Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Possibilities In The Impossible

That's impossible! There is no way that would EVER happen! Can't you see that is just NOT going to work? Life is full of the impossibles. A broken heart. A broken life. A broken person. It is easy for us to believe that there are things in life that are absolutely impossible. Summits we will never reach. A life we will never know. That we are destined only for the ordinary. It's easy to fall into the trap of the impossible.

Tonight I was thinking about my own life. Every so often I like to reevaluate where I'm going. I've been wondering lately if there is something I am missing. I can't quite put my finger on it. I often find myself asking God, "What's next?" "Could you please let me in on what is going on?" Do you ever feel like you are on the verge of something, but you just don't know exactly what?

While thinking through all this, Luke 1:37 came to my mind. "For nothing is impossible with God." Nothing. Is. Impossible. With. God.  NOTHING. Did you get that? It goes against our human nature to actually consider this verse. To believe it is true. After all isn't life about all sorts of things that are impossible? God says, "No. Nothing is impossible WITH ME."  And you know what? I believe Him.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

My Blog Followers

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="227" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]This Is Not Happening[/caption]

I know I haven't been able to blog for the past several days. Life happens....and wow, with all this life happening I am getting behind! Just wanted to let you know that I will be back to blog---probably on Friday. (When I will be able to actually take a deep breath and not have to run around at 100 m.p.h with my hair on fire.) I've good stuff to blog about!!!!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Livin' The Good Life

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]One way sing[/caption]

Some say to be happy...

to live a life full of glam,

You need lots of money

But that's sinking sand...

All the money in this world

loaded up with bling

those aren't the things

that make the heart sing.

The riches the world craves

Leave one empty and cold

One can't buy what's important

No matter the gold.

I'd rather have friends

that show they care

Who will help when needed

and are willing to share.

A family that loves me,

and tells me so.

Who want only my best,

And to see that love grow.

The things of this world

can lead to regret

I'd rather have the colors

of a country sunset.

The stillness, the beauty

every star sparkles bright

A breathtaking display

to illuminate the night.

The world full of color

My God, He created

The richness of life

Creativity unabated.

True wealth

has nothing to do with mere things

God, love, and family

They make the heart sing.


Friday, January 22, 2010

A Voice That Echoes Through Time

I am half way through a long term subbing gig. One of the teachers at the local middle school is out on maternity leave. I had agreed (during a short time of obvious insanity) to teach a group of 7th and 8th graders.

During the 8th grade block we have been studying The Diary of Anne Frank. This diary was filled with the normal stuff of a young teenager's life....with the exception of the time period being WW II....and being a Jew....and in hiding. It truly is amazing that she stayed as upbeat as she did considering her situation. My heart was touched as I read her story, her last words made me cry...because sadly, even though she survived in hiding for 25 months before the Nazi's found her family, she did not survive her last few months in Bergen-Belsen. Typhus spread through that concentration camp in early 1945 and many, many who were already so malnourished and abused succumbed to the illness.

One of the activities that the students are journaling about is this: If you had to go into hiding--and had to do it quickly---what would you take with you? What are the things that are important to you? This activity was designed to make the students think.  These 8th graders are the same age that Ann was when she first went into hiding with her family. As a teacher how do I make these children understand? How do I communicate what really happened during this period of history?

Some of my students are asking questions such as, "How did this happen? Who allowed it? Didn't the German people understand what was going on? I don't understand why the Jews were hated." They have a difficult time understanding the horror of Anne's circumstances--when all they've ever known in their own young lives, is freedom and privilege. How do I communicate truths to students so that their generation doesn't let something like this ever happen again?

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Miracles In The Mundane Of Motherhood

Motherhood. In my naivete',I just knew that I'd have it covered. Puh-leeze!  I could do this....after all I KNEW children. I took Child Development classes in high school. I babysat. I majored in special education in college and took myriad number of COLLEGE level courses on the child psyche. If anyone could do this it was me. Supermom at your service. For sure.

Then reality hit. When I say "hit" I mean kind of like a baseball bat. To the head. Ouch.

I had my son in May of 1995. Just 2 days after my 27th birthday. My pregnancy went well except for the 6 week stint of barfing. Morning sickness AND evening sickness. Brushing my teeth even made me gag, but I was a trooper. I was determined to be with child AND have a bright white smile and fresh breath. So, I carried on.

