Archive for the ‘We don’t need no education’ Category
While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. Matthew 4:18-20
What He says we will do…
Where He sends we will go…
NEVER FEAR, only trust and obey!
The boys left fairly early this morning for a “guys road trip” of sorts. Mike, having just returned from 6 weeks in the States, is still catching up on the state of the village and had some miscellaneous errands to run in Gulu Town. He thought the guys might enjoy joining him on his adventure, as well as having the opportunity to visit the Bobi property, site of Village #2. Because of the drive time – 3 or 4 hours each way – and the need for an early start, breakfast was light: bread with butter and sugar, and tea or coffee. Knowing I’d need more than that to make it through until lunchtime, I supplemented with some raisins in the hut. Unfortunately, Winnie beat me to washing the dinner dishes from last night (they don’t wash dishes in the dark), and by the time I finished breakfast she was nearly done with the rest, so I decided to be sure to be early to wash the lunch dishes.
Lindsey brought the morning devotional for just us girls. She simply shared part of her faith journey from the last couple of years. The lesson that resonated with me was this: I have already told you what to do. Just obey.
Two simple words, but with a depth of meaning that is almost impossible to comprehend. Two simple words, but with a cost of completion that is almost impossible to measure. Two simple words to say, but not so simple to do.
For the past 6 years, that has been the call over my life and the cry of my heart. My God, I *want* to obey. I don’t want to live my life *my* way. I want to follow YOUR way. I want to walk in YOUR path. I want to experience YOUR blessing and YOUR favor. But it’s hard. And I’m scared…scared of what it will cost me…what it will cost my family. Lindsey’s devotional this morning struck a chord deep within me, a powerful reminder to obey God regardless of whether or not I understand, of whether or not I can make sense of what He is asking me to do.
All He wants is for me to trust…and obey.
Phineas and Ferb claim that there are 104 days of summer vacation. I say “phooey on you-ey.” Because apparently we’re being gypped more than 2 weeks.
How do I know this? Tonight was Meet the Teacher at McGowen. We’re 82 days in, and already it’s time to go check out the classroom, drop off school supplies, sign up for the PTA, and discover who the classmates will be. And in 6 more days, it will be the first day of school. By my calculations, that puts us just shy of 90, well short of the *supposed* 104 immortalized in song.
Regardless, Crisana was excited. For weeks she had been crossing her fingers, toes, legs, arms, and even her eyeballs in hopes of getting the teacher *she* wanted. Never mind that the teacher *she* wanted changed from day to day. She was breathless in anticipation, and so were we. And so we were ALL excited when we discovered who her teacher for third grade would be:
Just in case you don’t recognize the significance, let me give you a brief reminder.
Her hair may be lighter and she’s now sporting a baby bump but yes, that’s the same teacher. A teacher who was one of Trey’s – and our – favorites. A teacher who was a tremendous encouragement to our family and a source of great stability to Trey during an incredibly tumultuous year. A teacher who prayed diligently for our family and supported us even in our efforts to support her. We couldn’t be more thrilled or thankful for allowing Crisana to be in her class this year!
Apparently, Crisana’s pretty excited, too.
But now, God’s Message, the God who made you in the first place, Jacob,
the One who got you started, Israel: “Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.
I’ve called your name. You’re mine. When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.
When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down. When you’re between a rock and a hard place,
it won’t be a dead endâ€” Because I am God, your personal God,
The Holy of Israel, your Savior. I paid a huge price for you:
all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in! That’s how much you mean to me!
That’s how much I love you! I’d sell off the whole world to get you back,
trade the creation just for you.
Well, it’s finally happened.Â 2010 is over and we have now begun our second decade of the new millennium.Â Three hundred sixty-five days now lay spread out before us like an open road with few hints in sight of what lies ahead.Â There is no way to predict what we will meet around the next curve or bend.Â We can’t possibly know the detours and road bumps we will encounter, though we know from experience we’ll face them.Â Yet the refrain I’ve heard repeated again and again during the past week has been one of putting the year 2010 behind us and looking forward to starting over, a fresh beginning…doing a new thing.
I’m right there with you.
