Tag Archive | much joy


No is a complete sentence. 

My amazing aunt taught me that, but it took years (too many years) before I fully understood and embraced it. She was teaching me to say no to the endless extras I was asked to do. It was liberating, thrilling, and terrifying to say no to serving on yet another committee or picking up the slack for a person fully capable of doing his job. She was teaching me to protect my health, my sanity, my family time. And I bless her for this lesson. I’ve embraced it. I even try to pass this lesson on to my people. Lately, however, I’m realizing we need to say a resounding NO to more than those pesky requests for our time. 

  • No to gossip. 
  • No to whining and complaining. 
  • No to time sucks.
  • No to selfishness.
  • No to turning a blind eye to the hurt around me.
  • No to hatefulness.
  • No to rude behavior. 

Saying no is actually saying YES to a better life, to better relationships, to better times. Join me in saying NO today. As always, I wish you much joy! 

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A Parent’s Summer To Do List

Ahhh, summer. Don’t you love it?! Summer is a time for enjoying family, vacationing, cooking out,  slowing down, and learning. Yes, learning. I know, I know.  Hear me out. You know I love your kiddo and I want only the very best for himAs one who knows what next year holds for your child, I offer the following suggestions for your child’s summer break, because summer truly is a time for learning. 

  1. Play!! Most kids don’t play enough.  We can place the blame on the testing culture in America, on the often well-founded fears of parents that keep kiddos indoors more and more, or on the overall busy, busy, busy lives we all lead. Whatever the reasons, we need to ensure that kids get to play. Organized play (teams) are great, but I also love seeing kiddos outdoors, tossing balls, chalking up the sidewalks, and just running around. I also recommend board games and things like Legos for encouraging problem solving, strategizing, critical thinking, and cooperating with others. See the learning going on? 
  2. Read. Anyone who knows me knows I’m all about reading. If your kiddo isn’t really “into” reading, try reading TO him. Make it a daily ritual. Or try joining the local library’s summer reading program. Reading regularly is key to your child’s success. Don’t stop with merely reading. Talk about it, too. (We call our talks “book club” in my classroom and it’s a wonderful way to assess understanding.) Discuss predictions about what will happen in the next chapter. Discuss how a character feels and why. Chat about how a character changed throughout the book or what the lesson in the story is. Discuss interesting new facts you discover in nonfiction texts. (Once my students are hooked, I cannot stop them from sharing interesting facts.)  Introduce a new genre to your child. If he only reads about dinosaurs, introduce a biography to him. Read, read, read!!! And, don’t forget when YOU read, you’re modeling for them. Successful people read. Period. 
  3. Get bored! Oh my goodness, I feel so strongly about this one. It’s only when left without stimulation, without smart phones, without movies that kids get to enjoy letting their imaginations soar. Take a slow walk and let your kiddos lead the conversations and observations. Take a road trip with no DVDs or smart phones. Let them stare out the windows, get bored, and learn to entertain themselves. 
  4. Rest. We push our kiddos so hard in school. They need time to relax. 
  5. Travel. If your budget allows, travel out of town, out of state, and out of the country. Let the kiddos SEE national monuments instead of reading about them. Let them observe other cultures. Let them EXPERIENCE what mountains are, what the ocean sounds and smells like. If your budget or work schedule don’t permit travel, try hometown field trips for your family. There are obvious choices -museums, farms, zoos, acquariums. You can learn anywhere, though. Restaurants and grocery stores provide myriad lessons (socially acceptable behavior, reading, estimating costs, adding prices, making change, figuring tips….)
  6. Cook. Cooking can be such fun and can create wonderful memories. Your child will learn so much about healthy choices, reading recipes, measuring ingredients, cooperating, and so on. 
  7. Plan ahead. Your child may have mixed feelings about returning to school. Make it as fun as possible. Pick out special school supplies and clothes. Meet the new teacher before school starts. Plan a special first day dinner. And about 2 weeks before DAY 1, start the school routine. Go to bed and get up at the same times you will once school officially begins. It will make the transition easier. If you have any special concerns about the year, try to talk to the teacher privately as soon as possible. Trust me, she wants you and your child to have a great year! 
  8. Relax. You’re doing a great job, parents! 

I’m sure I’ve left out some great suggestions. Feel free to add to my list in the comment section. As always, I wish you MUCH joy! 

Waiting for Mr. Right

I encourage you to focus on becoming Miss Right instead of pouring your energy and time into finding Mr. Right. 

I am completely unqualified to give anyone advice on finding Mr. Right. I married very young. I was divorced very young. I’ve made some very poor decisions in my dating…. Maybe, just maybe my mistakes DO qualify me to share some things I’ve learned from my mistakes. After all, I am (finally) happily married.  My marriage isn’t perfect, but it’s good. God is so good, so merciful. 

