Have you ever had a makeover? One at the mall or a fashion party? In my next life, I want to go to a high end clothing store to be "coordinated", makeup, clothes, the works! It must feel amazing to know you look good every time you walk out of the house!
There may not be any glamour makeovers going on for me right now, but plenty of other things are in the midst of changing, or getting a makeover. In only a matter of short weeks, two of our kids will be experiencing life makeovers. In our family, what affects one, affects all (at least to some extent).
Whether it's a marriage or relocation and career shift, they both will makeover our family gatherings, celebrations and holidays. I'm already thinking about Christmas and it's only July!
Along with family makeovers, my role at school is undergoing a makeover. Two years ago I started as part-time reading support to kindergarten through eighth grade. Last school year, I was combining reading support and middle school social studies in a full-time position. This year I am thrilled to be providing reading support for students and instructional coaching for teachers in a full-time role.
It's the best of both worlds! Teaching kids (without doing grades!!!), working with lifelong learners, and nerdy stuff, like research and data analysis. I'm so excited! And I get a new and much larger classroom. Woo-hoo!
My principal is so terrific. I told her I wanted to make it a haven for teachers, and what all I envisioned. She said go for it!
And now, Dear Reader, it's confession time: I can be really good at coming up with innovations. That's not the hard part. Probably one of the bane of Tom's existence isn't the harebrained ideas (formerly known as "innovations"), is me either jumping in without properly prepping, or running out of steam before completion.
Yep, there's still plenty of work to do, but I have a vision of the form and function of the "Coach's Corner's" for the upcoming school year. Stay tuned for further developments.
And if family and career makeovers weren't enough, I'm also in the midst of a marketing makeover. Oh, Dear Readers, I hope I'm not in over my head this time!
I love writing to you! And, I love writing for kids, too! And I think I'm ready to move to the next level of writing and reaching out.
I've been on a 90 degree learning curve since going to the Colorado Christian Writers' Conference in May. So much to learn and explore and implement! And some amazing folks who have graciously come alongside of me.
So, Dear Reader, please be patient as my marketing guy, Bob, and I makeover how I communicate with you. And will you please do me a favor? Would you pray for the Lord's hand to be all over all my makeovers in progress? I know I can count on you!
"Don’t change yourselves to be like the people of this world, but let God change you inside with a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to understand and accept what God wants for you. You will be able to know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect." (Romans 12:2 ERV)
Let's just put it out there: Joshua was a gutsy guy. He'd have to be to willingly step into Moses's shoes. You know, THE MOSES, the guy who led the nation of Israel out of Egypt. THE MOSES who is frequently credited with parting the Red Sea. (Of course, we know God really did that miracle, but for some reason, we like to put flesh on miracles, don't we?) You know, the guy who got the rule book straight from God?
God had already promised to be with Joshua wherever he went ("Remember that I have commanded you to be determined and confident! Do not be afraid or discouraged, for I, the Lord your God, am with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 GNT). And sure enough, God started keeping his promise right off the bat.
Not only did God go with Joshua when he and the troops hit the road, God promised to exalt him. ("And the Lord said to Joshua, “This day I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with you." Joshua 3:7 RSV) Man, things just seemed to keep better and better.
But now it was time to take on the big dogs, so the Lord came to Joshua in a big way. God sent the "commander of the army of the Lord", drawn sword and all (Joshua 5:13-14). Once the commander had Joshua's attention, the Lord gave him his marching orders (Joshua 6:2-5).
In that moment, Joshua seems to show himself as a great man of God. He didn't ask God a bunch of clarifying questions (interrogate). Joshua didn't procrastinate about following God's directions. He went straight to the priests, then to the people. After he'd relayed God's orders, Joshua led the people in the attack on Jericho (facilitate).
Most of us know how the story ends: "So when the people heard the trumpet blast, they shouted as loud as they could. And suddenly the walls of Jericho crumbled and fell before them, and the people of Israel poured into the city from every side and captured it!"
(Joshua 6:20 TLB).
As I read this account, I couldn't help but wonder if the victory would have been as swift and complete if Joshua had questioned God, like his predecessor, Moses, did. Or what if he had put off following God's directions, you know, just to make sure he'd heard the Lord correctly?
Conjecture is easy from the cheap seats, isn't it? But how often do I pray about something, anything, then interrogate God when he seems to be giving me an answer? Do I swiftly follow his directions, or procrastinate? What would happen if, like Joshua, I immediately began doing my part (facilitating) of God's will?
Maybe it all comes back to learning/remembering to "trust and obey". Dear Reader, even if you don't need a gentle reminder, I have to admit that even after all these years,I occasionally do. Perhaps that's why the Lord thought it was a good idea for me to journey through the book of Joshua again. What scriptures encourage you when you need a little "blessed assurance" you're moving in the right direction on your journey?
