The sigh of the heavy-hearted. Heavy hearted I am. My coffee group just returned from an amazing trip to Alabama, photos -- albeit a little fishy -- here. Our plane landed at about 11 a.m. and pretty much as soon as I could turn my phone on (to take this picture of the back of Kris Kristofferson in the Birmingham airport) I got a text from Troy with some fairly annoying news for us. Then, later in the day, at Denise's parents for dinner, Roxanne called to tell me that her dad had passed away that evening. I'm debating about whether I will continue taking my cell phone while I travel. But we did relay the story of his Sunday leg to her parents. What guy.

The funeral was today. I still can't believe I'm not there. I'm supposed to be there. Roxanne is the closest thing I have to a sister, and her dad is gone. He has circled up with his own mom, as well as a host of others. He has two healthy legs now. He has received the ultimate healing. I'm so thankful for him, and so sad for her and her family.

As I try to console myself, I realize that, really, for most of the unscheduled big things in our lives, Roxanne and I have been there for precious little of it for each other. Yet we're there. We stood next to each other through both of our weddings -- me beating her down the aisle by a few months only meant I had to be labeled a 'matron' at her wedding, which I did NOT appreciate. But since then the big milestones have been 'caught up on' with email and phone calls. And this will be no different.

The funeral is there, 500 miles away, and I am here, juggling too many mom/teacher/wife/church-type-folk obligations to break free. I picked up the phone to call her 4 different times yesterday, but my throat tightened too much to speak and my tears blurred the phone to dial. I know I can't DO anything being there, but I need to help her cry. Evidently, I'm doing that from here.

On a far happier note, I actually won a prize-type-thing from Antique Mommy. Who knew, but chocolate is included in the prize, and I think it goes without saying that I could use some chocolate right about now. And that artwork from Sean? Will cheer me right up!


Good Things Out There

Since I have virtually nothing to say these days, I'll send you around the internet instead!

Troy has an interesting poll on his blog.

Boothe has some wonderful thoughts regarding Oprah's new "A Course In Miracles" program (or, what Sarah is referring to as "The New False Prophecy" -- you kind of need to be aware of THAT whole mess, too).

Kem is a friend of mine. You can see how much I think she rocks:

The Perfect Valentine

You may remember that last year, as I started down this teaching road again, I had a moment that I was very humbled that the Lord had led me to this job. I confess my thoughts don't roll that way very often. My thoughts these days are more of a checklist of what needs to be done and making it through one task to get to another. So Valentine's day has pretty much only been one of those things to do. Just another something to buy and get ready for. But one of the beautiful souls that I teach with sent our grade level this email today, subject line: "The Perfect Valentine", that brought it all back into perspective:

This morning I feel reminded of what a loving God we serve, and how much we all
need Him.

A student came in this morning to tell me that her dad
came up to her this morning and gave her “live” roses and kissed her upon the
head and said “I love you”.
Then he threw roses at her mom and called her a
bad word.

I had to fight back tears as I heard the
story. Oh how we all need Jesus, but it reminded me how much HE loves us
all too. It also reminded me how important it is that I share HIM with

Happy Valentines Day,

(she signed her name and
included this verse:)

And we know and believe the love God cherishes
for us. God is love, and he who dwells and continues in love dwells and
continues in God, and God dwells and continues in him. 1 John 4:16

Again, I am humbled and reminded of the precious souls entrusted to me on a daily basis. I am thankful for the campus where I work where godly women call me to a higher level of teaching and love by their words and actions. And, most of all, I am forever thankful for Jesus, our perfect Valentine, who gave all He had to win our hearts for eternity. Because of Him, we can go on one more day, loving one more soul.


Reasonable Restrictions?

In preparing for an upcoming flight, I was reviewing the list of carry-on restrictions. So, we can take a corkscrew and knitting needles, but no gel candles? Well, of course.


Linda Kenwright, Break out the Map Shirt!

(There is a VERY small segment of my blog readers -- like, Roxanne, and potentially my parents -- that will understand my post title. A whole other story for a whole other time).

The yo-yos. They are coming back. Did we learn nothing?


Listen for the Whisper

I have to hurry up and write this somewhere before I forget it.

Earlier this week in some rushed blog-perusal, I came across a comment Brandi made to someone. She said that the discouraging thoughts this person was experiencing was Satan screaming, trying to make himself heard.

Then she wrote: Listen for the whisper.

Sometimes I am frustrated at how counter-intuitive faith is. When life presses in, our flesh nature commands that we speed up, go faster, get more done. A life of faith says, "Be still and know." When it seems we are constantly being beaten down by life anyway, and the world (and our survival instincts) tell us to look out for number one, a life of faith says, "The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life."

And when life screams at us from every direction, and the awful and negative are everywhere we turn, a life of faith must listen for the whisper.

The LORD said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of
the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by." Then a great and
powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD,
but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but
the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but
the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 1 Kings


Further Enlightened

Another google search that has landed someone here in the past was: "it's Friday but Sunday's coming is this a true statement". I can't figure this one out. What would NOT be true about "it's Friday but Sunday's coming?" Is it a breakdown in English language perhaps? I don't get it...

Another valuable jewel that came out of the parenting class on Sunday was this quote (that they attributed to a local counselor): "All negative emotion stems from unfulfilled expectations." They used it in the light of parenting to make your expectations for your children -- especially through the tumultuous teen years -- very clear to your children. But I thought of it this afternoon -- when I almost lost complete control. I realized it was because I had expected to be home in a bubble bath at 5 p.m. today. Instead I was standing in line at Walgreen's to have them tell me that they are completely out of the medicine needed for my ailing husband, and a Walgreen's half-way to Zimbabwe could have it for me somewhere after my expected bath time.

That one is a keeper: All negative emotion stems from unfulfilled expectations. Indeed.



"Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person's character lies in their own hands." Anne Frank

In relaying this quote to another person, I could remember that it was a well-known female, so I attributed it to Helen Keller. But it's Anne Frank. A child that didn't live to see her 16th birthday. Can you imagine a 15 year old today saying that the final forming of a person's character lies in their own hands? I wish I had known Anne Frank. (I played her mother in a play -- definitely not the same).

We had a wonderful class at church yesterday -- this semester class is about building strong families, with guest speakers each week. Yesterday was about 'raising girls'. I don't know the parents, but I know two of the adult daughters -- and if I can sit at the feet of the parents that raised those two, I'm taking notes. The main thing I walked away with was (again) my favorite word: Intentionality.

They encouraged us to envision where we wanted our children to be by the time we kicked them out of the nest, and take steps to get them there. Have a plan. It seems so simple. It seems like so much of a better way to parent than waiting for a crisis and then reacting. It also sounds like work. It sounds like making parenting your job. Now there's an idea.

Too tired to say much more. The biggest problem for me is envisioning where I want my children to be. I'm not much of a visionary. I have hopes and dreams for my kids -- but specifics? That's tough for me. So that is my current prayer.


Calendar Fun

Tomorrow is the birthday of one of my little friends. She's turning 10, but I so vividly remember when she was in kindergarten. I asked her when her birthday was and then realized I had totally stumped her. She thought for a long while and finally said, "Ummmmmmmmm, it's Febwoo-ehwe thuhty-thud." Yes, that's February 33rd. I had to ask her mom if her birthday was February 3rd or March 5th! :-)

Thursday afternoon one of my guys asked me if he could help me update the date listed on the white board: "Can I erase the thirty-oneth and make it the thirty-twoth?" I was too tired to correct any of that sentence, so I just said, "No, thank you."
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