I Write....for She Speaks (Scholarship)

When I started blogging in 2007, I don't think I truly thought I would still be clicking away at my keyboard in 2011.

In the beginning, I needed an outlet for my hurting heart.  Losing my daughter, Adrienne, in 1992 had taken me on a painful journey through grief, and now I was walking a new kind of painful road as my son Nick was in the middle of a tough fight with cancer. 

adriennes tombstone  

Writing out my fears, my doubts, and my prayers strengthened me and reminded me that I was not alone.

As time passed and Nick's cancer spread, my blog became a place for desperate prayer requests, a place for deep soul-searching, and a place where I could somehow feel surrounded not only by a cloud of witnesses but also by a worldwide group of prayer warriors.

I remember when we received the dreaded words from the doctor that there was "nothing more they could do" for our precious son,  Lysa TerKeurst asked her blog readers to stop by my blog and encourage me.  I'll never forget how loved I felt when over 100 comments appeared after one of my blog posts.  God used bloggers to strengthen me for the months ahead.

In November of 2008, when God chose to take Nick home, my blog suddenly became an outlet for my grief.  I never dreamed when I began blogging that God would use this site as a place of healing for my aching soul.  I also never dreamed that I would meet so many other hurting moms along the way, forming friendships that have grown and blossomed over the past two and a half years.nicks tombstonenicks tombstone back

As I type this post, the nightly news is on at our house.  A father is being interviewed about his daughter's murder which happened 8 years ago.  Tears fill his eyes and occasionally he stops to cry as he talks about the death of his young girl.  I am painfully reminded that grief touches all of us eventually, and because of this, I keep writing.

I know that even in grief there is hope.......

Verses like I Thessalonians 4:13-14 promise me that our good-byes are not forever.

Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.  For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.

Believing that Adrienne and Nick are in the presence of God keeps me going.  Believing that when this life ends I will be reunited with them, keeps me smiling!

I read Psalm 126:5-6 and my heart is filled with such joy!

Those who sow with tears
   will reap with songs of joy. 
Those who go out weeping,
   carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
   carrying sheaves with them.

Until the Lord calls me Home, I am committed to sowing a harvest for the Lord through my tears.  I remember asking my husband one time, "Why does our life have to be so full of sadness?"  He reminded me that Jeremiah was referred to as "The Weeping Prophet."  God used Jeremiah's tears, and I know that He longs to use mine and yours.

One day, our hurting hearts will overflow with songs of joy!  That day may not come until the day we see our Lord and Savior, but until then, I will share My Heart and His Words so that others can learn more about the hope, peace, and joy that come from knowing Jesus as their personal Savior.


Visit Ann Voscamp's blog to read about the She Speaks Scholarship opportunity in case you want to enter!

Visit Proverbs 31 Ministries to find out how to register for this summer's She Speaks event!

Two Must-Read Books and 10 Give-Aways!

I remember hearing Sheila Walsh speak at Women of Faith several years ago. Her gentle voice and adorable accent captivated the audience.  As she shared about her journey through depression, I was inspired at a time in my life when feeling "blue" seemed to be more common than any other emotion I experienced.

Turning the pages of Sheila's newest book, The Shelter of God's Promises, I felt as if I had been taken back in time to that conference where I heard her speak.  The words jumped off the pages into my heart with the same depth of emotion I had experienced when listening to her speak.

shelter of Gods promises

As she ventured through God's promises regarding provision, peace, confidence, love, grace, hope, and strength, and Heaven, I found myself being overcome with a sense of joy. 

As a grieving mom, I was especially thankful when Sheila faced the tough reality that even within God's promises, faithfulness, and love, we will eventually run up against difficult seasons that leave us with many unanswered questions.  I loved how Sheila shared personal stories from her own life so that the reader could become more acquainted with her on a more intimate level.

On top of bringing us a great book, Sheila has added study questions at the end of the book so that the concepts within her writing can be used as a Bible study! If you're looking for something new for a small group study or Sunday school, check out The Shelter of God's Promises!

Another great book that I am just now digging into and plan to finish in the next few weeks is Regret-Free Parenting, written by Catherine Hicken, a licensed psychotherapist and mother of two adult chlidren.

regret free parenting

Whether you are a new parent or the parent of grown children, I believe you will gain deep insights into being all that God longs for you to be in your role as a mom or dad as you uncover the wealth of information held in this book.

