Saturday, December 31, 2011

Reading Corner: The Mitten

The Mitten is a delightful Ukranian folktale adapted and illustrated by Jan Brett. After a little boy named Nikki accidentally drops his white mitten in the snow, all the animals in the forest want to snuggle inside it.

This book is a classic. I remember being captivated by the exquisite illustrations, as a kid. As an adult, I recently re-read the story and loved it, for another reason. Nikki's mitten demonstrates a much needed lesson about priorities. It's all too easy to try to squeeze one more animal into my mitten, so to speak. It's remarkable how many critters can pack in. But that's not what the mitten was designed for. Rather than asking myself, "How can I fit another thing in my mitten?" I ought to ask, "Does it even belong in my mitten?" Otherwise, I may end up like Nikki, finding a stretched-out mitten that's no longer meeting its intended purpose. Seen as a parable about priorities, the light-hearted tale becomes thought-provoking, relevant, and personally challenging—a good read for a snowy day in the new year!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Style Secret: 25 Ways to Wear a Scarf

I love scarves. Versatile and dramatic, they are my favorite fashion accessories. I love how they so easily transform an outfit that otherwise would be basic and boring. I love how they bring colors together, giving me more latitude in combining my separates.  I was excited last night to come across this video via Pinterest, showing tutorials for 25 different ways to wear scarves!  It's too helpful not to share. Here's to enjoying a more creative and versatile wardrobe. =)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Today is Thankful Thursday #10! This week I am thankful...

(1) to be on Christmas break. Phew, I've really needed this time away from studies to rest and recharge.

(2) for a nice Christmas celebration with my family this past weekend.

(3) for the many thoughtful Christmas gifts I received from my third graders. I was overwhelmed by their kindness and generosity to me. How special they made me feel.

(4) for parents who help me make wise decisions.

(5) for my brother's willingness to share his scrumptious Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies any time I ask. ;-)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever. I will praise You forever, because You have done it; and in the presence of Your saints I will wait on Your name, for it is good (Psalm 52:8-9).

Here in mid-Michigan, we don't have olive trees like the Psalmist mentions, but we do have a variety of trees and shrubs that stay green all year long--even through the long, cold days of winter. These evergreens covered in snow remind me to keep trusting in God's faithfulness.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Calligraphy by Timothy Botts. Image from, via Google images.

This Christmas I’ve been meditating on Isaiah 9:6. It’s a beautiful and famous passage of Scripture. I don’t know about you, but I need a God who can shoulder the world’s problems—and my own. I need a Wonderful Counselor who can untangle my confusion. I need a Mighty God who can fulfill His purposes in my life. I need an Everlasting Father who cares for me. I need a Prince of Peace who can calm my turmoil. 

That’s Who He is, and that’s why He came. 

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Reading Corner: Family Favorite Christmas Stories

After coming home from the Christmas Eve service at church and eating our Christmas Eve dinner, Mom, Dad, Peter, and I settled in our family room to read aloud to each other several of our all-time favorite Christmas picture books. Year after year we read these special stories together.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Style Secret: Christmas Necklace

When my family and I were unpacking our boxes of Christmas ornaments and setting up our tree, I noticed this snowflake ornament. Instead of hanging it on the tree this year, I decided to enjoy it as a pennant necklace.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Today is Thankful Thursday #9! This week I am thankful...

(1) to be on Christmas break! Cheers for the chance to catch up on some much-needed rest!

(2) for gift bags from the Dollar Store. They make all my gift-wrapping a lot easier and faster.

(3) for family movie nights.

(4) for gift cards—convenient to give and fun to receive.

(5) for laughter.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Quote Garden: Contentment

My favorite quotations about contentment . . .

