Thursday, December 27, 2007

Pictures at Christmas

Here are some photos from our Christmas. I hope that you all have a blessed Christmas and take time to praise our God for the gift of His son, Jesus!

The yearly family picture in front of the tree - with much arguing before and after.

I can't seem to get more pictures up - darn dial up. I will try to add more tomorrow!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Fall into Reading wrap up

Well, these were the original book on my list, and I did not finish the non-fiction and have added to the fiction list. Surprise, Surprise!

9 things you simple must do by Henry Cloud: Finished

Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by JoAnne Weaver: In Progress

Now Discover your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham: Husband finished. On my shelf

Holy Discontent by Bill Hybels: On my shelf

Now on to the fiction:

True Light by Terri Blockstock: On my shelf - distracted by other fiction listed below.

Sunrise and Summer by Karen Kingsbury: Finished

Kingdom Come by Tim LaHaye: Finished

Other books finished not on my list:

The Watchers by Mark Andrew Olsen: Finished.

The Kiss by Danielle Steele : In Progress

Violet Dawn by Brandilyn Collins: In Progress

The Fly in the Cathedral by Brian Cathcart: In Progress

I see a trend here. Lots of books in progress. I am skipping around a lot, depending on my mood. I am almost embarrassed to have a Danielle Steele book listed - I just sometimes need a romance fix and some of her books do have a plot. I am planning on doing some reading over the Christmas break and maybe finish some of these books - there's an idea. Maybe my spring list will be a little more manageable with less non-fiction (even though they still sit on my shelf!).

My favorite was the Kingbury books. I keep looking and trying out new authors. Not fond of The Watchers book, but willing to give this author another try. The spiritual warfare idea intrigues me. I am also spending time reading with my 2nd grader , The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary - this is a classic and he loves it so far.

I so enjoy the challenge and keeping track of my reading. Thanks for stopping by. You can read specific reviews here


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Ornament type

You Are a Snowman

Friendly and fun, you enjoy bringing holiday cheer to everyone you know!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Purpose and Power

Two sermon messages have come together in my life.

The first message I listened to was online last spring by Andy Stanley. He was talking about power and giving away the power that each of us has. Jesus had all the power in the world - He was the creator of the world and just by speaking He could wipe us off this planet. Yet, he submitted to being a finite being in a tiny world to save people that didn't even know they needed being saved - myself included. He used His power for those without power - mainly us.

The second message I heard was at our church this past week. It wasn't a new topic, but mostly God's timing. The message was about purpose and finding yours. It wasn't so much about finding God's Will - which always seems so ambiguous to me - but discovering what the Creator made you to do. Each item we use is designed for a specific purpose - the oven for baking, the dishwasher for washing dishes, etc. But isn't it odd when we hear these items used for something different? For example, I heard on the radio that you could use your dishwasher to cook lutefisk (like sardines - a Norwegian thing). Why would someone do that? Is that what we are doing with our lives? Trying to do things in our lives that God did not create us to do? Don't created things work best when they do what they were created/designed to do? I have been turning this idea over in my mind - hoping that teaching and being a good mom and wife is all in God's design for me.

I am grateful when I see what I believe is God speaking to me. This past week I had a student cheat on a test and the big cumulative project in my class. As a result, he would get a zero on both items and probably fail the class. This does not bring me any joy. It saddens me when I make that phonecall home and have to explain to the parents. The parents requested a meeting with the dean (principal). The meeting occurred last night. I wasn't sure what to do. I was fairly certain that this student did not do the work on the project - and I was positive about the test (student even admitted to copying part of the test).

This is where the past sermon messages and God's Word played a significant role. I had the power and even the support of the dean to give the student a zero. Yet, would that help this particular student? Sometimes the answer to this question would be yes. My original purpose for being a christian teacher in a public school was to be a role model. How could I do that in this situation? I want the young men in my classroom to leave with integrity and honesty. So, I am praying that I used my power to help and not enable this student. I offered him grace - the same grace that is offered me every day for my sins - to complete the project as if he never cheated. It was extremely humbling for me to step down and forgive, even though I had every "right" to punish. My heart is changed today by just glimpsing the power of that forgiveness. It helped me to see that I do have purpose in the classroom - it is in moments like this that can make all the difference. At least that is my prayer.

Thanks for reading

Monday, December 17, 2007

Size Fat

Just a quick story today. But is needs some background first. I get to serve in our coffee shop at church a couple of Sat. nights a month. That means that the husband is in charge of getting the girl where she needs to and getting the boy ready for church and meeting me there. So, they dropped her off at a friends house for a birthday party and headed over to Gander Mtn for an hour before church started. I am not much of a shopper, but 1 hour in one store doesn't seem possible. He found some long underwear for me - mine are more ventilation then insulation anymore. He wasn't sure what size - and I told him to get size fat. We laughed and moved on.

Then, last night we went out to dinner for our 13th anniversary (yea! we made it!). On the way home we thought we would stop again at the Gander Mtn together and get me some legitimate long underwear (I have been talking a lot about underwear lately - is this a trend?). So, we looked for size fat (I am really not - but some days...). We then went to the men's section. And out of curiosity I compared the size chart on the back of the men's to the women's. Okay, men are naturally bigger, but why is a women's size large and extra-large equivalent to a men's medium. Two sizes fit into one size. What is that all about? I think that it is a conspiracy to make women feel fat.

Anywho, we went to pay for the size fat long underwear, and while waiting I looked closer at the size chart. The measurements skip the waist size of 32". It went from 31" to 33". What does a girl do if she is a 32"? Buy the smaller size or the bigger size? Quandry. So I mentioned it to the cashier as we were laughing together (bonding time for me and the hubby). We had the same first name and thought alike - she said that you could get a belt? And what about women that have no bust? The smallest bust size wasn't that small. She laughed with us instead of rolling her eyes at us - this is good customer service.

We laughed all the way home. So, have fun in your size fat and enjoy the holidays. Maybe I will fit into the size extra fat by New Year's....


Sunday, December 16, 2007

A broken time in our life...

Have you ever had a time when it seems that all kinds of stuff is just broken? Our house was built 10 years ago and it seems that little things are starting to break all at the same time. As long as we own things, they are going to break. The only things that will last forever is people. But, knowing this, we still need to fix these "broken" things. Here is the short list:

*Leaking drain in upstairs bathroom (saving money to call plumber - my wonderful husband has tried to fix it, but it still leaks)

*The dimmer switch in the downstairs bathroom is going bad - flickering.

*The 15 year old truck is making an unidentified squealing noise. Cost unknown, but it is still better than a new car payment!

*The computer is going through some growing pains. We wanted to update the operating system on our Mac to 10.4. Turns out that it only comes on DVD - which our computer doesn't have. So, a superdrive was needed. Maybe it was nervous going in for updates and through a power supply. So, we now have a great working computer, but for much more than anticipated.

* I noticed last week that the gas stove was fluttering. The gas level would like pulse. Gas line problem. It hasn't been consistent enough to panic. We are thinking (hoping) it might be from outside our house with the high gas use this week with below zero temps already. We are hoping that January will be warmer...

In spite of this, we are grateful for all the things that do work and that our family is healthy. We just need to work through this broken time in our life... which led me to thinking about our spiritual brokenness.

We live in a broken world where sin has invaded our lives and causes us pain - either because of something we have done, or has been done to us. Our church has been having a series titled "It Would Take a Miracle", and the first Sunday was about It would take a miracle to heal this family. It seems that all of us have had struggles with someone in our family - parents, siblings, cousins, grandparents, etc. Most of the message was about forgiveness and this whole idea of letting go of the pain and forgiving. Our pastor stressed that this does not mean that you need to be in relationship with the person - put to let go of the wanting revenge so that our own hearts can heal. The Lord will deal with each person's sin accordingly - it is not our place to seek revenge.

Thank you Jesus for your birth and saving grace!


Monday, December 10, 2007

To wear underwear or not...

Okay, like I have mentioned in recent posts, my family and I have been going to the local Y to get some exercise. I will admit that I am the least willing participant - when what I would rather do on a cold day is curl up on the couch and read a book with a bag of chips/pop next to me. My goal is to not gain any weight over the hibernation period, better known as Winter. With my whole family holding me accountable, it might work out.

