"The thistle is a prickly flower, aye, but how it is sweetly worn."

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

my to do list is Meaningless

I made this art journal after the outpouring of grace I received from this post.  This post was also featured at Exceptionalist from Into the Word Wednesday, which was pretty humbling.  I have felt so loved by all the kind words that post received, which has really made me think.  Mainly about the importance of being real.

My blog is read often by people I know in real life.  There are a handful of people in the blog world who read it.  But really, there are probably 50-70 people average who read each post I do.  My post on abortion has been read over 700 times this week.  Which is crazy.  But I think it's a great reminder that people are not drawn to perfect.  They are drawn to raw, real, humans.  So often we let pride dictate what we will and will not say.  That has held me back, really in just fear, from sharing my story for so many years.  Yet all things relating to pride are just "chasing after the wind" (Ecc 1:17)  Me at my weakest and most ashamed drew others to most.  My ugliest allows his glory to shine through.  So crazy to think about.  God of the chiasm.

I spent last week reading through Ecclesiastes as part of my read through the Bible plan.  I think it was one of my favorites so far.  Maybe it's because I struggle with anxiety, but it just really felt like it was what my heart needed.

What does a man get for all the toil and anxious striving with which he labors under the sun?  All his days work is pain and grief; even at night his mind does not rest.  This too is meaningless.
~ Ecclesiastes 2: 22-23

This is my life.  I worry and stress about work and my kids reading levels and am I teaching this right and what about my dyslexia referrals and what interventions do I need in place in order to get this kid on level and how do I get this kids parents to come meet with me about progress.  Worry, worry, worry.  I worry about home and the pile of dishes and the piles of laundry and the play dough that is e-v-e-r-ywhere.  I worry that I don't spend enough time with Jude.  I worry that Jude will learn all my bad habits.  I worry about getting dinner ready.  I worry about having time to myself.  I worry about scheduling time with friends.  I worry about spending time with my bf over Jude or not spending time with my bf.  I worry about Bible study going over too late and being too tired.

I allow my days to be pain and grief.  My mind never stops, never rests.  

This is meaningless.

Perfection doesn't matter.  It's meaningless.  It's pride.  It's lack of trust.  It's carrying a load I have been told to surrender.  It's sin.  It's meaningless.  Meaningless.  There.  Is.  No.  Point..... Wasted time

A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work.  This is from the hand of God. ~ Ecclesiastes 2:24

Those 1000 gifts?  They aren't found in the thinking about what I need to do.  They are done in thanking God for what He has done.  Not me.  Him.  Not my list.  His.  I love how I am supposed to eat, drink, and enjoy life.... then find satisfaction in my work.  My problem is priorities.  Enjoy my time in my classroom.  Enjoy my time with my students.  Enjoy my time with Jude.  And allow the work to happen.  Be satisfied with the amount I do at school.  Be satisfied for what I manage to get done at my house.  But make the crux of it all enjoying the moments with them.  That's where they will see Christ's love.  My to do lists don't really showcase the love of Christ.  But enjoying and loving on my kids (students + Jude) sure does.  

I found this really convicting.  Those things I listed really do have to get done eventually.  Those lists really do exist.  But I have to find a way to make it ok to not finish.  And not exhaust myself all day trying to finish it only to throw the towel in at 11:00.  I have to find a way to enjoy the day while checking off things as I am able to.  I don't exactly know how to do that.  But I am praying that I will gain a realistic view of priorities that are God driven and those that are 'meaningless'.

How do you eat, drink, and find satisfaction in your work?

Linking up with Upward Not Inward and Into the Word Wednesday

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Church date night

So I realize my last date night style post involved football dates.  Now we have church date style.  You don't have to tell me how wild and crazy my life is.  I know.  :)  But seriously, I love it.  My boyfriend goes to the Village here in DFW, but will only go on Saturday nights (its basically crazy huge).  So sometimes that is what we do for date night.  I actually like it, because I feel like church dates are a good way to grow your relationship in the right ways.  Church gives us something substantial to talk about.  Especially because we are both 'thinker' types.  Anyway.  It's fun.  Next week though we are going to see Turnpike Troubadours or something like that.  So you will get a real date post with Texas flair.  Get excited :)

Ok here is the top half.  I just want you to know that the main reason I did this is because my hair made me happy.  I love when my hair is messy enough to look kinda punk.  If you know me, you know my hair is like the only thing I blow money away on.  Just because I like to look funky and somewhat edgy I guess.  So when I feel like my hair has that funkiness I love, well I get excited.

