The Other Day I Substitute Taught…

20161118_102321I haven’t written a poem in years…in fact I wasn’t even sure I remembered how!

But recently I’d been thinking about how it’d be sweet to set just a little time aside and see what I could come up with…I just wasn’t sure I’d make time to do so.

I’ve been substitute teaching a lot these days and although I love it (MOST DAYS)… there are some that seem as though they’re going to refuse to end!!

And yesterday was one of those days…

I subbed, I came home exhausted, and when I JUST wanted to sleep in the early morning hours of the night—I lay awake…with rhyming words bouncing in my head…(oh and someone’s dog barking wildly).

Seriously?…I thought to myself…

I considered grabbing my phone and taking notes at 3 A.M. because that’s what I’ve done in the past when words have come to me…but not this time!

I forced my mind to shut down and somehow I fell asleep…at last…

…And a few hours later I woke up to a combination of alarm clock noise and rhyming words and phrases streaming through my head..

Kids loud, too proud…

Time better tick,                                  it better move quick.

Hmm…I could go somewhere with this I began to think. Continue reading “The Other Day I Substitute Taught…”

Beyond THE CROSS…what does it mean to you?

We see them displayed in homes, dangling from necklaces, even situated high on hilltops…1522589831367-1350205782

THE CROSS—some with intricate detail, others with simple yet solemn features15225900410202099456184

Recorded in Genesis 3, we learn where Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating the fruit in the Garden of Eden…

Thus sin irrefutably began and has been an ongoing consequence ever since.

As a result, in the Old Testament times God required animal sacrifices, the shedding of blood, which provided an evanescent covering over sins. (Leviticus 4)

The sinner could then receive and experience temporary forgiveness, making the person right with God. However this was a repeat process, because the animal could never purify one’s conscience from sinful deeds the way Jesus’ blood would be able to. Hebrews 10:11-12

But why Blood? Continue reading “Beyond THE CROSS…what does it mean to you?”

First Jesus, then coffee…for His Purpose: Part 1

 

IMG_7284(1)
Adelina, thanks for having me do your senior photo shoot, sooo fun!!           Blessings for your future…Psalm 46:5

 

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Matthew 5:6

    “I can’t believe you use to be wild, you don’t seem like the type”…….That’s the typical statement I hear after sharing my testimony (my story of coming to faith). And it humbles me, it’s a sure-sign indicator that I must be doing something right these days! Whew!!!

Recently I’ve been mentally preparing to give my testimony to a group of high school teenage girls from my church.

When my sweet friend and also fellow youth leader asked if I’d share my story with these girls I wish I could say my first thought was, ‘this is the group that meets at a coffee shop for bible study every Saturday morning… there’s going to be an abundance of flavored creamer for a little bit of coffee…why, YES I’ll speak for  you gals!’ BUT that’s far-fetched from my initial reaction…it was more so, ‘you want me to do what???, these girls are going to reject me, what do I include and what do I somewhat sugar-coat???, where do I start and how much needs to be said?’…

There’s a reason I volunteer to help with the jr. high youth group (only)—they’re fun, crazy, and most impressionable…but the high school group I’m not real familiar with and I’ve somewhat distanced myself, not because I don’t care for them but more so because when I was that age I was (regretfully) a mess of a girl, so perhaps I feel somewhat unable to connect with a majority of them…

Continue reading “First Jesus, then coffee…for His Purpose: Part 1”

Surrendering Victoriously

IMG951306I recently finished teaching my little home-schooled boy a lesson in his history book regarding the Revolutionary War (1775-1781). Many battles took place during those years as our country fought the British in effort to gain independence from them.

It wasn’t until 1781 that victory came to the American people with the help of the French soldiers at Yorktown, Virginia when the British were trapped, and their General, Charles Cornwallis, agreed to surrender.

Imagine the excitement the Americans must have felt at that moment. The Declaration of Independence had been signed years prior and now the long and no doubt tiresome war would finally cease.