My son was born 2 1/2 weeks early according to the doctors. I blame it on the fact that the evening before he was born we had a tornado in Knoxville, Tennessee. The barometric pressure dropped and I think it messed with my uterus. I'm just sayin'. Except for being born with a little jaundice, which to be honest I thought looked like a nice tan, the delivery went well  and my son was beautiful. Of course I had an epidural so there wasn't much pain...just a lot of pushing. My husband was a big help and to give the man credit...he put up with a lot. (the fact that I had back labor before getting the epidural---well, that is another story.)

Now, at this point I was exhausted but happy. My son is a joy. I'm happy. He's happy. My husband's happy. We're all happy. Then it hit. Reality. My epidural wore off and I was sore like I had never felt sore before. After several hours I decided I could get up and use the restroom. The nurse told me she would have to go with me. I told her I was a shy pee'er and I wouldn't be able to go if she was in the bathroom. I tried to convince her I'd been peeing my whole life, and at 27 I had the procedure down pat. She told me I could pass out because of something to do with the epidural having worn off, blah..blah.... I told her that was silly. She finally agreed to stand at the other side of the door, with the door cracked open. I grudgingly agreed and went to sit down when, yes you guessed it, I started to black out. The nurse caught me just before I cracked my head on the bathroom floor. I vaguely remembered her yelling for ammonia...and my husband in a confused state asking why she wanted to clean the bathroom? This is my life. I should have known that I had just embarked on a journey that was NOT going to be a piece of cake. Only a few hours into motherhood and I was already passing out.

The next few years consisted of me listening to my little one struggle to breathe when he got bronchitis. Staying up all night and staring at his chest. Watching it heave up and down. Knowing that his tiny body was so fragile...yet, so resilient. After that scary time, it never happened again. Thank you Jesus. Then at 2 and 1/2 he was with his father, outside, when he decided that he'd get on the picnic table. He fell and cut his head on the seat of the table on the way down. Head wounds. Lots of blood. A father in panic mode. A trip to the doctors office. Stitches. I came home from work that day to find my handsome son looking like he had just took a few rounds in the boxing ring. Bruised with stitches marching just above his eyebrow. So attractive, and just in time for his preschool picture day!  That following Easter we decorated Easter eggs. Fun stuff. I made the mistake of telling my toddler that we would eventually eat the hard boiled eggs. One evening he got into the fridge when I was on the phone and preceded to eat the egg with the shell still on it. He came into the living room a few minutes later. His face, teeth, tongue and hands, all a nice pastel shade of blue. I began to freak out thinking that my baby was exhibiting symptoms of some rare disease. Until, he informed me, "Mommy, the Easter egg is good." At that, I burst into giggles and attempted to scrub my little Smurf back to his normal skin tone as I explained that egg shells are not the part of the egg that we eat, even if it did look pretty at the time.

Over the years there were the good times and the difficult times. Bedtime stories, hugs and sloppy kisses, birthday parties. Lots of laughter and tears. Family vacations, and him holding my hand. Church choir, camps, video games, and silliness. Those of you that have sons know what I'm talking about.

When my little boy was 4 his father, my husband, was diagnosed with an incurable heart disease. He died a mere year and four months later. You can imagine the sadness. We had only just started and it was over. Just like that. Standing at my husbands grave, that cold gray day in November 2000...I felt a little hand grab mine. A little voice coming out of the body of a 5 year old, but seeming so much older and wiser said, "Mommy, don't cry. This is only Daddy's body here. Daddy is in Heaven with God."  God spoke to me that day through my son. He wanted me to remember the promise of  John 11:25 "I am the resurrection and the  life. He that believes in Me, though he dies, yet shall he live."  That day I was reminded that out of the mouths of children can come great wisdom.

The next five years were filled with normal life kinds of things. Church, school, vacations out  West, family get togethers, sleep overs at friends houses, spelling tests, and math homework, goofiness and seriousness. All of life in a big jumble. We were doing and my sidekick.

After 5 years of widowhood God brought another man into my life. A man that understood what I had gone through. Our experiences were similar. He had lost his wife a few years before. We were kindred spirits. No one wants to join The Widow/er Club, but death doesn't ask if one wants membership. It just gives it to you.

