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!”

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Saturday Night Fever

I am married to a man who loves college football.  I married him knowing that from Labor Day weekend until the BCS bowl games are all over that he will be glued to the television set watching it.  It does not bother me.  Saturday evening at 4:30 the marathon begin with the Alabama kickoff in Atlanta.  We had some friends and family over for a cook out and several of them were glued to the television see who was going to win.  Once the Auburn game came on the television remote got a workout as it flipped from one game to the other. 
I guess I should be delighted that Frank does not care for NFL football.  While everyone was here there was a lot of talk about Johnny Football and after hearing the talk I decided to make a statement about the state of athletics today.  Young kids really look up to athletes.  Once the players leave college and head to the pros they make a huge amount of money.  Many of them get more than I will ever be paid in my lifetime.  They are put up on pedestals, idolized,....and that is wrong!  They are human.  They should not be placed in such a revered spot.  It breaks my heart when they reach the same status as God....and then they throw it all away with some stupid action.  They know that they are above rules and can do anything without being held accountable.  This does not just apply to athletes, there are other people in entertainment, politics, etyc that kids look at and imitate....that maybe they shouldn't.  I want to share a story with you about Mr. Hands.  "This guy was good! He could catch passes most people didn’t even wave at. Opposing players looked like high school kids next to this college star. Mr. Hands (not his real name) was such a good receiver that most people were ready to give him the Heisman Trophy without even voting on it. There was no doubt he was the best player in the land. And the land had a bunch of good players. But then our hero forgot something. He didn’t forget to run the right routes for his quarterback. He didn’t forget how to wrap his strong fingers around the pigskin. He forgot one of God’s laws. You know this law. It’s the one your parents might remind you about when you don’t turn in your homework. Or when you try to sneak around and do something you aren’t supposed to. It’s the law from God that says, "Whatever you sow, that’s what you’ll reap." If you plant corn in your garden, don’t expect to come back in two months and pick tomatoes. And if you plant sin, don’t expect to turn around and find God blessing you. The Heisman Trophy candidate forgot the law when he went into a store and walked out with hundreds of dollars of merchandise that he didn’t completely pay for. Of course, he also forgot to check for a store security camera, which caught the deed on tape-but that’s another story. As a result of stealing these clothes, the football star was dropped from consideration for the Heisman Trophy. He sowed dishonesty and he reaped embarrassment. He gained some new clothes, but he lost some pretty impressive hardware. God wasn’t kidding. He meant it when he had Paul write this verse: "Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows" (Galatians 6:7). Do you know how much God cares for you? He cares enough to let you know how things work in His world. He doesn’t make up stuff after we do it and say, "Ha! Ha! I caught you." No, he says, "Listen, my child. Let me give you some help. If you do bad things, other bad things will follow. But if you do good things, you will be honored." Sowing. Reaping. It’s pretty clear. The football player knew that. But he thought just this once he could sneak by without consequence. Bad idea for him. Bad idea for you. God loves you, and he wants what’s best."  If we are smart we will listen to what He tells us. If you go looking for trouble, it will find you.


Friday, August 30, 2013

Five Minute Friday - Worship

According to Lisa Jo's blog, "We make it something that must reek of Hemingway, Lewis, or Lamott before we’re brave enough to share it.  Why?  Who says?  You see I think the quiet secret is that you can be a writer and no one needs to recognize your name to make that any more or less true. I think your story matters. The one you write at midnight in 600 word blog posts. The one you scrapbook. The one you piece together for your kids as you fill them in on what grandpa and grandma were like.  You are a writer.  You actually already are.  Don’t believe me? There are over 300 brave writers who throw caution and their last names to the wind and gather here weekly to just write. With wild and loving abandon.  And today – I’ve invited that group over to my other online home, the beautiful, virtual beach house called (in)courage, where you’re always welcome – just the way you are…"  It is because of a statement much like this that I read on her blog that I actively participate in Five Minute Fridays.  I hope you will too....
How to Join: It’s easy to join in, just:
1.  Check what the prompt is.
2.  Write a post in only five minutes on that topic on your blog (or in the comments below if you don’t have a blog).
3.  Link over here and invite friends to join in.
4.  Select the permalink to your post {so not your blog url but your post url}
4.  Using the blue linky tool at the bottom of my Five Minute Friday post enter your link.
5.  It will also walk you through selecting which photo you want to show up in the linky.
6.  Your post will show up in our Five Minute Friday linky.
Our most important requirement for participation: There’s really only one absolute, no ifs, ands or buts about it Five Minute Friday rule: you must visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community.  (As for all other rules, we like to break ‘em - just ask Gretchen).

So, now be brave, set your timer and clear your head for five minutes of free writing without worrying about getting it right. OK, are you ready? Please give us your best five minutes on the word::


I ask myself this morning. as I sit to write....just what is worship?   This is what I come up with.  Worship is the feeling or expression of reverence for a deity.  In my case it is God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.  Worship is something I do every morning and afternoon on Hwy 22 going to and from work.  I do it in song/prayer.  I look forward to my worship time then.  I usually pray half way and then celebrate with worship music the other half of the trip.  By the time I get to school I am all prayed up.  I reverse it on the way home.  I start with music and end in prayer and by the time I get home Frank does not get the brunt of a bad day. 
I truly believe that I was made to bring pleasure to God in worship.  From the first moment I stepped in a choir loft to sing God’s praises….whether it be a chancel choir….singing traditional music….or the Arbor singing contemporary songs….I am loving my God with every lyric, note, movement to the max.  When I sing on Sunday’s….it is a case of total surrender for me….for a brief shining moment….I totally abandon myself into His arms….worship for me… a lifestyle.  If I could only do one thing in my life… would be worship.  When I go to church on Sunday….or Weds….or whatever day….it is my safety zone, my happy place … a place where I can find God….when I can’t seem to find Him anywhere else.  I am refreshed here….I am revived here….I am renewed here….I am alive and I worship!  This is what it is for me.....