A wise yet silly warthog named Pumbaa once said, “You’ve got to put your past in your behind.”Â And while he was a little mixed up on the grammar, he got the sentiment right.Â I’ve made plenty of mistakes this past year.Â I’ve wallowed far too often in self-pity and depression.Â I’ve wasted days and hours that could have been better spent furthering God’s work and His kingdom…or at least accomplishing more of His purpose in my life.Â I’ve faced challenges and difficult moments.Â And while I wouldn’t choose to repeat any of those things, I know each one has a purpose.Â I can learn from my mistakes.Â I can appreciate the joy and wonder of grace more deeply.Â I can refocus my energies and gain an awareness of opportunities God gives me to serve Him daily.Â I can strengthen my faith as I see God work through my circumstances.
So it is with that sense of optimism – that spirit of new beginnings, that freshness of doing a new thing – that I share with you my goals for the year ahead.
Doing a new thing…with my time.
When I returned from Uganda in August, I struggled for several weeks with issues related to re-entry.Â And while some of that is normal for anyone returning from such a life-changing cross-cultural experience, there were days I felt absolutely paralyzed.Â Overwhelmed.Â Unable to reconcile the “here and now” with the “there and then.”Â It was eye-opening for me to realize how much of my time is dictated by “stuff.”Â And while I’ve tried gallantly to fill my schedule with meaningful activism and personal enrichment, I was frankly too busy.Â So this year begins with a new commitment to evaluate my schedule, to pare down the number of activities I’m involved with so that I can be the kind of wife, mother, friend and servant God designed me to be.
*Â Stay involved in our Life Group
* Be part of a women’s Bible study during at least two of the sessions this year
*Â Spend no more than 1 hour/day on Facebook (including time spent playing games), even on weekends
*Â Limit my volunteer activities to 1 hour per day, total (including planning), with no “rollover minutes”
*Â Allow myself 1 hour per day of “personal” time for hobbies such as reading, scrapbooking, or blogging
*Â Structure my daily routine to include time for focused prayer, Bible reading, Bible study, and exercise
Doing a new thing…with my health.
Oh, how the mighty have fallen!Â After reaching a near trifecta of healthy eating, regular exercise and acceptable weight management in September, these past few months have seen a near collapse.Â And although it might seem impossible to manage healthy eating on our shoestring food budget, I’m determined to give it my best shot.Â So beginning Monday, I will be back on the Beach, enduring the induction phase of the South Beach lifestyle.Â This also means a return to regular exercise, including cardio, flexibility, and strength training.Â To complete the trifecta, I will reach my original (as of October 2008) weight-loss goal.Â This year, I plan to make family exercise even more of a priority with regular family bike rides, runs, and outdoor play.
*Â Restart South Beach, and complete my personal South Beach resource notebook complete with menu plans, shopping lists,Â and recipes
* Lose enough weight to reach my original target weight set in August, 2008.Â The official weigh-in will be on Monday, so specific goals will be posted then.Â Then, lose 10 more lbs.
*Â Run 500 miles.
*Â Bike 1,000 miles.
*Â Run a 10K at Run for Cover (April) and Believe (November).Â Continue to run the Heroes for Children 5K (September), Crape Myrtle Trails 5K (October), and Allen Rudolph Run 5K (December) but with a time of 30 minutes or less.
Doing a new thing…with my talents.
Ministry.Â Work.Â God definitely has something up His sleeve in this area, but the time has not been right for Him to reveal that plan to me.Â This is one area where I think I’m going to have to trust Him a little more and follow Him a little harder.Â What I can say at this point is that He has given me the opportunity to take charge in children’s worship, and that my response is to give it my all.Â This will mean taking time to connect with leaders who can provide direction in specific areas, coordinating efforts at various levels, recruiting youth and adults to fill holes, and researching ideas and materials that will inspire children to worship our awesome God.Â It’s a big task, but the God who entrusted me with it is even bigger.Â He is able, He is equipped, and He has already begun the good work He is calling me to do.Â At the same time, He has provided me with wonderful students in my piano studio.Â I must continue to find ways to motivate, encourage, and guide them on their musical journeys.Â It is a job He has called me to do, and one that I must continually seek to improve and grow both as a musician and as an educator.