Anywho...the locker room at the Y is just like any other. A couple of bays of lockers, a few showers (with privacy curtains - not like the group things in high school), sinks, toliets, etc. Locker rooms do not really allow for dressing in private and I don't have a whole lot to hide at almost 40. If you haven't seen sagging everything, well then you are not almost 40.

I try to keep my eyes averted, respecting people's personal space. But to me it is odd to wear jeans with no underwear - it is odd to me to wear anything but a bathing suit without underwear. I had a friend in high school that did not wear underwear with pantyhose - thus the name panty in the name. Why do I mention this? Well, as I am trying to keep my eyes in my own personal space, I could not help but see a very tan (everywhere) young lady put her jeans on without underwear. Does this help with the panty line issue? I would think that the seams and such in the jeans would be irritating. Is this the price for beauty? I am not one to wear attractive undies (more the cotton brief type), but at least wear something!

Then I thought - what a great thing to blog about. What do you in blog land think about the underwear issue?

Thanks for reading

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

December arrives..

with driveways and byways full of snow. The weather helps to make it feel like Christmas. I know that many of you that read are in the South where cold to you is 50 degrees - the high only got to 20 yesterday. That is why we are weathered Minnesotans - it is also why we put on about 10 pounds over the winter months - because of hibernating. There just isn't many people wearing bathing suits this time of year.

Just wanted to share a couple of praises for you today. I have been praying for a neighbor off and on to attend church with us. I am sure that she doesn't understand that being a christian is having a relationship with Jesus and not just going to church. I have been inviting her since last year. Well, she rode to church with us last Sat. night. It was great for me to see our church through her eyes. She honestly could not believe that this was church. I am glad that she had a good experience and I am praying that she will return. If you think of it, send up a prayer for her.

I am grateful for flu shots, but I will probably never get another one. I got my first flu shot this November. Because of where the shot was given in my arm I still have continued arm pain. The doctor is not convinced that it was the shot - but the pain started just after this and has gotten worse. It turns out after waiting over an hour in urgent care (my regular doctor was booked until next week) that I have a rotator cuff injury and need to attend physical therapy. I am not even 40 yet and the aging pains are already starting. It is such a minor thing compared to others struggles, yet God hears my whining and hopefully the pain will subside soon. The doctor said it could last up to 9 months - God, please give me courage.

I better post this now, or it will never get posted.


Thursday, November 29, 2007

The curse has arrived..

...and I am not talking about that monthly gift that God has blessed women with! I am talking about the curse that all mothers pass down to their daughters at some time - the one that says "I hope that you have a daughter just like you someday!" It arrived in full force yesterday.

Let's just say that I was not an angel at the age of 14. I thought that I knew everything, was independent and did not take direction well. You might have described me as stubborn and headstrong. I also said some awful things to my mother. So, when my lovely daughter turned 14, I braced myself for the worst.

We had just gotten home from work/school. I was trying to empty the dishwasher, start dinner and help Eli with his homework - because I like to play super mom! Eli took a break from homework and proceeded to go bother his sister. I yelled for them to stop and get along (this rarely works but lets them know I am listening - hoping they can work it out). I was finally tired (just tired in general) of the squabbling and headed upstairs. I told them to both go to their rooms and just be quiet. I closed the boys door and the girl headed to the living room to watch tv - her mouth running the whole time about how unfair I was and it wasn't her fault, etc, etc. I shut the tv off and sent her to her room also. Under her breath I hear her call me a B-----. I just couldn't believe I had heard this from my daughter's mouth - even more surprised that it was directed at me. I just looked at her - astonished. She ran to her room and slammed the door. I said something about not calling anybody that and left her in her room.

I walked to the kitchen thinking, well, it could have been worse. I remember yelling that directly to my mother's face with a few other expletives added. Charity knew that it was wrong and looked so guilty for even saying it. She was angry, upset at my decision. I am praying for her as she grows and changes and we have conflict - it is only natural.

Thanks for reading

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


for the lab reports and late homework and students after school. This is probably one of the few moments that I can say that my in basket is empty and my grades are currently up to date. Tomorrow I will need to write a quiz and set up a lab, but for now I am just twiddling my thumbs until the clock says it is time to leave. So, here are some of the updated news...

Thanksgiving - uneventful (and in my life that is a good thing!). We went to an early movie and then went to my in-laws for the BIG meal. I am grateful that my mother-in-law makes great gravy - that is all that I am going to say about that. I made the pumpkin pie - according to the Biggest Loser - this is the least fattening of the possible Thanksgiving pie choices. All was calm as we slept off the meal.

On Friday, we broke with tradition. We usually get a tree, but alas, not this year. The girl was complaining over and over again about this travesty. It was just so early that the tree may not make it until Christmas - so we waited until Sunday instead. So ever so slowly, our house is transformed with decorations and lights. This is great this time of year when the sun sets at 4:30 pm - it feels like it is dark all the time!

We spent many days at the YMCA - exercise is over rated. I know that it is good for me. Luckily, the Y we attend has the fancy ellipticals that have a tv attached. So, I really have no excuse to sit at home when I can walk and watch...

Still doing some Christmas shopping - the big present is purchased for the kids (Wii), just looking for some games to go with it. Also need to shop for the husband - any ideas out there?

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Passive Aggressive Cat

I am writing this post in response to the post at Cheri's blog. She was talking about the antics of her cat and it reminded me of our passive aggressive cat.

Her name is Princess. If a name ever foretold attitude, out cat would be a prime example. She is an only pet. She is more like a dog-cat. She is loyal and is waiting at the door when we come home (only because her food bowl is empty) and keeps a schedule. The time change truly messes with her. We usually arrive home around 4:30, but when the time change came a couple of weeks ago, she was pacing the kitchen at 3:30 expecting her food bowl to be filled. To bad cats can't tell time.

Another example is when it is time for bed. We try to keep a routine for the sake of the children and honestly I get tired early nowadays. But, sometimes on the weekends we will stay up late watching a movie, etc and the cat is again pacing - waiting for us to climb in bed so that she can sleep. It really isn't about us, but about her and her routine.

The truly passive aggressive part comes out when we have a fire going in the wood burning stove. It gets nice and toasty in the basement and we love it on these soon to be snowy days in MN. We have a rocking chair and this has become her spot when the fire is going. If you happen to be sitting there, she just sits in front of you and stares at you. No meowing or scratching, just a simple stare. It is strange to be forced out of a chair by a cat. I tend to just let her stare, but the girl will move and sit on the floor - they have bonded. I just find it hilarious!

Cheri, thanks for giving me a blogging topic for the day. What kind of strange behavior do your pets have?


Monday, November 19, 2007


Another busy weekend - full of activities that we wanted to do as a family(mostly):

*We went to the Y on Sat. am. We are doing a weigh in every week at school. The amount on the scale about put me over the edge. I weighed that much when I was 9 months pregnant - but now it is just me. Yikes! We have plans for going a couple of nights this week. There is nothing good on tv anyway!

*I got to serve in the coffee shop at church. I actually have a great time there. We were very busy, with the windy weather people were craving a special warm drink. I didn't even sit down for 3 hours. It felt wonderful to sit and listen to the sermon during the second service.

*Our church has been encouraging each person to notice one person - at work, in your neighborhood, etc. They even launched a separate website, IT WOULD TAKE A MIRACLE, for our December series. Our mission field is here in our city and God has placed us where we are to be that light. I have been praying off and on for a neighbor for years. I invited her to church last year and she was polite, but never came. I just went to a spa party at her new house and she asked if she could come to church with my family this weekend! WOW!! - God just knew that I was afraid to ask again. I know that my "church" is not perfect, but I always know that the truth of Christ is spoken from the pulpit and I hope that her heart with be changed. I can only do so much and it is exciting when God steps in.

If you think of it, say a prayer for someone that you know that needs Christ - invite them to church - or to coffee. God will do amazing things when we let Him. After all, this is the time of miracles. Let us see what God can do!


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Happy Birthday!

My husband wanted to boycott his birthday this year - just a reminder of how old he is (so he thinks!). Today is the day! So.


Book Review - Summer by Karen Kingsbury

I truly was impacted by the message behind this book. So many times you read a book - it is a nice story, but doesn't have any lasting affect. I have thought about this particular Kingsbury novel several times since I finished reading it. The main theme is about life and its value - especially the value of an unborn child. Maybe because of my history and struggle with this very topic it touched my heart.

