Thursday, March 31, 2011

Reflections on my Walk to Emmaus

I promised reflections about my Walk to Emmaus. I'm going to try to do my best with this post, but, honestly, I'm not sure that words will do it justice. Yes, I am speechless. Don't get used to it!!

For those of you who haven't heard about the Walk to Emmaus, click on this link to read more. It is basically a three day spiritual renewal retreat, but it was a lot more for me. My wonderful sponsor, Joan, took me to Wilmore on Thursday evening. I was able to see many of my old Trinity Hill United Methodist Church friends, and met my roommate. We got "oriented" and the weekend began. I was still pretty clueless as to what to expect. And, for once, that was okay with me.

Thoughout the weekend filled with various talks, prayer, and worship, I got to know the ladies at my table quite well. We shared a lot of laughs, personal stories, and tears. I started learning more about myself and my relationship with God, as well. A lot of the things I realized can't be verbalized, or at least I am finding that hard to do, but here's one big thing I got, and I *think* I can convey it in writing.

The scripture that relates the original Walk to Emmaus is found in Luke 24:13-35. Just after Jesus's death, two friends were traveling out of Jerusalem toward Emmaus,and they were discussing the horrific details of the crucifixion. Jesus came along side them and talked with them, providing them with the answers to all the questions they had about what had happened. However, these two men didn't recognize Jesus. They arrived home and invited the stranger in to dinner, and suddenly, as Jesus blessed the bread, their eyes were opened and they recognized Him, but he was gone.

My whole life has been spent on that road. I've studied, discussed, learned, and had those God moments, but I have been too blind to see how the love of Jesus has been working in my life. I saw it this weekend for the first time. I knew my parents loved me, my husband loved me, and a few of my friends did too. However, I don't think I really believed that most people loved me. In turn, I kept a big wall around my heart, and didn't love others the way I should, since I doubted their sincerity towards me and didn't want to be hurt.

This weekend, I really saw the love of God...from friends, family, and complete strangers. My eyes were opened. I've been changed. I want to show love to everyone. I want to build my spiritual life and become the person that God intends for me to be.

Now, I went into the weekend hoping that I would get some revelation about what God wants me to do with my life. I didn't really get that.  I'm still as confused about that as ever. However, I'm okay with that. I'm just trusting that He'll lead me to the plans He has for me.

I think the Walk was one of the most significant things I've ever done. I would encourage anyone else who wants a deeper relationship with Christ to consider going. I'd be glad to answer questions for you.

As we sang on our walk, "De Colores!"

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I'm baaaaack....

So, I'm back in the land of the wirelessly connected. Thursday through Sunday, I was at Asbury Theological Seminary for a Walk to Emmaus retreat. I'll post about that tomorrow when I have had time to think about what I want to say. It was amazing, but I want to say more than that. I just don't know what I want to say yet!!!

Anyway, I'm home, have all my kids back with me, and I'm going to get back in the groove of life.

Eventually.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A new day

Spring break has broken. A new day has come. After a really stressful and emotional day yesterday, I am able to enjoy a little rest today and regroup a bit. I spent a long time in my devotional book today and studied some scriptures that have put my worries into perspective.

I should probably get Philipians 4: 4-7 tattooed on my arm so that I can glance down at it every time I get myself all worked up like I did yesterday.  "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

That passage does two things for me. First, it convicts me. Gentleness? Yesterday, my gentleness wasn't evident to anyone. I think it had gone ahead and taken an early spring break, maybe skipped the country. I was that cranky. And did I rejoice? Sure...about  8:30 last night, when I was finally home, scarfing down some Rice Krispies. But I mostly rejoiced because the day was over, not because of the blessings of the Lord. So, when I read these verses, I am confronted by some serious short-comings that I need to take to God in prayer and ask for His help to overcome.

The other thing this passage does for me is that instructs me about what I should do when I'm having one of those days. Don't sweat it. Pray about it. Ask God for peace. That last little bit is an awesome promise for me. God's peace will guard my heart and mind. If I trust Him, turn my worries over to Him, ask Him for guidance, He'll insulate me from worry. He'll wrap me up in a big old blanket of peace. Love it.

Does this mean I'll never worry again? Nope. I will. But I can always flip back to this passage as a reminder of what God will do if I just ask.