You can complain because roses have thorns, or you can  rejoice because thorns have roses. (Ziggy)

Being happy doesn't mean everything is perfect. It means you have decided to look beyond the imperfections. (Unknown)

God’s will is often not so much doing glamorous things for Him but rather doing the ordinary things of everyday life in Him. He is honored when, empowered by His Spirit, we are faithful to do with excellence and joy that which He calls us to do—however mundane or insignificant it may seem. (Unknown)

Know, accept, be, who you are...everyone else is taken. (Dewey Novotny)

The very essence of the Christian faith is to say Jesus is good enough and I am in Him. (Martyn Lloyd-Jones)

Whatever a soul desires can be found in Christ. (Unknown)

Lord God, I so often try to persuade You that my plans and hopes are in my best interests and then ask You to bless them. But when I really think about it, how can I know what is really best for me? I can only judge by appearances, but You look ahead to the outcomes. Only You see and hold the future, and I want to confess that only You know what is truly best for me. Grant that I would become increasingly willing to let loose of my fond aspirations and embrace what You know is really in my best interests. I know I will have to wrestle with this all my life, because I often struggle with what You bring into my life and tell me to do. It is only when I embrace Your goodness and wisdom that I can stop wrestling with Your good plans and purposes. (Ken Boa)

They say a successful man is someone who will never let his wife find her wallet empty. But I say a true successful man is someone who marries a lady who will save, be frugal, and be smart with the money she finds in her wallet. (Sarah Tyau)

Disappointment is really a meter by which we may measure our hearts, and as with any measurement of the heart, we find we are sorely lacking. But when we bring our empty hearts to God and ask him . . . fill us wholly and completely with Him, we find our hearts so full . . . that we cannot possibly contain the joy. Disappointment has truly fled and trust has filled so that peace and gladness overflow. (Unknown)

Getting more done doesn’t ensure that you will be happier; it just means that you get more done. (Lee Silber)

“Happiness is not a destination. It is the attitude with which you choose to travel.” Arit Desal
Do not let trifles disturb your tranquility of mind . . . Life is too precious to be sacrificed for the nonessential and transient. (Grenville Kleiser)

My God lives, and He has my heart. (Mrs. Jonathan Edwards)

To dream of the person you would like to be is to waste the person you are. (Unknown)

Human desire is to be brought under the Lordship of Christ for fulfillment to His wisdom and choosing. (Elisabeth Elliot)

God wants to build faith—not stress—through situations. (M.Bearden)

Overcome the enemy by refusing to complain. (Unknown)

Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss going too fast—you also miss the sense of where you are going and why. (Eddie Cantor)

The happiest people don’t have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything. (Unknown)

I really do believe that every experience, if offered to Jesus, is our gateway to joy. (Elisabeth Elliot)

We ought to thank God for whatever stage of life we find ourselves in. (Elisabeth Elliot)

If I am not satisfied with what I have, I will never be satisfied with what I want. (Ralph Guthrie)

Next to faith, this is the highest art: to be content in the calling in which God has placed you. (Martin Luther)

Discontentment makes rich men poor, while contentment makes poor men rich. (Benjamin Franklin)

* The above quotations were collected from various sources. I have done my best to quote and credit them correctly. Please inform me if you notice an error.

Quote Garden: Victory

My favorite quotations about victory . . .
He got the better of himself, and that’s the best kind of victory one can wish for.

Daily victory requires daily surrender. (Unknown)

If you would live in victory over the circumstances great and small that come to you each day . . . and if you want God’s life and power to well up from inside the depths of your being . . . then you must refuse to be dominated by the seen and the felt.  (Amy Carmichael)

Be patient. . . above all with thyself. Do not be disheartened by your imperfections, but always rise up with fresh courage. (Francis de Sales)

God always succeeds. God never fails. God never makes a mistake. God never leaves. God never forsakes. God is faithful. God is Alpha and Omega. (Aprill Brunson)

Take the Enemy seriously but not fearfully. We’re fighting a victorious battle. (Unknown)

In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory they won was over themselves... self-discipline with all of them came first. (Harry S. Truman)

* The above quotations were collected from various sources. I have done my best to quote and credit them correctly. Please inform me if you notice an error.