Kingsbury gently approaches the idea of the joy of having a child then given the diagnosis that will be fatal to the baby once it is born. She always allows her characters to show all sides of the issue - even her Christian characters. This story was less about Katy and Dayne, and more about Ashley and Blake. I so want to be strong and courageous like her (I know that she is pretend). To be rooted in her faith in God, to pray fervently and trust that the outcome doesn't make God any less than God.

I cried and cried at the end. Not because it wasn't a happy ending (it is sad), but because the possible impact a life can have on others. The amazing things that can happen when we choose to follow God in ALL things - not in just the easy things. I want my life to make that kind of difference - no matter how long or short it is.

Great read as always!


Monday, November 12, 2007

Weekend Happenings

Notes of the weekend:

*I got a chance to go to an all day Scrapbook event on Saturday - I got 14 more pages done! It was rather funny to be part of the cell phone connection. All of the ladies working on albums were interrupted at least twice by calls from husband or kids - myself included. A mother's work is never done.

* Charity progressed to the finals in sections for the 100 butterfly. She swam her personal best on Sat. of 1:11 and place 14th in her section overall. I am so proud of her. She has big shoes to fill with one of our best butterfliers graduating last year and swimming for the U of M.

* Sunday was a shopping day. Our list for the Wal-Mart was overloaded. plus we bought gifts for Christmas child boxes. The kids really enjoy this - mostly. We also went to the Y - trying to work on fitting into all the clothes I own. My wardrobe would increase immensely.

* Our church hosted a CD release concert for a worship CD they made from Sunday services. It was tons of fun - the kids thought it was too long. Sunday nights are hard for this kind of thing. On the way home the deer were out - around 8pm. I was trying to be aware and stopped for a deer crossing the road - not freeway- and at the same time I honked my horn. Like the deer would know what that meant. It is just a driving habit I have - push the brake and horn at the same time. Can you imagine what that deer was thinking? We all laughed..

Hope you had a good weekend. Let me know you stopped by.


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

TIme of change

I have been busy finishing up the quarter at school. It ends up being a busy time, but not a lot to write about. Grades are entered and I prepare for another group of kids. I try to find some time to reflect on if I made a difference - did I connect with any of my students this term? I hope that it is a few. I know their names and some of the things they are interested in. Time is such a commodity.

I have been reminded over and over the past few days about living for the moment. Last week, we heard that a friend of my husband's wife died of cancer. They had only been married a year and she was diagnosed with cancer before they got married. They kept putting off doing things until she "got better" - but she never did on this earth. My heart aches for her friends and family. She was young and hadn't even lived. But, she kept living until the end. She did mission work, she helped out a church, she did her job, etc. I didn't know her, but I admire her hope - hope in the unseen.

I have also been trying to include some exercise in my life. I truly can't afford to get new clothes and every part of my body seems to be moving south. We signed up for a family YMCA membership because the daughter wants to swim off season. This will definitely motivate me. If I am there for her to swim, I might as well suit up and get some exercise myself. My husband is actually willing to join me. There isn't anything on tv anyway, besides, the elliptical machines have tvs attached. I can do both!

I think that is all from here for now. Thanks for reading.

Monday, October 29, 2007

I've been tagged...

I have been tagged for this meme by Cheri. I have some time and will play along.

What were you doing 10, 20, 30 years ago?

10 years ago?
I was starting my first and now only teaching job. I was nervous and crazy busy. We were also in the midst of building our own home - which definately has stresses of it's own. I must have been crazy to be doing both of things at the same time! We also had to find new daycare for the 4 year old girl - this was a challenge to find someone we could afford and trust. My husband was still subbing without a full time job yet. These were crazy yet fun times.

20 years ago? I would have been a young 18 years of age. Starting my first year of college and getting to know new people. This was my first time living away from home. I had one foot in the past and one foot in the future. I struggled a little with the transition since the boy I "loved" was still in high school. It took a little time for me to immerse myself in college life.

30 years ago? I was only 8 years old. My parents were divorced when I was 5 and my mom had brought a new man home to live with us. She was only 24 and working as a waitress. She met him at work. He was not a nice man - physically and emotionally abusive. My grandfather kicked us out of the house he owned and we had to move for the first time. We moved from the north side of town to the south side of town. Almost as far away from my grandfather as possible. We use to live next door to him and could go and visit as much as we wanted - now it was a 45 minute drive. This was a sad part of my life.

I tag Susanne and Liza for this. Thanks for playing along!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Catch of the Day

The Catch of the Day is an email devotional that I get. It is one of the first things that I read when I get to school and check my email for the goings on for the day. It truly puts my mind in the proper perspective. John Fischer - the author - is always bringing in real life examples of what is going on in the world. He really make me think.

I checked out some of the comments on today Catch titled, "What would you bring?". It is referencing the people that are being affected by the wild fires in CA. Many of the answers are typical, but some are very thought provoking. Does this show what we value? Interesting thought.

We did have to evacuate about 8 or 9 years ago because of a fire in a nearby nature reserve. It is the scariest moment to awakened by police at 4 in the morning and asked to grab your valuables and leave. I was ill prepared and did not bring anything that would be needed for a typical MN October. I brought shorts - no long sleeves or pants, my photos and albums (those I would still bring), and the important document folder with insurance/house deed, etc.

One would think that I would be better prepared if this would happen again - I truly hope it doesn't. I would still bring the photo albums (my scrapbookers heart would just break) and better clothes choices. Most of the rest of it is replaceable. I really liked this comment the best and will ponder it for the rest of the day....

I still remember a lesson taught where he posed a thought to ponder: if everything in your house was destroyed in a fire, the only things that would remain were the things that you gave Phillip Azzolina, PA


Tuesday, October 23, 2007


I just wanted to thank those of you that left comments after my "discouraged" post. I am feeling better about it and agree that I just need to wait. In God's timing I will be in the place where He wants me. After all, how long did Moses wait?

We just finished a school break here called MEA (Minnesota Education Association) Break. This is a time when the teachers can go to meetings sponsored by the local union. Needless to say, we don't go to the meetings. My husband takes this opportunity to go bowhunting for deer in North Dakota with a friend. It is one of the only times that he leaves without us. I don't quite get the whole hunting thing - but he enjoys his time away. It is my gift to him. He killed a deer this year. See picture on the left. He only had a license for a "mommy" deer as the boy calls it. His friend Mike got a "daddy" deer this year. See picture on the right. We now have deer roast, steak and the rest will be processed into summer sausage and venison sticks. The kids really love the meat. Very surprising.

The kids and I just hung out. It was rainy here last Thursday and Friday. Charity still had swim practice and had some friends over to work on some homework. Eli still played outside between rain showers. I can't keep that boy inside. I moved some furniture and ran some errands that never seem to get done on regular work days or weekends. I also sat around and finished a jigsaw puzzle. I get in the mood every once in awhile. I usually glue them and hang them in a frame. The current one is going to be a gift for my sister-in-law. I don't know if she will like it. I hope so. This is my idea of modern art - it may not be the same for her.

I am off to catch up on your blogs. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


I am not sure if this is the correct feeling. How do you explain what it feels like to believe you are following God's direction and then it doesn't quite work out? Let me explain...

We are members of a mega-church. We have been involved in large churches before and we know that the best way to meet people is to serve and get into a small group - women's, couples, etc. This is how the church feels smaller. We have a fully functioning coffee shop on our new campus. I am actually not much of a coffee drinker, but serving at Cafe 5000 helps me grow that serving muscle. It isn't a hard job, but necessary.

Last night I went to an event designed to help women interested in finding a group. My spiritual gifts are administration and shepherding. This seems to be a good fit for leading small groups. I can organize fairly well and led small groups in college. In fact, this was one of my best memories of college life - I am still friends with most of the people in that group.

I say all of this to say that I left last nights event without a small group. I really felt like I was following God's lead. And now I am wondering if I wasn't listening. What is getting in the way that I am not able to find a group of christian women that I connect with? Should I not try and lead a group but just be a participant? I have a desire to use my gifts, but what is the best way to do that?

