JOY --- Jesus On the JourneY

Monday, August 21, 2017

Grace Dispenser

You remember the incident in the Old Testament where David takes a census and God is angry with him and another time he takes one and God is pleased???  I understand that a bit more now.

I have taken my own census of sorts this school year EARLY -- 

First off, I should have NEVER done the math to determine how long it's been since my senior year.  What's a number anyway???

Secondly --
As I started this year I admit I checked out my students  profiles – on-line you can tell a lot about your students – who their teacher’s are – what health problems they have – who might faint or was allergic --- who they can’t be near and EVEN when their birthdays are. 

I gave up looking at their school pictures before I met them years ago, because they all looked like juvenile delinquents in some random picture that was put on their profile -- Every year once I met them, I would be so pleasantly surprised at the good-looking bunch of students I had.

We haven’t even talked about those with discipline problems. 

I was disappointed.  I felt they were giving me a boat load of people with lots of issues.  

I was overwhelmed--
I began to approach the school year with dread.

Then we went to professional development where we were told we needed to upgrade all our forms of technology and provide lots of ways for students to be busy and to not teach longer than a few minutes at a time so they wouldn't tune us out. . . AND THE CELL PHONES -- WELL DEAL WITH IT!

Then I read the example of Zaccheus and Jesus and the fact that Jesus CHOSE to hang out with the people with the biggest issues -- the biggest problems.  I started to see that with the concept of building community in my classroom - my students could help each other.  I could be the grace dispenser in the room and help us build a group that took care of each other.  

I realized that I had been feeding this discouragement -- that I could turn it over to the one who cared so much more about them and let each day unfold according to HIS plan.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Back to School

50 years ago I started my senior year at Edwardsville High School.  I could use all sorts of trite phrases like, “time passes fast when you’re having fun” or ask “where did the time go?” or quote my mother – “the older you get the faster the time passes.”   I don’t dare tell my students how long it has been since I started my senior year – but I do want to use the video clip from the Farmer’s Insurance commercial.  “We know a thing or two, because we’ve seen a thing or two.”

I’m reading a book that Bethany shared with me this Spring – Present Over Perfect by Shauna Nyquest. – it takes summer for me to slow down enough to get a chance to read and savor every page.  I love what this young mom of two boys says about getting rid of the hustle and high performance – to be able to be present with those nearest and dearest to us.  Being “all there” for them and the people we encounter on a daily basis—not rushing to fill our days with so much busyness to feel “OK” with God and fulfill some higher purpose we have set up in our own agenda.

One of the things that Shauna has shared in her book is embracing the season you are in – throwing off the trappings of the previous season and living fully in the present one.  She believes this is best done in those times of being still with God – remaining in the outdoors soaking up His beautiful creation to start and end each day.

I want to carry that same mindset into this school year –  living day to day in the moment of God’s good grace aware of what HE is sending my way for the day, week and season.

Summer Fav's

It’s been loads of fun this summer.  – we’ve made a lots of memories.

> Jack’s bounding up the steps, “Where’s Papa?”

>Sydney’s waking up early always in a good “chirpy” mood – talking to her baby doll  – meeting me in the common area upstairs – “Can I play with my dolly house?”

>Campbell’s cartwheels all over the house and mothering (and bossing) the other two when they will let her – hanging out with me on Tuesdays when Jack and Sydney are in pre-school.  

>Shopping for the homeless with her and letting her decide all that we would put in the blessing bags that KU Kids were making.  
>Family dinners in the dining room with all three clamoring for their time to say the prayer

>Chats with Bethany and Mat in the den when the house gets quiet and all are finally in bed.

>Sunday night suppers with everybody cooking dinner in the kitchen.
>Camp Nana Pawpaw while Mommy & Daddy were in Sonoma

>Sunday afternoon work days with Mat and Bethany sweating up a storm – and the kids opting out of work to play in the yard and drink Gatorade (a rare treat)

>Sand castle moments.

