Friday, September 30, 2011


A California student was punished by his teacher for saying "bless you" to a sneezing classmate. The teacher, Steve Cuckovich, says the punishment wasn't about religious beliefs, but about the disruption it caused. The school's principal says he talked with Cuckovich about the punishment. (More of the story here.)

So here's my thoughts on this story. As a teacher I understand classroom disruptions and being consistent and stopping trouble makers in their tracks. But saying, "bless you?" I would just be glad that my students were showing good manners, outdated or not. (Not, if you ask me.) Settle down, Mr. Cuckovich. Ignore it and pass the tissues.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


If you go to my house right now, right this very minute, you can see it clean.* If you wait until we get home, don't bother because it won't last. But right now it's cleaner that it's been in a long, long, long time. I just wish I was there to enjoy it before we walk through the door this afternoon and instantly mess it up with lunch boxes and shoes and jackets and homework and life. But right now...right now it's clean.

*It's clean because the appraiser for our refinance is coming this afternoon. Maybe I should schedule an appraisal once a month.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Blessed Sunday

I don't know how many of you have gone to Blogs I Read and clicked over to meet Gitz at Choose Joy. I've been reading her blog for a while now and have been touched so many times by her joy, love, and exuberance for life...whatever that life might hold. At first I was sad to read her posts because I knew that her life, confined to her apartment in an ill body that didn't match her heart, wasn't what she wanted. I was scared to think that if someone like Sara could be given such a life to live, it could happen to anyone. But I kept reading. Sara's posts don't allow for her readers to be sad or scared. Each and every post lifts spirits and glorifies the Lord. Sara's love for God and acceptance of His plan for her ended up overcoming my sadness and fear and became inspiration. I can't even tell you how many times I was feeling sorry for myself and thoughts of Sara came to me. I can walk outside and feel the sun on my face and breeze in my hair. I can come and go in my life and not be afraid that I'll catch every little thing there is to catch. I can move and breath and speak and laugh without a second thought. All impossible for sweet Sara. Sara's trust in the Lord, his plans, and his timing became an example to me. And I'm reminded so, so often, because of Sara, to choose joy.

For the last few weeks Sara's already poor health had taken a turn for the worse. Her body began shutting down. I was a little sad knowing that the end of this life was so near for her. But I was mostly happy because I believed that she was ready to take the next step God had planned for her. And last night she took that step. I never heard Sara's voice except through her words on the screen. And we only emailed a few times. But I know that this morning Sara is singing and dancing and running like she's never done before. In the presence of the angels, her dad, and so many more who have loved her here on earth. So I'll say a prayer for her family and friends today who are already missing her. But I will also smile knowing that she is free. Absolutely free and loving every minute of it.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Weekend Continued

I know you've all been waiting to hear about Saturday at Women of Faith. So here it is.

Lisa Whelchel. Yes, Blair from "The Facts of Life." She is now an author and founder of MomTime Ministries. Her new book is called "Friendship for Grown-ups" and that is what she spoke about at the conference. She shared about how she had to learn to make friends as an adult since her childhood was spent working with on-screen "friends." The thing I took away from what she said was that to have good friends you have to be a good friend. Be a friend who gives, listens, and is gracious. Then those kind of friends will find you. Oh, yeah, I also learned that she got to kiss on George Clooney during his stint on her show. He seems like he'd be a good friend.

Sandi Patty. Well, Sandi Patty could just sing and not talk at all and I'd be happy. But what she says is almost as beautiful as how she sings. She talked about being on the edge of the divine. About how we can live in this life close to God and enjoy all His grace and goodness and love and mercy. And how she is learning to do just that. And I just have to say that if I could sing like this women I'd sing every word I ever spoke for the rest of my life.

Marilyn Meberg. Marilyn seems like the mom of all the ladies on the porch (even though a couple of them are older than she is.) She seems like the down to earth one. The one who could answer all of your deepest, darkest questions and love you along the way. She shared about being closer to God. And isn't that what Christianity is all about?

Debra Joy Winans. Debra Joy was the drama queen of the weekend. She performed several skits over the two days that touched the very heart of many of the women in the audience. She was a mom who literally wore so many hats that she had a hard time keeping track of who she was and who she was supposed to be. And she was a wife and mother who felt invisible in her life but realized that she was not invisible to God and that he saw, and appreciated, everything she did while serving her purpose in Him. The drama part of the weekend isn't usually a highlight for me, but this year Debra Joy made me think and I learned a lot from her performances.