Elephant earrings- frock stock
Elephant necklace- Forever 21
Jacket- target

 I am shamelessly wearing leggings.  And forever on I will think of my favorite blogging and real life friend Kate, and her comment on this.  She is a blog you MUST read in my opinion.  Click here.

Tunic t shirt: forever 21
leggings: American Apparel

And then my shoes.  I found these pretty cheap at TJ Maxx when I was searching for an outfit for a friends rehearsal dinner.  They pretty much made my outfit.  My life has been based off of shoes as my statement piece for a long time.  I'm not that into jewelry or purses or things like that.  But shoes, yes.  Unfortunately with teaching and kids I do not have the stamina for heals.  But on date nights, I love my shoes.

So this outfit was awesome because it was comfy.  Leggings and a t shirt tunic.  It's like practically yoga apparel.  And these leggings are winter leggings from American Apparel.  They really are warm, which is good, because I HATE to be cold.  Comfy, warm, win.  The shoes and jacket make me look like I have an actual outfit on, which is nice.  Keeping it real over here, ya know.

Ps- have loved having new people finding my blog and following along and love even more getting to go over to your blogs and getting to follow along.  Super fun!  There are some amazing stories out there!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Coffee Date- Getting to know you...

Ok here is a coffee date blog that I did to participate in a link up with http://www.5ohwifey.com/ and http://ragstostitchesblog.com/.  Jury still out on whether I will ever do this again.  Haha.  Just about my experience with blogging over the last 4 years.

Also, if you follow my blog via facebook, would you mind officially following along?  Fab :)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

thankful thursdays- abortion, MLK, teaching

1.  thankful for my atonement child, my sweet Jude.  And how lately he answers my call with 'yes hunny' or 'yes sweetie'.  I don't even know where he gets the things he says, but he makes me laugh.  And laughing is the best.

2.  the greatest outpouring of grace I think I have ever received for sharing my biggest regret in honor of Roe v. Wade.  You can see the post here.  There is no condemnation in Christ and I really felt so much Christ-love from the encouraging words people gave me.  Seriously.  Some of you just made me cry :)  THANK YOU

3.  My quirky aspergery student who keeps saying "I like the new Ms. D" every time we do a math problem, a science experiment, read a book.  I don't know how these things are new.  Maybe because he confused the concept of New Years??  Still funny.

4.  Quality parent conferences that lead to a game plan in the best interest for the kid.  And honestly a renewed love and dedication for this kid.  

5.  Engaged eyes yesterday as I shared with them the time in college I went and listened to Coretta Scott King speak.  At the time, I knew it was a once in a lifetime opportunity.  She actually passed away a year or two after I heard her.  But I always think about her during this week, and almost always share that story with my kids.  This year I just had a couple kids who really locked in with me ya know.   I don't remember much of what she said, but I remember her clearly talking about how as we climb the ladder of success to always be sure and put one hand and help lift the person behind us.  I was so moved by that idea.  And while most of my class didn't seem to care, those few kids who did.  I don't know it was amazing to see their faces really think through how they can become successful but also reach one hand back.  Like teared up amazing.  I hope they always remember that story.

6.  In connection with above, and in order to show the kids a tangible way I give back to the person behind me.  I shared with them my picture of our sweet Gifty from Ghana who Jude and I support through Compassion International.  I keep her picture by my desk at school, so I was able to show the kids.  It was just a really neat conversation.  Where they were able to make the connections to caring about others and I actually got to show them how I do that.  I don't know.  It was really exciting.  Some days teaching is hard.  Sometimes it is so amazing I just know I couldn't do any other job.

