Too Much to Carry

Monday August 18, 2014 

Sometimes there's just so much to carry.

And it gets to be too much.

What do you need to lay down today? 

Concerns about the future?

Doubts about yourself? About your parenting?

Worries about that son or daughter you’re sending off to college?

One day Moses, carrying his staff, met God.

Now, a staff isn’t a bad thing. It can be used for good—to walk, to direct sheep, even to ward off predators.

But God told Moses to throw it down. 
So he did. 

And after Moses picked up that staff, it was never referred to as “his” again; it was forever after called “the staff of God” or “the rod of God.” 

What do you need to lay down today? 
What are you holding so tightly to, trying desperately to wield in your own power? 

Throw it down.
Give it to God and pick it back up in His power, with His strength. 

There will still be tough hard times, but your strength will come from Him, not from you.
Moses held up his hands during the battle in Exodus 17 (likely with that staff), and they dropped after a time.

But what did Moses do?

He focused on God and what God would do. 
He let others come alongside him to hold his hands up. 

You can do that.

Throw it down—whatever you’re holding in your own power.
Give it to God.
Pick it back up in His name, with His strength.
Focus on Him. Let others help hold your hands up.

What do you need to lay down today?

I'm linking up today with Laura at Playdates with God and Jen at Soli deo Gloria Sisterhood.

The Lighting of a Fire

Friday August 15, 2014 

It’s my first week back in the classroom, and I’m already thinking about how to light the fire inside those students.

But education is not just for the young, you know. 

I have a quote for you today, my fifth favorite, that applies across the board as we learn our way through life.

I’m linking up with the ladies at Friday’s Fave Five today as we name our five favorites of the week.

Here are mine: 

1. My husband’s help. He is SO handy and so willing to help with my projects. I needed to spruce things up in my classroom a bit, and I had an idea that required his assistance. He cut boards, stapled, measured, and helped me make my room beautiful. A couple of these were t-shirts I love but don’t often wear, and a couple were bags from Barnes and Noble. We turned them into plaques for my classroom wall! He’s the best.

And, perhaps, the English teacher's favorite:

2. A great quote and a new bulletin board design. I’ve had this quote up for a while, and I do love it. (Trying to inspire my kids to think before today, beyond tomorrow, and outside of their high school selves.) The board needed freshening up, so we set to work, using scrapbook paper for borders and decoration!

3. Bidding goodbye—for now. A number of college-bound students have dropped by to say goodbye. One said, “I’m leaving in 15 minutes and I just came by to say goodbye.” So sweet!

4. My favorite pictures of the week. My grandson, Aiden, got his first hammer. His dad said to him, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Three-year-old Aiden replied, “I’ve never heard that before.” (I was pleased to see the safety glasses.)
 5. A quote for all of us—because learning is a lifelong endeavor. 

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” (William Butler Yeats) 

Pouring information into kids’ heads is temporary; when you light a fire, the desire to make that knowledge your own and find some more is permanent. 

That’s what I want for my students!

I don’t know about you, but I love to learn. I pray that will always be my mindset.

Wishing you a week of loving learning, 

Who wants to be rare?

Friday August 8, 2014 

Who wants to be rare? 

It seems we’re all about being one with our culture today, being up-to-date on the latest technology, watching and doing what everyone else is watching and doing…

As a redhead, I always stood out whether I liked it or not. Sometimes that was good and sometimes, not so good. (Then I married a redhead, had four more of them, and we all felt right at home! Days at the beach left my arms numb from applying and reapplying sunscreen.)

Stay tuned for my fifth favorite today—as usual, a quote. One about the value of being rare. 

I’m linking up today with Susanne and the ladies at Friday’s Fave Five, where we replay the blessings of our week. Won’t you join us?

Here are my favorites this week: 

1. Back with friends. The great thing about starting school is being with my teacher friends. It’s been great to catch up with them and their families. Most of us have taught each other’s children, so we have a vested interest in each other’s families. It’s great to see my teacher friends again!

2. Firsts. Our youngest just moved into his first apartment with a friend, and he’s close to two brothers. Hearing stories and seeing pictures of the move and his new digs makes me smile. He starts his first full-time job next week, so it’s a season of firsts. SO proud of him. It’s so great to see them do what you raised them to do.

3. Unexpected paint. They painted my classroom this summer, and I didn’t know they were planning to. It looks so nice and fresh. They took posters and things off the wall and that has made me re-evaluate my d├ęcor, and it’s probably about time for that. I’m replacing some things with other decorating ideas I’m excited about. And my husband is helping me. Fun!

4. A dinner rendezvous. My hubby worked last night and sometimes he is able to get away and grab dinner. I got a cryptic but fun text about meeting him for dinner unexpectedly. It was better—and more fun—than eating my leftovers at home alone last night. Loved it.