Amy Grant. I've never been a huge Amy Grant fan. I couldn't even name one of her songs if I tried. But I really, really enjoyed her performance. It felt like we were in a small venue when we were in fact in a huge arena. She and her three-man band played several of her songs, both Christian and secular. She seemed very real and down to earth compared to the divaliciousness of Mandisa and the voice perfection of Sandi Patty. She just sang and told stories and was soft and sweet and authentic. I may just have to look her up on itunes and get to know her music. I think I'd like it...and her.

So there you have it. Once again Women of Faith gave me a weekend to remember. It really is a blessing and I'm already looking forward to next year.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

10 Things Thursday

10 words (or phrases) for today.

1. school
2. field trip
3. Mudgie and Millie
4. long walk
5. lots of kids
6. head counts
7. laughter
8. fun
9. playground
10. tired

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wednesday WORD

Psalm 121

1 I lift up my eyes to the hills—
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7 The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

Monday, September 19, 2011


My weekend was spent with 7,000+ Christian women in an arena praising and praying and laughing and crying. And it was amazing. Women of Faith is always good, but this year was beyond great. The speakers were encouraging, wise, and entertaining. The music was just what music should be. The Spirit was moving and the Lord was present. It made me remember once more what it's all about, this life that I live. It has absolutely nothing to do with a clean house or money or what the world thinks of me. It has everything, everything to do with Jesus.

Each person who walked up on that stage this weekend touched my life in some way. I thought I'd share a thought or two about each one.

Patsy Clairmont. Can I just say first off that I love her. She is what my grandma would call "a case." She is a character with a capital "c." There's just something about her, the way she talks and moves and shares, that makes me happy. I found out this week that she was once agoraphobic. You know. She didn't leave her house and had extreme anxiety issues. I couldn't help but think, "there but for the grace of God go I." But to see her now, it's hard to believe that she was ever anything but her amazing, outgoing, fearless self. She spoke numerous times throughout the weekend and I especially appreciated what she shared about overcoming fear and accepting that change can be good. And I had to laugh out loud when she declared her opinion on medication for depression and anxiety: "Pop a pill in Jesus name." Amen, Miss Patsy!

Andy Andrews. I wasn't so sure about Andy when he first got on stage. He ran around while he talked and the poor camera men could hardly keep up with him. By the time he was finished speaking, I was exhausted. But what he said was really, really good. He spoke about being responsible for our choices and how those choices could and would impact our lives. One of the things I came away with from his words was how everything good in our lives comes about because of how we act. And everything great in our lives comes about because of how we act when the going gets tough. I can hardly wait to read his books, especially "The Traveler's Gift."

Brenda Warner. Brenda is a former marine, mother of seven including one special needs child, child advocate and philanthropist who came from nothing and now wants for nothing. Oh, yeah. She's also the wife of Super Bowl MVP Kurt Warner. Brenda spoke about overcoming difficulties in life while still hanging on to the Lord. The hour spent with her gave me the impression that she is strong. Physically. Mentally. Spiritually. But she knows, and shared with us, that her strength comes from above.

Mandisa. I can't say enough about Mandisa. I saw her first on American Idol. Remember her? She's the one who told Simon that she forgave him for commenting on her weight after her audition. She didn't win American Idol. Which is probably good for her and better for me and all the women who are touched by her at Women of Faith conferences all over the country. Miss Mandisa rocked the arena Friday night. Her voice, her presence, her words move me to tears every time. Her music was a lifesaver during the darkest days of my life. It was literally something I clung to during those days and one of the things that pulled me out of the stormy sea and back onto the S.S. Savior. Still today I will listen to her cds over and over and sing along with hands in the air and heart full to overflowing with His love.

And that, my friends, was only the beginning. I still have Saturday to tell you about. Stay tuned.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

10 Things Thursday

10 things I've been stressed about in the last what I was going to write about. But instead I'm going to write about 10 reasons I feel blessed.

1. I have a house in which to live. It's perpetually messy and beginning to be too small, but it's warm and safe and full of love.
2. I have three healthy, happy children whom I love more than life itself. And they're pretty darn cute to boot.
3. I have a husband who loves me and our children and God.
4. Our family has stable, secure jobs. This is new for us and is truly a blessing.
5. I am going to Women of Faith this weekend. I will be surrounded by sisters in the presence of our Father. I will laugh and cry and sing and be filled to overflowing with His goodness and grace.
6. I was able to serve last night by helping our neighbor who just moved back to the states and is recovering from a broken back. Her husband is working in Afghanistan and she is trying to get her house in order. I went over there exhausted and a little less than cheerfully. I came home so very glad for the opportunity.
7. I work in a Christian environment surrounded by people I love and who love me. It's not always an easy job, but the support of others is undeniably there.
8. I have a new baby in my life and even though he lives at my sister's house with his family, I am completely in love with him. Being an aunt is only second best to being a mom.
9. I know amazing people. People who make my life better and make me better, too.
10. I am saved. Everything else is icing on the cake.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What We Do