*Â Establish worship teams for every Sunday in all areas of Promiseland, from Pre-K through 5th grade.
*Â Maintain an enrollment of at least 20 students in Music by DESign in the spring and fall semesters.
It’s a new day.Â It’s a new year.Â With God’s help, I’ll be doing a new thing.
And I’m feeling good.
Most of the time, I’m a pretty good mom.Â That’s not to say I haven’t had moments of EPIC FAILURE in that department, but my kids will even admit – to perfect strangers, nonetheless – that as a mom, I’m certainly above the 50th percentile.
And then there are days like today, when I totally nail it…and stick the landing, to boot.Â Hit it out of the park.Â Serve up an ace.Â Out-kick my coverage.Â When it’s a slam dunk.Â When I *know* I rocked it.Â When I get to hear things like, “You’re the BEST MOM EVER!” and then get covered in slobbery smooches and treated to great big bear hugs and rib-crushing squeezes.
So what did I do to deserve these accolades?Â What great feat did I accomplish to deserve such raving reviews from my harshest critics?Â What amazing achievement provided this ego-inflating boost and hoisted me to this grand pedestal?
Well, if you’ll allow me a little chest-thumping and swagger-stepping, I’ll show you.Â It’s this:
Yeah, that’s my beautiful, sweet, spirited, precious, amazing daughter.Â I’m always proud of THAT accomplishment, believe me.Â But really, this time it’s not so much about her but rather what she’s holding.Â She is holding her homework project for this week, which she and I spent most of a rainy Saturday and a sunny Sunday afternoon putting together.
It’s her very own Chocolate Lover’s Cookbook.Â I don’t know what makes me prouder: the fact that she made a cookbook, or that it’s all about CHOCOLATE!!
She came home on Monday with a project list based on the book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. One of the projects was to create a Chocolate Lover’s Cookbook.Â I had just finished making a prayer journal at the Christ Fellowship Women’s Retreat (thanks to the creative and uber-organized Renee Lewis) and thought this would be the perfect way to create something very special for Crisana.Â Something that went beyond “just” a homework project, but something that would become a treasured keepsake, something she could enjoy and add to throughout the years, something I could hold on to and give to her as a housewarming gift in her first apartment…or as a gift for her wedding.
I actually purchased the papers and ribbons, but bought a little extra to give her some creative choices.Â She did a great job helping me cut all the papers, run the letters through the Xyron, adhere the cover and binding, and put all the recipes inside.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have the miracle “YES” glue that Renee had recommended, so we ended up using plain old Elmer’s white glue.Â And that made the paper wrinkly.Â But if beauty is in the eye of the beholder, Crisana thought this was a masterpiece.Â And she absolutely had a blast spreading the white glue with her fingers all over the cover of the composition book.
Inside the front cover, I had every intention of making a Table of Contents or a dedication page explaining when and why this book was created.Â Unfortunately, I ran out of time for this assignment, but when we get the book back, I will be sure to add that inside.Â I want her to always remember the love I spoke to her through every step of this project, and how much I enjoyed the time we spent together making it.
We collected recipes online through email and Facebook, as well as the old-fashioned way, culling through our many cookbooks.Â But I wanted to be sure to include special recipes that our family has enjoyed and that have meaning to her.Â She was so excited to see that we had included Trey’s specialty – these Gobbler Goodies – and the Chocolate Pretzel Rings she helps me make every Christmas.Â She spoke over and over how one day she will tell her children about these recipes and show them what their Uncle Trey looked like when he was a child.
Of course, we were sure to include a bookmark, as well as several recipes from Mom, the Original Chocolate Lover.Â Every recipe is a testimony to the love I have for all things chocolate (except chocolate cake…go figure) but also the love I have for this little girl, who surpasses the sweetness of chocolate, who makes my life far richer than any decadent chocolate dessert, and who fills my heart with far more joy than any candy bar ever could.
Many people shy away from the number 13.Â It’s unlucky.Â Some people are even afraid of it.
But there are times when the number 13 just shines.Â Take a baker’s dozen, for instance.Â Getting an extra donut in your box isn’t such a bad thing, is it?
