Grace upon grace

Do me a favor and envision the beach….

Feel the heat of the sand beneath your feet and the cool breeze coming off the water. Imagine lifting your face to the sun, you squint because its so bright. Listen to the sound of wave after wave gently crashing against the shore.

Can you picture it?

Wave after wave after wave….

Today was a typical day in my class–students enjoyed time playing, putting together the “Big Green Monster” face, smiled as they pretended to be a pumpkin on a fence, and were frequently told to use their words {remember I teach special education}. The preschool hours came and went. I enjoyed the crisp air and warm sun as I waited for the kindergarten class to arrive. Round 2 was equally enjoyable.

Wave after wave after wave….

A parent phone call didn’t go well. In fact, it was harsh. I hung up shaken, hurt.

Retail therapy and a good workout didn’t help. Two short vent sessions didn’t either.

Almost four hours later I am still trying to recover.

Wave after wave….

So here I sit, my heart beating a little too fast, seriously reconsidering my profession.

Wave after wave…

“For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” John 1:16 ESV

Grace upon grace. It’s why Jesus came. It’s the gift He gives.

The Amplified version is my favorite:

“For out of His fullness (abundance) we have all received [all had a share and we were all supplied with] one grace after another and spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing and even favor upon favor and gift [heaped] upon gift.”

Jesus just keeps giving. He POURS {non-stop} gifts, blessings, grace, and favor on us. He gives because He has, because He is. The grace never runs out.

Wave after wave after wave….

Tonight I will lay it at His feet. I will seek forgiveness. I will accept His grace. Tomorrow I will go back to loving my students and do what I can to make the situation better.

Tomorrow I will offer grace upon grace upon grace because I need it too.

 

 

 

Make a statement!

 

Trend

one two (currently sold out) three

4 of my favorite trends in 3 shirts!

1. Gold lettering …on shirts, prints, anything!

Which is funny because I’m normally more of silver girl.

Plus a great mantra: “Elle est forte”=She is strong

{And can we mention that adorable LEOPARD cardigan? I die!}

2. Faith statements. Be a walking Bible.

3. Motivation tanks. Because working out is so much more fun when you look cute.

Challenge-tember

3 Challenges This month I am taking on 3 challenges. Challenges that will improve my strengths and address my weaknesses. Challenges that will ensure I use my time wisely. Challenges that will stretch me, but will not break me.

 

Challenge #1: Fitness. 30 miles in 30 days. My summer has been about making health a way of life because I was always hit or miss with it. I would be super motivated for a month or a week and then life would get in the way and weeks or months would go by without any exercise. In April I decided that I would be more committed and make it part of my daily routine, not just a temporary thing. Because who doesn’t feel better after a good workout? I know I always do. I feel better physically, mentally and spiritually. I’ve been doing PiYo and I love it {more on that later}, but next weekend I’m running a 5k in Ventura and I have barely been out running. Its hot in the desert! And then my wonderful friend challenged a group of us to complete 30 miles in 30 days! Perfect! Not only will I be better prepared for the race, but I will be motivated to keep running and thanks to the Nike+ app I can see how the rest of the group is faring. Oh and extra points for me because I was the first one of the group to get a run on the board 😉  

 

Challenge #2: Blogging. 30 posts in 30 days. I really want to get this blog up and moving yet haven’t found the rhythm of writing frequently. As I am doing different things in my classroom or at home, as I’m reading the Bible or special education books, I constantly think, “That would be a great post! I should write about that!”. But do I? Not lately. So thanks to Bailey Jean at Brave Love I will! She has 30 writing prompts to help get the words flowing. I am hoping that by writing frequently I will fan the spark I already have for this blog into a bigger flame. Find out more about the Blog-Tember Challenge  Today’s prompt is to write “About the Author” but seeing as I just did that a few weeks ago you, I’ll spare you 🙂 You can read more about why I started this blog here and more about Val and I here.  

