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Headless Chickens Need Not Apply

Today the phrase “running around like a chicken with its head cut off” is an understatement of the millennium. 

And one that I hope I never, ever witness.

I cannot bear to see this beauty without a head. 

I’ll cry.

Or this one.

Or this one.

Have I mentioned I’m getting chickens delivered March 14th?  Oh, I have?  Only 3 gazillion times you say.  Sorry.  It’s just that I’m busting at the seams.

The next two weeks of my life are a whirlwind of busy-ness.  I have been dreading these last 2 weeks of January.  Some days I find myself wanting to step into a time machine and travel to February 1st, but then I’d feel compelled to push forward to March 14th, for reasons obvious.  Surely.

During the next 10 days, I am going to be out of my classroom for 5 of them.  Three of those days I will be learning all about Title I schools.  My school is heading down the Title I path, which means that 50% or more of our student population qualifies for free or reduced lunches.  We are the final campus to move this direction, all other schools in my town are already Title I, which tells you a little bit about the demographics of my little town of 17,000 people.

The other 2 days I will be out testing my second graders one by one.  Three times a year, we get substitutes to teach our class while we sit individually with each student and assess their reading, writing, and spelling abilities.  It is arduous on both them and me.  So planning for a substitute and then catching up, to only plan for a substitute again makes me feel like a headless chicken.

Adding to these work responsibilities is this little thing called life.  Cleaning house, cooking meals, being a wife, keeping up with my postaday blogging challenge, keeping up with my exercise plan and buddy I’ve already fallen behind with, remodeling a trailer house and packing and moving.  I’m beat already.  Finished before I started.  Stick a fork in me. I’m done.

I’m sure many others can certainly relate to the busy-ness of our existence.

Today the calendar date glares at me reminding me I am two days late for the Beth Moore Scripture Memory Team.  Every month, on the 1st and the 15th, we choose a verse from the Bible to memorize.  Jesus used scripture when tempted by Satan.  It is the sword by which we do battle. 

I awoke this morning thinking of my upcoming duties, feeling the heaviness of responsibility weighing on my shoulders and my prayer was simply, “Thank you and help!” 

I need refreshing.  I searched for a memory verse that would tell me to come to the Lord for refreshing, to call on the Lord and he’ll give me energy to endure, to rest in the Lord, which I found and He will, but the verse that spoke to me did not tell my to lay down and rest.  It did not say massages and pedicures are in full order. 

Dang it. 

It did not tell me to take 3 hour naps.  Not even 2 hour ones. 

It told me to be an active participant rather than a passive recipient of the refreshing I desperately need.

Proverbs 11:25 screamed itself at me this morning. 

“A generous man will prosper, he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.”

Not exactly what I wanted to hear, but rather what I NEEDED to hear.  How many times do I selfishly think to myself or worse, complain to others:

I have so much to do.

I can’t get it all done.

I’m so behind.

When rather I need to stop thinking about myself and say,

Look around.  

Who needs your help today? 

 What can you do for someone else? 

Who in your little world needs refreshing?  

And then refreshing shall come.

May you find your needs met today. 

Love,

me

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Four Things

I have few things I want to share with you today.

First Thing:

We’re studying the water cycle in science up at the elementary school.  You remember your second grade science class don’t you?  Or has it been many moons?  For a quick review, here’s a song about the water cycle sung to the tune of If You’re Happy and You Know It, Clap Your Hands.

Ready?

A  one, a two, A one, two, three, four…..

Water travels in a circle, yes it does (clap, clap)

Water travels in a circle, yes it does (clap, clap)

It goes up as evaporation, forms a cloud as condensation, fall to the ground as precipitation, yes it does! (clap, clap)

I was reading the Bible this morning, I am still in the book of Job.  At this point a young man named Elihu is ripping into Job, tearing him a new one, putting him into his place.  He’s telling him about how awesome God is, and then he says these words:

Take a long, hard look.  See how great he is—-inifinite, greater than anything you could ever imagine or figure out!  He pulls water up out of the sea, distills it, and fills up his rain-cloud cisterns.  Then the skies open up and pour out soaking showers on everyone.  Does anyone have the slightest idea how this happens?