These chapter headings show you how much Regret-Free Parenting has to offer you as a mom or dad:

Why Well-Meaning Moms Raise Insecure Kids

Why Good Kids Don't Feel Good

You Can Live Peacefully in the Teenage Years

Become a Thinking Mom

Respect is Necessary:  Happiness is Not

The Difference Between Control and Intention

God's Sense of Humor Begins with Contractions

I plan to highlight every chapter as I read!  I still have so much to learn about being the mom God wants me to be.  Thankfully, Catherine incorporates Scripture references throughout the book, reminding me that the best parental advice I can receive comes from above.

I love this quote from her writing, and I hope it will give you a peek into the wisdom Catherine Hickem has gained in her three decades of professional counseling,

"The intentional mom parents from a fullness instead of an emptiness and maintains a laser focus on the well-being of her children, knowing that each stage brings unique opportunities to develop and unfold."

I am excited to announce that I have been given the opportunity to provide  five copies of each of these books as give-away prizes from my blog to you!!!!!!!!!!!  If you would like to be entered in a drawing for one or both of the books, please post your email address below under "precious comments."  If you are only interested in one of the books, please let me know so that I only place in your name in that particular drawing. ;) 

The drawing will be on Sunday evening!

God bless each of you as you strive to live for Him!

Opening My Heart........

We started a new book in class yesterday. A book in which there is mystery, humor, and loss. Pre-reading discussion always helps kids get excited about a book, so I started in my normal way.

We discussed the author, the book cover, the title......

We made predictions.......

And then I asked a few questions to help them feel connected to the main character.

"Have you ever been on a long road trip in a car?" I asked. Hands shot up all through the room. Oh, the stories I heard about kids going as far as Florida and as close as Huntington! These kids crack me up. I shared my memories of riding in the back seat of our family's car back and forth to Oklahoma as a little girl and how my sister and I were always sure the other person had more room...we would draw an imaginary line to make sure the boundary was not crossed by even a toe!

Then I asked, "Have you ever had a friend or relative move far away or pass away leaving you feeling very sad?"tear

Faces changed, but hands went up in the air again.

"My papaw, my uncle, my aunt, my mom".......and the list went on and on........so I shared too.

I shared briefly, but I shared enough to let them know that I was a grieving mom. Most of them didn't know. I told them that there might be times that I wouldn't be able to read. I told them there might be times when they wouldn't want to read. I want them to feel safe in my room.

Safe with their tears and safe with not wanting to have tears.

grief hands

I know my kids on a different level now. We've laughed deeply and we've shared sad memories deeply.

Opening my heart was risky, but I am glad I did. It would have been hard to read with the students about sad things knowing that they did not know I was still sad deep in my heart.

If you have sadness in your life, please open your heart to someone. It is freeing just to say, "I am still sad."

I am.

. . . weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning" (Psalm 30:5).

(Thank you, Susan, for sharing this verse with me today.)

Trying to live in joy even as the tears fall this morning,

Why I Teach..........

I'm reading a book right now called, "Igniting a Passion for Reading."  I'd love to work in the same school as the man who penned this amazing guide for teachers. 

He inspired me to teach this last nine weeks of reading in a whole new way, allowing my students to devour books as gifts not simply as another way to answer questions on a test.

I long for all students to have a quiet place where they can become part of the book they are reading-travel to different lands, become people they may never have the chance to be.

I want this for my own children.

I hope you will find a few minutes today to curl up with a good book.. 

Here's my transformed classroom.    My happiest moments at school are when I catch a glimpse of a student smiling as they read a book. :)

Happy Reading,

In Memory..........

candle in hand

Tonight another family said goodbye to a precious daughter, wife, friend, teacher, and so much more.

Laura Parsons went Home this evening.

Prayers for a miracle were answered in a way we will not understand until the other side of this life.

Truly, Laura won.  Our community lost.

Tonight, I am praying for all of those who are left with hurting hearts and empty arms.

Psalm 56:

Record my lament; list my tears on your scroll--are they not in your record?

I Cor. 15:45

When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory.

Psalm 116:15

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.


May her light shine through all of us as we strive to live for Him until the day we are all reunited,

King and Queen........

Sixteen years ago, Tiffany and I were both expecting new little babies.  Kathryn arrived in December of 1994 and Nick joined this world in May of 1995.  Our kids grew up playing together and being in the same classroom for their entire school career from preschool to fifth grade!