7.  thankful I love my job.  It's not easy, but impacting sweet children who need a desperate amount of love is amazing

Loved and LovelyThe Fontenot FourThankful Thursdays Buttona punk, a pumpkin and a peanut

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

My personal dirty secret- Remembering Roe v Wade

If I actually hit send on this one, just know I've completely put myself out there, and please have grace. I suppose everyone has their deep secrets.  This is mine.  In fact I'm so adverse to talk about it, I don't think I've ever shared my testimony (to a group) and included this part.  It's a huge part, but I can't go there.  And even now I am hiding behind my computer screen trying not to imagine the faces of people reading this.

Today is the 40th anniversary of Roe v Wade.  40 years and its still a pretty charged topic.  Christians rarely let up on the pursuit of right to life, and that's good.  But to be honest with you, I often cringe when Christians shout 'murderer murderer' in reference to any girl that's sat in a Planned Parenthood room.  6 years later and those words still sting- and it doesn't take much time in a church to hear them with regularity.

No one ever thinks of the face of the girls there.  Maybe because no one knows their faces.  You have to actually be getting one to even get in.  And so in that sense, I get it.  But the thing is, that waiting room is not full of haughty eyes and rebellious women.  It's full of lonely and scared women who don't realize that Jesus is the one in whom they find their self worth.  I'm sure some women are the 'cold blooded murderers' portrayed by pro life stances.  But it really isn't the majority.

There are a lot of reasons I say this.  For one thing, 80% of college women will experience date rape.  80%  Please wrap your head around that statistic.  Out of 10 girls, 8 of them will experience date rape.  And based on my own personal life experience and people I've talked to, that is an absolutely correct statistic.  Most of these women will never come forward.  In fact I've known between 10-20 personal friends experience this and I know of one who pressed charges.  (the legal system failed her, btw)  Rape is one of the singularly most traumatic things a girl can experience.  There is nothing that will more shatter her self worth than that.  And often, when you find out a girl was raped, the story follows the same pattern. The girl proceeds to allow herself to be used by anyone.  Now if 80% of women in college have experienced this, it stands to reason that a LARGE percentage of college age abortion getting women are there because they were raped.  Does that excuse their action, no.  But do you really have the heart to look at a heart that broken and call her murderer?

Or what about the high schoolers.  The high schoolers I saw were brought there by their parents.  Do they even have a choice?  I can't imagine the fear of going against my parents at 16 to raise a baby they don't want to raise.  And these girls are just kids.  They are just kids.

Or how about the fact that 1 in 4 American girls are victims of sexual abuse.  How do you know how many of those millions of girls getting an abortion aren't suffering the anguish of such a trauma.  If rape shatters a girl in one act, I cannot imagine what a girl who has been repeatedly raped by an adult thinks of herself.  Does that give her the right to have an abortion, again no.  But you have to understand that the women who have entered these clinics are hurting.  They are hurting, yall.

There is a saying which goes "guys use a relationship to get sex.  girls use sex to get a relationship."  And here is my guess where you find the majority of women.  I know that is where I found myself.  It was never like I set out to get there.  But I wasn't a very strong Christian, and certainly not a strong person, and I had on 2 occasions almost been part of the 80% and I just didn't think I was worth much.  I honestly would think things like there was some invisible brand that suggested to all men that I was worthless and he could push me as far as he wanted.  Literally thought that exact thing.  And I didn't want to break up with said guy, because I thought if I just stayed with him it would sort of make up for it.  And maybe one day we would get married (which we did-nightmare) and then it would alleviate my own sin and I would actually be ok.  But in between my giving in and marriage, I did end up in that clinic.  And I hated every second of it.  I never once thought it was ok.  But I had so much pressure from him to go through with it.  And I knew that if I didn't that would be the end.  And I couldn't wrap my mind around it ending, because then I would really just be a sinner.  I so desperately wanted to make our relationship work because I was so fixated with fixing my sexual worthlessness.  And I did it.

And for the next several years it tore me up.  There were very few years where anniversaries and due dates didn't flash across my mind.  To this day, I don't think a week that goes by I don't think of it.  I don't think a month goes by where I don't wonder what will it be like to see that child when I go to heaven?  Will they hate me?  I call Jude my atonement child because from the day I entered that clinic I never felt I deserved motherhood.  What kind of mom does that?  I actually struggled a lot when I first started teaching because what kind of teacher does that?

