Friday, May 28, 2010


Some days, like today I have many worries and concerns on my heart and I feel overwhelmed. I read a few blogs on a regular basis and this is what I found today about being overwhelmed from the girltalk blog.

Feeling Overwhelmed?

1. Cast your cares on the Lord because He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7). Pour your heart out to the Lord. He already knows the details of your life and what is causing you to feel overwhelmed.

2. Remind yourself that you need a Savior. Feeling overwhelmed is often a sign that we’re trying in our own strength to do what He’s called us to do. We will never succeed with mere physical and mental stamina. We desperately need His grace and the power of the Holy Spirit. He has made us to need Him. If appropriate, repent of pride and declare your complete dependence on Jesus. Tell yourself the gospel in detail. Here are a few sections you can look up to soak yourself in the truth of the gospel: Romans 3:23-26, Romans 5:6-11, Romans 8:32-39. Also consider reading The Cross Centered Life by C.J. Mahaney.

3. Also, meditate on Scriptures to remind you of the truth such as:
Psalm 94:19: When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.

Nahum 1:7: The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him.

Isaiah 40:11: He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.

Isaiah 40:28-29: Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

Isaiah 41:10: Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

2 Corinthians 12:9: My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.

4. Guard your mind and enjoy today.

Matthew 6:34: Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. [Also see Matthew 6:25-34.]

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

Psalm 139:1-3: O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with my ways.

Isaiah 26:3-4: You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal.

Philippians 4:6-7: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

5. Cultivate gratefulness. Start with the gospel and consider all of the other categories of your life (husband, child(ren), home, church, friends, food, clothing....). It may be helpful to write this down.

Nothing gives the believer so much joy as fellowship with Christ. He has the common mercies of life, he can be glad in God’s gifts and God’s works; but, in all these separately, yea, and in all of them added together, he doth not find such substantial delight as in the matchless person of his Lord Jesus.
-C.H. Spurgeon

compiled by Lisa Donovan 4/03

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A few things I have learned this year as a teacher...

Today I feel refreshed and like I can actually reflect on this past year. I have learned so much from my job. I would say it has been a hard year. I don't know a 1st year middle school/high school teacher who would tell you much different. As God does in all things, he uses the hardest things to teach us the most. In John 15:1-2 Jesus says this, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful." I think I have been pruned a lot this year, which has been SO hard but so good!

The first and greatest thing I have learned this year is that I really stink at loving people. I have judged students and staff based on my first impressions of them and their looks. I have written these people and others off because of the way they've treated me.It's so easy to follow my evil desires and hate rather than love.
I've had the opportunity to humble myself multiple times and repent of my thoughts and things I have said to other people. The result has been awesome and I am encouraged by this verse to really love people who hate me (like today when I had to have a student go sit in the hallway because of his blatant disrespect).

Matthew 5:43-48 "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

The second thing is that I really am worthy of respect. Proverbs 31:25 says this,"She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come." When I started teaching I don't know what I was doing. I was a pushover... is it possible to be too nice? I expected my students and coworkers to act like Christians (loving, respectful and sinless... not that I know a single Christian like that) and I was inconsistent with how I managed my classroom.I have not swung to the other extreme and turned into the infamous bulldog teacher, nor do I always know what fights to pick or even exactly what rules work and those that don't. I have also had to confront other teachers about things they have rudely said to me or things that have happened that have made me feel extremely degraded. By no means am I now perfect, but through reading Beth Moore's book "So Long, Insecurity" (she explains Proverbs 31:25 in detail) I have learned to not please people and love them by confronting them. I think I am still kind and give grace, but I have also learned to confront and lay down the law when. I know that this will be super helpful if I am blessed to be a mother someday.

As part of this respect, I have also learned to wave my own banner in humility (odd wording, but true). Being a Family & Consumer Sciences teacher can sometimes be somewhat degrading. Culture has created this idea of feminism and because of this many poeople don't believe a stay at home mom is legit and they see Family & COnsumer Sciences in the same way. I mean it is "Home Ec" and it is the same as it was 40 years ago right? In many instances I have had to just let comments "roll off my back" and not make a scene (because honestly its not usually worth it when they think they're right). I know in my heart that it is worth it and God loves it. I think at my high school we have even started to change this viewpoint. To do so I have had to prove that it is worthwhile and valuable by taking some initiative and being willing to work hard... to wave my own flag in humility. I think my classes have done that this year. We've started a small "take n' bake" business, have served the community, I have got my students into observe real jobs, and we have served the school and teachers in many ways.

The last overaching thing I have learned is that I have to pick my battles. Middle schoolers and high schoolers will be middle schoolers and high schoolers (here I am saying this as a 22 year old). Proverbs 19:11 says, "A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense." I really want these students to know God and to follow him... and sometimes I expect them to act maturly . Some do... and some don't. Regardless, I've had to have some major patience and give a lot of grace by overlooking some things that really don't matter and require no discipline. One battle I am willing to pick is that of complaining and whining. "It's so cold in here!" "Why do we have to do ___________ today?" "This food is gross!" "I hate that _______ (insert food type). I am NOT going to try it!" I've enforced a rule that is pretty much Phillippians 2:14 which goes like this... "Do all things without complaining or arguing."