Monday, March 21, 2011

One of those days

I'm having one of those days. I'm grumpy. I'm finding fault with everyone and everything. I don't want to be at school. I'd like to crawl into a dark hole and hide for the next six hours or so.

I know that's totally wrong of me. Really, I do. I know I should be celebrating so many things, such as..
  • At the end of the day today, I'll be on spring break for the next 20 days.
  • My family appears to be over the ridiculous stomach virus that kept on keeping on.
  • Thursday, I'm leaving for a three day retreat, or Walk to Emmaus.
  • I've lost five pounds and a few inches in the last few weeks.
  • The sun is shining and it is supposed to be warm today.
But no. Not me. I'm not celebrating. I'm wallowing in misery. My students have mentally checked out. They are wild and think I should just go right along with their shenanigans. To be really, really honest, I'm questioning my purpose at work again. I don't feel like I'm doing anyone any good and that I spend too much energy on self-pep-talks just to get through the day. I'm frustrated and ready to throw in the towel, but I'm too much of a chicken to really do that, and I KNOW this, so daydreaming about what I could do, or how life could be doesn't even help!

Ugh.

Yep. One of those days.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Thwarted!

Every time I devise some fantastic plan, Murphy's Law comes along to thwart it. This week, I had this awesome plan to blog daily according to a set of lovely alliterative themes.

And then THE STOMACH BUG hit our house. Everyone but Sam has had it, and had it, and had it. It won't go away. I'm still reeling from the body aches and sheer exhaustion.

Maybe next week?!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Stats

I know, I know. It's wordless Wednesday. I'm only supposed to post a picture. This isn't an official post. It's just....I don't know. It's something that HAS to be said!

I just checked my blog stats. You can see where readers are coming from, when they are reading, etc...One particularly interesting tool is the big ol' map that shows WHERE  your readers are. I have two readers in Nigeria.

Really? I'm just wondering...is it that Nigerian prince that needs me to handle his finances for him?

Seriously, if you are reading this from somewhere other than the US, I'd love a comment from you so that I know who and where you are! Heck, if you are reading this within the US, I'd love a comment, too!!!

Who am I kidding? I LOVE COMMENTS.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tasty Tuesday!

I love food. I love to cook it, love to eat it, love to think about it. It made perfect sense to me to devote one day of blogging to a discussion of food. My first Tasty Tuesday post is going to highlight one of my favorite food blogs...A Year of Slow Cooking.

Stephanie O'Dea began 2008 with a resolution to use her slowcooker every day for a year. She photographed her ingredients, posted her recipes and a picture of the finished product, and provided feedback on the meal. Her blog is a treasure trove of slow cooker recipes. She's since gone on to become a bonafide domestic goddess, with a couple of published cookbooks and several TV appearances.

I love to use my crockpot, but I only use it once or twice a week- not every day! Today, I'm cooking a pork loin in chicken broth, peach preserves, canned peaches, and dijon mustard. I kind of made that concoction up. We'll see how it goes! I use Stephanie's website all the time, especially when I'm trying to find something new or unusual to make. Most of her recipes are gluten free or have gluten free alternatives, for those with special dietary needs.

Have a Tasty Tuesday everyone!!!

Monday, March 14, 2011

First edition of Mission Monday

It's Monday! As if the time change wasn't crushing enough, it is rainy and dreary here in Central Kentucky. Yuck!!!

Today, I'm kicking off my new plan to jazz up the old blog by profiling a mission-oriented project. I'm starting off with an organization that is near and dear to my heart, Go Frankfort. This organization started within the Sunday School class I attend at First United Methodist Church, and thanks to some very dedicated leaders, it has really grown.

Go Frankfort organizes volunteers to go out into the community to perform service projects for various agencies. In the spring and again in the fall, hundreds of Frankfortians (Frankforters?) join together for a morning of hard work and fellowship and knock out some really big tasks. In the past, Go Frankfort has taken on the following projects:
  • PUSH - playground rehab
  • Walk/Bike Frankfort - clearing and maintaining biking trails at Capitol View Park
  • Bicycle collection for Folk Bike Recyclery
  • SIMON House - Maintenance, repairs and painting
  • Safe House (Domestic Violence) - painting, hanging cabinets and weatherize window
  • Sunshine Center - building shelves
  • Kings Center - Lot cleanup and minor repairs inside
  • Downtown cleanup - garbage pickup and leaf raking
  • CommonWealth Gardens - fall cleanup of community gardens
  • Highway cleanup - litter collection on 127S and on 60
  • Food collection for the Franklin County Emergency Food Pantry

Those are just a few of the areas in which Go Frankfort assists the community.
 