I am struggling with God to figure out the next step. I automatically blame myself. What is wrong with me? But is is something else? The time and day that I want to meet (Sat am)? The original design of the event (not really designed for introverts - lots of mingling)? My mind and heart is in turmoil!

Please pray and leave me any thoughts you might have that would help shine some light on this experience.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Daughter's Reminders

I tend to have a one track mind. Once I am at work, I focus on work. If I am home with the family, I focus on serving them. I have a hard time when they cross and they often do. My daughter kept reminding me to get her posterboard for a project - and yes, I kept forgetting to get her some. So, I wrote myself a note and taped it in my car. I often do this if I need to get milk or run another errand on my way home - otherwise I am on autopilot and don't remember until I am in my driveway.

My daughter had another strategy. She left a message on my voicemail and reminded me and then at 4 pm, when I normally leave work, she programmed an alarm on my phone to remind me. My daughter is a digital native - using the gadgets in our lives to make it easier (?). I still resort to pencil and paper and alas, she uses the cell phone. It is just amazing to me.

Blessings today!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Book Review - 9 Things you Simply Must Do

I finally finished another non-fiction book. If I can get through one or two of these a year, I am lucky. I just think too much and must digest the information, unlike a fiction novel where the words just wash over me. I think that I learn a lot that way, but I must be intentional on occasion.

I finished, 9 Things You Simply Must Do by Henry Cloud. I found it to be a fascinating analysis of how successful people are successful. The best way to do this is give you a synopsis of the 9 things and leave it at that.

Principle 1: Dig It Up! This chapter was about finding your passion, your dream. Find out what excites you and pursue it. He discusses the pitfalls of doing this – how we pursue other peoples desire for us – especially if we are people pleasures, etc.

Principle 2: Pull The Tooth! This chapter said that successful people do not hang onto bad stuff for long. Get rid of the bad stuff. Our bodies do it naturally, but emotionally we just hang on and it hurts us. This principle is what caused me to finally get my tailbone checked out. At this point I am glad since the pain is gone. Why did I let it go so long? Successful people act and get rid of the bad stuff right away.

Principle 3: Play The Movie! Here is what Cloud says, “Any one this you do is only a scene in a larger movie. To understand that action, you have to play it out all the way to the end of the movie.” Just a reminder that the choices we make will have lasting effects. I just agreed in this chapter. This came naturally to me in my education. I could see a better life at the end with a college degree in my hand.

Principle 4: Do Something! This chapter says that successful people ask “What can I do to make this situation better?”. They do not play the victim but do something to change the situation. I am working on this one.

Principle 5: Act Like An Ant! They (successful people) achieved their goals by taking tiny steps over time. Start doing a little bit – don’t try to save a million dollars today. But if you save a little bit every day the money starts to add up. Every big project can be done the same way – do a little at a time and eventually it gets done.

Principle 6: Hate Well! I was not real comfortable with the title of this principle, but here is how Cloud explains it, “ What we hate says a lot about who we are…Character is in part formed by what we hate, because we move to be different from whatever that is.”. This chapter explains the difference between hating well and just hating.

Principle 7: Don’t Play Fair! Strange title as well. But, to be “fair” means that what you give is what you get. Good for good, bad for bad. The idea is that if we make a mistake, we don’t want people to get back at us, but help us get better and not make the mistake again. So to not play fair means to give back better than you are given and it will stop any cycle of “tit for tat”,

Principle 8: Be Humble! Seems simple and biblical doesn’t’ it? It simply means to not pretend to know more than we do and not having a need to be more than you are. Even if you are the president of a company – you don’t know it all. The willingness to say you have things to learn will help you learn those things as well as make those that work for you better as well.

Principle 9: Upset the Right People! This is probably the hardest for me. This principle is about not making decisions based on the fear of other people’s reactions. Cloud says that, “ What you should do, and what someone’s response is going to be, are two very different issues.”

I recommend this book. It has good examples and easy to read – the application process is a different story.

Blessings! Thanks for reading.

Friday, October 12, 2007

I AM - Lesson 16

This is our last meeting together. It has been so wonderful to have a chance to read everyone's entries over the month's and get to know each of you through your answers to this study. I am as sad as Lisa is to say it is over, but the journey has been such a joy. So thank you for joining me. Blessings.

What is one thing God has taught you through this study?

For me it has been a time of reflecting on my life and seeing all the amazing things that God has done for me. Even when I have sinned and turned away from God, He never left me. Just like He never left the Isrealites or Moses when they sinned.

I am able to see my life as redeemed because the Great I AM has rescued me! I have eternity to praise him - and eternity starts now!

Since God is the great I AM, I am able to be ALL that He created me to be. He will use my "stutterings" for His glory. It is my calling to obey and follow His lead. Moses was called to the wilderness to find God. We have all had our taste of wilderness, some currently and some in our past and maybe in our future. God taught Moses about Himself there and we often do the same. We learn about ourselves in those hard times of our lives.

Thanks for joining me on this journey. Come back and visit!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

100 Acre Wood

Take the 100 Acre Personality Quiz!

I was not expecting this one in the 100 Acre Wood. Play along and see who fits you!

Lesson I learned

This past weekend, I had the chance to go to an all day crop - scrapbooking for those of you that don't speak the lingo. I get to do this about 3-4 times a year. I enjoy reflecting about our family activities and spending time with other women that are creating memories to enjoy when we are old. It is a mom day - no cooking, no whining children (because mine are such angels!), etc.

I met some ladies that I had never met before. I tend to stick my foot in my mouth on a regular basis because I tend to be fairly opinionated. So, I am learning self-control with my tongue. I did okay for awhile. I listened and tried to gauge the personalities of these women while I worked away on my album. I truly stepped in it when I made a comment about being a member of my church and knew what was going on with the new campus - come to find out, both of these women were also members. I never would have guessed based on the conversation.

Why do I assume (my first problem) that all christians and members of my church will see life in the same way that I do? The body of Christ is diverse in character and gifts. It just wouldn't make sense that we would be all the same. But I found out this weekend that I think that. I have put other believers in a box. How unfair is that? God is working in my heart on this - to be more open and accepting of other believers. Only God knows the heart, and I should be concerned with mine. Just wanted to share this.

Thanks for reading!

PS - I did get 16 pages in my "Dam Album" done. A travel book of all the dams on the Mississippi River. Can't wait until next year.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Teaching is my calling

Why did you want to be a teacher?

I get this question a lot, especially since I have a degree in chemistry and could make more money in the business world. My original career goal was to be a family doctor. My husband just laughs - because I am not really good with sick people - including my own family. Sick people drive me nuts. My bed side manner would be horrible. It would be like this, "Take an aspirin, take a nap and call me in the morning". I think that I would have lots of malpractice suits against me. Not a real enjoyable life.

I truly believe that teaching is a calling. Most of us will not go through so much school to get so little positive feedback. I was convinced by God that medical school was not my path during my junior year in college. I was doing it for the money/glory and not the sake of healing people. I grew up relatively poor (American standards here - very rich in the world's economy) and wanted lots of money. I thought that money would solve my problems. God showed me that this was a false god and that I needed to follow a different path.

For once I listened and obeyed. I changed my educational focus to teaching and felt the stress leave. After I reached my goal of having my own classroom many years later, I remember standing in the empty classroom, thanking God with tears in my eyes for the blessing of my life. I was so grateful to be in a place where I could make a difference. I continue to pray that I am doing that.

So, if you are homeschooling, great job! If your kids are in public/private school, say a prayer for your kids teacher. If it is your gifting, maybe send a thank you note for all the hard work they do.


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

I AM - Lesson 15

Welcome back girls! I am trying to keep up! I am looking forward to reading your answers. Here are mine.

1. I think we can all agree most of us find ourselves closer to God in the struggle than without it. How does it affect you knowing that trial is what draws you more intimately in relationship to Your God?

What is strange for me is that I almost long for the trial in order to "feel" closer to God. I am really working on being consistent with my time with God so that regardless of my situation, I am conscious of the presence of my God.

