Saturday, May 29, 2010

Somehow I think I am above using spell check, but I have noticed that I'm either gonna have to quit blogging when tired or in a hurry (which is how I spend most of my life) or develop a close relationship with that little ABC icon at the top of my screen. I apologize to those of you who cannot stand to read the blog of a teacher who seemingly cannot spell correctly. I will attempt to do better in the future. Now, has anyone made the coffee? This week has me dragging! :)

"My Valentine"

...not only are those words the title to one of my favorite Brickman songs, they also describe a very special person.
During the summer of 1993, while wearing a very bright green dress (really has nothing to do with it, but the dress was way too bright to be forgotten!), I fell in "love" with an enormously tall bass singer from Hobe Sound Bible College. Unfortunately, he was not ready to date a high school girl from the Midwest, so our brief whatever-it-was became a memory only to be revived for a good laugh in later years.
In the spring of 1996, the HSBC boy became reacquainted with green dress GBS girl, and the rest is history.
Occasionally, I will reminisce on the early days, realizing once again that I really had no idea what true love was all about. And that's probably a good thing. Did you realize that "true love" isn't really all that glamorous? Occasionally, through social networking sites, I will take a peek into the lives of younger types who are in and out of relationships like sand through an hourglass, and it is all there...the drama, suspense, hype, tears, smiles, romance, love songs, flowers, you name it. There is so much talk about "true love" and "forever yours", and all of those words with enduring value. Then I laugh and think to myself, "If you only knew!", hoping one day they really will know and will remain virtuous until that day so that they can live without regret.
So, back to my point, if in those early days we had really known what true love was and what it required, we may not have been quite so eager to sign on the dotted line. Don't take me regrets here, just an observation.
Now it has been almost 13 years. We have been through births, miscarriage, major back surgery, deaths in the family, home purchases, sickness of various kinds, spiritual battles, many important decisions, and each of those things has strengthened the love interest that began as a tiny seed in 1996.
I clearly remember our 7th anniversary, and the meaning it held for me. Most divorces happen before the 7th year of marriage, so that became kind of a milestone for me. Not that divorce was ever an option for us (nor had we ever been at the point where we felt like we needed an option), but we weren't so naive as to think that it never happens.
Then came year #10. I always thought that people were pretty old when they reached the 10th anniversary, but by the time it rolled around, I had changed my mind. :)
Now we are approaching #13. I thank God continuously for the incredible husband and father He has placed in my life. This blog could not hold all of the wonderful things that I could say, so I'll not even try.
I'll just wrap up with this...I love you, Greg, and I hope that you had a wonderful Valentine's Day!

***This post is old, and remained unfinished, but I thought I should put it up anyway, cause I wanted to tell my man how much I love him! If you find it mushy or disgusting, please avoid throwing up on your computer keyboard, reach for a Tum, and move on...
By the way, I did part with the green dress (into which I shall never again fit) just a few months ago. Hope it made someone do the happy dance at the Goodwill store! :)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Would You?

Recently I heard someone pose this question, "Would you do something you don't want to do to get an outcome that you desire?" The context in which the question was presented caused it to strike me in a pretty forceful way, and it made for some interesting introspection.

As I mentioned in another post, I am a fairly classic firstborn. Dreaming comes easy for me. I can see end results with an amazing amount of clarity and color. On the other hand, motivation to take the baby steps...well, it's a little slower in coming! Maybe you can relate.

As a college student, there were lots of little things that I just did not want to do. To begin with, I wasn't all that crazy about majoring in elementary education. I was one who chose my college before I chose my major, rather than selecting a field then looking at colleges that had programs within my chosen course of study. Looking back, I see God's hand in all of those decisions, but at the time I found it very frustrating to have to sift through piles of "silly" projects and seemingly endless lectures on subjects that really wouldn't impact my future in a real practical way...or so I thought. I detested the time spent making file folder games for preschoolers and notebooks full of worksheets for elementary students...little did I know. :)

Really, on a much larger scale, I think most women who are ambitious have goals, plans, and objectives for their own lives and for the lives of those over whom they have influence. It's much more complex than just making it to the end of the week or the year, or holding out until the kids are grown, or even until we retire from our chosen professions. There are dreams that we want to see fulfilled. We don't want to just make it through life, we want to L*I*V*E* every moment to its maximum potential! Getting from point A to point B, however, can be more difficult than it seems. It requires effort, and lots of it.

If you listen to conversations among women, you may hear statements like these:

"You have no idea how much I would love to lose some weight!"

"Wow...what I wouldn't give to be able to drive a car like that!"

"I sure wish my daughter could play the piano."

"Wouldn't it be nice to come home to a clean house?"

"I wish my kids had more interest in spiritual things."

"It just seems like we never have enough money."

"She's lucky that she has such a great husband."

...and you could keep adding to this list.

