Operation Christmas Cards

For years, I sent Christmas cards to friends and family near and far. My mom did this for years and I did my best to carry on her tradition. I also enjoyed receiving cards from family and friends. It’s always fun to receive a card and maybe a photo of loved ones and see how big their kids have gotten or a new pet they’ve added to their home.

As years have passed, my Christmas card list has dwindled. Also, the cards I receive has gotten fewer. Maybe this is an antiquated tradition but I’ve enjoyed it nonetheless. At least, I did until it turned into a chore. I don’t know about you but I usually avoid chores.

But then a few weeks ago I saw a post asking for cards to be sent to our deployed service members. I thought about it and then decided to participate. This morning, as I sit at my kitchen table in my warm home I am writing notes to men and women who are far from home serving our country so we can enjoy the freedoms we often take for granted.

Before I started writing, I laid my hands on the stack of cards and prayed for them. I don’t know who will receive these cards but I pray they feel God’s love, peace, and protection as they read my handwritten note.

It’s not too late to participate!! The deadline to send cards is November 27th. If you are interested you can message me or do a Facebook search for “operation Christmas card”. I know any card you send will be greatly appreciated.

“How sweet are Your words to my taste, Sweeter than honey to my mouth!”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭119:103‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

https://www.bible.com/114/psa.119.103.nkjv

“Hey, teacher, leave that kid alone!”

So, if you’ve ever heard the song “Another brick in the wall” by Pink Floyd then you recognized the title of this blogpost. When I hear this song, it brings certain memories back to mind that I would rather forget. I would like to preface this post by saying that I have come to love and respect teachers. Some of my dearest friends are teachers. But as a kid, I strongly disliked the majority of my teachers and did not enjoy school.

I started kindergarten two months after my fifth birthday. (And have I already mentioned in past blogposts that I was my mom’s baby?) Years later I would hear my mother lament sending me to school so early. Truthfully, I’m not sure it would have mattered. There were moments I enjoyed but mostly I got fussed at for not doing my work and for staring out the window. Fun times.

I enjoyed recess, music, reading and history. But I hated math. I always told myself the big fat lie that I would never use math so therefore it was not important. Since I didn’t even try in math, I would usually get the following on my report card: F- failing subject; U- unsatisfactory; N- needs improvement. I would laugh and say, “I had fun in math this nine weeks.” This infuriated my mom. She was always an excellent student and expected all of us kids to follow in her footsteps. Mom knew I could do the work but that I wasn’t even trying.

I guess a few times each year I would do enough required work to pass to the next grade since I was never held back. I had a few teachers that saw potential in me and actually inspired me to do my work. But then I had a couple more teachers who tried to convince me that I was just plain dumb and not worth their time. I can see both of them vividly and remember both of their names. Many times in my adult life I have thought how wonderful it would be to take my bachelors degree from Murray state university and rub it in their faces. In my very humble opinion, Mr. J and Mr. K (both math teachers) were not in the right vocation. Mr. J loved to hunt and talked about it incessantly. He even kept a plastic decoy duck on his desk. I imagine it was a visual reminder during those bad days when he had trouble remembering why he chose to be a teacher. Mr. K had me convinced that I was “special” and put me in remedial math. Do I blame him? No, I don’t…now. I used to but I don’t anymore. He probably had no choice since I wouldn’t do my work.

I’m sure some of my classmates have good memories of these two teachers. I am very happy to report that I finally learned to apply myself and do my work and prove to the world, and myself, that I’m not a dummy.

If you are a teacher, please know that I respect what you do. If you love kids and want to encourage them to achieve their dreams, I pray you are blessed each day you go to work. If you teach kids or are thinking about becoming a teacher please pray about it and make sure it is something you desire to do.

I would like to conclude by saying that anyone can find themselves in the wrong profession. Accountant, lawyer, doctor, waitress, therapist, nurse…anyone. Also, we all need reminders at difficult times during our careers to remember why we chose our profession.

And now let’s all pray for Mr. J and Mr. K…Heavenly Father, if these two men are still alive I pray you bless them. Thank you for me not holding on to any bad memories and having peace with all math teachers. In Jesus name, Amen.

““And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.”

‭‭Mark‬ ‭11:25‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

https://www.bible.com/114/mrk.11.25.nkjv

Saturday morning

As a kid, I remember waking up on Saturday morning and grabbing a bowl of cereal to eat as I watched Saturday morning cartoons. Then as a teenager, Saturday morning became the day I could sleep in. Saturday morning has always been a special day as far as I can remember.

Here lately it’s become the day my eyes pop open at 3 o’clock in the morning. That is not very special in my opinion. After working all week and getting up each day at 5 o’clock in the morning it would be so nice to sleep in a little bit.

I have some sweet friends that are young moms and they talk about looking forward to the day their sweet baby learns to sleep all night. I remember those days. They seem to drag on with no end in sight. But then the day comes that your little one learns to sleep and then a few years later you have to teach them to wake up. It’s kind of ironic really.