When I found out about Jude, I was both relieved and afraid.  I was terrified of a miscarriage as God's way of punishing me.  Throughout my pregnancy, God began the process of showing me he really did love me.  And he didn't save me and expect perfection.  And that there was grace grace grace.  I picked the name Jude because I love the Beatles song.  And the idea of taking a sad song and making it better is really the story of my life.  But I also loved that it means 'praised'.  My heart has praised God everyday for my atonement child.  The one who showed me that God's grace was inexhaustible.  Unfathomable.  Covered it all.  He has used Jude to save me from a sense of worthlessness, from a bad marriage, from giving in to the depression and anxiety from my marriage failing, and 1000 other ways.

I share this from the darkest corner of my soul.  And I don't want to even think about what this will mean in relationships with people.  I guess I can't imagine grace from others very well.  But it occurred to me that this isn't my story.  It's God's story.  He's sovereign over it all.  And far be it from me to hold back.

If you remember anything from this story, remember that the girls who walk into those clinics are hurting.  At least most of them.  They were hurting before they ever got pregnant probably.  And before you cast the first stone, try to understand that there's a pain in their souls and an emptiness that only Love can fill.  Yes, support your politicians and make your voice heard.  But don't forget that there are faces behind policies.  Speak up for the babies, by all means.  But remember that there are plenty of girls reading your posts that have an ache in their heart that they will live with forever.  Speak love to those girls.  Take time to ask them what brought them to that place.  It will probably break your heart, but it's the broken hearts that are the easiest to lead back home, back to the God who loves them.

There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death ~ Romans 8:1

I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields!  They are ripe for harvest ~ John 4:35

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Thankful Thursday/Fab Five

1.  Thankful for warm weather.  (Technically it was only 54* but after the past weeks of 30s it feels fantastic!)  And for scarves in my hair.  I heart the bohemian look.

2.  Thankful for this new mug from Target.  So simple.  But I am just loving it each morning... and afternoon... and you get the idea.

3.  Thankful for this little boy.  And the absolute joy I experience with running around the park with him on Sunday morning.  When you are a working momma, and you miss out on soooo much, these moments are just so precious.  I even feel thankful for getting to make his lunch while he sits and watches TV.  Because normally, he eats lunch without me.

4.  I am thankful for quiet times with the Lord.  For Jesus Calling, which always is exactly what I need. For Ecclesiastes, which is one of the books I'm currently reading through.  That book is so encouraging for people like me who like to make sure everything is perfect and worry so much.  It's all meaningless. I am loving learning that I just need to focus on eating, drinking, being thankful, and doing the work that God gave me to do.  Life is so much simpler than I thought.  Such a great book!  (I know I say that after every book, but seriously.  The Bible.  So good)

5.  I am thankful for art journaling!!!!!!!  Oh man.  I love hunting through magazines for words and phrases and pictures that inspire me.  I like putting them all together based on whatever I feel the Holy Spirit has been telling me through his word.  I love the way it makes me reflect on his word.  I am loving this theme of acceptance.  I love each stroke of the paintbrush.  It really feels like a little piece of anxiety exits my soul with each one.

This week was kinda hard.  But it ended so well.  And I really have so many more things I'm not listing.  God is so good!

Loved and LovelyThe Fontenot FourThankful Thursdays Buttona punk, a pumpkin and a peanut

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Materialism + the Gospel = ???

The harvest is plentiful and the workers are few....

This weekend my church had a Missions Conference.  In case you didn't know, I have a thing for missions....  here and here and I know there is more but I never remember to tag these posts.  I have a thing for missions in all ways, but my #1 love is the persecuted church.  Or persecuted woman.  And incidentally those go together often.  In my dream life, I work in North Africa or some Islamic Meditteranean country with women.

Anyway, last year I wrote this which highlighted my decision to focus less on materialism and more on the eternal.  I have spent the last 6 months really considering each decision I make with my money very carefully.  Not that I have cut back everything, but I have been able to save more and in turn managed to fit sponsoring a child into my budget.  (incidentally that has been a phenomenal daily lesson for Jude).

