Sunday, October 5, 2014


Psalms 55:22

Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken.

The past few days I have found myself silently singing the words to that old standard hymn, "Leave it there, leave it there, Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there; If you trust and never doubt, He will surely bring you out— Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there."  

It has been a rough week. I won't go into it here, but let's just say that I have been facing a lot, praying a lot, and thinking a lot. I was feeling pretty unworthy and stepped on by the world. Those thoughts inevitably ended in even more prayer. I found myself returning, time and time again, to my rock- the one who could take care of everything- the Lord.

Of course, there were people near me telling me, "Don't worry," or "I am here." I know they mean that, but years of living and years of praying have shown me that the ONE SINGLE BEING who can TRULY tell me not to worry is God.

The entire time that I kept praying and praying and turning it all over to God I kept waiting and watching, hoping that I would receive some sign from him- some tangible touch other than what I was feeling inside.

On Friday, I received it.....

I walked into my classroom bright and early at 7 AM, a half hour before students would begin arriving. I set down my bags and logged into my computer. Then I did what I always do when I have a few minutes to prepare for the day- I turned on my iPod. 

There............ coming from the tiny piece of technology and reaching across the room to my heart was this song.....



A smile came to my lips and a single tear rolled down my cheek. That single tear was soon to be followed by more.....

As I was attempting to recover my composure the song ended and this song began....



If there had ever been any doubt, there was none now. God had sent me those 2 songs. He felt the weight of burden that I had been facing and he wanted to assure me that he was there for me!

 As the song continued, I smiled a huge smile, wiped away the tears, and gathered myself together. I was ready for anything! My burden had been cast upon my Lord and he had graciously accepted it, leaving me free to smile, free of care, and ready for whatever the day might bring. 

He can do the same for you...... Go to the Lord in prayer. Tell him what is weighing you down. Tell him what you are facing that you need help with. Then trust him to help carry that burden for you. Keep praying and keep watching. You just might get a sign back from him, just like I did!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

No Failure in God's Eyes

Proverbs 14:23
In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty.

Titus 2: 7-8
Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.

This school year has gotten off to a rough start. What can I say? Class sizes are up, the work level has increased, and I am older and less tolerant of bad behaviors.

Recently, after a particularly hard week I was feeling down. I found myself asking, "Why am I not able to reach my students like I used to? Why am I such a failure?" 

Then, as usual, God spoke back to me.....

"You are trying," he said, "with all that you have. The only failure is in just talking about the problem, standing there and waiting for someone else to fix it."

So often, we as Christians feel like failures. Perhaps we have attempted to reach a certain person: praying for them, being a good Christian role model, inviting them to church, and telling them about God's ability to wash away our sins. We have continued for month after month, sometimes even year after year. The person has seemed to listen, but he or she has not responded. 

In a case like this, it is so easy to just give up and say, "I can't do anything else." 

Or perhaps we have seen a gap in our church program or community: a youth group lacking a leader, a Sunday school class that needs a teacher, a program that might assist our community in some way. It is so easy to sit and talk about the problem- but it takes guts to step up to the plate and actually attempt to do something.

God lets us know that our efforts are seen- ALL efforts are seen. We may be trying and trying and trying. We may feel that we are failing or that our time just isn't making a difference..... but God assures us that ALL toil provides profit.

There are going to be weeks when I may not reach all of my students, but I need to try to focus on the one or two whom I was able to teach- that little bit of growth is my profit. I need to remember to continue to strive to be a good role model: speaking kindly, showing personal integrity, and never giving up. 

There are going to be times in life when I feel that I am a failure in my Christian life too, but I need to remember that if I am a model of good works, then those works WILL be rewarded. The only failure is in giving up and standing by..... waiting for someone else to do the job.



Lord, help me remember that I am NOT a failure, so long as I am continuing to try!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

An Empty Nest

Proverbs 22:6
Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.

Listen.............. Can you hear that?.................... It is the sound of silence.

I am sitting here at the keyboard listening to every single tap, tap, tap of the keys. The background is filled with the quiet hum of the computer. Little noises like that are standing out to me so much more now that both of my children have flown the nest.

My daughter left on the 12th. Her father and I drover with her to Union College in Barbourville, Kentucky and made sure that she was all settled in what will be her home away from home for the next 4 years. Then on the morning of the 13th, my son loaded his car with clothes and the basics to move back to Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky, where he is in his third year. 