We married in 2005. Along with this marriage I got another son and two daughters. Just as I thought I had the whole being a mom thing under control.... then reality hit. AGAIN. These children had lost their mother. My heart broke for them, just as it had for my own son at the loss of his Daddy. How does one be a mom #2?  There is no manual for it. Believe me, if there were one I would have read it. A LOT. How does one mother the motherless? I wasn't sure how this would happen. What do I say? How do I act? What if they don't bond with me? What if they hate my guts?  Then what?  God, in His infinite wisdom spoke to my heart.
"LOVE THEM. ADOPT THEM IN YOUR HEART. THAT IS ALL YOU NEED TO DO.  Dawn, you are my adopted child. I bought you for a price. You were redeemed and now you are mine. I love you because I choose too. Do the same for them.They need a mother's love...not to take the place of the mother that they had....but, to show them that I am God and I will take care of them. I am their provider."

You know what? God is good. All the time. Even in motherhood. Even in widowhood. Even in life. Even in death. Even in trauma. Even in calm. Through bloody noses, or skinned knees, through arguments, and "it's not fair!". Through hugs and kisses, school and projects. He remains good when I'm having a great day or when I've just been awarded "the worst mom of the year award."

I like to believe that I am much wiser than I was back in my twenties. When I thought I had motherhood all figured out. When I had my own motherhood map all planned. Motherhood is messy, and chaotic, and fun, and sometimes broken. I am thankful in the midst of all my mom mess-ups that I am holding the hand of the One who promised me that He has a plan for me and a future with hope. A-men.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Simple Woman's Daybook

Here is my Daybook entry for today ~ Sunday January 17, 2010

Outside my window. . .it is dark and foggy.
I am thinking. . .that I need to put the load of laundry from the washer into the dryer before I forget.
From the learning room. . .nothing is happening, because it is Sunday night.
I am thankful for. . .a warm bed.
From the kitchen. . .are leftover slices of pizza from dinner.
I am wearing. . .the clothes I wore to church. I need to get in my PJ's.
I am creating. . .a daily art journal. I am trying to encourage my creative side--and have fun with it.
I am going. . .to take my shower shortly. So thankful for hot water. Something I normally take for granted. I love a nice hot shower.
I am reading. . .my gmail messages.
I am hoping. . .that I get everything accomplished tomorrow. (It is past time for the Christmas tree to come down!)
I am hearing. . .the show Criminal Minds that is on TV.
Around the house. . .it is suspiciously quiet.
One of my favorite things. . .quiet time to myself.
A few plans for the rest of the week. . .get the Christmas stuff all taken down TOMORROW! Teaching at the middle school. Taking the kids to Co-op. One childs Dr. appt. Busy week.
Find out more about the Simple Woman’s Daybook at this site.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

God-- Is A God Of Second Chances

Yesterday I was reading in Lamentations. ".....Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning-great is Your faithfulness. I say to myself , "the Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him. The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him-it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord... For men are not cast off by the Lord forever-though He brings grief, He will show compassion, so great is His unfailing love...."   Lamentations 3:22-26, 31-32

Read that again. And then again. Let it sink in.

How many times do I make mistakes? How often do I wish I could have a "do-over"? Like the times that  I've yelled at my kids because they had spilled something on the counter that I just cleaned 5 minutes ago...and the spill stays there. Shoes that track stuff through the house. Or maybe being beyond irritated because the video game noise is enough to make my ears bleed. Or how many times do I have to tell someone to brush his/her teeth or clean rooms before it actually gets done?! So often instead of counting my blessings I'm too busy counting the mistakes. The mistakes the kids make are easy to see....and they make them often. I'm sorry to say that there are times when my heart does not feel very forgiving.

I was convicted by the scripture that I read yesterday morning. I make mistakes every day of my life....and they are a lot bigger then a spill on the counter or teeth brushing. Mistakes I want to hide. Mistakes that might embarrass me. Mistakes that hurt. Yet, my Heavenly Father CHOOSES to be merciful to me each morning. Even though I don't deserve it.  He is the God that allows "do-overs". His compassion to me is never ending. He looks at me with all my imperfections and loves me. He forgives me and I start over.

If my Father forgives much more should I forgive others? Forgiveness is not always warranted, sometimes the offender doesn't even ask for forgiveness, but that is the wonder of it all...forgiveness truly is a gift-. Thank you, God!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Moving Forward

Have you ever had God talk to you....not in a quiet whisper as He sometimes does but in a BIG way? Sort of like a good wonk on the head? This past Sunday was one of those head-wonking kind of days.