They were even chosen to play the parts of Mary and Joseph in the Christmas play at church when they were about six years old........precious memories fill my heart as I think of Kathryn, the bubbly social butterfly, and Nick, the contemplative listener, who we just knew would be the perfect husband for her some day.....decaf coffee I'm laughing now as I realize that I am not even sure why Tim photographed Tiffany and me holding a can of coffee....maybe because we both love to enjoy a cup together, no matter what the brand or the occasion. (This was just the first picture I could find of us together...we are usually covered in paint or some other kind of messy project supply.)

Tiffany walked a tough road with her marriage at the same time I was walking a tough road with Nick's cancer, and we are constantly amazed at the similarities in our grief, our heartache, our agony, our pain.......

We both have over two years of pain behind us now, and thankfully, God has taught us a lot about faith, hope, and trust even when life doesn't make sense.

Saturday, I had the privilege of watching Kathryn compete in the Miss Grayson Outstanding Teen pageant where she chose Basket of Hope as her platform.  In her interview, she shared about what Nick meant to her and how she wants to help others who are fighting cancer.

I screamed when they announced the winner of the 2011 Miss Grayson Pageant!

Number 8!!

Miss Kathryn Wilhoit!  Isn't she beautiful!!!?!!?

She's like a daughter to me, and I don't think I could possibly be prouder!

032611047 As I thought about the whole day's experience, I realized this:

While Kathryn is now a queen, Nick is in the presence of the King of Kings!!

They are both winners, and for that reason alone, I smile with every part of my heart and soul!

I'll let you know how she does in June in the Miss Kentucky Outstanding Teen Pageant!!

I Peter 2:9

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

And the winner is!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I love having the opportunity to share books with all of you, but I am always sad to have to announce only one winner.  I wish I could mail copies to all of you who entered the drawing!

This week's drawing for the book, How to Really Love Your Adult Child, goes to Renee Stewart!  Congratulations!

To everyone else, please stop back by for some periodic thoughts from my reading of this book as well as for the chance to enter another drawing!  I will be having another give-away very soon for two other newly-published books!

Renee, email me at tammynischan@yahoo.com and I will get the book to you ASAP!

I'll write more tomorrow!

Much love and prayers to all of you,

Give-Away Reminder and Happy Friday!
If you would like to be entered for the Sunday drawing for Dr. James' Dobson's newest book, How to Really Love Your Adult Children, please post your name and email address in the comment section of this blog post. I will include your names with the ones who posted on March 19th!

I will be reviewing this book next week and look forward to sharing what I learn!!!

Today is a wild day at school!

Puppet shows all morning and a reward day in the afternoon. The University of Kentucky plays tonight at 9:45, so you can't walk far in the halls without being reminded.........our principal declared today "Blue Day," so most people are wearing UK shirts. Wouldn't it be neat if the world could get this excited about sharing their love for Jesus with everyone around them!?!? You can feel the UK energy everywhere you go. :)

I've been pre-reading Renee Swope's book, A Confident Heart, and I love her insights into overcoming shadows of doubt that the devil casts over us. I will let you know when the book is released, because I think it is something all of you will enjoy!

I'm speaking in a few weeks on the topic of "waiting on God." I'm continually amazed at how God opens my eyes daily to ways that he strengthens us when we truly give our lives to Him and simply "wait."

You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Psalm 16:11
I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”
The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the LORD.
Lam. 3:24-26
Praying for you all as you wait on Him,

When Wednesday runs into Thursday......................

I do a lot of running these days.

Running to school, running back home, running to golf practice, running to church, running to the store, running around the house picking up dirty laundry, running to the doctor with sick kids............

Sometimes I envision myself as an ant running back and forth on her ant hill. I wonder what I'm really accomplishing that is going to last longer than the sandy mound on which I'm climbing. We all know that ant hills can accidentally be wiped off the earth by the unknowing swipe of a shoe. So where am I running that endures more than an accident?

When I run to Jesus, I find a moment of peace.

When I run to His Word, I find purpose and passion.

That's the only running that truly stands the test of time.

For me, my "Walk with Him Wednesday" ran right into Thursday (IMAGINE THAT!).

If I stop running long enough to acknowledge that life without Him.........without running to Him........ is pointless, I suddenly feel better.

Something inside of me calms enough to allow me to close my eyes and simply say, "I love you, Jesus."

I hope that on this Thursday you will find to walk with Him rather than run everywhere else............................

Close your eyes and know you are His,

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.


I am thankful today for a Savior who never changes. No unexpected alterations in His plans. No surprise twists in how we get to Heaven. No last-minute challenge to make sure we really earned our salvation.