2. Have you ever made a huge mistake but then found yourself in the position for a 'do-over'? Did you make a better decision the second or third or fourth time around? :)

Why is it that we make the same mistake again? You think that we would learn the first time! My sexual sin found me in the same position twice - the choice of what to do with an unplanned pregnancy. I know that most people's are not so dramatic. I so wish that I had not put myself in this situation the first time - but twice! I was feeling like such a fallen believer. I choose abortion the first time. Then I went to counseling to grieve over the death of my unborn child. My heart was broken and I learned so much about the forgiveness of Christ. Along the way I was privileged to find another college student seeking healing and lead her to the throne. Many times our failures bring about such healing in others as well.

When I became pregnant again, I knew what I was not going to choose! This child was going to live, regardless if I was the parent. My daughter was almost placed for adoption, until the Lord moved my now husbands heart and we have been seeing her grow every since. So, when I shout out her achievements in my blog, I am just filled with joy to be a part of the story called her life.

3. Is there a 'generational sin' in your family you have overcome? This can be anything from a lineage of unbelief to issues of many kinds. This may be a private matter. Share if you feel liberty or quietly thank God for His deliverance. If you have not yet been delivered, I pray with all my heart God's Word is giving you courage to ask for help in that area.

I am so excited to answer this question! The Lord has worked mightily in this area of my life. I have read about the "sins of the fathers" being passed down the generations. I am so glad that He plucked me out of that circle of sin and showed me a different way. My grandmother was an alcoholic and so is my mother. I am unsure about the generations before that - so at least two. I could have so easily been a victim of that - poverty, neglect, etc. I was introduced to Christ in 10th grade and finally got it. This has been my guiding force ever since. He has kept me from many failures with alcohol and drugs. I have not come out unscathed, but it could have been so much worse. I am hoping to pass down a legacy of Christ from me on down. Amen!

4. Have you ever been misunderstood? Do you feel unforgiven for past mistakes even though you know God has forgiven you?

I struggled with this for awhile. A couple of years of counseling have helped, but also a supportive husband that shares my beliefs helps me stay centered.

5. Is there a sister you need to extend grace towards in order to be able to 'bless God together'? Do you comprehend how your unforgiveness is hindering her from inhabiting her own Promise? If no, do you recognize a situation within your church body where this may be happening? If so, ask God to raise up a 'Phinehas' (mediator) in this situation. He may just reveal the Phinehas is you. :)

I can't think of any right now, personal or church related. I am sort of isolated - in great need of real live girl friends. I am taking steps to fix that, just feeling stuck.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Birthday boy

Yesterday was my youngest's birthday. He finally turned 8. I must admit that he is so much different than his sister. He had a pretty good day, with several celebrations and one still on the way. Grandma and Grandpa are coming down tomorrow to see the big birthday boy. They had special treats at school, his daycare lady had cupcakes and we had a birthday party at home with a cake. He had his first sleepover with two friends - I think that is all that I could handle. All they wanted to do was wrestle and throw balls in the house. What is up with that anyway? It seemed to go well and I think that I have readjusted all the pictures on the wall.


Friday, September 28, 2007

Something funny...

Okay, so I am going to my car in between swim meets to get my sack dinner. I had been sitting in a stuffy pool for a couple of hours, putting out fires on the scoring end of the meet. I walk up to "my" car and open the back door to grab my lunch, but there is this big box in the back seat.

The person that actually owns the car is climbing into the driver seat and asks me if I am coming home with them. I just closed the back door and proceeded to my real car! I could not believe that I just did that! And I even have personalized plates!

Needless to say my daughter laughed her head off when I told her! Can you imagine the story the owner of the car told. "Well, you won't believe this, but one of the swim mom's at the meet tried to get into our car today after the meet. Isn't that hilarious!"

I figure we all need to laugh at our selves once in awhile. Maybe it was God's way of saying I was taking myself too seriously. Thanks for laughing with me - or in this case, at me.


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Fall into reading

I am finally posting my Fall Into Reading list. It seems that I have an ongoing list (see sidebar) but this challenge, like it's host Katrina, helps me to get to those pesky non-fiction books that stretch me. I have had a couple - even a couple from the Spring challenge, but I am going to give it another shot. So here is my official list.

9 things you simple must do by Henry Cloud: I started this last spring and I am about half way through it. I am actually trying to apply some of the principles. I really want to get this one done.

Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by JoAnne Weaver: Also a hold over from last spring. I keep reading great reviews and quotes on this. I am going to work on this one next - before the fiction....:)

Now Discover your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham: I acquired this book after hearing him speak at a leadership conference this summer. He is a dynamic speaker and I am hoping the book is just as interesting. I am waiting on the husband for this one. He does so much better at non-fiction than I do!

Holy Discontent by Bill Hybels: This is another great speaker and pastor of Willow Creek Community Church outside Chicago. I read one of his books, Too Busy Not To Pray, in college. It was eye opening. I have a feeling this book might have the same affect. I am hoping to get to it.

Now on to the fiction:

True Light by Terri Blockstock: This is the third book is a series about how the world would function without anything that runs on electricity. Intriguing for my scientific mind.

Sunrise and Summer by Karen Kingsbury: My book list would not be complete without including one of my favorite authors on my reading list. Continuation of the Firstborn series.

Kingdom Come by Tim LaHaye: Last book in the left behind series. It seems like it might be anti climatic, but I will give it a go.

I am sure that I will be adding to my list as I look at other peoples list and read reviews. I love reading and this is so much fun.

Happy Reading everyone!

Swim Sections...

I just had to mention that my girl - my swimming girl - the one that could spend all day in the water-qualified for sections in two events this year as a 9th grader! She qualified for the 100 butterfly with a time of 1:14.93 and she also qualified in her 200 IM (individual medley - 50 of each stroke) with a time of 2:38.

I am her biggest cheerleader and fan. It might be because I am afraid to swim with my head in the water - the side stroke is my favorite! I am amazed that she can jump in and just swim - I have no idea where this love has come from - uh, GOD! She has also managed to juggle her time swimming with doing homework and hanging out with friends.

I just needed to take the time to give her a shout - out! Even if nobody but me reads this...


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Tailbone Revisited

Here is an update on my aging body - it seems that the older I get the harder it is to recover from injuries.

I fell down my stairs last summer sometime. The pain got better and then it got worse. I finally went to the doctor this summer. I figured it would just get better on its own - not so much. The orthopedic surgeon that I was referred to said that it was a tailbone fracture that has now healed at an odd angle and is causing the pain. I got my first cortisone injection yesterday. I must admit that shaking hands with a doctor with your naked butt in the air is close to the most humiliating feeling ever - and I gave birth to two children!

If feels better today, but not gone. My next step is surgery to remove the piece of tailbone that broke off. Apparently it does not serve any purpose and will not be missed by me if it is removed. I am almost to the point of going under the knife to get this pain removed. It really is not much of an honor to carry around a foam donut to sit on in a fancy restaurant - undignified?

I am perservering through this, knowing that God is my great healer. I just want to be able to sit through a movie comfortably or do my scrapbooking without constant up and downs. Thank you all for the prayers and the doctors and God work.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

I AM Study - Lesson 14

It is almost over! It has been such a great adventure. Here are my answers, better late then never.

1. We talked of the importance of encouragement when God has called us to task. Has a lack of encouragement or even ridicule ever taken you back to a place of insufficiency you thought you had conquered?

I think that I struggle more with an independent streak. I have never grown up with a lot of encouragement, but plugged through life. I do find that I don't attempt anything that I think I might fail at. I am horrible at trying new things and testing the waters. Once it works, why try something different?

2. Is there someone you know right now who is attempting a new ministry that could use a world of encouragement from you? Why do you think this thing may be scary for her? Will you commit to write a note, make a call, or send an email with a dose of courage inside?

I don't know any at the moment. I will keep my eyes and ears open.

3. Read Moses' song in Exodus 15:3-18. What line speaks to you most? Why does it touch you?

I know you said verse 3, but I liked verse #2

The Lord is my strength and my song;

he has become my salvation.

He is my God, and I will praise him,

my father's God, and I will exalt him.

Just that if I fail, He is my strength. Even when I feel weak, He is there and I will exalt Him.

4. Based on the applications of living either inside or outside the Promise, where would you now say you currently reside? (As I read your answers, if this one point seems to have been confusing, I'll elaborate in a separate post. Again remember I am asking this question in terms of abundant living and not in determining salvation.;))

I am definitely inside the promise, but trying to grow closer and deeper in my relationship. God is growing me and pruning me.

