Isaiah 6:8

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Waiting for Morning

About the Book:  Once again Karen Kingsbury expertly weaves a heart-wrenching story. Hannah Ryan, a loving wife and mother suddenly loses her husband, Tom, and oldest daughter, Alicia, in a horrible car crash, due to a drunk driver. Her youngest daughter, Jenny, also in the car, survived, but Hannah only seems to see Tom and Alicia as the victims in the accident. As the story unfolds the reader sees Hannah expressing a deep hatred for Brian Wesley, the drunk driver who killed her family.  This deep hatred causes Hannah Ryan to believe that the only thing that will bring her peace is to see Wesley behind bars for the rest of his life. Hannah also harbors a great bitterness towards God and begins to feel that a God who would allow suffering of this magnitude was not a God she could believe in.  Although there are several believers she comes into contact with, Matt Bronzan, the district attorney, and Carol Cummins, who volunteers for the local Mothers Against Drunk Driving, neither of them can help her find her way back to God. Does she allow God back into her life, or does her bitterness overtake her?  Does Wesley get the stiffest sentence ever given in California history?  Read the book and find out.  You won’t regret it.

About the Author:  Karen Kingsbury is best known for her Life-Changing Fiction™ and for creating unforgettable characters. When speaking before women's groups - some with more than 10,000 in attendance - Karen makes audiences laugh and cry with her compelling story-telling. She likes to tell attendees they have, "One chance to write the story of their lives," and her talk focuses on reminding women to live every day loving well, laughing often, and finding true life in Jesus Christ. Karen routinely speaks before more than 100,000 women each year. USA Today and New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury is America’s #1 inspirational novelist. There are nearly 20 million copies of her award-winning books in print, including several million copies sold in the past year. Karen has written more than 50 novels, ten of which have hit #1 on national lists.

My Thoughts:  I loved this book.  After I finished this book, I felt like I had not only read Hannah's story, but my own as well.  The book was painful and made me cry yet, after reading the book I found myself opening my Bible to Lamentations and reading it from start to finish and I also found a new found love of the sold hymn, “Great is Thy Faithfulness.”  This story was so real that I felt as if I was reading Karen Kingsbury’s own memoire.  I have read too many Karen Kingsbury books to count and cannot wait to get my hands on the next one.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Waterbrook Multnomah. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Wednesday Hodge Podge Vol 42

Welcome to another edition of the Wednesday Hodgepodge...if you want to participate then go to Joyce's blog and add your link at the bottom of her post and join the party. Here are this weeks questions and my answers...for what they are worth

1. Do you think the world became a more dangerous place on September 11, 2001 or are we just more aware of the danger? How has your own life changed as a result of that day?
I think 9/11 put an end to our feeling of invulnerabilty.  We can be hurt....we can suffer loss.  since 9/11 I don't take anything for granted....and going through security check points does not bother me one little bit.  I am licensed to carry a concealed weapon and do.  I never thought that would happen.
2. Did you think your parents were too strict when you were growing up? How about in hindsight?
My parents had lots of rules and like most kids I thought they were terribly unfair. The death of my brother at an early age imposed numerous restrictions on me that most kids never had.  I got really good at sidestepping them and learning how to handle the truth recklessly at an early age to get to do some of the things I wanted to do.    Then I was a parent.  My daughters did not date alone until they were 16...just like me.  One was ok with that...the other not so much. It is amazing how stuff you did as a child comes back to bite you in the rear as an adult.
3. Share one random but candid fact about yourself.
I was a three day champion on the TNN game show, Top Card.  If you want to know what a years supply of Pasta Mama pasta products are....ask me...I can tell you. 
4. Would your nearest and dearest describe you as simple or far too complicated?
Frank would probably say I am both.  Just when he thinks I am going to be simple....I am complicated and vice versa.  Mine is a mood, seasonal, time thing.  It depends on what it is. 
5. What is your favorite stadium or carnival food?
Hot dogs with kraut, Italian sausages with onions and pepper, brats...yep....I love em!  Frank and I actually paid admission to go to a local carnie....just to get an italian sausage sandwich with onions and peppers and it was worth every single penny!6. Tornado, hurricane, many of these natural disasters have you experienced? Which do you think would be the scariest?
All of the above I have experienced.  I live in the tornado alley section of Alabama, and have experienced them as offshoots of hurricanes in Florida.  I have lived through hurricanes in both Florida and Alabama, I have experienced an earthquake once in California and once in Alabama.  I think the tornadoes are the scariest, especially after the April 11th ones.  That was one of the most frightening days of my life.
7. Labor day weekend is approaching so a work related question seems appropriate. Growing up, did your parents assign you regular chores? Were you paid for doing those chores. If you're a parent do you assign chores to your own children? Why or why not?
I had chores growing up. My mom had a weekly list of daily chores I was supposed to do and then there was a special edition for Saturday.  We did not have chores on Sunday. I actually loved doing my chores and assigned chores to my kids as well.  It makes you a better person to have some sort of output in the daily running of a household.  I still love to stand at my window and wash dishes.  I got an allowance and so did my kids. I would pay them extra for things not on their list of chores. My kids are all hardworkers today.  I think chores instill a work ethic in you.
8.  High them or leave them? 
I am a klutz, heals are not my friend, so therefore I do not wear high heels. I love to see women in them...yet, .it pains me to see women walk in them.  for example, Sunday there was a young lady at church who had on pair and it was obvious that the heel of her right shoe was broken she was walking on her toes...that is the nice thing about flats....the heels never break!  Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Pressing Into Thin Places Author Interview

