I Survived VBS!

I survived Vacation Bible School! Actually, this year was quite pleasant. It was the first time I've had one of my own children in my class. Every year they would all ask me to be their teacher. But, since there are four of them and one of me, I chose to decline. I've been working with the same grade ever since we moved here, and this year Faith was in the grade I work with. Fortunately, Hope, Joy, and Grace are all now old enough to understand that when they are older, I will work with them, too.

Our church has a big VBS, so we have stations that the children visit. My job was to lead them from activity to activity, helping them when needed (which wasn't often). I had around 25 kids to lead. Most were girls. Quiet, sweet, well-behaved girls. Most of the boys were also very well behaved, and the couple that caused a bit of trouble were silly and energetic, not bad.

I really enjoyed having Faith in my group. I think she was finally old enough to enjoy being with me without clinging. I enjoyed seeing her enthusiasm for learning the Bible and her eagerness for answering questions. She's a terrific girl, and am so proud of her. She got to act in the drama part of the musical the children presented on family night. She was fantastic! The kids only had a few days to learn their lines, and only practiced a couple of times, but they did great, missed lines and all! She is incredibly comfortable on stage, and really gets the concept of being "in character."

Still, VBS tired me out. And it wasn't just me. Most of the grown-ups were pretty tired by the end of the week. (One of my friends is an ER nurse, and she was worn out!) And to top it off, I promised my girls they could have friends sleep over on Friday night. But God gave me the strength to lead those kids and not be too grumpy! And, even though I was tired, I wasn't totally wiped out, like I remember being last year. And no one has gotten the stomach virus. (Which has happened after VBS twice before in years past.)

I'm thankful for my VBS experience. God gave me the strength to get up early, get all four girls up early, and get us to church well before VBS started. God let me see several of the kids in my group make decisions for Christ. And God gave me a great week with Faith and some of her friends!

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Pop Quiz

God is so good! We returned last night from a short visit with my family. My sister, whose husband is stationed overseas, was back in the States with her daughter for a visit. I enjoyed the time with my family. I enjoyed the climate. I enjoyed the scenery I grew up with. I enjoyed the fireflies. I enjoyed eating at restaurants we don't have where we now live. And I enjoyed the test.

Yes, there was a test. Not the written variety. Not an oral test. But a test from God Himself. He gave me a few opportunities to fall back into the approval pit, and I didn't! It's all God's doing. Sometimes I had just recognized the temptation to worry about something when I felt God's Spirit remind me that I had been delivered from such things, and that I didn't have to think that way anymore! And He gave me the strength to choose to think differently.

I count this test as a blessing. It was totally for my benefit. God already knew my heart. But He wanted me to know my heart. To know that when confronted with the people whose approval has been important to me the longest, that I could confidently walk in Christ and not worry about what I think they might be thinking. Not that there were any major problems or conflicts, but having that many people in one house can lead to minor issues. In my pit days years even these normal, minor things would have set me to fretting and feeling bad. But this time I was able to walk in freedom from worry or condemnation (even self-condemnation!).

God even gave an extra credit test! During our visit
Paul learned of a family situation that required our help. In the past, this would have bothered me. I would have whined (in my heart if not out loud). I would have been resentful. (My reasoning would have gone something like this: "Why is this our responsibility? Why is he willing to go to this trouble or expense for someone else when he doesn't spend time doing X (whatever it is I've been wanting him to do) or spend the money on Y (some extra thing I happen to want at the moment)? It's not fair!" But this time I was able to discuss the situation without being defensive (I think). I was able to support him in his decision.

None of this is to brag on me. It's all to brag on God! He is so faithful! He rescued me out of the pit, and keeps me from slipping back in! And He graciously shows me the extent of His grace and deliverance! He gives new assurances of His love and faithfulness every day! All I have to do is look!

To Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. ~Jude 24-25

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Let's Get Together

Sometimes I think I have it together. And then God lets me know I don't. I was asked to facilitate our ladies' Bible study at church this summer. I guess my desire for God's Word and my wish to have others know it overshadowed my lack of organizational skills in the mind of the sweet woman who asked me.

I thought I was doing pretty well. Until last night. Last night was our first night to meet. I had recruited group leaders. (Actually, God provided most of them! Go God!) I had shuffled and re-shuffled the groups until I was satisfied. I had typed out some instructions for the group leaders and a sheet of questions to ask next week. I had created a list of the ladies' names and which group they were in, as well as a list of each group by color. I had enlisted
Paul to be home in plenty of time for me to be there at least half an hour early. I was feeling --dare I say it-- rather together. And I had done much of it while watching two extra children (for a total of six girls ages nine and under)!