5. If you are 'Somewhere in the Middle' between the girl you were and the one you want to be, how do you plan on changing that? Is there a barrier you feel you can't climb? Knowing God is for you and this study group is for you, is there a way we can help?

Like many others have said, I think that we are all in the middle. We won't get there until we die and see our Lord in heaven. Every time I think I am close, God shows me another part of my life that needs cleaning and rearranging. I am so grateful that He never gives up on me.

Blessings to all!

God Bless

Monday, September 10, 2007

First week in review

The first week seemed to go well. I feel like I finally have a routine at work and at home. It has been harder this time around then usual. The children actually like school. Eli still does not like getting up early - he is like his mom in this way - both night owls. Charity has her whole weeks outfits picked out - it is all about fashion with that girl. I am trying to learn the names of 90 kids and am still very dependent on my seating charts.

The weekend was full of chores, -laundry, change bedding, vaccuuming, etc. I used every minute possible to read the last Harry Potter book. I just had to get it done! A good read for sure. The weather has finally cooled off. The high all this week is expected to be in the high 60's and low 70's. I just love fall weather! The colors of the leaves and cooler nights are just my cup of tea.

This week has only one swimmeet, so that is good. Church schedules are picking up - so our nights will soon be full. I am going to try and work on the "I AM" study this week. I am only a week behind. Just needed to get this updated.


Monday, September 03, 2007

I am still here...

I am mentally preparing myself for meeting 90 new students tomorrow. I always get a little nervous, even after 10 years of having the first day of school, my stomach gets butterflies and I always pray that I might be more of a help than a hindrance in these students lives.

We have a lot of pre-school meetings - to learn about new studies and what our test results are. I think that they want to encourage us, but somehow it comes across as failure. How much can I do in 85 minutes a day for 9 weeks (45 days)? Can I really change how they see the world? What difference do I really make? Yet, Christ in me shouts, YES, your life makes a difference because I died for you. I want to glorify Him in this public school that I call work. I want to build relationships with kids that are lonely, to make connections. I want to be that teacher that kids remember made a difference. The funny thing is that I don't know if I am making any impact - they will rarely come back and thank me - oh the life of a teacher. If your kids have not returned to school yet, please remember to pray for them as they get on those buses and enter our hallways. As a teacher, we care about them as much as you do!

In preparation, I have pretty much secluded myself and been reading Harry Potter. I do enjoy the story, but haven't finished it yet. There is so much controversy, but this is what kids are reading and I can see why. The boy has been getting his last hours of play with the neighbor kids and the girl went away for the weekend with a friend with a cabin. It has been very quiet around our house this weekend - just like I like it. I don't know that I would like it all the time, but it has been nice, knowing in less than 24 hours I will be surrounded. The husband is just biding his time - complaining of the annual headache and stomachache before the first day of school. He is also a teacher (5th grade). I have given him a project that requires power tools and that should keep him occupied for the afternoon. We will both be fine after the first bell.

I have also been fighting with so many computer and silly issues that take my time. I volunteered to help with the new scoring system for my daughters swim team. The computer we used last year is broken and the new one is not talking with the scoring system at the pool. I had to enter everything manually - ug! Technology is great when it works. The GREAT thing is that Charity is swimming on Varsity this year as a 9th grader. She is actually not too happy about it since she has to practice longer. She has already beat her time on the 200 IM from last year. I am sooo proud of her.

Anyway, I am rambling on, probably because I haven't blogged for so long. Thanks for reading and have a great start to the school year.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

I AM - Lesson 13

It has taken me awhile with the start of school, etc, but I have finally finished this weeks lesson. Lisa is starting a new session of this study next week. So if you are interested, stop by and join in.

1. Do you struggle with a sense of self-worth? How do you perceive this has affected the way you are able to 'keep your head upright'? If not, do you know someone who suffers in this area?

The first thing that came to mind was that it depends on what part of the “world” I am comparing myself to. I am fairly confident and feel worthy when I am in the academic or church world. But once I step into talking about business sense or athletic ability – I feel my worth going down.

Isn’t that strange when my worth is not because of what I do, but I have inherent worth because Jesus created me and loves me. This question is a good reminder of that. This verse came to mind:

Romans 14
7For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. 8If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

9For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.

2. What are you most afraid of? Does this fear affect the way you move through life? (Ex. Are you overprotective with children? Afraid to take risks?)

I am most afraid of failure. I will often not follow God’s prompting if it seems that I will fail at it. I know what I am good at and often won’t try new things if I can’t be the best. I did take a risk a couple of years ago when I became a Creative Memories consultant. It really stretched me to meet new people and share a product I loved to use. I only did it for a couple of years, but it was one of the few things I have done outside of my comfort zone.

3. What is one of the most marvelous ways God has provided a need? I can't wait to hear your stories on this one!

It is Parade of Homes time here in MN. This is where you can go drool over those new houses and dream about all the remodeling you are now going to do.

We went on this tour 11 years ago now to dream. We were in the process of looking at houses to buy and having no luck, so we went to dream one Saturday. We found a model we loved, but it still seemed out of our price range, until we talked financing. We both had finished college and were hoping that our pay would increase from student level to employed level.

We took the leap and looked for a lot to build our dream home on. I love trees – Colorado has very few. We saw the perfect lot for the perfect price – mature oak trees with some maples thrown in to add color. We know now that this was a God thing. We desired to be in a neighborhood that knew each other – ministry in your own backyard. We love living here, even with some of our quirky neighbors. God is SO GOOD!

4. Steve Brown, a Moody Broadcasting Bible Teacher, is one of the first people I ever heard teach the concept that God was not mad at me. I grew up in a denomination that led me to believe He was in a continuous state of disappointment over my failures. How about you? Though in your heart you know God says He loves you, does Satan in your mind ever try to convince you otherwise?

I think that I always knew that God loved me, I struggled with the whole forgiveness piece. How long would He forgive? Did he hold a grudge? One of my favorite verses that helps me remember the answers to these questions is

Psalm 103
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;

12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

5. How close are you to your own Promised Land? Not at all, 1/2 way, almost there? By this I mean the place of abundant living and effectiveness here on earth, not the ultimate fulfillment in Glory! Though I hope you are going to heaven, I don't want it to be today! :)

Maybe a little past 1/2 way. I have so much! A job I love (most of the time), a husband that is devoted to me and my kids, great kids that are growing in Christ, a home that I enjoy coming home to and a great church that is following the mission to reach others for Christ. I am still searching to see where I fit in that “church”, but I am looking and exploring and doing.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

New Books to Read

Please note my to read list. I am trying to read a bunch of Chemistry related books that will be offered to my students for extra credit reading. The ones by Camille Minichino are murder mysteries based on the elements. These will be fun. Some of the others are non-fiction, but hopefully written well. They come highly recommended.

So, if you are interested, or your own children are, jump on in and join me in this Chemistry reading bonanza!

New School Year

I have been busy going to in-service meetings for school and have not had a lot of time to write. We have 3 extra days this year for training. I guess that every little bit can help. Here are some highlights from the last week.

*Eli finished level 2 of swimming and passed. He is almost finished with his baseball clinic. He says that swimming is more fun but that he still likes baseball. Will I be spending more hours in the pool in years to come?

*We attended another music festival last Friday called Higher Ground in Winsted, MN. This was a much smaller scale then SonShine in July. We mostly went because Third Day, one of Roger's favorite bands, was playing. Eli also got to see GO FISH again. If you haven't heard them, they have the best kids music ever!

*Charity is back in swimming. She has 4 hour practices and is a little sore at the moment. I am also in parent support mode for her. I have learned how to use the scoring system and have several trainings coming up this week. Pray that I will do my best and let go. I tend to not share my knowledge sometimes.

I think that is it for now. I love you all. Thanks for reading.


Monday, August 13, 2007

Lots of Learning

I have been sitting under the teaching of some great leaders the past couple of days at the leadership conference held by Willow Creek Association. Our church is a satellite site. I find myself in leadership type positions, but don’t ever plan on being in official church leadership. I am the kind of person that likes to soak in the wisdom of others in order to find a bit of truth that will teach me more about God and who I should be in Him.

