Thursday, September 26, 2013

Peace While Waiting for the Promise

So I've been reading through a new devotional series on the She Reads Truth website. The series is about God's promises. It's been four days since the plan began but it has been so on point for me.

As we know, I am a recovering uberplanner. I'm learning to be more relaxed and spontaneous. I think I've been doing better, but sometimes I fall off the wagon. It's a process.

Lately I have been obsessing about finances. I've not had a full-time job for over a year. I have a part-time job during the school year and have worked on several freelance projects. While the income from these is welcome, it has not covered enough of a difference to fully meet our monthly expenses; therefore, we have been using our savings bit by bit. At this point, our savings might last another two months. If I don't have more income coming in to make up the difference by then, I'm not sure what we are going to do.

Realizing this after doing some calculations two to three months ago (uberplanner strikes again!), I began searching for a full-time position. I really feel I need one that allows me to work from home because my kids are still in school and there are school breaks, inservices, snow days, etc. to worry about. That and the fact that my oldest is too old for traditional daycare and we can't afford traditional daycare at this point. Ironically, I considered daycare, which would allow my youngest to come on those days and summer break, but my oldest would still be unaccounted for.

As the school year got closer I began to get more anxious. I read over a friend's blog and came across this: "Would you rather have the blessings you can CONTROL or the ABUNDANCE of blessings God desires to pour out?"



The statement gave me pause and reminded me that I need to get back on the wagon.

I am trying to follow God's guidance in the search. I know He says to trust in Him, but I also know I can't ask for something and not put in some work to make it happen. Things aren't necessarily going to fall in my lap.

I'm trying to be patient and learn from the experience. I am trying to discern what God wants me to do. I am trying to have solid faith and remember that God has my back.  I'm trying to put in my works to exercise my faith but am unsure if I am doing too much...or not enough. I'm trying, but...





A friend recently stopped me and asked if everything was okay because I seemed down.  I think preoccupied was probably more like it. Thinking of the situation we are in and dealing with a health issue (which my husband thinks was brought on by stress) had my mind elsewhere.

Enter the series on promises.

I read through the comments that are posted after each devotional and one really struck a nerve. The writer quoted Jeremiah 29:11: For I KNOW the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you and EXPECTED end. (Her emphasis).  She further writes "He KNOWS" and references a question posed by a professor she had in college: "Has it ever occurred to you that nothing has ever occurred to God?" He already knows where you are and where you are going.  She continues with "There is an EXPECTED end." This meaning God already knows our end is totally prepared for it.

But are we?

We can be, if we learn to be patient in the process.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

She's Alive!

Yes. I am alive. I have been quite busy, which has kept me from sitting down and writing to you.

So, what have I been up to? Well, I was hired for a two-month writing project for a leading education publisher. I also served on two planning committees for events at my church (an awards ceremony and the church anniversary) held a week apart from each other. Add to that a proofreading project I did for two friends who are starting a consulting business, my daughter's track season, and various spring concerts (FOUR, between my TWO children!). I also trained for and ran a 5K in there somewhere and am preparing for another. Oh yeah; I also hosted my brother and his family (including a nephew on the way!) for the holiday weekend. It's been a whirlwind.

So what next? Well, my student mentoring job is taking a hiatus for the summer because the kids will be out of school; I start back in August. While I was concerned about what to do when that position ended for the summer, I wasn't really because I knew something would come. In God's infinite wisdom and plan, He has provided me with just the right thing to allow me to work and be flexible for the summer. Instead of working as a mentor, I will be working for two companies. I will be writing assessments for teaching exams for one company (10 questions minimum per month). I'll also be writing elementary video modules/lessons for the other. I'm pretty excited because every project I get allows me to build my portfolio and moves me one step to working on a more regular basis. (My goal is to do what I am doing for a specific company with more regular hours instead of working on a project-by-project basis.)  The schedule allows me to be flexible with my children this summer; I can write while they are taking their music lessons or doing their summer academic projects.