That night when I arrived home from work it hit me...... the sound of silence. No television mindlessly talking away, no dishes clanging in the kitchen, no babbling conversations. Since then it hasn't gotten much better. My sweet hubby has a lot of meetings after school, leaving me at home to deal with the silence on my own. I tend to turn on either the radio or the television, just so the noise won't be so deafening.

There is one positive thing that is helping me deal with all of this...... I know that I have raised my children right. They know right from wrong, they know about the Lord, and they know what it means to be a servant for him.  

As a member of the Bellarmine Student Government, my son actually headed back to college 7 days ahead of the usual move-in day. He left early to help prepare bags for the incoming freshman class. He spent 3 days volunteering and bagging planners, pens, and other necessities for hundreds of students. He was tired at the end of the day. (I know, because he actually called to tell us about it.)


Here you can see Keenan in the center, along with some of his fellow SGA members. Those bags on the table and stacked in the background are the ones that he worked tirelessly to prepare.

Kari actually headed out early to college also. As a member of the cross country team, she was on campus undergoing training for a full week before her fellow freshmen. She has already had two opportunities to do community service.

The first came when she and her fellow team members headed to a christian camp near the college to assist with cleanup and painting. The coach posted a photo of them after they were finished.


Then, last night, Kari posted this photo on Facebook,


along with the following words: 

Today I was blessed to do service at a little United Methodist place called the Henderson Settlement in Bell County, KY. The view from the hill was incredible so I thought I would share a picture.

I am so proud of both of my children. I know that my husband and I have prepared them for whatever may come their way, and that the Lord is always right there by their side. I also know that, just like the prodigal son, they will return home ....... when they get hungry for some good home cooking, when they need more money, or when they just need to feel the comforts of home. Until then, I can deal with a little silence.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Showers of Blessings

Ezekiel 34:26
And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing.

The past week has been filled with turmoil, anxiety, and fear, but God has seen me through it and has helped renew my faith.

On July 25, my 75 year old mother fell. She had stepped up just one step and somehow slipped, taking a tumble. At the time, the only apparent injury was a pop knot on the back of her head which had not even broken the skin. For the next 3 days she continued to walk and function as she would have normally. I escorted her to the doctor where they did x-rays and CT scans and treated her arthritic knees with steroid shots. Then came Tuesday...

By Tuesday night Mom could not even use a walker. She was moving only 2 or 3 steps and her legs would give out. She had stopped eating and drinking. By Wednesday she was spending her day lying on the couch, sleeping much of the time. By Thursday we knew that it was time for further action. We took her back to her doctor, she was diagnosed with a compression fracture in her lower lumbar area, and she was admitted to a nearby hospital.

Since Thursday it has been an uphill battle: xrays, ultrasounds, IV drips, antibiotics, and scans. She was dehydrated, her sugar was high, her potassium was high, and her blood pressure was low. Once the blood pressure got regulated they began to look at every nook and cranny to see what else might be wrong. 

Sunday morning we arrived at the hospital to find that the orthopedic doctor was there. He took us to the hallway and told us that the full body scan had shown something in her throat (likely swelling or infection) and quote "something big" in her left hip. He then asked us if she had ever had cancer. 

It was at that point that fear set in. I heard the big C word and immediately began praying that her hip was broken. That I could deal with. All day Sunday I kept uttering prayers: prayers for healing mercy, prayers for less pain, prayers for God's will, and prayers for personal strength to deal with whatever came.

We got word Sunday night that they were doing an MRI to see what was going on, but Monday morning I was supposed to report back to work. I went to school early and worked in my room, like a dutiful teacher. Then, just before our meeting was to start, I went to see the principal. He was so gracious and kind. He could see that I was upset and really needed to be with Mom, so he sent me on my way.

I arrived at the hospital to learn that...... Mom was being released! The MRI had come back negative. There was NOTHING on her hip: no breaks, no fractures, no apparent lesions or cancer. When I told my husband about it he said, "But what about the scan?" I responded, "Either it was just a shadow or God took care of it." We began the process of getting Mom admitted to a nearby nursing home so she could receive therapy to get her back on her feet. Yesterday, she was actually released.

After getting Mom settled in her room and visiting awhile, I got into my car and headed home.Several miles out of town a gentle shower started to fall-


As the drops of rain gently hit the windshield of the car and the road ahead of me, I found myself mentally singing "Showers of blessing". My heart leaped for joy and I even had a second's worth of temptation to stop the car and run through the rain as I had when I was a child.

