WHEW!!!! Back on Track???

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Ok!  Well, life took a turn!  You know how I was all about organizing my house back in January?  I was excited about cleaning up all of my disaster zones!  Yeah well…..  Instead, we moved!

Let me back up!  We very quickly went forward with the decision to renovate a split entry from the 70’s.  I mean VERY QUICKLY!!!!  I spent every free moment (between taking care of the kids, teaching, and attempting to remain some sort of decent wife) to working on the house.  It is not finished, but we moved.  We have almost everything out of our old house!  It has been a CRAZY whirlwind, but we are finally getting our lives back on track!

Updates! Superhero Son turned 5!  I am still teaching, but rapidly wrapping up year 10.  I have a whole new house to try to organize!!!!  Pics to come soon!

It is only by the grace and glory of God that we were granted this house!  We fell into a deal that we couldn’t turn down.  We are beyond excited and more than willing to use this home to further God’s will for our lives!

Blessings!

Resolution Check-up

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Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.
Philippians 3:12

How are those New Year’s resolutions coming?

Are you sticking with the plan?

In January,  I assigned a writing paper to my fifth graders to make a goal and explain how they will achieve it. They had to explain why their goal was important to them. Their plan had to include clear, manageable steps they would need to take in order to be successful.

Many of them had lots of goals to choose from, but couldn’t figure out the right plan. One little girl said, “If I already knew the steps, I would have reached this goal already.” Sometimes we can’t reach our goals because we need guidance. We just don’t know how!

I am trying to train for a 10k. I have figured out through my failure in the last 5 weeks that running won’t be enough. I need weight training and some alterations to my diet. I needed more guidance in order to reach my goal.

Another student set her goal way too high. It will take years to achieve it. She was left frustrated.  Another set his too low. He reached it the second week of January.  Now he is bored and doesn’t feel very accomplished.

It is time to check those goals. How are you doing?

Blessings!

Allowing Grace

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“And Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.'” (Mark 10:18)

I like to think that I am an understanding,  forgiving kind of a person. I bet you are, too. You probably don’t hold grudges, and you forgive your husband or wife when they burn dinner or track mud through the house. I bet you forgive your kids daily for their imperfections. In fact, I bet you embrace those imperfections and treasure the ones that give your family a good laugh. Do you extend the same grace to yourself?

I noticed not too long ago that Superhero Son inherited a hard trait from me. He was working on a craft and got frustrated. He couldn’t make his art work look the way it did in his head.  He began to pitch a fit and cry.

I, too, am lacking in the crafty, artsy talent. I remember attempting projects and getting really frustrated with myself when I couldn’t get it right when I was younger. I heard myself telling Superhero Son that he doesn’t have to be perfect,  and his art doesn’t have to be perfect either.

So yesterday was another icy day on the hill! Schools were 2 hours delayed. I needed 2 more! Our part of the county was slick! What did I do? Slid on ice while driving downhill. Into a ditch. Into a tree.

Yep. Into a tree.

I found myself, while thankful that no one was hurt, really mad at myself.  It took a while, but eventually I remembered that I am not perfect.  I can’t drive on ice. I can, however, fix my car.

I had to remember to extend grace to myself.

Do you allow grace to forgive you? Do you extend grace to yourself?

Blessings!

Middle Schoolers, the Life of Jesus, and Vaccines

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For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. (Matthew 7:14)

I love teaching middle school aged kids at church. I have written about these kids many times over the past year. They have a way of looking at the life of Christ and his commandments for our lives in such a funny way.

This week we looked at Matthew 7. I wanted the kids to really consider how Jesus’s teachings apply to them today. Too often we only consider what he wants for our future, as if we have not yet been prepared for a life of following him. Even though a couple of my students are only 10, I believe God has ways to use them right now!

As we discussed how difficult it may be to always do the right thing, one kid compared following Jesus to getting vaccines.  He decided that memorizing scripture and building a relationship with Jesus might hurt. We might get made fun of or ridiculed. However, it helps us combat sin and destruction in the future.

We all laughed at his analogy,  but he understood something many adults don’t.  We follow Jesus because we must! We NEED him in our lives.  It isn’t easy all the time, but we must!

How are you walking with Christ today?

Blessings!

Thankfulness Isn’t Just For November

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I bet I am joined by thousands of Virginians tonight as I thank God for a warm home! My kids are safely tucked into beds covered in thick blankets. They each wear toasty pjs, and our wood stove is rolling.

I know it is not November any longer, but we are celebrating our thankfulness tonight. Tonight temperatures will reach crazy lows with even crazier wind chills. I shudder to think of anyone left outside tonight.

As we kick back in our sweatpants and drink hot chocolate, I pray you and your family are warm. I am thankful for you, the readers, and I pray you weather the cold well.

