* Sunrise Sermon: Tunnel Vision

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Michelle Malone has written another winner! What’s one thing YOU will do differently today for yourself? I was going to say, “Eat chocolate,” but that’s not different. Perhaps I will go to bed before midnight!

Two Are Better Than One

Are you one of those folks who walks through life looking straight ahead — not looking to your left or to your right — just straight ahead? Perhaps most days you’re looking down at your phone — hurrying to get to work, a meeting, your second job, or your kids’ after school activities. Here’s a question for you (and I hope you pause long enough to read it). Do you ever slow down or simply stop to look at your surroundings and see what you’ve been missing?

Many of us run through life as if we’re on borrowed time, and actually we are. We’re always borrowing time from something to do something else. Do you ever cut into your family time by staying at work a little longer? If so, you’re borrowing time from your family. Will you ever pay them back? Maybe you have to finish typing an important…

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* Ten Things of Thankful

I haven’t tackled the challenge to write Ten Things of Thankful in months, so I reread Lizzi’s Christmas list of 50 things, which amazes me (but not enough to copy).  Let’s see how far I can get….

  1.  I am feeling a bit better today!  Still shaky but this round of steroid withdrawal is losing its power to flatten me.
  2. My dearest steroid withdrawal widower has been tending to me so carefully, encouraging me that this will pass.  What would I do without his love?
  3. Rationally, I know that the flattening and disgusting side effects of withdrawal are far better than something like chemo.  I do not have cancer; I’m not facing that dreadful siege.  My heart aches for those who are in that battle.
  4.  My broken foot, still encased in a boot, no longer objects to an occasional free step.  In 2 weeks, I’ll know whether it can fly out of its cocoon.
  5. The local (pricey) swimming pool is sending out teasers suggesting that we may be able to swim there again, after months of locked doors.  Aquatics.JPG
  6. Vance, the Venus fly trap, continues to sprout new traps, ever hopeful that the spring will bring a random gnat into the house.  Of course, I am just boarding Vance for his student-owner, whose house must be kept like a refrigerator.                                                 Vance 2.JPG
  7. I’ve just started a MOOC course on Mathematics and Technology through The Friday Institute.  After reading through the profiles of all the participants, I can see that I am on the lowest percentile regarding middle school math skills.  I do love a challenge.  It’s not too late for you to sign up, either, no matter where you live!  Cool!TMT
  8. We are hosting a Korean zombie movie night this evening.  Train to Busan, with Korean food and sweet guests.  I HOPE I can rouse myself out of bed!                                    Train to Busan 2.jpg
  9.  A dear friend (who now lives far away) has a birthday today.  I owe her more than I could ever express.
  10.  I have read about 20 books in the past few days.  It’s been a wonderful way to escape from bleh and blah and worse.  iphone books.PNG
  11.  My faith rests in the confidence that I am being held, not that I can hold on.
  12. I’ve been able to eat chocolate throughout this temporary ordeal.  I assume that is related to #11.

Thank you, dear readers, for your patience as I’ve fallen away from my regular posting once again.  Who knew??  Oh yes, the One who loves me knew.  I’m in good hands and

* Grateful for small and large mercies

Drug City:  What a week!  I was so sure I’d get back on the blogging track.  Instead, my mind has been stupefied and groggified by trials of sleeping meds, since my new and wonderful insurance doesn’t want to pay for Lunesta.  Insomnia is no joke and neither are these “excellent” replacement options.  I’ve had dreadful reactions to all of them but I have a caring physician who understands my overly reactive body.  I think I am making his hair fall out, though.  And my dearest teaching widower has been a shoulder to cry on as my brain has been zapped into depression and more.

Foot City: Remember the wonderful time I had with the kiddos last Halloween?  I didn’t mention that I had wrenched my foot as I slipped while pushing my niece’s wheelchair uphill.  It’s been hurting ever since, so I have gotten new shoes (ooh la la) and tried not to limp.  Unfortunately, the pain has only worsened with time and my foot keeps giving way.  I am convinced that angels have caught me several times or I would have made a face plant on our driveway.  My old crutches are new friends for the next few weeks, along with footwear that lacks a certain panache.  crutches-2

Teaching City:  This has been a joy, in the midst of brain sludge.  Let’s say I work with a kiddo named Javi and I called myself Mrs. Javi.  A good reason not to speak of yourself in third person, right?  Or let’s say that I ask a student in what order he wants to complete our activities and then forget everything he said, even though it’s written into my lesson plans.  What about being unable to read?  Refer to Drug City for that explanation.  But love and patience with me and laughter and hugs?   I couldn’t ask for more.