The spring voluteer day is set for May 21. It's a great time for everyone involved. I've worked mainly at the Domestic Violence Safe House and have thoroughly enjoyed myself. The first time I went  to scope out the property and create a plan for our work day, I was greeted at the door by one of my students. He and his sister, along with his mom and younger siblings, lived there. It shook me. I had no idea "my" kids were there. They have moved on, but that memory has lingered. I wanted to make the house as much a home as possible for the families that would find refuge there.
 
I'm not a particularly handy person, but I've found that I can do a lot of things I never knew I could do. I learned to winterize windows...and I was GOOD at it! I've painted, redecorated, and cleaned- and gotten more done in four hours there than I could ever do at home!
 
I urge my fellow Frankforians to join in the fun in May. There are many ways to support Go Frankfort. Your time, of course, is crucial. Sign up to be a volunteer! Or, you can donate to the cause. Money and supplies are always welcome. Often, Go Frankfort hosts fundraiser events. Most recently, they served up some delicious BBQ for lunch, and just this weekend held the first ever Go Frankfort Dodgeball Tournament. Check this link for more information. You'll be glad you did!
 
 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Jazzing up the blog

I'm trying to think of a way to jazz up The Unquiet Life and also provide a little structure so that my posts aren't so random. I thought about going with daily themes, such as:
Missions Monday- Highlight different mission-oriented organization, group, or website each Monday.
Tasty Tuesday- What I'm cooking or wish I was cooking, or highlight a great foodie website
Wordless Wednesday- A picture of something going on in my world- or the world in general
Thirsty Thursday- A drink of "living water"- comments on a Bible passage
Friday Fives- A list of something...things I love, hate, want to do, etc.
Wildcard Weekends- You never really know...

This was harder than I thought! I am still not committed to these topics. If you have ideas, I'll gladly consider any suggestions.  Leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

Friday, March 11, 2011

On the topic of being anxious

I was observed this morning in my classroom. It didn't go the way I had planned because I totally forgot-or never realized to start with- that the band students were leaving at 10 for a field trip. That's half my class. My plan to finish with a neat little group activity didn't work. Oh, well. I made the best of it. I can only hope that this was suitable for my assistant principal...unlikely though. Nothing I ever do is.

It is Friday. The sun is shining. We've been in school ten weeks with no real break. The kids are off their rockers today (I should check the phase of the moon) and I am soooo ready for spring break. I'm emotionally spent after my observation. I can't get refocused and my kids aren't helping.

I'm have been anxious all day-before my observation, during it, after it-just ready to crawl out of my skin all day! It makes me think about the psalm where David says, "Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts" (139: 17). I identify with those words that come at the end of the psalm, but what comes at the beginning is so even better: "You have searched me, LORD, and you know me.  You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways."

It is so good to serve a God that knows us, inside and out.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Status updates that aren't to be

One thing I've learned from my 36 hours away from Facebook is that, during the course of a normal day, I try to make everything I do into a Facebook status. I didn't really know I was doing this because I would just think it then post it. Now, I'm just thinking it.

This morning, I wanted to post that I had dinner in the crock pot (Black Bean Soup..yum!), then I wanted to comment on the raininess. I wanted to share my frustrations when the traffic cop at Second Street stopped traffic, pointed his thingy (technical term) at a car. The driver pulled forward and then Officer Sunshine blew his whistle at the car to back up for absolutely no reason. He just likes to whistle,  Within seconds, he motioned for the car to go. I was bumfuzzled.

All of this wit and wisdom will just have to sit in my brain for the next 40 days. Perhaps I should carry a little note pad to record all these "statuses" so I don't lose them!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

What an opportunity!

When I was in the second grade, I won second place the West Liberty Elementary field day contest for best short story. It was about a little girl who found out she needed glasses but was afraid others would laugh at her. At the ripe old age of eight, a passion was ignited in me. I loved to write. From then on, I dabbled in poetry, stories, and non-fiction, and wrote competitively in academic meets with some success. I chose English as my major in college because it was the one thing I really loved.