What a great night I had.  I did my first author interview, via phone, with Dr. Margaret Harrell Wills.  Her book, Pressing Into Thin Places, is a collection of stories from the author's personal experiences, lovingly laced with her own poetry and prose, and infused with biblical views and rich truths.  My first question upon reading the book was exactly what does the term "thin place" mean. Dr. Willis explains in her book that a "thin place" is a"place where  the veil that separates heaven and earth  is nearly transparent.  It is a place where we experience a deep sense of God's presence in our everyday world."
 At 6:00 PM CST this evening I nervously dialed Dr. Wills number and began my interview.  What an experience!
Me:  Thank you so much for giving me this time Dr. Wills.  I understand what a thin place is, what I would like to know is when did you first experience one?
Dr. Wills - "My husband and I were separated and I was laying in bed looking out at the city lights and felt so little and I was wondering did God really know what was going on?  I awakened later actually singing, "Amazing Grace."  My thin place was a momentary awareness or profound unexplainable experience.
Me:  I write poetry and prose myself, did you plan the poetry for the book?  I think it really added something to just reading a story.
Dr. Wills:  "I like the rhythm and cadence of poetry and prose.  I believe it was natural to intermingle my poetry into the stories and biblical references.  I believe I was influenced by Psalms.  You know even David in the Psalms would begin complaining and somewhere through piece he would begin to praise as the Holy Spirit took over."
Me:  Pressing Into Thin Places gives readers permission to be authentic and to acknowledge doubt, questions, even depression.  Often we experience guilt over these sometimes realities, fearing they show a weak faith.  But how can facing these circumstances or emotions actually strengthen faith and reveal the presence of God in our lives?
Dr. Wills:  "We all have ups and downs.  We are emotional beings.  This is part of life.  But can we dial up different thoughts?  Can we change our feelings?  Many times, I believe we can.  Not too long ago I came across a verse in I Samuel 30.  The chapter talked about a time when David was defeated by his enemies, rejected by all those around him and discouraged to the core.  In verse 6, it says, "And David strengthened in the Lord."  How do we strengthen ourselves in the Lord?  I believe we do what a verse in Psalms suggests: "And then one day I went into yur sanctuary and thought" (Ps. 73:17).  We strengthen ourselves in the Lord by going His presence and letting Him guide our thinking.  Many of the Psalms tell us that David worshipped and meditated on the scriptures.  This was no exception.  He received new purpose, vision, and authority.  He waited patiently to become King."
Me:  What do you want your readers to know about struggle and doubt?
Dr. Wills:  "We all go through it, what is wrong is when we don't deal with it.  We should call out and  as you get through whatever situation you are in and look back you see that God really was there.  Think of Thomas who came to Jesus in his time of great grief when his friend had died.  God wants us to be authentic.  That is what Thomas was.  He was authentic in his grief and request."
Me:  What is writing a book of this caliber like?
Dr Wills:  "Writing a book is a journey.  When I first wrote this book and submitted it it was half the size it is now.  The publisher said I had to make it bigger but I could not come up with the words to say  I prayed and asked God if He wanted this book bigger He was going to have to give me the words, and that is exactly what He did."
Dr. Wills:  "I heard a thought once that went, "Does God still speak to us?  The answer was yes....He uses dreams."
Me:  Why do you think we fear admitting doubt or struggles with faith?"
Dr. Wills:  "Fear wants to rise and speak to the bottom corners of our mind.  It will remind us not to be vulnerable.  We will remember what happens when we risk psychological safety or abandon feelings of superiority.  It is all about learning and knowing the Lord.  The teacher offers us hands on experience.  It is not just hearing the word, it is about doing the word and taking it a step further into our faith.  It is important to be obedient, having a listening ear, and a teachable one as well."
Me:  What has your faith journey taught you about prayer?
Dr. Wills:  "Letting go of the last word in a disagreement is the way.  You don't have to prove you are right."
Me:  If you don't mind my asking just what is your favorite bible verse?
Dr. Wills:  "It is one in Revelation.  I don't remember it exactly but it ends with a question, "Are your ears awake?"  Josiah, in the bible went into a battle that was none of his business.  The Pharoah had told him that God had spoken to him and he was to be allowed to cross Josiah's land...Josiah went to battle and died because his ears were not awake."
Me:  What do you want your readers to take from the book?
Dr. Wills:  "I want them to read the book, realize others can benefit from it and share it.  I hope I instill an awareness of thin places in their lives.  I would like for them to be encouraged and be encouragers to others."
What an awesome time this was for me!  I hope you will run to the nearest bookstore and buy this book. It is a great read and a great gift for someone!   Thank you so very much Dr. Wills for a thoroughly enjoyable time!