I think my son (if he would have lived during those years) would have humbly and nobly signed a 57th signature to that very important document. He’s also mentioned he would have fought right beside those brave Colonists, which comes as no surprise since he can often be spotted mimicking a combination of victory and defeat while acting out a war scene between an assortment of  Lego action figures.

As we studied this chapter on early American history my little “historian” thoroughly soaked it all in, which prompted me to take the discussion a bit further by challenging him on the topic of ‘surrender.’

While exploring the broad areas of surrender my boy voluntarily commented how a combination of Legos and electronics consumes much of his free-time and how he may need to consider “surrendering” some of that to something of more value and worthwhile.

I hadn’t really considered the many different ways surrender can take place until this point… Continue reading “Surrendering Victoriously”

But He’s in Heaven Now…

20171203_083202He walked over to my “temporary” desk while I substitute taught and the words abruptly and nonchalantly spilled from his mouth, “my dad just recently died.”

Taken aback, I looked up from the top of my glasses and the pile of papers I’d been sorting to place a face to the small voice that had just offered me such matter-of-fact information. A young boy of about ten years old with light-colored hair, freckles, and a fair skin tone stood just feet away from me.

My mind quickly searched for words of comfort to give and with concern shown on my face the normal cliché consoling-phrase jumped its way out, “I’m really sorry.” …and I really meant it, but as I offered those overused words, my heart felt unsatisfied and desired to extend on the moment.

Continue reading “But He’s in Heaven Now…”

Hope in Jesus Equals Peace…& learning from an old woman’s misery…

For years now I’ve worked at a nursing home where I doll-up ladies and trim men’s hair one day out of the week. Most of these men and women will complete their last years of life here so it gives me such an opportunity to analyze my outlook on life as I build relationships with this elderly generation and learn about and from their lives.

20171107_093548

I’ll always remember one of my ladies who had her hair “fixed” weekly by me, she always seemed to be in a positive state of mind…until I’d seat her in the salon chair…anyone with a “cosmetology degree” knows that with that degree comes more than just hair— somewhere hidden in that name must include: counselor.

This woman would desperately pour out her heart to me. She would agonize over what a lousy mother she had been, how she had experienced an unfair marriage, put in overtime hours while her children were raised by grandparents… Continue reading “Hope in Jesus Equals Peace…& learning from an old woman’s misery…”

Sin City…More Than Just a Vegas Thing

Las Vegas has been referred to as “Sin City” for decades and some senseless man’s recent incongruity couldn’t more accurately fit the nickname, as bullets poured down on an innocent group of people who were expecting an evening of pleasure only to end up in a realistic nightmare.

20171013_185416

Instances such as this leave citizens wondering why…

Why is it that families can’t participate in movie outings, attend church or school, and other events without the lingering thought of safety issues?…

These are places that have been fabricated to fulfill the desire of happiness, fun, and necessity in the lives of children and adults alike, more importantly as ways to promote healthy family memories. Yet in the news it’s becoming the normal to hear of an event or location saturated with merciless sin as a result of one’s act of carelessness.

I don’t understand when these places became a monster’s playground. I don’t understand why some people are motivated by destruction and hurt.

What I do know is that evil exist this side of Heaven; it’s been in effect since Eve’s disobedient bite of fruit thousands of years ago in the Garden of Eden as she gave in to Satan’s evil lies (Genesis 3). Sin has been an ongoing disaster generation after generation and it will inevitably continue until Christ’s return to gather His followers.

However God has created each of us with minds that can choose― choose to follow Him or deny Him, choose to render positive influence and encouraging examples to the world, or choose to ignore or even contribute to the ugliness…and if I’m real with myself, often times I choose the latter of these.

God’s word tells us, “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31)…meanwhile I’m so wrapped up in my own busy life that I’m neglecting to realize people who are desperately in need exist outside of the responsibility of my home and family, therefore I allow a void in one of God’s most important commandments that He’s given.

The distressing truth is that “Sin City” isn’t just a Vegas thing. It has penetrated every part of the world. It’s found in our neighborhoods and sometimes inside the doors of our residence. It shows up in the form of lying, killing, stealing, cheating, hatred, neglect and is by no means limited to these things.