However, last night, while listening to Dr. Stanley Toussaint, I reexamined my heart regarding this.  He was highlighting the verses from 2 Corinthians 4:7-10 where it talks about how the gospel is the treasure within us and how we are merely jars of clay.  In many ways he reordered my thinking on these verses, but he said something that given my attempts to leave materialism, really struck me.  He said that carrying the death of Christ in our bodies as vs 10 talks about isn't a call to inflict suffering and do without material things but more a recognition that we should be suffering rejection because of Christ.  More of a as they hated Christ, they will hate us thing. (matt 10:22)  And he also said that anytime you see someone who focuses on giving up, you will often find pride and a critical spirit.

And I am so guilty of that.  Maybe it's because I live in Texas which is both full of many, many Christians who also happen to be very well off.  And I have a definite disdain for the way Texas is full of people who fill pews every Sunday and then spend more money than you really need.  And even my typing of that is critical.  And I wonder how many of them are really living as "the called out ones" who are trying to change the world and how many of them just feel good about themselves in their comfortable Christian lives.

So all that to say, somehow I've got to reconcile these two thoughts and reach a place of humility about this.  Because I don't want a critical spirit.  But I also think that sharing the gospel is the only thing of true worth for the Christian.  So I ask you, how do I make sense of this?  How do I live for Christ and the gospel without idolizing materialism but also not idolizing rejecting materialism?  What really is the call for the Christian in a world with more than enough and how do I really reconcile these ideas?

I would really really love your comments on this one, because I honestly am not sure what this should look like.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Gods grace and trusting him with our babies - ITWW

This week I started 1 Samuel.  Hannah's story is so real and raw to me.  The kind that just gets you in the gut.  This book wastes no time hitting you with the force of the emotion Hannah felt.  By the third paragraph, she is weeping with bitterness of soul.  "Oh lord if only you will look upon your servant's misery...".  So gut wrenchingly honest about what she was feeling.  There were pieces of my soul that absolutely cried along with her the past couple of mornings.  I understand where she's coming from.  Crying out to God like that from the most desperate places of your soul.  

I've never really gone into (and honestly probably won't) all that went into me praying for Jude.  It was the prayer of the desperate.  It was the prayer of someone longing to tangibly feel and know God's grace.  Every now and then, you will catch me refer to Jude as my 'atonement child'.  And I really do mean that.  He has saved my life in more ways than I can probably ever understand.  There is probably no single person in this world that has touched my life in quite the same way as he has.  And certainly no person or gift that has ever proven to me that the grace of God existed for me.

Not to say that I wasn't a Christian before Jude or didn't receive God's grace before then.  I definitely was.  But based on different things, I just couldn't wrap my mind around the fact that God really did love me.  That he loved me more than just enough to save me.  That he loved me and actually wanted to give me good things.  I struggled (still do) with the idea of God wanting to bless my life for no reason other than He loved me for such a long time.  Jude sort of proved how deep God's love was for me.  The moment I knew it was oh so deep and real.  I know how Hannah felt.  And I guess that's why this story was so moving.

Of course, it doesn't stop there.  Hannah doesn't just take this gift from God and squeeze every drop of it out for herself.  She opens, receives, and quickly gives it back.  What kind of humble and grateful and fully aware of the holiness of God heart does it take to want something so desperately, get it, and then let it go like that?  I can't imagine doing that.  So much faith.

I'm thankful God isn't going to ask me to give up Jude in that kind of way, but I do know He will always call me to trust Jude in His hands over mine.  I don't know what tomorrow holds for me or for Jude.  I do know I find great comfort in knowing "I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him." (1:27)  I know God doesn't answer the prayers of the desperate and he doesn't fulfill promises to then turn around and ruin lives.  I know God's plans for me and for Jude are for good.  I pray desperately now that God would help me raise this wonderful gift to be godly and just in love with Christ and that he sees authentic, gospel centered life through me, even though I fail him constantly.  And for now, that's where my trust comes in.  I have to trust that God gave me this child, and God will help me make this child into the person He wants him to be.

"So now I give him to the Lord.  For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord." (1:28)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Shabby Apple

The other day I received an email from Shabby Apple asking me to be one of their affiliates.  To say I was shocked was an understatement.  Considering pretty much anyone can have my complete cooperation by saying the magic word 'retro', I was kinda excited!

Shabby Apple is a company specializing in designing retro clothes.  You know the clothes you scour through the thrift store hoping to find (please say I'm not the only one hoping to stumble on a 50s dress), they basically recreate them.  ::Swoon:: goes my vintage loving heart.

