Change of Plans

Right now I am really struggling. What over? A change of plans. I know it sounds absolutely silly. It makes me feel like a kid who cries when he doesn’t get his way.

I would say I’ve had a pretty good week. Although I was not feeling top-notch, things were going pretty smoothly. Today started out pretty well. I woke up feeling decently well and excited for the day. Then, just like that, someone stepped in and totally wrecked my plans.

At first, I wanted to strike back and say, “Don’t you realize other people besides you have plans? You’re being selfish! Don’t you know how hard I’ve worked at making MY plans?!” Then God convicted me. I realized that I needed to pray for that person. I have no idea what they are going through. They may be having a very tough time and need my prayers.

I also have to realize that God knew exactly what was going to happen and He made the choice to LET it happen. Knowing that, I want to submit to His perfect will. I want to allow this experience to help me grow, to help me learn to let go and enjoy where God is taking me.

God has really been working on me to just let go and give everything over to Him. But, I hold back, afraid of what will happen if I let go of what I know. It’s scary to make that leap of faith when you can’t see the landing point. It’s so easy for me to get stressed and depressed over my finances (or lack thereof), my job, lack of vehicle, etc. But, getting stressed over it sure doesn’t make life any easier. I’ve already tried that way and know it doesn’t work. I ended up physically hurting all due to stress; and I was in a dark place that I don’t want to go back to. I’ve been trying to let go and it is freeing, but I still have a long way to go.

I don’t know why today is so tough on me. Perhaps being physically worn down from not feeling well and crazy hormones. But whatever the case, I would just continue to seek your prays. I’m so blessed with many wonderful friends! I accept Hugs and Prayers at any time! Smile  And if you ever need someone to pray for you, please let me know. I would love to do that for you!

This was my inspiration this morning from my devotions about Joseph. “Even if you are in a pit today, God can still raise you up and do great things in you and through you!” –Joyce Meyer

When I realize what other people are going through, it makes me realize how small my problems are. And I ask myself, “Why am I getting upset over a minor change of plans, when some people are facing much more devastating, life-changing circumstances?” I would ask you to pray for my friend Sharla who has just found out that she has Stage 4 colon cancer. It is devastating to her family. Pray that they could have strength through this time, wisdom as they decide what treatment to pursue, and the peace of God as they rest in His will. 

Verses of Hope

I would like to share some Bible verses that have been encouraging to me. I decided to make it a bit more interesting and put them on pictures I have taken. Hopefully they can be an encouragement to you as well. If you would like a copy of any of them for your encouragement, I would be happy to email it to you. I also hope to share these in an album on my facebook photography page.

^Photo credits: Rose Shaum Musser

(Let  me know if you found any typos, I tried to be accurate; but sometimes things just slip by.)

If you found these verses encouraging, I would invite you to share in the comments a verse that has encouraged you! 

Attack!

The other evening I had a very bad evening. And, although I’d like to put the blame on someone else, I have to admit it was my pride that made it such a hard evening.

I had a run-in with someone. The issue wasn’t really about me, but about something else. But we didn’t agree. I went away feeling like they thought I couldn’t do my job properly. I wanted to run far far away where no one could find me. I felt like quitting my job right then and there. Or, at least going to bed and not getting up in the morning and to face another day. I felt like I was a failure, like I couldn’t do anything right. I felt like saying, “Fine. Just do the job yourself then! Maybe it wouldn’t be as easy as you think!!” I wanted to shrivel up and die and see if anyone cared.

Thankfully, I had a friend to talk to. It was good for me to be able to discuss the issue with someone who was not involved in the problem. But when I was discussing it with them I didn’t really get to the heart of the issue—my pride.

That evening as I prepared for bed I was still feeling quite disgruntled. I got out my Bible and just started reading. I opened to Psalm 143.

Psalms 143
1. Hear my prayer, O LORD, give ear to my supplications: in thy faithfulness answer me, and in thy righteousness.
2. And enter not into judgment with thy servant: for in thy sight shall no man living be justified.
3. For the enemy hath persecuted my soul; he hath smitten my life down to the ground; he hath made me to dwell in darkness, as those that have been long dead.
4. Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is desolate.
5. I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands.
6. I stretch forth my hands unto thee: my soul thirsteth after thee, as a thirsty land. Selah.
7. Hear me speedily, O LORD: my spirit faileth: hide not thy face from me, lest I be like unto them that go down into the pit.
8. Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.
9. Deliver me, O LORD, from mine enemies: I flee unto thee to hide me.
10. Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.
11. Quicken me, O LORD, for thy name’s sake: for thy righteousness’ sake bring my soul out of trouble.
12. And of thy mercy cut off mine enemies, and destroy all them that afflict my soul: for I am thy servant.
(KJV)

I read this and I cried out, “Lord, this is me! Please hear my pray! Deliver me from my enemy! I can’t do this on my own strength; only through You can I overcome!”