We Have Come Into His House
Verse 1:
We have come into His house and gathered in His name to worship Him
We have come into His house and gathered in His name to worship Him
We have come into His house and gathered in His name to worship Him
Worship Christ the Lord. Worship Him, Christ the Lord
Verse 2:
Let's forget about ourselves concentrate on Him and worship Him
Let's forget about ourselves concentrate on Him and worship Him
Let's forget about ourselves concentrate on Him and worship Him
Worship Christ the Lord. Oh Worship Him, Jesus Christ the Lord
Verse 3:
Let's forget about ourselves magnify His Name and worship Him
Let's forget about ourselves magnify His Name and worship Him
Let's forget about ourselves magnify His Name and worship Him
Worship Christ the Lord. Oh Worship Him, Jesus Christ the Lord.  Yep....worship....a feeling or expression of reverence for my matter where you might be and no matter how you choose to express yourself.  Can I get an Amen!


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Winter In Full Bloom

ABOUT THE BOOK:  Lily Winter’s wings are folded so tightly around her daughter that when empty nest arrives, she feels she can no longer fly. But Lily’s lonely, widowed life changes in a heartbeat when she goes to visit a woman who is almost a stranger to her-a woman who also happens to be her mother. During their fiery reunion, her mother reveals a dark family secret that she’d been hiding for decades-Lily has an identical twin sister who was put up for adoption when they were just babies.  Without looking back, Lily-with her fear of flying-boards a jumbo jet and embarks on a quest to find her sister which leads half way around the world to Melbourne, Australia. Befriended by imprudent Ausie, he might prove to be the key to finding her sister. But her journey becomes a circle that leads her back home to attempt a family reunion and to find the one dream she no longer imagined possible-the chance to fall in love again.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Best-selling and award-winning author, Anita Higman, has over thirty books published (several coauthored) for adults and children. She’s been a Barnes & Noble “Author of the Month” for Houston and has a BA degree, combining speech communication, psychology, and art. Anita loves good movies, exotic teas, and brunch with her friends.  Find out more about Anita at

MY THOUGHTS ON THE BOOK:  The first half of the book was captivating.  The setting felt so vivid that I felt as if I was there. Australia, after reading this book, is definitely on my Bucket List.  I greatly enjoyed the first half of the book, as Lily meets Marcus and her sister Camille and begins to establish relationships with the two. But in the second half of the book, when Lily goes home and she and Marcus both confront their pasts, I began to lose interest in the book and it was as if the writer changed entirely.  This was definitely not an "I just can't put it down" books, Winter in Full Bloom did have an intriguing plotline of sorts and some unpredictable twists. The characters at first made you feel as if you were a part of the story.  Each one had a distinct personality  and they appeared 3-D.   The feelings and emotions within the first pages were very realistic. The journeys experienced by each character showed clarity as they achieved understanding, faith, and forgiveness.  The cover was beautiful.  The book as a whole left me feeling as if something was missing.

STATEMENT OF DISCLOSURE:  I received an ebook copy of this title from LITFUSE as part of their blogger review program . I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255 'Guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. I was not asked to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Hodge Podge - Vol 139

Welcome to Joyce's Hodge Podge.  I look forward to this day.  Everyone is welcome to play along. Answer the questions on your own blog, then hop back to Joyce's blog on  Wednesday to link with the party. See you there-

1. Labor Day weekend (in the US of A) is approaching...what's something you've labored over this year?  The call to preach.  I did a lot of praying, gnashing of teeth, talking out was a very laborous event.  I finally 'Let Go and Let God."  I should have done that in the first place.  It would have been a lot less stressful.

2. What is one word to describe your 'job' or career?  I have to use two...because I have two "job/careers" - Job 1 - teacher and Job 2 - preacher.

3. What was your worst or least favorite job ever? Why?  Working in a snack bar in a bowling alley was my least/worst job ever.  The bowlers on leagues were rude, expected to be treated like royalty and tipped very poorly, if at all.  I was paying for college.  I needed the money.  I had to work around my school schedule and got very little sleep.  Most nights I fell asleep with my nose in my books trying to study.  It was not a winning situation for me.

4. How do you measure contentment?  Psalms 46:10a - He says, “Be still, and know that I am God.  My cousin Amanda gave me a bracelet to remind me of this when my father died.  This to contentment .....just being still.

5. Pickles-like or dislike? What is something you eat that requires a pickle? Dill, bread and butter, sweet gherkins...what's your favorite kind of pickle?  I love bread and butter pickles.  I mean I LOVE them.  I like dills if they are not kosher and heavy on the garlic.  When I was a kid they were my favorite treat at the movies.  Now....not so much.  I like sweet gherkins....but really only at Christmas or Thanksgiving...on a relish tray.  I can take or leave them. 

6. In your current house-town-state, what is it you like living close to? Cheeha Park (highest point in the state).  I love the area when the leaves are changing.

7. What is one thing on your 'want-to-do' list before summer draws to an official close?  My summer has already come to a close.  School started Aug 19th.  I would like to get my mom's house clearned out and sold before the end of the year.  Yeah, I know I am thinking large.