>Monday morning walks with the kids on scooters always ending up at the school playground.
Bethany has taken on the cooking and she and Mat have shared in our yard work and they made certain that others took care of the upkeep and cleaning on the house – it’s been a relaxing summer and one that has allowed me to stay free to relax and play with the kids,  giving me time to study these littles carefully – looking deep into their smiling faces and seeing the miracle and wonder of a growing child.  

Bethany and I keep reminding ourselves that – Jack isn’t going to be 3 for very long and that these years are passing so quickly -- We remember that Sydney still is the child whose many facial expressions say it all – or that Campbell’s tender heart, strong will, imagination, and creativity are going to carry her far.  She’s the little girl who has cartwheeled herself through the whole summer. 

We've gotten to spend time with our CO babies twice this summer.  We launched the summer with a Memorial Day trip to Denver , spending 4 days.  
Sweet little Clara, says “thank You” for everything and now she’s nearing the two’s where she’s already starting to exert her own will.   Charlie has a precious grin and adores his big sister waiting on her every move.
It thrills me that it takes such a very short time for them to get reacquainted with us.  Marshall and Katie’s take on that is “They don’t have a choice – you’re their grandparents.”  Face-timing just isn’t enough – we have to get our hugs and playtime with them.

These are moments Terry and I have cherished and savored this summer.    Just like my parents, we retell every fun thing all five of our grands have done that day.  We know that we are blessed beyond measure to share in these special times.  Being in this moment watching them grow – to us is a true gift!

Friday, July 14, 2017


I miss my mom.

Fourteen years ago yesterday, Mom went to Heaven.  You know it's been a long time when you realize you've posted all your favorite pictures and there will never be any recent "favs" to post.

So many little remembrances of her -- I found a necklace today-- #1 Grandma -- how she loved that role she filled in the lives of her six grands.  I understand that a whole lot better now.

I've thought of her so often this summer as I have soaked up this time together. . . thinking how she'd laugh at Sydney's quick tell-it-like-it-is retorts -- "You smell like a wet diaper" as I passed her in the kitchen after walking and working outside in the heat.

She 'd be caught up with Campbell's mind  that questions everything coming up with some pretty deep thoughts --
After sobbing with loneliness for her parents when they were gone last week -- she responded to my comforting with "but love is deep".  It would make her proud that Campbell is seriously considering baptism.  The other day when I told her she was doing a great job speaking more kindly to her momma -- she came back with -- "I'm practicing real hard so I can be baptized"

Mom always loved an ornery boy and she'd adore Jack's sweet impish smile and giggle -- that lets him get by with sooo much.

She’d be caught up with Clara’s sweet little personality and her daddy’s adoration of her and  Charlie’s  laid back - chill attitude.

We have a keepsake treasure- a miniature baby nursery that the cancer-ridden husband of Terry’s secretary, Bryan Handley made for Bethany before her birth.  He never lived to meet Bethany – but would spend long nights awake building this little nursery. We have kept it all these years.    It has always been of special interest to Sydney.
She’s a natural mommy – always carrying her baby doll and talks and coos lovingly to her. She has fallen in love with this keepsake and yesterday we found Mom’s miniature collection that I had been saving.  This collection had so many little pieces that were just perfect for the nursery.  Sydney plays with it several times a week and chatters a whole make-believe scenario of this tiny world.  Mom would thrill to know one of her Great-grands was having such a wonderful time with the craft items she never parted with.
Mom kept herself busy - always creating and making something. She taught herself to do so many things and even taught us to build things.  
I so respect the way that in her later years she would get up early and read the Bible for hours.  She was always busy about something.
So much has happened in the 14 years since you left us, Mom-- all six of your grands has married and between them - -- given you 11 great grands.  These six are fantastic mommies and daddies and married really wonderful spouses!

Thursday, June 22, 2017


In all my sorting our office and settling upstairs I came across various remembrances from my Dad.

First thing I found was a gas rationing card from WWII era - there was a favorite picture of my dad that was always in our living room and lastly was the opening page of one of his reference books that he would study preparing for adult Sunday School.