Jesus is the same today as He was the day He walked in the Garden of Gethsemane. He is the same as the day He gathered small children around Him and called them, "Blessed." He is the same as the day He hung on the cross for our sins.

And the best news is this:

He'll be the same tomorrow!

We don't have to wonder, doubt, question, worry, or stress about who holds our future in their hands. He does. And He is more stable than the most solid foundation we can imagine. He is our Rock, our Higher Ground, our All in All, our Everything................Provider, Redeemer, Comforter, Protector, Counselor, and Friend.

I'm tired today. The fire department was at our house at 11 last night because a repair on our hot water heater had left some type of gas leak which did not smell safe for sleeping. I'm feeling a little queasy today and the thought of being "up" for a day full of teaching is not sounding too attractive.

But I'm leaning on Him who promises to give me strength when I am weak.

I am so thankful that even though my energy level changes, my moods change, and my passions change, I serve a Lord who NEVER CHANGES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Leaning on Him today as always,

Monday on Wednesday..............................
If you interviewed any of my relatives you would discover that I am not a great card sender, I am not a great deliverer of school pictures, I am generally filled with more "I'm sorrys" than "Be sure to check your mail!".............................

Life seems to burst with "things to do," keeping me from the "things I want to do," so today as I realize that it is Wednesday and I have once again forgotten to share blessings on Monday I thought of the old saying,

"Better late than never!"

As I reflect on reasons I am thankful as I sit at my desk during a short little break, I want to say,

"Thank you, Lord, for...............

birds chirping outside my classroom window,

the breeze blowing through my room rustling papers and reminding me that your Spirit moves even here,

teachers talking in the hall, laughing and sharing life,

pictures on my computer of my children................all busy with their own lives today yet covered in Your love,

my Jesus Calling book right beside my left hand-my own only way to start the day,

my sweet student who just leaned in to see if I remembered to buy a fan-of course I forgot-so now I am thankful for mercy and for tomorrow!!!

all of you who stop by to read and how your presence in my life brings a fullness I couldn't live without!

a Savior who promises that no matter what today holds He is there to hold it with me!"

Yes, it's Wednesday, but I am just as thankful as I was on Monday, and I had to take a minute to share!

The Well That Never Runs Dry.................

Isaiah 12:2-3

Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.” With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
Praying you can find joy today as you draw water from the well of salvation!!!

Nick and Adrienne's Special Place.....

Nick's tombstone was placed in the cemetery about a week and a half ago.  Today the sun was shining, and I decided it was time to go visit and take pictures.  So after school, I took a walk.  I need to get new flowers for Adrienne's vase.  I didn't realize how faded the flowers had gotten since winter, so I threw them away. I'll take another picture after I add spring flowers. :)

As much as my heart aches as I stand and view these two stones, I do find peace in knowing that Nick and Adrienne's eternities are secure.  Because of this, I can still smile.  Erich, Evan, Todd, and Olivia have a lot of this evil world to deal with before they face the throne of God.....it is for them that I pray daily. 

Before I went to bed, I wanted to share Nick and Adrienne's special place with you.  I hope you like it.032111012



032111019    These are the words that friends and family shared about Nick on Facebook, in emails, and through my blog.

  Thank you for helping make Nick's tombstone perfect!  032111020 



Thankful for my two gifts in Heaven and anxious for the day when they greet me at the golden gates!

Don't forget to post a comment under the Saturday, March 19th, post if you would like to be entered in the drawing for Dr. Gary Chapman's book How to Really Love Your Adult Child.

Please enter by this Saturday evening (March 26th) at midnight to be entered. The winner will be announced on Sunday, March 27th!

Monday's Prayer.........................
The Lord gives his people strength.
The Lord blesses them with peace.
Psalm 29:11

Praying you will feel His strength and peace today as you venture into another Monday.

Know that I lift you, my blogging friends, up in prayer daily and I love you all so much. Praying especially for those in Libya and Japan this morning. I love that we serve a God who is not overwhelmed by the needs of this world.

Thankful to share life with all of you,

A Scholarship Opportunity......

she speaks

If you ever listen to the Christian radio station, KLove, you've probably heard the sweet voice of Renee Swope sharing a P31 devotional thought from time to time.  I always smile when I hear her speaking because I know that she is as genuine in real life as she is on the air.  Renee loves God passionately.

I had the blessing of getting to know Renee personally when I attended my first She Speaks conference several years ago.