8. Insert your own random thought here.  College football kicks off this weekend.  What team will you be watching on Saturday?  What foods will you be snacking on?  Will you be at the game or in the living room?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Weaver Beginning

ABOUT THE BOOK:  USA TODAY bestselling author Allison Leigh introduces readers to a reluctant hero—and the woman who just might heal his wounded heart—in this newest addition to her popular miniseries, Return to the Double C! Small town deputy Sloan McCray was making amends for his past. They called him a hero but only he had to live with the difficult choices he'd made. And he certainly wasn't prepared to fall in love again, not even with his beautiful—and innocent—new neighbor, whose very presence was a balm to his troubled soul.  There was no doubt in Abby Marcum's mind that Sloan was the guy for her. Though she'd moved to Weaver, Wyoming, to make a better life for her little brother, she saw her future with Sloan. Now she had to convince the man who felt unworthy of love that she and her heart were his for the asking….

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  A frequent name on bestseller lists, Allison Leigh's highpoint as a writer is hearing from readers that they laughed, cried or lost sleep while reading her books. She credits her family with great patience for the time she's parked at her computer, and for blessing her with the kind of love she wants her readers to share with the characters living in the pages of her books. Contact her at

MY THOUGHTS ON THE BOOK:  A Weaver Beginning was an extremely charming easy to read romance. I adored the characters, the town, the Weavers themselves. Being from a  small town the plot of small town life was familiar and comfortable. The hero of the story, Sloan McCray was a little larger than life and struggling with what he plans to do next. His twin sister wants him to stay in Weaver. This law man is dealing with a lot of issues about his memories, his past, and his guilt. Abby Marcum has just moved too Weaver with her young brother on New Years eve.  Her heat is not working, there is a ton of snow in her driveway, and she and her brother are trying unpack the car and settle in. Twenty-three year old Abby is going to be the new school nurse. Dillon, her seven year old half brother is being raised by his sister.  He is shy and afraid when he meets new people.  The three begin a relationship that made me smile.  It was a sweet read and I completed the book in a day. 

DISCLAIMER:  I was given this ebook to read and asked to give honest review of it when done by Netgalley Publishing Group and Harlequin Publishers.  Thank you for giving me the chance to read this book.

Monday, August 26, 2013

25,000 Mornings: Ancient Wisdom for a Modern Life

: In a relaxed, chat-over-coffee style, award-winning author of Keepers of the Testimony and Smooth Stones & Promises Fay Rowe's third book and first devotional, 25,000 Mornings, offers up daily portions of ancient, Biblical wisdom as it encourages, challenges and sometimes amuses. In her first devotional, Fay Rowe writes for both the young and young-at-heart on varied subjects such as: starting out and starting over; believing words; resting on the rock; talking to God; never giving up; being yourself and living with people; and clocks and calendars.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  At conference events, women's clubs, Sunday morning services and Bible studies, as well as in fourth grade classrooms and over coffee at Tim Hortons, Fay Rowe has shared truths from the Word of God with simplicity, candor and humour. A wife, mother, grandmother, former school teacher and award-winning author, Fay believes in refusing to settle for anything but God's best plan. (More about Fay here.)

Passionate about God's integrity and faithfulness, Fay writes with a perspective that helps believers to:
  • trust God, and grow in faith
  • rise above fear, one promise at a time
  • effectively share their faith with the next generation

MY THOUGHTS ON THE BOOK:  This book was a delight in the hustle and bustle of life.  So often I find myself crowding out God's conversation with me. In this devotional Fay Rowe shows us a  glimpse of how to be cheerful and trustful in all areas of our lives. It was so enlightening to take very small passages of scripture and use them to help us connect with God. This devotional is written in such an easy-to-understand manner.  It is from the perspective to remind us that every day is a gift. This was a very light read for the morning when you need that reminder that life is good and God is great!  This would be a wonderful gift for a coffee club friend.  Loved it!

DISCLAIMER:  To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, BookSneeze® has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book. Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers 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.”

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Crippling Spirits In Life

Today's sermon was about the crippled woman that Jesus healed on the Sabbath.  It made a lot of people angry and yet, it made a lot of other people joyous.  The scripture came from Luke 13:10-17.