Added bonuses- They specialize in focusing on making their clothes 'modest'.  As a women who would rather be known for her gentle and quiet spirit, it's nice to see things that I don't have to put back on the rack because they are too short or too low.  They also give 5% of their profits back to charities and organizations focused on helping women.  If their is one thing that my marriage and divorce gave me, it was a compassion for women who are hurting.  And if there is one area I hope to be able to one day focus on in ministry, its with hurting women.  So supporting that in any way is always a plus.

So without further adieu, let me show you 5 reasons I think this company is awesome.

 1. White tulle Marilyn Monroe like dress- it actually reminds me of my wedding dress which is the only positive thing that came from that day :) Anyway, I love this dress in every way.  When I was a little girl, I used to only let my mom buy a dress if it twirled right.  This just looks like a dress made for twirling.  Love!

 2. Polka dots always get my retro heart thumping.  And for whatever reason, I've always loved navy and the nautical look.  Although, to be honest, I think part of the reason I loved this so much was because I'm longing for warmer weather!  Regardless, love the bottom.  And also, love that it's paired with orange.  Kind of a new twist.  Orange always adds an element of funky to things, which is my other favorite style word.  Retro.  Funky.  Win.

 3.  Ummm this is from the Mad Hatter collection and is called Alice.  So whimsical and light and I think I would feel like a fairy in it.  And it's mint!  I would gladly go to a tea party wearing this!  I love love love 50s styled dresses.  Dreamlike.

 4.  Having just recently worn my Mary Jane heels, I kind of love this.  I love yellow things, although they never seem to look good on my olive skin.  But I love its classic 30s/40s look.  The hat, the dress, the shoes.  So ladylike.

5.  Back to nautical, but I love black and white stripes.  So French Riviera to me.  And again, right now, I want to move to the beach.  Permanently.  So seeing this makes me imagine what its like to feel warm.  But really, love the stripes.  Love the pockets.  Love the way it is flowing out from the middle.

Cute stuff huh?  There are so many collections and dresses upon dresses upon dresses.  I have an itch to play dress up- just need an occasion for it :)  There is a button on the right side of my page that allows you to access the site from my blog.  Check it out!

Note- as an affiliate, if you go through my blog, I would earn 5% back of any sales.  Which as a single momma, is definitely a perk!

Texas Snow- BOTWT

Beginning of the Week Thoughts:

Glad I left my Christmas decorations up.  

Last night Jude was running a fever, probably due to croup, since his cough sounds very much like that.  So I had to call in for work today.  This has been one of those years where I have just run through my sick days due to ear infections, the flu, you name it.  I was kind of frustrated because I really don't want to take any more time off.

Then I realized it was snowing.  My school district didn't call a snow day (normally we do).  It would have been nice if they had, since it would have saved me the sick day.  But hey, today is not a day I would want to get out and teach.  Can you imagine how crazy 2nd graders are when there is glorious snow on the ground and I dare ask them to learn?  So in some ways, my hat is off to you kid.  You picked a good day to get sick.

He really loved scooping up the snow.  We've been reading a lot of Katy and the Big Snow, and Mike Mulligan and his steam shovel.  I am guessing he was enacting the story.

This little cup was mine from when I was little.  Looks so cute full of hot warm chocolate and marshmallows.

Looks even cuter being sipped by a certain 3 year old I love.  Also, he has a permanent ratnest.  I finally cut his hair like a  normal boy in hopes it'd solve the problem.  But as it turns out, no.

PS Jude is wanting to head back outside with is bull dozer.  To push snow.  Like Katy.  Be still my teacher heart!  

