It’s Picture Day

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Ah picture day!  We all remember picture day at school, don’t we?  I was the tallest in my class, so I remember always being told to stand in the back of the line.  I bet I am not the only one who remembers the little black combs.  If you were like me, you also had a mom who made you wear one of your best shirts, had your hair cut a few days before, and you couldn’t leave the house in the morning until you promised to stay clean and neat until after pictures.

Well, today is picture day at my school, and not much has changed.  My kids will come in all dressed up, hair slicked down, rocking their nicest clothes, and walking around very carefully so they don’t get dirty.

We go great lengths to make sure we look our best when we know pictures will be taken.  However, do we ever consider trying to look our best for God?  I don’t mean wearing our nicest clothes for church.  I am talking about making sure our HEART is clean, neat, and not getting dirty.

I believe that God looks down and watches us, but I don’t think he considers our outward appearance as much as our inward thoughts.  Do we ensure that we are keeping our heart clean?  Are we filling our minds with music that glorifies God or muddies our soul?  Are the books we read promoting Godly ways or filling us with rubbish?

What if we thought of today as a picture day for our hearts and minds?  Would we need to spiff them up a bit first?

“Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10 NIV



Easily Distracted!

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Turn my heart toward your statutes
    and not toward selfish gain.
Turn my eyes away from worthless things;
    preserve my life according to your word. Psalms 119:36-37 (NIV)

I have this kid who is so easily distracted.  When she struggles with a math concept or can’t decode a word, I don’t know if she truly can’t do it or if she just can’t concentrate.  I have seen few kids who have this much trouble focusing!

I wonder if God says that about any of us! I wonder if He is asking how many of us would not struggle nearly as much in our lives if we would just focus on Him.  Last night I found myself complaining to my mom and husband about work related issues.  After whining for a long time, wasting time on Facebook, and then whining some more, it occurred to me that I really hadn’t prayed about any of it.

Boy, did I feel dumb!  My focus was in the wrong place.  I was too easily distracted by the world around me.  What did I do? I humbly prayed. A LOT!

I didn’t wake up this morning with all the answers at my fingertips, but I do have more focus.  I have confidence that I can at least move in the right direction.


My Failures at Clean Eating


It is an understatement, I’m sure, to assume the Proverbs 31 woman didn’t feed her kids processed foods.  They probably didn’t eat many hotdogs, chef boyardee, or frozen chicken nuggets.  I made a great attempt at clean eating in our family.  I failed miserably!

I am in charge of ALL menu planning, grocery shopping, and meal preparation.  The only exception is Sunday lunch.  We usually go out to a restaurant after church.

This means I choose what my family eats.  I get very little input from my husband, except that he prefers healthy meals.  He means lots of fruits and vegetables, but it isn’t a real meal unless there is meat, too.

I decided back in the spring that our family would make a conscious effort to stop eating processed foods.  Many of our vegetables are garden grown or from the farmers’ market during the spring and summer anyway.  Much of our meat we processed ourselves as well.  I haven’t quite figured out milk yet, but we have been working hard on our changes.  Until Superhero Son and I got Strep Throat!

Once we were diagnosed, we made a beeline for Kroger.  After dropping off the prescriptions, we made our way to the mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and the ice cream.  Through my feverish state, I didn’t know how to fix clean food that we could swallow without howling in pain!  I even tried Ramen noodles, but it was too salty and got dumped anyway!

Lessons learned:  If I am going to commit to clean eating, I have to learn all of the tricks for emergency situations.  I really didn’t like the mashed potatoes or the mac and cheese.  It tasted so much worse than the foods we had gotten used to eating.  The ice cream, however, was amazing!

If any of you have advice on clean eating, please help me out!


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!

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!


When He Reins, It Pours!

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When you rein, your roads may lead to storms.  When God Reins, blessings fall from Heaven.

When you rein, your roads may lead to storms. When God Reins, blessings fall from Heaven.

We all know the saying, “When it rains, it pours!”  We usually think of this as being an outpouring of trouble!  One bad event often leads us to another bad event.  We don’t usually experience single hardships; we get them in waves.

For example, during the fall of 2012 my husband and I were both really busy at work.  We were swamped!  I was up to my ears in writing work.  He was trying to rise up in his company.  I was teaching full time and accepting new responsibilities at work.  Oh yeah!  I was also pregnant with Darling Daughter!  During one especially stressful week, just before a weekend women’s retreat with my church, Superhero Son got sick.  Allow me to qualify.  He got REALLY sick.

I heard him cry in the middle of the night.  At the time, he was two and half.  I went to his room and realized he was running a fever.  I gave him Motrin and returned to my own bed.  About forty-five minutes later I heard a cry of shear pain from him room.  I ran to see what had happened and found him having a convulsive seizure in his crib.  After what felt like an eternity, actually only about 5 minutes, he calmed down, and the seizure ended.  It still took him another forty-five minutes to recognize me and go back to sleep, this time in bed with me.  Within an hour, he was seizing again.

The doctors were far less concerned than I was.  We made an appointment with a pediatric neurologist and were instructed to continue life as usual.  We did!  We went back to our busy schedules. I attended the women’s conference.  Two days later the seizures began again and would not stop.

After three nights in the hospital, our two year old was diagnosed with a seizure disorder, medicated, and sent home to never seize again.  Superhero Son is fine, seizure free, and healthy as ever. It wasn’t just raining on us that week.  It poured!

Despite our troubled times, we also receive blessing in waves.  When we put God first in our lives, we allow Him to be in charge.  When we take the time to pray and listen for His answers, we are committing to doing His will, not ours.  When we allow God to control our lives, He will REIN!  When He reins, blessings will pour!

Believe me, Ihave had our share of rough times.  However, as long I keep God on the throne, he poursHis love and grace into my life.


Motivation Found on the Treadmill

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I am tired!  We are trying to get our house ready for the market. The book is coming along, but slowly.  I am wrapping up my school year with testing.  My baby is about to turn one year old.  My four year old is, well, he is four.  That is all I need to say about that!

Over the past few weeks, life has gotten so crazy that I neglected to run.  I didn’t make it to the gym for DAYS!  I decided to head back this week after about twenty days without exercising.  I anticipated difficulty getting back into my rhythm.   Boy was it rough!  I felt guilty for skipping days, for my horrid eating habits, and for my lazy attitude toward life.  I realized that I needed to find some motivation to get back on that treadmill and give it my best.  I really wanted to just quit!

A little less than a mile into my run, I noticed the television set closest to me was displaying information about the NFL draft.  I don’t typically care about the NFL, but it was the only tv for which I could read the subtitles from my treadmill.  

As I watched, I began to wonder how many times those athletes had to start over.  I wondered how many of them had an easy road to get to the NF,L or if they were constantly coming against hardship and struggle.  I bet most of them had to start over at some point.  Injury, bad luck, and lack of opportunity may have tempted some of them to give up and quit.  I decided that wasn’t an option for them, or for me!

While I watched the NFL draft, I noticed these young men were overwhelmed with joy when their name was called.  It was all I needed to push a little harder and faster on that treadmill.  I was easily reminded that my goals won’t be achieved unless I can pick myself up from hardships, too.  

Find your motivation.  Find a way to get back on the treadmill!