Bum Phillips, former coach of the Houston Oilers (now the Tennessee Titans) once made the comment, "There are two types of coaches in the NFL: them that have been fired, and them that are gonna be fired." His statements applies to our topic today as well. There are two types of people in the world. Those who have been hurt, and those who will be hurt. We can’t escape it. Neither can we avoid it. At some time or another, we’ll all get hurt. When you make a commitment to follow Christ, you don’t receive an exemption from getting hurt.
The Crippling Spirit:  For eighteen years this woman came to church bent over. Crippled. Medically, this disease is probably what physician’s today would call Marie-Str├╝mpell Disease, a fusion of the spinal bones. Early in the course of the disease, sufferers often find that the pain is relieved somewhat when they lean forward. So they often go through the day leaning slightly forward, and gradually their spine begins to fuse. The more they lean in order to relieve the pain, the greater the angle, until a patient might be bent almost double, as the lady in our story.  She had been faithful, loved the Lord, a “daughter of Abraham.” I guess you could say she was “saved.”  You have to admit that eighteen years is a long time. Everybody had accepted her condition. I suppose in a way, she had learned to live with it. I’m sure she wished every single day that she could stand straight, but had realized that nothing could be done.  But this was no ordinary crippling. She had been crippled “by a spirit.” It doesn’t say it was an “evil spirit,” it was just a “spirit.”  Most of us would assume that eighteen years previous she was just walking along one day and this “spirit” just came upon her and jumped on her to afflict her. She was just an innocent woman, minding her own business when this “spirit” comes along and bends her over.  But that’s not the way it happens. Spirits just don’t attack us unaware. The movie “The Exorcist” would lead you to believe this can happen to just anyone.  But spirits cannot go where they are not invited. Somewhere along the line, we are confronted with a decision about an attitude, or a principle of faith that we just cannot accept. God usually is trying to teach us something about living our lives for Him that will improve our servanthood, and draw us closer to Him. But what happens is we have a preset line of thought about this particular subject, and we just can’t give it up. Maybe it is something we have been taught all our lives, and we have taken it for the gospel truth, but the problem is that it doesn’t square with scripture, and we just can’t adjust to the new light that God is showing us.  Or maybe it is a preconceived set of notions about life, or the church, or view of ourselves that we cherish, but has no basis in the truth. God is trying take us to a new plane of living, but we refuse to go.  So we stay where we are, trying to stop change and live on a plane of unreality that leaves us open to “spirits.” And these “spirits can cripple us. They limit our effectiveness. This daughter of Abraham continued to love the Lord, but by allowing this spirit to coexist with her, she limited her ability to function in life, and limit her effectiveness in the Kingdom. So what kind of spirits can cripple us?  I am going to give you three.  The first is:
1. A LEGALISTIC SPIRIT - Jesus said: " `Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: `Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."(Matt. 22:37-40).  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Gal. 5:22-23)   The basis of our Christian experience is love. Out of love comes the commandments. But the tendency, is that as time passes, we grow cold in our relationship to God. Love fades, but the commandments remain. Every action of ourselves and others is not interpreted in the light of love, but in the light of the law. And that is exactly what Jesus preached against.  This spirit of legalism is a crippling spirit, for it saps us of the love, tenderness, patience and gentleness that we need to not only get along with others but to minister to them.
The second is:  II. AN UNFORGIVING SPIRIT-How many times have we heard the phrase, “That person just makes me sick!” Our unwillingness to forgive someone who has hurt us can actually make us sick!  I have had people tell me, “When I get around so and so I get a headache!” That’s a spirit that can really cripple us! Studies have shown that people who carry grudges (admitted or not) have significantly reduced life spans and greater incidences of disease.  The Scripture tells us that this woman was physically bent over. Human relationships are very hard to maintain. Our method of communication is faulty at best. No spoken language can completely express our thoughts and feelings. It’s like two ships sailing together in a storm, sometimes we bump up against each other. It is natural that we are going to get hurt along the way. When we refuse to forgive, the person that is hurt worse is us. By forgiving those who have hurt us, we get rid of the spirit that can cripple us.
The third is:  III. THE CARNAL SPIRIT-The most damaging spirit in this world is the one we are born with. The carnal spirit. It is described as the “Old Man”, “Enmity with God”, etc. This is the spirit that puts “self” on the throne of our hearts. We are then in a constant struggle with God over the control of our lives. We understand what Paul meant in Romans 7:15-18 when he said, “For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.”  What we do know is that we do not have to live in Romans chapter 7, we can go on to Romans chapter 8: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.”  Unless we ask God to sanctify us holy, to remove this law of sin from our being, we will remain truly crippled. We cannot maintain our Christian experience for long with the cleansing power of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  The spirits that cripple us are just like a disease, we need to be healed. Jesus called this woman forward and said, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.”  The scripture doesn’t tell us what caused this woman to be crippled, nor give us any details of her mind on this day.  But I can imagine this: For eighteen years she has been bent over, not being able to see the sky, or look someone in the eye. Every sabbath she has come, looking for hope, but it was not until the church invited Jesus in and allowed Him to teach, allowed Him to share His gospel, to be with them, that she was healed. When the church seeks God, asks for His presence and His Holy Spirit to invade our lives, cleanse us, and lift us up to a new plane of living, it’s amazing how crippling spirits seem to disappear!  There are so many of us that are going through life like this woman. We may have physical or emotional pains that impair our lives. For some, the burden of sin may be crushing and paralyzing. When we are weakened and downtrodden it is hard to look up and move forward. But like this woman, Jesus sees us. He knows our hearts and the trials that we go through and He calls us to Him. Some of us harden our hearts and turn away with bitterness from sorrow. Others look upon Him with indifference. While some want to believe but will not make the effort to meet Him. Jesus asks us the question, “Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?” (Mark 4:40).  I am afraid of many things. That the economy is bad, that my children will not succeed, that my own illnesses may return. The list goes on and on. Sometimes it is quite overwhelming and I want to give up. But this amazing woman gives me hope and direction.  When I face adversity, instead of looking down and inward, I strive to look up and move towards the Savior. Like this crooked woman, I have been bent and molded by my life experiences. However, I believe that they are for a greater purpose and I choose to trust in Jesus Christ. Let each of us have faith that we will lose our spirit of infirmity when we come to Him, for that is why He comes to us.


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Integrity Training For The Pastor

Friday I only worked half a day because I had to go to Camp Sumatanga (Methodist Church Camp) for a weekend of Integrity Training. Ok, I hear you asking yourself...."what is that?"  Well....our first session started promptly at 4.  It was a video entitled, "Not My Church."  Even though the movie was extremely dated (1980's) the point was still made.  Pastors have power and I am not just talking about the Holy Spirit kind of power.  I am talking about the power to make people things.  This video could have been labeled..."Not My School, Not My Office Place, Not My __________."  I could apply to a number of scenarios.  We had supper and then did a session on Finances and Taking Care of Boundaries, Power, and Vulnerability.  I know this was all about being a pastor, but sitting there I could apply every case scenario to my job as a school teacher.    Friday night lasted until sometime after nine and we retired to our rooms for rest.  I needed it believe me.  Breakfast was at 7:30, but I am back on school sleeping time so I was up by 5.  It was all good.  I got to see the sun rise and it was gorgeous.  On top of the hill facing my room is a chapel and cross that are breathtaking.  The leaves are actually beginning to change a bit so there is some color in the mountains.  I wish we had had time to walk up to the chapel, but we did not. 

