Finding Happiness!


Happiness is a funny thing. It is a feeling, but can be brought about by things or people.  It also can shatter in just a few short moments.  It doesn’t last!

A few years ago I taught with an amazing friend who told me that happiness is a choice we make every day.  I recently had another dear friend tell me the same thing.  This got me thinking about a woman I read about in Good Housekeeping magazine, Gretchen Rubin.

Gretching Rubin began a journey she calls “The Happiness Project.”  She tried to make changes to her life so she would be happier.  She decided she didn’t want to miss out on all her life had to offer.  I imagine she realized that walking around feeling miserable is not nearly as much fun as walking around feeling happy.

I talked to some of my students this week about what makes them happy.  We discussed the fact that everyone has a choice of how to respond to the world around them.  They decided that if a person chooses to be happy in spite of poor circumstances, they deserve their happiness!  Their outlook on life is so interesting.  At only ten or eleven years old they recognize that they get to choose each day if they will exude happiness or grumpiness when they come to school every day.  We really laughed when one student wore a t-shirt with Grumpy Dwarf from Snow White.

We cannot change the fact that life will throw us into some storms. The world around us is tragic in many ways.  We have many issues in our country and our own neighborhoods.   It would be naive to believe otherwise.  However, we do have a choice in our response to those storms.  The smartest people I know choose to be happy!


For more about Gretchin Rubin, check her out here!

Time to Finish This Race!

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I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; 2 Timothy 4:7

A couple of days ago, I wrote that for every woman trying to emulate the Proverbs 31 woman, there is a man striving to be like Paul.  I have been thinking a lot about Paul lately, so maybe we women are also trying to be like Paul!

In chapter 4 of 2 Timothy, Paul is finishing his race.  He knows he worked hard, did his job, and finished well.

I am quickly approaching the end of another school year.  It has been a great year!  My team and I have worked hard, the kids have been amazing, and we have run a good race.  We only have a few days left before we reach our finish line!

I am also running the race of writing the devotional book.  Keith and I are working hard to get the manuscript to the publisher soon.  With Unveiled Face will hit the shelves in the fall, but the actual writing is almost complete.

Paul wrote about a race that he would only run once in his life.  His race would end when his life ended.  My races are not marathons, they are shorter 5Ks.  After a couple months rest, time spent with family, and recovery, I will begin a new race with a new set of kids.  In August, I will approach a new start line.

After the book manuscript gets to the publisher, we will probably take a short break.  Keith and I will probably spend a bit of time away from our computer screens.  Eventually, we will both approach new start lines.  We will begin the next big writing project.  Who knows?  We may work together again on another book!

Paul was trying to finish strong because he wanted to serve God.  Instead of assuming that our lives are one giant race, I prefer to view mine as a series of races.  As one comes to a completion a new one will begin.  Some of the runners racing with me may change, the course may change, my finish time may change depending on the steep hills I encounter along the way.  Regardless, we all have a race to run.


His Hands and Feet


For every woman out there striving to live the life of the Proverbs 31 woman, there is a man striving to live the life of Paul.  In our own ways, we are simply hoping to serve God in the way Christ served.  Unfortunately, we also want it to be easy.

I made a decision a few weeks ago.  I felt it was the best decision to make, even though it would hurt someone’s feelings.  My decision was a Godly decision, but I now have a friend who is terribly upset with me.  In fact, I am not sure this friend will ever be willing to accept that I made a decision based upon how I thought God wanted to me to handle the situation.  I am afraid my friendship with this person is over.

Shortly before this all came about, I prayed a very simple prayer.  I asked God to allow me to be His hands and feet here on Earth.  I love a song out right now that says, “I wanna be His hands. I wanna be His feet.”  I started thinking about it, and decided that is what I wanted.  I prayed that God would use me to carry out His will on Earth.  Then it got hard!

I suddenly found myself torn between what I wanted, and what God wanted me to do.  I realized that God was willing to use me, but was I truly willing to serve?  I thought it would be easy.  I didn’t think about losing friends or hurting people’s feelings.

Now, some of you may be wondering how it was God’s will if I hurt someone’s feelings.  Surely God wouldn’t want that for us, right? Wrong!  Serving God doesn’t mean walking around judging others, but it could mean not allowing sin to go unnoticed.  I refused to lie for this friend.  I was not afraid I would get in trouble.  I just knew it wasn’t right. I told my friend it wasn’t right, and this friend felt abandoned by me.