Here is a couple things that stuck out:

Bill Hybels, senior pastor at Willow Creek, opened the conference with a talk called “A Vision to die for”. He shared from John 10, where Jesus is comparing the hired hands to the owners of the sheep. The owners are willing to die for the sheep while the hired hands will run away. He shared his method of creating an atmosphere of ownership.

Marcus Buckingham, author of “Now Discover Your Strengths”, spoke about strengths. This really intrigued me. It turns out that we spend lots of time trying to improve in our weak areas instead of working in our strengths. He had worked for Gallup and had a lot of poll data to back up these thoughts. This was one of my favorite speakers this week. I am trying to find his book and put it on my to read list.
3 Myths
1. As you grow, your personality changes. False. As you grow, you become more of who you are already.
2. You’ll grow most in your areas of weaknesses. False. You grow the most where you are strongest.
3. A great team member puts his strengths aside for the sake of the team. Wrong. A great team finds the strengths of its volunteers and uses them for the sake of the team.

Micheal Porter, expert on competitive strategy. I was not looking forward to hearing him, but found his point of view about how non-profits us there money fascinating. He really suggested defining a goal and determining what to do to solve that problem. Then, we need to get the most value for our money and time.
For example: Provide homes for the homeless. Get volunteers, supplies and build a house for $150k or just pay an expert (contractor) $75K?
Very thought provoking.

John Ortberg, pastor, author and speaker. He is one of my favorites and to hear him speak was a real treat. He used the book of Esther to talk about our “other” missions that sometimes get in the way of the real mission that God has in mind for us. He called these a “shadow mission”. He said that everyone has one. You can tell it is a shadow mission – because you are never satisfied. Truly wonderful.

I can’t possible capture in this short post all the inspiration I got from hearing wise leaders speak. I am invigorated to go and serve – truly believing that my mission to teach is before me.

Blessings and thanks for reading!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Personality Type

I was doing some research for an inservice at school and this is what I found out. It kind of fits. What type are you?

Thursday, August 09, 2007

I AM - Lesson 12

These passages that Lisa at the Preacher’s Wife picked, Exodus 33 and John 14, are packed full of meaning. Thank you Lisa for sorting through it all to bring us meaning as a group of bloggers.

It is interesting to me how well they connect to the first sesson of this conference my husband and I are attending. To me it reads as “vision casting”. God/Jesus are both creating ownership in Moses/the disciples – to follow and believe even unto death. God knows his people – He knows that they need to be reminded of the promised land and to be led by God Himself. Moses is the first owner in all of this.

Now onto the questions

1. We discussed how we are God's fame and He is ours. Have you ever been in a situation where you are applauded for your ministry and had to fight back the idol of pride? Ever been tempted to believe your own press? It's okay to admit it! Your testimony will help others in their resolve!

I sometimes think of my classroom as my “ministry”. There are 3 chemistry teachers in our building. We all work together to write curriculum, but we have different styles of teaching the same topics. Some students will like one teacher more than another. I tend to be more stand offish and not real personable – rules are rules type of teacher. I am getting better at listening and compromising without losing the rigor and learning that the students need.

I do struggle sometimes with not being a very “popular” teacher because I have set rules and deadlines. I did have a year that I was “popular” and it did go to my head. I thought, “Wow, look at the connections I am making! What a great teacher I am!”. God pulled me back and reminded me that it isn’t about being “popular”, but being a light for Christ in the public school. I really had to step back and refocus on why I was in the school – and it wasn’t to relive my high school years.

2. Did it ever occur to you in the 3-way drama of God, Job, and Satan that Satan was the only one outside the loop as far as Job's reactions would be? Does this encourage you in resolving to make a fool of him when he attempts to use you to defame the Name?

I guess that I always thought that Job had a choice – which he did, but God knew Job’s character, just like He knows mine. God knows my very being as well. If God is for me, who can stand against me. That is quite a thought and maybe one that kept Job going.

3. Are you in a situation now where you feel you are being overcome? Better yet, are you in a situation where you should have been overcome but are not?

For once, I must say that I am not in that place.

4. Have you failed in a Satan-designed trial? Can you recognize God intends for this failure to refine and resolve you for next time? God is not out for your destruction but your perfection!

Who is to say that I am important enough in the kingdom for Satan to pay much attention to me personally? Yet, I believe that I have fallen for the oldest lies from the beginning of time – that sex outside of marriage will fill the void that only God can fill. I have struggled with this since the hormones kicked in in high school. Even after I found Christ, I fell to this temptation. God has continued to refine me – even though I will never be perfect. I am learning to enjoy sex within marriage and to refuse anything else. God is so faithful!

5. Can you describe yourself as a Wonders Junkie? Found yourself in spiritual highs and lows depending on whether you perceived God was doing wondrous things or not?

I have tried my best to see the little “wonders” in life to hold all the power that “big” wonders hold. Sometimes it is the sunset, sometimes it is knowing that I wasn’t on a bridge when it collapsed. Now that I try to spend regular times with God, my highs and lows are not so pronounced and I am able to be thankful and aware of so much more.

6. Have you ever been like Philip and had God right in your face and not recognized Him?

Probably, but I can’t think of a time at the moment.

7. Journal a brief prayer asking God for His Glory. Let it be the thing we all desire above all else.....

Lord Jesus, thank you so much for teaching me about who you are – even the little glimpses are amazing to me. You know my coming and my going, even how many hairs are on my head. Help me to desire you and always seek you first. The world is so “busy” – help me to choose the better thing – your face. Thank you Jesus for the women in this study and all that I am learning.

Blessing to all

End of Summer

Summer is going by so quickly! I will be going back to being a working mom come August 20th. My hats off to all of you that stay at home with your children – you truly have hearts of gold. I am just exhausted and truly ready to return to the classroom and some routine. I think that is more my problem – no routine in the summer. It is scary to say this, but I need to go back to work to get some rest?

We, my family and I, had a great surprise this week when one of my first friends in MN came to visit all the way from Israel. C, her husband and three kids spent the night Monday and most of the day Tuesday before they headed north to her parents. She has been in living in Israel for 10 years, I think, and so loves the people and the culture. It is such a joy to hear about how life is in another land and to imagine living where Jesus walked and preached. It is also a land with lots of political unrest and potential war – the stories of going to a bomb shelter are not a common occurrence anywhere in the States. She is safe and I am grateful that we had a chance to connect. It has been a couple of years and her kids are growing so quickly. It isn’t easy to stay in touch, but I really want to go visit and we have a place to stay and personal tour guides to boot. Now to pinch and save for those plane tickets…(C, are your sure you would be ready for this?)

Other news, my girl turned 14 on Aug. 4th and is having a “Spa Night” here this weekend. I think that it is just an excuse to stay up late and talk about boys. Oh, the hours spent… I am just glad that she has some good friends to share those things with. Afterall, I am the mom and just don’t “know” about those things.

Eli is busy finishing off his summer with a baseball clinic twice a week and swimming lessons. He was so excited today to tell me that he got to swim across the width of the pool. He is learning how to do the breathing part of the freestyle stroke – he says it is hard. I know because that is a skill that I still can’t do. I might have to take lessons myself.

Roger and I are attending a leadership conference at church the next couple of days. Our chuch is a sattelite site for Willow Creeks Leadership Conference held every August. Last year I heard some great pastors and business leaders speak on so many topics. I am excited to share this experience with my husband this year. Even though we are not in church leadership – it can translate to the classroom and other areas of life. Please pray that God may speak to all that attend so that the church my grow and glorify Him.

That is all for now. Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Armadillos and other Texas stuff

Hello ya'll! This is one of the phrases I came back with from the great state of Texas. It was not my first visit there, but it has been awhile. I attended a Chemistry Teachers conference held every two years called Chem Ed. This year it was held in Denton at UNT. I was a little worried about going to Texas at the end of July, but the weather was unseasonable cool - upper eighties and partly cloudy. Trust me this is hot to a northerner like me!

Our theme for the demonstrations at the conference was that everything had to be BIG - afterall, we were in Texas. So I learned with a little creativity how to make some of my favorite chemical demonstrations Texas size. It really was tons of fun. We had a speaker share his research on Texas BBQ vs. North Carolina BBQ. I truly did not know that there was a difference - but one is a vinegar/acid base (NC) and the other is sugar/molasses base (TX). We also got a chance to sample the BBQ at our last nights festivities where I got to race an armadillo! It was pretty funny and I didn't even need anything to drink. My armadillo lost, but the picture to bring home was so worth it!