I've been listening and working on what God has been sharing with me. We just finished our care groups at church and have been talking about wisdom and true worship. I've been reflecting on those two topics, particularly the worship aspect. I am working on that and am excited to see what comes out of the experience.

I'll be sure to share. :)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

No Excuses

I have been struggling to keep some sort of routine in my daily life.  There is somewhat of a routine, with getting the kids off from school and what happens when they get home.  I even have a routine for getting my work hours in without having to sit up late (as I was doing previously).

When you are home or work from home, people have a tendency to assume you don't do anything during the day.  I'll admit, I didn't think being home would be so busy.  When you work outside the home, there is a certain busyness that comes with your job, some more hectic than others.  Some occupations require extended hours, swing shifts, and/or work to bring home.  When I left teaching, I somehow thought things would be less busy.


Running a household is not a relaxing walk in the park.  Sure, there are some days where there is time to sit and relax a bit, but on other days that is simply not the case.  Depending on the day of the week, I can be found scrubbing floors and/or carpets (done when no one is home so they don't get tramped on while drying), washing sheets and blankets, reorganizing something, meal planning, grocery shopping, and working.  These are the weekdays.  Weekends find me doing various things, depending on what is going on in my family's life at the time.

I've been sort of flying by the seat of my pants getting these things done because I never stopped to make a formal schedule.  I know.  Me, the ultimate list checker, without a schedule?  Yup.  Needless to say, it has gotten a little crazy around here and I just can't stand it anymore. 

Enter this website.  Ah, yes.  Something to save my sanity.  I've referenced this site before, but it wasn't until I was reading through some old posts this morning that something jumped off the page.  Literally brought me to tears.  This. Is. IT!  Notice that the word "forward" keeps recurring in the post's explanations.  Forward.  This singular word in its simple repetition brought me to tears.  Why?  Because this is the directive our church is following this year.  We are moving forward.  Like the song says.  Forward!

I now have no excuse to miss things in my day.  Everything is there, from prayer time (with which I was struggling to find a consistent time) and exercise (Let's just not even go there...) to household chores and me(!) time.  I printed it this morning and cannot wait to begin.

There is a saying that goes something like this: If it's important to you, you will make time for it.  If it isn't, you make excuses.

No more excuses.


Friday, January 11, 2013

As Promised

Wow.  There has been so much going on around here.  The holidays arrived and left, along with all of the visits and activities that accompany the season.  I have also reorganized some space upstairs and put my home office into place--so exciting!  Just a few more finishing touches, and it will be complete.

Where to begin?  I've been thinking about where I was this time last year and where I am now.  I was teaching full time, getting ready for grad classes, serving in ministries at church, and trying to run a household.  As I have previously stated, I did it all.  My type A made sure things were finished, lists were checked off, and things were as near to my version of perfect as they could be.  Of course, we know how THAT all turned out.

This year, I am still serving at church (and may be changing my ministries), running a household, working from home part time, and learning.  Not in the sense of grad courses--which I will be discontinuing for a while due to finances--but in the sense of self.  I've been striving to learn more about myself and what God has in store for me.  What are His plans for me?  How do I reach the goals He has for me?  How do I learn to appreciate His grace in all things? How do I show gratitude?

This notion of gratitude in all things has been part of my journey since this time last year.  I had read a book titled One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  The cover challenges the reader to a "dare to live fully right where you are."  If you've not read the book, Voskamp takes the reader through her quest to find what she calls the "beautiful in the ugly."  Meaning, finding God in the midst of all that occurs.  During her quest, she accepts a challenge from a friend to write down 1,000 things for which she can show gratitude.  As you read the book, you find that gratitude is not always easy to find, especially when things are not going as they should.  But it can be found.