 

Challenge #3: Scripture. Be in the Word daily. Again, a discipline that I have strived to make part of my everyday, but I have always fallen short. I’ve tried a few Bible in Year reading programs, random selection of verses, you name it.  Then I came across Kristin Schmucker on Instagram and fell in love with how simple she made it. It doesn’t need to be hours on end but deliberate time reading and praying, time set aside with all my attention focused on the Lord. Being in God’s word is something we should desire, but it is also a discipline. I typically read my Bible at night, 3-5 chapters to end the day, but if I have a headache or am too tired or stayed out late I skip it. Then I would ultimately fall  so far behind in the reading plan that I couldn’t catch up and the guilt would sink in. Guilt should not be our motivation for spending time with our Heavenly Father. Skipping time with Jesus is the last thing I want to do. In my heart its the first thing I want to do. So with the help of Kristin’s devotional journal and by waking up earlier, I now start my day reading Scripture, praying, and getting my heart focused on what is true and beautiful before I head out the door. Kristin’s challenge is to spend time each day in the Word. Time learning more about what God wants from us, how He has used other people, hearing from Him so we become more like Him.   Challenge-tember. A month of stretching, growing, and learning in all areas of my life. 3.3 miles done. One blog post complete. Now for some precious time with Jesus to make sure my heart is set on things above. What challenge have you committed to this month?

Small victory!

I’m still a little sweaty as I write but I am so excited… I just finished my first run in under a 10 minute pace! In fact, my first mile was 9:32! For many that is probably slow, but for me, the girl that 2 years ago hated running, this is a small victory. Sometimes I was super committed and was out running almost daily and other times weeks went by without a single step. Isn’t that the way a lot of things in life go? We get all amped up and go full force into something new and then it gets hard or life gets in the way or we get a cold and all motivation just goes out the window. And then it harder than ever to pick it back up again. And I don’t just mean when it comes to physical health. What about our spiritual, mental, emotional health? When was the last time you read your Bible? Worshipped Jesus? Prayed? Relaxed without a piece of technology in sight? Or spent time connecting face-to-face with those you love? I’ll admit that I don’t do these things as often as my soul craves them. I make excuses instead of making habits even though deep down I know that doing all of these things will make me feel better, filled with joy and the Spirit. And that is what I really strive for. Not breaking a 10-minute pace, but feeling well, whole, loved by the God that created me and knowing I am doing everything possible to love him back. So while today was a small victory in my physical disciplines, its time to find bigger victories in Christ.

What habits are you making today?

To JESUS

It’s funny how when I least expect it, God has something for me to do. I was sitting on my couch yesterday after getting home from teaching summer school and then deciding to pull weeds in the blazing hot sun – not sure what I was thinking…when I get a text from Jill: http://www.littlebigthingsblog.com
I didn’t even have to click on the link, I just knew (sort of) that this was a big thing coming at me. Because I was a little winded and light-headed from the heat, it didn’t dawn on me that Jill had actually started the blog that we had been talking about since before last summer. I read her post and almost cried. I was really proud of her for stepping out and trusting in God. So I had to comment because when it comes to Jill, I always feel this sense of “she needs to here ‘this…’ “- and I know it’s not me talking – it’s God using me to let her know she is on the right track. So I posted a comment and sent her a text “So that’s what you have been doing! Moderate my comment;)”
And then, my sinful nature kicked in – darn…I thought, I really wanted to do that with her. But, she stepped out on her own, and I honestly have not been working at it as hard as she has. So I will support her and pray for her and follow her blog.
But God had other plans because she texted back “…I just did it. I think you need to be the other author of it!”
Heart in overdrive – seriously beating out of my chest. And as I texted Jill back, my six-year-old son starts singing a song he had learned at school that ends with him shouting “To JESUS! To JESUS! To JESUS!”
And that really is how God works in my life. These little moments that suddenly are full of meaning because my son shouting “To JESUS” kept my mind on God instead of on what I might get out of joining this venture with Jill. It’s a constant reminder – everything must be according to His will, and so as I begin this journey with my awesome friend, I can’t help but think “To JESUS!!!

So here I go

So the thing is I have put off starting this blog for about 2 years….It is often on my mind and in my heart–I’ve prayed about it and talked to friends. I’ve read tons of articles on how to get started, reach my readers, the best time to post, promoting…. I’ve started, gotten frustrated or scared and stop. I’ve even written a few posts that are hidden in my phone. But I know that God has put this desire in my heart and I am learning to say yes to the things He puts before me. I am choosing to say yes to His voice instead of the ones that keep saying {inside my head} that what I have to say doesn’t matter, that I’m not crafty {I try} or have the most gorgeous home for all to see {but its my home}, that I am going to fail {who hasn’t?}, or that when looking at others I am not spiritual enough, pretty enough, smart enough. But comparison is the thief of joy, right? And it is in obedience to Him through faith, trust, and hope that we find the most joy. So no more putting things off unless they are sins that hinder. No more being scared to say yes because life is about taking risks. And man this can get risky–putting my heart out there–but I can’t just keep thinking about doing things and not doing them. So here I go….