5. A quote: 

“There are rare Christians whose very presence incites others to be better Christians. I want to be that rare Christian.” (A.W. Tozer)

I don’t know that I can elaborate on that quote—it says things so well. It’s a great one for me to begin the school year with, as I strive to see what I would call “problems” as opportunities.

I’m probably not enough of a rebel to our times and culture, but I long to stand not on the shifting sand of today but on an eternal foundation. May I be rare today! 

Wishing you rare moments this week, 

What to DO?

Monday August 4, 2014

When life is crazy, when things go awry, that’s often the question we ask.

What should we do?

I’m usually looking for a four step plan to success, a way to fix, a solution that has worked for my Facebook friends. I make a list, I check it twice...

I don’t often think to simply be still. 

In fact, if you told me to do that, I’d probably say, “Are you CRAZY? We need to DO something here.”

Certain situations call for immediate action—like my son placing himself in imminent danger (a daily occurrence at a house of four boys). But often I react when I should be still. I place my trust in my work, not in the One who fights for me. 

Just before the Lord parted the Red Sea for the Israelites, they cried out in terror, rebuking Moses for convincing them to leave their slave digs in Egypt. They panicked.

Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today…the LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:13) 

All too often, I forget that One greater than me is fighting for me. My trust is banked on my measly human efforts. With my eyes on myself, with misplaced trust, I reduce an opportunity for God to show Himself into a failed panic. 

In reality, there is so little I must do. Psalm 37:23-23 reminds me:

“The LORD makes firm the steps 
     of the one who delights in him; 
 though he may stumble, he will not fall, 
     for the LORD upholds him with his hand.” 

If I delight in Him, He will make firm my steps. I may stumble, but I will not fall, for He holds me with His hand.

I can think of no more reassuring picture than that. 

What must I DO?

When my tendency is to panic, I must instead turn to Him, delight in Him.
From Him flows the peace I seek as I wait. 

I need only to be still and delight in Him. 

I'm linking up today with Laura at Playdates with God and Jen at Soli deo Gloria Sisterhood.

Thinking and Acting

Friday, August 1, 2014 

Thinking without acting?

I like to think, ponder, consider. And sometimes I think more than I act, unfortunately.

Acting without thinking? Oh, yes. I’m a redhead; I’ve been known to react a time or two without thinking.

It seems thinking and acting are best when they’re joined; fused with a foundation of truth, they’re a powerful combination. More about that later, with my fifth favorite, a quote.

I’m linking up with Susanne today for Friday’s Fave Five, my favorite exercise in being thankful.

Here are my favorites from this week: 

1. Having lunch with my husband. This is one of the joys of summertime. It’s great when he comes home for lunch and I get to spend an extra hour or so with him.

2. Friends’ books! I have two friends launching books today. One is Heather Strickland, who has participated in Friday’s Fave Five. She has just finished a devotional book called At the Master’s Feet. It’s available for Kindle, on Amazon!

And a friend and former student, Nicole Lataif, has just released her second children’s book, I Forgive You: Love We Can Hear, Ask For, and Give. I love that concept—that forgiveness is love we can hear. Nicole’s book is charming and, most importantly, full of truth. Nicole's book is available in hardcover and for Kindle, on Amazon.

3. Lunch with friends. That’s what I’ll be doing today, and I’m looking forward to it! And on another note, although going back to school to teach has its down sides—like getting up earlier and bringing grading home—I’ll get to spend my lunch with friends from Monday to Friday. I’m thankful for my school buddies.

4. Finding gold amidst the pages. I mentioned last week that I’m embarking on the Ph.D. adventure, and basically, that means I’m doing a lot to keep Amazon in business. I am so excited about some of the books I’ll be studying. I’m finishing up a last course for another degree, and I’m in the thick of Fyodor Dostoevsky right now. Dostoevsky is an acquired taste, but once you love him, you LOVE him. Listen to this: 

“It was a bright, warm, still July night, a cool mist rose from the broad river, we could hear the splash of a fish, the birds were still, all was hushed and beautiful, everything praying to God” (Dostoevsky, Brothers Karamazov, 273).

What a beautiful description of creation!

5. A quote:

“Faith is not the absence of thinking, but it is thinking and acting on the basis of the Word and promises of God.” (Tim Keller)

This is a great reminder for me as I plunge into more study. The melding of faith and thinking and acting upon God’s Word and promises is what it’s all about! 

All my thinking and reading are pretty much useless unless they have some connection to His Word and promises…and they do no one any good until they come to life in what I do every day.

Wishing you time to think and act, with faith, this week.
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