Oh, what we do for our children. Sunday I took Adam to Silverwood. All three kids earned passes in the reading program at school last year, but Josh didn't want to go (I know, weird.) and Arrty didn't care either way. So I left Jules at home with him (even though I wanted to take her) to save us the price of admission for one adult and so that I could go on the rides with Adam. And boy did we ride! He loves all the rides and especially the roller coasters. So I went on all the roller coasters (except the Aftershock which Adam rode ALONE!) and lots of other rides. I got soaked on the bumper boats and log ride. I got dizzy on the Trabant. I got bored on the Ferris wheel. I got nervous before the roller coasters and was hoarse afterward from screaming the whole time. And yet I did it. Why, you ask? Because my baby wanted me to. I think even he was surprised that I did everything he wanted to do. But that's what mommies do sometimes. We do things we might not want to do so much just to be with our kids and make them happy.

When we walked through the front gates I declared Adam the boss for the day. He was in charge and I think he liked it. We went where he wanted. We ate what he wanted. We rode every ride he wanted to. I didn't complain or "suggest" or "guide." I just followed. Adam doesn't often have times like that. Being the middle child between two strong willed siblings isn't always easy. But for one day he made the rules. And what a day it was. One filled with fun and laughter and memories. At the end of the day he thanked me and said he really liked that it was just the two of us. So did I, Adam. So did I.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

10 Things Thursday

10 things all kindergartners should be able to do coming into my class* (but sometimes don't):

1. recognize their name when written
2. sing the ABC's
3. recognize most of the basic colors
4. count to 10
5. recognize the basic shapes
6. hold a crayon or pencil correctly (or at least close to correctly)
7. put on their shoes (I'll do the tying for a while.)
8. go to the bathroom by themselves
9. know the difference between snack and lunch (Sandwiches are lunch. Goldfish crackers are snack.)
10. sit still for at least 15 seconds

*If they don't know these things I can teach them. It'd just be nice if I didn't have to.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Wednesday WORD

“Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.”

Proverbs 4:6-7

Monday, September 05, 2011


The classroom is ready. Name tags placed. Posters up. Desk cleaned. Door decorated. Papers torn out. Lesson plans memorized. Everything is ready. Except for the teacher. She wants one more week of summer. Just one week when she can lie on the beach or read a book or play with her kids. One more week to enjoy every minute of the sunshine and warmth. Just one more. No? How about one more day? Just one more day to breathe in summer. No? Not even one more day? Okay then. In that case I'm off to make lunches and lay out school clothes for tomorrow. Tomorrow? Are you sure school starts tomorrow?

Thursday, September 01, 2011

10 Things Thursday

10 new things in my classroom.

1. Paint. Lovely blue and tan walls. Fresh coat of white on the doors. (Thanks, Arrty.)
2. Curtains. I took two panels and made them into four for the two windows in my classroom. (Okay, okay. My mom did it. Thanks, Mom.) (But I helped. Really.)
3. Rug. My friend Marci got a piece of carpet free from a garage sale and thought I might be able to use it. Arrty cut it to fit and it's perfect. (Thanks, Marci.)
4. Swivel rocking chair. I asked at church if anyone had a chair they'd like to donate to my class and I was offered two. One is already there and I'm making arrangements to pick up the other. (Thanks, Sylvia and Jo.)
5. Bookshelf. One that my dad made for me when I was a teenager that has been in the basement of my house. It's absolutely perfect for holding my book baskets. (Thanks, Dad.)
6. A new toy cupboard. Okay, so it's not new. But it looks new because I painted over the hot pink with blue to match the walls. I hated that pink. I called it red, but it didn't fool anybody.
7. Terrarium. A beautiful glass tank with a miniature dessert in it. It was kindly donated by my friend Alyson. (Thanks, Alyson.)
8. Two leopard geckos. To live in the tiny dessert terrarium. They are babies and so we don't know if they are boys or girls yet which is leading to trouble with naming them. I'm also concerned because I've read that two males can't live together when they are grown. I guess we'll see what happens. Any name suggestions? I suggested Samson and Delilah, but Adam vetoed it because Delilah was a "betrayer." Good point.
9. Crowntail Betta. Yes, that makes 3 class pets. Three. I'm a gluten for punishment.
10. Whiteboard. Mine got written on with permanent marker last year and I put up with it for the last half of the school year like that. But now I have a fresh, clean white board...that will have no permanent markers anywhere near it.

Bonus: My attitude. I'm going into this year with a goal to do the very best job I can do teaching my students while all the while remembering this: Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord...Colossians 3:23