As I spent time reading my Bible and calling on the Lord in prayer, I realized this was an attack of Satan. Things had been going pretty smoothly. I had been working to climb out of my “pit of despair” by finding things to be thankful for each day. But, here I was, down in that pit again. Realizing what was happening, I cried out to God and he heard me and lifted me up. Even though I felt weak and helpless, when I called out to Him and asked him to take my pride away, He came and fought for me. On my own I would have shriveled up and died. But, thankfully, that is not my story. Praise the Lord, Satan did not win that battle! With the Lord fighting for me I was able to have Victory!

Thanks to all of you who have been praying for me! I am blessed with so many good friends!

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Teaching Teenagers

Today was a good day. Yes, not all of it was easy, but I came through much better than in the past. It felt like such a victory to be able to deal with a hard situation and not come out crushed by it. In fact, I felt encouraged. I felt like celebrating the good day.

In the past people have made statements to me such as: “I wouldn’t want to teach the upper grades and have to deal with all the attitudes.” I always assured them that in my small class I had good students and didn’t have too much trouble with adolescent/teenage attitudes.

Enter year 2016-2017 with nine students and six grades. The first weeks went pretty smoothly. I felt the Lord had answered the prayers I had been praying all summer. Then someone flipped a switch. Now I’m dealing with teenagers who question everything I ask of them and push me to the limit. Some days I cry out to God, “God, I’m only 24. I don’t have the wisdom and experience to handle these teenagers!” I cry out for wisdom and guidance because I don’t know how to get through to them and help them understand WHY they need to do what they need to do.

Although today was a good day, it was a day that left my mind rolling and boiling. Did I handle the situation the correct way? Could I have said something that would have been more effective? Did I get through to the student? What is tomorrow going to be like? Did we get to the bottom of the problem or is it going to keep surfacing?

I don’t have the answers to all these questions.  But I was encouraged by the strength I felt from God to handle this situation. I was able to come out still on top, not buried under the problem. That in itself is huge!

I was also encouraged last week when my students voluntarily did something they had made a huge fuss about a few days before. It showed me that even though sometimes I may feel like I am getting nowhere, something is actually getting through to my students. It felt like I had won a battle. And when another student played recess without complaining today, I was so proud of him! It makes me so happy when my students choose to do the right thing!  

My prayer is that I would have wisdom and patience to be the teacher my students need to help them grow. Only by God’s strength can I carry on. Praising Him for his strength this week!

 

P.S. I now understand why my 7th and 8th grade teacher felt overwhelmed with 30 students! (We definitely weren’t good little angels!) I have my hands full with 9 students! (Things look a bit different when you are on the teaching end of it. Winking smile)

 

THANKSGIVING—and my stressful life

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6

I have been seeing this verse on my calendar every day, but not until the other night did it really sink in to me. It was exactly the verse I needed and it had been in front of me the whole time, I had even been reading it quite often.

I tend to let myself get very stressed out. And I don’t handle stress very well. And stressed out and teaching do not go very well together. The past several weeks I have really been fighting it. Some days I felt so overwhelmed, like I was drowning in this sea called Life; I would barely get through one wave and another would come crashing down on me. Some days I just wanted to run away and never look back, run far away to a quiet place where no one could find me; where life wouldn’t overwhelm me. Sometimes I just felt like having a pity party for myself…I knew this wasn’t the answer and I tried to pray, but at the same time I was hanging on to the ‘poor little me, I have life so rough.’ It didn’t work out so well. I was physically and emotionally exhausted. The tears came against my wishes…When I was younger I never cried; I despised having people see me cry. Now it seems I can’t stop the tears, they just pour down whether I want them to or not. But with them, some of the stress does seem to flow away.

It just seemed like every time I took care of one problem, there was another one staring me in the face. After an especially tough day, I remembered Isaiah 40:31—“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” I felt weary and like I was fainting by the way and this just spoke to me. I prayed, asking the Lord to support me with his wings. The next day this verse kept going through my mind and I kept praying. I thought, Maybe God let me get low so I would seek him out more deeply. In all my stress, I haven’t been taking the time for God that I should. I’ve been putting my focus in the wrong place. And, although I wasn’t feeling very well that day, it was definitely a better day. And the next day was even better.

The battle is far from over. I have won a victory, but the Enemy is still there; now more determined than ever to drag me down into that dark sea of despair and self-pity. My challenge to myself is to spend more time with God and keep my focus on him rather than the stresses of my life.

Through it all though, there were bright spots. One night when I was feeling especially overwhelmed, I got a phone call releasing me from one of my responsibilities for the evening. They probably had no clue how much it meant to me; but I felt it was an answer from God—a chance to get my head a little higher out of the water. Another was getting invited to a friend’s for supper one evening just for anyhow. It was so good to have her little boys come and sit on my lap and want me to hold them because they love me. How can you not respond to that? There were other things, too, although I don’t remember them now.

I debated about writing this, I didn’t want to come across in a way that makes people pity me. Also, it is hard on my pride—what little I still have. I’ve always been the “tough one.” The one that is there for everyone else in their troubles. It’s hard to let people see inside my exterior to the real me who really isn’t tough at all. But I’ve found I love reading people’s blogs who are honest about life and what they are experiencing. Those are the posts that speak to me. So, I hope through this post you can be drawn closer to God and encouraged in your walk, not focus on me. This Thanksgiving, don’t let anxiety get in the way of your thanks giving!

