Monday, September 29, 2008

No Other Answer but God!

In order to understand this post, you HAVE to ready the one right before this. I almost immediately got out of bed to post again but I had to just revel in the blessings of God!

So last night I write my post, hit publish, and go read in bed like I do every night. Right now I am reading No Other Gods by Kelly Minter. The subtitle explains what it is about: "Confronting our modern day idols". Very good and I highly recommend it! Anyway..... Keep in mind that this is happening less than 15 minutes after I posted about this annoyingly haunting question that won't leave me alone. I flip open the book to my chapter for the night entitled "Lies". She is sharing some ah-ha moments from a discussion based on the Genesis 3 passage about Eve's temptation and man's fall. This is what my eyes run across (sorry but it is quite lengthy):

When I think of the lies I am prone to embrace, I realize that many of them begin as questions. It's not as often that I'm thrown by someone or something that comes right out and denounces my set of beliefs. Those are a lot easier to dismiss. But more often I am sent down a doubtful path when my beliefs are simply questioned. Because a statement doesn't require a response, but a question demands an answer. When a person or idea asks, "Did God really say?" suddenly we are in a state of thought, reason, and possible defense. A question engages us in ways that statements do not. I have to believe that Satan knew this.

But here's where things get trickier than I ever realized: Not only did the Serpent begin with a question, but his question was fundamentally flawed. "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?" There's something eerily wrong with this question - notice the word any. God did not say that Adam and Eve couldn't eat from any tree in the garden. He said they could not eat from one. Just one. This is a world of difference. If Satan can lure us into disputing the wrong question, in a sense we have already lost.

I know this one too well. I have spent countless hours wasting my energy on things that didn't deserve it. I have spent exorbitant amounts of time fighting the wrong questions. Though I do not pretend the Christian life is neatly packaged or cut and dried, the Bible is full of countless truths that can keep me from having to enter countless unnecessary wrestling matches. Too many times I've limped away broken and bruised, only to hear God say, "I never asked you to fight this one."

When I ponder the time I have wrestled with lies, often I find myself set up in the same way Eve was - to fight the wrong question.

I near about fell out of my bed! Can we give a little praise for God's timing!? What a blessing and release for me! Today, the question has been silent and I honestly had forgotten all about it until I did my daily blog check. God is SO good!!!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Frustratingly Vague Post

Last week was exhausting. Seriously! On Friday night I slept for ten and a half hours. Then Saturday night I slept for nine hours. Tonight, I am still a bit tired but will not give in to sleep until 10:00. For a girl who averages seven hours a night, this is very telling! So it has been a weekend of rest. Thank you Jesus for comfortable beds and time to re-coop!

In between times of rest, my refreshed mind has been rolling things over. I thought I would share one with you. I am sure many of you can relate. Have you ever had someone make a statement or ask you a question slightly in passing and it haunted you? It was not intended to be one that lasted more than a moment to make a point but is echoing in your ears? One of you asked me something a few months ago and for the past week-ish it has been bouncing around in my brain. Over and over, the question rolls. On one hand, it makes me doubt a choice I have made, but on the other, it makes me mad because I feel like it is bullying me into doing something that I (with 100% certainty) no longer desire. It is haunting me because it won't leave me alone. It won't go away!!! So what does that mean for me? Those of you that know me so well know the answer to this question - I am privately analyzing it. God is getting an ear-full right now because I don't know why it won't leave me alone. Is He trying to tell me something or is Satan trying to get a foothold in my weakness? I do not know.

I'm sure you understand.....

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Boys, Girls, and Binkys

Every experienced teacher knows that when you give someone something new to manipulate, time to play and explore is a must. We all know that before it can be productive, our inquisitive nature must be satisfied. That is why we interview for jobs, read the back of books, or look for newer gadgets. For older "kids", it may be a new phone. For the little ones, say six years old and in first grade, it can be something much simpler.

Today in math, we were assessing students' ability to perform basic addition and subtraction. In order to help, each student was given manipulatives. In our class, we used "Binkys". Basically, they are little deformed animals. Last year, the teacher before me called them Alien Hippos. We call them Binkys because they look like that character from the Arthur books. Anyway, the students completed the addition and then were given two minutes to play with their Binkys to clear their minds before hitting the subtraction. After subtraction, the students were given the choice to draw or continue playing with their Binkys. All but one chose to play.