It took me a few weeks to conclude that I don’t understand God.  Yeah!  I am apparently a slow learner!  I cannot understand God.  I don’t have the ability to understand Him.  Praise God for that, too!  It would probably blow my mind!

I have to be willing to trust Him, instead.  If I pray and ask for opportunities to serve Him, He will say, “Yes!”  I need to be prepared to actually serve!

We don’t know too much about the life of the Proverbs 31 woman.  We know far more about Paul.  His path serving God wasn’t easy.  He was willing to hurt the feelings of others, he served when things got tough, and he served cheerfully.  I don’t want to sound “preachy” or like I have all things figured out. I don’t!  But I know that God is working on changing me bit by bit, day by day.  I just have to be smart enough to listen!


Not Perfect, But With a Purpose


I sat down and reread Proverbs 31.  Since I began writing for this blog about two months ago, I think I have read it at least one hundred times.  I finally realized this time that the Proverbs 31 woman was NOT perfect. Instead, she lived her life with a purpose.  That is a much more attainable goal! I need to stop striving for perfection.

My laundry will NEVER be caught up. There will be dirty dishes in my sink within an hour of starting the dishwasher.  As soon as I mop the floors, someone will spill something.  I live with a grown man and a four year old boy.  The floors around the toilets always need to be cleaned!

My kids are great, but they still fight.  Superhero Son will need me to help him academically for years to come.  Darling Daughter is constantly doing something she shouldn’t do.

My marriage will always need me to put in the hard work it takes to be a good wife.  I will always have a career that demands my attention.  Finally, I will always have God to serve.

I cannot accomplish everything every single day.  It isn’t possible!  I may be created in God’s image, but I do not have God’s power.  I will never be perfect!  There!  I said it!  You should say it, too!   You will feel much better once you realize that there is a better way to live.

From now on I will strive to live my life with a purpose instead of with perfection!


Around the Colvin Cottage: Motivation by Mercy Me

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The finish line is in sight!  I have two weeks left of school, the house goes on the market this week, the book is ALMOST finished!  I am scurrying around like crazy trying to finish everything.

Whenever I run out of energy, my go-to song has been Mercy Me’s Move.  Here is a video with the lyrics.  It is kind of like a cup of coffee for my motivation!

And now, just for fun, we have pictures of the past couple of weeks!

Darling Daughter's hair is always a mess!  It matches her personality!

Darling Daughter’s hair is always a mess! It matches her personality!

This is where the kids played, ate snacks, and read their book this weekend!  They love the turtle tent!

This is where the kids played, ate snacks, and read their book this weekend! They love the turtle tent!

A Bit Distracted: Watching the Rain Fall

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Springtime brings the terrible thunderstorms with it.  Usually we have hard winds accompanied by hard rains.  These storms can shred my hostas, rattle my windows, rip the blossoms off of the trees, and cause power outages.  Those really bum me out, especially when I have a book deadline approaching!

Tonight was different.  Instead of working on the manuscript of this book, I found myself staring out the french doors leading to my back deck.  The dark thunderclouds of the spring storm broke enough to see the sun setting behind the trees.  The winds died.  The torrential downpour turned into a gentle summer-like rain.  For a few moments I sat here, already in my pajamas, and enjoyed watching the rain fall.  Darling Daughter was already asleep, Superhero Son was watching Bubble Guppies, dinner was over, baths were finished, the laundry was caught up (sort of!), and I was distracted from my work by the rain.  So I just stopped and watched it fall.

Yeah, I know!  It sounds ridiculous, but I just needed some time to watch the rain fall.  I didn’t worry about the fifth grade trip tomorrow.  I didn’t spend my extra time folding clothes, mopping floors, or washing dishes.  I allowed my eyes to stray from the computer screen and my brain from the mountains of work.

I bet the Proverbs 31 woman took time to watch the rain fall.  She probably didn’t do it often.  She may not have told anyone about her quiet moments.  In fact, her “quiet moments” may have been similar to mine, filled with background noise.  However, I bet she savored them, treasured them, and used them to refuel her spirit!

Enjoy your quiet moments.  Take a few moments to just watch the rain fall.


The Role of a Teacher: Praying for Oklahoma

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Most of us knew early in our lives that we wanted to be teachers.  We chose a university with a good education program.  Many of us went on to get a Master’s Degree.  We began our teaching careers because we love our students.

We spend our days dealing with parents, testing, teaching standards developed by men and women who have not been inside of a classroom since they graduated, and, by golly, teaching those standards well!  We hold those who cry, we comfort those who suffer loss, we help those who do not know yet how to help themselves, and we teach morals, manners, and life skills.  We do it because we love it!

