All the books…

I’m wearing a fuzzy sweater, drinking a cup of tea, and finally sitting down to write something. Actually, my fuzzy sweater-wearing is ironic on two levels – – it’s only 90 thousand degrees outside (but fortunately -15 indoors, just the way I like it), and also my sweater isn’t naturally fuzzy. Even after washing it, the cat hair is stubbornly assimilating into its new home – my wardrobe. You’re welcome, Fashion World.

At the risk of narcissism, I’d love to share some of the delightful things I’ve discovered in the last month or so…Jonathan’s longer working hours have freed up a goodish bit of time for me to read. 🙂 Hello Library Addiction, my old friend!

Here are some books I’ve been enjoying.


Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living by Shauna Niequist

I posted this on facebook last week, how I read this book in two sittings, and Jonathan and I are reading it together now, and how it’s answering my questions and being the best. People pleasing and perfectionism could be my middle names, but it turns out they aren’t paths to success, or even virtues. This book is challenging me to let go of shields, and explore God’s love in ways I really haven’t ever done before. I wish I could hand this book to me in college. So do yourself a favor, and give it to you. 🙂

Surprised by Motherhood: Everything I Never Expected about Being a Mom by Lisa-Jo Baker

Don’t worry, I’m not currently surprised by motherhood, haha! However, lots of my friends are entering this stage of the game, and I wanted to understand their lives better. Also, I like to do advance research, so this is my first ever parenting book. It was deeply moving, and made me want to hug my mom, and thank God for making every day life sacred. This book is a quick read, super sweet, and made all the better because she grew up as a missionary kid in Africa. 🙂

Inspector Armand Gamache Series by Louise Penny

I. Love. Mysteries. But only good ones, not cheesy ones. This series is SO FREAKING GOOD. Not quite as good as Dorothy L. Sayers (because who is?), but a lot more modern. Also, I double dog dare you not to fall just a little bit in love with Inspector Gamache. Heartbreaking, healing, incisively insightful into humans and their condition, beautiful prose, hysterical sometimes….I just love  it. I’m currently reading three books in this series at the same time. Swimming in it. Also, can we talk about how delighted  I am that Louise Penny is 1) a fantastic writer, 2) has already written 11 books, 3) is still ALIVE, and 4) has another book coming out just in time for my birthday?????? It is so exciting to find an wonderful author who is still alive and writing books. Small disclaimer, there is some language, and some dark thematic elements sometimes. No nasty gory stuff though, just real people problems.

(True confessions: I almost didn’t put this up here, because I didn’t want people to be disappointed that I read gritty things sometimes, but I do, so there’s that. 🙂 )


For the Love: Fighting For Grace in a World of Impossible Standards by Jen Hatmaker

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I like to read books telling me how to better at not being a perfectionist. 🙂 I just want to get it right!! 🙂 It’s super normal and fine.

Jen Hatmaker remains hilarious, healing, hopeful, and her chapter on her 40s is my favorite. 😀 This book is delightful. (Actually, I got it as an audiobook read by the author. This was an excellent life choice.)

Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible’s View of Women by Sarah Bessey

Along the lines of perfectionism, I deeply appreciate invitations to revisit things – books, places, people, movies, decisions…haha. 🙂 I usually accept.

But seriously, since figuring out that I was deeply wrong about “if you do things right, your life will be easy and full of readily visible rewards and pretty much no unexpected suffering,” I’ve wondered what other views I hold that aren’t very correct and helpful. I care deeply about women, and want to know how Jesus thinks about us. Here’s a taste of this book that I only just started, but can’t wait to keep reading:

“We can miss  the crazy beauty of it because of the lack of fanfare in Scripture. Women were simply there, part of the revolution of love, sometimes unnamed, sometimes in the background, sometimes the receiver, sometimes the giver–just like every other man in Scripture, to be engaged on their own merit in the midst of their own story.

Jesus thinks women are people too.”