And on this day, the number 13 sparkled for another reason.Â Today we celebrated the 13th recipient of the “David L. Edwards Servant-Leader Award for Faculty Excellence in Spirit and Service.”Â This year’s honoree was Dr. Kenneth Hanna, president of the Houston Extension campus.
Most of the time, we know the honoree.Â But with Dr. Hanna being in Houston, we had never had the opportunity to meet him or his wife, so it was a special privilege to be able to spend time with them after chapel and at the celebratory lunch at Maggiano’s.Â Because of Matt’s unemployment he was also able to join us, which made this day extra-special for me.
The chapel speaker was Dr. Don Campbell, former DTS president and professor.Â Though he is quite elderly and struggles with the debilitating effects of Parkinson’s disease, his mind and wit are as sharp as ever.Â He brought a powerful message from 1 Corinthians about keeping the correct perspective as we endure this challenge called “life.”Â It is such an honor to sit in these chapel services, hearing God speak through these faithful men who have devoted their lives to training future pastors, missionaries, and Christian leaders.
Following chapel, we took our requisite pictures with the plaque.
Dr. Hanna with his lovely wife, Mary
Dr. Grassmick, who presents the award each year, tries very hard to keep the recipient a surprise until the moment the name is announced in chapel.Â It’s always a challenge to get the recipient’s wife and/or family members into the chapel and keep them somewhat “hidden” until that moment.Â We saw Dr. Hanna enter with his wife and proceed to sit onstage.Â Come to find out, all it took was Dr. Grassmick saying, “We’d like to have you and your wife at chapel next Wednesday.”Â and Dr. Hanna said, “Okay.”Â And that was that.
Dr. & Mrs. Hanna in front of the plaque that hangs in the Academic Dean’s office,
just across from where Dad’s office used to be.
Last year, we used the last available space on the plaque.Â So this year, we were treated to a surprise ourselves…a new plaque, with 12 new spaces!Â We look forward to honoring more good and faithful servants in the years to come.
It’s a day of first…and lasts.Â It’s the first day of school, and that means Trey’s LAST FIRST day of elementary.Â I”m still wondering when I ended up with a fifth grader.Â I’m pretty sure I was changing that boy’s diapers last week.
But the calendar begs to differ, so it’s off to school we go.
New outfits, new backpacks, new lunchboxes, new glasses for Trey, new haircuts.Â It’s all part of the “new” year routine.Â Except Crisana didn’t want to wear her new outfit for the first day.Â She wanted to wear a dress.Â She’ll wear her new outfit as her “second day of school clothes.”
The difference between boys and girls isn’t so much pink and blue as it is camo and plaid.
School starts earlier this year – 8:00 for elementary rather than 8:45 – so we had to get an earlier start.Â The bus shows up at our house at 6:42, so yes, for the first time ever I’m driving the kids to school every day.Â Because Trey is in fifth grade, he gets to be part of the morning news team broadcasting live each morning at the start of the day.Â He was anxious to get to school so he could rehearse, so the picture at the marquee had to wait.Â The picture with Mr. McGowen, greeting the children as they arrived, did not.
Trey rushed off to the library the moment we were through the doors.Â No first day picture for him.Â *sigh*Â But I was able to get a picture of Crisana as she prepared for her very first day of second grade.
And with that “Hurry-up-and-take-the-picture, you’re-embarrassing-me, Mom” look I headed to the library for the Tears and Cheers PTA reception.Â No tears for me this time – I’m an old pro – unless you count the few I held back as I proudly watched my boy – no, better make that my young man – give the weather report on the KMES Morning News.Â He may be a big fifth grader, but I still get to tuck him in and give him 10 kisses and 10 hugs each night.
With that, I was off…and so were my kids.Â Off to another adventure of learning and growth.Â Off to another year of building character and developing as future leaders.
Off to continue becoming the people God created them to be.
I arrived home from Africa just a little over 24 hours ago, and already reality is hitting me full in the face.Â That, and the fact that I’ve been awake since 2:30 A.M. trying to readjust to the Central Time Zone, and WHAM!Â My mission trip is O-V-E-R.
Tonight was Meet the Teacher Night at McGowen.Â This is always a highlight of back to school for our family.Â Getting to see those friends we haven’t seen in awhile, catching up on each others’ summers, seeing the new combinations of faces we will become so familiar with over the next 10 months…it’s all very exciting and fun.