I'll never forget one summer evening last year when my phone rang and it was Renee wanting to ask for permission to share Nick's story while speaking at a family conference in Texas.  As we talked, I knew that our family's story was safe in her hands. 

This year I am hoping to attend the She Speaks Conference again, but I am not sure if this is a wise year to make such a financial decision.  After  Erich's wedding, Evan's college graduation, and Todd's high school graduation, I feel a little guilty stepping out with this type of an expense.  So when I heard that Renee was offering a scholarship through her blog, I decided to enter.  If God wants me at the conference this year, I truly believe He will open the door...and then I will know that this is His will and not just mine! 

As part of the scholarship entry process I am sharing about She Speaks on my blog and praying that by doing so some of you will decide to visit www.proverbs31.org and learn more about their amazing ministry.

You can also visit Renee at www.reneeswope.com.  I know that you will love her as much as I do!  She will be releasing her book A Confident Heart at the conference this summer!  I was humbled to be asked to pre-read her book and participate in a prayer/journaling group over the next two months, and I can already tell you that you will love the book and you will be blessed by it!

Don't forget to leave a comment on the blog post below this one in order to be entered in the drawing for Dr. Ross Campbell and Dr. Gary Chapman's new book How to Really Love Your Adult Child.  I will announce the winner next Sunday, March 27th!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Have a wonderful Sunday!

Passion..And A GIVE-AWAY!

Do you ever feel such deep passion about so many different things that you struggle to find a balance with your time and energy????

I'm definitely in one of those "passion struggling" phases of life.

When I walk through the doors of the school where I teach, I do my best to pour my passion into my teaching.  Every other Thursday morning we have our Fellowship of Christian Athletes club meeting at 7:30 a.m., and this week the coach of the West Carter High School Football team gave the devotion.  Guess what he spoke about?


He kept the students totally engaged as he encouraged them to live every part of their life with great passion!  This is me with Coach Brown and Mr. Becker (he teaches science just a few doors down from my classroom and helps me lead the FCA meetings).

One passionate person can spread passion throughout a room!  Coach Brown did just that on Thursday morning! 

Thank you, Coach Brown!

Tonight, I find myself thinking about a different kind of passion as I think of our son Evan who is sleeping in Denver, Colorado.  He is awaiting Morehead State University's second game in March Madness tomorrow!  Can you see him in the picture below that was shown on television Thursday afternoon?more of march 025

I'm zooming in below, so you can get a good look! more of march 025 We couldn't believe it when we saw him shirtless and painted blue and gold in the crowd!!  MSU offered a great deal to students who wanted to travel out on chartered buses for the exciting week, and Evan decided to jump in and make a memory since it's his senior year!   When MSU's three-pointer swished the net with just seconds to go and sealed their victory by one point, I am sure the passion of the crowd was evident to everyone in the stadium! 

When passion is shared among a large group of people,

it is almost impossible to hide.

My students have been struggling with remembering how to change liquid measurements into different forms, so I found this great idea online and we made it today!

Mr. Gallon has already increased the passion for math in my students.  Today, they were actually excited to face challenging questions such as, "How many cups are in six quarts?"  I told my students that our new classmate is such a great student!  He is always smiling, he is very helpful, and he is very quiet!  There was not one student today who did not enjoy meeting Mr. Gallon!  Sometimes passion can be ignited by introducing people to something or someone new! My weeks are so full these days, that I find it difficult to balance what I HAVE to do with what I WANT to do.

Yesterday, I came home to find that my two copies of "How To Really Love Your Adult Child," had arrived in the mail.  I am so excited to read this book and share about it with you!!!  I have a copy to share with one of you, so please post your name and email address as a comment below by clicking on "precious comments" if you would like to be entered in the drawing! 031911028  When I look back on my years of raising my kids, I have a lot of wonderful memories.  But I also have a lot of regrets.  Just tonight, I had fallen to sleep on the couch only to be awaken to the sound of Olivia knocking a glass off of the counter in our bathroom causing it to shatter all over our tile floor.  I'd love to say that I faced this ordeal with a huge grin, but sadly, I found myself a bit irritated and snippy as I tried to figure out the best way to clean up both slivers of glass and puddles of water mixed together all over the floor.

I apologized to Olivia for not being the mom I wanted to be in that moment, but in my heart I knew that only my future actions will show the truth of my words. Parenting is a 24/7 event which allows for many opportunities to be successful as well as many opportunities to fail.  My goal is to succeed more often than fail......I am still trying to reach that goal.