I also spent a morning on a tour of the Texas Motor Speedway outside of Dallas/Fort Worth. This was my first experience seeing a NASCAR track up close. They were working on the track - so we did not get to do a pace lap. I was amazed at the size - tv just does not do it justice. We could get a 64 seat suite for $100,000 a year - anyone interested? Just kidding!

I also got the chance to see one of my best friends from high school - sort or our own mini 20 year reunion. It was really totally coincidence, but what a great thing. We had a chance to catch up on the news of each others families. So, I give a great big shout out to MJKR! It was great fun!

Blessings to all and thanks for reading!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Thankfulness and Sadness

I am making a short entry here in the DFW airport to ask for prayer. As many of you know, I live in MN - I happen to live just north of the Twin Cities. I am thankful today that my family is safe - we don't travel into the cities very often. Please, please pray for our community - I am guessing that many of you are already. My heart breaks for the families as they wait to find loved ones.

I am always made so aware of how short life is when something like this happens. I pray that this tragedy will help people seek God. Pray for people's hearts to be open - to realize that life is really not in our control. May the believers in our area be a light in a dark place for those seeking meaning and refuge. Amen!


Sunday, July 29, 2007


I am currently (sort - of) packing up the last of my travel items to head to DFW in Texas for a chemistry teachers conference until Thursday. It will be fun as a co-worker and I dive into the mysteries of teachering. Please say a prayer for my family and for safe travel. I may still be lurking if they have internet access.


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I AM Study - Lesson 11

Thank you Lisa for taking the time to do this study for us. Hope your mission trip is inspiring! Please join us at The Preacher's Wife for a full explanation.

1. When is the last time you encountered a Fist Shaker? This may be a stranger to you or as close as a loved one in your own home. Does anything in our description help you to understand their animosity towards God? Are you able to have more compassion towards them?

It is interesting that Lisa labels it "fist shaker". That is exactly how we represented our rebellion against God when we did mime. We shook our fist at the sky, as if that was showing God.

When I first read the description, I immediately thought about the women that are Pro-choice and are protesting. Because of my past, I am more than ever pro-life. But, these women are often fist shakers. They are afraid to lose control and confess their sin. The harm of abortion is so much greater than giving birth to a child and living with the consequences of that. Like Lisa said,"Often, when people are threatened with impending judgment, instead of submitting to the one who has power to execute justice they instead go into defense mode."

2. Does anything about Rahab's redemption strike a nerve? This may be a question you would like to ponder privately. Sexual sin and/or victimization can be an area where Satan has an enormous stronghold because it can hold so many painful and shameful memories. If Rahab teaches us anything, please know God can redeem any life and any situation, no matter how heinous it seems, and plant you unashamedly 'in the midst of Israel'. Rahab deserved death according to Mosaic Law, however she was shown nothing but lovingkindness by the God and nation of Israel.

I was not truly inspired by this question, even though my "sin" falls into the sexual category. Then, I began to think about the redemption that occurred for her family as well. Because of her belief and actions, not just Rehab, but her entire family - mother, father, siblings and relatives (anybody that would fit into her house) were saved. I can see the sin of addiction and sexual sin passed on from generation to generation in my family tree. My grandmother was married 7 times, my mother has been married twice and I am sure that it goes back further. I want to be able to pass down a legacy like Rehab - that my tiny mustard seed of faith has saved my family.

3. Is there an area of your life in which you feel you have come full circle? Where you've come to a place where everything and nothing are the same? (I'm thinking Lord of the Rings when Frodo goes back to the Shire after his long adventure. You have no clue what I just said if you are not an LOTR nerd so just ignore this if it doesn't make sense! :)

Sometimes I see that with my relationship with God. I have been in this valley or moutaintop and know what God can do, even though it feels the same it just isn't. I have a better grasp of scripture and who God is (not a perfect understanding mind you) and so God will often deal with me in a different way. It is sort of a comfortable place to be - knowing that God is watching over me.

4. When you were born again, did you gain a new appreciation for your surroundings as Rahab did when she received the Promise along with the Promised Land? Has some old place, object, or relationship been redeemed by now serving a 'high and holy purpose'?

My promised land ended up being 1000 miles away from those places. I am still praying about how and if my relationship with my parents will ever happen. Prayers are needed here.

5. Believers can still be Fist Shakers. Do you have circumstances in your life in which you find yourself shaking your fist at God? Something He has asked you to endure, asked you to do, seemingly taken away from you? Can you see how shaking your fist is keeping you from your Promise? (I'm not talking eternal security here - Only abundant living.)

None that I can think of now. I am feeling truly blessed. Yet, there have been times in my life when I felt that I deserved so much more and was a snotty child and had tantrums. I am sure those times will happen again....


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

In my absence

I have not posted in a while since the girl has discovered myspace - she is chatting online. Maybe it is time to get WIFI for the house! Maybe I can save some money in other areas to be able to afford this.

Anyway, what have I been doing. I finally took a couple of days to scrapbook. I have been neglecting this. The weather has been so nice here that it is hard to stay inside. Also, this requires sitting - which is not always so comfortable for the tailbone even with the plastic donut. So, it finally got hot again here - in the 90's with tons of humidity and I sat inside and worked on my books.

I have several going at once - but don't hate me, I truly love to chronicle our lives. I finished Charity's school book. I will need to start a new one now that she is in 9th grade and officially a high schooler. Eli's is caught up as well. It is nice to get things sorted and organized. I am also working on the family book - christmas, birthdays, snowdays, etc. I am a little behind on that one. I am also excited to get our dam pictures - no real dams on the Mississippi - into the Dam album. I know, I am a little childish! A couple more stops and we will be done. We figure that our trip will be done by the time the girl graduates from high school and then who knows what adventure we will be onto next.

I also devoured the last book in the Firstborn series by Kingsbury. I will try and post a review later. I try to pace myself with her books - otherwise my family thinks I have abandoned them.

What else? Oh yes, I have decided to volunteer in our church's coffee shop to serve. Yes, we have a coffee shop with donuts, lattes and cappacinos. I am just starting to learn the register and move up to the fancy coffees. Could be fun!

I also helped my husband move some "free" wood. We use that in our wood stove in the winter. A neighbor on the next block took down about 10 trees and was getting rid of the wood. So in my wimpiness, I helped him load the trailer and pile it in the backyard. It needs to sit for a winter and cure. It was hot work, but we kept telling ourselves that it was "free". I am sure that we will appreciate it in January when it is 20 below.

I think that is all from here. I need to catch up on my blog reading. Thanks for reading

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

More stories of SonShine

Here are a couple more stories from our family trip to SonShine.

1) During the Reliant K concert on Sat. evening, a person in an ultra light parachute plane was flying over and around the grounds. This band is extremely random anyway – so they just added it to their lyrics. “Hey parachute man – you must have done something right!”. It was so fun. That is why you go to live concerts, to here the stories and see what they are really like in “real” life.

2) We don’t stay on the grounds of the festival. We choose to stay in a nearby state campground. This gives us more access to showers – which I really appreciate after sitting in the sun all day. We usually show up in the afternoon sometime and hunt for a spot to put our chairs and listen to the music. Many people arrive early in the am and lay out tarps. This one youth pastor asked us to share his tarp with his group. He said that they just had too much space since most of the youth go up to the mosh pit at the front during the concert. It was such an incredible blessing to us! (Which reminds me – I need to send a thank you card!). We had a great view and wonderful time of worship.

3) At the festival, they had an inflatable park. You know, the kind with slides and such. It was $10 for an all day pass. Eli loves music, but having to sit is almost torture for him. He is an active boy. This was the best money that we spent all weekend. He even met some boys that he hung out with for one of the afternoons.

4) I am not sure if I should share this, but what the heck. We were driving to the festival, my husband had a dried booger and his finger. I offered him a Kleenex, but he had already flung it out the window. Can you even believe that! So much for the bumper sticker that says “Back off or I will fling a booger on you!”. Apparently my husband will really do that. We laughed and laughed over that – it was such strange behavior for him.

I am sure there is so much more to share, but that is all from here. Time to move on and wash those smelly sleeping bags and catch up on the housework.

Thanks for reading