Well.... thats a few for now! Have a super day and feel free to share things you're learning in life!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Extremes of Business & Boredom

This post comes to you straight from my classroom. I have time to write a blog post while on the job? Sad, but true. I am absolutely bored. My seniors were done almost 2 weeks ago and 75% of the students I teach are seniors. I've been chucking papers and cleaning every nick and cranny of my 2 classrooms for the last week and now I am done. Everything is off of the walls even. The 2-3 students I have left in 4 out of my 6 classes (due to seniors being gone) are working on final projects and my middle schoolers are finishing up their last unit. Crazy!

If you remember the last days of school, they were boring, mundane, and everyone was ready to freak out (and have I had my share of people freak out at me the last few days) because they were so sick of being in school and they had semester tests! Not to mention.. I mean, summer fun is right around the proverbial corner! Well, let me say that it is no different for a teacher... a 1st year teacher no less. One who yes is extremely grateful for her job and all that God has taught her. More on that one later! My brain is also about to turn off for about 2.5 months after cramming so many facts, ideas, theories, techniques, and skills into it and trying to teach middle and high school students in a semi-interesting way for 9.5 months. Now do I have the hardest or worst job in the world? No... (well besides the days I am convinced I'd rather work in a meat factory than with high school girls who are so mean to each other and me sometimes).

It's funny as I look back on my planner and think about the many days I had so much mental tension over deciding between going home and making dinner for my husband and having 100 things still to do at work for tomorrow, it is 6 pm and I have a 50 min commute or vice versa. And now I am bored? I feel like I live a life of extremes.

I was just telling Joel yesterday that I am so used to living super busy, going from one thing to the next, that I can't even imagine sitting at the pool this summer. I think I am going to be bored out of my mind. Regardless, I know I need the time off and have pledged to doing very little because I know my mind needs to unload and I need to sleep A LOT. I am achiever, a girl who thrives on lists and things to do. We shall just wait and see what happens... (hopefully I don't drive my husband, who still has to work, crazy)!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Our 1st Anniversary

On May 15, 2010 we celebrated our 1st anniversary! We went to Des Moines and stayed in a suite for two nights. We had a great time reflecting on everything that has happened over the past year! We enjoyed relaxing, having a picnic, and watching our ceremony and wedding day rewind. The best part was... well, I'll let the pictures speak for themselves... Joel even took in pictures of my bouquet and had a similar one made!

Yes, I dressed up in my wedding dress (though I needed to tan) and Joel wore his suit! We went out to eat and received many "Congratulations!". We made sure to tell people that it was our 1st anniversary! We really enjoyed this experience! We also had a great time dancing on a dock later that evening!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

God's Love

Sarah and I are reading through the bible and we're on our third day. This morning Genesis 3:21 struck me.. "The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them." This was right after they sinned and screwed up, felt shame, and tried to hide from their loving Creator. It's a beautiful picture of how God loves me and treats me when I sin. He's not quick to scald and say, "What are you doing you idiot!".. although there is punishment, pain, and I'm responsible for my sin and sin separates me from a loving relationship (they were driven out of the garden in 3:24). His love and our free choice to follow Him is always there. He "clothes" me with His love and cares for me. Ultimately His kindness leads me to repentance (Romans 2:4). His grace and love drive me today to be holy and live with gratitude.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Glories of Grocery Shopping

Since I am a wife and a family & consumer sciences teacher, I have to grocery shop quite a bit (3 times a week at least). I know, those of you who have kids are like... chica, that is nothing. I guess I will find out if and when that day comes. When Joel and I first got married I loved grocery shopping. I still love it when I can take my time (which is like never). With that in mind, I try to shop when no one else does (Saturday mornings, early Sunday mornings, 8pm at night, etc).

Nonetheless, I don't always get to shop when I want to and so grocery shopping often becomes a huge game to me. How can I get everything I need, starting on one side of the store and making my way to the other side without having to turn around, all in the shortest amount of time? I recently had a friend tell me she saw me in the store and I was so focused that I didn't even notice her a couple of rows over... I guess that's how intense I get. Whoops... note to self.. work on being a freak in the grocery store (people do see you)!

Another thing that makes my time a little more fun is this guy... the HyVee "short cart" (as my husband and I so fondly call it). When I shop for school I shop at HyVee. I don't always get a short cart but when I do I get pumped. These dudes come in a limited supply and man whoever invented them needs a stinkin' raise! I was in a really odd mood the last time I was shopping and decided to take a picture of my "short cart" (yes that is TP)!

Think what you will... the small joys in daily life make a big difference!