What was most interesting to me was watching how the boys and girls played with the Binkys. The boys' Binkys were very interactive. They jumped, attacked, flew, and body slammed. They had silent sound affects (their mouths shaped sounds but none were heard). On the other hand, the girls were much more subdude. Instead of active Binkys, theirs were orderly and silent. Instead of "playing", the girls spent their time arranging them. Parallel lines, one long line, circles, matching Binkys on the letters of their name plates, etc etc etc... If there is a way to arrange Binkys, I saw it today.

Just another example of how boys and girls are so different.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Maybe I Didn't Want to Know After All

I've told a couple of people that I was curious what Ike did to the economy. I found this quote in an article linked on the MSN page.

"Risk Management Assessment Inc., which quantifies risks for insurance companies, estimated Ike's impact would land in the low end of the $6 billion to $16 billion in insured losses that the firm initially predicted."

WOW!!! And these are the statistics with a large amount of customers without power. Insane!!!

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Schools around the Houston/Gulf Coast area have been closed for over a week. Some will not reopen for quite a while. It was just reported that Houston ISD has about 140 schools with power and ready to open on Monday. Sounds good, right? It is deceptive because they followed with the announcement that 106 schools in that same district are still without power and other essentials. Unreal!!

So what about my district? We are scheduled to resume classes on Monday unless something we are unaware of happens. However....At the bottom of our Hurricane Recovery page, what will you find listed below the closings and reasons for closing? The athletic schedule for THIS WEEKEND!!! Don't believe me? Click here. So basically, things are not ready to educate students in a safe, productive environment but by golly, there will be football!

Aren't you glad to know that our priorities are in the right places?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Her Hands

Ike has come and gone. I'll write more about it later after I have heard about a couple of more things. Suffice it to say that we are thankful to have power and except for the limited gas and lack of meat/dairy products, we are relatively back to normal. Since both Erin and I are off today and tomorrow due to not having power at our workplaces, we decided to run some errands. We talked about feeling guilty just going on as we have been while others are without SO much. However, while we wait, we do need to take care of a couple of things.

One of the stops we made was to Motherhood Maternity so Erin could pick up a couple of things she needed. She was trying on a shirt and called me in to help her untie a knot behind her. I got it out relatively quickly and for some reason, my eyes stayed there while she tied the pull behind her back. In that instant, my mind flashed back to her hands at six years old. They were tying her shoes instead of her shirt tie. She didn't notice but I caught my breath. I've seen those hands grow from gripping the tag on her Care Bear to playing a clarinet to wearing her wedding ring and soon to holding the hand of her newborn daughter. It was a very real moment for me that my baby sister is having a baby. She will be tying shoes for her daughter very soon. That moment of watching her hands still sits with me now. So beautiful.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Peace Comes in the Morning...

Public disclaimer - Do NOT watch incoming storm coverage all evening long. Talk about going to bed with knots in your stomach! However, it did stir up some nervous energy and the apartment is clean. I'm already finished getting the place ready for Mom and Dad next weekend. SWEET! Just before bed, I read for a little bit to unwind. God sure knows how to calm our spirits and sooth our souls through the gift of rest!! Anyway...Feeling much calmer this morning. Heading to Erin and Gregg's in about 20 -30 minutes. I do enjoy a good storm but I am NOT looking forward to this - no one here is. However, I am thankful this morning. If I have to ride out a hurricane, who better to do it with than Erin and Gregg? If you don't believe me, check out her blog today. I do love them both so much! Hunkering down in a HUGE master closet with them and their dog will ease all concerns. Who knows, maybe we will laugh a little bit too. Little Elizabeth will definitely have some stories to hear about when she asks her parents about when Mom was pregnant or when she was born.

Love you all and see you on the other side of Ike! :)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Obligatory Hurricane Post

If you didn't know it was coming, you couldn't tell by the weather. It is beautiful outside - hot and sunny. Literally the calm before the storm. Thankfully, in the past 24 hours, the predicted path of the eye has moved east a few miles. However, they are predicting sustained winds of 75-110 miles per hour with 5-10 inches of rain with possible flooding and isolated tornadoes. Still not the most peaceful and enjoyable of storms.

Leaving school was so tough today. I spent the last hour of my day (yay for conference period last!) putting things in cabinets, moving items away from the windows, turning shelves/drawers to face inside walls, and deciding what is too valuable to leave in the 50 year old building. We are all concerned about the roof. We are expecting at the least leaks or at the most for it to be blown off. Leaving all of my books was NOT easy. The kids were pretty shocked when they walked back in the room after music. Dismissal came a couple of minutes early and we were rushing to reassure their little spirits and remind them not to come to school tomorrow. As we put the kids on the buses, it was difficult knowing that they didn't have a full concept of the scariness that awaits them over the next few days. They think it is just a big thunderstorm. I'm sure there will be some stories on Monday! I hugged each one, looked them in the eye, and asked "Who loves you?" to which they all replied correctly - me. Such smart kids....

