Friday, September 19, 2014

I'm Wide Awake

Wide Awake is more than a Katy Perry song...




Awaken to God’s call on your life. He says, “I have something so different for you. Open your eyes to see what I’m doing in your life. Believe.” Do you believe God does have a plan for you? We have the ability to help people to touch lives. Revive them and wake them from their spiritual slumber. Bianca Olthoff
What does it mean to live wide awake?

It is to dream of a better world, a different world.  And dare to do something about it.

I question, I ask myself often. Am I doing enough in my corner of the world? Am I making a difference?

God has been showing me that a God-sized dreamer sees the needs of those around them and sets out to do something to fill that need.  It may not be to be a missionary across the country or starting an organization but it can be within my own family, neighborhood, or city.

Help me to live differently Lord, to love differently. That is my prayer, and the heart behind my own personal blog.  Live and love differently because of Christ.
Life is a work of art. The canvas you paint first is your life. Then your life becomes the brush from which you paint that part of the world you touch while you are here on this planet. You are an artist.  (Wide Awake, Erwin Raphael McManus)
To live, really live, we need to wake up and hold our hands palm up to all that God has for us.

Will you join me over at God-sized Dreams to read the rest? I hope to see you over there!



Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Here's To Mr. C and Teachers Everywhere


*School has started back all over the country and I thought what better way to start the school year than with a guest post from a former teacher, now writer. Please welcome a new writing friend, Hally Franz. I met Hally in our critique writing group. She is a wonderful writer and writes regularly over at her website, Bloom, Bond, Build.

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As I sat down to write this devotion, something happened. It’s the thing that happens more frequently these days. Perhaps it’s due to aging or simply cramming too many things into this taxed brain of mine.

 It was a case of brain freeze, and not the kind one gets when drinking a thirst-quenching, but painful, blue slush.

It’s good we are all back in school! It’s time to get those minds working again. Time for routine and order in our lives. Time for a little time apart. 

As I send my seventh- and eleventh-graders to school, I pray they will have productive and fun years. Then, I thank God for some peace and quiet for my taxed brain.

I recently thought about my sixth-grade teacher. He was a tall, young, black man. In the 1970’s, particularly in our rural community, that was an unlikely description for one of our teachers. The vast majority of elementary teachers were women, and even fewer African-American teachers. I’ll call him “Mr. C.”  

Mr. C. was one of my favorites for a few simple reasons. First, he was cool, but no one messed with him. There were no discipline issues in his class. Of course, there weren’t many discipline issues in any classes at that time. (My second and third are better.)

So, secondly, Mr. C. made it a habit to announce those who had the best test grades. That practice may not be very PC today, but I loved it. I wasn’t always named, but it happened enough to be a motivator. 

Thirdly, there was one day a couple of years later when I passed Mr. C. in the hallway. I had grown taller and thinner since sixth grade, and he paid me a nice compliment. That feels good to a chubby girl.

It’s funny what we remember about our teachers. Sometimes, it’s the smallest, seemingly insignificant things that touch the hearts and minds of students. Veteran educators have learned this.

They know the importance of their words and examples to their students, and they take it seriously. Mr. C. went to his Heavenly home a few years ago, and it made me sad.

I am happy, dare I say gleeful, to have turned my children over to their new teachers. And, while I pray for their year, I will also pray for the teachers. What a blessing they are.   




A former teacher and high school guidance counselor, Hally appreciates the importance of educators in our children’s lives. Now a stay-at-home mom, freelance writer, and part-time church secretary, she and her husband, Tim, have a 13-year-old daughter and a 17-year-old son. Hally is both an adoptive and a biological parent, a 4-H leader, a cheer booster, and an enthusiastic book club member. Visit Hally at her blog: bloombondbuild.com!



Wednesday, August 20, 2014

What I Wish I Would Have Told Him... And Am Now Telling Her

**I wrote the following post last year to my nephew who was 13 at the time. Instead of updating or reposting I thought I would add to it and link to the old one if you'd like to read the rest.

 Because, now, I have a 13 year old daughter. Pray for me?


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What I Wish I Would Have Told Him (first published 9/12)

Job 28:13 "Man does not comprehend it's worth; it cannot be found in the land of the living."
The Devil pulls no punches, when a battle of the mind is taking place,  he arrives early to the ring, he feels out his opponent, and zeroes in on their weakness to make it easier to deliver that final blow.

His lips salivate when he sees self-doubt and insecurities.

He knows he can deliver a punch to the heart that will make you feel unloved.