Quote Garden: Planning

My favorite quotations about planning . . .

Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world! (Joel Arthur Barker)

Make a plan and then plan on that plan not working out at all how you wanted it to. (Alexa Mas)

See God’s faithfulness and goodness in your life everyday. Pray hard, work hard, and watch God make it all happen. (Janet Kroon)

God is greater than my bumblings. (Kristina Kroon)

Success in life is loving God and doing His will. (Unknown)

Live so that your memories will be part of your happiness. (Unknown)

Anything that leads you closer to Christ is worth spending your time on. (Unknown)

Fortune favors the bold. (Julius Caesar)

God has given me enough information to obey today. (Kristina Kroon)

Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together. (Vincent van Gogh)

Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now. (Alan Lakein)

Over and over, God proves His success rate to be perfect and complete. There is nothing too big, nothing too small, nothing too impossible for Him. God will fulfill His plan for lives at the ‘appointed time.’ (Aprill Brunson)

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans. (John Lennon)

Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God. (Corrie ten Boom)

God’s heavenly plan doesn’t always make earthly sense. (Charles Swindoll)

O my God, grant that I may so wait upon Thee, that when quick decision and action are needed I may mount up with wings as an eagle; and when under direction of Thy will and the needs of the people I have to keep going under pressure, I may run and not be weary; and in times of routine and humble duty, I may walk and not faint. For all my fresh springs are in Thee, O God of my strength. (George Appleton)

If plan A fails, remember you have 25 letters left. (Unknown)

God never issued instructions that He is not prepared to equip us to follow. (Elisabeth Elliot)
Lord God, I so often try to persuade You that my plans and hopes are in my best interests and then ask You to bless them. But when I really think about it, how can I know what is really best for me? I can only judge by appearances, but You look ahead to the outcomes. Only You see and hold the future, and I want to confess that only You know what is truly best for me. Grant that I would become increasingly willing to let loose of my fond aspirations and embrace what You know is really in my best interests. I know I will have to wrestle with this all my life, because I often struggle with what You bring into my life and tell me to do. It is only when I embrace Your goodness and wisdom that I can stop wrestling with Your good plans and purposes. (Ken Boa)
* The above quotations were collected from various sources. I have done my best to quote and credit them correctly. Please inform me if you notice an error.

Quote Garden: Humility

My favorite quotations about humility . . .

Lord, where we are wrong, make us willing to change;
where we are right, make us easy to live with. (Peter Marshall)

Be humble, for you are made of the earth,
Be noble, for you are made of the stars.
(Serbian proverb)

Many a humble soul will be amazed to find that the seed it sowed in weakness, in the dust of daily life, has blossomed into immortal flowers under the eye of the Lord. (Harriet Beecher Stowe)

Humility is to make a right estimate of one’s self.  (Charles Haddon Spurgeon)

It is always the secure who are humble.  (Gilbert Keith Chesterton)

The greatest of all faults is to be conscious of none. (Thomas Carlyle)

Humility is realizing that we ourselves are nothing, but we are everything in Christ. (Bill Gothard)

Those who think too much of themselves don’t think enough. (Amy Carmichael)

If we refuse to humble ourselves, there are many others who are eager to help us do it. (Bill Gothard)
* The above quotations were collected from various sources. I have done my best to quote and credit them correctly. Please inform me if you notice an error. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Creative Classroom: Alternative Assessment Alphabet Books

Alternative assessment is one of the buzzwords in education today. Because students have different learning styles, abilities, and disabilities, typical paper tests are not always the best means of assessing students' knowledge. Alternative assessments provide more creative, authentic, and meaningful opportunities for students to demonstrate their mastery of subject content. I love the idea of Alphabet Books that third grade teacher Ms. Battista recommended on her blog. She points out that an Alphabet Book project could be adapted for any grade or subject. Students could work independently, in small groups, or as a class by assigning each student a letter. There are lots of possibilities!
Sleeping Bear Press has a wonderful series of Alphabet Books on a variety of social studies and science topics, for inspiration.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Sweetest Gift

Tomorrow afternoon is our 3rd grade class Christmas party. Since we're in a Christian school, we're privileged to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas. I wanted to put a little something together that would be fun and meaningful for the kids. Here's what I've been up to this evening . . .