I didn’t become a speech writer for President Clinton, like I’d dreamed as a teenager, or an international journalist or a romance novelist. I chose to take my passion to the people. I became a teacher. And, later, a wife and a mother. Somewhere along the way, my writing took a backseat to life.


I began blogging a few years ago, but my blog lacked direction. I am relatively certain the masses weren’t fascinated by my tales of potty training or what’s for dinner. In the fall, I prayerfully considered the purpose of my blog. Was it a waste of time or a missed opportunity?


God began to reveal to me ways that I could use my blog to reach people for Him. I could share my Christian walk- my failings and my growth- with others. And so I did. The response was very encouraging. People actually READ my blog and commented on it!!! That gave me the affirmation I needed to begin writing again on a regular basis.


About the same time, My husband and I began taking more leadership within our church and Sunday School class. We began facilitating our Sunday and Wednesday groups. This, along with wider readership of my blog, lead to an opportunity for me to speak in church on laity Sunday. That day, I began to see how all of these things fit together. I was finally doing the thing I was meant to do. I’m not a preacher- not by a long shot- but I do think that God has called me to teach others to be disciples, and has given me some specific gifts to help me along the way.


I like to read devotionals about other women like me, Christian women trying to make a difference in our own little corners of the universe. I regularly read Proverbs 31 and Lysa TerKeurst’s websites for inspiration. I’ve eyed the She Speaks conference for a while, thinking it would be an awesome opportunity for me to meet other women who have been called to the same ministry as I am. I’d love to learn how to make my blog and my life more effective tools to build disciples. Lysa TerKeurst has offered an opportunity to win a scholarship to this awesome conference. Winning would be the only chance I would have at attending.


We serve an awesome God who gifts us all in different ways. I am grateful for this blog, for the readers, and for the opportunity to act out His will in my life. It's amazing to see His plans come together!

Getting started

I usually wake up in the morning, check my e-mail and Facebook, get ready, log back into Facebook, make comments as appropriate while I eat my breakfast, and piddle my morning away reading about the minutiae of my friends' lives.

This morning I couldn't do that. It's day one of my Facebook Fast. I started reading chapter 1 of Phillipians trying to decide if I think I could begin to memorize it within the next few weeks. I think I can, at least some of it. I'm going to continue working on that.

I've plopped down at my desk a few times and opened a new window, like I normally would if I wanted to check in with the Facebook world. I've been a little at a loss as to where to go if I can't turn to Facebook. I've read a devotional on Proverbs 31. I registered for a new diet plan at Self magazine's website. I browsed Freecycle. I've graded papers, worked on lesson plans, cleaned off my desk.

Hmm...it's just 9:45. I'm going to  have to figure out a better way to spend my time.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

40 Day Facebook Fast

I'm giving up Facebook for Lent. When I really examined the things that preoccupy me, that was at the top of the list. It was a no-brainer for me.

But, it won't be easy. I'll need to find some new distractions. Facebook is where I turn when there's a lull in my day. What on earth will I do with all that quiet time?

Here are some things I hope to fill my day with now that Facebook is off the table:
1. Prayer. I'm working on a big list of people to pray for...you're probably on it!!
2. Devotional and Bible reading.
3. Memorizing scripture. I might tackle the book of Phillipians.
4. Being more attentive to my husband and children.
5. Housework.

What else?? I'm open to ideas!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Updated updates

Two weeks ago, I posted the following updates to my resolutions in red. My updated updates are in purple. Yay me!



1. Lose weight. I did...then gained it back already. Oh, well. Tomorrow is another day. I lost it again!!! And, I'm back on track with diet and exercise.


2. Get organized. Bwhahahaha. Right.I have actually worked on this. I have a binder with daily routines/checklists assembled, along with weekly menus and coupons for the grocery store. Thanks to FlyLady and E-Mealz!!!And we cleaned house really, really well on Saturday, so I had an opportunity to discard some things and put things back where they belong. My living room is definitely less cluttered.


3.Sell a crocheted item or two, or more! Haven't done anything toward this.


4.Cook four nights a week, and cook different things! Yay!!!!! I have been doing this!!!!