I began praising God and thanking him for his healing mercies, his strength, and his love. Just then the shower stopped and the sun peeked through the clouds. I knew that God had, once again, heard my prayer!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Vacation..... Finally

Mark 6:31
And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.”

God truly does know just what we need and will find a way to provide it......... when we least expect it.

For the past month my two children and I have been trying desperately to convince my sweet hubby that it was time to take a break and get away. Each year it seems to get harder and harder to convince him that work will still be there when he returns.

Finally my son just sat down with a laptop and started searching for things. My husband had been talking about possibly going to Indiana. Indiana? Why Indiana? Who knows..... Anyway, my son (being the wise young man that he is) knew that his best bet to convince hubby to actually get away was to provide him with something that tied in with work.

Recently Hubby has been working with a local group of citizens to open a Pioneer Village, documenting the historical past of the county where he grew up. It just so happens that there is a Pioneer Village located at Spring Mill State Park in Indiana. Once Hubby knew that, he was ready. He took care of booking the rooms and the trip was placed on our calendar.

Little did we know just how much this time away would touch us.

We headed out Monday morning and dropped our daughter's Mini Cooper off to be serviced while we were away. Our daughter spent some quality time visiting her boyfriend who lives on the other end of the state and then we were off.

Our first stop was at the Pioneer Village itself. We were greeted by sight of dozens of historical reconstructed buildings full of artifacts and people demonstrating everything from leather work to pottery.





Along the winding path from building to building there were tiny footbridges built over the babbling waters that fed the nearby mill. It was the perfect place to stop, take a breath, and just enjoy a chat.


Once our quick visit at the Village was over and the experience was documented in picture form, we traveled on the Spring Mills Inn, located in the same park. As we pulled up in front we knew that this was no regular state park lodge. I drew in one long slow breath of that mountain air knew that I could relax. The lobby, built with logs, was filled with rocking chairs, a fireplace, and even a checker board made from a log. A downstairs game room was filled with board games and jigsaw puzzles, all to provide some simple, old-fashioned fun. The inn itself did have wireless, but once you stepped outside there was no cell service (much to my children's distress).


Over the next day or two I wandered some of the hike paths, watched ducks floating on the water, smelled the flowers, and even took time to read a complete book on my Kindle, (though it felt a bit sacrilegious to be sitting in THIS chair.....


reading from an e-reader..... I truly thought that a good old fashioned bound book would have been more appropriate.)

It wasn't what anyone would call an exciting vacation. No amusement parks- no concerts- not even a visit to the inn swimming pool. It was however one of the vacations that will likely linger in my memory for a long time. Lacking cell service, our family talked more. My hubby couldn't get emails from work, unless it was during the time we were actually in the inn. That meant he had time to attempt to forget about work while we were out and about during the day. We picnicked, we walked, we did some geocaching, and we just enjoyed being a family.

I would DEFINITELY recommend the Spring Mills Inn for anyone who needs time to just withdraw from civilization and get away for a while and rest. I am so glad that God helped my son find that listing on the computer. Our family needed it..... I needed it..... and I am grateful for the experience.


Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Little Children

Matthew 19:14
14 But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

Proverbs 22:6
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

This week has been very full: full of work, full of afternoon naps, full of fun, and full of blessings. You see, this week was VBS week at Warren's Chapel United Methodist Church!

My children and I work each year at VBS. I am the "crafts lady", my daughter is the puppeteer, and my son fills in by doing whatever it is they need.

We had the typical VBS stuff....

Singing.... complete with hand motions....


Our fearless song leader....


(Joan Campbell is actually much more than just our song leader. She helps organize everything in the months before VBS, recruits teachers, orders supplies, and keeps us all in line during the actual week of Bible School. Without her, I am fairly certain that we would NEVER be able to pull it off!)

There are puppets and Bible stories....


(That is my son, Keenan. This year he took on the task of actually leading the opening and closing portions each night as well as assisting with food and whatever else he was asked to do.)

Bible drills.....


Crafts....


and lots of FUN!!!

The week of VBS always makes me a little tired. Each day finds me preparing materials for that night. Each afternoon finds me squeezing in a tiny little nap. Each night there are hours of classes and chasing stragglers back to their original spot.  

Yes, I am tired, but I am also very blessed. I love seeing the children get excited about the Bible lessons and crafts. I love seeing them sing and dance along with the music. I love seeing "MY" middle school students take on leadership roles and help with the younger children. 