I was sitting in church when the pastor started to preach from Exodus chapter 14. The gist of the story is about how the Israelites were penned in by mountains on both sides and with the Red Sea in front of them. The Egyptian army was hot on their trail. They began to wonder what in the world God had done to them?! To bring them out of their bondage in Egypt only to let them be killed by the Egyptians or to be dragged back to Egypt--back to slavery? God what were you thinking?!

God brought them to that point to show them that He and He alone was going to take care of them. He allowed them to witness a miracle. He allowed them to see Him at work, up close and personal. Oh, to be those down trodden Hebrew people as they saw the Red Sea part into dry land. How must it have been for them to walk through the Red Sea with water piled up on both sides knowing that their God was working on their behalf? What about turning around and seeing the Egyptian army drowning as they attempted to cross after them? Don't you think that event left a memory forever etched in their mind? God is capable.

Pastor said that we should remember to MOVE FORWARD. Do we feel penned in by life? Do we have huge mountains on either side of us and a scary, deep sea in front of us? We know that if we precede ahead that we will drown for sure? Well, move forward! God requires of us to have faith. Faith that He knows exactly what to do. That nothing surprises Him and He knows the plans He has for us. God is a God of miracles.

God spoke to me on Sunday, just as surely as if He had physically been sitting in the chair next to me.  "Dawn, this year has seemed like huge mountains of problems for you. The choppy dark sea is the uncertainty of what lies ahead. Don't forget for one second that I already knew what this past year would hold for you, just as I know how I will bring you through it. You will get to see me at work....and you will remember this time in your life. You will remember that I have been faithful in the past and I will be again. I am still a God of miracles."

Just as I was mulling this sermon over and seeing how it applied to my own life I happened on an article from a magazine I had bought the day before. (The magazine is Life:Beautiful) Me happening on this article was no mistake. I am going to quote directly from the article entitled, Caffeinated Life written by Max Lucado.

" So make friends with whatever's next. Embrace it. Accept it. Don't resist is. Change is not only a part of life; change is a necessary part of God's strategy. To use us to change the world, He alters our assignments. Gideon: from farmer to general; Mary: from peasant girl to the mother of Christ; Paul: from local rabbi to world evangelist. God transitioned Joseph from a baby brother to an Egyptian prince. He changed David from a shepherd to a king. Peter wanted to fish the Sea of Galilee. God called him to lead the first church. God makes reassignments. "

I think I'm ready embrace the changes that my life has taken. I'm not where I expected to be at this point....but, if it's part of God's strategy--part of His plan, then I'm diving into the sea. Head first.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Good Stuff On The Way

I have a blog that I am really looking forward to writing. Unfortunately, this has been one of the longest days of my life. I'm very tired and am ready for bed. I cannot blog tonight because if I tried I might fall asleep on my computer in mid blog. My husband would later find me face down on my computer with little computer key marks indented in my face. Not to mention I might drool on the keyboard and ruin my computer. Soooo.....with all that said, I will try extra hard to carve out some time to do some serious blogging tomorrow evening. Thank you for your understanding. Tune in tomorrow.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Let's Ponyup!

How many times do you visit a blog or even follow a blog regularly, but never leave a comment to the writer?

Let's take the Pony up challenge! The challenge was first initiated on this blog. Check it out.  Let's spread the bloggy love and  light up someone's day.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Some Days I Ask Why?

Have you ever had times in your life when you ask God, why? Are some of your questions like these?

--God, why did my love one have to die? I miss him/her so much.

--Why does my child have to struggle so much? My heart breaks.

--Lord, I just don't understand this lay off.... it happened at the worst time!

--Father, this job loss is so hard. Why me?

--Why is it that I can't get hired?Is there something wrong with me?

--Why can't life be easier? Some days are just a struggle to get through...

--Why aren't I prettier, funnier, more intelligent (take your pick) than I am?

--Why is this world so crazy? What is the matter with people? Is our country falling apart?

--Why is this happening to me? Did I do something wrong?

Today is one of those days for me.  My life isn't what I think it should be right now. We've been dealing with job loss for a full year now and all the feelings that go with big life changes. Today we got the news that my husband didn't get a job that we were just positive he was going to get. ...and to be honest, it hurts. I did ask God, why? Not in a mad way....just because I don't understand.