Onward and upward, by the Lord’s grace.

* Reflect & Grow

Jumpstart your week with Michelle Malone’s Monday encouragement. I am going to follow her lead: reflect on my experiences and NO complaining. Wise woman, Michelle!

Two Are Better Than One

Good Monday morning, friends! What a beautiful day the Lord has made! Let us rejoice and be glad today and every day. Yesterday I participated in a Twitter Chat for educators — something I hadn’t done in quite some time. I truly enjoy these opportunities to chat with educators from all over the globe about those issues we all have in common no matter where we reside. It was a 30-minute chat with five questions about the importance of being a reflective leader.

I could hardly wait for the chat to start because this topic interests me. Of course, I had plenty to share, but I really wanted to hear what other school leaders (in particular) had to say. The common thread throughout our time together was growth. You really can’t grow as a teacher, leader, or just an average Joe without reflecting on your practices. That really resonated with me.

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* Phobias, anyone?

Cee’s Share Your World challenge has wonderful questions that could easily take me 1,000 words to answer!  Aren’t you glad I don’t write posts that long anymore?  Here’s my response to just one question, “Any phobias?”  Although I had experienced a couple of panic attacks earlier in my life, I didn’t know that’s what they were.  Then I suffered a panic attack at the top of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Tampa, Florida and thought I was losing my mind.

Sadly, I was on a long trek to a major driving phobia.  Eventually, just getting on a freeway or bridge caused me to faint.  Fortunately my husband was sitting next to me the last time I attempted a freeway and we managed to pull off as I blacked out.  Talk about scary.  My world shrank, fear by fear.  I struggled to navigate small back roads and had to be chauffeured by friends and family.

I suffered from this worsening phobia for 12 years.  I tried biofeedback, will power, praise and worship, and years of desperate prayers.  I felt that God was going to heal me, but when?  How?  What if I thought I was healed but passed out, killing myself and others?  Then I attended a cognitive behavior therapy workshop with Reid Wilson, director of Anxiety Disorders Treatment Center.  I knew nothing about his approach or I wouldn’t have gone.  Seriously.  But what a lifesaver that weekend was, a true answer to my prayers.  I was back on the freeway and conscious!   Since then, I’ve driven everywhere; my dearest teaching widower hardly ever gets a turn.  He was a bit anxious himself as I took my hands off the wheel and shrieked with joy while crossing the Golden Gate Bridge last year.

I am “cured” but I use quotation marks because I’m grateful that a phobia may still raise its hairy head.  My brain occasionally thinks it is protecting me (“Pass out!  Pass out!”) and I’ve had a few panic attacks since that weekend.  My response?  Bring it on!  I am free and determined to stay that way!  If you suffer from phobias, check out Reid Wilson’s marvelous approach to anxiety disorders.

* Martin Luther King, Jr, man of faith

Today we celebrate the life of a great man of faith.  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. remains an inspiration, a model of how to face injustice and hatred.  He guided my steps as a youngster in the civil rights movement, but it wasn’t until years later that I actually entered the kingdom of love he espoused.  How much more I treasure his words, now that I share his faith.

In his words:  “Now there is a final reason I think that Jesus says, “Love your enemies.” It is this: that love has within it a redemptive power. And there is a power there that eventually transforms individuals. Just keep being friendly to that person. Just keep loving them, and they can’t stand it too long. Oh, they react in many ways in the beginning. They react with guilt feelings, and sometimes they’ll hate you a little more at that transition period, but just keep loving them. And by the power of your love they will break down under the load. That’s love, you see. It is redemptive, and this is why Jesus says love. There’s something about love that builds up and is creative. There is something about hate that tears down and is destructive. So love your enemies (from Loving Your Enemies).”

“As my sufferings mounted I soon realized that there were two ways in which I could respond to my situation — either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force. I decided to follow the latter course.”

Freedom

Dr. King knew that he was on a perilous journey, but he he did not count the cost.  In his words, “A man who won’t die for something is not fit to live.”  We are all reaping the reward of his life’s costly mission.  Love, forgive, and fight for justice.

* Move!

Michelle Malone has posted another Inspirational message for Mondays.  She challenges us in goal-setting and accountability.  Plus, there’s a cool video from Toby Mac, one of my favorite musicians.  Enjoy and be energized!