Blessings!

Praying Faithfully

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This post from a friend of mine reflects her amazing faith and courage.

Diary of a Kidney Kid

Last year at this exact moment Dyer and I were travelling home on an uncomfortably crowded train through the darkness.  As I looked out the window into the complete darkness, I prayed.  I prayed for the little boy who was growing inside me that had only a few hours before been given a 5% chance of survival.  I prayed for my little ones at home that they would be shielded from the pain of losing another loved one so soon after the loss of Pepa just 2 months prior.  I prayed that I would have the strength to endure whatever the last three months of my pregnancy would entail.

Earlier in the day we had received the devastating news of Jax’s condition and his grim prognosis.  We left Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia absolutely heartbroken.  We immediately wanted to be at home with those who loved us and would care for us and to…

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Right Where I Need to Be

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John 16:33
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage. I have overcome the world.”

We spend so much of our lives trying to change our circumstances.  Many of us will spend the majority of our careers trying to earn a promotion. We are constantly trying to buy the newest and best technology. We work hard to get the next college degree.

For me, I am always searching for something better than what I have. I want the next, great family recipe. I want the new cleaning product that is all natural and holds promises of a cleaner home. I want cute new clothes for the whole family.

We spend an incredible amount of time looking forward to promises, hopes, and dreams. None of these are bad, but are wasting our lives? Are we forgetting how to live peacefully in the moment?

My husband doesn’t ever plan. He balances me well. He has taught me over the years to just sit back and enjoy the life we have.

I think God appreciates this perspective. Even during the hard times, we can find peace in our lives. Our peace here on earth can’t come from perfect circumstances. It comes from God.

Colossians 3:15
“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts…”

Last night, when I climbed into bed, I felt peace. I had a load of laundry still to put away. I didn’t finish my school work. I also needed to mop the kitchen floor. However,  I was able to rest easy knowing God controls this crazy life instead of me.

Blessings!

9 Mile Backups and Choosing New Routes

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Yesterday afternoon there was a wreck on the interstate I drive on to get home everyday.  My school sits close enough to the interstate that I could see the backup before I left.  Once in my car, the radio said a tractor and trailer had wrecked.  All southbound lanes (the direction I needed) were closed.  A detour was in place, but there was still a nine mile backup.  It didn’t take long or much brain power for me to decide that even the detour would be slowed way down with congestion. I needed an alternative route!

I have lived in this area for six years now.  During the winter, when the roads are covered in snow, my husband likes to pile us up into his big truck and drive the back roads.  It is beautiful to see, and I have learned a lot about different routes to get from one end of the county to the other. 

When I decided that the kids and I would need a third option yesterday, I didn’t need my navigation.  I didn’t need to call my husband for help.  I knew the way.  I had been prepared by past experience to find the right route.

I often write about listening to God’s will and choosing the path He lays ahead for us.  Sometimes the most obvious path is blocked.  Other times, the detour doesn’t look too good either.  There was no doubt in my mind yesterday that I needed a less traveled, narrow road.  It wasn’t the easiest way to get home, but it was the path that led to the least amount of destruction and congestion.  When the time came to choose a path, I didn’t need to get on my hands and knees and ask for help.  The pathway was clear.  I had been prepared to make that choice.  

I believe God does this for us all the time.  His actions don’t always make sense to us at the time, but our circumstances often prepare us for what is coming next.  I wouldn’t say that knowing God’s will is always easy, but I do think He guides us clearly enough that we can discern His will if we listen closely.  

When the road ahead is blocked for you, think about the other routes you have learned.  I bet you have been prepared for the right one!

Blessings!

Remembering Our Thankfulness

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Psalm 69:30 (NAS) I will praise the name of God with song, And shall magnify Him with thanksgiving

Psalm 100:4 (RSV) Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him, bless his name!

Colossians 3:15 (NAS) And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.

1 Timothy 4:4-5 (NAS) For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NAS) in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

(copied from Yahoo Voices)

I love Christmas!  I love the food, music, excitement, busyness, shopping, traditions, and movies.  I even love the crowds!  I am so excited about it this year because Darling Daughter is old enough to be excited with the rest of us. We will have two kids to enjoy all of the magic with this year!

Having said that, I am not ready to begin the craziness just quite yet!  I love Thanksgiving, too.  

I heard that some local towns are already putting up their Christmas decorations.  I know some friends who are doing the same.  I even know a few, a very select few, who are finished with all of their Christmas shopping.  

Thanksgiving is an opportunity to gather as a family, focus on our blessings, and not worry about giving or getting more.  It is a time to concentrate on all that we already have.  

Don’t rush this month of November.  Talk to your families about your blessings and having an attitude of gratitude.

Blessings,

Jessica