May these sweets help you celebrate Jesus, the very sweetest gift of all...
  • A candy-cane, shaped like a shepherd’s staff, to remind you that Jesus came to be your Good Shepherd (John 10:11). 
  • A gold-wrapped Rolo, shaped like a crown, to remind you that Jesus is the King of Kings (Revelation 19:16).
  • Smarties, to remind you that Jesus is the Wonderful Counselor (Isaiah 9:6).
  • A Dove, a symbol for peace, to remind you that Jesus is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).
  • A Starlight mint, to remind you that Jesus is the Light of the World (John 8:12).
  • A Milky Way, to remind you that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6).
  • A Life Saver, to remind you that Jesus came to be your Savior (Luke 2:11).
  • A Hershey Hug, to remind you that Jesus loves you (John 3:16).
  • An Almond Joy, to remind you that Jesus is the source of joy (John 15:11).
Wishing you a Christmas filled with His sweetness!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Today is Thankful Thursday #8! This week I am thankful...

(1) that I've completed another semester of graduate studies! Now I can start getting ready for Christmas...

(2) for my brother's computer savvy. He came to my rescue again this week with my final project for my graduate course.

(3) for a cozy family room at home. Just this week Peter bought himself a flat-screen TV and rearranged our family room. It's a much nicer set-up now. He likes it primarily for watching football and playing his PS3, but the rest of us get to benefit too. =) The other night as a family we enjoyed watching The Nutcracker broadcast live from Lincoln Center, New York City.

(4) for precious family memories. This week we decorated our Christmas tree. Hanging all of our special ornaments reminded me of many happy times and memories we've made as a family.

(5) for friends who have helped me network and make contacts as I seek to arrange my upcoming student-teaching placement. I had a fantastic interview this week, and have several other promising leads. PTL!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Today is Thankful Thursday #7! This week I am especially thankful for . . .

(1) sibling companionship. Peter, you're the best. I have every confidence that you'll make a special young lady very happy someday. In the meantime, I'm glad that I'm the girl who gets to hang out with you all the time. ;-)

(2) comfy boots that keep my legs warm in the winter.

(3) sunshine. We've had sunny days almost all week—a treat for us here in Michigan, where more often than not it's overcast in the winter. 

(4) eyesight.

(5) festive Christmas music.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Winter Sky-Scape

The rising sun and dissipating cloud cover captivated me this morning as I drove to school. Most of the time it's overcast here in Michigan during the winter. (Did you know that Lansing, MI averages only two more sunny days per year than Seattle, WA?!) This time of year it gets to be a treat to see blue sky and sunshine. I always love a winter sky-scape, especially with silhouettes of bare tree branches. I took this picture in the school parking lot.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

He Guides and Guards

All this week I've been reflecting on these two slogans (below). These thoughts come from several Scriptures, namely Proverbs 21:1, Psalm 32:8, and Proverbs 2:8. Proverbs 21:1 declares that the LORD holds our hearts: "The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes." Psalm 32:8 and Proverbs 2:8, respectively, tell of His promise to guide us and to guard our paths. When things in life don't make sense, it's nice to know that He is still steering decision-making and arranging circumstances. How grateful I am to have the confidence that God is in control of our steps.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Second Snow

When I looked out the window first thing this morning, I noticed it had snowed again last night. The just-rising sun illuminating the lace-y limbs took my breath away. I ate breakfast extra speedily, in order to snap a few pictures in our driveway before work. . . .