Then I was reminded of the verse found in Philippians 4:19. " And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus."  or 1 John 3:20, " ...For God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything."

Wow Lord, thanks for the reminder. Even on my worst days I can cling to the hope that I have in Christ Jesus. He will meet all my NEEDS.  He knows my heart, but He also knows and understands all things. He sees the future. When I am weary and worn out from worry, I can rest in Him. He loves me and He's got it covered.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

God Is In The Small Things

It's snowing at my house.  Snow is piling up on the porch. As I looked at the snow I was reminded that each of those flakes is different. Each is unique. Each has a Creator. The stars in the heavens are in patterns. The moon has its phases.  The sun rises and sets each day. God is faithful to keep all of nature in order. If He cares that much about much more does He love and care for His children?

There are times when I allow myself to forget that even though God is Lord of all creation He still cares about me. He loves me.The God who knows how many grains of sand are on all the beaches of the world also sees every tear that rolls down my cheeks. He is with me when I'm getting the millionth load of laundry out of the washing machine. He is by my side when I get frustrated with children, can't seem to get all the dishes done, my schedule is totally falling apart, I can't find the book I'm looking for ANYWHERE, and when I then fall into bed exhausted. When I feel like a failure, He reassures me that I am worthy to Him...even though I'm not perfect. He does not expect perfection. He knows I can't be. He loves me anyway.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

My Cool, New Friends

I''m addicted. It's pretty bad. If I don't get my "dose" everyday I'm miserable. Of course you know I'm talking about social media. You did know that right? RIGHT??!!!! I love my Twitter. My Facebook. My blogging. those are just my top ones. I know there are some people out there that would say how time consuming, impersonal, blah...blah...blah..... They would be wrong!

This year I have reconnected with some of the most interesting people around. I've touched base with friends I had in high school and college. It's so funny how the years melt away and I can just pick up a relationship as if we just talked in the halls of our high school the day before.  Some of my friends were dorm mates in college. Oh the memories! I have always loved to hear people's stories. I like finding out what happened to them over the past 20+ years. (Yes, I'm not ashamed to admit that I graduated from high school  in '86.  We rocked!) I would never be able to do this if it weren't for the social media sites.

I love to meet new people and make new friends. I've made some friends this past year that live all over the United States. If it weren't for the social media sites I would have never had the privilege of meeting these interesting ladies. I realize we haven't met in person--but, that doesn't stop me from reading their thoughts, laughing out loud, or learning from their experiences.

I love my friend, Amy's blog.  She is so creative and artistic. I go to her blog to be inspired. I pour over her pictures of vintage items. I see things I remember from my own childhood....and am transported back in time. I am able to relate to her love of all things old. Items with character--and a story. I enjoy her creativity with paper art. (Oh my can this lady make some beautiful paper snowflakes!) Her love of  family and friends is so evident in her blogging. I love her blog because it is comforting.  Thank you Amy!

I made a new friend this year from the Lone Star State. Robin is a single mom who has learned over the years how to save money----or at least not spend it! She not only shares great tips on her blog about how to live on the cheap, but she does it with a great sense of humor. She also shares some of her town's police blotter entries. I spend a good amount of time laughing out loud when reading those. Stupid people are indeed many....and they walk among us. haha!!! The thing I enjoy about Robin is that she proves that a person can enjoy life and not have to be up to her eyeballs in debt to have fun. Way to go Robin!

A brand new blogging/Twitter/Facebook friend is Sandy. I relax when I read her blog entries because she makes me feel like I'm not alone.  When I first happened onto her blog I was amazed at all the things we have in common.  Our lives are very similar. It's obvious when reading her blog, and Twitter updates that she is a mom who loves her family. It's good to know that I am not the only one dealing with airsoft gun bb's, teenage boys that have bottomless pits for stomachs, a dislike of laundry, teaching special education, and a genuine love for the Lord.  Sandy, thanks for being real!

So, yes I love my social media sites.  They've allowed me to "meet" some great people that I might not otherwise have had the opportunity to cross paths with.....and for that I am thankful.

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Last Decade

Yesterday I watched a segment on the news about what has happened in the first decade of the 2000's.  As I watched all the news stories from the past 10 years I was amazed to think of all the time that has slipped by. In 200o we were all worried about Y2K. Were the computers going to crash and send us into cyber darkness? that obviously never happened.