P.S. On a brighter note, my students have kept me laughing the last couple days, as they have suddenly become my matchmakers. They provide me with great entertainment! No time for despair when they keep me laughing. Smile

Being a Teacher Is…

…being able to help a child climb the academic ladder.

…showing your students who Jesus is.

…laughing at your mistakes.

…being willing to admit when you are wrong.

…praying for your students, even through the summer.

…learning from your students.

…having to have a talk with the boys about appropriate speech in the classroom.

…walking alongside your students and just being there for them.

…having a student use your Xacto knife to pop a pimple (Yuck! I sanitized it thoroughly with alcohol. Winking smile

…teaching school even when you have a terrible headache, stomach cramps, or feel like you could vomit at any moment.

…having a chat with the girls about appropriate relationships with the boys.

…doing checking when you are totally exhausted and don’t even want to think about school.

…finding the balance between teacher and friend to the students.

…enjoying that moment when your students grasp a concept.

…wondering when you will ever find time to do a new bulletin board!

…having a student give you a random hug.

…and so much more!

 

Overall, I love my job as a teacher! My students wondered what my favorite part of teaching is. My answer? Spending time with my students and teaching classes.  I get burnt out quite quickly on checking; but I love imparting knowledge to my students and seeing them progress! Sometimes when I get dragged down with all the schoolwork I have to do and wonder why I am doing this, I look at my students and I know why.But I would never make it through without much prayer! I can’t do it on my own strength; only through Christ am I strong enough to hold up to the demands of teaching. (And sometimes I still become an emotional wreck.)

I would love to hear your thoughts on what being a teacher is! This is definitely not an exhaustive list and it can be different for every teacher. Feel free to comment!

 

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Every 15th Photo

I was recently reading my friend Luci’s blog and she did a post of every 15th photo on her phone. As I was reading, I was thinking, This is a kinda cool idea. Then, at the end of her post she challenged each of us to make a post of every 15th photo. So, here I am, up for the challenge. Smile

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#1 Blue fabric

A piece of fabric that I am thinking about trying to sell on Fabric Swappers. I had gotten it for serving at a wedding, but then I ended up moving to Colorado to teach school and didn’t go to that wedding. I do love the color though!

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#2 Super Ninja Throwing Stars

We made these in art class today. Everyone had a lot of fun making them, even those who think art is usually boring. Smile

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#3 Silverton Durango Train.

Some of Jen’s family was here over the weekend and we four-wheeled over the mountain to Silverton and had lunch there.

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#4 Scoring box from Keyboarding LightUnit.

I was trying to figure out how the scoring works and so took a picture to email to CLP to ask how I was to do it. I think I have it figured out now.

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#5 Paper towel curtain.

This is what happens when the teacher hasn’t made curtains yet. The students improvise with a paper towel roll. Winking smile

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#6 Buck crossing lane.

I saw this fellow on our lane one night one my way home from youth.

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#7 Books!

Some books I ordered off Amazon. Books are my weakness.

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#8 S’moratilla.

Our invention when camping this summer. I called it a S’mores Quesadilla, but my cousin Trenton christened it a S’moratilla and the name stuck. Instead of using bread in a mountain pie iron, I used half a tortilla and then filled it with peanut butter, mini marshmallows, and chocolate chips. It was delicious!

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# 9 Larita

Darla and I went up to Seney, MI, this summer to help with Vacation Bible School. One day some of us went fishing on Lake Superior. The weather was beautiful and we had a very good day!

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#10 Juicy Hamburger

Whenever we needed a quick supper this summer, I usually made hamburgers. They are quick and easy and always delicious!

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#11 Breakfast

This was a fairly normal breakfast for me this summer. One or two eggs fried over easy mixed with sautéed fajita mix and sausage. Sometimes I added salsa as well. Very delicious and healthy!

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#12 Delicious Salad

I always enjoy a good salad!

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#13 Maid of Honor

My best friend (and cousin) got married this summer and I was privileged to be her maid of honor.

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#14 Colorado Rockies

A picture I took on my flight from Montrose to Denver this spring.

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#15 Man standing on cliff

This spring Jen and I went with Jeremy and Kristina and their family to Moab, UT. This is a pic from some of the four-wheeling we did.

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#16 Utah rock

Another picture from four-wheeling.

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#17 Four Wheelers

And yet another four-wheeling picture.

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#18 Lilacs

These beautiful flowers were brought to me at school this spring.

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#19 Daphnee

I had night school with my students this spring and we had a cereal party after their work was done.

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#20 On The Border

This spring we stopped in Denver on our way to Cheyenne and of course we had to eat at On The Border. Smile

Well, this post took longer than I thought it would even though it didn’t take much thought. Smile Now you have seen a few slices of my life over the summer. Comment on your favorite picture or share a link to your own post of every 15th picture off your phone.