 

I read that and was bamboozled.  It’s the water cycle, right there…..evaporation, condensation, precipitation.  I don’t know why I was so surprised to find this in the Bible.  I mean, God is the creator of everything after all.  What took scientists until the 16th century to  learn and label with big, scientific sounding words, Elihu knew 2000-1800 years B.C.  Awesome, isn’t it?

Second Thing:

I’ve never been a magazine subscriber until recently.  I spent a good $50 on magazine subscriptions when we bought our Little Trailer House on the Prairie. 

These magazines will teach you how to garden, can food, cook chickens, milk cows, build solar panels, bake bread, make hammocks, and asundry other very informational things.  Someday I fear us younger generations are going to wish we knew how  not to depend on commercialism.

Some great magazines to read if you’re wanting to learn how to live off the land and become more self-sufficient are the following:

GRIT

Mother Earth News

Hobby Farms

Mary Jane’s Farm

Today I received this new GRIT magazine in the mail from my grandmother-in-law. 

We call her M.O.  It’s all about turkeys.

 She also sent this book home with Jason recently. 

It teaches how to make home-made beer.  Among other important things. 

But the item that I received in the mail yesterday that made my heart go pitter-pat, was new sticky return address labels. 

With my name and address of course.

But these aren’t just any old kind of return address labels. 

They have pictures on them. 

And not of flags either.

But farm animals.

A chicken, a cow, and a rooster. 

And look at this.  Doesn’t she make you want to just snuggle up with her?

   

I’ve never wanted a pig.  Never  ever. 

Until now.

I can’t resist him any longer.

Help me, help me, help me.

Third Thing:

I’ve been unsubscribing to a lot of my emails lately.  I click unsubscribe and a box pops up that says something like, “Thank you.  You won’t be receiving any more emails from us”  But then suddenly, an alert of a new email message pops up from the exact same company who just lied to me telling me I won’t be receiving any more emails from them that says, “We’re sad to see you go, would you please fill out a short survey letting us know what’s wrong.”  Or “Oops, did you mean to unsubscibe from us? If it’s a mistake, please click here.”   That’s a little bit annoying to me.  Just needed to vent. 

Fourth Thing:

I read a little snippet today that the earth’s rotation is moving in such a way that our zodiacal (if that’s even a word) signs are changing.  So guess what?  You may no longer be a Leo or a Sagittarius.  I was a  Pisces, but now I’m an Aquarius. 

You can read more at http://www.salon.com/news/natural_disasters/index.html?story=/mwt/feature/2011/01/13/horoscope_change_zodiac

Don’t let it shatter your world.  I think it was just a bunch of drunk on home-made beer farmers that decided it.

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Job 19:25

I’m reading the Bible chronologically.  I’m following a reading plan found here www.bibleplan.org/ch/niv  Did you know that Job lived before Abraham? 

This morning I sat down with my cup of coffee and my Bible to listen to Job whine a bit.  As if he didn’t have much to whine about it.  His entire family was killed, he lost everything, and then he was stricken with sores and illness.  And while he was down, his so-called friends came and kicked him.

But during all of his suffering, he remains committed to God.  And as he suffered through this time and longed for death, he claims in chapter 19, verse 25, “I know my redeemer lives.” 

This song blessed me to tears today.  May it bless you too.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9p4G2GbPYQA

 I know my redeemer lives. 

Continue reading “Job 19:25”

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I am a sheep.

I’m participating in the Beth Moore scripture something-or-other team.  I love Beth Moore.  Do you know her?  She is one of my spiritual gurus.  A brilliant woman who walks with Christ and is right there with me on my level.  She’s uncovered and explained many issues in my walk with God through books, Bible studies, and her blog.  You can read about this scripture memorization thingamajigger over at http://blog.lproof.org

  Basically she challenges us to memorize 24 scriptures during the year.  Two a month.  That’s pretty do-able.   To participate, you pick a verse that is relevant to where you are right then in your life.  If you don’t have one, you can always use the one she posts.  I didn’t know what verse to choose, until Sunday when I experienced a crisis of faith.

I got a notion to visit someone in the hospital this past weekend.  I don’t really know why, it’s not something I regularly do.  The person in the hospital is not someone whom I hang out with, or talk with on the phone.  We’ve never gone for ice cream or pedicures, she’s just someone I sort of know.  An acquaintance really.  But I got a strange feeling I should visit her.

