Celebrating Successes and Accepting Failures

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January 4th has come and gone. Are you still working on your resolutions? What’s that? Something messed you up?

I get it! Power outages, ice storms, and bitter cold can put a kink in your plans! However, let’s take a few moments this weekend to celebrate our succeses.

I planned my January meals with Pinterest.  I bought groceries according to the plan. The forecast for a storm did not require a trip to the grocery store for this girl. We are set!

My living room still looks great! I didn’t get much done on the bathrooms, but all other housework is caught up.

I still fit in my new jeans!

Reflect upon those items checked off the to – do list.  Be proud. Praise God.

Now look at the areas that aren’t going  well.  Why? Are you going to give up or keep trying?

Have you prayed about it?

God loves making changes in our lives! I always feel like God is closest to me when He is trying to mold me differently.

January is such a crazy month! We try to start our year in a certain way. Then life happens. Does your life need to change before you can?

Good luck to you if you are trying to make changes. I pray your resolutions are strong and new habits are forming.



Strangled by Stress

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18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word;19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. Mark 4:18-19

I have decided to write a children’s devotional book.  Our devotional book for adults, With Unveiled Face, went on sale two weeks ago.  Our response has been great.  We are lining up book signings and hoping royalty checks come in soon to our church.  Our church is about four years old, but we meet at a local high school.  We have land on which to build, but are still short a bit to get the loan to break ground.  All royalties from With Unveiled Face go directly to my church.

The other day, my husband asked if I was going to keep writing now that one book was out.  I told him I was, but wasn’t sure which direction I should go.  After a couple of days of thinking about it, I feel like the children’s devotional is the direction for me.

That long introduction brings me to my point at hand.  Last night I was reading through some of Jesus’ parables while working on a devotional for kids and found one that applied to my life right now!  I know, shocker!  I was reading through the parable in which seeds are sown in random places.  Some wither and die, others grow successfully.  Like me, the disciples need a bit of explaining now and then.  In chapter 4 of Mark, Jesus explains why some seeds grow and others wither.

I am afraid I am too similar to the seeds thrown among the thorns.  I hear the Word of God.  I accept and believe the Word of God.  However, I let the worries, stresses, and plans for the future strangle my growth.  I focus too much on my day to day list of things to do.  I put too much emphasis on ways to make money, rather than trusting that God will provide.  I exert an extreme amount of energy on worrying that the kids will be okay, lesson plans are ready for the school week, our plates have healthy enough foods, our pantry stays stocked, the car gets the oil changed, and everyone’s clothing is presentable.  I understand these things are important, but not as important as keeping a focus on God.  After all, this life is God-given.  These worries are His blessings.

Today I am going to try to avoid letting the stressors of this life strangle the life God wants for me.  It won’t be easy. I have parent conferences until 8:00pm, dirty dishes in the sink, and laundry to put away.  But why wait until tomorrow?!  God wants my focus TODAY!


Choices: What To Do with All of My Free Time

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I rarely have free time. My to-do list is always full. The kids keep me hopping. The house always needs to be cleaned. Laundry piles up. You get the picture. In fact, I bet you are in the same boat. However, every once in a while, I will steal a few moments for myself. I may find ten or fifteen minutes while the kids nap when I cannot vacuum or put away clothes in their room. I find little breaks when my to-do list hits a stand-still. So what do I do in my free time? Oh the choices!

When my kids were tiny babies, I slept! Now I can manage the day without a nap, thankfully! So what are my choices? I could spend my free time in a very productive way by working on school work or writing.  I could work on a task beneficial to my family, such as meal planning. I could mindlessly search Pinterest or Facebook. Better yet, I could mindlessly get lost in games of Candy Crush Saga. I could read or dream up new preschool projects for Superhero Son.

Oh the choices I have! Now, none of the choices listed are sins, right? I am not a bad person or participating in any wrong doing if I chose to spend my free time on any of these activities. Unless I put them before God. We are told over and over in the Bible that God must come first in our lives. So how should I spend my free time? My choices narrow to reading my Bible, working on Sunday School lessons, or simply praying.  By putting God first, our lives will remain focused. These quiet moments allow God to speak to our hearts and guide our minds. When we have committed our hearts and minds to God, we may see that spending time with Him is far more relaxing and renewing than time spent on Facebook.


Quiet Moments


Most of my friends and family know that I get up early.  I didn’t begin this habit until Superhero Son was born. I find that I am exhausted by the time everyone goes to bed at night, so if I want quiet time for myself, it has to be in the mornings.

I use my quiet time to write, read my Bible, clean, shower/dress for the day, and savor the peace that falls upon my home when everyone else is sleeping.  I actually have a friend at school who laughs at me for mopping my floor at 5:30am.  I tried to explain that it is way easier to mop when the one year old, four year old, and husband are NOT trying to walk around!

After four years of rising early, I can vouch for the value it has in my life.  On the surface level, my floors are clean.  My dishwasher gets unloaded.  I am not rushed trying to get myself ready after the kids get out of bed.  A calm, cheerful momma can make the morning flow smoothly for the kids, too.

Beneath the surface are even more benefits.  I am a better mom, wife, friend, writer, and teacher if I have quiet time in the morning.  If I can start my day with my relationship with God, even if it is praying while I mop, my day seems less harried.  I am calmer and more focused on my tasks at hand.  Some mornings I get an hour alone.  Some mornings I get ten minutes, but even the small slivers of time can help.

***After writing this post, I saw the post by Lysa TerKeurst at Proverbs 31 Ministries.  Check her out here.  I guess I am not the only one thinking about my quiet time today!***

Find your quiet time folks!


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.