And the mind, it's next.

He will tell you lies; "No one likes you," "Oh my gosh, why did you say that? Now they think you are stupid!" "You're a LOSER," "It doesn't matter what you say or do, you'll never be good enough."

He's there to win and he will play dirty if that's what it takes to destroy you.

All he has to do is make you believe, believe just one, and he knows you're his. You will fall because he will beat you with his lies.

"Does anyone love me? Because everything i post gets no attention but everyone else's get lots of likes and comments."
This is was my 13 yr old nephew's status update on Facebook last week.

And I cried, y'all! Maybe I was just having an overly emotional day, but I sat there speechless staring at the screen with my heart in my throat, thinking how in the world could this child wonder if he's loved based on Facebook likes?


How at 13, and how at 33 can we buy into this lie? That we need others approval in order to feel worthy or seen?

You can read the rest of this post here

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I remembered writing the above post about my nephew, but realized I now needed to update it for my daughter (whom is now 13). It's not only a good reminder to them, but to me.

My worth doesn't come from anything I do or don't do, but from God alone. And that's enough. Regardless of what anyone says.



 Maybe you've heard of a little thing called Instagram?

Instagram is ALL THE RAGE with the young kids today. No longer on Facebook and definitely not on Twitter. They post pics and ask people to rate them, or give them a certain number of likes for a "shout out" and many more things that I just don't understand nor really want to.

But I now have a teenager, who bases her value on the number "likes" she gets on her pictures. I follow her because it's the rules for her to be on social media,but don't interact... usually (Unless I'm hacking her account to post how AMAZING her mom is :))



After scrolling through my feed once she said, "You just need to get off Instagram, no one likes your pictures."

(I thought she meant I took bad pictures and needed to save myself the embarrassment...and was OFFENDED.) She went on to say I needed to delete them.

"Why?" I asked.

"Because no one is liking them!"

I stared at her for a long time to see if she was kidding or I misunderstood. Neither was the case. So, I asked, "What do you mean? Do you delete your pics if they don't get a certain number of likes? 

She laughed like I was crazy for not realizing this and not doing it too. She said it's embarrassing to put a pic out there and not have anyone like it. So it will immediately get deleted if that happens. 

OH.

"Do you really delete if you don't get a bunch of likes? How many likes do you have to have in order to NOT delete?"



She laughed and said, "Oh, at least 16!"

Whaaaa? 

I said, "Well, I don't really post for the likes, I post if I have a pic I really like and something I want to say with it."

She rolled her 13yr old eyes "No, you post to get likes, you need to take these pics down NOW."

(Well, I was not going to be bullied around by a 13 years old. So I said a quick help me Jesus and proceeded to calmly ask her what in sam hill she was talking about.)

I leaned in and said, "Keeli you do know that just because you may only get one or two likes on a pic it doesn't mean you're not pretty or worthy enough, right?"

I got the typical whatever response. But I'm hoping something I said hit it's mark..her heart.

A few days later she had a friend over and she was scrolling, trolling through my account and brought it up again. I asked her friend if she did the same thing. Wondering if this was just a Keeli thing (cause sometimes my precocious daughter can come up with some crazy ideas on her own).

She just laughed and said she did the same thing, everyone does!!

Whaaa?

Lately I may post something on FB, Twitter, or Instagram and completely forget about it. You see, God's been working on my heart on this. When I first started out I needed validation that this is what God wanted me to do. And that came in the form of comments or likes.

As I've grown online and inward I know I have to do what God's called me to do regardless if anyone else gets it or not.

And if that means no comments, I move on to the next post. I know I wrote what I needed to.

If I decide to update my status on social media it's to build relationships and meet others. Likes are nice but not my end goal anymore.(To be totally totally honest, this is a work in progress)

(See? I've come a long way in 3 years...or has it been 4?)





What I didn't tell my nephew but am telling Keeli (and myself)is this :
  • You are more than "likes," "comments," and "shares."
  • You are beautiful inside and out
  • Outgoing, confident, and smart doesn't = bossy or a know it all
  • The mean girls are mean because they know There's Something Different about you!
  • Even though it feels like it now, other people's words and opinions are just that. They don't define you.
  • Find God, seek Him. Let Him tell you the truth about who you are. 
  • You are more you are more you are more. Wash and repeat
  • And,You are SO LOVED.
Tell me, do you struggle with this too?

Linking up with: Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood, #TellHisStory, Imperfect Prose, Winsome Wed, and Holley Gerth

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