I don’t know how you feel about hearing from God, or if you even believe He speaks to us at all,  but I do and I try to remain open to His voice.  I believe He works in small and mysterious ways.  I know His plans are good for me, and I don’t want to miss out on something He has in store.    So I considered this might be God talking to me and decided to be obedient, despite the awkwardness of it.

So after dinner (which means lunch) on Sunday, I drove my husband and niece home and was on my way  to the  store to get a flower or something for the patient.  “But first”, I told myself, “I need to get on facebook and check her wall to see if she’s still in the hospital.  I’d hate to waste my time and be embarrassed at the nurse’s station if she’s no longer there.”

“Nope”, another voice told me.  “Now you’re doubting God.  If He told you to visit, then go visit, don’t question it.”

So I ran into the store and got something for her and went to the hospital.   I didn’t know what room she was in, but from past hospital visitation experiences,  everyone usually winds up on the third floor.  I got off the elevator,  stepped up to the nurse’s station, with the plant and asked for her room number.  And you’ll never believe it.  But she had been released that morning.  Hmmmm?  Was God talking to me after all?

Okaaayyyyy.  Now what do I do?  Maybe I’ll run it by her house even though I have no idea where she lives.  So I got back on the elevator, stepped onto the first floor to go to my car and something stopped me.  I stood in the foyer outside the elevator and felt extremely led to give the plant in my arms to someone hospitalized who maybe hadn’t had a visitor.  A lonely old person perhaps?  Surely, there’s lonely people in the hospital.  Hmmmmm?  Now was this God speaking to me?  Maybe I needed to minister to someone in need?  Maybe I’m at this hospital for someone I’m unaware of. 

So in an attempt to be obedient, once again I got back in the elevator, returned to the third floor, walked up to the nurse’s station and asked if there might be someone on that floor who could use a visitor and a plant.  The nurses look at the wall of patient’s names and room numbers, consider their patients, and slowly shake their heads.  Seems like everyone is doing just fine and dandy. 

Alrighty then.  So now what?  I guess I’ll just keep the dern plant for myself. 

 I got back in the elevator to leave. 

 And I cried. 

I stood in the elevator alone and cried. 

Not because the person I went to see wasn’t in the hospital anymore. 

Not because I spent money on a plant that no one needed. 

Not even because the nurses couldn’t help me find ONE SINGLE PERSON to brighten their day.

But because, right then and there, alone in an elevator, it became blatantly apparent to me that I don’t recognize the voice of God, obviously. 

And then the other VOICE came.  The bad VOICE.  The one who speaks defeat and negativity to my soul.  It makes me doubt, causing confusion, fear and self-loathing.  It twisted itself around my head and my heart and caused me to think, “How do I know if I have ever heard God’s voice?  I didn’t today when I thought I had on three different occasions.  Which only means, all those other times in my life, all those instructions, all those thoughts that I felt were God’s way of directing me, that was probably just indigestion or something.

 I’m  probably married to the wrong person, living in the wrong town, working at the wrong job, and going to the wrong church.   How am I to know really?”

Which leads to the scripture I’ve chosen for my first memorization of 2011.  It  is John 10:27 which states,

“My sheep hear my voice.  I know them, and they follow me.”

I know I am not a lost sheep. 

I know I have a shepherd. 

He laid down his life for me, just as the shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

He protects me from the wolves who wish to cause me harm.

He leads me so I do not go astray.

And I long to hear his voice.

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Moses and me

There’s only one more day left in 2010. 

How did you fare (or fair?) on your 2010 resolutions?

Me?  I don’t remember all that I resolved to do and I can’t find where I wrote them down.  That should tell you how successful I was. 

I read a quote the other day that said, “May all your troubles last as long as your New Year’s Resolutions.” 

One resolution that I know I did not keep was to blog 15 times a month.  Colossal fail.

I did manage to keep 2 of my resolutions that I remember.  Man, I wish I could find that paper I wrote them all down on.

The two resolutions I remember making are:

1. Run a 1/2 marathon—I was able to complete a 1/2 marathon, which does not make me a runner.  I wogged (walked/jogged) a half-marathon, and I have no intentions of doing that again. 

