Thursday, September 29, 2016

New Home

My husband has been searching for a new place where he can be a pulpit minister.  Yesterday our search finally ended.  Now the serious packing must begin.  The home school must continue though for now it is a reduced day.  I could not sleep in the early morning yesterday so I worked again on just what curriculum to use and reworked our schedule.  I have found some wonderful blogs to help with getting our home school process going.  I am daily thankful to have my daughter at home and to teach her.  I will admit that at this time I am very thankful to not have the stress of getting her to school each day, dealing with homework at the end of the day, and sack lunches.  We are moving to a small town that is close to a larger city so field trips and exploring will abound.  I have decided on a 4 day teaching schedule and the 5th day will be used for field trips and hands-on learning.  More information on the curriculum we have chosen and the blogs I found most helpful will come later.

I hope to develop this blog and grow with it to find a way to earn some money through blogging.  I plan to change the name so if anyone has an idea I will welcome it.  I also pray that I will learn some skills through working on this blog that I can pass on to my daughter.  In many ways, we will be learning together.  That is one of the beauties of home school.

Blessings for your day as you enjoy the quietness or not-so-quietness of life today.


Saturday, September 24, 2016


 This year we made the decision to begin homeschooling our fifth grade daughter.  The final decision did not come until about 2 weeks before public school started.  Since then I have spent countless hours researching to find the best curriculum to fit our family and her learning style.  I am told to be patient because homeschooling is a learning process and it takes a bit to settle in.  Along with beginning to home school we are also planning a move though we do not yet know where to as yet.  My husband is looking for a position as a pulpit minister with a Church of Christ.  I am also a substitute teacher so there have been days that my husband has taken over the home school duties.  It has been a challenge to keep up and pack too.  I fear I have not done well on most of the tasks.  Still, each day is a new day and I try again to keep up.

One of the challenges I have faced with the home school process is what to teach and what curriculum works best.  I am such a product of public school that for now I am aiming for the more traditional approach much like my daughter would learn in a public classroom.  This idea has proved to be more challenging than I thought in gathering materials to accomplish the goals without spending a lot of money.  As I research, study, read blogs and other home school helps I am slowly coming up with a plan.  So far I have only settled on a science curriculum.  Thankfully the university library nearby has textbooks used by the local school system that can be checked out by homeschooling families.  These textbooks are what we are using as I decide on a program and purchase the necessary materials.  With time maybe I can post my choices for my daughter's school and what schedule works best for us.  I was hoping to plan a 4 day schedule and am still working out the details. 

My prayer is that with time we will be on a regular schedule, learning the things a fifth grader needs to know and experiencing life in a wonderful and special way.

May your day be filled with joy and quiet, peaceful thoughts.


Thursday, July 30, 2015

Are You Bailing Water?

I had the opportunity to attend a Bible class in Clyde, Texas this past Sunday.  The preacher there taught a lesson from Mark 4:35-41 which is the story of Jesus calming the storm.  He made several points which could have made a wonderful class on their own.  I wrote down four focus points.  I wish to discuss one of them in this post.  First I want us to focus on the story starting from the beginning.  Jesus has been teaching the people all day.  He has worked hard trying to lead those who have followed him.  In the book of Mark, this story follows several parables.  Mark tells us that it was evening.  Think of yourself when you have had an especially busy day, especially a day when you were serving others or teaching your children or others and you have given all you have emotionally and physically.  You are tired.  Our Lord was tired.  He got into the boat with the disciples.  As they worked with the boat to get to the other side of the Sea of Galilee he lay down on a pillow in the stern of the boat.  I remember doing this as a small child when my family would go fishing on a lake.  I would always go to sleep while they fished.  The gentle rocking of the boat put him into a deep sleep.  It must have been a deep sleep for a great windstorm came along and began to fill up the boat with water but he slept on.  The disciples must have been working to bail the water out of the boat and yet water continued to pour in.  The text tells us the boat was already filling.  I don't know about you but I am not a great swimmer.  I am slightly terrified (okay, maybe a lot terrified) of ending up in deep water without a life jacket.  I would panic.  I would not gently walk over to Jesus and quietly say, "Um, Jesus, would you wake up and help us get the water out of the boat?"  No, I would be yelling, "Help! Help!  The water is coming in faster than we can keep up.  Grab a bucket.  Help us get the water out before we drown."  I would never consider that Jesus might do anything else.  The disciples question to Jesus was "Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?"  What an interesting question!  Still, they have no idea what Jesus might do next.  Jesus got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, "Peace! Be still!"  The wind ceased and all was calm.  What just happened?!  They probably expected that he would help bail water from the boat.  Instead he calmed the storm.  Wow!