I also took my camera outside to morning recess. My third graders love sledding on the little hill that borders the playground. I took a number of fun close-ups of the children, for our classroom photo album. (For privacy, I don't post identifiable images of my students, without expressed parental consent) . . .

This afternoon my drive home from school was so beautiful, that I decided a spontaneous photo-walk around the neighborhood was in order. . . .

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Today is Thankful Thursday #6! This week I am especially thankful for . . .

(1) the long weekend last week. I had a huge assignment due for my graduate course, and I really do not know how I would have gotten it done if I hadn't had the extra days off work, combined with low-key family Thanksgiving celebration plans. I spent most of the weekend studying intensely.

(2) the unusually mild fall weather we enjoyed this year. I was surprised and delighted to get two more family bike rides last weekend, while the weather was in the 50s!

(3) the beauty of freshly-fallen snow on trees. On Tuesday we had our first snow storm of the season. Yesterday I had a lot of fun taking pictures around the neighborhood.

(4) phone dates with dear friends. How life-giving it is to hear the voice of an old friend, across the miles, and to share with each other our laughter, heartaches, questions, milestones and memories.

(5) USB flash drives and ports--what would our lives be without them?!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

First Snow

Last night here in Midland we had our first snow storm of the season. This morning I gave myself extra time to drive to school, so that I could stop for a few pictures along the way. . .

As soon as I got home from school this afternoon, I changed clothes for a photo-shoot around the neighborhood. By mid-day, the temperature had risen well above freezing. The golden rays of the late afternoon sun illuminating the dripping, melting snow was spectacular. . . .

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Breakfast Blessings

As I look at this picture, I'm awed to think how privileged I am. This is our kitchen table at home, which Mom recently decorated for the Christmas season. How many people can say they wake up every morning to a table set with a fresh-cooked egg omelet and fruit-cup breakfast? How about enjoying the hearty meal by candlelight, melodious music, and family fellowship? Would you believe this is my morning routine! Talk about breakfast blessings! God's goodness to me is daily, abundantly expressed through my mom's numerous tangible acts of love. How incredibly rich I am.

Present Tense

"Today we are going to be talking about present-tense verbs," Mrs. D-- introduced the new English lesson to our third graders. "There are three tenses of verbs," she explained. "Past, present, and future. The past tense tells what the subject already did, the present tense tells what is the subject is doing, and the future tense tells what the subject will do. Past and future tenses are topics for other lessons; for now, we're going to focus on present tense."

What a great reminder for me! In my own personal journey I need to focus on the present tense. I live before the "I AM" God. As His name attests, He exists in the present. (He's got my past and my future covered too--but those are topics for other posts.) Today I find much encouragement from this list of present-tense verbs.

God . . .

  • lives (see 2 Sam. 22:47; Psa. 18:46; Gal. 2:20; Heb. 7:25; Rev. 1:18).
  • hears (see Psa. 69:33; Prov. 15:29; John 9:31; I John 5:14).
  • knows (see Psa. 103:14; Mat. 6:8; 2 Tim. 2:19; 2 Pet. 2:9; I John 3:20).
  • cares (see I Pet. 5:7).
  • loves (see Deut. 33:3; John 16:27).
  • heals (see Psa. 103:3; Psa. 147:3).
  • comforts (see I Cor. 1:3-4).
  • strengthens (see Phil. 4:13).
  • protects (see Prov. 2:8).
  • gives (see Psa. 68:5; Psa. 119:130; Psa. 136:25; Psa. 146:7; Prov. 2:6; Isa. 40:29; John 6:33; I Tim. 6:17; James 1:5; 1 Pet. 5:5).
  • provides (see Psa. 111:5).
  • sustains (see Psa. 3:5; Psa. 18:35; Psa. 54:4).