So, as I venture into reading this new book on parenting, I am praying that I can learn to be a better mom even now as our older children have entered their adult phase of life.   Every day I am reminded in some big or small way that I still have such a long ways to go in becoming the mom God wants me to be.

And of all my passions on this planet, motherhood rates near the very top!

As I have typed this last section, though, my heart and mind have continually been pulled to thoughts of my dear friend Janet who lost her only child, Zach, about four years ago.  While agreeing to review this parenting book for Northfield Publishing was something I felt was important to do, I also feel very strongly that I need to speak personally to my readers who have lost their only child.

The next few paragraphs are written for you.

When I think of Nick and Adrienne and how much I miss them, I always think of you because I know that your loss took everything you loved away from your arms.  The depth of your pain can only be understood by someone who walks the exact same road as you, so I would never try to say "I know how you feel" just because I am also on the road of grief.

I do not know how you feel.

However,  I do know this: 

God knows how you feel.  He knows your heartache.  And I believe He hurts with you.  I also believe that your reward in Heaven and the joy you experience there will surpass the rewards and joy of all others......God promises that those who sow in tears will reap songs of joy, and I want you to know that I believe your singing will be more joy-filled than any singing we could ever imagine!  So as I venture every once in a while into this book on parenting adult children and share about it on my blog, please know this:

You are always foremost on my heart and mind as I write.  And I say these next words only because I say  something very similar to myself as I think of my own two precious deposits in Heaven, "Your life is now about concentrating on living a life that leads to Heaven."  I am praying for you as you strive to do just that, and I am so proud of you for remaining faithful to Him even through your pain.   God still needs you to share His love with so many who are hurting.  I am praying that He will lead you to those who need the passionate love stored up inside of you. 

In closing this blog post on passion, I humbly ask for prayer as I sort out the many different passions in my life.

Being a Christian wife, friend, daughter, mother

Teaching at church and school


Speaking to women

Nick's Foundation

And the list seems to go on and on.........

I have a deep desire to live out my dream of

Helping the Hurting Pursue Passionate Purpose in their Pain

II Corinthians 1:3-5

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.  For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.

I'm still waiting for God to make clear what this looks like.

Until then, I will live with great passion in my home and in my career.

Praying for you as you live a life of passion too!

Oh, don't forget to enter for the give-away!

I love you all so much!

Psalm 84:12
LORD Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you.
Life always perfect?
Life free of stress?
Life uncomplicated?



Thank you, Lord, for filling each day with Your unfailing love. No matter what I face, I know I am facing it with You.

That knowledge alone blesses me continually.

If You are for me, who can be against me?

I'm choosing to close my eyes and simply breathe Him in.......................

Even if it's just for a minute................

It is enough.

Enough to know that as the world around me spins wildly and often out of control-

there is a peace in the center of every storm

there is a calmness in the middle of every chaotic moment.

Holding on to that promise as I breathe out and step back in to reality.

Praying you will take time to breathe Him in today.

He is enough.

Genesis 2:7
Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
Psalm 46:10
Be still, and know that I am God.

Where it all begins...............

In math we have been graphing coordinate planes.
I made a life-size grid on the floor so that students could actually walk to the ordered pair they were given and be the "point" on the plane.
Each time a new student would come up for their turn, I would say go to the origin (0,0) and start from there.
As I watched the kids graph point after point, it struck me that EVERYTHING in this world can remind us of God.
Even when we are doing something as simple as graphing ordered pairs, we have an origin!
If you don't start at the origin, it is easy to get confused.
If you are feeling confused today, I beg you to go to the origin of everything.
IN THE BEGINNING, GOD......................... (Genesis 1:1)

And then all the way over in John we find out that Jesus was there too............
John 1:1-3
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
John 1:14
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
I love that God can use a basic lesson on coordinate planes to remind me that nothing in life makes sense unless we start at the origin.
That's where I want to start today.
In the beginning.....................

How Quickly Life Changes................
Nineteen years ago today I heard the words, "It's a girl!" and life changed forever!

Pink dresses, white bonnets, and tiny black leather shoes entered a house filled with Hot Wheels and Mr. Potato Heads.

I remember kissing Adrienne's cheeks all the time, soaking her up, thankful.

And then, without warning, she was gone-and life changed forever again.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, while researched for years, has never truly been understood.

Neither has the question to why innocent children have to suffer.