From the twin towers being hit, to school shootings, presidential elections, wars, and an economy in a I think all this has a bigger impact when it is all shown in a 10 minute segment. Almost overwhelming.

Something that struck me while watching this is  that my late husband, Kennis, saw only the very first few months of that decade.  He died, at 34, in the Fall of 2000.  When a person  loses someone significant in their life he/she begins to have a "before and after" mentality. For me it was B.K and A.K (Before Kennis died....and after) I think that it's impossible not to think like that.... I found myself pondering yesterday, while watching the events unfold before me once again....that Kennis never knew 9/11. He never suffered the visual horror of planes crashing into the twin towers, never heard about the VA. Tech massacre, didn't get to vote in anymore elections, or see his young son grow up-- among the many other things. I often wonder what he'd think if he had lived to see this day in time.

Not that I believe he thinks about these things. He's too busy with his life in Heaven to worry about the goings on of this world. Those of us who have loved ones who have you ever think that they are waiting on us to join them? Do you think they have a before and after time line?  I don't think that time has any meaning for least not the confinements of time that we have here. It just occurred to me. Just something to mull over.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Top 10 for Twenty-Ten.

I've come up with a list of things that I want to work on for 2010. Things that I really WILL accomplish. REAL changes. Not just resolutions that I will forget about in 2 weeks.

1. I will show grace and forgiveness to my family.  It is easy for me to get frustrated with my family members when they don't do things the way I think they should. I will remember that they are not perfect...and neither am I. Amen.

2. I will say I love you and give hugs to all my family members every day. Everyone needs to hear I love you. Three simple words, but they mean so much. Even to teenagers. (Sometimes it is they that need to hear it the most often.)

3. I will forgive myself for not having everything always under control. If I'm totally honest I will admit that most of the time things are not remotely under my control...I just fool myself into thinking that they are.

4. I'll commit to doing something each day that makes me smile.  No matter how simple or how complicated.  Joy is a choice.

5. I'll continue with my daily devotions,  Bible reading and prayer. When a relationship is important to me, I  make time for it.

6.  I will reach out to people.  Make new friends. Enjoy old friendships. Help others. Be real.  Just be there.

7. Work on being healthier. Mind, body, and soul.

8. Have a creative outlet. Drama, art, writing....just for the pure fun of it.

9. Talk less. Listen more. (Oh Lord, help me to bite my tongue!)

10.  Always give my best....whether it is cleaning my house, cooking dinner, or being a wife and mom. Whatever I it to the best of my ability.

Older Is Better

I like old stuff. Not old as in falling apart junk....but old as in character, with a story to tell.

In my Country Living magazine I always go to the Real Estate Sampler. I like looking at the houses. This month the houses are all under $100,000 and were built circa late 1800's. A beautiful 4400 square foot Italianate in Missouri? Or what about a 2100 square foot Queen Anne in Ohio? A 3000 square foot home in New York?  I love the architecture of older homes.  I enjoy the history that one uncovers in homes that were built long ago. What families lived and loved there? What memories were made in these houses? The truth is...these days houses, for the most part, are built without the character and detail that houses were years ago. It always makes me a little sad when I see tract home subdivisions going up in just a few short months.  All the houses are mirror images of each other. No personality. Boring.

I also love old books. I was looking through my collection today and some of the books are so funny in light of what we know now.  I own a Growth In Spelling--Book Two from 1929. The speller is for 5th through 8th graders. It has a sticker in the front of the book that this book was the property of the Carroll County Board of Education. (the county I grew up MD.) It's interesting because the authors forward goes on to tell the readers that this new speller "applies psychology of learning and the facts of school life to the learning of spelling".  So cutting edge! Or what about A History Of The United States from 1904? Now this book is interesting. Neither of the World Wars had occurred yet. Many of the countries in this book no longer even exist. We didn't have several of the states that we have now. In fact one of the maps in the book has the Dakota territory, the Nevada territory, the New Mexico territory. Of course, Hawaii and Alaska were not even on the map at all! There is something about looking back, and seeing all the changes that have occurred in the past 100 years, that makes me wonder what will happen in the future? The history books of today will one day be outdated. Does anyone remember Uncle Wiggly and Jackie and Peetie Bow Wow by Howard Garis? This book is very old--one of the first editions and I wish I knew the copyright year, but the copyright page was gone before I bought the book.  I'm thinking early 1900's? The illustrations are just done in red and green, with little dots, by a Louis Wisa.

