Monthly Archives: August 2014

Thankful Monday

image

“Great are the works of the Lord.  They are pondered by all who delight in the Lord.”  Psalm 111:2

So another school year has started for me.  I started the day with great positive thoughts and ended it feeling more stressed. Sometimes days (or weeks) just don’t go way I plan!

As I began to think about posting my Monday Moment of Joy, I was having a hard time coming up with thoughts that made sense. 

Then I read those words from Scripture.  “GREAT are the works of the Lord.”  I began thinking….”what are the works of the Lord?”  Psalm 111 then says “They are pondered by all who delight in the Lord.”  So I was reminded that the act of remembering and pondering God’s great works can give me joy.  

So, today I’m just going to make a list – a list of God’s great works.  Why don’t you help me make that list?  Feel free to comment and add to the list of God’s great works.  

Then let’s ponder those together!  It will help to put our focus back on Him instead of on our circumstances.

-He saved me.

-He showed me His grace in sending Jesus to die for my sins

-He loves me with an amazing love.

-He gave us His Word.

-He gave us the body of Christ to encourage and sharpen us.

-He gave me a family that loves me and is always there for me.

-He made me unique with gifts and talents that He allows me to use for His glory. 

-He gave me a job that I love with a team that I love.

-He knows me inside and out and yet He loves me anyway.  

-He gave me friends that help point me to Himself.

-He takes care of His people over the ages.  Remember all those times that Israelites walked away from Him or grumbled against Him?  He forgave them over and over and continued in relationship with them!  He does the same for me!

-He left the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us.

What else?  There are millions more of His great works!  Let’s ponder them together.  

There’s peace when we are still and think about Him!

Nature’s Beauty

 

image

Tonight I’m satisfied after spending some time in God’s creation.  After several long, busy weeks, I had a few hours to slow down and enjoy some downtime.  My friend found this great little park by the water.  I read and prayed and enjoyed the beauty.

image

As the sun went down, music floated across the water and the sky was painted with beautiful colors.  I’m thankful for the time I sensed God’s presence in His creation.  Although it was only a few hours, it felt like many more.

image

I’m thankful for the time to take a few moments and just enjoy being still.  Where did you see God’s presence today?  Let’s remember to slow down and take those few moments to enjoy His beauty this week.

Monday Moment of Joy in His Word

teaching joyfully

One of the things I’m thankful for in the summer is the slower schedule and the time to slowly savor God’s Word in the morning. This morning I was reading 1 Thessalonians and was encouraged.

Over the last few days, I’ve been thinking about the phrase “Relentless Positivity” that I got from the conference.  I’ve ALSO been thinking, though, about how much I want to enjoy this week and make it go slow because I am a bit nervous about how the new school year is going to go.

Change is hard.  I know it’s part of life, though, so I’ve been praying that I would find the joy even when things change.  This morning as I read 1 Thessalonians, I was reminded, once again that the joy comes from our God and Savior.

“We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thess 1:3 NIV

Look at that!!  Our endurance comes from hope in Him!  I don’t have to trust in my own strength to make it through life but I can trust in Him and find joy and hope in Him.  He is my Savior and Lord, and I can find strength and endurance in that.  Paul also was encouraging the Thessalonians because their labor was prompted by love.  That love comes from Him as well.  Is my labor prompted by the love of Christ?

I don’t have to go into this year stressed about all the change.  I can trust that He knows me and loves me and has a plan for me.  I pray that as you start this year that God would remind you to find hope and joy in Him and not in circumstances of life.

A Positive Outlook for a Satisfied Saturday

So Satisfied Saturdays are back (or at least that’s the plan:).  Yesterday I was reminded of the importance of being satisfied with where we are and with who we are.

At the last minute, I decided to go to a Temple Grandin conference.  Her mother, who is in her 80s also spoke.  What an amazing treat to hear both of these women live!

