Daily Walking with God

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Plant City's First Baptist Church

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Daily Journaling

Stephanie’s daily journaling after reading the bible through the year.

joy and peace

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Romans 15:13

I prayed this verse for my children today. And you know what? I prayed it for you too!

Dear Lord, You are The God of hope! I pray that you will fill my family, friends, and myself with Your abundant joy and peace today as we trust in You. May we be brimming with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Have a beautiful weekend!  Be joyful!

Blessings to you and yours, Stephanie

#bejoyful  #filledwithHislove #brimmingwithpeace

 

stormWith clean-ups, clean-outs, and all things that deal with Hurricane Irma, and on top of Harvey and Irma…the catastrophic earthquake in Mexico and another fatal hurricane named Maria…I’ve been quiet and reflective. My heart and prayers go out to all.

Heartaches and heartbreaks happen in life. Troubles and trials WILL come our way.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

That stinks! Yet it is required. Events, such as these, are required to build character in ourselves, collaborate for a purpose with others, and to demonstrate Christ’s love in desperate times.

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.”  Romans 5:3-5

Yesterday, I heard a news reporter mention that some say that our world will end on September 23, 2017. Well, I do agree with people that we are in the end-times, but I must also agree with God’s Word. In Matthew 24:36, 42, and 44 the Bible repeats to us that we do NOT know the date, day, time, or anything of such specifics when Jesus is coming again.

36“No one knows when that day or time will be. The Son and the angels in heaven don’t know when it will be. Only the Father knows…42 “So always be ready. You don’t know the day your Lord will come… 44 So you also must be ready. The Son of Man will come at a time when you don’t expect Him.”

So, let’s say that man is smarter than Jesus and that man does know that September 23rd is indeed the last day. (“Even the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom. Even the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.”1 Corinthians 1:25. ) Are you ready? Is your heart right with God? Do you believe in Him with all your heart?

Yes, our world is showing true signs of the end-of-times:

“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.” 2 Timothy 3:1-5

“Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. Matthew 24:7

Agree?

But…we do NOT know when. So…while we wait for that glorious day:

  • Love others
  • Help others
  • ­­­­Be kind
  • Be humble
  • Obey
  • Show gratitude
  • Be holy
  • Forgive
  • Have self-control
  • Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength
  • Share and show His love with others
  • Pray

Can you? Will you? You’ve got this…with God.

Have a beautiful day. Enjoy soaking up The Son wherever you are.

Love to you and yours, Stephanie

#theendtimes  #liveforGod #shareHislove

 

I love to decorate with items that either tell a story, remind me of places I’ve traveled to, looks interesting, or I simply just like. When you walk into my home, you may look and say as my precious friend said, “I’m not sure how to describe your style. Eclectic? Whatever it is, I like it and it’s YOU!”

The photos, that I’m including in this entry, are strictly items Tim and I purchased from Tampa Bay Salvage (located in Tarpon Springs, Florida).

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Originally, I was going to use an antique screen door for my pantry door, but when I saw these security doors from India (I think), my creative juices thought, “There are our new pantry doors.” Tim agreed, and now they are guarding our goodies. I often joke about how they are keeping me from the Oreos or other unhealthy snacks that adorn the shelves.

 

These colorful swinging doors once hung in a business in Indonesia. Now they are used as privacy doors for our outdoor shower. A little pop of color is exactly what this grey and rustic outdoor area needed. Yes, they came this way. There was no need for adding any paint to these little jewels.

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Ahhh, our outdoor living space is fun, inviting, and definitely outdoorsy. There will always be hunting and nautical décor being added to this space. I’d show you the entire living space, but I’ll save that for another post. The barn wood that graces these walls have a special meaning to them for us. When we asked Barry, at Tampa Bay Salvage, where this specific wood came from (the majority of it anyhow), he replied, “Kentucky”. Tim and I just looked at one another with a smile and said, “That’s it. We’ll take it.” You see, Tim’s late mom, Mrs. Jany, was born and raised in western Kentucky. Even if the barn may not be from the same town she was from, the meaning is still rich to us.

 

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Tampa Bay Salvage has a plethora of miscellaneous wood pieces to use for diverse designs. Tim wanted a shelf to be used while they practice their bow target practice. This piece of wood not only is used for its original purpose, but is mainly used for eating on during entertaining.IMG_0788

 

 

 

Also, for the outdoor living area, we purchased this wooden table which has a Large Tooth Sawfish Bill inset in the middle, that was caught in Key West. The Shuffs are a family of avid saltwater fishermen. We’ve also spent a lot of time lobstering and fishing down in the Keys. So, this furniture piece fits perfectly into our outdoor “family” area.

 

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I love this mirror we are using in our master bathroom. When I first pondered the idea of getting it, I was like, “Hmmm, dusting won’t be fun.” Then I changed my mind and decided to vacuum when needed. That’s exactly what I do. This mirror screams character to the bathroom, and it reminds us of the beach too.IMG_0791

Our last three TBS items were bought just yesterday.