* This list was compiled using dictionary and word searches on the Blue Letter Bible website.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Reading Corner: Aesop's Fables

Earlier this evening sitting around the dinner table, my family and I had fun reading aloud several Aesop's Fables. Here are two excellent collections:

Strength of My Heart

Taken on a gray, chilly fall day, this picture of Black-Eyed Susans illustrates to me the message of Psalm 73:26. The warm, sunny days of summer are over; most of the blooms have frozen in the first frost. Although the shriveled stalks in the foreground appear dead, the flowers still blooming in the background prove that the plants have not died. Through the cold days of winter ahead they will wait, patient and still. Come next summer they'll be vibrant as ever. As we can observe in nature, God does make everything beautiful in its time. Even when we can't see the evidence, He is at work, according to season. During those "winter seasons" in my own life, it is all too easy to lose heart. I need the reminder that "God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Pondered Paths

These photo collages come from a hike I took back in September 2009, with a girlfriend of mine while we were on a girls' camping trip at Warren Dunes State Park. Climbing those sand-dunes along Lake Michigan deepened my appreciation for these promises from Scripture. I'm grateful to be reminded that God knows my path.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Design Seeds

"For all who love color"—check out this cool blog called Design Seeds. Jessica, the creator of Design Seeds, shares her passion for color and great sense of design by creating these amazing color palettes. What a fantastic resource for interior design, outfit planning, accessorizing, quilting, scrapbooking, or anything else that involves combining colors! Below I've copied three of her most recently posted "Design Seeds."

Friday, November 25, 2011

"Waltz and Multiply by Three" Song

My third graders are learning multiplication facts, and I just found this cute multiplication song from, called "Waltz and Multiply by Three." I've copied the lyrics below; to hear a sample, click on this link. The tune is a waltz, and the lyrics cover the 3s facts of the times table. I love this song--it's easy and catchy. What's more, a waltz often has 3 beats to a measure. I think it would be fun to insert a little music theory and social studies along with those math facts. =)

Waltz with me; multiply by 3;
Multiply by 3; waltz with me.
3 x 1
3x 2
3 x 3
This is waltz time
3 x 4
3 x 5...
Tap your toe.
Do some more!
3 x 9...
Come and dip with me!
3 x 11...
This is not the end.
Please bow and do it again.
(Song repeats)
Our waltz has reached the end.
Now bow to your friend!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thanksgiving!

One of our family Thanksgiving traditions, is the reading of "Five Kernels of Corn" (you can read the poem here), and taking turns sharing five things from the past year for which we are thankful. Recalling God's goodness in our lives throughout the past twelve months is a special ritual. How easy it is to forget all that God has done—yet how important to remember. In keeping with my family annual tradition—as well as my weekly Thankful Thursday posts—here's a brief recap of my past twelve months. I am thankful . . .

(1) for the many wonderful friends, memories, skills, and life lessons I gained during my seven years at Verity Institute. I would not be the person I am today without the input of the Godly peers and mentors with whom I was privileged to live, study, and work beside.

(2) that I moved home in January. This time last year I was at a tough cross-roads, deliberating whether I should stay at Verity or move on. I had several options, each with their own sets of advantages and disadvantages. Moving home wasn't my first choice, but I'm so glad I did. God has showed faithfulness and provision to me very clearly in these past months that I've been home.

(3) for supportive, loving, generous parents. I never intended to be a "boomerang kid," but this season that I'm back at home is such a blessing. We're all enjoying living together under the same roof once again. It's only because of all that my parents do for me that I'm able to keep persevering in my graduate studies. 

(4) that my brother Peter moved home this summer. Peter is definitely my better half. I'm so glad we're together again. He keeps me laughing, and he keeps me in line too. ;-)

(5) for my job as assistant teacher in 3rd grade at CBA. It's a wonderful learning experience for me, while I finish my graduate studies in elementary education. Being around kiddos again makes me happy.

The list could go on. . . "Blessed be the Lord, who daily loads us with benefits" (Psalm 68:19).

Happy Thanksliving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Rounding Numbers Song

I've been inspired lately, as I've been finding great teacher's websites through links shared on Pinterest. Wow, there are so many wonderful teachers, who are creative and dedicated in their teaching! I'm glad we have the technology to share and spread our ideas.