Also- you should follow me on instagram @thistleashd

miscellany monday at lowercase letters     

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Football Date Night Style

I almost never do this style posts.  Mainly because I don't have a full length mirror.  And that frustrates me.  Also, there is a 50/50 shot my date night outfits include leggings and a Beatles t shirt because we do things like watch Packers games.  And this date night was also spent watching the packers game.  This outfit was my attempt to support green and yellow :)

I think my hair is the reason I decide to even publish it.  Because I'm sorry but I get a ridiculous amount of enjoyment from putting my hair up in a 50s/60s scarf with my teeny tiny beehive.  It's seriously my favorite hairstyle ever.  Ever.  (technically anything related to 50s/60s will be my fave ever.  <3 p="p" retro="retro">

And since I rocked retro hair, I decided to rock retro shoes.  Mary Jane heels.  Oh you make me happy. Too bad these are not comfortable.  Or maybe I've just gotten so used to wearing Toms every day of my life?  ;)    

The outfit from the top down.  Not super fancy or anything.  Just cuffed jeans, a sweater, and Mary Jane's.  To watch a football game.  Because.  Obviously :)

Handsome guy :)  Lucky girl :)

Details: Hair scarf:  Probably Charming Charlie, but seriously OLD
               Mary Janes: also OLD and probably from DSW
               Sweater: Old Navy
               Jeans: Levis
               Elephant Necklace: Forever 21 I think

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Accepting the Unknown- Thankful Thursday

This week I am thankful for:

Lots of rain in North Texas.  I live near one of the lakes in the area, and I drive over a bridge for that lake every morning and every afternoon when I go to work, anytime I go grocery shopping, anywhere. It's been beyond depressing the past 2 years watching what was once a beautiful, wild lake marsh area turn to dry land.  I am not being facetious.  Literally.  Dry.  I have prayed for a good soaking rain every day for a long time now.  So thankful that we got so much, and it's actually been raining lightly today.  We still need more of it, but I am so thankful for what we have gotten!

I am thankful for one of the most brilliant sunsets I have ever seen the morning following all that rain.  Isn't that just like God!  He sends tragic downpours into our lives, sometimes with little warning.  It can seem to last forever.  But there comes a morning you wake up to the most brilliant dawn, and you remember that God has been faithful and loving all along.

I am thankful for a lovely Friday with this little guy.  We stopped by the park while it was 65* out.  (another cold spell hit this morning)  We ran and climbed.  Then we came home, ordered pizza, made a 'pirate campout', watched 'Up', and drank hot chocolate.  Jimmy, who is the biggest sport imaginable, also joined us for all these riveting activities.  You know you've found a good one when he's willing to spend his Friday doing this kinds of things!  Side note- I know a lot of girls like the Notebook.  I will never fully understand the obsession, just because to me that story was told not so well.  However, the idea of being in love till your old I do actually love.  Up is kind of my version of the notebook.  I love the idea of converting an old house, I love the idea of doing just regular old life, I love the idea of wanting to go on adventures.  It's mainly the mutual love of adventuring that gets me.  Bucket list- adventuring!

Last I am thankful for art journaling- which is a really fun way to process all the things I'm thinking right now.  I feel like God really spoke to me today through Ruth ch1 and 1 Peter ch1 about accepting the unknown.  Just the way Ruth accepted what could have been a really lonely life by following Naomi.  And 1 Peter opens with talking about how we have hope through trials.  There is so much unknown to the Christian life.  And we are told over and over that we are strangers in this world.  Yet we have this Hope which is Christ Jesus- thankful. for. THAT.

Loved and LovelyThe Fontenot FourThankful Thursdays Buttona punk, a pumpkin and a peanut

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Kind Words

An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up. ~ Proverbs 12:25

This is the Bible verse I have been memorizing this week.  I'm trying to commit some anxiety verses to memory, and my counselor suggested this one.  It was short and easy to start with.  **if you have any good recommendations for anxiety related verses to memorize, share please :) ** 

Monday I came home, wrote a blog about Hebrews and started this art journal entry.  I'm sort of trying out art journaling just as a way to release some of the hidden thoughts/emotions/truths inside me.  I am finding such a release from it, and hope I will keep up with it.  

Tuesday, Wednesday, today I have gone through teaching following the Christmas break.  My kids have been as lovely as they know how to be.  But I just feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders.  And it's completely related to the reception of not kind words.  Not to say that I have been verbally assaulted, because I haven't.  But have you ever noticed how the atmosphere of a place can be completely set by the tone?  How you can be saying (or listening to) perfectly legitimate things being said, but because of the way they are said your left with nothing by negativity.  Some people respond defensively.  Some people get angry.  I tend to withdraw and inwardly try to deal with very hurt feelings.  I don't do well with poor delivery.  But a positive delivery.  Well that inspires me.  Energizes me.  Helps me persevere.  A kind word cheers me up.