The sad thing is that many women will only continue to wish because the outcome never becomes real enough to propel them into action. As much as a momma of four likes to think, a clean house is not a goal that cannot be reached. It requires discipline, consistency, and more discipline, but it can be done. Nice husbands are a blessing, but we can help to make our husbands nicer by being better wives. It's not always easy to treat a pig like a king (my husband isn't a pig, but some are, I've heard), but the outcome just might be worth the effort! We can begin to shed excess weight by controlling our eating impulses and exercising our muscles. Not easy, but worth it. Children can learn to play musical instruments when their parents are willing to sacrifice to pay for lessons and then require the necessary practice. Money can be more abundant when one is willing to work hard to acquire it, and then use it wisely. Parents can raise spiritually minded children when they love God, make their home a place for His presence, speak highly of the church and its people, train the children in His ways, and involve them in cheerful acts of service (cheerful is a key word here).

Inside each of us resides a God-given mechanism that determines our actions and responses in every situation we encounter. It is our will. God doesn't want puppet servants, He wants people who actively choose to follow Him and seek to make good decisions, so He created us to have a choice. This same inner force is what will either help us reach our dreams or leave us continuing to wish.

So, here is my question for you...Are you willing to do something you don't want to do in order to achieve an outcome that you really desire? If you are, please leave a comment and share your experience. You may be an encouragement to someone else who is walking in your shoes!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

It's a Date!

...those are words I love to hear! Now that I'm "all grown up", birthdays aren't quite what they used to be, and I never have an answer for the question "What do you want for your birthday?" I really do feel sorry for my husband because I have a way of making it difficult...not to mention that my birthday and Mother's Day were two days apart this year (and I didn't even bother to remind him that it was National Teacher's Week and that I am his daughter's!
Back to the "all grown up" stuff, these days I would rather have experiences than things (don't get me wrong, I love 'things''s just that most of the things I love are things the whole family would enjoy, not something personal), and so I asked him to take me to hear one of my favorite artists as my birthday gift.
We were introduced to Jim Brickman's music in the mid-1990's (when some mellow "luv" songs were mandatory background music for our dates), and Jim's music has followed us through almost 13 years of marriage, four kids, and the joys and struggles of life.
I'm amazed by the amount of people that have never even heard of Jim Brickman! His mellow piano arrangements have soothed my nerves on many occasions, and the vocalists that he features on his songs are awesome. He has provided the music for this blog since its beginning. Check him out at

There was a strict "no camera" policy at the show, so I was unable to get any pics of Brickman at the piano, but we did participate in a VIP Meet & Greet at the end.

Thanks, Greg, for a great evening!

Thursday, May 6, 2010


One thing that I absolutely love about my job is watching children grow into responsible, mature young adults. There are few things more satisfying to me than watching a young person set a goal and work like crazy to reach the goal. In our non-traditional classroom setting, a large percentage of the students are focused and responsible. They learn from a young age that their success is not dependant upon the teacher or others in the classroom. They use their ability to read and discover information that is presented to them in a written format, and the sky really becomes the limit. They become confident and eager to meet challenges that are placed before them. They are held back by no one.
We have three seniors this year, and two of them are PCS thoroughbreds. These two completed their coursework just before spring break, and have around 28 high school credits each, plus a nice stack of college credits through classes they were able to take at Rhodes State College this year. They did this while helping to put together a spectacular yearbook (it's here and it's cool!), and raise funds for and compete in student convention. I am so proud of them! I think that they would say they surprised themselves in what they were able to accomplish this year. Each of them stretched themselves, and did things that a year ago may not have seemed possible.

Jennifer and I go back a ways...I began to babysit her when she was less than a week old (if my memory serves correctly) and since I wasn't really a "baby" person that was new for me...we developed a real bond during those years, she was the miniature bride at my wedding (sorry about all the bobby pins, Jenn. I know you were scarred for life, but your hair rocked!), and then we were able to spend many days together during her years in school! She is not a quitter. I watched her when there were things that she really didn't have to do, and didn't really enjoy doing, and she stuck with those things. I would say those experiences will serve her well in the future. Congratulations, Jennifer!

I began teaching at the school when Sharree was just four years old. Her mommy was a teacher, so she was one of the little staff kids that really deserves a lifetime service award. :) Although I didn't have her in my class until the seventh grade, or so, I knew her to be a thorough student, who always wanted to do nothing less than her best. Through the years that we have had a closer relationship, Sharree has blossomed in many ways, and she is graduating a year early (even with all the crazy extra stuff she has done!). Like Jennifer, she has not opted for the easy way out, and has given herself to help with many extras. Congratulations, Sharree!