the Lesson of the Shiny Shoes....or Self-Esteem 101

I have not always been able to stand up in front of a crowd and either speak or sing.  I used to be terrified and would literally throw up  before taking the stage.  When I was in choir at church as a teen there was a garbage can by the door just for me if I ever sang a solo....and believe me....I used it more times than not.  My best buddy, Carol was always right out there....but I just froze....why? 
Because I did'nt feel beautiful.  I felt ugly...inside and out.  When I looked in the mirror....what looked back at me was a far cry from even pretty. 
Now....I have to explain that one of the most beautiful women in the world, Chris Noel, was my baby I had a huge mark to hit.  Chris was a real movie star.  She actually starred with Elvis in one of his many beach movies.  She was everything I wanted to be just my gawky stage.  One day, after I was a mother,  I found a verse in Luke and began to grasp the concept. “But Jesus told them:  ‘You are always making yourselves look good, but God sees what is in your heart.  The things that most people think are important are worthless as far as God is concerned.’”(Luke 16:15)  Appearances mean a great deal in our society and world today.  Everywhere you look ….fashion models stare at you from the covers of some magazine or television show…telling us that if we do not fit this mold…something is wrong with us….and we buy into it…every single day.  Billions of dollars are spent every year on products to enhance our looks, surgery to correct our looks, braces, contacts…and the list goes on….but….do appearances really count?  What a person seems to be….appears to be, is that really more important today than who he or she actually is.  I bought into the myth hook line and sinker.  Most of my life…I have struggled.. trying to be good enough…good enough to please a host of people in my life.  To be acceptable to all those that mattered to me.  I struggled to be the perfect daughter to my parents….and failed miserably.  I was not the brightest in school…I had some talent…sang at Church…loved serving God…but…I just never felt it was good enough for my parents…I tried so hard.  My earthly father told me one day…it did not matter what I did…or tried to do…or looked like…he would always love me….because I was me.  I was his special girl.  I loved that man. 
I was speechless, yet I still stuggled to be the perfect Christian…I did everything I was supposed to do…sang praises to God….worked in the church…everything…to be good enough for Him...and one day I realized…He loved me…because He made me.  I may not be a finished product yet…but I am loved. 
Masks are worn by many people.  I wear masks sometimes.  I stand on the stage and sing…and believe me it comes from the heart.  I have a self-esteem problem.  I have had this problem for many years.  One Sunday it reared it’s ugly head once more.  Diane Sherrill was going to sing at our church…for those of you who heard her…she was awesome.  She has such a stage presence and was full of bling, blonde hair, and a lot of makeup…I too was supposed to sing a solo…and when Blue told me she was going to make a guest appearance…I told him…That’s fine…I will sing my solo another Sunday.   I wanted to sing it another Sunday…for you see…My self-esteem could not handle this.  Blue was adament…and I could not tell him…I can’t do this Blue…I did tell Rhonda Blythe and Steve Forehand…that I was NOT going to sing…and when Rhonda asked me why…all I could say was….She has on Shiny shoes!  I thought Rhonda would fall in the floor from laughing so hard.  Needless to say….I stood on that stage after the band had left…and waited…for what…I did not know….but…God knew…and he sent Brother Donn to fix the feelings of great apprehension I had…Brother Donn thought it was time for him to give his message…and he came running up on stage…realized I was still standing there…hugged me…told me he loved me…and returned to his seat.  The hug was the best medicine anyone could have ever given me.  I had a message from God to share…and that is what my purpose was....sharing God's word.  Appearances meant nothing to Jesus, and little was more offensive to Him than pretense…or fraud.  He could spot them in an instant.  What was of greater value to Him?  Sincerity….and authenticity….and a proper attitude toward God.  Even right now….many still hold to the worldly tradition of thinking about appearances.  Jesus gave us a wonderful story to help us better understand what is truly important.  Once upon a time there was a very poor man..a beggar named Lazarus.  He went to the rich man’s house…and begged for scraps.  This rich man had it all…and probably threw out more than enough to feed Lazarus…but…he  did not feed him ….and Lazarus died.  The angels took Lazarus to heaven where he sat in a place of honor next to Abraham.  The rich man died too and he went to hell.  when the rich man looked up saw Lazarus, he begged him to feel sorry for him.  He begged him to just dip his finger in some water and touch his scorching hot lips with it.  Abraham reminded the rich man of what he had done when he was alive and the rich man begged Abraham to send Lazarus back to earth so that Lazarus could warn his family so that they might not suffer as he was suffering.  Is what you look like, where you live, what you wear…is it of any real, lasting significance?  NO!  What matters is your attitude toward God…because that determines your condition in the life to come….for those who choose to follow Christ, the next life will be greater than anything they have ever known here on earth.  They will be rewarded for their Smart Choices.  The ones who have chosen got it, they will be punished.  Appearance is not always an accurate indication of reality.  The tax collector stood away from everyone else thinking he was unworthy to even look toward heaven…He pounded his chest and cried out, “Oh God, I am such a terrible sinner,”  “Please have mercy on me.”  A Pharisee…who was a man of the church…prayed at that same time….his prayer was, “Oh God, I am so grateful that I am not selfish, dishonest, and unfaithful like other people…especially like that tax collector.  Which man pleased God that day?  Pharisees were the purest of the Jews….they openly lived their commitment to Judaism by strictly following not just Jewish law…but countless unwritten interpretations of those laws.  Rules governed everything they did.  Pride in himself…was what the Pharisee showed that day.  Pat me on the back…I am a good Jew….Pride like this leads us farther and farther away from the humility necessary in following Him.  It prevents us from seeing with His eyes….and it blocks prayer from achieving its purposes.  Humility…not appearance is important to God.  Jesus looks past appearances…and beneath surfaces….and ahead…beyond present limitations…We on the other hand…see right here…and right now.  Jesus sees future potential.  His view of the horizon is much broader than mine is.  He notices the little things…the things we overlook…or label as unimportant….and… more than just notice them…he gave value to them.  Aren’t we glad…that God does not look at us…the way that we look at other things?  Closely connected to our pride…is our ability to judge…and we do it well.  “Why is it so easy for us to detect a tiny speck in someone else’s eye when we have a log in our own?”  How can we point out faults of others…and not expect ours to shine brighter still?  I am no prettier than I was back then.   Becoming a Christian did not make the image I see in the mirror change drastically.....but what I learned was that it does not matter how you appear to others.  What matters is our response to Him.  It is because of Him that we can appear before God as someone forgiven…and valuable…and what He has done for us…we are to do for others.  Our role is to point them to Christ…to gently point out the love shaped hole in their hearts…and show them how He can fill it…at this point I ask myself….Me?  How can I do this?  I am not worthy!…Is God sure I can do this?  Jesus’  answer comes to me very loudly…”Oh yes!  Without a doubt you can do this…you begin…by seeing people as I see them.  Look beyond the appearances…Look at each person as someone God loves…as someone Christ loves…as some you can love…because you love me!  Look at every person as someone of great value and expand your definitions of value and worth!”  I am a Christian…I am not perfect…but I am forgiven.  My job…is to tell about Him…the best way I know how.  Hi…my name is Karen…I am a singer for the Lord.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Concepcion and the First Year Teacher