After getting the kids loaded, we made a very last minute final sweep of our rooms. As we all rushed out, we gave each other that concerned look. I know that several are concerned about the winds because of huge beautiful old trees in their yards. Others live in floodplains. Many, like me, are afraid of the unknown. One of my new teammates was in her first year teaching in New Orleans when Katrina hit. She said this is a little too familiar to her. Bless her heart!!! We have no clue what we will have on our plates on Monday when we get back to school (Lord willing).

At some point tomorrow, I'll head to Erin and Gregg's house. I'm dreading leaving my home. The apartment is a little bit higher than everything around it so I'm not too concerned about flooding. I'm on the first floor so I know that I don't have to directly worry about a roof. I just don't want any damage. I keep telling myself that it is all material possessions - easily replaced and not of eternal value. However, it is the things that make where I live my home. It has meaning to me. I can live without it and be fine. I just don't want to.... Some things will go with me but not much. I'm just going to trust.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Now I Get It...

"...for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." - Philippians 4:11-12

It's funny how you can read a passage of scripture so many times that in some ways it becomes that verse that everyone knows and uses as cliche. In the past few weeks, these inspired words have taken on renewed meaning to me. I read it now and feel such a blessedness from it. There is a great secret to being content and I have found it.

A few months ago, I took part in a Bible study in which we were asked to prostrate ourselves before God in prayer before diving into the study. This was hard for me because it was so far out of my comfort zone. I did it and it made a difference! Then, due to various injuries, it was not an option. The study ended as the injuries healed and that closed the door on "fall on my face" prayer. Until....

God is SO good in His timing! In recent weeks, I have been convicted and moved to surrender some difficult things to our God. As part of that, I have repeated found my innermost being compelling me to get down before the mercy seat of God. Knowing how the Spirit speaks, I've found myself spending more and more time getting the pattern of my carpet pressed into my forehead. In doing so, the beautiful gift of acknowledging His ways and His plans before my own has taught me the lesson of contentment. Yes, I do know what is it to be plenty and in want. Yes, I still struggle with that and what that means in my daily walk. I don't have all of the answers but I do know this: Giving it all to the One who holds all of the answers results in freedom that I am just learning to experience. So what is the secret to being content? Laying it all at the feet of Jesus in purest, most sincere surrender! As difficult as it some days, this truly is the best of all ways to be content in every circumstance.

How lovely that the very next verse following the call to contentment reads, "I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:13) Even when it is hard to surrender and trust in the unseen, it is His strength that makes it possible. His strength is the source of our contentment!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Friday, September 05, 2008


I got my certificate for completing Defensive Driving this morning. It surprised me in more ways than one. Check out the return address on the envelope:

Thursday, September 04, 2008

How do you know you're tired?

So I was trying to finish up some work on the computer last night and I started getting REALLY sleepy. I decided that a ginger ale would help me wake up with its carbonation and just a drink. So as I walked away from the fridge, I realized exactly how tired I was. Out of habit from grabbing a small bottle of juice, I looked down to see myself SHAKING the can to make sure it was mixed well.


Monday, September 01, 2008

Lessons I Would Have Rather NOT Learned This Way

YES - your knees can turn to Jello while sitting down
YES - the sight of a caravan can make you sink
YES - watching the other side of the highway can be very important
YES - selfishness can turn itself around

How do I know? This afternoon I spent a very LONG three hours driving back to Katy. Along the way, I saw 33 evacuee buses and 201 ambulances. I wish that I was just exaggerating my numbers but I'm not. That's after most stopped in Houston! The flashing lights of the ambulances were the worst. They drove in caravans of 5 to 11 - most with flashing lights. Inside each one, I imagined, was just one individual. Sick or seriously injured, they were being taken further away from their home without any idea of when or if they would return. And they were doing it pretty much alone. I doubt they had anyone with them other than the EMT that they probably didn't know from Adam before they got on the road. How scary!! A had a constant lump in my throat for the entire way home.

To make matters less pleasant, God decided to step on my toes. Apparently, when Katrina hit, my school was past capacity. I've been saying for days that I don't know if I can handle that this year. Now, all I can think about are those little six year olds so far from everything that they know. I'll take any one that I get if I can be any source of comfort to them. No child should have to go through this let alone twice in their short six years of life.

Prayers for everyone affected by Gustav!!