I loved my dad's handwriting - always so exacting-- a lot like my Dad.  Careful in the way that he lived -- leading the Church -- setting goals for us kids to achieve a college education at a Christian school--guiding us with those Sat morning talking times at the breakfast table..

So many memories came rushing back as I found these 3 treasures.  .  . the legacy of faith he left us . . . the courage he had as he faced debilitating illness in his remaining years.
I want our grands to know this man of strength and courage.   I love you, dad!

Friday, June 16, 2017


I bought my mom this book one year for mother's day . . .she used to tell stories of the Brian clan and summers together at their grandmother's house.  I remembered this book as I was cleaning out space for our "Goodletts" to move in for our summer together..

I loved it because it described two families in an extended family that spent their summers together.
It was a sweet story of how they filled the house, shared their food and loved making memories .
Sort of like what we're looking forward to.  We want to spend one to one with each child -- have long talks about things that really matter -- like sloths, slugs and other of God's creatures, and enjoy lots of outdoor time in the sand castle.

God always hears my heart in  these matters. I had just been moaning to Him about the fact that with teaching, I was missing my Nana time at the kids special performances.  The very next day - Mat and Terry talked about making this a summer to remember while their home was being remodeled.
Moving Day in front of their "old" house
We've watched Bethany organize, toss, pack and get this move together for their family.  We're so glad they are able to leave for a family vacation before it all starts for them on June 5.

Mid-May I started the same -- getting rid of what we needed to cull.  Who needs 8 yr old cell phones?  I'm emptying closets - filling trash bags for Goodwill -- and tossing the rest.  People can't live on top of somebody elses' stuff!  It felt good to empty closets -- the question was -- where to put it???

We've been together for 10 days now and life is Good!  The past week has been afury of activity for them.trips to pick out all sorts of  building supplies and fixtures while trying to determine where that missing box or item is -- storage -- the new house or forgotten somewhere.

Birthday celebrating with all seven of us!!!

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Making Memories

T and I look for any openings in our teaching schedules to get to CO to see our Colorado Kids.  Memorial Day weekend as we left Church -we loaded our bags and the dog in the car -- and headed West.

We loved on the kids for 3 solid days - Thanks to careful prepping on Marshall and Katie's part, Clara makes up with us quickly -- Pawpaw is still her favorite I do have to admit.

Charlie is growing rapidly and is so quick to grin and focus on every word we say.  It was hard to put him down the whole time I was there.

Katie says he looks like Terry --

We spent lots of porch time -- the weather was cool and these two littles are outdoors kids already!

Clara has been overseeing her daddy's building project of a play house for her in the back yard.

Katie and I made our regular trip to IKEA and got caught in a traffic jam -- due to a fuel truck fire on I-25

Marshall and Katie are terrific hands-on parents and their babies are thriving!

Clara's favorite is Curious George and she enjoys sharing him with baby brother.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Nana's Fav's

SOOO many fun times and cute videos of our five little cherubs!  Of course Easter is the perfect day for posing and grins -- but also a time of deep reflecting.

I spent Sat. morning going through the Resurection eggs with Sydney and Jack and explaining all that happened on that Friday that makes the eternal difference.  They had lots of questions.

Sunday morning -- Bethany texted this picture:
Dear THE EASTER BUNNY -- Easter isn't about candy or YOU - RESPOND - Campbell

Campbell is a normal 7 yr. old that would have sweets as their own food group -- but she has captured the true meaning of Easter --

Clara rocks this slide we got her for her first birthday!

The kids continue to love the two cars that we re-purposed from our neighbor's garage sale.  Jack calls the jeep "MINE" and does a pretty good job of driving it when he finds it abandoned by the girls.

Jack has grown so much this Spring.  I welcome any chance I get for him to sit on my lap.  
He loudly echos anything he hears from the girls and watches them for all his cues

Meanwhile, our CO babies are growing and glowing!