I believe without Jesus’ words of hope pressed into our hearts and minds our world will only slip further away from God’s desire of love for one another.

I must admit I’ve been deeply convicted in the past few weeks between personal relationships and listening to my pastor’s messages each Sunday morning as he has been teaching a series on “Heaven and Hell”. I can’t help but notice the lack of care and concern for others that occurs in my own self…you see, sometimes “Sin City” is a little closer to home than I care to admit..sometimes it resides right in my very heart. Continue reading “Sin City…More Than Just a Vegas Thing”

Marriage is an Adventure

God is faithful in the good times and bad, sometimes we just can’t see the mountains of beauty surrounding a rocky marriage or trial until we submit and allow Him to intervene.

20170924_092316.jpgI’m sitting at a round wooden table in a cozy loft-condo as I write these words and the view— it doesn’t get much better in my opinion. From the glass doors leading out to the balcony, the scenery is not only inviting, but breathtaking as well. Situated four stories below and cascading outward are attractive rustic shops and welcoming lodges to accommodate the many visitors, which surely outnumber the locals. This little rural town is encircled by a display of boundless mountains. Evergreens thickly cover the slopes and golden shades of Aspen trees experience the effects of Autumn. At the summit of the taller mountains, last year’s remaining snow can still be seen and heavy gray-colored clouds graze the tops in a steady manner while the sun occasionally makes an appearance.20170923_065521

Our family makes it a point to take in God’s impressive craftsmanship by venturing to the Rocky mountains in the heart of Colorado annually. Only this time the kids are back home entertaining grandparents which leaves just my husband and I. We took a trip to Mount Rushmore this past summer which we enjoyed as a family (so no worries the kids aren’t feeling too left out) plus I’m sure they’ve considered the fact that we’ll come back with a surprise of some sort for each of them. This year, and even more definitively- this week, marks thirteen years of marriage for my sweetie and I. And as an effort to celebrate we decided it’d be just the two of us on this adventure. It’s the first time we’ve been on a get-a-way without children or another couple, so to say we were a “little giddy” months before this retreat arrived would be an understatement.

I could carry on about the desire of coming to this remarkable place for a number of reasons…the cool crisp air, the Aspens that I’d love to scoop up and transplant to my backyard if it were that easy, to the comfortable warm fireplace just feet away from where I’m sitting, but the most appealing piece of this moment is seated directly across from me, my husband, with his Bible laying open on the table as he reads and studies God’s word. It’s something I witness often and it never grows old. It’s something I prayed over for months with our children- to see their father come to faith. Tears well up in my eyes as I consider God’s answer to prayer and His loving faithfulness. To see our family grow in the Lord humbles me and leaves me wanting more of Him.

It wasn’t always this way though… Continue reading “Marriage is an Adventure”

Bottles Down, Bibles Up

the moment when you finally realize life is so much sweeter with Jesus involved makes even candy seem bitter when compared—my story of redemption, grace, and hope…

1505255808990-1565157331Embarrassing, ashamed, regret, guilt…we all have felt those emotions at one point or another whether we care to admit it or not. Negative situations do not show favoritism to certain individuals, instead as a ramification of sin we’re all at risk of being held objective to negativity. It can come from poor self-made choices, an innocent accident, or even someone’s misconstrued idea of us.

I’ve been there, more than once, more times than I care to acknowledge. I’ve felt those negative moments of despair where I’ve felt so lost and broken that I’ve almost become numb to feeling anything at all. Sometimes recalling those shameful experiences means revisiting dark corners where deep memories hide.

Too often we vacate the idea of “speaking up” about a difficult encounter we’ve struggled with or currently struggle with. We cower to the idea of becoming vulnerable to someone else’s opinion of us if we would happen to open-up regarding a particular situation that seems less than favorable to ourselves and society.

One of my most disconcerting memories occurred when I was just a few years over the legal drinking age. Little did I know at the time it would serve as a humbling experience and a much-needed building block for my faith to grow a few years later…

Continue reading “Bottles Down, Bibles Up”