Misreading Scripture through Western Eyes: Removing Cultural Blinders to Better Understand the Bible by E. Randolph Richards, and Brandon J. O’Brien

Speaking of new perspectives, this book is blowing my mind. This is an accessible, thoughtful, illuminating, and exciting book. Have you ever felt like you knew all the Bible stories? This book will make you revisit all of your favorites with fresh eyes, and an eagerness to understand things you never knew before. I wanted to choose a quote, but was afraid if I started typing, I’d just copy out the whole book for you.

Language Culture and Teaching: Critical Perspectives by Sonia Nieto

To nerd out slightly – this is a teaching book, and it’s one of my new favorites. It’s right on up there with Love and Logic as far as forming my teaching philosophy. I love it. Basically, sometimes when engaging with students from cultures different from my own, I feel too entirely White. SO White. Glow-in-the-dark White. This book helped me to find good questions to ask, and encouraged me in my quest to be a listening teacher – someone who believes all my students have great things to offer that I didn’t know before I met them.

Occasions – by Kate Spade

I was slightly underwhelmed by this book. I’d rather look at her lovely products (especially anything with gold polka dots). 🙂 Kate Spade, I ❤ your classy look. True confessions, I do not feel the need for $40 gold tape dispenser, but I do believe that it is beautiful. 🙂 There were some cute and classy ideas for hospitality in here. It was especially fun to look at the pictures.

Hands Free Life: 9 Habits for Overcoming Distraction, Living Better,& Loving More by Rachel Macy Stafford

Similar to Present over Perfect, this book is a refreshing reminder to lock eyes with the people around me, relentlessly remove distractions from my life, and to rest. I’m really enjoying this one, and using it to help me focus before I read my Bible in the mornings.

Girl at the End of the world: My escape from fundamentalism in search of a faith with a future  – By Elizabeth Esther

I was surprised at how quick a read this was. This story of a young woman who escaped from a pre-apocalyptic cult was fascinating, heartbreaking, and incredibly hopeful. I  loved reading about the merciful way God heals hearts, even if her experiences have been vastly different from my own.

Have His Carcase – by Dorothy L. Sayers

Because at any given time, I’m always reading a Lord Peter Wimsey mystery, a Mitford book, and a Woodhouse book. Just like I’m never not listening to Andrew Peterson or the Pride and Prejudice soundtrack. I’m also never not drinking some type of hot beverage, or thinking about the next time I can drink one. 🙂 My heart just needs these things always.

Note: This isn’t the first book in the Lord Peter Wimsey series, but it’s one I haven’t read in a while. 🙂

The Nesting Place: It Doesn’t Have to be Perfect to be Beautiful by Myquillyn Smith

I am currently preparing for married life, and redecorating my office, and helping lots of family members move in and out of school, their new married people apartments, and back to America. Let’s just say that I’m also never not moving boxes this summer. This book reminded me how fun it is to make spaces beautiful. It’s basically eye candy, and less overwhelming than Pinterest. 🙂

What have you been reading? I’d love to hear from you! ❤




30 Seconds of Bravery

I remember one time, I was sitting up in my room, weeping again over loneliness and the depravity of daily existence without J. My dad came into my room and sat with me, and said some nice things.

When Dad closed the door and went back downstairs I realized, just because he came, I went from being pathetic to being loved.


I’m a recovering optimist.

I don’t mean that I’m recovering from optimism, I’m recovering being an optimist.

Let’s keep this brief (mostly because I’m too chicken to tell the details just yet). I used to believe that nothing tooooooo awful would happen to me or people I loved. And then a string of the awfulest things did happen. Not all at once, and truthfully, maybe it would have been easier if they had all happened at the same time. No, instead, I’d really start recovering from the first blow, start lifting my head, and then get punched somewhere else.

It’s okay if the awfulest things are different for you than they were for me. And it’s okay if your awfulest things are way worse than mine were. I can’t tell you your story–I can only bear witness to mine.