I've already let everyone know about my love of classic, black and white movies.  The 1940's and 50's were really good decades for movies. Hollywood was glamorous instead of sleazy. Eclectic instead of insane.  You know what I many times has modern Hollywood made remakes of the originals? That's because the originals are always best. Hands down.

I could go on and on....with my love of  "the crooners" from the 50's, my collection of vintage T-shirts, antique pictures ,or my collection of handmade quilts.

I really don't think the past was so much better than the present. I don't look at the past with rose colored glasses. There are always difficulties in life, no matter what decades one lives in, but nonetheless there are still many things to love about all things vintage!!!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Reflections On This Past Year

Reflection Questions for 2009

1. What was the single best thing that happened this past year?

We moved into our new house in July. This is a house we built ourselves (well, and with a lot of help from contractors) .  Since we watched each step of the process it was exciting to be done and actually move in!

2. What was the single most challenging thing that happened?

My husband losing his job.  A job he had for almost 23 years.  With the loss of his job, I felt like my security had been pulled out from under me.  It is a scary situation to be in. Even though I've shed a lot of tears over my frustration with all this, I have also cried many times because I've seen God's provision for me and for my family.

3. What was an unexpected joy this past year?

This is a really difficult question for me....because of the difficulty of this past year I've had to find the joy in the little things.  I now realize that is a lesson that I needed to learn. I really do enjoy the night sky at our new house. With no street lights to obscure the takes my breath away! The sunsets....the fluffy clouds...the rural setting is very calming.

4. What was an unexpected obstacle?

My husband's  job loss most definitely. I had to go back to teaching in special education (right now long term subbing).  That was not part of my plan.  Once again I've learned that what I think of as MY security, MY plans are not always aligned with God's.

5. Pick three words to describe 2009.

Difficult. Exciting. Growth.

6. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe your 2009 (don’t ask them; guess based on how you think your spouse sees you).

Difficult. Pressure. Growth.

7. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe their 2009 (again, without asking).

Difficult. Provision. Interesting.

8. What were the best books you read this year?

I've started so many books....I'm always reading. I don't know how many I've actually finished. It goes along with how this whole year has went for me. With the house building and job loss right in the midst of it---it has been chaotic.

9. With whom were your most valuable relationships?

My family and friends. People praying for us...I have been so touched by the outpouring of love.

10. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?

Learning that there are things I just need to let go of.  Life does not always go as planned. Learning to depend on the Lord for my security. It's easy to say you trust the Lord when things are going well for you....but, when your world is thrown off its axis...when it no longer makes sense...that is when faith becomes much more real. Do I believe that the Lord is my provider? That He loves me and will never forsake me? That nothing can separate me from His love?  My answer is YES. I know these things. Has it been, and since I'm still in the middle of this lesson, does it continue to be painful and difficult on many days? Yes. I'd be lying if I said otherwise...but I KNOW that Jesus is right here with me. He's not leaving.

11. In what way(s) did you grow emotionally?

I've had to learn patience.

12. In what way(s) did you grow spiritually?

I've had to trust that God is my true provider. All I have is His anyway. My grip was too tight.

13. In what way(s) did you grow physically?

I got back to walking 4.5 miles a day. (though here lately with the new subbing gig that is not happening as often. I miss it.)

14. In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others?

Allowing  others to help me. This is difficult for both my husband and me. We've always been the ones helping others. It is strange to be the receiver rather than the giver.

15. What was the most enjoyable area of managing your home?

I love to decorate and make the house cozy. I also enjoy baking. The family members have been the recipients of my "yumminess" in the kitchen. I want our home to be a place of refuge--and that when others visit us, they know that Jesus lives here.

16. What was your most challenging area of home management? Getting the kids to remain on a workable home school schedule.

17. What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?

I don't know....I suppose I could say the time I spend on the computer, but really that is one of the things I find relaxing and fun so I don't see it as a waste.

18. What was the best way you used your time this past year?

Being the heart of the home. Doing things with family. Letting people know that I love them.

19. What was the biggest thing you learned this past year?

That the Lord is Jehovah-Jireh, my provider.

20. Create a phrase or statement that describes 2009 for you.

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see.



If you'd like to print this list, head to Simple Mom for a free PDF download.  And after evaluating these questions, head to the blog tomorrow to find questions to help you plan your goals for 2010.