This year was no exception.Â Since I was in the gym with Trey, doubling as super-duper Cub Scout recruiters, Matt was able to take Crisana to her classroom and do the whole drop-off-supplies, see-where-the-desk-is, check-out-the-class-list, take-pictures-and-sign-all-the-forms thing.
She found her desk with no problem.Â She’s surrounded by boys.Â I’m sure she will love that.
She was very excited to get Ms. Ellison as her teacher!
Thankfully, my reinforcements showed up in time for me to take Trey to his class and at least say hello to his teacher.Â I learned quickly that things are very different in 5th grade.
For one thing, there are no desks…just tables.Â And for another,
Trey actually enjoyed organizing his supplies into the binder.Â I wonder if it’s too much to hope that that excitement will actually spill over into organizing his desk at home…
This is also his first year to have a male teacher.Â He is very excited about being in Mr. Nash’s homeroom!Â I’m still adjusting to the fact that he’s nearly as tall as his teacher…such a far cry from Kindergarten when his head barely reached his teacher’s waist.
The meet and greet is over…now it’s time to get this school year started!
DATELINE:Â Near Byali, Uganda.Â 10:43 P.M Village time.Â That’s 2:43 P.M. CST for those of you keeping score at home.
I’M IN DE-NILE!
This morning our team had a wonderful and unique opportunity.Â Because Cindy leaves tomorrow, she needed some time alone with the children to explain to them about what is happening over the next few weeks.Â Mike suggested that this might be a great time for us to go exploring on the Nile…and who were we to argue with that logic?!?
So off we went…in the tipper once again. Read the rest of this entry »
DATELINE:Â Village of Hope, near Biyali, Uganda.Â 7:09 P.M. Village time.Â That’s 11:09 A.M. CST for those of you keeping score at home.
THE MISSION BEGINS!
This was our first full day at the Village. We enjoyed a breakfast of french toast – which may simply be fried sweet bread – but it was REALLY good!Â After breakfast, we spent some time in prayer, specifically for the Village of Hope.Â There was an outside chance that an important decision could be made today, and we felt a great need to pray on behalf of those involved in the decision-making process, and for the outcome to be favorable.
There had been an issue with getting the examinations printed for the children, so Careenna and Connor spent some time in the “office” typing up the mathematics exams for the children to take tomorrow.Â While they worked on that, several others of us went down to the school office to organize the supplies we had brought, as well as the clothes and ESL and craft materials.
It took much longer for Connor and Careenna to finish the exam, but once they were done we were able to have our team devotionals.Â Dave had asked me if I’d be willing to share devotions today and of course, I was happy to oblige. Read the rest of this entry »
Most people, when they are preparing for a mission trip, spend a lot of time shopping for supplies for international travel.Â They shop for new clothes appropriate for the culture in which they’ll be traveling and the work they will be doing.Â They purchase snacks and little travel-size toiletries and certain creature comforts which may be difficult to find in a foreign land.Â They get immunized and ensure their passport is ready and do research on their country and maybe even learn a few words in the natives’ language.
So what do I do?
I get my team together for a COPY PARTY!!
I couldn’t understand why one person was particularly excited about this event until I realized she thought I said, “COFFEE PARTY.”Â Needless to say, my party didn’t exactly live up to her expectations.
We met up at church yesterday to begin the VERY BIG task of copying the materials we will use during our ESL lessons.Â With 72 children, that means a lot of copying, cutting, collating, and laminating.Â I must admit, I get a serious adrenaline rush just thinking about it.Â Seeing the ideas in my head come to life, watching as our team comes together for a common goal, knowing we’re doing something good and making a long-term impact in the lives of others is enough to boggle my mind sometimes.
But enough about deep thoughts and serious moments.Â So there we were, makin’ copies.Â On the copy machine.Â Bein’ the copymeister.
And for those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, here:
(disclaimer: I have tried to find an original online but this is the best I can do.Â It’ s not as good – or as funny – but he does capture the essence pretty well.Â Just put Rob Schneider in the place of the Richmeister and imagine it’s an SNL set and you’ll be all set.)