2.  Read the Bible in a year—-I’ve almost completed it.  I downloaded a schedule from  http://www.Bible-Reading.com to keep me on track.  However, it did not keep me on track and I have found myself reading 23 1/2 hours a day the past 3 or 4 days to try to complete my resolution. 

I’ve been spending much time in the Word and even though I pray for a Message to leap off the page to me, I find myself simply reading words and not understanding how they apply to me in today’s world, 2010.  Anyone else?   I’m almost finished with the whole thing, only 45 more chapters to go!!!  Later today I plan on reading Nehemiah and tomorrow finish up with Esther and Revelation.  I do love Esther.  Probably my favorite book of the Bible.  Have you read it? 

Today I wrapped up  my time with Moses.  Moses is dead, isn’t that a shocker? It’s silly,  I’ve spent so much time with him lately, that I got teary when he died today.  He worked so hard leading the people to The Promised Land and yet, he himself, didn’t get to enter.  I grieve over that.  I know that he has seen a much more plentiful, beautiful place, but I’m sad because I don’t really understand what he and Aaron did that was so bad to deserve that punishment.   I imagine him going to the top of the mountain God tells him to climb to see it with his eyes, but that he cannot enter.  I imagine his tears, his remorse, his sadness, his regret.   We’re told that he can’t enter the land promised  because of what happened at the Waters of  Meribah.  It was there the people of Israel had been grumbling like they always did because there was no water to drink, which seems like a good reason to grumble to me.  They take up their case with Moses as always saying why did you bring us out here to die, we should have just stayed slaves in Egypt.  We’d be better off there.  It tells us in Numbers 20 that Moses and Aaron threw themselves facedown before God asking for help  for the people. 

Here is what God tells them to do:  “Take the staff.   Assemble the community, you and your brother Aaron.  Speak to that rock that’s right in front of them and it will give water.  You will bring water out of the rock for them; congregation and cattle will both drink.” 

And here is what they did: 

v. 9  Moses took the staff away from God’s presence, as commanded.  He and Aaron rounded up the whole congregation in front of the rock.  Moses spoke:  “Listen, rebels!  Do we have to bring water out of this rock for you?”

v. 11  With that Moses raised his arm and slammed his staff against the rock—once, twice.  Water poured out.  Congregation and cattle drank.

And then they got in trouble by God.  God told them because they didn’t trust Him and show Him reverence before the people that they couldn’t enter the land promised to them.

I’m confused.  To me ( pagan sinful me) they followed orders.  Which is quite frightening to know how badly I’m to be judged for the things I’ve done.  I do not understand what they did wrong.  Was it because they took credit for the water and did not give the glory to the Lord, or is because he hit the rock twice instead of speaking to it like he was told? 

 In Exodus 17 it says he was told to strike the rock. 

So anyway, I’m left with questions.  Moses is dead.  He did not get to enter the Land flowing with milk and honey.   Joshua will lead the people.  But with all this bad news, here is a good part. 

Moses left the people with this blessing.  With 2011 approaching, I carry this blessing of the Lord with me as I journey into my new land.  I hope you do too.  I pray our nation will also.

If you listen obediently to the Voice of God, your God, and heartily obey all his commandments that I command you today, God, your God, will place you on high, high above all the nations of the world.  All these blessings will come down on you and spread out beyond you because you have responded to the Voice of God, your God:

God’s blessing inside the city,

God’s blessing in the country;

God’s blessing on your children,

the crops of your land,

the young of your livestock,

the calves of your herds,

the lambs of your flocks,

God’s blessing on your basket and bread bowl;

God’s blessing in your coming in,

God’s blessing in your going out.

God will lavish you with good things; children from your womb, offspring from your animals, and crops from your land, the land that God promised your ancestors that he would give you.  God will throw open the doors of his sky vaults and pour rain on your land on schedule and bless the work you take in hand.  You will lend to many nations but you yourself won’t have to take out a loan.  God will make you the head, not the tail;  you’ll always be the top dog, never the bottom dog, as you obediently listen to and diligently keep the commands of God, your God, that I am commanding you today.  Deuteronomy 28 The Message.

Did you hear that?  That’s a blessing on ‘pert near everything.  Everything you set your hand.  He will open his sky vaults, his heavens, and rain down blessings on us if we follow his commands.

May 2011 be your best year ever!