Charlie's one month check up has him at 10# 4 oz

Big sister with a steadying hand is still amazed by him and thinks he's a pet.  She's learned to drag the bassinet over to the coffee table and has tried a face plant over the top of him.

She LOVES to face plant and can quickly cover the steps to the basement by making herself a bullet and zipping down the stairs.

Birthday season was launched with cookie cake and 3 little decorators for Bethany's birthday on the 18th.
Jack loves "fire" as he calls birthday candles and cries to be able to blow out your cake with sputters spits and a loud roar.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

School Days

131 students -- all with differing backgrounds, personalities and plans for life after high school.  

Youth Alive Students are a breath of fresh Kingdom Air

Several weeks ago, one of my Youth Alive leaders came to me and shared his passion that students in our high school hear the salvation story.  His passion was intense and it was an idea he didn’t let go of. It became a reality Thursday before Easter.  I witnessed these students making sure that their classmates knew that Jesus died to save them and lives now to intercede and make a way for them. It was thrilling to be the "fly on the wall" and to hear them capably share their love for Jesus and talk about his Spirit

During the time I went for pizzas for second lunch --$40-50 of the funds that we use for the pizzas and purchasing food d for students' families in need was stolen from my desk.

I figure we must have been doing something that Satan didn't want to happen.

This time in my school plan calendar, I teach sewing to all 130+ students.  I am always surprised and touched by what comes from my students during this time that their hands and hearts are connected to their projects.  I get to work more with them one-to-one and my classroom becomes much more relational.

 My teacher friend, Judi,  suggested that students sew 9-patches and put a quilt together, instead of projects for themselves.  It streamlined the whole unit!  After students learned the basics of how to use their machines they made a miniature pillow and were ready to begin the project.  Each class is constructing and giving their own quilt to projects for the homeless in Tulsa County.  On Monday, I had the students do a summary evaluation of the whole unit.  It touched me to read their responses on what this project had done for them.  

Even my big old guys were intent on getting their squares correct!

One mother who has a business making quilts for those in need donated 100 yards of fabric for backing for the quilts.

Monday, April 24, 2017


I find myself this season thinking of . . .

the renewal and revival this season brings to my heart every year.

Someone shared the idea that some scholars think the last week of Jesus life actually was about 6 months long –

I’ve had weeks that seemed 6 months long –  It was a hard week for Jesus --   I’ve found myself lying awake for several hours wrestling with things this week --- I have to admit they weren’t all spiritual issues.

Can you imagine what Jesus nights must have been like his last week???  We have his recorded prayers in the Garden – but this Son of Man /  Son of God knew what was ahead --

In Jesus last week he cursed the fig tree –

Ø All this -- with his mind’s eye on Jerusalem – He knew what lay  ahead --

Ø Sunday the crowd was with him on the road– wanting Jesus as their King – but he knew the Garden and Golgotha were coming

Ø Jesus continued to prepare his closest disciples for what was to come –

They saw him raise the dead – He said he was the resurrection and the life was it only for everyone else? 
Image result for jesus empty tomb
THE EMPTY TOMB CHANGES IT ALL --- We;ve been to Gordon's Tomb - 

LUKE 24 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. 

And the women brought spices . . . to prepare his body --- they were working out of plan B now. . . women have a way of picking up and changing plans when necessary --
Their disappointment had to have been palpable – so heavy – they’d given up 3 years – they’d heard him teach about life and death and the Kingdom of Heaven – where did it all fit?  They had so many plans
We’ve all had times when in our minds we created the Divine OUTCOME to one of our issues and GOD didn’t work our plan like we had written it.
Their pain turned to panic and then to tremendous JOY!!!  That empty tomb cemented every word Jesus had ever spoken
Resurrection power bursting forth in ALL HIS GLORY!!!!
Sleepy  disciples in the garden became self-sacrificing spokesmen for the Risen Lord

This day changed their whole perspective – and it was during the following days of AWE after our Lord arose that these men “got it”  -- they had their marching orders now – They had lived with and loved their Lord first-hand and now they knew what KINGDOM business really was!

Blog Archive