Today started out with a session on Taking Care of Legal Issues and one of them was what do you do if you have a registered sex offender in your congregation.  It was kind of scary.  Self-Care was next and after taking the little quiz I felt as if Frank and I were healthy.  There were areas for improvement....but for the most part we were good.  Internet and Social Media was the next topic.  I was amazed at how many of the participants were not familiar with things like Facebook.  One guy said he had never ever sent a text from a phone!  In today's social society I found that so hard to believe.  After lunch we hit Dating, Friendships, and Gifts.  We had several single pastors with us who shared some horror stories about congregants who tried fixing them up with daughters, granddaughters, nieces, etc....We had another little check-list in this section on gifts.  Some of us had been pounded, some given money during a Pastor Appreciation time, some nothing....but we had to check off if we had received any of these gifts, check again if it made us uncomfortable, and check a third time if we refused it.  I had four single checks for mine.  I don't think getting a five gallon bucket of cucumbers qualifies as something that made me uncomfortable and I definitely would not have refused it.  Our last session....and the time was now 3:30 was Taking Care of the Pulpit, Transference, Touch.  Several of the sessions were similar and even used the same scenarios for the little group discussions we had at our tables.  I had a great table with Justin, Charlie, Martha, and Kalina.  All in all it was a good day. I came home so tired...but feeling better equipped for my teaching AND preaching professions.  Hope you had a great weekend.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Five Minute Friday - Last

It is Friday and time for me to set my timer, clear my head, and experience five minutes of free writing without worrying about getting it right. So what are the rules?  They are simple:
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back to Lisa Jo's blog and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments.
Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community.. OK, are you ready? Please give us your best five minutes on...



There are always lasts when there are firsts.   I remember the first day of school for each of my children.  I remember crying as they walked through the doors of the school.  I also remember the last first day for them and the last day ever when the baby graduated.  Where did the time go?

I remember the last time I lived alone.  Kat was away at college and I was single once more.  I remember stretched out in the floor of my living room, crying.  Then Kat came home with chicken pox for ten days and I remember rejoicing....when she left.  Times change when we least expect them.  I eventually grew to like living alone.  You don't have to answer to anyone.

I remember the last time I saw my mom.  It was our Fall Break and I was going to see my friend Susan in Knoxville.  We had not even been there for twenty-four hours when I got the dreaded call.  If I had only known it would be the last time I would lay my head upon her chest and hear her heart beat.  

I remember crying when my last graduating class of seniors took the field.  This would be the last time I would be a senior advisement teacher. 

I remember the last moments I spent with my dad and the last day of fall term in 2009.  I will never forget that day.  I arrived at school only to be told that my father was dead.  I remember my friend Susan staying with me.....and then I remember when she left to go home.....she asked me if I was ok and I thought I was time.....she left....and I crashed.  Ten minutes later she knocked on my door.....I fell into her arms sobbing.  She had forgotten her wallet.  When she left again....I was fine.   

Last first days, last moments spent with friends and family before they were taken from this earth.  Last trips, last loves, last....last....last......but as sad as this post has made me.....I have to know that for every last I experience there will be or was a first....and I smile. 

In August of 2014 I will begin my last first day of my last year.  In May of 2015 I am looking forward to experiencing my last day as a teacher....but like I said....for every last....there is a first....and in June of 2015 I will experience my first a retired person.  I will have arrived.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Moving Momma To The Meadows

It is a sad day when you have to take your mother and father and place them in assisted living.  All of their possessions stay put in their house.  A house they will never come home to.  It broke my heart.  What hurt me the worst was telling my mom she only had two choices.....the assisted living or a nursing home.  You mom had Alzheimers and my dad was dying with lung cancer.  My mom had hidden her disease as long as she could and when it put my father in danger I had to step in and come to his aid.  They only lived in the assisted living from September to October.  We got them two rooms so they could have a bedroom together and a sitting area.  My mom hated the place.  My dad just was there.  We paid the first month's rent and I tried to make it as homey a place as I could.  Neither of my parents ate well and they continued to dwindle away.  One September morning my husband handed me a reality check and told me it was time to tell my dad it was ok to go home.  Not the home in Kellyton, or my home where they had been living for the past five years, but to his heavenly home.   I had a dream a few days before this and was visited by my brother.  My brother died when he was five....the man in the dream was close to my age so I did not recognize him until he spoke.  He told me it was ok to let daddy go and that it was his turn to take care of them.  I remember in my dream telling him NOOOOOOO. (I am ashamed.....but since I am an only child.....I actually woke up telling him that he had to take them both!)   A few days later, while visiting my parents at the Meadows, Frank took my mom for a walk and I knelt before my dying father and told him it was ok.  I promised him I would take care of momma and that he should go do what he needed to do to prepare a place for them both and be with my brother.  Nine days later my father was dead and my world collapsed.  His earthly pain was over and my travels down the road of dementia with my mother had just begun.  I have to admit....I hate cancer.....but I understand it.  Dementia is something that I did not understand.  Dementia robbed my mom of her memories, her mind, her life.  It is a dreaded disease that I did not and still do not understand.  It is a sad day when your mom tells you on Tuesday that YOU (meaning the other you) came to see her on Monday.  One nugget I will give you....find things to laugh at, smile about....and just keep on loving them.  Sigh!  If you are out there and have a parent, sibling, friend who has been stricken with dementia my heart bleeds for you.  Just know that I am here and would love to talk to you about your story. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Hodgepodge - Vol 138

Man has this week flown by.  I cannot believe it is already Wednesday.  Usually my first week drags, but this one has been amazing.  Here are Joyce's questions to this week's Hodgepodge and my answers.  If you would like to play along then copy the questions and answer them on your own blog, then hop back over to Joyce's and link up.  It is loads of fun.  You find out interesting facts about people doing this.