Then, as I walked into church, I realized I forgot the name tags! The big jumbled box of name tags that I had also forgotten to put into neat bags according to their group. I also had forgotten my mobile phone. A very kind friend let me call
Paul on her phone, and he agreed to bring up the forgotten name tags. (Living only 5 minutes away from church has its advantages!) As I was waiting, one of the group leaders reminded me that she had asked for certain ladies to be in her group. I had placed them together initially, but I forgot to write it down. So in all the shuffling and reshuffling this group got separated. Fortunately, it was early enough for me to do a quick re-reshuffling and put them back in her group. The messy box of name tags arrived, and some helpful women (who must have had the gifts of service and organization) helped arrange the name tags and facilitate registration.

Everyone settled into her group and it was time for me to give the introduction. (This is my favorite part. I really enjoy speaking to groups. Weird, huh?) Of course, the microphone had dead batteries. I enlisted the help of the woman who does this during the school year, and she suggested robbing the batteries from another microphone. They worked! I talked. The groups visited. We watched the video. I hope everyone left satisfied. Not satisfied in me or my performance. (Which was rather pitiful.) But satisfied in God. Looking forward to what He is going to do in their lives over the next few weeks. God is amazing. I trust Him to overcome all my deficiencies.

I think I'll be wary of feeling together any time soon. The only together I want is being together with Jesus. And that's the only together that matters!

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K-12 School Memories Meme

Sallie created this meme and posted it on her blog. I thought this was appropriate for today since today is our last day of sit-down school. (We do have a handful of field trips on the horizon.) It's fun to think what my children will answer to these questions years from now. (I know who their favorite teacher will be!)

Apple Jacks or Captain Crunch with Crunch Berries
Apple Jacks (Although Frosted Flakes was my favorite)

Band or Choir
School band (clarinet and Flag Corps) and church youth choir

Class Ring
I got a silver James Avery ring rather than a class ring. We didn't get class rings until midway through our junior year, and I thought it was too much money to spend on something I would only wear a year and a half. (I knew I wouldn't wear my high school ring in college.)

Ducks or Battleships
Wind-up penguins and turtles!

Earning Money
A little babysitting. I also worked at Chick-Fil-A my senior year.

Favorite Teacher
Mrs. P. my second grade teacher who played accordion. Mr. D., my band director. Mrs. K., my high school Biology II and Anatomy/Physiology teacher. Mrs. S., my high school English teacher for three years.

Go Back and Do Over
I would have enjoyed the moments, learned more for the sake of learning rather than for the test, trusted God more, worried less.

Home Economics
I never took Home Economics. I was too busy with all the academic classes. It probably would have been rather helpful. (Although I already knew some things from 4-H.)

Indoor Recess
I always liked indoor recess. Since I'm not an athlete, the indoor games were more my speed!

Jacks or Jump Rope
While I did both at home (Chinese jump rope was my favorite!), I don't remember doing either at school.

Kickball or Dodgeball
Neither. Did I mention I'm not an athlete? But I did prefer kickball to dodgeball. Dodgeball scared me!

My favorite lunch box was a metal one with a sweet picture of a young girl. It wasn't any character, just a beautiful scene.

Our school was too small to do musicals. I did perform in every band concert. I did either four or five musicals with youth choir at church, two of which we took on choir tours.

Number of School Districts
I went to a private school for kindergarten and first grade then went to the same public school from second through twelfth grade. (When I started going the entire school was on one campus.)

Orange or Apple
I liked both (still do), but preferred oranges (still do).

Playground Equipment
I liked it all. Swings. Slide. Monkey bars. I think the merry-go-round was my favorite!

Quiz Team or Debate
Our school had neither. But I did participate in a Mock Trial competition. That was a blast!

Playing on the merry-go-round or monkey bars. Visiting with my friends.

Spring Break
In junior high and high school, I went on a few church youth group retreats. They were great experiences! I didn't take a "real" spring break trip until my honeymoon my senior year of college.

Team Sports
Does Flag Corps count? I did try to play sports in junior high. I wasn't good. I was so glad that four years of marching band counted for my P.E. credits in high school! (Did I mention I'm not an athlete?)

Unfulfilled Dream
I dreamed of marrying a godly man and staying home to raise my children. That's what I'm doing.

Learning to read. I really didn't learn much that I use or remember from my school years, but reading has taught me so much! I also learned some cool mental math tricks when I did math competitions in late elementary and junior high.

Walk or Bus
We lived too far to walk. My mom or a friend's mom drove us to and from school most years. I did spend about a year having to ride the bus. Then my mom got a job teaching at my school, so she drove us again, until my senior year, when I had a car and drove myself.

X Country or Basketball
Neither. (Did I mention I'm not athletic?)

My freshman year. I was still a relatively new Christian and had grown so much the summer before. I was still on a spiritual high! Everything was new about school. That year was a lot of fun!

Zzzzzz’s My most boring class was senior economics/government. The textbook was dry and uninteresting and our teacher did not have the passion for her subject matter to overcome it. I now have a much better understanding of both subjects thanks to reading the wonderful works of people like Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell.

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Who am I?

I a Jesus follower who is trying to teach my four girls at home and be a wife to my minister husband. I prefer reading to cleaning and have a crazy Border Collie and the world's best cat!


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