My very first year of teaching I learned a great deal more than I ever learned in a classroom.  The first day of school I assigned Spanish names for the students to set the mood.  It was something I learned when I was attending classes on How to be a Spanish Teacher the University of Alabama.  I had a list of boy and girl names for them to choose from.  If they had a name that translated...I allowed them to keep that name...otherwise they picked a name from the list.  Kristie, a cute little tenth grader in the back, chose the name Concepion.  Long about September Concepcion informed me that she had gotten married over the weekend.  She went on to tell me why, at age fifteen she had made this see she was pregnant and due in mid-March.  We watched this tiny little fifteen year old get larger and larger as the year progressed.  By January some of my boys took a desk a part and made it into a table and chair in their Vo-Ag class.  Now...quick classroom classroom was in a single wide trailer...with a toilet/sink...that leaked unmercifully.  One day in mid March....I was teaching and I heard my sink begin to leak....I turned to cut the main water off when I noticed Kristie in the back holding her hand up.  I called on her and she told me it was time.  I responded to her remark by looking at my wristwatch and telling her we still had 27 minutes of class and turned around to cut the water off....but when I stepped into the tiny bathroom...there was no water leak.....and when I returned to the main part of the room...I noticed a huge puddle near Kristie....and she was frantically waving...and speaking louder, "Senora, it is time!"  She pointed to her baby bump and I saw the movement of a baby coming into the world.  It was at that time that the Keystone Cops would have been thrilled.  I sent a kid to get the principal and one to get her husband (who was sixteen and drove a Monster truck) in the Vo Ag building.  The husband sent back the message that their doctors appointment was not until 3:30.  I grabbed the students shirt collar and told him to go get the boy....and not to come back without him.  He succeeded the second time...and daddy-to-be and the Monster truck pulled up next to the trailer. Four boys worked to get Kristie into the cab of the truck that I could walk under.....and off they went with the principal following them in his car.  The hospital was 20 minutes from the school and they got there in 12.  The dad pulled into the ER entrance and the nurses came out....(I had called them and told them she was coming...and so was the baby).  By the time they got her into the wheelchair...the baby was crowning.  Their little girl was born 27 minutes after they arrived.  The doctor did not even make it.  Needless to say....Concepcion is NOT on my list of girls names anymore.  I can't do that again!  Happy Monday!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Project 365 - Week 35

It is that time of week again and I have been out photographing sites from Rock Mills and surrounding areas this week.  If you want to see some really good photos or join in.....jump on over to Sara's blog and check them out.  I promise you won't be sorry.  There are some amazing photographers who play along each week. Here is what rocked my boat this week...enjoy my photo journal story.

Sunday, August 21st
Rock Mills church sign for the week.  It reminds me of something my mom used to say.  Her maiden name was Prophitt and she used to tell people, "I am a Prophitt....but not a false one."

Monday, August 22nd
This is actually listed in odd things to see in Alabama.  It was once a store/gas looks like a starving elephant.  It has been in Roanoke as long as I can remember.  It used to scare me as a child.  That is actually an eye painted in the upper right hand side...just before the trunk.

Tuesday, August 23rd
When you round the curve of Hwy 22 and downtown Roanoke begins this gorgeous old building is what you see.  It actually looks as if you are going to run into it...but the road turn sharper.  I think it was once a it is a Hair Styling place called the works.  I love the raised part of the artwork on the face of the building.  Don't you?

Wednesday, August 24th
First Baptist Roanoke has joined in the sign fun.  There were so many this week I could have done one a day....but decided not to.

Thursday, August 25th
Sun set from my yard.  I loved the etching of the clouds...they looked like they are lined with gold.  I snapped the picture and sat there and sang, "Mansion Over the Hilltop."  I felt like my parents were smiling down on me. was still of 90 degrees when this picture was taken.

Friday, August 26th

They are not watermellons, they are not squash...they are not gourds.  The mystery plants are PUMPKINS!.  The top one (the deformed one) and its little brothers, according to the expert....may not make it....especially with the heat we are having.  The bottom one probably will....and it is a green pumpkin.  I have never seen the like!  He said I will know it is ready....when the stem rots off.  I can't wait.  It looks as if something has been dive bombing its outer shell.

Saturday, August 27th
Catching a pretty flower since I didn't have one this week.  Everything is dying because of the heat and lack of rain.
The deformed pumpkins baby brother.  There are three more just like them.  I hope they make it to adult pumpkinhood but alas they may not.  We have been watering them....but only every other night...and for only 15-20 minutes.  Well...this was my week.  I enjoyed sharing it with you.  I hope to do better next week....Our Youth has a fund raiser yesterday for their Winter Extreme trip.  They sold hamburger and hotdog plates.  I was beat when I got home.  Next weekend Amanda's kids are coming home for Labor Day and we will be having a bar be que!  BTW....Amanda has learned how to ride the Trike!  I am so proud of her and yesterday when she drove into my yard solo....I could have hugged her.  Heck...I did hug her.  My cousin Cindy and her family came to visit later too...and I loved spending time with them as well.  All in all Saturday was an amazing day!  Have a good week 36 and I will see you all back here next week!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Blue Skies Tomorrow

Blue Skies Tomorrow
Sarah Sundin
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3423-7
August, 2011/448 pages/$14.99
Book Summary:  “In a time of peril, can they find the courage to confront their fears and embrace a love that lasts?”
“When her husband becomes a casualty of the war in the Pacific, Helen Carlisle throws herself into volunteering for the war effort to conceal her feelings. But keeping up appearances as the grieving widow of a hometown hero is taking its toll. Soon something is going to give.  Lt. Raymond Novak prefers the pulpit to the cockpit. His stateside job training B-17 pilots allows him the luxury of a personal life--and a convenient excuse to ignore his deepest fear. When the beautiful Helen catches his eye and captures his heart, he is determined to win her hand.  But when Ray and Helen are called upon to step out in faith and put their   reputations and their lives on the line, can they meet the challenges that face them? And can their young love survive until blue skies return?  Filled with drama, daring, and all the romance of the WWII era, Blue Skies Tomorrow is the captivating final book in the popular Wings of Glory series.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Sarah Sundin is the author of A Distant Melody and A Memory Between Us. Her great-uncle flew with the US Eighth Air Force in England during WWII. Sarah lives in California with her husband and three children.
MY THOUGHTS:  This book was one of those I did not want to put down.  I really enjoyed the book from cover to cover. Blue Skies Tomorrow is easy read with characters you feel as if you know.   I cannot wait to read the rest of the trilogy, and wish I had read them in order.  When I was reading this book it was difficult for me, a twenty-first century woman,  to remember that in the time frame the book was written life was different from women than it is now.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group as part of their August Blog Tour and Revell as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday Funny