Truthfully, I think that’s how it’s supposed to be. I think it’s really interesting that what we usually tell the world is a sales pitch, instead of bearing witness. I think our lives would line up a lot more–connect a lot more- if we witnessed each other’s lives and our own, versus trying to fix, sell, or push them.

Anyways, people often reacted by telling me that they weren’t surprised that my life had gotten harder. They knew the golden days wouldn’t last. They would share their hardships like we had something in common–disaster is around the corner for everyone, and now I could join the ranks of the shell-shocked and the gun-shy. What a club. It’s not one I wanted to join, even if everything they were saying sure felt true.

Once I’d been around the block a few times, I really started to wonder, is there darkness around every corner? How are we supposed to trust in goodness and redemption when we’re really just waiting for the other shoe to drop all the time? How can we even truly be happy with people, if we know that their happiness is short-lived, or at the very least, rationed?

What does it mean, if God is everywhere, and evil is everywhere too?

It BOTHERS me when people say God uses suffering–like it’s a handy tool he uses to be more efficient. What results could  He possibly GET out off  this desperate sadness that would be worth this? Is He really part of this????

Is suffering really the tool He uses to make me the right shape, the right size in my own eyes, do the right stuff?

If God was my boyfriend, we’d call that domestic abuse, and the healthiest thing to do would be to get the heck away. Even if He does know A LOT more than I do–it’s hard to imagine someone who loves me saying that they’d ON PURPOSE just leave me this sad (and that it’s good for me??). (In fact everyone who loved me said they wished they could wave their magic wand and make it all go away).

If God is really a loving father, why does He allow the stuff that good parents would STOP?

Annnnnnnd here’s the part of the blog post that I usually just get up and go cry. Then I watch an episode of Psych and drink a cup of tea, and breathe, and fold laundry, and just generally don’t come back to the computer.

But I’m sticking with the story this time, and you deserve a medal for sticking with me. ❤

Because these aren’t easy questions, and they all make me cry. Thinking about how long ago this was (um, like a whole week ago) makes me FEEL THINGS.

But what if–what if–because God is there, God is everywhere, nothing’s as bad as it could be.

Do you know what happens when God talks in the Bible?

Stars spring into being.

Nobodies become Kings

Trees grow.

Lives that were OVER suddenly have a meaning, and a future, and peace

Babies are born.

Tax collectors make friends  🙂


and here’s the part that just , gets me




was He SO QUIET.


Finally an answer has come, and it’s definitely not what I was expecting. What if God was quiet because He’s actually a good friend? What if he was quiet and sitting with me while I wept? What if He was there weeping with me, long after I stopped trying to listen for him anymore?

What if we are never sadder than He is over our broken lives?

As readers and believers of the Bible, we know that sin and brokenness are poisons that eat into every life, in every way. They’re the opposite of God, and God’s very presence unmakes them, cleans them, heals them. They literally cannot be in the same place without God transforming them.

Oh me of little faith.

God doesn’t USE suffering–he transforms it.

He transforms Me.

And maybe that’s semantics–but those words mattered to me.

God died to make sure I didn’t stay in the broken poisonous doom–he suffered all the awfulest things (the incomparably awful) to give me a hope and a promise.

He will never leave me

and it will never be as bad as it could be–in fact, in just a brief moment when our lives come to an end, it will be Good–it will be with Him, living in His Place.

(Did you know God IS Love? He’s Love, Himself. We know Love, because God made sure we could know Him).

God’s love–who He is–brings the dead things back to life. So, while life and loving people is messy and scary, and may involve coming around some dark corners, watching love replace fear in their lives is just about the most beautiful thing in the world. 


I’m a recovering optimist. God will never leave me. Nothing’s as bad as it could be. Goodness is breaking out everywhere, and at the end of the day,

I’m in Love

(and out of it, I will not come).


