He❤️rt Lessons

This is my son Warren’s first year in public school and he’s loving it! In fact the other day I casually asked him if he wanted to be in public school or homeschooled again and he informed me that no way was he doing school at home again… “sorry mom,” he said, “but I can actually understand math now!” …well okay then son!

This past week they had to make Valentine boxes. I wish I had thought to take a picture of it for the sake of this post but I wasn’t that organized and it’s at school now, so no picture at the moment. He made a shoebox to look like a Pokeball (Pokémon) by painting it with red, white, and black. It turned out nice and was super simple. I bought him a large bag of individually packaged Skittles candies with Valentine cards to attach and pass out for their class party.

The evening that he made out the Valentine cards he happened to have his homeschooled sister help with the job. I didn’t think anything of it and heard the two of them spouting out his classmate’s names along with teacher’s names as they wrote them out.

After I had put kiddos to bed that night, I gathered up Warren’s Valentine box and cards and quickly noticed that on the from line where his name should go, it instead read ‘From: Somebody.’ I rifled through the cards and to my dismay observed that each card had been signed in the same way…

From: Somebody

Oh boy, I thought!!! He’s made an ex-homeschooler, rookie-Cupid mistake!! I headed straight to my groggy boy’s bedside.

“Warren, um why did you write from ‘Somebody’ on each of the Valentine cards? I should’ve explained it better that your name should’ve been signed on the ‘from line.’ Now your classmates or teachers won’t know the card was from you,” I gently declared.

“Mom it doesn’t matter, it’s just for fun and I’m not worried if they know it’s from me or not.”

I paused for a few thoughtful seconds, “you know that actually reminds me of a verse in the Bible that talks about not letting others know specifically of your good deeds toward them because we don’t need to be looking for attention when we give.”

“See mom I helped you think of that,” he replied with pure satisfaction and was soon fast asleep.

Matthew 6:2-4 says, “When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.”

Candy isn’t a necessity, although it is a special, sweet treat every now and then. The above verses obviously aren’t referring to kids celebrating Valentine’s Day with a class party but these verses echo the scene and heart of my son. He wasn’t concerned about receiving recognition, praise, or thank you’s from his cheerful giving; he simply wanted to have fun — without the desire to draw attention to himself in the midst.

Oh how often I tend to be the opposite! I love to give gifts but quite honestly I (selfishly) love the reaction from the receiver as well! Like I want to know that I was able to bless that person!

Giving is a beautiful thing…but if it’s done with the slightest bit of selfish intention it’s not in the best interests of the receiving end. This awareness causes me to take those verses from Matthew 6 into deeper consideration.

I think a majority of my giving goes toward tithing — but if I wasn’t getting to sign my name on my check would I be as excited to turn it into the offering plate on Sunday morning? If the elders, deacons, or church staff didn’t see my name attached to my share of giving would I be okay with that? And I think the harsh reality, as I ponder that idea, is a big no — I wouldn’t be as content with tithing.

Too often I get caught up in the “I’m doing the right thing by giving” rather than being content with being an unknown “somebody” kind of giver.

1 Samuel 16:7b reminds me that, “people look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”…Such an important perspective in this.

So as I reflect on this scenario with my son and those Valentine cards from “somebody”, I want it to serve as a heartfelt reminder of the words in Matthew 6 and 1 Samuel 16 — remembering that giving (whether it’s through random acts of kindness, tithing, or gifting) should never include honor and glory for ourselves and it truly shows off best when done in secret for only God to see and for His purpose. Our giving (as Christians) should fully point to God who gave us the best gift through Christ — with unconditional love as His primary motive!

Walking in the Light

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

2 Corinthians 5:17

I don’t know about anyone else, but for myself I’ve needed the reminder of that promising verse many times.

Because, frequently, Satan longs to infuse the negative over me—there are times when he holds me back mentally, taunting me with my past…times when he tries to drag me down and I allow him to. Moments where I focus more on the world’s ways rather than Christ’ truth. Days where I feel like all I see is a mess rather than a message—where I only hear the disappointment rather than encouragement.