Even though I’m up before the chickens, I’m not going to let it affect my day. I’ve started joking and saying I’m getting extra hours to my day. I might as well laugh about it. But I do think I’ll start taking a sleep aid on Friday nights.

Whatever your Saturday mornings look like, I hope it’s a day you enjoy. Maybe your work schedule is different and you look forward to another day of the week. I pray you find joy in each day God blesses you with.

For all of you who may be experiencing sleep issues, I pray you find comfort in knowing you’re not alone. Prayers for sweet sleep for all of us.

“When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3:24‬ ‭NIV‬‬

https://www.bible.com/111/pro.3.24.niv

Alternative Endings

I have always loved to read. When I was a kid, I enjoyed reading books with alternative endings. For those that may not be familiar with these books, let me explain. You would read a chapter or two then at the bottom of the page you would be given a choice of what the main character did next. It might say something like, “turn to page 51 if Emily goes to the library with Jack or turn to page 70 if Emily gets in the car with Bethany.” Whoever came up with this idea was a genius in my opinion.

There have been times in my own life that I would have loved to have known what would happen if I chose this or if I chose that. Wouldn’t it be great to know ahead of time what the results would be before actually making the choice? But that’s not how real life works.

As a Christian, I know where my help comes from. I know the Creator of the universe. He formed me and made me in His own image and likeness. But there are times I’m paralyzed by the decisions I need to make. I allow myself to get anxious or worry because I can’t see the end result of the decision before me.

It’s at times like this I am thankful that the Holy Spirit reminds me to have faith and to ask God for wisdom. So many times I think I’m going to mess up but He has already written my story. He knows how all of this ends. If you have a decision to make that is causing you anxiety, I encourage you to pray and ask God for wisdom. He loves you more than you can imagine and He is cheering you on.

“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.””

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭30:21‬ ‭NIV‬‬

https://www.bible.com/111/isa.30.21.niv

The language of love

Many years ago, a book was written by Gary Chapman called “The Five Love Languages”. I remember when this book was published and how popular it was. If you haven’t read the book, I will give you a brief summary. There are five love languages and each of us have one that’s more dominant than the other four. When someone speaks your love language, it makes you feel valued and loved.

I am not sure if I ever really read this book. I vaguely remember getting a copy from someone and starting to read it. But it was way back before David and I had even met.

Several weeks back, David and I had a misunderstanding. After this happened, I was doing some praying and reflecting when I happened to remember this book. I googled the title and a link came up for a quiz. I have always enjoyed quizzes like the ones in the teen girl magazines that I used to read as a young girl so this made me so happy! I clicked the link, entered my email in order to take the quiz, and was soon on my way to finding out my love language. When I was done, I was not surprised to find out that my most dominant love language is words of affirmation. This was good to know but would be even better if the people in my house knew it and if I knew theirs.

I shared the link https://www.5lovelanguages.com/ and asked them to take the quiz and share their results. David’s love language is acts of service and both kids are more dominant in quality time. On an interesting note, Andrew’s second love language is acts of service, like his dad, and Lydia’s is words of affirmation, like mine.

It’s been a month since we’ve taken the quiz and I can tell that it has made me and David more aware of how to make the other feel loved. For years, I have been complimenting David and affirming him with my words. I was speaking to him in my love language but it was falling on deaf ears. Words do not make him feel loved. Now I know that doing things for him, like making his breakfast or getting the oil changed, make him feel loved. I encourage you to take the quiz and find out what fills up your cup.

“And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

‭‭I Corinthians‬ ‭13:13‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

https://www.bible.com/114/1co.13.13.nkjv

Three little words

Yesterday, I took off from work to get some things done. The first thing on my list was to get the oil changed in my vehicle. We usually take our vehicles to Walmart to get this taken care of. I shared my plan with David which made him very happy. He kept trying to arrange this but with his busy work schedule it just wasn’t lining up for him.

I got to the service center five minutes before they opened and was still fifth in line. Once everything was arranged, I went and grabbed a cart and took my time meandering through the aisles. Then I did our grocery shopping for the next week. After an hour and a half, I went and checked on my vehicle’s progress and was told they hadn’t even gotten started. So I went back and did some more “window shopping”.

Most people would think I wasted a day off from work but during all of this waiting I bumped into someone I hadn’t seen in a long time. Her and her husband attend our church but he has been sick so they haven’t been in awhile. During our short conversation, I mentioned that we missed seeing them at church. Her eyes twinkled when I said those three little words “we miss you”. She thanked me for saying that and said it was good to hear.

Have you ever been away for awhile and wondered if anyone noticed? Did anyone even care? Her and her husband need to be home right now for his health. Isolation can do a lot to our mental and emotional health. I’m not sure when they will be able to come back to church but during this time I pray that the Holy Spirit reminds her that she has a church family that loves her and her husband. Make sure to let those around you know when you’ve missed them. It does a heart good to know that someone cares. When I left Walmart three hours later, I left with a happy heart.