Loved People

Brendan Manning says, “How glorious the splendor of a human heart that trusts that it is loved.” Angela Thomas says,

Jessica reading Garrett's letters“When a woman knows that she is a beautiful bride, you can see it in her eyes; she is confident. Brides walk down the aisle believing that they are loved and accepted and desired. And when a woman walks in that kind of truth, she is made secure. She stands a little taller. Her eyes are brighter. Her words are sure. She doesn’t have to second guess herself. She can be decisive and strong. She leans into the moment and lets herself believe in her abilities, passions, and gifts. She is not arrogant. She is just peaceful and assured. Somebody is wild about her. Somebody calls her beautiful. …Maybe more than any other time in her life, the woman who is the bride, the one who knows that she is beautiful, the woman who stands exquisitely in confidence, possesses an unshakable hope. She turns away from what has been and looks toward the future to imagine what might be. ” (p. 195)

Because the Lord Himself gave us this picture of His love for us in Scripture, we are bold enough to stand on His promise–we have that unshakable hope. We are that bride who knows she is loved. Every person is born with a loneliness and emptiness inside, since we’ve been separated from the One who loves us so much. And lonely people are drawn like a magnet to Loved people. The beauty that wells up from deep inside a woman who knows she is loved is unmistakable. It stands like a lighthouse, a beacon to travelers at sea. Come home, be safe. So, for the bride, her only job (besides making her vows to her groom) is to be loved. That is what testifies most powerfully to the transforming work of Christ. We are loved, rescued, empty places filled, made beautiful. We too are going to see our Love face-to-face very soon. So now you should listen to this song.

An Open Letter to My Students

Dear Ones,

I can see your eyes rolling from here and I haven’t even gotten to class yet. Why do I make you summarize yet another chapter? Any why do I get fired up about a three-word phrase that doesn’t have anything to do with the main point of the chapter?

I want you to be able to distill a work, to summarize, to get to the heart of a piece.

I also want you to be able to savor a well-phrased sentence that evokes an image in your mind in a new way, or so nails something that you get chills. 



Because this is life!

If you can know what’s really going on at the heart of things, despite the distractions of bad writing, or amusing diversions, (l

ike being able to see the agony behind the angry comments of a disgruntled customer, or  the insecurity behind the constant flirtatious remarks of that cute guy)

If you can savor the beauty of a glory, no matter what else is going on deeper underneath (like the shock of yellow leaves against a blue autumn sky as the wind blows you along your walk)


We have succeeded.

I want you to get all the good out of life. All of it. Don’t miss a single beauty. See Truth. Love Loveliness. Value Goodness.

Pay attention to your life.

With all my love,


It’s Memorable Monday!!

I just made that up, but still.

I just got to spend some time with one of my college roommates, in her home in the redwoods of California. Yes, it is as beautiful as everyone says it is. 🙂 You should go, as soon as you can.

Jamie in a tree nestWe traveled (a whole 30 minutes) to her childhood home at Camp Hammer, a Christian summer camp and retreat center where her parents still live. It was sweet to see where Jamie grew up, where she fell in love with her husband, and where they got married. 🙂 It all happened at Camp Hammer. One of my favorite moments of the trip was one morning when we walked all over the campus and made our way to the clearing where Jamie and Steve got married a year ago. This camp has lots of platforms built up in the trees where the campers get up to loads of shenanigans. (Think water-balloon hide and go seek!) The little tree nest closest to the special clearing was also one of Jamie’s favorite places to take her campers to have their quiet time. We schlepped our Bibles and journals up there, and spent some time in the quiet of the forest, praying, reading, and thinking.

