Saturday, November 18, 2017

Lessons from the Garden

The dreaded heart-shaped vine. (Morning Glory) It's beautiful.  Its leaves are heart-shaped and the flowers are a gorgeous purple color.  Problem is, it takes over and chokes out all living plants around it.  Our summer garden has long since been gone not having had much fruit at all this past summer, due in part to these beautiful deadly vines and due in (large) part to our neglect. 
As I went out to cut them all down today and try to free the thin string of lights I had placed around our garden this past summer, I noticed the vines and woven themselves tightly around everything! The wire fence was wound tightly with green vines.  The thin wire connecting all the little lights was so tightly wrapped up that separating the vine from the lights became impossible without cutting the wire, resulting in the severing of the power source. 


As I worked and tugged and cut these vines I thought about how small habits that may seem harmless and, oh so pretty, can soon become a tightly wound labyrinth of growth suffocating all other living things within its reach.  The pretty lights that once surrounded the garden were also enveloped by this crafty, snaky vine.  All that was left before I began to cut and pull and clear the tangled mess was brown, dried, hardened vines with one or two purple flowers clinging to life.
Be careful what you allow to grow in your life. 

"Listen!  A farmer went out to plant seeds.  As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them.  Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow.  But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn't have deep roots, they died.  Other seeds fell among thorns that few up and choked out the tender plants. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!  Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand....
The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God's word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced."  (Matthew 13:3-22)

"Since we have such a huge crowd of men and women of faith watching us from the grandstands, let us strip off anything that slows us down or holds us back, and especially those sins that wrap themselves so tightly around our feet and trip us up; and let us run with patience the particular race that God has set before us.  Keep your eyes on Jesus, our leader and instructor.  He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy he knew would be his afterwards; and now he sits in the place of honor by the throne of God."  (Hebrews 12:1-2)


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Power to Change

It's been a very long time since I "blogged".  My life has gotten even more busy, tho I'm not sure how that is possible.  I don't even remember the last thing I wrote on here and I don't want to take the time to go back and look.  I might get distracted and forget the things burning on my heart to say right now.
Okay, so, here I am in October of 2013, teaching High School French.  I really love my job.  That is, I love my students and love teaching them a language that I love.  More than that, though, is the fact that I firmly believe God has called me here, not necessarily to teach French, but to be His hands and feet... His presence in this classroom.  It's my daily prayer that He will use me here to communicate His love and grace to even one kid.  There may be only one student in the many that pass through my door every day, that needs a word, an encouragement, a prayer... and even if it's only one, I want to be here for that one.

Today we had an assembly "Anti-Bullying Assembly".  We have a strict "anti-bullying" policy here on our campus.  It's good to make kids aware and to remind them: 1) We will not bully others  2) We will try to help other students who are bullied.  3) We will try to include students who are left out.  4) If we know that someone is being bullied, we will tell an adult.  These are all really good things, and I hope our students will take this seriously.  (It would be nice if this were posted other places too, like Church, Board rooms, Congress, etc... *wink*).

Our speaker today was really good!  He connected with the students in a way that most of us cannot.  He challenged us to reach out and help those who are silent or broken.  He talked about the changes in his life and how he went from being a bully to being one who reaches out and helps. It was all really good.  But what struck me as I listened to this was.... "where is the true power to change?" There's a lot we can do to "better ourselves" but there is no real power for lasting change just in ourselves.  I know me.  I know that, without the Lord present in my life, helping me, changing me from the inside out I cannot be different in a way that lasts.  Only He can bring about eternal change.  We can do lots of good things and helpful things and we can make a difference.  But what about eternity?  As Christians we can make a difference today, tomorrow and on into Eternity.

"Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy;

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life."
-Attributed to St. Francis of Assisi

Friday, April 12, 2013

I Can't Stay Silent

Too often my fear of people's opinions keep me from speaking up on "social issues". It's really ludicrous to talk about abortion as a "social issue".  It truly is a matter of life and death.  I am pro-life all the way.  I value human life.  I try not to really think about what happens in an abortion procedure.  I can't stomach it.  I force it out of my mind at times because I can't bear the thoughts.  I don't know how those who are "pro choice" can justify killing a baby.  I just don't understand!  How can they not see that it is a baby... a living human being?  How can they not see that this is murder??  Anyway,  I just read this blog post and want to encourage you to read it as well.  Their blood is on our hands as well if we remain silent.

Friday, March 29, 2013

In Sure and Certain Hope

.... of the resurrection.
"But we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.  For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep.  For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.  For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God.  And  the dead in Christ will rise first.  Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.  Therefore encourage one another with these words."  (I Thessalonians 4: 13-18)

Thank the Lord for this promise!  Even though we miss our loved ones terribly, we will see them again!      Mom, Dad, Andy.... we love you and miss you!  We will see you again!





Sunday, March 24, 2013

Vulgarity...

This is one of the many reasons I enjoy "Downton Abbey".  This is my current "addiction" and I'm loving watching this during my break from school!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Be the change

I experienced something the other day at school.  We had a special day called a "Challenge Day" for students and staff.  It was about "being the change" and accepting one another for who we are (not who we pretend to be).  We were challenged to just be ourselves, with our pains, our regrets, our strengths, our dreams, everything.  It was a great day.... emotionally exhausting, but great.
The first thing we, as staff, did was to create a "tunnel" for the students to come through as they came into the gym.  We lined up on either side and cheered, clapped, smiled and high-fived the students as they walked in and came through the "tunnel" to find their seats in the gym.  What a great welcome it was for them, knowing that we were genuinely excited for them to be there.  We celebrated them!  We clapped and cheered for them!  We didn't expect anything from them... no grades, no homework, etc.  We were just glad they were there. 
The rest of the day was a series of "ice breakers", hugs, high-fives, smiles, leading up to a time when we would talk about "if you really knew me".  The leaders gave us the opportunity (staff and students alike) to talk about what we're really like... the pain, the anger, the frustration, the good things, the hard things.  It gave us the opportunity to physically see that we are not alone.  I saw others, teachers and students alike, who have lost a loved one to suicide.  I saw students who deal every day with really difficult home situations.  With every hard thing that came up, we offered love, hugs, acceptance and friendship.  We didn't judge, we didn't correct, we didn't lecture.  We loved. 
I walked away from that day thinking, "why isn't the church like this?".  What if, our Sunday morning, as people came to worship, there was a line of people cheering and welcoming us?  What if we knew we were loved and accepted and wanted and celebrated even with all our faults, sins, pains, and weaknesses? This is what the Lord does for us!  We have this in HIM, but what about "His Body" the church?  Too often the church is where we are judged, condemned, gossiped about, ridiculed for being weak, for not being what others think we should be. 
I am challenged to "be the change".  I want to make a difference where I am.  I want to smile and let people know I care.... I really care.  People matter!  My students matter to me!  I love them!  My family is everything to me!  I would die for them!  I love them more than I can express.  How much difference it would make, even for one person if we were genuinely happy to see them, if we welcomed them, if we cared for them.... smiled and helped. 
This is my challenge where I work and where I live.
Love someone today.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Pray for our Nation

This is so good.  It's also eye-opening and scary.  We must pray for our nation!