I just came across this Rounding Numbers math song, posted on 3rd grade teacher Jessica Winston's website. I love this! I would even add gestures. The kids would have fun crouching down (while holding up four or fewer fingers) and jumping up (while holding up five or more fingers), along with the lyrics.
Rounding Numbers Song (tune of “If You’re Happy and You Know It”)
If you’re rounding to the [tens] place, look at the [ones].
If you’re rounding to the [tens] place, look at the [ones].
If you’re rounding to the [tens] place, then always look at the
[ones] place.
If you’re rounding to the [tens] place, look at the [ones].
If that digit’s four or lower, you round down.
If that digit’s four or lower, you round down.
If that digit’s four or lower, then the number will be smaller.
If that digit’s four or lower, you round down.
If that digit’s five or higher, you round up.
If that digit’s five or higher, you round up.
If that digit’s five or higher, then the number will be bigger.
If that digit’s five or higher, you round up.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Dragons in My Lunchbox

I've been encouraged and challenged lately by Psalm 37:23, which says, "The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, and He delights in his way."
The steps of a good man [strong man, warrior--emphasizing the ability to fight]  I was fascinated to discover that "good man" has the connotation of a strong warrior, able to fight. Life is often hard. I need discipline, courage, and strength to live faithfully engaged in my spiritual battles. 
are ordered [to be set up, established, fixed, stable, secure, enduring, prepared, furnished, directed] Knowing that the LORD orders, establishes, prepares, secures, directs my steps  infuses me with confidence and hope.
by the LORD, and He delights [takes pleasure in, pleased with] in his way [path, journey]. If the LORD is taking pleasure in this way that He has ordered for me, then I'm convicted that I should enjoy it more, too. Rather than bemoaning my current step, regretting my past steps, or fretting about my future steps, I need to delight more in today's step--in the grateful acknowledgment that He has designed my steps for me and is Himself delighting in my way.
One of today's little delights was finding dragons in my lunchbox. It always warms my heart when any of my third graders make me a drawing. Today one of the boys folded up a dragon picture he had drawn for me and hid it in my lunchbox as a surprise. Awww!  Later this afternoon, another boy presented me a colored-pencil shark attack.  It never ceases to amuse me that the artwork I receive from girls almost always has hearts and flowers, whereas the pictures from boys are of snakes, dragons, monsters, sharks, and other deadly things. ;-) Those dragons and shark have been making me smile all evening. What a gift God has given me this year to be a teacher's assistant in third grade. =)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Psalm 37

Today I've been meditating on one of my favorite passages of Scripture, Psalm 37. I need to be reminded of these truths. These realities give me the perspective I need to keep trusting, dwelling, feeding, delighting, committing, resting, waiting...

Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart (v. 4).

Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; do not fret—it only causes harm (v. 7-8).

. . . A little that a righteous man has is better than the riches of many wicked. For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, but the LORD upholds the righteous (v. 12-17).

The wicked borrows and does not repay, but the righteous shows mercy and gives. For those blessed by Him shall inherit the earth, but those cursed by Him shall be cut off (v. 21-22).

A family picture taken in 2007, with Grandpa aged 97!

I have been young and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread. He is ever merciful, and lends; and his descendants are blessed (v. 25-26).

Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell forever more. For the LORD loves justice, and does not forsake His saints; they are preserved forever, but the descendants of the wicked shall be cut off (v. 27-28).

The wicked watches the righteous, and seeks to slay him. The LORD will not leave him in his hand, nor condemn him when he is judged (v. 32-33).

Mark the blameless man, and observe the upright; for the future of that man is peace. But the transgressors shall be destroyed together; the future of the wicked shall be cut off (v. 37-38). 

But the salvation of the righteous is from the LORD; He is their strength in the time of trouble. And the LORD shall help them and deliver them; He shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in Him (v. 39-40).