This year, as I sat in the audience, watching my son lead the programs and watching my daughter as she became "Rivet", I found myself thanking God for blessing my family. I am so proud of the character, strength, and leadership that he has instilled in them. They jump in to assist whenever asked and someone even jump in BEFORE being asked. Watching them as they lovingly helped a youngster with a craft or washed a face that had gotten dirty while enjoying snack truly made this mother's heart swell.

At the close of VBS they took a minute to thank Kari for her work as a puppeteer. A few weeks ago, Kari went to Union College for her orientation. While there, she met the minister of the campus church. We were telling him about some of the things that Kari helps with at church and when he heard that she was our puppeteer he became very excited. They have been thinking of starting a puppet ministry. Well, it just happened that Warren's Chapel had kept ALL of the puppets from Kari's five years of VBS. In the closing program, they thanked Kari for her assistance and presented her with all of the puppets so she can take them with her to college.


Seeing her smile, I know that these puppets and that smiling face will continue to train up little children. I also have no doubt that, come next summer, she will be back for year 6 and another new puppet!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Time Clock of Life

Psalms 31:14-15

But I trust in you, Lord;  I say, "You are my God." My times are in your hands; Deliver me from the hands of my enemies, from those who pursue me.

I have always been one of those people who likes to be on time..... no.... scratch that. I have always been one of those people who likes to be EARLY. School begins at 8? Then I feel the need to be there by 7:15. I have to log into my computers, check for those important emails about the day's events, look over my lesson plans, and prepare any handouts for that day. That's one of the reasons that I hate my early duty days. On those days I have to be in my appropriate spot in the hallway at 7:30. No time to get myself "mentally prepared" for whatever lies ahead.

I have also always been one of those people for whom a calendar or planner is a necessity. I like to know what lies ahead for the next week and, if possible, for the next month. Meetings, games, obligations.... they all need to be written down on both the family calendar and my personal planner. That way I can check on a regular basis to make sure that I am where I am supposed to be WHEN I am supposed to be.

Lately, our family calendar has looked more like this:


My daughter just finished her senior year and, between her clubs and organizations, the track & field/cross country team, senior obligations, and school obligations for both my husband and I, our time was full! 

School ended about a month ago and I really thought things might slow down a bit, but my sweet hubby took over the role of music director for the local community play. Hours and hours of practice, lighting setup, reading through scripts..... Then my son was recruited to do lighting...... He joined his dad for hours of practice, lighting setup, and meetings to discuss changes.... Then my sweet daughter agreed to help with the sound, so she rode along every night for the practices, lighting, and meetings. (You get the picture.)

To be fair, my family members are not alone in their inability to be idle. Next week is VBS and I have once again signed on as the crafts teacher. When I am home I feel the need to be constantly on the move: cleaning, cooking, or preparing crafts that I can sell at the Christmas bazaar this year. I will likely go into school at least a week early to prepare and organize my classroom and begin my yearly "mental preparation" for the task ahead.

In recent months I have been trying to be more deliberate with my choices of duties. Whenever possible I have stopped to think about, and pray about, each decision. Is it the Lord's will for me to take the duty on? Would I be doing something that would teach ME something? Would I be helping someone in need? As Psalms 31 says, my time is in God's hands. 

As I was reading another chapter of Karen Ehman's book, Let. It. Go., I was struck by the following suggestion: "Don't take on more than you can pray for." WOW! At school every day I encounter students and families who are in need of physical healing, spiritual healing, or an improved sense of self. I try to pray for as many of those as possible. With each new duty that I undertake, I find myself involved with another group. With each group I find myself faced with more and more people who are in need of my prayers. 

It goes even further than that. When my daughter joins something like the track team, my husband and I become involved too. Right now the team is facing a very difficult year. There were several long-time team members who graduated with my daughter. They now have only a limited number of runners left. On top of that, the coach has left our school system, so the team is looking for a new leader. Needless to say, the team is on my prayer list as well. 

What would our lives be like if we truly only undertook those obligations for which we could daily pray? Our calendar would definitely be a little less full, but it would also have an impact on the commitments that we do make. Surely the time that we do spend on those tasks will be more meaningful, more heartfelt, and definitely more representative of God and his unlimited love. 

What about you? Do you find yourself faced with that calendar overflowing with obligations? How do you gain control over your time while still allowing God to take the driver's seat? I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment and help us all as we fight this seemingly never-ending battle.