I began to wonder as the preacher talked.  How often do I ask Jesus for help with what I am working on in my life expecting just help doing what I am already doing?  Maybe I am dealing with some anger and I ask Jesus to help me stay calm by making the medicine or food work the way it is supposed to.  Maybe my marriage is struggling and I ask Jesus to make the counselor I have chosen to work things out.  Maybe we need to reach out and teach others but keep reaching out the same way we always have while feeling like we are only bailing water and not getting anywhere.  Meantime, Jesus is with us wanting to do so much more.  He does not want to bail water.  He wants to calm the storm!  I have heard the term "thinking outside of the box."  I bet the disciples never expected Jesus to calm the entire storm.  The text tells us that they were filled with great fear and asked who this man is that even the wind and the sea obey him.

I don't know what you need Jesus to do for you.  Maybe it is time to think outside of the box and realize he has the power to calm the storm if we will only believe and trust that he can.  Maybe it is time to fear God and lean more on His power.  What that is for you I don't know.  Sometimes we will not know until He has taken over.  Will you trust him?  Ask him to calm the storm within not just help bail water.  You may be surprised at His action in your life.  When He does, you can rest beside still water and know that you believe and trust in an all-powerful God and Lord.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Righteousness and guilt

I have been struggling with guilt which then becomes anger and a feeling of hopelessness.  The guilt ranges all over the place of feeling that I don't measure up as a substitute teacher, as a manager of my home, as a faithful Christian leading others to Christ, as a mother, as a financial planner for our home, as a friend, and I could go on.  I wonder how God could forgive me when I fail so often.  I struggle to keep his simple commands to love myself and my neighbor as I should.  I struggle to love him the way he deserves to be loved.  I struggle to read my Bible daily.  So many things get in the way.  Still, this morning as I read my Bible I read a chapter in Galatians.  I was trying a reading program and became frustrated that I was only trying to follow a program.  So I chose to read the letters written by Paul because I felt I needed some instruction from the New Testament.  I really needed this chapter today.  It talked about how we are righteous not because of all that we do right but because of what Christ did for us.  He went to the cross.  I must believe and have faith.  I do not have to be captive to guilt because I put on Christ when I submitted to him in baptism.  I am in Christ.  His grace covers me.  Granted I do not have license to do anything I want but I am not under the law of guilt either.

Along with my Bible reading I read a timely article in the Christian Woman magazine.  It was written by Carol Kelly James titled "My Robe of God's Righteousness".  It fit right in with my reading in Galatians 3.  She pointed out her daily struggles and choose to remind herself that she had put on Christ and was wearing the righteousness of God through Christ Jesus.  She went on to talk about putting on God's righteousness.  What a timely article!  How many of us struggle with trying to be "good enough"?  I do often.  I want to put my hope in God and Christ Jesus and know that I have been granted grace in Christ Jesus.  Want you join me as I walk beside still waters and listen quietly as God restores my soul and covers me with his robe of righteousness?

Father, thank you for your Word.  Thank you for your Son, Jesus.  Thank you for people today who can share encouraging lessons from your Word.  Thank you for covering us with your robe of righteousness.  In Jesus' name.  Amen.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Thoughts concerning Hell and God's love for us.

This week I had the opportunity to teach English literature to a high school class.  The reading for the day was an excerpt from Jonathan Edward's sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God".  First of all I was surprised to see a religious sermon in a public classroom textbook even if it was put there as a fine literary example.  Next it was a challenge to teach such material in a public classroom.  How do I honor the material as I should without becoming "preachy"?  Still, I found some of the writing very interesting and strangely uplifting.  It was a classic "hellfire and brimstone" sermon such as which we try to stay away from these days.  We don't want anyone to think of our God as angry.  Yet if one paid close attention to the sermon there was also great hope and comfort for those who chose to be born again, convert and follow Christ.  He noted that no amount of goodness and right behavior will save us but we must be a part of Christ's body because it is only Christ's blood which saves us.  Wow!  This is what I believe but for some reason this sermon resonated with me that day.  I don't think I take Hell seriously enough and so I don't feel enough of an urgency to tell others of Christ.  I want to help my friends and others outside of Christ to understand His love for us but I wonder if we don't grasp the depth of that love unless we understand the severity of Hell.  God does not want us to spend eternity in Hell even though because of our sin we deserve it.  There is no way we can be good enough in our earthly bodies to stand in the presence of our Holy God.  It is through His great love and mercy that He sent Jesus to live among us and suffer a horrendous death so that we could choose to follow Him and therefore spend eternity in His presence. 