As I think about the horror of that morning when Tim found our 6 week old baby girl not breathing in her crib, I try to pull myself above the walls of our home and see the scene from God's eyes.

Tim frantically trying to wake Adrienne up.
Me running to the phone for help.
Neighbors coming out of their homes as they heard our screams.

What did God feel as He watched all of this unfold?

I ask myself that same question when I replay videos of the tsunami overtaking Japan.

The horror of the waves crashing over people and homes. The screams of people watching.

Sometimes I shutter at the thought of a God who watches all of this and does not intervene. I understand the depth of questioning that comes from those who struggle to believe.

And then I remember.

I remember that God does not see this place as our home. He sees it as a road leading Home. Adrienne's road was short and very, very sweet. If we could see the other side of life, the spiritual side, I think we would smile at the thought of Adrienne being lifted by angels to enter a place with golden streets. If we could see the spiritual side of the tsunami, I think we might even smile as we witnessed hundreds of souls being lifted to Heaven.

The somber truth is this:

Life is but a vapor for all of us.

How we move from this world to the next is uncertain.

When we move from this world to the next is uncertain.

Where we go when we move from this world to the next is up to us.

Eventually, though, each of us will stand before the Creator of the Universe and give an account of our life.

Today, I think of Adrienne celebrating almost 19 years of eternity with God and somehow I smile on her birthday. Thank you, Lord, for the assurance of a life beyond this one.

Today, I think of the victims of the tsunami and pray that God is working in powerful ways to bring people closer to Him through their pain.

Today, I think of all of you and I pray that you are ready...............................

Life on this planet is temporary and brief.

Eternity, on the other hand, lasts forever.

Knowing how quickly earthly life changes, I ask myself this question, "On which life will I focus today?"

Psalm 39:4-5
Show me, O LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man’s life is but a breath.
I Cor. 15:54
When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory."

As Your Week Begins......

I Peter 5:7

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.

Isaiah 41:10

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous arm.

Monday mornings seem so much easier when I focus on verses like the ones above.

Thankful that God knew life would be filled with Monday mornings and had an answer for the anxiety that often comes with another week of work.

As I leave for school, I'm casting everything on Him and trusting in His righteous arm to uphold me.

Praying for you as you do the same,

Spiritual Warning Sirens....Do We Hear Them?

Tragedy has struck Japan. Hawaii has been issued a warning. Sirens are blaring.
As we pray for all of these people affected by today's catastrophe, I feel compelled to ask that we pray for the souls of people all over the world.
Because I wonder how seriously most people take the warnings and truths below?

"And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all the nations, and then the end shall come."
(NAS, Matthew 24:14)

"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come."
(NIV, Mark 13:32-33)

So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
(NIV, Matthew 24:43-44)

"Don't be troubled. You trust God, now trust in me. There are many rooms in my Father's home, and I am going to prepare a place for you. If this were not so, I would tell you plainly. When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am."
(NLT, John 14:1-4)
Praying you are ready for His unexpected but very certain return,

He's more than enough for today.....

Isaiah 40:27-31

Why do you complain, Jacob?
   Why do you say, Israel,
"My way is hidden from the LORD;
   my cause is disregarded by my God"?

Do you not know?
   Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
   the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
   and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
   and increases the power of the weak. 
Even youths grow tired and weary,
   and young men stumble and fall; 
but those who hope in the LORD
   will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
   they will run and not grow weary,
   they will walk and not be faint.




Today is my annual observation by my principal.  She'll sit and watch me teach checking off a list of expectations:

Lesson plan matches Kentucky Standards

Combined Curriculum Document highlighted and dated

Begin lesson with "I Can" statements

"I Can" statements posted for students to read

Use of technology

Use of differentiation

Student participation

And the list goes on and on

As I prepared for today, I couldn't help but think of how different it is to be observed by God.

Many people see God as a harsh judge waiting for us to slip up and miss the mark.

But listen to what Jesus said when one of those who wanted to test him asked him a question about what He expected from us.

Matthew 22:35-40

One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question:  "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?"

 Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

Now my principal is far from a harsh judge, but I am sure I'll have areas of teaching that show "needs growth."  In this world, I will always fall  short of life's expectations.

But I find great freedom in my relationship with Jesus!

He asks me to love God with all my heart and soul and love my neighbor as myself.

I can do this! 

Praying you find freedom in His expectations today too!


How many years do you have left????

retirement key

At school it's not unusual to hear teachers talking about how many years until they can retire.  It seems that no matter what school you work in the conversations are the same.