 

  • Mine and Tim’s bedroom walls are blank. I didn’t want to just decorate for the sake of looking complete. I wanted to truly love what’s on the walls and let them speak to me. (crazy?) Well, today my handyman, Jackson, and I created the wall feature using barn wood. I love it!IMG_0802

 

  • I’m not afraid of funky. When I sat in this Adirondack rocker chair, I knew it was coming home and resting on my front porch. The colors match perfectly with the palate I have on my baker’s rack displaying plants. (Plants that I hope I can keep alive. LOL)

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  • Finally, I’m not completely sold as to where this last piece will end up, but Tim has a habit of collecting driftwood from boat outings, and I often bring small pieces of driftwood home from vacations. Our youngest, Cole, said it reminds him of the art that was in the movie Beetlejuice.

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Whew, I do believe we have enjoyed our shopping excursions to Tampa Bay Salvage.

So, how am I going to quickly intertwine this journal entry to scripture? When I think about how each piece has its own story can comes from various places all over the world…it reminds me how it doesn’t matter what nationality we all are, God loves us all and desires a relationship with each of us. To Him, we are His masterpieces…colorful works of art…and loves how we all have our own characteristics, but are unified by Him.

He accepts anyone who worships Him and does what is right. It is not important what nation they come from. Acts 10:35

God wants each of us to embrace a relationship with Him, and do what is right in His sight…no matter where we come from.

After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands. 10 And they were shouting with a great roar, “Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb!” Revelation 7:9-10

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.  John 3:16

Friend, it does not matter where you are from, how bad you think you are or things you’ve done, the socio or economic status you have, to Him you are worth everything! We are His eclectic masterpieces!

I hope you enjoy decorating with what speaks to you, and also allow God to speak to and through you.

Blessings to you and yours.

Love, Stephanie

#decoratingwithlove  #wearealleclectic  #eclecticdesign  #notahousebutahome

 

Here's me and Don landing.

Here’s me and Don landing.

Don asked, “Does anyone want to go flying?” I popped my resting head up off the pillow, where I was power napping on the couch, and quickly responded, “I do!”

Off we went. Headed to the hanger, where Don keeps his plane, I was excited to see the beautiful Georgia land from an aerial view.

After we guided the plane, a 1946 Piper Cub, out of the hanger, Don instructed me to get in the front seat. Thinking, on my limited knowledge of flying, that the pilot usually is seated in the front, I curiously replied, “Why am I sitting in the front?”

Don informed me that he will be piloting the plane from the back seat.

Whew!

It wasn’t long after we were hovering above the peaceful pines below when he asked if I wanted to fly the plane.

“How?”

“Put your hand on the lever and fly.”

As I had no clue what to do, and definitely not wanting to crash us into the ponds below, I’d glance over my right shoulder and see Don guiding me by example. He would motion his hand one way or the other, instructing me to push, pull, or lean the lever to its right or left.

That lasted for about a minute. Between me glancing over my shoulder constantly, and not enjoying the view as much, I pointed to Don and said, “You fly.”

Ahh, peace filled my somewhat anxious self, and I could once again relish in the stunning landscape below us.

Don has been flying for over 35 years. I trusted his expertise and ability to guide us safely to our destination.

Throughout the process, I couldn’t help but be reminded of how I don’t want God to be the co-pilot of my life, I desire for Him to be The Pilot!

He is the expert.

Even when I take control of my life, God is there guiding me. It is my responsibility to glance at Him for guidance.

When God is in control, no matter how the scenery may be, I’m at peace.

Tim took a ride too.

There have been times (MANY) when I think that I am in control of situations. (Yea, I saw you shake your head in agreement…I’m not alone.) I either do-it-myself, seek God for guidance, or point to Him and say, “You take this.”. I can assure you that the first strategy mentioned doesn’t have the best of endings compared to the others.

Are you going through an anxious time in your life? Point to God and say, “You fly.” He is the expert Pilot who will give you peace and land you safely on the ground.

Blessings to you and yours.

Enjoy soaking up The Son wherever you are, Stephanie

#godismypilot  #flyingpiper  #godisincontrol

Capturing the sun setting behind the pines was an added bonus.

Capturing the sun setting behind the pines was an added bonus.

 

 

 

Yesterday, while traveling in the truck, heading to the hunting camp in Georgia, “I” would search the bible for verses to fit into the next decorating journal entry. Nada. But…shocker…God had a plan.

Each morning, before I rise or seek the face of man, I seek the face of God. Prior to opening the app on my phone to read the day’s bible verse, my prayer is “Lord, speak to me and through me.” Well, He did not disappoint. I actually got a little giddy when I read the verse-for-the-day.

“O LORD, your unfailing love fills the earth; teach me your decrees.” Psalm 119:64

You may be wondering, “How in the world does Psalm 119:64 fit into a decorating idea?”