After a while, we got to talking about life-changing moments at summer camp. I’ve been to several, and of course, Jamie has pretty much always lived in one! 🙂

Summer camp is a wonderful phenomenon…they are often in beautiful settings (like the Appalachian mountains, or the Redwood forests, or Amish country), separate from the city and normal day-to-day surroundings. Young adults thrilled to share their adventures in following Christ, as well as the adventures of white-water rafting or trail riding spend their whole summer pouring into campers that come from everywhere. Special chapel services, fireside worship sessions, late night cabin prayer times, as well as eeeeeeeearly morning quiet times all realign the rhythm of daily life to listening to and enjoying God. It’s powerful. There’s a reason why so many students come home changed.

I realize that not every sweeping decision made at camp results in life-long faithfulness, but sometimes, there is real heart-change, real encounters with Someone who is a lot more present than we give Him credit for.

Anyway, one summer at Alpine Bible Camp, our speaker preached on Heaven every day. You might think that someone who has spent as much time in church as I have (a lot) that I wouldn’t exactly be shocked or enlightened by this topic…after all, isn’t Heaven kind of the point of the Christian life?

Well. It blew my mind. Basically, he took every verse in the Bible that had something to do with what Heaven is going to actually be like, and then lit our imaginations on fire. According to Revelation 22, there is a river, clear as crystal that flows from the throne of God. On either side of the river a great tree stands, with healing in its leaves,  and twelve different fruits growing there. The chapter before describes the new Heaven, and the new earth, with a city that defies comprehension, and a high and holy mountain. Well, if these  are anything like the mountains and rivers and trees that surrounded us at camp, he asked us to picture what we might be doing there. What if we could swim in the river of More iPhone pictures 049God? What if we could hike that high mountain? What if we could rappel, with no fear of falling? Could we even imagine what it would be like to have the thrill of excitement without the rush of fear? What if we could climb to the top of the tree of life, and look over the whole glorious city? What if the ones we love, and those saints who have lived in ages past joined us on these adventures? What if,( oh can we even think what this would be like?) Jesus would race us in the fields of forever? What if the place we are headed for is actually the place where unending joy lives? What if it is those moments when we finally reach the top of a mountain and drink in the view that teach us about our real home?

He asked us to think about what kind of God would live in this place. What kind of playful, creative, loving Person would make a world like ours, and live in a place like Heaven? What kind of power would it take to speak all this in existence? (Because, you know, all He did was speak, and the world came into being!)

In my own study time, I was trying really hard to win the memory verse competition (which didn’t happen). That’s when I came across the verses that have shaped my life ever since. Jesus is talking to His disciples and says…

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” (John 14:1-4)

Do you realize that Jesus left earth about 2000 years ago, and has been making a place for me ever since? (I do realize that time is different a.k.a. not time there, but go with me for a moment). Do you see the reason why he is spending all this time preparing a room for me? He is coming back for me and going to keep me with Him always. He wants me to be with Him. He is making a beautiful, full-of-wonders, delightful place for me to live, just so that I can be with Him.

He died to make sure that I could live with Him there.

I really don’t understand the God that I serve. He is too much. He is too loving, too enormous, too beautiful.

Suddenly, my problems don’t seem to be too complicated. You can tell a lot about a person by where he or she lives. This home (my new home!),  God’s home tells me a great deal about the kind of person that He is. He is powerful. He loves me (more than I can take in). He is creative and original and joyful. He loves beauty. He is real.

All in all, sometimes it’s good to travel just so that you can fall a little more in love with Home.



Scenes from the Family Dinner Table

Here are three stories from tonight’s family night. Today was Daddy’s last day of work after 25 years in the Navy. Clearly, that means it was pizza night tonight. Not just any pizza would suffice for this occasion–we had Daddy’s world-class spinach crust pizza with fried eggplant, Italian sausage, made-from-scratch pizza sauce, peppers, tomatoes and glorious amounts of cheese. Are you drooling yet? Helen slaved ALL. DAY. to make it for us. And by all day, I mean we didn’t eat it until 9:30. She wins all the things.

Let the stories begin.