The other speaker is someone I had not heard yet but had definitely heard a lot about! Jennifer O’Toole, with Asperkids, spoke twice.   Check out http://asperkids.com  -an amazing place for encouragement and resources!  In her first talk she encouraged us to find the positive in each person-thus her phrase “relentless positivity.”

As I thought about teaching, I realized that many times, we (or at least I) get sucked into the negatives…I think we truly care about kids and want what’s best for them, but it’s so easy to see all the needs and not to focus on the positives.  Yes, we want kids to make progress so we have to know their needs, but what if we made a point to focus on their strengths and what they do well and then use those strengths to help them grow where they have needs.  Isn’t that what we want people to do with us?

I also had the unexpected joy of spending time with some good friends throughout the conference.  We started talking about the term “relentless positivity.”   I think it might be my new mantra:).  Am I being relentlessly positive?  Am I looking for ways to be encouraging with those around me?  (not just my students, but my neighbors, my family, my friends, the cashier at the grocery store, etc)  Are my eyes open to see the good?  Am I enthusiastically searching for strengths?   Am I determined to find the beautiful things in those around me?  Am I uncompromising when I share positives with others or do I get caught up in the gossip or in the negativity?  Am I unstoppable when I start looking for the constructive instead of the destructive things in life?  Am I unrelenting when I look to affirm others instead of tearing them down?

Do you remember my last post-how I tend to stress when August is upon us?  Well, yesterday was just what I needed.  I walked away from the conference encouraged and excited about starting the school year again:).  I was once again reminded why I do this job.  Thanks to Jennifer, Temple and Eustacia for encouraging us to think positively!

 

 

August Already???

a stream right next to our campsite

 

Can you believe it?  Is it really August?  I feel like it’s still spring and all the craziness that comes with getting ready for school to end.  But, no, summer is now almost over (or maybe it is over for you:(, and I’m wondering what I’ve done with it.  Yes, I taught Extended School Year, and I did some family things.  I also helped out some friends who were under the weather,  but today the stress came back in full force.

Funny thing is that at first the stress did NOT come from thinking about all the things I need to do for school to start.  It came from feeling like my “me” time is almost gone.
Many of those books in my summer pile still sit on the bookshelf.  My summer bucket list never even got made this summer.  My deep cleaning list still sits on the counter with nothing crossed off.  I started feeling like I was missing out on all those fun summer things we as teachers look forward to.   I was frustrated because “after all that hard work, I deserve to have fun during the summer!”  
Then I went out to lunch with a friend I hadn’t seen in months.  We ended up talking about ministry and the body of Christ.  I started to remember that it’s not all about ME!:).  
My plan when I got home was to start on that deep cleaning list.  By the time I got home, however, I had begun to stress about school again. We haven’t officially started yet, but I have started to get emails. (Do you remember before email when we didn’t know what was happening until school actually started?:)
 I became very anxious about some changes that “may” be happening this year.  I sat on the couch and started thinking about how bad things could be.  I began to pray and asked God for joy in the midst of changes.  I sat in His presence for awhile.  I then got up and start cleaning.
As I cleaned I listened to a recording of a Sunday School lesson from another church.   The first words I heard from that recording were “Is anyone here anxious today?”  I think I laughed out loud!    Hmm…yep this was meant for me today:).  He was talking about the end of 2 Thessalonians chapter 2.  
Listen to these words.  “May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, ENCOURAGE your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.”  (verse 16-17 NIV)
The verses before 16 and 17 talk about us being called to Him.  We can find peace in the fact that we are part of His family.  He loves us and gives us strength for the things that He has called us to do.
 I don’t know about you, but I do feel like teaching is my calling.  I really don’t want to do it haphazardly or  just to get through the day.  I want to do it joyfully because He has called me there.  (I just have to remember that’s what I want:). 
What about you?  How are you feeling about school starting?  Are you anxious?  Are you tired of all the politics and all the changes?   Are you overwhelmed by all the things you know you want to get done but won’t?  
My prayer is that we will, instead, be overwhelmed with what God has done for us and how much He loves us.  He can give us hope, so let’s choose JOY this August.