Be is an action word, full of lots of punch for just two letters. Don't conform... don't be the same... don't accept the world's standards.

So what are we to be?  Transformed.  Transform means, "to change, transfigure." When we transform something, we make it something different (am I the only one that just saw a car turn into a robot?... Transformers... more than meets the eye...) Anyhow, we are called to be transformed, changed, different...

And how do we do that? Through renewal.  Oh, y'all. Renewal.. isn't that such a great word? Meaning "change, restore, begin again." Don't we all need renewal? Ever day? Sometimes more than once in the day.

He calls us to be transformed by the renewal of our mind. Our mind is our intellect. It is where thought processes occur.  How do we renew our mind? Set it on Him.  Think on good things. Count our blessings. Look to Him always.

It's a constant process.

On the back of my verse card, I wrote "Before sin, we were with God." Think about that... before Adam and Eve took the bite, we were in communion with God in a perfect place. Our mind knew nothing but wonder, nothing but goodness.  We did not know stress or illness or hatred or jealousy. 

Then sin happened.  We were all born into sin, all sinners, all short of His glory.  He came and made a way, though, so that we could be transformed, changed... and renewed, or made new again... into that state of communion with God.  Transforming so we can more like Him, renewing day by day. 

 "Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day." 2 Corinthians 4:16

Because His grace is sufficient.