Ladles of Ignorance:

This particular meal has a great deal of tradition wrapped up in it–but one of the more significant facets is the fried eggplant. We are all a little obsessed with Helen’s fried eggplant. Mama taught me how to make Eggplant Parmigiana before I went off to college, and then Helen started making it better than I did. Fortunately, I still make better fudge, so I don’t have to retire in shame yet.  Anyway, we were sitting around raving about the beauty added to our lives when Helen added the eggplant to the already ridiculously good pizza when the following conversation occurred…

“I can’t believe that some people don’t like eggplant. I mean, who wouldn’t love this?” Helen casually commented as she contemplated her pizza-clad fork.

I agreed. “I know. It’s like Mama always says–‘Don’t show your ignorance!”

Helen decided she could rephrase that maxim to more helpfully direct the woefully uninformed. “Thy ignorance is protruding like an unsightly label. Kindly draw it back in.”

I was rendered speechless with laughter, so Helen took another blissful bite. Sadly, this one was extremely ill-timed, as you will see.

Josh checked for clarification, smiling all the while. “Label, or Ladle?”

This sparked a new train of thought for Daddy. He musingly remarked, “Is there such a thing as a sightly ladle?”

Josh explored the new meanings with which he could infuse Helen’s phrase, depending on the vocabulary choice. “Ladle me some ignorance!” he shouted, trying out that variation.

Daddy was musing all the while, and arrived at a conclusion.”There’s a sightly ladle…said no one ever.”

By this time, Helen had been asphyxiating quietly in her chair for some time, unable to swallow her bite, or to move away from the witty banter. She really was getting desperate for some air, so at this point she withdrew to the bathroom to choke there. Coughing was soon heard. Josh decided to be helpful.

“Pipe down!!” he hollered.

Helen fussed all the way back to the table about our lack of sympathy. “I’m dying over here!” she ended indignantly.

“Welp, more pizza for us!” Josh said cheerfully.


Sarcastic Cupcakes

I don’t know if you have picked it up from the last story, but once the whole family gets on a roll, it’s a little difficult to start a conversation and actually proceed in a straight line from the beginning to the end of a thought. Here is another such occasion.

Perry started this one by announcing that she has forsworn all sarcasm for the rest of forever, because her latest attempt went so abysmally. “No one knows I’m being sarcastic, so I just sound horribly mean!”

Helen had the diagnosis all ready to go, “It’s because you look so serious! Everybody things you’re being for real!”

She then proceeded to imitate Perry’s current methodology. Looking straight at me, she said in about as authoritative and dismissive a tone as possible, “Well you look stupid!”

It was grievously offensive. We could all see why that hadn’t gone over well.

Oh my gosh, I can’t even type this properly because I’m laughing so hard remembering it. ohhhhhh.


Mama was sympathetic, but she seemed relieved that Perry had already vowed to give this up. “Yep, you’d better leave that one in the holster Perry.”

Perry was quite worried that she had been misrepresented. “We were not discussing physical appearance, we were talking about cupcakes!”

In a perfect imitation of Helen’s imitation of Perry, Josh said, “Well your cupcake looks stupid!”

James was immediately affronted. “Who are you calling cupcake?” he demanded.


The Ballad of Marcello

We will leave that story and wrap up tonight’s nonsense with the utter derailing of the story of Marcello. Daddy started to tell us about his friend, “Marcello is a fellow…” but then trailed off and grinned at us as he appreciated his poetic beginning.

He paused too long.

Josh immediately contributed, “Who likes to eat jello,”

Daddy just couldn’t resist. He continued, “which he pulled from his cello,”
And Josh rounded out the collection of rhymes with, “and then turned him yellow…from jaundice.”

“Cha cha cha,” Daddy said, and thus completed the Ballad of Marcello.


This has been, Scenes From the Family Dinner Table. We still have leftover pizza, so come on over and join the mayhem anytime. Thanks for reading. 🙂




Sanctification in the 6th Grade

I sit here at my laptop, facing my yawning inadequacy. I need to type a parent email,but I don’t know what to say. Sometimes a student’s needs are so big, so layered, so intricate, so long a part of them that I know there isn’t enough of me to pour into them to make them all better.