I thought we had all been doing extraordinarily well. The visit to Allie and Grandpa's had already been longer than usual. Mama's big adventure to Kenya was only half over. Dinner with Dad seemed just the trick to get us over the hump.
Dinner went well. Everybody ate; everybody laughed; everybody enjoyed being together. Then it was time to go.
I had already prepped Annalyn and Gracie about leaving Dad to come back home with us. Lots of drama wouldn't make anyone feel any better. (Realist sounds so much better than heartless, don't you think?)
At two and a half, Gracie is just developing a sense of time. For her, next week can mean tomorrow, or in a minute, or next week. Unfortunately, being on the doorstep of third grade, Annalyn knows exactly long time can be.
Gracie got right into the car, no problem. Annalyn, not so much. But Dad had to leave for work no matter how many tears and hugs were forthcoming.
I love my oldest granddaughter, honestly I do. Sometimes though her penchant for drama gets a little tiresome. Once she was peeled off her dad and tucked safely into the car, it was time for a diversion. Cell phone to the rescue! This seemed just the ticket:
That was all it took for Annalyn to snap out of it.
Now Gracie thought it was her turn to "see a song". Okay, no problem. Not! She wasn't interested in her favorite friend Mickey Mouse singing the "Hot Dog Dance", or anything else that seemed toddler appropriate.
The toddler started asking for the "feeling song with the car". What? Really? This Allie has Contemporary Christian, Oldies, and New Age Solo Piano plugged into her Pandora. "Feeling song with the car" didn't compute. But older sister knew exactly what Gracie was talking about. Score! (Annalyn was happily engaged and I knew what to look for.)
In the span of maybe five minutes, the girls had testified to the words of Ecclesiastes 3:4:"There is a time to cry and a time to laugh. There is a time to be sad and a time to dance." (ICB) Poor Tom, we were an emotional explosion on wheels. (I gotta tell you, I'm NOT looking forward to puberty with these two! And with a separation of over six years, we're talking decades here people!)
Instead of weeping and gnashing of teeth, now Annalyn was cracking up while Gracie was belting it out with Justin Timberlake. Isn't the resiliency of kids amazing!
Kids are also amazing because of the lessons they so easily teach those of us who are supposed to be older and therefore wiser. Checking myself, instead of fussing at Annalyn, got a much better result than I had hoped. The girls were teaching me about the writer of Ecclesiastes's words, "One hand full of rest and patience is better than two fists full of labor and chasing after the wind." (4:6 AMP)
We all need a minute once in a while, don't we? The Toddler (and Sister) and Timberlake will help me remember to show patience to others in proportion to the patience I sometimes need from them. What helps you to keep it real when it comes to patience?
Lately I've been spending more time than I'd like in waiting rooms at doctors's offices. Too many tests and not enough answers. It's made me think about what would make a doctor's office waiting room perfect to me.
First, get rid of the sterile lighting. Really? Nothing is getting examined there, so why the harsh lighting? It makes everyone look a little sick, whether they came in that way or not.
Secondly, if we're going to have a tv going, could it at least be showing classic comedies instead of talk shows or infomercials? Or, could we have a little ambient, soothing music, or something to get the blood pumping in a happy way? You know, salsa, or oldies, or reggae?
Then I thought about the magazines. I've watched a lot of people in medical waiting rooms over the years, and I don't think I've ever seen anyone pick up a professional journal. Could we have some current INTERESTING magazines, please?
My allergist's office is the best with this! They have decorating, travel, sports, even kids' magazines. It sure makes a difference to this reader! (Yes, I know, I have 5 books on my phone/Kindle and unlimited magazines through the library website, also on my phone.)
And chocolate, who doesn't like chocolate (besides Tom, that is)? Dishes of M&Ms (preferably the peanut kind), Hershey's kisses, and my all time fav, Reese's peanut butter cups. Well, that may be a bridge too far since my visits are stemming from high cholesterol issues.
Optional throw pillows would be nice, maybe a couple of ottomans tucked into the corners or under non-institutional tables. Is there any law against being comfortable in a doctor's office waiting room?
And just to make sure we're totally indulging all our senses, how about a little aromatherapy? Some lavender or chamomile wafting through the air to alleviate stress or anxiety would be nice. Or, how about some orange or lemon to perk up our spirits?
Okay, back to reality now. I took political science in college; I understand that bureaucracy seems to rule our 21st century world. But, this isn't a rant about that. It's about healing.
The writer of Proverbs had a lot to say about our health, such as, "A sound mind makes for a robust body,but runaway emotions corrode the bones." (Proverbs 14:30 MSG)
I really like the way the Amplified Bible says it,"A calm and peaceful and tranquil heart is life and health to the body, But passion and envy are like rottenness to the bones." Isn't that what we're all seeking, "a calm and peaceful and tranquil heart"?