My friend Laura sent me the following email by By "Guido Veloce", a Johns Hopkins University professor of Psychology.  John Hopkins Magazine, February, 2001.  When I first got it I another mini inservice on 504 identifiers and plans....haven't we had enough??  As I read through the email I found the nugget that would make my day and I thought....on Friday....what a better way to start a weekend.  You see, this could happen to you....especially if you deal with children like I do.
"Recently I had one of the things I like least about my job, an LLW event. These happen when a student, in explaining an "F," fails to inform his or her parents that the course required showing up, turning in assignments, and not plagiarizing. Lacking that knowledge, the parents contact me and I have to tell them that little Johnny--the delight of their lives upon whom they've lavished so much love, support, and tuition--is (sorry for the technical term) a Lying Little Weasel.  Stunned by the revelation, their usual response is to insist that I behave like a true professional, take full responsibility for giving the kind of course little Johnny would fail, and pass him anyway. When I reject that--unreasonably and arbitrarily in their view--the compromise position is to suggest that I give little Johnny a special version of the course, just for him and in a way he could fit into his busy schedule. These conversations do not end well.  LLW events aren't going to go away unless I pass everybody or quit my day job. There may, nonetheless, be a way to turn failing an irresponsible student into a positive experience. That thought came to me a few days ago when I was once again looking at the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), also known in our household as the "Family Bible." The genius of DSM-IV is to take behavior that we lay people, in our ignorance, would call something like "rotten" and give it a label and a code. For example, a person you or I might just consider a self-centered jerk is, instead, 301.81 Narcissistic Personality Disorder. The virtues of this approach are several. It is more fashionable in this society to have a Disorder/Syndrome than simply to be a jerk. Having disorders also entitles one to bill medical insurers and to appear on daytime television. Sounds good to me. I am willing to give up "Lying Little Weasel" in favor of Disorders/Syndromes if that's what it takes to get angry parents off my back. In that positive spirit, I am working on more pleasant and acceptable diagnostic terminology. Here are a few excerpts from the draft of my Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Student Disorders (DSMSD-I):
101.1 Truth Deficit Disorder (TDD): The essential feature of TDD is failure to convey essential information to one or more authority figures, including but not limited to one's parents, peers, and teachers. When confronted with their own behavior, students suffering from TDD commonly tell grandiose and fanciful stories, including but not limited to "the dog ate my computer" and "I forgot to write my senior thesis."
101.2 Attendance Aversion Syndrome (AAS): The essential feature of AAS is failure to show up for classes, or to do so belatedly, and in a disruptive fashion. Students with AAS commonly designate another member of their living group to hand in assignments (assuming they do not suffer from 101.4, below). When confronted with their disorder, victims have difficulty remembering who taught the course.
101.3 Classroom Attention Deficit Disorder (CADD): The essential feature of CADD is a begrudging willingness to attend class (cf. 101.2, above). Students suffering from CADD commonly display one or more of the following symptoms in class: reading a newspaper, talking, listening to personal music devices, and sleeping. Victims of CADD routinely declare that the course "sucks."
101.4 Prose Aversion Disorder (PAD): The essential feature of PAD is an unwillingness or inability to do written assignments. Students with PAD frequently compensate by purchasing, downloading, or "borrowing" other people's prose.
101.5 Responsibility Displacement Disorder (RDD): The essential feature of RDD is an eagerness to assert other people's responsibility for one's own negative actions. Students with RDD often go on to successful careers in politics.
101.6 Office Hour Aversion Syndrome (OHAS): The essential feature of OHAS is an inability to show up during posted faculty office hours, preferring instead to seek out faculty at all other times. Students suffering from OAHS commonly feel a deep sense of betrayal when faculty members are not in their offices at night or on Sunday afternoons. All undergraduates suffer from OHAS.
Although I have a certain fondness for my Lying Little Weasel designation, I am perfectly willing to accept this diagnostic system if it means no more LLW conferences. The only problem I see with the new approach is that I can't figure out whom I -- as the professional making the diagnosis -- can bill." 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hodgepodging on Thursday

I did not do Hodge Podge yesterday because something wonderful happened in my life that trumped Hodge Podge.  I love doing I decided I would just be a day late and dollar short this week.  Hope you enjoy my Hodge Podge answers on Thursday and please go by Joyce's blog and check out everyone elses comments.
1.       What is something that bothers you if its not done perfectly?  There is not a lot that bothers me if it is not done perfectly.  I get aggravated when something is NOT done at all…but perfectly….I am not perfect….I probably bother people more than they bother me.
2.    Do you think a 6th sense exists? Explain.  I do believe in a 6th Sense…I just call it women’s intuition.  I feel things…and can’t explain them….I also dream dreams that come true…and from time to time have seen aura’s of people….usually it was when I needed to stay away from someone….I believe God is behind all of this.    Some people might call it discernment...whatever you call it….I believe it exists in some of us.
3.    Do you say your goodbyes slowly, quickly, or not at all?  I am one of those people that it depends on the situation for.  In general…I say regular ones….not slowly…but not fast.  It is usually a hug or hand shake….and parting words of some sort.  I have to be honest and say I really hate goodbyes.  I remember when Frank told me I had to tell my dad goodbye so he would know it was ok to let go and go to heaven.  It took me two weeks to get the gumption up to say it.  When I did my dad was gone in less than a week.  He told me right before he died that he was waiting for me to tell it was ok to leave.
4.  On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being hot hot hot, what level of spice do you like in your food? What is your favorite spicy dish?  I am a 2 maybe 3 at the most.  I love Hispanic food….but they don’t love me.  My favorite spicy dish is Lori Forbus’s white chicken chili. 
5.  What is one of your all time favorite commercial jingles?  Wow that is a tough one….I love commercials. ...sometimes better than the programs.  I am product of the 50’s-60’s.  The Frito Bandito commercial was my favorite.  I still sing it.  Favorite today....the etrading baby who sings, "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've seen."  You got to love it!