Same song second verse. I do this all the time. I want to love and love and love and love until everything gets all better, but I find myself coming to the end of my knowledge and insight and compassion and ability far too soon. The need gapes on.

But it’s my job to help kids learn.

I am not infinite. He is infinite.

I have to keep reminding myself that He has put me here with these children to be able to give them only what He wants them to have for this time. He isn’t planning to sanctify them entirely in this one year. They will not move up to 7th grade perfect people.

The Sound of Our Breathing

Anybody who has been hanging out with me recently has gotten to hear a LOT of Jason Gray songs. His songs “Nothing is Wasted” and “I Will Find A Way” keep moving my heart. Oh man.

This song that I want to tell you about today though, I didn’t understand until I went to his concert a couple months ago. It’s called “The Sound of Our Breathing.” Though I love teaching and explaining things, he just does such a good job that I’ll let you listen to him. Here is a video of Jason explaining this incredible concept…

(If you start at 1:02 and listen until 3:02 you’ll hear the whole teaching. Just two minutes. Really. It’ll rock your world. Doooooo itttt.)

And here is a video of the song at a much higher quality just because I love you. 🙂

Are you listening to your breathing now?

Isn’t it crazy that even in the moments when it’s all we can do to keep breathing, we are bringing God honor just by existing??? (And in all the other moments too?)

Ha! I love God. 🙂





Operation Valentine’s Day: Adventures in the Life of A Teacher


Batten down the hatches ladies and gentlemen, it’s Valentine’s Day.

Day of chocolate, parties, and red dye number 4. A.K.A. Hyperactivity Awareness Day.

For this mission, you will need several items.

1. A piping hot cup of coffee, filled to the tippy top. Image

Drink it. Refill. Drink that too.

2. Enough Valentines for each of your students and the school secretary.

You love them. That’s why you do all this anyway!! 🙂

3. Decorations of some kind or another.

(I picked pink pouf balls that I made for the Ladies’ Christmas Party at church, but feel free to improvise on this one.)

4. Festive attire:


The rose earrings are from one of my sweet girls. ❤

This should include the following…

  • Brightly colored, heart themed clothing
  • Jewelery (preferably some given to you by a student)
  • Flat, comfortable shoes (extra points if they fit into the Valentine Motif as well). Save the heels for after school. I promise. Remember, you will already be reminded of your students’ sugar levels without heels. No need to make it any more difficult to keep up with them. 🙂

5. A deceptively difficult craft.

Glitter, accordion folding, and scissors are all good ways to complicate this process. Good thing my craft had all of these today. 😀

6. Open hands

Your children will be dying to give you things and show you love. Take the time to receive it. Loving these kids and having them love back is pretty much the best thing about teaching.

Side note: I am convinced that teaching is the BEST occupation for those who are single on Valentine’s day. Nobody can convince me that they got more chocolate, or love notes, or surprises than I did today.  😀


My favorite card says “Tea rocks!!”


7. Flexibility

On average, the school-day schedule changes 457 million times on a holiday. 🙂


Once armed with these tools, you are ready to face the day, and enjoy it too!

Be loved.

And Happy Valentine’s Day. ❤


What Can Separate Us From the Love of God?

What then can separate us from the love of God?

Can grumpiness,

or skipping breakfast,

or passive-aggressive children,

or drawbridges that insist on going up precisely when the entire population needs to be arriving at work?

Can loneliness,

or frustration,

or setbacks with a student?

Can an enormous pile of laundry that hasn’t been folded,

or sleep deprivation,

or stress headaches,

or tons of noise?

Can feelings,

or circumstances,

or people,

separate us from the love of God?

No. In all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him Who loved us. Indeed, I am convinced that nothing can separate us from the Love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Can I get an Amen? 🙂