Sometimes when I sit down and look at my computer screen, I have this overwhelming sense of “wordlessness.”

Today is one of those days.

I’m sitting in my classroom today, void of students but full of boxes, feeling a little emtional.

So much has happened this year in this room.

Happy moments, like the day when Mica decided to help teach a math lesson instead of lean her head against the board and say once again, ‘I want to quit learning.’

Laughing moments, like the day when I almost fell out of my chair because it lost balance.

Sad moments, like the day when one of my students had learned that his dad had left home and they didn’t know where he had gone.

Scary moments, like the day when a student got choked on a lifesaver and I was pretty sure that I wasn’t equipped emotionally for that kind of situation.

Exhausting moments, like the days when the students just didn’t want to open another book and read another lesson but I knew we had to press on in order to reach our goals.

Yes, this room may be void of students today but it is still filled with memories.

Isn’t life like this?

We lose people and time periods in our life that are irreplacable but NOONE can take away the memories.

Memories are a gift.

I think that is what Memorial Day is all about.

The gift of remembering those who have fought for our freedom in America and those who have gone Home before us.

Praying that today you find sweet memories in the midst of your feelings of loss.

Thankful that somehow God filled my blank screen with these words in spite of me.

Remembering His sacrifice in a powerful way and whispering, “Thank you, Jesus.”

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Even if……

May 27th, 2011

 

resting risky

Even if frightening things surround you, you are safe with God.

Even if scary things are happening in the world, God is still in control.

Even if things that don’t make sense, trust Him.

Even if you feel that you are in over your head, God will hold you safely above water.

Even if your body feels weary, God will strengthen your soul.

Even if this world has brought sorrow, God promises eternal joy.

Psalm 62:1-5

Truly my soul finds rest in God;
   my salvation comes from him.

Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
   he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

Thankful today for these promises,

Just wanted to share a little photo memory of our past two weeks.

Evan graduated from Morehead State University last Saturday.

Todd graduated from East Carter High School tonight.

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There are so many different kinds of goodbyes in this life.

If you think about it, life is a series of goodbyes.

I arrived at school this morning to find one of my teacher friends crying.

She had placed her daughter on the school bus to elementary school for the last time, saying goodbye to those “early, innocent years” and realizing deeply that middle school looms in her daughter’s near future.

Students popped in and out of my room all morning saying “goodbye,” and I know today will be filled with all kinds of special moments……………..

handmade cards

hugs

some tears.

Goodbyes are emotional even if they are not forever goodbyes.

Goodbyes mean that something in our life has changed.

As I sit here thinking about the old saying,

“The only thing in life that doesn’t change is the fact that life is full of change,”

I smile because I know this:

THERE IS SOMEONE WHO NEVER CHANGES!

God.

He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

He is as constant as a capital letter in any math formula.

His love is as sure as the sunrise and the sunset.

When Jesus left this earth and ascended into Heaven, He promised to send the Holy Spirit who would be with us ALWAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

God placed us in a world that constantly changes and is full of many goodbyes, but He promised us a constant Companion and an eternal Home with NO MORE GOODBYES.

With every goodbye today, I am thankful for a time when goodbyes will be a foggy memory, because the changes of this world will become the steadfast promises fulfilled in Heaven.

Malachi 3:6a
“I, the Lord, do not change.”

Trusting in a never-changing Savior,

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Nick would have been 16 yesterday,

But this year, like the last two, we had no cake.

We had no balloons.

In many ways our earthly hearts were empty much like this part of KCU’s campus.

may 14 649may 14 650But God.

I love that phrase.

But God.

Because it changes every part of me.

He fills the empty places.

So yesterday, with the help of friends and the generous gifts to Nick’s Foundation, we spent the day filling KCU’s empty places!

Happy Birthday, Nick! Because of you, we are who we are today.

And for that reason alone we can praise God even in our grief.

We miss you. We love you. We will see you soon!!may 14 746 may 14 747 may 14 645 may 14 647 may 14 663 may 14 665 may 14 670 may 14 676

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Dad wore his favorite shirt to remind us all to never forget to

CELEBRATE YOUR LIFE!

I’m reading a book right now called Second Calling: Finding Passion and Purpose for the Rest of Your Life by Dale Hanson Bourke.

Maybe the fact that I’ve said for years that I still don’t know what I want to be when I “grow up” has caused me to stop and ponder my life direction.

Maybe it’s the fact that I’m in that mid-life stage of life that drew me to this title when I was walking through a bookstore one day.

Maybe it’s the reality that I long to feel a fire deep within me when I wake up in the morning and head out the door to face whatever God is calling me to do on any particular day.