1. What's your worst food memory? How about one of your best?  My SIL once gave me a bushel of cucumbers to make bread and butter pickles out of.  I followed her recipe to the letter.  I ended up with 36 pints and 16 qt jars of delicious looking small problem....I missed a step in the process and those pickles were the nastiest things I have ever tried to put in my mouth.  My BL brought his backhoe over, dug a hole, and I buried them.  Some day an archaeological dig might uncover them and won't they be surprised.  Gelato, pizza, food in general in Italy would be my best memory.....oh and my mom's homemade banana pudding hot out of the oven.  I never mastered it.

2. Do you appreciate people telling it like it is, or would you rather a speaker temper his/her words and maybe beat around the bush a little? How about when you're the one communicating...which type are you?   I think you can temper your words and say the same thing just in a nicer tone.  I really do not like brutal honesty and I don't like bush beating either.  I want you to be honest....just gently.  I temper my words....unless it is something really bad then I tend to beat around the bush.

3. What's your favorite place to hang out?  Mrs. Betty Jeans garden, friends houses, the beach, the mountains.  When I was a kid it was the A & W Rootbeer stand and The Hut.

4. When do you most feel like you're a slave to time?  When I am cleaning house.  This is especially true after working at school all day.

5. What was the last concert you attended? Who'd you go with? Was it any good?  Mandisa in Montgomery at Frazier.  I went with Kat, Frank, and some of Kat's friends and it was a marvelous  concert.

6. Reality TV...harmful or harmless? What's your guilty pleasure when it comes to reality TV?  Reality.....I love the Amazing Race.  I love What Not To Wear...these are harmless.   I do not like the others...they are harmful.

7. What's something you think is overrated?  Political correctness and being famous.

8. Insert your own random thought here.   Did you know that August 21st is National Senior Citizens Day.  This is a day that  honors our elderly population. On this day, we are encouraged to recognize and show appreciation for the value and contribution of elderly people to home, family and society. In his Presidential Proclamation (August 19, 1988), President Ronald Reagan said "For all they have achieved throughout life and for all they continue to accomplish, we owe older citizens our thanks and a heartfelt salute. We can best demonstrate our gratitude and esteem by making sure that our communities are good places in which to mature and grow older." I think I am getting there fast....what about you?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Bread and Butter Nightmare


Sometimes when I am feeling nostalgic I think back to my Bread and Butter nightmare.  When I  first moved to the country as a young bride and mother I wanted so badly to fit in.  I bought a subscription to Mother Earth News, I planted a garden in the round (of course I planted it over our septic tank), I canned, preserved stuff, froze things....lived off the land.  My precious MIL gave me a bushel of cucumbers, zucchini, and tomatoes and a canning book.  Bless her heart, she figured I was educated and could figure this one out by reading the directions.  How wrong she was.  I made and froze about 30 loaves of zucchini bread.

I canned over 50 quarts/pints of Bread and Butter pickles, and canned 24 quarts of tomatoes.  Herein lies the problem.  With the tomatoes there was a page missing from the book.  I followed the directions as I had them and ended up with first and second degree burns on my hands from my efforts.    I swore then and there I would NEVER can tomatoes again.  I did not care how good they tasted.  I do freeze them....but hot water baths and my hands do not mix. 

The pickles were a whole new experience.  I followed the directions very carefully....missing one small step.  The pickles looked amazing, they all sealed, and when my son and I opened the first jar....we were totally grossed out.  Those were the nastiest things I have ever tried to swallow.  My BIL brought over his backhoe, dug a hole for me, and allowed me to bury my humongous mistake, jars and all.  I laugh sometimes when I think of this.  Imagine how funny it will be when someday there will be some famous archaeologist who will dig up my jars of pickles and wonder what in the devil they are.  I just hope they don't try and eat one. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

On Distant Shores

ABOUT THE BOOK:  Through the good and the bad, God wants us to rely on Him in every situation. Never was there a time so tenuous and uncertain as the battlefields of WWII, the setting for Sarah Sundin’s newest release in the Wings of the Nightingale series, On Distant Shores (Revell/August 1, 2013/ISBN: 978-0-8007-2082-7/$14.99). Sundin explores the uncertainty we face when life doesn’t go as planned, emphasizing the need to turn to God always. Sundin fittingly chose James 1:5-6 as the theme for the story: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God… and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.”
With her eye for detail and flair for romance, Sundin weaves a captivating tale of two souls looking for peace in a time of conflict. Lt. Georgiana Taylor has everything she ever wanted: a close-knit family, a boyfriend back home and a challenging job as a flight nurse. A social butterfly, Georgie has always relied on others to make decisions, but with the war taking her thousands of miles from her loved ones, she must learn to turn to God for wisdom. And her life becomes even more complicated when she meets Army pharmacist Sgt. John Hutchinson in Sicily in July of 1943.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Sarah Sundin is the author of On Distant Shores and With Every Letter in the Wings of the Nightingale series from Revell, and also the Wings of Glory series. In 2011, A Memory Between Us was a finalist in the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Awards, and Sundin received the Writer of the Year Award at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. She belongs to American Christian Fiction Writers, Christian Authors Network, and Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. Sundin plans to continue to focus on WWII for her upcoming series about three naval officers based in Boston during the early years of the war.  A graduate of UC San Francisco School of Pharmacy, Sundin works on-call as a hospital pharmacist. During WWII, her grandfather served as a pharmacist’s mate (medic) in the Navy, and her great-uncle flew with the US Eighth Air Force in England.
Sundin lives in northern California with her husband and three children. When she isn’t ferrying kids to tennis and karate, she teaches Sunday school and women’s Bible studies.
To keep up with Sarah Sundin, visit, become a fan on Facebook (SarahSundinAuthor) or follow her on Twitter (@sarahsundin) and Pinterest (sarahsundin).