When I read this book last year, I needed something to sort of keep me afloat.  I was looking for something that would help me make sense of what I was feeling in the midst of all that was happening.  I read it, and it was good.  It was eye-opening.  But it wasn't enough.  I was so busy I couldn't truly appreciate what Voskamp was saying.  After the year I have lived, I am preparing to read it again, with new eyes and new appreciation.  I simply wasn't ready to receive the message inside.

As part of the journey, I have decided to take the dare.  I tried last year, but found that I ran out of time or forgot or didn't have my journal nearby.  No excuses this time.  On her website, you can download an app that will allow you to write down your gifts as you experience them.  Since my phone is always nearby, I put the app there so I don't miss a thing.  I started Monday and have eight gifts already, including the gift of heat.  Why heat?  Because Sunday morning we woke up to cooler temperatures in the house, courtesy of a malfunctioning sensor in the furnace.  Sunday was cold, in the 30s.  I thanked God for heat because we were able to have someone come out that afternoon, the part needed was already in the house thanks to a forward-thinking owner, and we did not have to spend the night below 30 temps.  I could have griped and complained.  But I didn't.  I made a warm meal, put on an extra layer, and chose to thank God in the midst in appreciation of what I did have.

Along with gratitude, I am learning about grace.  My pastor has been speaking on the topic of grace as we (as a church) have been reading through The Grace Awakening by Charles Swindoll. Through this series I am learning how to recognize grace, show grace to others, and receive grace (even when it may not be deserved). 

It has been an adventure and I can't wait to see what happens next!

Monday, December 17, 2012


This is not a usual post.  This post does not have anything to do with my walk and how I have been impacted by my decision to stay home.  This post, rather, has everything to do with the events of Newtown, Connecticut.

I am a news person.  I try to stay up to date on all topics broadcast on the media.  With the events surrounding the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, this has been somewhat in overdrive, with me trying to make sense of the senselessness that occurred there. 

As I said before, I recently (a few months back) left teaching elementary school after more than a decade.  I think back to all of the drills I have been a part of, all of the scary events I have witnessed.  In my first year of teaching, I was teaching along the I-95 corridor in Baltimore, Maryland.  Two weeks into our school year, September 11 happened.  Because of the location of the school and its proximity to BWI and Washington, D.C., we were evacuated for the safety of the students.  I'll never forget the terror on the faces of the parents as they tried to pick up their children.  The sick feeling in my stomach as I learned of the news on my 11:15 lunch break.  The worry I felt for my husband who was working at the airport at the time.  The fear on the faces of my students.  The helplessness I felt when the students looked to me for answers I didn't know myself.

Shortly after that, we were faced with another scenario.  A man by the name of John Muhammed and his accomplice, Lee Boyd Malvo, terrorized the Baltimore-Washington metro area through a series of sniper-type shootings.  For several days, our students were not allowed outside for recess.  Parents were to drop them off and pick them up at the door. (Since our school was a neighborhood school, meaning all students walked, we needed to be sure a responsible adult was there to get them.)  But even then, how do you keep them safe once they leave the grounds?  The shooters had chosen at random.  After their capture, it was revealed that they had been in the area, within several blocks.  While there was relief, there were also questions that could not be answered.

Throughout my teaching career, I have been through the two major events above.  I have also dealt with numerous lock downs, a flood, blizzards, a tropical storm, and the aftermath of a hurricane.  In these moments you go into autopilot mode and do what you need to do to ensure the safety of your students.  If they are not with you, you wonder if they are safe.  Pray they and their families are okay.  Rejoice when you learn all is well.  Feel pain if all isn't.

See, people who go into teaching as a career don't do it for the money.  We do it because we love the children and the ability to impart education to those children.  We get to know them, talk to them, teach them, correct them, hope for the best for them, pray for them, encourage them, agonize over them, joke with them, cheer for them, celebrate with them, laugh with them, cry with them, soothe them, love them.  The students become like our own children.  And if you have been in a building long enough, you get to watch them grow.  Enjoy them coming back to visit you or seek you out on the first day of school so they can talk to you and hug you.  Share tears with you when they are leaving to go off to middle school or are moving to another school/city/state.  Embrace the moments in between when they pop in just to say hello, share their latest accomplishment, brag about a new sibling, want to show you their new shoes, or say they hope to have you when they get to your grade because the sibling in your class thinks you're special. 