Passion.

I want that.

Purpose.

I need that.

The rest of my life.

That’s all I have left.

So turning each page of this book ignites something in me…………………..

As if two pieces of wood are being rubbed together and sparks are beginning to fly.

I’m excited about the thought of a second calling.

I’m not sure what that looks like, but I am ready to be revived!

If you find yourself sitting at a crossroads in your life journey, consider reading Second Calling.

Jeremiah 6:16

Stand at the crossroads and look;

ask for the ancient paths,

ask where the good way is, and walk in it,

and you will find rest for your souls.

 

www.shutterstock.com

This past weekend our son Evan graduated from Morehead State University. Relatives came to town and shared the special day with us!

On Friday night we went out to eat, and I was sitting next to my nephew Phillip. For some silly reason I began pretending that I was a little girl named Lydia and Phillip jumped right into the act. It was so funny. All weekend he kept asking when Lydia was going to come back to visit.

“Lydia” showed up to swing in the backyard for a bit with Phillip after we got home from eating, and during our imaginary conversation, Phillip said something that cracked me up.

He was talking about his Aunt Tammy (me) and said, “Sometimes she is cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs and off the charts.”

We all thought this was such a funny phrase for a kid to say.

If you want to get an honest opinion of yourself, I guess asking a 7 year old is that way to do it.

After Phillip left this weekend, I didn’t really think about what he had said too much until I was reading my devotion this morning in my book “Jesus Calling.”

I had to call my sister-in-law (Phillip’s mom) as soon as I read what it said.

Here is what I read:

I want you to know how safe and secure you are in My Presence. That is a fact, totally independent of your feelings. You are on your way to heaven, nothing can prevent you from reaching that destination.

There you will see Me fact to Face, and your Joy will be “OFF THE CHARTS by any earthly standards.

WOW!

Goosebumps covered my arms as I thought to myself, “God placed simple, funny words in Phillip’s mouth so that I would read my devotion this morning and say WOW, WOW, WOW!!!”

Off the charts!

I think that is how God calls us to live out our lives.

Jesus came to give us an abundant life.

Off the charts!

Jesus is coming back one day to take us all to Heaven!

I can’t think of a better reason to live an “off the charts” life, can you?!?!

I Corinthians 13:12

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror;

then we shall see face to face.

Now I know in part; then I shall know fully,

even as I am fully known.

 

There have been times in my life when I have sensed a healthy kind of balance. I’ve been able to keep the house somewhat in order, cook a few decent meals, feel capable at work, and still have quality time with God, my friends, and my family. I love those fleeting times……………………

Then there are the times that look like the first picture in this post…………………….
Times when I am that little guy holding on for dear life as EVERYTHING around me seems to be bearing down heavily…………………..

I’m not so crazy about those times.

Times when I feel disconnected from my family, my friends……………………and especially disconnected from Him, the One who sustains me.
I was able to do a little “organizing” last night at home, which really came about because I was in yet another search for something that had “disappeared.” Last week it was Todd’s tennis shirt. This week it was a book I am reading. As I sorted through books, papers, notebooks, and other things that had been forming small piles here and there in the house, I ran across a book that I had forgotten that I had been loaned by a friend. It is called Cold Tangerines, and it is kind-of a journal, kind-of a devotional.
I ended up tucking myself upstairs in Nick’s room for a while and soaking in some of the author’s words and as I did, I realized something.
I realized that wrestling my way through life isn’t something I do alone.
Others wrestle.
Others struggle.
I guess in the end it’s how we “act” while wrestling that truly reflects who we are, and that is what I’m wrestling with today.
I’m wrestling with how I wrestle. How odd is that?????
I can talk to God the entire time I am in the shower and then get so easily agitated with Tim just minutes later when we discover that the sweatshirt I bought Olivia Monday did not have the security tag removed and I didn’t save the receipt and my hair is still wet and I need a man with wire cutters to save the day and the search for wire cutters reminds me that our shed reflects the chaos of this school year and I want to stay home and just clean the whole thing out and have a yard sale and organize every closet which then reminds me of our attic which sends my heart into even more agony and then I walk out the door flustered because in the end Olivia’s brand new sweatshirt has a hole………………………………………..
Does anyone relate????? Please say, “yes,” or I might have to delete this post and stop blogging and hide somewhere until I can find a place to receive some much-needed therapy (smiles).
Honestly, I walked through the visitation line last night and hugged Luther and Gunnar and Maverick. I saw Bridgett and felt like I was in a bad dream. I put on earrings this morning that were a gift from her a few months ago that say “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13)

I remembered how Bridgett had told me that she had looked at her boys when we lost Nick and couldn’t imagine losing one of hers. Now here I stood looking at her boys and finding myself not able to imagine my kids not having me.