Scripture shares many accounts of Jesus healing broken bodies, but He made it clear that His real mission was to heal those with broken spirits. Jesus devoted a whole sermon to the healing and restoration to be found in Him and His Heavenly Father (Matthew 5:1-12).
The Old Testament prophet, Isaiah, foretold Jesus's mission:
"The Lord God has put his Spirit in me.This is because he has appointed me to tell the good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort those whose hearts are broken. He has sent me to tell the captives they are free.He has sent me to tell the prisoners that they are released.He has sent me to announce the time when the Lord will show his kindness and the time when our God will punish evil people. He has sent me to comfort all those who are sad." (Isaiah 61:1-2 ICB)
When Jesus announced that He was the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy in His hometown synagogue, He rocked their world (Luke 4:16-22). And praise God, He still rocks our world today.
Dear Reader, a couple of health issues recently rattled my cage for a minute, and then I remembered (actually, God reminded me). Jesus has given two promises I can hold on to no matter what.
"Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid." ((John 14:27 GNT)
“Come to me, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28 GNT).
Dear Reader, I pray that no matter what may be going on in your world at the moment, you will claim the peace and rest only our Savior can give.
I was entering third grade when we moved "up north". Those first few years (decades, really) were times of discovery. Discoveries like eating mushrooms and playing in snow for the first time.
One of the first discoveries for me was tether ball. I loved this game. Truthfully, it wasn't for the altruistic reason of it being inclusive. I actually won on occasion, and for an elementary kid, that's pretty great stuff.
Somehow, as I was reading Joshua 1:10-15, I made a connection between tether ball and Joshua's relationship with God. From early on, Joshua had received unique promises from God. He also received orders on how to finally bring the nation of Israel into the Promised Land.
Joshua was tethered to God by their shared history and promises. But he was also unfettered and able to make his own decisions about each step on the last leg of the Hebrew children's journey of hope. Tethered, but unfettered.
Our God is so big and loves us so much, he gave us the freedom to make our own choices: “I have now given you a choice between a blessing and a curse. When all these things have happened to you, and you are living among the nations where the Lord your God has scattered you, you will remember the choice I gave you." (Deuteronomy 30:1 GNT)
I don't know about you, Dear Reader, but I'm so thankful I can choose to echo the words of the psalmist, "But as for me, I will pray to you, Lord; answer me, God, at a time you choose. Answer me because of your great love, because you keep your promise to save." (Psalm 69:13 GNT) I'm thankful God is so big, He can keep us connected to him while allowing us to make our own decisions. My prayer is for my trust in God to be reflective of his trust in me.
A couple of weeks ago Gracie went to a princess party. Please pardon the proud grandparent moment, but ISN'T SHE JUST THE CUTEST THING!
Okay, I'm over it now.
After seeing Mary's Facebook post I joined the online rant about princess mentalities that seem to rampant among many of the younger set. Instead of brandishing our princess attire and attitudes, what if we tried to follow the prophet, Micah's, advice more often? ("The Lord has told you what is good. He has told you what he wants from you:
Do what is right to other people. Love being kind to others. And live humbly, trusting your God." Michah 6:8 ICB)
My journey with Joshua recently pushed me closer to that paradigm shift. In Joshua 3 we read about the priests holding up the Ark of the Covenant while the nation of Isreal passed over to the other side. ("And there they stood; those priests carrying the Chest of the Covenant stood firmly planted on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan while all Israel crossed on dry ground. Finally the whole nation was across the Jordan, and not one wet foot." Joshua 3:17 MSG)
Thinking about the time and the muscle it must have taken to hold up the Ark while a "whole nation" passed by, I began to understand what it means to be precious and privileged in a new way. How precious in God's eyes is the specific work He's given each of us to do. And how privileged we are to be called to do it!
Who knows how long it took for all the Hebrew children to cross the Jordan? It really doesn't matter. Those guys holding the box were obedient and committed to the job they had been called to do. And I'm betting no one stopped to give them a tip either.
I'm extremely thankful for the diversity of our gifts! Somebody had to hold of the ark, and somebody had to lead the people across the Jordan. Maybe it's time that I start focusing more on how precious the work is He's given me to do."We all have different gifts. Each gift came because of the grace God gave us... As you serve the Lord, work hard and don’t be lazy. Be excited about serving him!" (Romans 12:6a, 11)
And while I'm wrapping my head around that, give God praise for the call He has on my life as well as the rest of His children. Come on, all you Prince and Princesses of the King, let's shout "Hallelujah!" for being precious in His eyes and the privilege He's given us to do His work! "For God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn; he will never go back on his promises." (Romans 11:29 TLB)
Hi, my name is Alice. A Way with Words is about sharing faith,
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