Fatigue comes quickly working with kids all day long.

I'm one of those teachers that started late.

I stayed at home for over 15 years raising our kids and babysitting friend's children.  Then I got the itch to step out and finish my degree and start a different kind of career.

So, when someone is talking about how many more years they have left in teaching I have a choice of either laughing or crying when I realize that in order for me to retire from teaching I would have to work until I was probably 80.

In order to keep a smile on my face, this is what I have to do.  I teach for a different kind of retirement..

An eternal one.

I may last five years in a classroom.  I may last less or more.  I don't know how many years I truly have left.

But I do know this:

I want to spend eternity in Heaven!

So, I teach like I think Jesus would teach.  I teach with my heart.  Yes, it's exhausting but I'd say hanging on a cross was a lot more painful than doing a lesson plan or dealing with a difficult middle-schooler.

And if I reach a point where I can't teach with my heart, I'm done.

I'm walking out with a smile and getting a job somewhere else, because if I can't treat children the way I want my children treated than I don't deserve to have my name hanging over my door.

I work with a wonderful group of teachers who teach for the same reason I do.  Some of them have been doing this for a long, long time and they deserve to be talking about how many years they have left in teaching.

Eight years of teaching hardly qualifies me for retirement conversations.

So I'll stick with my "forever retirement" plans and keep smiling.


Because I don't know how many years I might have left on this earth and that's what my heart is set on........

Colossians 3:1-3

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.

Looking up,

Where Stress Meets Reality....

Last week was full of emotional "stuff" at our house. Balancing my heart issues with real-world work stress did not come easily. Thursday I knew that the only way I was going to survive the next three weeks of intense math classes was to bring home a stack of textbooks, notebooks, and test results and come up with a plan.030611001 030611002 030611003 030611004 030611005 030611006 030611007 I wouldn't be telling the truth if I said the night was totally enjoyable. I found myself in tears by about 9:30 p.m. as I struggled to pull together exactly what I felt my students were lacking and match that with the right teaching materials.030611009

I ordered this book while I was home recovering from surgery, and I've just started reading it.......I'm loving what I'm learning! 030611010 Here's another book I ordered.

In this book I learned a few great questions to ask kids.

When was the last time you saw math? (a window pane might visualize three times two)
When was the last time you ate math? (maybe estimating the amount of cereal in their bowl and or how much milk they used)

When was the last time you heard math? (on the news in statistics, on the weather channel with temperatures rising or dropping)

The more I dive into math, the more I realize that life truly is all about math........

I remember being a math student.

I remember looking into my teacher's eyes and thinking, "When will I ever use this?"

I remember feeling so excited when I solved a tough problem and so frustrated when I couldn't figure something out.

I remember having my dad help me with math problems and watching him turn everything into an algebraic expression....At the time I think this made me feel more confused but the truth was this: My dad knew that in order to solve any problem you had to find an unknown variable.

Isn't life like a huge math problem?

God set our world in motion in 6 days. He rested on 1. That gives us a week of 7 days.

Book after book of the Bible is filled with numbers...there's even a book called Numbers.

But more than all the ages listed in the Bible, measurements given in the Bible, and events marked by definite lengths of time in the Bible, I think a very important part of the story is the part that could be written as an "x."

The "x" represents the "unknown variable" in life.

While we face an unknown future, I believe the true "variable" in all of life is us.

We change our life equation by the choices we make and the roads we choose to walk down.

God is the Constant. He never changes.

Events in our life may be marked by different hours, days, and years.

And all kinds of outside factors will affect us as we travel through our life journey.

But the real question is:

When we place God in our formula combined with all of these changing factors, what will be the product?

In other words, how will we turn out?

Who are we? Really?

It's really up to us.

Take God out of our equation, and I do know this.

We are left with only things that change. No certainties. No guarantees.

As I have plowed through a very stressful week in my life, a lot of things have happened that I cannot control.

I am so thankful that my stress always meets my reality.

The reality that I have a Constant in my life.


Math books come and go.

State standards change.

Life is filled with so many events that do not make sense at all.

If you are on a search for what does makes sense, I'd love to introduce you to the One who has the answers.

No need for a calculator to solve this problem.

Just open your Bible and ask God to speak through His Words.

He longs to show you all the answers!

Psalm 48:14
For this is God, our God forever and ever; He will be our guide even to death.

Psalm 73:24
You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.

Psalm 119:105
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

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