So when I think about what happened in Newtown, I can't imagine why anyone would want to hurt so many beautiful innocent children.  My heart truly aches as if they were my own students.  And when I think of the bravery of the teachers who tried to protect their little ones, I wonder if I would have been so forward thinking and courageous in the face of obvious terror.

I pray for all of those who have been directly affected by the actions that occurred Friday morning.  It will be a long journey to healing for all of them.  But I firmly believe that God will work it all out for them.  For all of us.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Stay Tuned

Hi.  I haven't forgotten about my blog; there have been so many things going on with the holidays and all.  Aside form that, I have so much to share in the form of growth and revelation.  I have finished my women's group at church and am working through another series our pastor started.  This one is about grace.  SO. MUCH. GOOD. STUFF.  I will bring it to you all soon.   

Stay tuned.

Saturday, October 27, 2012


I've not posted in a while because I've been doing some self searching, courtesy of the book we are doing in my women's care group at church.  The last few weeks have had me analyze the priorities in my life and why I act the way I do, whether or not I truly give my best to those things God has deemed priorities in my life, and how well I deal with forgiveness (of other people and myself).

Through the discussions and study questions, I've realized that I'm dealing with an issue of pride.  Now, if you've met me or know me, you may not think I'm a prideful person.  (At least, I don't think so.)  I'm not one who goes around telling others how talented and wonderful I am.  I don't brag about my accomplishments.  I don't treat others like I'm better than they are.  I would say I am a fairly humble person. 



See, pride is not just bragging and talking about yourself.  God revealed to me that pride isn't just shown in your words and how you approach others, but also in your actions and the way you approach tasks.  I'm very methodical about the way I approach things, always trying to plan for every possibility so I'm not caught unprepared.  I've always thought that was a good quality to have.  Truth is, it can be, if done properly.  I've been doing it wrong.  I learned that when I start planning and organizing without consulting with God first, I don't allow Him to work in the midst, leading to frustration and failure.  This has been made abundantly clear in my quest for employment.

I belong to several job search sites and have a listing of others I rotate throughout the week as I do my searches.  I literally spend a minimum of three hours a day following leads, checking out companies, completing applications, etc.  I have applied to several, with little nibbles here and there, but nothing has led to a regular schedule and paycheck.  I've been so busy working in my sphere of knowledge and resources that I haven't let God work with His.  My pride and "preparation" have pushed Him to the side.

During Bible study this week, my pastor made the following statement:  "If you are in the midst of hardship, worship."  Hmmm.  I began thinking about the hardship my family is facing now in the form of finances.  I posted before that the need to supplement the household income was definitely coming and the sources we thought were available have not come through.  They still have not.  Which led me to think of another thing my pastor said within the past week.  He asked how far we need to fall or how much we need to go through/have God remove from us before we "get it."  We can't work in our own power because that power is not sufficient enough for us to accomplish what God wants us to do.  Nor does working in our own power allow God to get the glory for what has been accomplished.  When we do things in our own power (and are successful), we have a tendency to say we did it, which is a form of worshipping and trusting in ourselves, our abilities (that are God-given, by the way), and our accomplishments. Where is God in that scenario?  No where.  Sometimes we minimize our blessing because we minimized God in the process.  We need to worship Him, to ask for guidance, and to trust Him to work throughout the situation because He truly knows what is best for us and will provide for us if we let Him. 

Trust.  That word again.

I haven't been truly trusting God in the area of my employment.  Other areas, yes.  But not that one.   I realized that I need to turn the search over to Him because He knows where He wants me to be, what He wants me to do, and who He wants me to impact.  I need to allow Him to lead me where He would have me to be. 

To TRUST Him in the process. 

And let my pride go.