6. Plane, train, boat or auto...your preferred method of travel?  I love them all.  Car is my all time favorite so I can get out and explore when I want to.  Some of my most favorite memories involve a road trip and family.  Got to love it!
7. What is something you take for granted?  Health.  After the episode with Mary this summer you just never know what is going to strike you, were and when.
8.  Insert Your Own Random Thought here -   Did you Know that today is National Kiss and Make Up Day or national Banana Split Day?  I didn’t either….but I have found that just about every day has some goofy holiday to be celebrated.  This particular one struck my fancy.  It seems that according to Google, “The world is full of little worries, seemingly insignificant irritations that over time can amount to their negative expression on the people closest to you. The things that you do on a daily basis not only add to your multidimensional attributes thereby developing your character and individuality, but also tend to become important aspects of your relationships. And while the tests and tribulations of friendships, family ties, romantic relationships, and life partnerships are all a part of the life cycle, it is often easy to overlook the little annoyances, idiosyncrasies, and character differences that keep people continually distant from one another. Letting your irritation rub off unnecessarily on the people around you means risking the creation of long-standing rifts that are difficult to mend. Take a preemptive step in maintaining your relationships by commemorating Kiss-and-Make-Up Day, the basis for which is that keeping one's relationships in constant repair is the way to keep them strong!  I kind of like this idea….and think it should be a daily thing.    I personally like spending most of my time and energy appreciating the special qualities of my loved ones rather than dwelling on changing them as a person….or dwelling on a relationship that just is not going to happen.  I can honestly say that in the 8+ years Frank and I have been married….we have never had a fight, we have never gone to bed angry, and have never yelled at each other.  I am not saying we have always agreed on everything…but we handle it in a loving manner.  What about you? 


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Mairsie Dotes Update

We Interrupt this program to bring you an important news flash....I am going to skip Hodge Podge today and do it tomorrow.....because.....yesterday I got the best news I have had in a while.  My friend Mary, the one you have all been praying for all summer, is finally back in a private room and can have company!  Whooo hooooo.....I cannot wait to get to Birmingham and hug her.  I may never let her go.  She has had a rough few months.  Back in April/May....she had to have her knee scoped....ouch!  She missed a few days of work and got right back in the saddle and began getting ready to move classrooms.  She packed and moved....with her much as she could....and happened...she had to have her gall bladder removed after she came back from her mom's.  No biggie...she recovered nicely......sort of....and then the bottom fell out....she turned golden, began to hurt , they did tests, and found she had an obstruction, or mass, on her pancreas.  Tests led to more tests, she was in Russell Medical Center for several days, and then she was taken to Trinity in Birmingham where more tests proved surgery was needed.  The surgery to remove the obstruction/mass was called a whipple....and it is a lengthy surgery.  By now the "C" word had been tossed into the mix....and I went to see her prior to the big surgery....and informed her that she was going to be fine....I was not giving her up....not she could get that out of her head....we had too many items on our Bucket List....and she was just going to have to deal with it.  I was there for surgery 1 and when I left felt pretty good about her.  Before I could get back to see her....she had had surgery 2 and was in SICU again....and there she stayed until yesterday!  The Monday before school started  back, Mary's sister Noel called me and asked me to come for one of the SICU visiting times.  She thought it would be good for both of us.  As I stood there and held my unconscious friends hand....I cried....she looked so tiny and frail......this person I was looking at was my friend who can do everything....who has no fear factor.  I talked with her about stupid things....and once her head jerked toward me...and her hand kind of squeezed mine.  I am sure is was an involuntary action....but to me it was God talking to me through her body letting me know she would be around a while longer....heck...we have big plans....we are going to room together in the nursing home when we get old!  I can't wait!  Today I sit here and read and reread Psalm 30:5b, "Crying may last for a night,
but joy comes in the morning....and believe me.....seeing my friend awake and definitely my joy in the morning!
Let Me Introduce You to My Friend Mary....
Yesterday in Room 539 at Trinity Hospital in she not a beautiful sight?

Mary the Teacher....sitting in her classroom.  Wonder what she is thinking?

Mary the grandmother....holding her youngest grand....Divinity. 

Mary the second mom with my daughter, Kat while we were in Michigan.

Mary the traveler.  This was us in England during Spring Break 2009.

Mary, the mentor, with Reggie one of her former students/interns!

Mary, the daughter/sister with her family in Monroe, LA where her mom lives.

Mary, the nature lover/science buff, swimming with the dolphins

Mary the liver and lover of life.  Who could resist this sweet face?  She is precious in my sight....and I know she is precious in the site of God!  Hope your Wednesday is wonderful....mine will be!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Am I Half Empty or Half Full

16 I ask the Father in his great glory to give you the power to be strong inwardly through his Spirit.17 I pray that Christ will live in your hearts by faith and that your life will be strong in love and be built on love.18 And I pray that you and all God's holy people will have the power to understand the greatness of Christ's love—how wide and how long and how high and how deep that love is.19 Christ's love is greater than anyone can ever know, but I pray that you will be able to know that love. Then you can be filled with the fullness of God.20 With God's power working in us, God can do much, much more than anything we can ask or imagine.21 To him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus for all time, forever and ever. Amen." (New Century Version)
School has begun again.  It is this 2011/2012 school year and a year closer to me retiring and just like years in the past it takes a while for me to get back into the swing of things.  I have a tendency to either do things wide open....or dead stopped.  It is when I have been working wide open that I sometimes find myself dinging because there is nothing in my tank and I am running on empty.  This is especially true if I am giving out a lot of me to other things. I know it seems hard to believe bu giving my time or talents, leaves me feeling quite drained, especially if I haven’t takn the time to stop and ‘full up’. That is the one good thing about my hour ride in the morning.....I have one hour from Rock Mills down Hwy 22 to come before God and be filled anew with the Holy Spirit.  The greatest thing is that not only do I have one hour coming to school each morning to be filled and prepare myself for the seemless onslaught of people wanting a part of me.....but I have that same hour on the flip side to rid myself of things that have bothered me during the day.   I like this because for the most part...when I get home....Frank does not have to suffer my day with me.   Now, don't get me wrong....there are times that I could drive to Alaska and still have issues.....but they are far and few.
What I have to remember is that I cannot continue to give of myself until there is nothing left inside to give. I have a tendency to try and do just that.  I don't want to let anyone down.  I want to be all things for all people.  I push until there is no more.  When I do this it only causes me grief, exhaustion,and stress that personally I don’t need. I think this is the quickest way to burn out on anything.  So, over the summer I decided that this summer I was going to take care of  Karen.  I was going to feed her spiritually, mentally, and emotionally.  I needed this.  The last 22 months had taken their toll on me and I was empty to the point of being stranded by the roadside with no gas to take me any further.  It was time for me to come in for a ‘full up’ of the Holy Spirit. It was time for me to just spend some quality time with God in peace and quiet. It was time for me to revitalize and refresh.  I read a lot of books by Patsy Clairmont, Lisa Harper, Sheila Walsh and felt the gas hand begin to move from the dreaded E to an F.  I spent some time on Marcies porch with friends, I attended a Women of Faith conference with my daughter, I went on the infamous SMAK girl's trip to Nantucket....and was time for school to start.....but...I was prepared...I would not be starting out my year running half empty.  I have a full tank and am ready to take on the world.  I am back having my daily Hwy 22 prayers....and loving it.  God is so good....all the time!