Happy Monday, friends! Are you well rested and ready to tackle the work week? Silly question, huh? Of course you are! So get up and get moving. Don’t stay stuck in the same spot you’ve …

Source: Move!

* 323 wisdoms, lessons & tips for life

I saw this posted on Bob’s Cabbages and Kings blog, and had to share it as well. Don’t be intimidated by its length. It is worth the read. Wise woman, this one!!

The Qwiet Muse

IMG_0122.PNGI have an amazing mother; she’s smart and wise and good. She spent her life trying to teach me how to live mine, I think she did a bang-up job, truly.

I’m a mother as well, I’d like to think I’ve done my job in a way that would make her proud. I took what she taught to heart and learned new things along the way, all of which I’ve tried to tried to teach my own children.

I’ve jotted down a little list of things I’ve learned and tried to teach, just a few hundred random bits I thought others might need to know, or be reminded of. Some are simple, some are deep – all important in their own right.

A few things I wanted my children, and YOU, to know ~ 

Wash behind your ears and clean out your belly button, that’s not just something moms and…

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* Sharing my world, thankfully

Cee’s Share Your World challenge is all about gratitude this week, a perfect match with Thanksgiving!  She made a funny comment about writers; it also applies to teachers, so check out her post for details.  What am I thankful for in:

  • My home life?  Love and peace. A life that provides a glimpse of heaven.
  • My family?   Our sweet son and his adorable wife, my precious sister and her amazing husband, and all the trillions of kiddos.  Well, it sometimes feels like there are trillions, in a good way!  We have the BEST extended family as well.
  • My blogging community?  Oh, so many kind bloggers who read and like and comment.  Wow, I am blessed.
  • My city or immediate area in which I live?  What a gorgeous place to live!  Our neighborhood is special, there’s an awesome lap pool not far away, and people are genuinely friendly.
  • The regional area in which I live?   Another positive!  We’re midway between mountains and beaches, not far from many places to hike and explore.
  • The country where you live?  I love this country, with our tapestry of folks who embrace such a wide range of beliefs.  I am thankful for our freedom and the efforts of those who seek greater freedom from prejudice and injustices which still abound.
  • Me?  I am happy in my skin and growing more so every day.  That’s a huge change from the tortured soul I used to be.
  • God.  (I added this one.)  Where would I be without the creator of all that is beautiful and good?  Where would I be without His death so that I might live?  Thank you, Jesus!  I am also grateful for our family of believers.  When we broke ground for our larger building recently, my widower and I inscribed rocks (without looking at each other’s first) which have gone into the foundation of the building. His is on the right.  What a precious man!

* Seeking approval

dog with frisbee.jpgAs an older dog, I’m grateful that I can still learn new tricks.  I am fearless with technology.  I tackle new academic challenges with joy.  OK, I take exception to counting backwards from 100 by 7’s.  I’ve had to perform that nasty subtraction task multiple times since a period of amnesia, so now I’ve memorized the responses.  Whew!  Some new tricks remain tantalizingly out of reach, like juggling.  I can juggle scarves like nobody’s business, but oranges?  Splat!  I do feel confident that if I practiced, I could master oranges AND apples.

But what about the Approval of Others “trick?”  My fruitless efforts began at day one in my savage home.  I grew up without approval and love, no matter how clever, obedient, and slavish I was.  Sadly, I continued my desperate hunt for approval long after leaving home.  My search even led me to fly in the face of approval, spitting on social mores.  Although I’ve been transformed in many ways since being saved in 1988, I continue to battle a need for acceptance of others.  This Bible verse was easily memorized but impossible to live by: “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but by trusting in the Lord, one is kept safe.”

Living on the approval of others is an empty and dangerous path for me, leading to lies, heartache, and fear.  It saps the joy out of serving others.  It drains the satisfaction out of accomplishments, for the approval of others is counterfeit- pyrite instead of true gold.  Living for the kudos of people is a vain exercise in every sense of the word.

What’s the solution?  Where’s the hope?   Trust.  Trust in the Lord, unattainable by my own efforts.  The incredible news is that God is helping me to trust him.  Step by step, moment by moment.  My current frustration with fear of man (a King James phrase, if there ever was one) is a clear sign of how God is moving me towards freedom.  He is teaching me to trust him ever deeper.  He hasn’t clubbed me on the head or made me a pariah.  No, he loves up on me.

Feel free to “like” this post.  Or not.  I won’t live or die by that.  Mostly.