“A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, And a word spoken in due season, how good it is!”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭15:23‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

https://www.bible.com/114/pro.15.23.nkjv

Labor of Love

Last weekend was Labor Day weekend and we did just that…labored. We worked long and hard alongside several others getting our church ready for our first Sunday service. And we have continued our work all week long. Labor is not usually something that you look forward to. Labor is a four letter word…work.

I think it’s very ironic that childbirth is also known as labor. I’ve been an active participant in this type of labor twice. Both times were very different. I have friends that have experienced gaining a child through adoption. They also labored but it looked a little different than my experience.

As a church, we have been “pregnant” with dreams and visions of our new building. We have labored. The labor we have all done has looked a little different. It takes all types of people with different talents and strengths to pull off a project of this magnitude. It’s been sweaty, beautiful, backbreaking, and time consuming.

Out church motto is “a place of His presence”. If you do not have a church to attend please join us this Sunday September 8th at 10:30 at 3600 Hanson Road in Madisonville, Kentucky.

“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭15:58‬ ‭NIV‬‬

https://www.bible.com/111/1co.15.58.niv

Streams in the Desert

It was a sunny afternoon in September 2003. Both kids were taking a nap and I was in my bedroom having some quiet time with the Lord. I remember walking to the bedroom window of the house we lived in at the time and looking out at the field behind our house. While I stood there seeing a song the Lord had given me about not being shaken, I heard the Lord speak to my heart and ask me this question, “What will you do if your mom dies soon?”

My mom had been diagnosed with congestive heart failure in February 2002. She had suffered damage to a heart valve as a kid and it had been a miracle that she had lived such a healthy life for her 70 plus years. She was one of my best friends. We spoke on the phone several times a week and David, the kids, and I made the hour drive to visit mom and dad almost every Saturday. God knew I would not allow myself to think about her dying.

As I heard His question in my heart, I told him I would praise Him and trust Him. I knew the Bible spoke about God being a strong tower the righteous run into for safety. God knew her time was drawing near. He loves us so much wants to prepare our hearts for times of struggle.

On December 5, 2003, we received the call that mom’s heart had stopped and paramedics had been called and regained her pulse. As she lay in her hospital bed in the intensive care unit, we took turns praying with her, holding her hand and spending those last few hours with her. That was a long, hard night. At one point, I went to the hospital chapel and prayed and asked God to heal her. He can do all things. As I sat there, I was reminded of that time in September. He had planted a seed in my heart to get ready. He gave me a song in September that would encourage me in December and many months after. If we listen to Him, He will whisper to our hearts. What is He whispering to you?

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭43:19‬ ‭NIV‬‬

https://www.bible.com/111/isa.43.19.niv

“One Sunday Closer”

Our church has been on a journey the last few years. Four years ago, we had to move out of our church building due to building damage. We have been setting up and tearing down each service which has not been the most fun thing I have ever done.

Even though it has been a lot of work, it has been beautiful to see a group of people join in together to get the work done. Each Sunday, I would encourage myself by saying “we are one Sunday closer” while tearing down and packing equipment away for the next Sunday.

During the past year, we have been building our new church while anxiously anticipating our move in date. Last night, we started moving in. I can not tell you how excited we are to make this move. Our first Sunday in our new building is probably two Sundays away.

During all of the setting up and tearing down, I’ve often felt like an Israelite in the Old Testament of the Bible. They would set up and tear down the tabernacle per God’s instruction. When the Israelites moved into the promised land, they set up the tabernacle.

As we set up our modern day tabernacle in our promised land, I pray we never forget the journey that’s brought us to this moment. I pray we keep working together even though the work will be different in our new building. I pray that we not feel as if we’ve arrived and sit back on our laurels. I thank God for this journey and for this great group of people we get to do life with. I pray you are a part of a community that rolls up their sleeves and gets to work when life throws you a curve ball. If you are looking for a community to be a part of, please join us. It’s not too late to join this journey!

“Then the cloud covered the tabernacle of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.”

‭‭Exodus‬ ‭40:34‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

https://www.bible.com/114/exo.40.34.nkjv

Be Still

As a child, I was often told to be still. I have always been a fidgety person. Even when I’m sitting, I will sway back and forth. I love sitting in rocking chairs and have loved swinging ever since I was a child.

But just because I know I struggle with being still doesn’t mean I should never practice it. If I never attempted a new task then I would never know what I might be missing out on.

On the flip side, if I were always still then it would be wise for me to practice moving. Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone can be scary but it builds character.

I am learning that there is a beautiful balance in stillness. I read my Bible daily. I love God’s word. He speaks about being still. One of my favorite scriptures is Psalm 46:10 that says, “Be still and know that I am God…”.

When I am worried about a situation, the Holy Spirit reminds me to “be still and know”. When doubt fills my mind “be still and know”. When I don’t have the answers “be still and know”. He is God. I am not. God is good. God is faithful. When all else fails “be still and know”.

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭46:10‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

https://www.bible.com/114/psa.46.10.nkjv

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