The worst fear of a teacher is not the testing.   We know the high stakes of our state testing.  We know that our kids must do well for their own futures.  We know our school, and perhaps our careers, depend upon those scores.  It is not what we fear the most.

Our biggest fear is not the parents.  Some parents try to intimidate.  It is frustrating to sit across the conference table from a parent who just doesn’t seem to grasp reality.  Parents do not make us tremble at night.

Our biggest fear is not the budget.  We face job loss, loss of materials, cut programs, and buildings that badly need repair.  This is not our greatest fear.

The greatest fear of a teacher is the safety of those children placed in our classrooms for safe keeping throughout the year.  We know the stories of bravery from Virginia Tech professors, Sandy Hook first grade teachers, and now Oklahoma.  If tragedy occurs, could I keep my children safe?

They need our prayers today!  In fact, every teacher who sits and wonders if he/she could protect the students in their classrooms needs your prayer today.


Birthday Shots: The Vaccination Debate

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I know! I know! At first glance, the title took you back to your college days. Then you saw the word vaccination and cringed!  Yep this is about taking your kids to get shots for their birthday!

Superhero Son turned 4 in April.  Darling Daughter turned 1 in May.  In the past few weeks they have each had a blood test and seven shots between them.  While at the doctor’s office with Darling Daughter, I asked my pediatrician how he handles parents who do not want to vaccinate their kids.  He looked at me for a moment and asked why I wanted to know.  I think he was surprised to hear me ask because I have never questioned vaccines before.  I explained that I was curious because we have a family in our school that refuses to vaccinate their kids.

I work in a public school.  We “require” vaccinations before beginning kindergarteners, but there are ways to get waivers that excuse your child from having their vaccinations.  I also live near two universities that had outbreaks of mumps this year.  Why?  There was a population of unvaccinated students on campus!

My pediatrician explained that he believed most parents who refuse to vaccinate their kids are misinformed.  They have researched vaccines using poor methods and base their decisions on studies that have been refuted and proven wrong.  He went on to say that those who refuse vaccinations are usually too young to remember kids dying from diseases we now can prevent.

Many parents cite religious beliefs for their reason to not vaccinate.

I won’t debate either way.  Parents are free to decide what medicine they put into their children’s bodies.  I will only state what I believe based upon the Bible.

Jesus was a great healer.  He also introduced us to another great doctor, Luke!  Jesus sent His disciples out to heal others.  And you know what?!  It worked!  I fully believe that God can gift a human with the power of healing.  I also believe that our society can use medicinal technology to safely administer medication to its citizens.  I pray for the health of my children, but I am smart enough to know that God may provide healthy solutions in the form of healing doctors.

When faced with health concerns, it never hurts to turn to the Greatest Physician and ask for His guidance.

For anyone looking for more information about vaccines, here is a great website for you!


Fallen Angel: Victoria’s Secret Angel, Of Course!


While enjoying our mini-vacation at The Homestead Resort, I spent some time catching up on national news.  I found a story on MSNBC about a model who dropped her blossoming career and wrote a book entitled, “I’m No Angel.”

Kylie Bisutti won a modeling competition, walked the runway with Victoria’s Secret, landed a lucrative career modeling lingerie, and then gave it all up.  When asked by the interviewer why she chose to throw away such a successful start to her dream job, she replied that God changed her heart.  She no longer wanted to “sell sex” as a model.  Instead, she wanted to be a role model for young girls who struggle with destructive self-images.  

I haven’t read the book yet, but she said in the interview that one of her reasons for a change in career was to grow closer to being a Proverbs 31 wife.  Naturally, I decided to include her in this blog.  

I am guessing most of us don’t have jobs of which God would not approve.  I always felt like God pushed me toward teaching, rather than trying to lead me away.  I don’t know what it is like to feel as if God was condemning my career.  I imagine she feels relieved to be following a path that is God-lead.  I also imagine she is enjoying great success with her new-found writing career.  Let’s face it, the girl had her book publicized on the Today Show!

What can the rest of us learn from Kylie?  I will not judge the modeling industry or Victoria’s Secret.  In fact, I shop there!  However, I think we can clearly see that when Kylie took a step of faith and quit a money making career, God handed her success in a new way.  

We know that God is not out to destroy our lives.  When we follow His plans for our lives, we will find success.

Jeremiah 29:11-13 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. (NIV)

Did you read that correctly?  His plans include prosperity, hope, and a future!