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Gift Of Touch

Phillip Yancey says, "God's arms are always extended; we are the ones who turn away."  All weekend I have been thinking about touch.  I come from a family of touchy-feely people....and I don't mean that in a perverted sense.  My mom's family are all huggers.  We love to hug.  We hug when we are sad, happy, glad to see you....or just because we think you need one.  I grew up in this family....and am all about hugging.  I think a hug can cure anything.  We are not just huggers though....we are massagers.  When we get together....we sit around and rub each other's cousins Missi and Linda are the best shoulder massagers ever.  There is something about being with people you love and having the stresses that are stuck too you eased away by the loving hands of someone.  My daughter, Kat is 31 and I still love to hug her, hold her gives me great pleasure to do this....and it makes us both smile. She is a hugger too....check out her blog, Zambeste, and you will see. Back to me...I love to touch wood.  I love to see a beautifully done piece of furniture or art....and run my hands over it.  I love the snesory skills.  But....everyone does not like to be touched.....for whatever reason.  I have a friend....who did NOT grow up in a house of touch...and I remember very well the first time I hugged her (uninvited).  I felt as if I was holding an ice sculpture.  I immediately released her and moved out of her intimate space....and did not return for many years.  Oh, we remained friends.....I just did not attempt to hug her again. One day I discussed my touchy-feelyness with her and she explained her position.....When my mother-in-law died....she actually let me hug her when she went through the receiving line.  I was shocked....she did not feel like an ice sculpture....and she actually closed her arms across my back and squeezed lightly.  I knew there was hope.  Later in our journey of friendship....she actually hugged me first...and it was an awesome hug!  Come on people....God wired us for touch!  Even the medical profession will tell you that touch can save your life.  Jesus liked to touch people.  He would embrace, nod, touch, and even hugged a leper.  He performed many healing miracles.  One of my favorite miracles he performed is found in John 9:1-11 when Jesus rubbed paste made from clay on a blind man's syes and he SEES!  Jesus used His hands and healed people...can't we use ours and touch a life?  You never know when that person is starving for some human to skin.  In Lisa Harper's new book, "Stumbling Into Grace"( a must read) she has questions at the end of each story/chapter.  One of the chapters is on touch and the first few questions are, "On a scale of 1 - 10 how comfortable are you with physical affection - one is ice queen and ten is hugging fool.  What would you say your favorite (nonsexual) form of physical affection is?  Who gets most of your hugs?"  If you are a hugger....or semi-hugger....hug someone today.  If you are not a hugger....shake someones hand. is still touch!  Happy Monday and to quote Women of Faith's, Lisa Harper, "Get Your Squeeze On!"

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Project 365 - Volume 34

 It is that time of week again when I pull out the card reader and upload the pictures I have taken this week.  I had a quiet week and there are not many pictures....I still got one for each day.  Enjoy my week and hop over to Sara's and enjoy everyone's won't be sorry! let my week's photo journal began!

Sunday, August 14th
 Frank is a huge FSU (Florida State University) fan. His daughter, Amy gave him this for his birthday a few years ago.  He loves it... I like the fact that it spins...The sun was setting when I took this....and you can see the yellow reflection a bit on the right side of the inner circle.

Monday, August 15th
My little bee friend was so busy getting nectar that he did not pay a bit of attention to me when I snapped this picture.  All of his other bee buddies all flew away....but not this guy....he was focused!

Tuesday, August 16th
Sunrise Tuesday morning from Daviston, AL.  I actually pulled over, got out of the car, and took this one.  It was just so gorgeous.  Seeing this makes me wonder how people can say there is no God?

Wednesday, August 17th
John 11:35 is the shortest verse in the bible.  I found something photo worthy in Daviston again today.

Thursday, August 18th
Perryville Baptist Church had a great sign this week too.  I am usually lucky to find one....this week there was a plethera of signs on my Hwy 22 adventure.

Friday, August 19th 
I loved this sign!  It made me want to shout...."AMEN!"

Saturday, August 20th
The mystery of my plant(s) is partially solved.  One of the plants has produced this.....a watermelon!  The second plant....still not sure.  It almost looks like a cantaloupe.....sort of.  We went to Lagrange today to see one of our neighbors/church members and she told us that they planted watermelon and cantaloupe....and the deer ate most of you suppose that is how they got in my flower bed?  Could they have beem blown here by the tornado in April?  I guess we will never have the answer to that question....for now...I am just enjoying watching them grow and trying to figure out what they are.  Have a wonderful Sunday!  See you next week...same bat time....same bat channel!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

What A Week!

The first full week is behind us in the 20111-2012 school year and I am loving my classes.  They are really large this year, but being the only Foreign Language teacher would warrant that.  I have three Spanish I classes - 2nd, 3rd, and 5th blocks and they rock!  I love their enthusiasm and abilities.  I have one Spanish II class during 4th block and it is my smallest class of the day.  Good thing too...I am such a morning person and really do best if I can hit the ground running in the morning and then have my planning period later in the day so I can catch my second wind.....but that is not how it was again this year...the scheduling gods saw fit to give me first period planning.  Sigh!  I get a lot done first block....but I am so tired by 4th block AND it makes for a very long day.  Many teachers LOVE first period planning....I am not one of them.  The fact that I have such wonderful classes makes first period planning doable.  I have afternoon bus duty the month of August and even though it is hot I will be through with my afternoon duty on the 31st of August.  September 1st I begin morning hall duty at the bathroom area in the dungeon, which is between the gym and cafeteria.  My job will be to make sure there is no making out sessions in that hallway.  Once September 30th is over I will be through with those duties for the year.  All in all I guess life is not so bad.  My friend Mary is recovering finally and off the ventilator and doing physical that fact makes me smile.  Our piano player, Beth is recovering my world is sunny right now.  I am looking forward to our first "real" football game and Homecoming, seeing our new (actually remodeled) gym, and getting into all the things the school year brings.  This is the first year in a few that I have not had some dreaded illness hanging over my head.  I think my boss will finally get to see how the "real" Karen performs.  He has been with us for two years and has seen me at my worst....dealing with the disappearance of my parents, and all the deaths I have experienced over the past 22 months.  Life is Good....and I am a happy girl!  I can't wait for you to see my Project 365 pictures this week...especially the one for mystery has been solved...another is still to unfold.  Have a wonderful Saturday!