And I was reminded so painfully of how short life is and how every day is a gift.
And then I failed this morning in my own life.

I simply failed.
I allowed a last-minute setback to do more than set me back. It overcame me, and I was ugly…………..again.
So what now?
Where do I go from here in my wrestling with what exactly God calls me to do and be?

There’s something about this picture that reminds me that even in the seesaw-reality of life, the constant ups and downs, the juggling of work, home, church, and on and on, there can be peace.
Maybe peace is found only by choosing to get off the seesaw.
The world isn’t going to stop spinning, so maybe sometimes it’s choosing not to spin with it.
Just making the decision to say, “I’m walking towards peace.”
That’s what I want to do.
Jesus says, “My peace I leave with you.”

I’m searching for it today, and I am not going to stop until I find it.

It’s more important than a missing book, although Olivia found my book today on the stage at school…………………………….I left it there Friday when I had early duty. 🙂

It’s more important than a hole in a sweatshirt or an overly cluttered shed.

Well, I’ve rambled my way through my own mess and somehow I feel better.
Now I can ask for forgiveness knowing I have a little bit of a plan.
And I can clean the shed out next week………………..if it ever stops raining.
I love you all so much.
Please whisper a prayer today for Luther and the boys. Bridgett’s funeral is at 3.
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When we do the best we can,
we never know what miracle is wrought in our life,

or in the life of another.

Helen Keller

If you woke up this morning determined to make the right choices and be the best person you could possibly be in spite of your life’s circumstances, you are on your way to making a difference in someone’s life that very well could effect them for eternity.

We pray for big, life-changing miracles that display the wonders of God, but I just wonder how many unseen miracles surround us every second of every day.
I believe that God is a God of constant miracles, so I’d say we only see a tiny fraction of His work with our human eyes.
I’ve struggled since losing Nick with the word “miracle,” because I wanted and believed that God could work a miracle through Nick and display His mighty power by healing him even after the doctors said there was nothing else they could do.

In our small town we have had several losses in the past few months after fervent prayer vigils were held and miracles were needed as others fought tough fights like Nick.

I wish I could see the world from God’s eyes.

I wish I could hear His definition of the word “miracle.”
So many times, for me, “miracle” has meant “God answering a prayer in exactly the way someone wants even if the odds are stacked against them.”
Yes…………………….miracles like that do happen.

But other miracles happen too.

Babies are born.

Lives are transformed.

Spiritual and physical battles are won.
With the passing of every minute of every single day, God is a God of miracles.

So………………………..

Even in death God is working.

Maybe even more than in life.

See, death in itself is a miracle, because it is only through dying that we are able to receive eternal life, a resurrected body, a transition from this world to a new and better world.

We can’t see this miracle.

Faith has to step in and create in us a heart full of Hope and Peace.
If you think about it, faith is a miracle (a gift from God)……….
allowing man to have the capability of believing in something they cannot see, touch, or experience firsthand.

Tonight is Bridgett’s visitation.
I am overwhelmed at the thought of walking through the line to hug Luther and the boys.

My heart aches.

But, oh, for Bridgett, my heart sings a new song.

She is in the Presence of our Lord and Savior!!!!

The Bible says that for Christians “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.”

This is the unseen miracle I cling to today and every day.

And because of this miracle, I pray that

you too can find Hope and Peace.

Trust Him today.
Believe Him today.

Claim your unseen miracle,
Psalm 34:18

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted

and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Today, my heart is aching for our friends, Luther, Gunnar, and Maverick.

Luther’s wife Bridgett went Home to be Jesus yesterday after only three weeks of fighting leukemia.

Gunnar and Maverick are middle school friends of Olivia’s, and Luther is a teacher and coach at the high school Todd attends.
Bridgett and Luther reflected Christ in all they did.
I remember Luther coming to our house and bringing Nick an East Carter football jersey and telling him that he looked forward to Nick wearing it one day.

Nick never had the chance to be on the team, but he sure grinned as Luther gave him the jersey.

After Nick passed away, Bridgett made sure the doctor’s office she worked in received a Nick’s Nook for their waiting room.

I have pictures of both of these events but just haven’t had time to find them yet. I will soon.

For now, please pray for the Jarvis family during this difficult time.

Thankful for the promise of God’s nearness to those who are brokenhearted.