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!