5. Read 25 books this year, and document them on this blog.Well...I read a Mary Higgins Clark mystery and am in the process of reading A Year of Living Biblically...so, that's something! I read Restavec by Jean-Robert Cadet, Testimony by Anita Shreve, and a few more chapters of the aforementioned Year of Living Biblically. I also read a Jodi Picoult book, House Rules, but that was in January and I forgot to document it. So...four books so far. Not all together bad.

6. Blog twice weekly. Doing pretty well on this. Even better now!

7. Attend a genealogy workshop. Summer, perhaps? Nada.


8. Memorize scripture. Zip. I'm going to get back on this today!!


9. Do something different. Try new things. Zumba, pottery, Bunco, wool spinning...just a few of the things I'd like to try. They are all "fun" things, so why not? I don't have a plan for this. Yet. I think I have enough on my plate for this week. I have ideas. Zilch. I Zumba'd yesterday. Is that a verb? It felt like one.


10. Get back on the Financial Peace train. I think it ran me over during the holidays. :) I will admit that I don't have a plan here either. Next week??? Zero. Maybe not as formally as I'd like, but definitely better than I was!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Something new...and a painful realization.

Today, I tackled one of my new year's resolutions...trying something new. I went to a Zumba class. Now I realize I'm one of the last people on the face of the earth who hasn't tried this, but I've been really busy perfecting my couch potato regimen. In an attempt to make good on my first resolution (lose weight), I've been adding physical activity to my life. I figured it was time to give Zumba a try.

I sat in the parking lot for a while before I went in the studio. I was nervous. I mean, shaking hands and sick to my stomach nervous. What if I make a fool of myself? I can't dance. And I'm fat and out of shape.I won't be able to keep up. Everyone will laugh at me.

I know. I sound like a high schooler. You know what? I wasn't this self-conscious when I was a high schooler! I haven't always been so inhibited. I used to be self assured, more willing to take a risk here and there. But now, I'm soooo terrified of being judged by others.

Here's what I think happened. Somewhere along the way, I became a very critical, judgemental person. Even though I've worked really  hard at being much more less critical, it still creeps up way too often. In turn, I think everyone is judging me.  The fact is, most people don't give a big hoot about what I'm doing. It's not always about me. I have to remember that.


As I've been thinking about this today, I came to a really big realization. My fear of being judged by others has caused me to miss out on so many wonderful opportunities, and it has caused me to not do the will of God. Just today, I could clearly hear the Spirit telling me to invite this couple to our Sunday School class. And I didn't. I was too afraid of rejection, of looking stupid. I can't tell you how many times this has happened to me, just in the last few days. Like most fears, it is destructive and debilitating.

There is absolutely no substance to my fear. I went to Zumba, had a great time, and I am certain that not only did no one make fun of me, everyone was super supportive of me. No one paid any attention to the dance skills or physical ability of anyone else. We just had fun.

I have to do more of that. I have to get past my fear of being judged and just do the things that need to be done. No one is paying attention to me. I'm not a celebrity followed by the paparazzi. I'm just a girl, trying to do the best I can...and so are all the other folks around me.

As we begin the Lenten season, that's going to be one of my goals:.to do things that make me uncomfortable. Step out of my box. Stop worrying about being judged.....and see what happens!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Big changes...

I've decided to make some big changes in my life. Okay, maybe not BIG, but changes none the less.
On Monday, I decided to start working out. I'm going back to the gym today. My goal is to participate in the Frankfort Trifecta- a series of three progressively longer races. The first one is a 3K and it is two weeks. I'm planning to walk, maybe run a little bit...

This weekend, I plan to try something new...a BELLY DANCING class.

I'm breaking out of my shell, trying something new, taking care of myself. I think it is time.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I'm a people pleaser. I admit it.

Job 23: 10-11 says, "But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.
 My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside."

For the last month or so, I've been struggling at work. It has had to do with a lot of it has had to do with me- my attitude, my unwillingness things go. Recently, the problem has been something I've never really dealt with before and it has been hard for me. I want people to be pleased with me. I want everyone to be happy. And, it appears, I have a few people who aren't. No matter what I do, nothing is going to change for them. All I can do is control my end of the deal, and keep my head up.

The verse from Job was today's Bible Gateway verse of the day. It applies to my situation right now. I'm being tested, and there are a lot of naysayers who'd like to see me fail. However, I'm going to stick with the One who has carried me through soooo much. I'm going to come forth as gold!

I love a good promise from the Lord!