We don't want to picture our God as angry and as a disciplinarian because we are afraid that people will not understand the depth of His love.  Let me ask.  When you see a parent discipline a child because they are about to run into the street or do something that will harm them, do we see that parent as angry and uncaring?  No!  We see that the parent loves that child enough to discipline and correct.  Say the child continues to try running into the street even after being warned.  Will not the parent become "angry" and increase the level of discipline or correction in an effort to turn the child from doing something that can take their life?  Of course they would.  Why then do we become so afraid to suggest that God will do all he can to keep us from Hell (in this analogy the street full of cars that can take our child's life).  Why do we not give warnings about the existence and severity of Hell? 

Jonathan Edward's dipiction of mankind as dangling over Hell as a spider in danger of falling into the firey pit might seem a bit extreme but he comes back to pointing out how Christ comes and rescues us from the firey pit by his grace.  God loves us so much but we cannot understand that love unless we understand the danger we face without Him.  We may think we are good but it is by the grace of God that we are saved from Hell.  Satan wants us there.  God does not.

May you feel the warmth of God wrapping around you today as you look to Him in love.

Sunday, September 29, 2013


Yesterday I was privileged to witness the baptism of a young man who has become a part of the student center we work with.  This was a planned time and he had invited Facebook friends and the entire congregation with whom we worship and other friends of his.  He had chosen 2 pm on Saturday as the time of his new birth into Christ.  I'll admit I was tired and not wanting to get out much but because of how special he has become to us and the student center I was not going to miss such a life-changing time for him.  It was amazing to witness someone who has chosen us to fellowship with and to make the decision to put Christ on in baptism.  He did not grow up in the Churches of Christ as so many who I have seen baptized have done.  His was a conscious choice made from study and research.  As I reflected on the events of the day in the wee hours of the next morning I began to feel uncomfortable with some of the events.  Not the baptism by any means but of the people who were not there.  He had invited those from the community that do not usually attend a Church of Christ to come.  They came.  He had invited a friend who lives in Lubbock.  She came.  Several came from within the congregation - not many but some.  I will refrain from naming or describing those who were not there but their absense has caused me to think about myself and those around me that I worship with.

We, as in those within the Churches of Christ, have become so accustomed to seeing our own children who have grown up within the church be baptized that I fear we have forgotten the excitement and importance of supporting those who choose to follow Christ and put him on in baptism at a later age who did not grow up "in the church".  Why were more people not there when they had been invited?  Granted the Christian walk does not end at baptism, it is a beginning but it is a very important beginning.  Had he been getting married then I am sure more would have come.  He did get married in a way as he became a part of the church that is called the bride of Christ.  I am disappointed at the absense of some but so thankful that I was able to be there.  In the future, I pray that if I am invited to the baptism of someone that I don't know very well that I will join in their joy.  We will be family on that day and I want to be there to witness their new birth as they become my brother or sister in Christ.  I pray we all will.  Let's not miss these opportunities to encourage and bless each other with love especially when invited to witness a new birth.

Thursday, September 26, 2013


I start this post with a thank you to one of my Facebook friends who is also my friend in real life, Rachel McCarty. She shared a blog called "Hands Free Mama" which I read with delight.  I then went to the original site and read more.  What an encouragement!  It led me to consider my own blog.  I started this blog as a way to share devotional thoughts from God's Word which I still will do from time to time.  I did not want to make it very personal or share too many personal stories but after reading the blog mentioned above I plan to change my focus.  I have many joys in my life and do not focus on them enough.  Many of those joys I want to share.  They don't all involve my family.  My husband is a director of a student center for the students attending the university where we live.  There are many joyful times with the students.  I am a substitute teacher and volunteer at my daughter's school when I am not teaching.  I find much to be joyful of there as well.  I also see things that are a concern and wish I could help more.  My hope is as I write that I may encourage women to look at all the joy in their lives even if it is just one little thing that day.  I must go for now as I have an assignment to teach this afternoon.  Watch for more as the days and weeks go by and I pray this blog will be a blessing as we go.  If you wish to read more from the blog that encouraged me you can find it at    Blessings to you today. Susan