It’s in those doubting episodes that I have to glean insight from God’s steadfast promises, holding onto the hope that I am absolutely not defined by my past; and as a believer I’m made new in Christ just like the above verse states. Continue reading “Walking in the Light”

Drive It Like You Own It

This isn’t the post I intended on writing this week…but when God prompts I’ve learned to respond so here we go…

I’ve been driving my husband’s ginormous truck for the past week now, my grocery getter is out of commission for the time being.

Before I get to the point of this post let me tell you a few of the issues I have with this truck: first off, Nate has it all jacked up, so for a mama who never quite made it to five foot it’s not really ideal. Secondly the other day when I subbed for P.E. class I had driven the truck to work and it just so happens there’s a sticker placed perfectly in the center of the back glass of an AR rifle. My husband is an avid hunter, sorry PETA….anyway when I pulled up to the school I thought about how this sticker may be offensive, therefore I was slightly paranoid for the next few hours that the school principal might show up in the gym and interrogate me, thankfully nothing ever came of it.

…Now this next part I’m dishing out for free, for your entertainment and pleasure…on Wednesday I stopped at the bank and decided it’d be best for me to run inside rather than attempt the drive-thru for fear of wiping out the building (or the truck). As I was getting ready to leave the lobby, our banker greeted me and casually asked, “Can I watch you get back into that truck?” ….ummm great grief, are you kidding me?!! Thanks for making it even more awkward lady!!… Continue reading “Drive It Like You Own It”

A Solid Foundation

Last Saturday my husband and I ventured out to his great grandparent’s retired farmstead to cut firewood. Since I’m no Paul Bunyan I let Nate do the wood cutting and in the meantime I went and explored, (no worries I helped carry and load the wood later). This is probably my third time throughout the past ten years nosing around this particular property…but for me it never gets old. I feel like there’s always some new little nook or cranny just waiting to be stumbled upon or observed. And safety precautions….well out there you just have to enter at your own risk…

Seeing all the antiqued equipment and many dilapidated structures is proof enough that the work in those days was no doubt extensive yet the idea of it creates such a desirable nostalgic feeling deep within me.

Continue reading “A Solid Foundation”

Keeping the Christmas Spirit Going

It seems like once the New Year arrives people have often times moved beyond the Christmas spirit or season and are now fixated on new beginnings, keeping trendy resolutions, and sometimes creating outlandish goals for the upcoming year.

It’s almost as if the New Year pours in and Christmas is drowned out, right?

I’m seriously as guilty as they come with quickly moving on to my New Year resolutions.

In fact, a few weeks ago my husband commented that he wanted to start running to help get in shape. But then nothing came of it. Oddly enough some of our good friends contacted us the other day asking if we’d like to participate in a half marathon happening at the beginning of May. With the idea of motivation to spur us along in our new goal of running this year, we reluctantly committed…so now we’re signed up to compete in this half marathon that we’re absolutely (equally) unprepared for and clueless about.😂 Continue reading “Keeping the Christmas Spirit Going”

A Lasting Season of Joy

This past month, in my fourth and fifth grade Sunday school class, I’ve been working through a lesson on the topic of joy with the kids. They’ve shared about circumstances that seem unfair and yet they can pinpoint how joy can be found in that situation nevertheless.

For example when a friend breaks a promise, doesn’t keep their word, and let’s us down we can choose to find joy in the fact that God always keeps His promises. He’s the author of the Living Word. And He will never let us down; Psalm 54:4 reminds us that ‘God is our helper and the upholder of our lives.’ People are imperfect and fallible, but when we consider our relationships we can find joy in the truth that God is always trustworthy and capable with us. Continue reading “A Lasting Season of Joy”

Quiet Time Necessity

Sometimes when I substitute teach, my job assignment stretches beyond the classroom.

Recently I ended up in the school’s lunchroom to supervise bubbly elementary students. An extended squirming hand raised high let’s the adults know when attention is needed—usually indicating milk cartons are being stubborn and extra help is needed in opening them, maybe a kiddo wants permission to pass on their veggies, or he or she is ready to dump their tray once they’ve finished eating.

While I helped a few weeks ago, a hand went up and I walked over.

A little girl, probably second grade, looked up at me with sad eyes and I knew we weren’t dealing with regular lunch issues. I knelt down beside her and asked what was wrong. With tears welled in the corners of her eyes she spoke through pouty lips, “I want to sit alone right now.”

“Well why? What’s going on?” I asked with concern. Continue reading “Quiet Time Necessity”