Although we are going to miss the every day presence of these girls in our classroom, we are excited to send them out to be a blessing to others. Our prayer is that they remain spriritually grounded and never lose sight of their goals!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Women Of Faith 2010

God had a special surprise in store for me last weekend. He knew my physical strength was waning, and my emotional resources were running low, so He sent me a little gift...then again, it wasn't so little! My mom and I were able to attend Women of Faith's 2010 conference at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, OH. I have thought about doing a WOF weekend in year's past, but with 4 little ones and a M-F commitment, it just didn't seem like a possibility. This time God didn't give me too much time to think about all the reasons I shouldn't go, and things fell perfectly into place for a much needed break! There is no way I can describe this weekend in a blog post, so I'll just share photos. This event was truly...

Friday's morning and afternoon sessions were rich. Andy Andrews (former homeless teen turned exceptional speaker and author) shared his insights into forgiveness in a powerful way. He has a gift for connection, and the audience was drinking in his wisdom.

Embarrassing security...

Working the crowd...

Oh, how everybody loves Patsy Clairmont! If you need a good laugh, head on over to your Christian bookstore and simply read her book titles! She is an amazing communicator with an amazing story. Every sentence that flowed from her lips was like a valuable treasure that you only wish you could store in your mind!

Friday afternoon, the event coordinator hosted a forum with Andy and Patsy, answering questions from the audience. Very informative and interesting. Loved listening to their unscripted responses.

Although not scheduled to be on this tour, we were so happy to get to meet Lucy Swindoll! I overheard that she shows up at the Columbus event each year. Very cool!

And then there is Lisa Welchel, child TV star turned wife and stay-at-home mom. She still has her little girl TV voice, and we enjoyed her story and the transparency with which she shared.

This is Richard Stearns. He had an extremely successful career in business. By the mid-80's he was president of Parker Brothers. Later, he became vice-president of the Franklin Mint. Following his time there, he became the CEO of Lenox Collections. God began to do something in his heart when he received a call from World Vision. He was asked to become president of the organization, and was vehemently against the idea until God took him through a troubling period of introspection. The result is that he and his wife left their 10 bedroom historic home in N.Y., and he resigned from the large fine china and home furnishing company to follow God's leading and bring His light to impoverished children all over the world. This decision prompted his new book, titled "The Hole in our Gospel". The sobering questions he addresses are, "What does God expect of us?" and "Are you wiling to be open to God's will for your life?" These are questions that typically would be answered with a resounding "Yes!" by all who claim to be Christian, but do our lives reflect that "Yes!"?

Then a special treat. I heard a familiar voice singing my all-time favorite Disney songs, "When You Wish Upon A Star" and "A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes". Who couldn't sit and listen to that all day! Sandi Patty has become part of Women of Faith's "Porch", and she spoke about her experiences from her first unsuccessful audition at Disney, to teaching piano to pay her way through Anderson University (she just happened to have two little students whose parents were named Bill and Gloria), becoming a back-up vocalist for the Bill Gaither Trio, marriage and family, heartaches, struggles with weight, and stress induced health issues. Her story was one with which, in some small way, we could all relate. She ended her time with a song of encouragement, "I Am Enough", and then wowed us with her rendition of "We Shall Behold Him".

Signing "We Shall Behold Him" for the deaf. It was beautiful to watch the connection between she and them...they were truly able to worship with her!

This is what the high note looks

A mini-dream come true...

Marilyn Meberg and Nicole Johnson leaving the auditorium (they apparently didn't recognize me...haha)...

Patsy Clairmont up close (sorry about the head chop, but she was moving quickly). The next time she came by we tried to stop her for a group pic, and she was plenty willing, but her personal security held tightly to her arm and kept her moving. She started to pull away, but he wasn't going to budge, so giving us her cute little pouty-lip, she apologized and kept going. I was just thrilled to get to be so close in an arena that big!

One of the best things about the weekend is that I was able to spend some quality time with my mom. I mean REAL quality time...the hotel was out of queen beds, so I slept with my mother for the very first time in a very long time...haha! We both love to shop, so even though we only had mere minutes in between sessions, we zipped out to Penneys outlet for a few minutes, swung by Lane Bryant to use a couple of free coupons on some Cacique...oh, yeah...and ate at a delicious little place called Boston's (not Boston Market). Definitely the best pasta I've ever eaten. Oh, and can't forget the late night Graeter's Ice Cream run. Nothin' like going to bed full of Buckeye Blitz in a waffle cone! Did I mention I have a weight problem? lol Thanks, mom, for inviting me along! It was a blast!

Steven Curtis Chapman

Mary Beth Chapman's first ever public speaking experience...excellent content, delivery will come with practice. Steven was thrilled that she was finally emerging to tell the story of their lives and the recent tragedy and loss of their little Maria.

Marilyn Meberg giving a closing challenge...

Sandi Patty, Mandisa, and Lucy singing Happy Birthday for a few in the audience who were celebrating that weekend...

These girls have too much fun!

One of the best things about the abundance of pink-not that lightish, whitish stuff-happy hot pink and purple!