  1.  Don’t wait. Don’t put off your life until you find Mr. Right. Throw the party. Go dancing. Travel. Take the art class. Buy a home. In other words, live your life. You never know where you’ll meet him. Meeting him, however, isn’t the point. Living your life, being who you are meant to be is the point. 
  2. Work on you. I know you have goals and dreams. Act on them. Do you want to learn a skill? Take the class. Need to tone up or drop a few pounds? Do it now. Spend more time in prayer. Hang out with your loved ones. Work on you. There will never be a better time. 
  3. Give it to God. Oh, I know, I know. However, the best thing you can do is give it to our Father. Lay it at His feet. He knows you. He loves you. He has good plans for you. You can trust Him with your dream of marriage 
  4. Be you. Be yourself. God made you in His image. You’re enough!! So, own it. Be yourself. Love camping or football or road trips? Hate camping or football or road trips? It doesn’t matter. Know that God has a man who will delight in you. You don’t have to do or be anything…when Mr. Right comes along, he will pursue you. You’re enough! 
  5. Journal. This is a sacred time in your life. Journal your thoughts, fears, and dreams. Journal what you sense the Lord is telling you. Go back and reread. Take care to record the blessings in your life. 
  6. Know your deal breakers. 
  7. Be open. When you are single, your time and decisions are yours. Be open to moving, to changing jobs, to volunteering, to learning new skills. Listen for His voice to guide you. 
  8. Cultivate healthy relationships. Spend time with people who love you unconditionally. Spend time with happily married people who can model behaviors for you. If your friends aren’t encouraging you, helping you grow….rethink the friendships.  
  9. Pray. This is a special time in your life. Hang out with God. 
  10. Don’t settle

Obviously, this isn’t an exhaustive list.  And I’m no expert….but I’ve seen God’s Hand at work. He. Is. Awesome. The best advice I can give anyone-about anything-is seek God. Spend time just sitting quietly, listening to Him. He will never fail you. 

Please share your advice in the comments. As always, I wish you MUCH joy on your journey. 

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The Cost of Kindness 

Chew on this: it costs me little to be kind, but it gains me everything. 

I don’t have much to say today. I am just pondering this truth and thinking about how to live it out every day. 

I invite you to join me. Please share your thoughts in the comments or in direct messages. 

God’s girls need to love on each other and on this sad, pitiful world, don’t we?

As always, I wish you MUCH joy! 

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Attitude is Everything! 

“It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.― Dale Carnegie 

Isn’t that the truth?!?! My thoughts determine my actions, my attitudes, my moods …my life’s direction!! When I finally realized this, my life changed for the better. It is a daily choice, however. Some days, it’s a moment by moment decision. Will I choose joy or despair, frustration, and tears? 

Spoiler alert: I don’t always make the right choice. 

Friday was a bad day. Have you read Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day? If not, check it out! Life lessons…. My Friday read like that classic tale. I woke up just before 1:00, worrying about school stuff, so I operated on about 3 hours of sleep. Not awesome. My kiddos were off all day. Was it fatigue? Was it the weather or a full moon?  Were they secretly aliens in disguise? Who knows!  I had a migraine. Ugh! I was frantically trying to complete some mandatory testing when I had a walkthrough (think mini-appraisal) with my new principal. Not ideal. (Where was she when we had amazing lessons and discussions all week?!) Mighty groan. My husband is on strike, so we are dealing with no paycheck and no health care. My migraine medicine is $1,000/month without coverage. Sigh. As I ate a very quick lunch with a coworker, a BIG spider dropped down on a dragline in between us. My room, my table, my problem. So, guess who killed it? Eek! It was a Friday before a holiday, so we were allowed to leave early. Guess who couldn’t leave? Pout, pout

Yeah, some days are just like that. 

Here’s the flip side. I didn’t get enough sleep, but it was Friday. I went to bed a little early and slept a little later than usual. It’s amazing what a great night’s sleep does for you! Yay for sleep! I’ve taught long enough to know that some days the kids are just off. It happens. Move on. Migraines?  I’m thankful I have oils and medicines that help me. Big smile. Walkthrough? I have no idea what it will look like when written up this time, but I know she will be back and see some major awesomeness then. Yay for second and third chances. The strike? Well, we knew it was coming. We saved and planned. We are fine and God is good. Health care? We are going to get some short-term coverage. I was able to buy my migraine meds just before we lost coverage.  Thank you, Lord!! As for the spider…I don’t know why this spider didn’t get the warning I sent to all spider kind a month or two ago, but he paid for this with his life! Beware, all spiders! As for work, it was actually okay to grade those last papers in a very quiet, peaceful classroom. And I brought home the work I can easily do this weekend. All is well. 

The truth is…I need to maintain a good sense of perspective. I have friends battling cancer and loved ones mourning the loss of a spouse. Nothing I’m facing is that big of a deal.

 And the bigger truth is, as long as I have my Jesus, I’m fine. I cannot control the economy, other people, my government….but I can cling to the Ruler of the Earth, the Alpha and Omega, my Savior, my Hope, my Healer, my Daddy! If I have HIM, I’m fine. So, I deliberately, intentionally, stubbornly choose joy. I will continue to choose joy. 

“Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” Psalm 55:22 NIV

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2 NIV

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:6-7 NIV

Takeaway: It’s all good. 

I’d love to hear how you maintain perspective and keep a good attitude. As always, I wish you MUCH joy! 

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