MY THOUGHTS ON THE BOOK:  I am a huge fan of historical fiction and really enjoy a well written on.  On Distant Shores is one of the most beautifully written stories I have read in a while.  Sundin knows her subject and writes in such a way that the reader tends to forget thtat this is fiction.  This is not one of those totally predictable romances.  It is a wonderful story filled with excitement, heart ache, faith, romance, and life lessons learned by the two main characters, Georgie and Hutch.   I am looking forward to Sundin's next book in the series.  This book is a must read. 
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell and Litfuse Publicity Group 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."

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Help Me Please! Every Day Is A Struggle!

 Many things seem to happen to me when I go to California. I have spent many good times there with friends, family, and my AEA family. My first time was in Los Angeles with family.  I had children at the time and we did all the family things.  There was so much I wanted to see.  My second visit was in the Lake Shasta area.  I loved the countryside.  It was a family vacation and each of us got to chose one thing we wanted to see.  I wanted to see the giant sequoiahs.  They were impressive and made me feel so small.  The first time I attended the Representative Assembly in LA with the AEA.  I went as a local delegate and had a blast exploring the town.   The NEA (National Education Association) had tours set up for us but I was a single mom and could not afford to pay for them.  The concierge at the Beverly Hills Hilton saw how disappointed I was and taught me how to utilize the bus system.  I saw everything I wanted to see for a grand total of 7.50 and got to spend all the time I wanted to in each place.  The next time I went we went to San Diego and I fell in love with this town. The people were amazing, the weather was amazing the whole town was amazing.  However, there is one not so amazing  impression I must share….one that left a huge impact on  my heart. A friend of mine and I ventured over to Starbuck’s Coffee Shop. I had just finished the daily newspaper for the Alabama delegates.  Starbucks was just across the street and I was dying for a shot of caffeine.  The area we were in was just like 5th Avenue in New York - lots of fancy shops, movie theatres, museums. It was a pretty fancy place. We sat down near the window. I am a people watcher….and there she was….directly across from us. She was a young. She wore a greasy T-shirt. Her skin was pale, gray. She sat next to the garbage can. She seemed to blend into the concrete, part of the gray buildings, gray sky. Her greasy hair covered her face. You could not see her eyes. The busy folks just hurried by her.  They did not even know that she existed. It was no accident that she was in from of Starbuck’s - the icon of a new materialism and overpriced coffee. In front of her rumpled rags, she had a cardboard sign in front of her and a small paper cup. Her cardboard sign said, “Please help me. Every day is a struggle.”  I was frozen in place by her plea….“Please help me. Every day is a struggle.” She was asking people for money. But her sign was a prayer. “Please help me. Every day is a struggle.”  Her sign was a prayer. The money placed in her cup was not enough to answer her prayer, but would help carry her through. As I readied for bed that night I could not get her out of my mind.  Her image was branded there….and so was her cardboard sign….”Please help me.  Every Day is a struggle.”  Her prayer should be our prayer. Her day is our day. Her struggle is our struggle. Because she is in the dirt, we have work to do. “Please help me. Every day is a struggle.”  Her body was gray and ragged. My soul has been known to get gray and ragged. Maybe your soul too, your heart, your emotions have gone gray. Maybe you are able to get to your job, get along with your life, but maybe you feel thrown out next to the garbage can, where that woman was sitting. My heart broke for her....and then I remembered that she was me.....dirty, ragged, homeless.  I had to make some changes...or I was going down with her.  For every step I made forward I took three back.    I felt as if I was going deaf.  I kept hearing her scream out in my ears, “Please help me. Every day is a struggle,"  but was she really screaming....was she really talking....who was saying this prayer in my head?  There it was again....can you not hear her?  “Please help me. Every day is a struggle.”  Let me tell you that her prayer should be our prayer. Her day is our day. Her struggle is our struggle. Because she is in the dirt, we have work to do. “Please help me. Every day is a struggle.”  Her body was gray and ragged. My soul has been known to get gray and ragged. Maybe your soul too, your heart, your emotions have gone gray. Maybe you are able to get to your job, get along with your life, but maybe you feel thrown out next to the garbage can, where that woman was sitting.  Is this where you want to stay?  I know I don't.  I looked in her eyes....right there....and saw me.  I saw her plea....I saw her pain....I saw.....myself.....and I was ashamed for the many times I did nothing.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Slams, Damns, and Thank You Ma'ams

I find at the beginning of the year all my teacher/non-teacher friends begin posting motivational videos, funny videos, and damning videos about teachers on their facebook pages.  I know they do this so I can see it and they can get a small dig in at me.  I do what I do because I love it.  I hope you will watch the brief videos.  The first video is one I hope you will laugh at.  It is about Things You Will Never Hear A Teacher Say.  Believe me....I have NEVER said this!  I got this from a teacher friend and I laughed out loud.   The teacher across the hall came to see if I was ok. 