It makes me wonder a lot about myself.  Conviction wise.  Just like adults have the power to set my atmosphere, I have the power to set the atmosphere in my classroom.  I know I've delivered messages to my kids on days where I'm worn out that weigh them down.  Or come home to Jude and delivered snappy messages that weigh him down.  And it breaks my heart.  I don't want to be that way.  I want to nurture and be the perfect, godly teacher and mother.  But I'm learning to accept that by myself I am too weak to be the person I want to be.  But praise God, He is my strength.  

I don't have any control over whether people around me will approach situations positively or negatively.  But I have control over how I respond.  I can respond to their negativity with love and gentleness.  I can set a tone in my classroom that is based on kind words cheering them up.  I can cry out to God who takes hold of my right hand and know He will help me.  This year I'm looking to achieve 'free'.  Today I want to be free from regrets over my failures, free from the power of others words weighing me down, and free to allow myself to depend fully on God's help.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Running the Race- 2013

Yesterday I finished reading the book of Hebrews.  If you weren't aware, I am working on reading through the Bible...  The last 4 chapters of Hebrews I just wrote and wrote and wrote pages in my prayer journal.  So much good.  But in light of the day I had, I am going to focus in on the verses I kept replaying in my head today.

12:1-2, 14-15 ~ Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross... Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.  See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up....

Today was one of those days where you realize that life does feel like a marathon that I'm halfway through.  And my muscles are in fact aching.  And I wish that I could just pull myself over to the side and check out of the race for awhile.  But I've been told to run.  Not walk, not jog.  Run.  And so I persevere.  Granted there are changes I hope to make throughout the next 6 months (prayers appreciated), but for now, run.

I am fixing my eyes on Jesus trying to find the faith to believe I am in the place that He chose for me to do the job He chose for me and perfectly both designed me for and designed for me.  Even though everything in my body is screaming "no no no".  And then we come to that word Joy.

Oh Joy.  So much deeper than transient emotion.  A sustaining contentment.  And how on earth do I find a way to be content when I'm overwhelmed by lists and expectations and people who seem to lack the ability to phrase what the need to say respectfully??  I remember that my responses reflect Christ.  Who endured the cross for my sake.  And I find joy in the fact that I can control my responses in such a way as to reflect Christ and that's sharing the gospel and that is the one thing I love more than any other.  It's crazy because the thought of sharing the gospel through my actions really does make me smile!  I can live in peace with people who come off rudely when I find joy in getting to show them the love of Christ.  How priveledged am I that I even get to show others Christ?!?!  I wish I could say in the moment I do that.  I don't.  But typing and reflecting on it, I know I will start my day with the goal of trying to respond with Christlike joy to even negative attitudes.  Without holiness no one will see the Lord.  What a weighty statement.  But I want more than anything for my life to reflect Christ.  So I will persevere in hopes of sharing Christ.

Not just for their good, but for mine.  So that I don't miss the grace of God.  Ohhh 1000 gifts.  The list that I must keep counting for it is my one antibiotic against a negative, anxious, overwhelmed heart.  Some gifts from today: lunch with a friend where we reflected on how our jobs show Christ, eating dinner with Jude and him telling me all about his day- I love that part of 3yr olds, encouraging words from a friend, encouraging words from my bf, a vanilla latte, getting to read Kevin Henkes books this week, reading Katy and the Big Snow with Jude and talking about buldozers (he got one for Christmas) and watching him act out the story, the Bachelor comes on tonight, the sunset, a golden cat which perfectly camouflaged into the golden grass, Jude making up songs, having leftovers so I didn't have to make dinner in my exhaustion..... And even with that list the grace of God, I know, is so extensive, there are 1000s I'm still missing.... like my brakes worked today... or I managed to fill up my gas before it went up 10 cents.... Oh the love of God that is immeasurably more than I can imagine.  Oh the joy of running this race in a way that causes no one around me to miss seeing the Lord through me. 

Here's to teaching this semester.  And if you think about it, pray for me, and all the teachers  :)

miscellany monday at lowercase letters     

Covered in Grace

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