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Little Red Book Of Wisdom

Author:  Mark DeMoss
Publisher:  Thomas Nelson
Copyright:  2007, 2011
Genre:  Business, Economincs, Christianity, General
Cost:  16.99 - Harback
ISBN:  978-1-5955-5354-6

My thoughts:  From the moment I opened the package with this postage sized  book in it I knew it was special.  Everything about the book drew me in ... the size, the feel, the binding, the font on the cover, and the title itself.  When I turned to the Dedication page I was hooked.
About the Book:  “The Little Red Book of Wisdom takes the reader on a journey so often sidestepped in favor of the newer, quicker, and easier.  If you’re seeking simplicity in a complicated world, DeMoss’s insights will illuminate your path to a wiser and most deliberate way of living….DeMoss demonstrates what is possible when we value listening and thinking over talking and doing.”  On page 12 DeMoss uses one of my favorite Walt Disney quotes that Disney used when advising people in making career choices, “find a job that you like so much that you’d do it without compensation; then do it so well that people will pay you to continue.”   Chapter 23 talks about answering the “and then what?” questions in life. Mark 8:36 says, “What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul.”  Even the great Billy Graham has a small confession on regrets  in the book, “Every day I was absent from my family is gone forever.”  Talk about powerful, the next 194 pages are packed full with quips much like this one.
About the Author:  Mark DeMoss wrote this book to thank his father for teaching him so much wisdom and to pass on to his children the wisdom gained from his father, from life experience and from the Bible.   On page 189 of the book De Moss encourages the reader to find other people who follow Christ and spend some quality time with them. He closes with the the words of Max Lucado: “You can afford many wrong choices in life,.  You can choose the wrong career and survive, the wrong city and survive, the wrong house and survive.  But there is one choice that must be made correctly, and that is your eternal destiny.”   His final words are an invitation to write him and tell him about the wisest decision you ever made.
Disclaimer:  I received this book for free from BookSneeze in exchange for my honest review.  The opinions expressed are my own. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Lesson Learned

I heard the cutest story yesterday and had to share it with you.  As a teacher you will appreciate a will get a charge out of it.  It seems it was Teacher Appreciation Day at a certain Elementary School and all the children had brought the teacher a gift. (You can tell here that this is about little the time kids get to high school they don't bring gifts.) Anyways, back to my story.  The teacher of the class sat at her desk and the little children lined up to bring their surprises.  The first little boy handed the teacher a beautifully wrapped box.  The teacher was excited because she knew that the little boys dad ran a candy store down town.  As she opened the box she was delighted to find a lovely box of chocolates from all over the world.  She hugged the little boy and turned to the next child.  A sweet faced little girl came forth with another beautifull wrapped box.  The teacher was so excited.  This child's parents ran a local florist and sure enough when the teacher opened the floral box there were a dozen long stemmed American beauty roses for her.  She smiled, expressed her delight, hugged the child and turned to the next child.  He stepped forward with the most beautifully wrapped present she had ever seen.  She was really excited because his father ran the local liquor store.  On one corner of the outside of the box was something wet.  The teacher touched the wet spot and stuck them in her mouth.  She said, "Champagne?"  The little boy shook his head no.  She touched the spot again, tasted her fingers and said, "Merlot?"  The little boy again shook his head no.  She repeated the process one more time and said, "Zinfindel?"  The little boy smiled and said, "No is a puppy!"  Don't you wish you could have been a fly on the wall and seen that teachers face?  I learned from this story....never taste wet spots on the side of box.  What did you learn?  Have a wonderful Thursday!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wednesday Hodge Podge

Yep, it is Wednesday and this is Hodge Podge.  Want to play along?  Hop over to Joyce's blog and join in the fun.
1. Using what's in your frig right now what sort of meal would you be able to make for guests who are knocking at the front door this very minute?
Sandwiches (probably grilled cheese) or breakfast.  Not much hanging around in my fridge right now.  I do have some coupons for pizza on the fridge and a free p'zone from Pizza Hut.
2. What is something about yourself that you hope will change but that probably never will? My diabetes.  I wish I did not have to take medicine for it every day.    Losing some massive weight might help....but I kind of doubt it.
3. What's something about yourself that you hope will never change? My passion and love for God.
4. Do you usually send serious or funny greeting cards? Why? to be honest it depends on the person and the occassion.  I send them all at any given time and make my own when I can't find just the right one.
5. Bird watching, shell gathering, or star gazing- your choice for whiling away the hours? Star gazing and shell gathering are my two favorite things to do.  What a great way to relax and just be one with nature and Giod.
6. Do you double or triple check things? If so, what?
Yes, I check irons, lights, tv, door locks, and then when I am going on a trip....check and double check lists to make sure I have everything.  I also check people when I am in charge of a group of them.
7. What's your favorite place for people watching? Anywhere there are people.  Malls are a lot of fun.....when I was a child my parents would take me to the airport to watch planes land....and then I would watch the people disembark...and wonder why they were here...what they were going to do...and make up stories about them from their faces.  I also love to play fashion police when I am people watching.
8. Insert your own random thought here.  Today is National Thriftshop Day.  I wish I could be celebrating that.  I love to go thrift store shopping.  Do you?  What is the greatest thrift store find you have ever purchased?  Why?  Mine was first edition John Grisham book - A Time to Kill - and I paid a whopping 25 cents for it.  Love it!  Happy Wednesday!