This video is the slam.  I hope if you watch this you know that someone who just graduated from high school would not be interviewing in a board room.  I hope you know that.  Please tell me you do.  It made me feel sad.  I don't give all A,B, C answer choices.  My students have to think.  I don't do Think, Pair, Share as a primary method of teachering.  I believe that students need to be able to function in the real world....with out a Think, Pair, Share buddy.

You Have Made A Difference is a motivation video sent by someone who is not a teacher.  As I watched it I felt as if what I do mattered.  You know sometimes teachers don't feel that way.  Sometimes we feel like red-headed step-children and not very loved.  After seeing this I felt like I was special to a student at some time.

This TED video was shared by a friend of mine and it has given me a project for my English 11 class.  It is an exercise in what is important and what you would like to do
"Before You Die." This video really touched me.  It made me cry.  There was no laughing while I watched this....but there was a whole lot of enlightenment going on.  Thinking about death clarifies your life.   I plan on doing this with my students.  I will let you see what they come up with.

The last video I have received hundreds of times as a video and as a story.  I do not know if it is a true story.  I am sure there is some element of truth in it.  All I know about this story is that every time I hear/read it I cry.  You see I had a lot of those same issues as a child in elementary school.  My brother died when I was eight.  My world ceased to exist.  I wanted someone to love me and let me know it was alright.  Now fifty years later, with twenty plus years of teaching under my belt I want to be the kind of person Mrs. Thompson becomes and I hope that by the time I reach my final year there will be students who feel this way about me.  THIS is what teaching is all about.  THIS is what I love about this job.  THIS is what I want to be when I grow up. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Five Minute Friday - Small

It is that time of the week, Friday.  Time to set your timer, clear your head, for five minutes of free writing without worrying about getting it right.

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments.
Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community.. Oh and Ahem, if you would take pity and turn off comment verification, it would make leaving some love on your post that much easier for folks! OK, are you ready? Please give us your best five minutes on:::


Thoughts on School:  I sit here in my classroom on the last Friday of summer with tears running down my face.  the Temptations are playing softly on Pandora.  I do not know why I feel so very small at this very moment.  My job appears to be overwhelming it always does at the beginning of the school year.  I want to be a great teacher.  I want to make a difference in some child's life.  I want them to tell me on my Facebook page how much I touched them.  Here I sit.....Everything is done, the copies are run, the dust has been cleared, all the inservices are over, the room is inviting, creativity abounds....I cannot be more ready.....yet in the grand scheme of things I feel small....insignificant.  I am but one small person.....put here on this earth to teach.....214 students this year about Spanish and English.....and I feel so small.  I find it hard to breathe.  Monday....when my classroom is full of excited and anxious students I will no longer feel small.  I will feel in control.  This is my element.  These are my classes.  Let the learning begin.

Thoughts on Church:  I stand at the podium on Sunday's and I feel small.  My knees knock so loud I am surprised I am not deafening the congregation.  I feel so small next to the E family.  They are all so tall....and know their scriptures.   I know that this is Satan working in my life.  I know that I am where God has placed me.  I know this is a God thing....yet...that feeling of small sucks the very breath out of my longs.  I am not going to let Satan have the last word.  I am mighty....I am a princess.  My father is a king....and no one can make me feel small in His  So I am going to "Let Go and Let God" and put small in its place.  I am going to rise to the occassion.  Carpe Diem....Seize the day.  Think about it....have you ever seen an ant colony?  I had one as a child....they are amazing....and look how small the little critters are.  I want that kind of persistance.  I don't want to even think....hey I am small and I can't do this.....I want to believe....hey....that mountain is in my me bring it down. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Prairie Song


ABOUT THE BOOK:  The first step in a challenging journey is often the one that means the most. Though it means saying goodbye to the beloved friends and spiritual mentors of her St. Charles, Missouri quilting circle, Anna Goben is certain that she needs to enlist her family in the Boones Lick Company wagon train. The loss of her beloved brother in the Civil War has paralyzed her mother and grandfather in a malaise of grief and depression and Anna is convinced that only a fresh start in the Promised Land of California can bring her family back to her. Although the unknown perils of the trail west loom, Anna’s commitment to caring for her loved ones leaves no room for fear—or even loving someone new.  During the five-month journey, trail hand Caleb Reger plans to keep a low profile as he watches over the band of travelers. Guarding secrets about his past and avoiding God’s calling on his life, Caleb wants to steer as far from Anna as she does him, but she proves to be just as he assessed her from the beginning— independent, beautiful trouble.  Led by a pillar of hope, the group faces rough terrain that begins to take a toll on their spirits. Will the wilderness of suffering lead them astray, or will the gentle song of love that echoes across the prairie turn their hearts toward God’s grace and the promise of a new home?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Over the last twenty-five years, Mona Hodgson’s publishing credits have grown to include nearly thirty children's books, contributions to more than ten books for adults, and four historical novels, including her debut, Two Brides Too Many in The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series. Mona is a popular speaker for women's groups, schools, and educators’ and writers’ conferences. She lives in Arizona with her husband and has two daughters and several grandchildren.

MY THOUGHTS ON THE BOOK:  Ms Hodgson did an outstanding job in the development of the plot and characters in this story. She had me from the first page and held me tightly in her clultches until the last page. The characters were so realistic that I felt as if I were traveling with them.  Hodgson brings the wagon train to life.  This story had it all.   There was some suspense, romance, hardships, history, and encounters with God. I cannot remember when I have enjoyed a story and liked the ending. I cannot wait for the next book in the series so that I can continue the journey with all my new character friends.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group as part of their Blogging for Books 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."