Well, I guess you’d have to know my love for travel to understand. So…welcome to “my travel room/study”.

My family has been blessed with the opportunities to travel the world. During those travels, memorabilia will be purchased, moments captured in photographs and the mind, lives are being enriched (ours and others), and many amazing memories are being made.

Just yesterday, my nephew and his sweet wife (Caleb and Candace) were staying at our home, as they were ending their weeklong vacation in Florida. They were walking around the home, and knowing that I was writing journal entries regarding making a house a home, I asked her, “Candace, look around and let me know what speaks to you.”

She opened her arms, and with a smile on her face said, “This room speaks to me.”

Which room? My “travel room/study”.

What is it about this room? Is it the stories each piece or picture tells? The biblically based books adorning the shelf for growing in His word? The pins on the map on the cork wall? The coziness of the navy color adorning the walls? My hidden prayer wall for those private times? Who knows! Yet, it spoke to Candace, and it speaks to me as well.

DSCN5629Each hat has a story to tell. When I look at specific ones, precious reminiscences flood my mind. Like the fourth one from the right…it has traveled to Botswana, Cape Town, and Victoria Falls in Africa, Chichen Itza in Mexico, Athens, Greece, and many others places that God created.

The majority of the pieces adorning the walls or shelves were from travels we partook in, yet there are a few passed down from family members: A hieroglyphic urn Tim’s great uncle Wilfred brought back from his days in the war. A large cow bell my in-laws picked up from a trip to Switzerland. An engraved stone tile my dad brought home from the Mayan villages. Again…each piece tells a story.

A cork wall! This is a definite work in progress and will be ever changing and added too. I went to the local home improvement store and purchased two rolls of underlayment. You know, that stuff people lay down on the floor before they install tiles or hardwood. Why not have a wall of it.

It wasn’t long after my idea of a corked wall when I saw somewhere that JoJo (from the HGTV show, Fixer Upper…love!!) had it installed on her office wall. My thought was (after I was like, “Hey, that was my idea!” LOL!) “If JoJo did it, it must be a great idea.”

There are so many photos and "stuff" to add.  One day.

There are so many photos and “stuff” to add. One day.

Ahhh, my hidden prayer wall. Behind the skillfully created sliding door, I asked my contractor to install a metal backing. This backing hold magnets from adventures, and…most importantly…numerous prayer requests. Whether they are written on a small piece of paper and magnetized to the door, or written directly on the metal wall, requests are being lifted to the Lord. When the door is open (which it always is unless I’m in there studying), no one even knows that my private prayer wall is there. (Your name just may be on there.)

Okay, now don’t you just love our porthole…an online purchase. We originally were going to have it inserted to our outside bathroom door, but it was too large. Then, I thought it would be fun to have at the end of my kitchen island. One side of my island is open, and I could just imagine my future grandbabies opening the porthole and crawling through. (Glad that didn’t happen…my shelves are full of pots and pans.) Finally, the porthole found its home in the sliding barndoor. Perfect! People love taking pics, while sticking their heads through its opened window.

I won't show my metal prayer wall (too personnel), but this sign hangs above it.

I won’t show my metal prayer wall (too personnel), but this sign hangs above it.

Candace and Caleb.  Sweetness.

Candace and Caleb. Sweetness.

So, how does “O LORD, your unfailing love fills the earth; teach me your decrees.” Psalm 119:64 fit into this entry? It brought you to my study/travel room where you can sit on my comfy chair and be filled with inspiration of world travels or, do as I door, and have some quiet time with Jesus.

I hope you have found some inspiration today to either:

  • Turn a wall into a corked wall
  • Install a metal backing to your door
  • Display collected items, and remember the stories they tell from your experiences
  • Just find a quiet place for you to soak up The Son

I hope you will stay tuned, have a glass of sweet tea, and sit a spell with me as we take an adventure through my home and share some decorating ideas.

Blessings to you and yours, Stephanie

#home #adventure

 

As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. Joshua 24:15

As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. Joshua 24:15

 

I am so grateful and humbled by comments from others when they come into or walk through our home.

Two goals I’ve always had when decorating are 1) I want others to see Christ as the center of our home and 2) I desire for folks to feel welcome and comfortable.

I just received a precious note from a friend who recently attended a gathering at our home and she penned the words, “Your place feels like home. You both have done such a wonderful job creating such a warm and friendly atmosphere.” (Thanks, Liz!)

When others meander around and ask me to come and help them decorate their home, that just thrills my soul, and again…I’m humbled.

So…I’ve decided to turn some decorating tidbits into a small series of journal entries. (You know I had to tie in some Jesus somehow. ) Take note…I am NOT a professional decorator, just a girl who knows what she likes and has a way of displaying items and decorates from the heart.

Now, grant it, you will discover that our home is a work in progress. Much like myself, there’s always room for improvement and upgrading. Also, notice that I won’t call our home a house. This isn’t just a structure that houses people, this is a place where there is much love and nurturing taking place.

So here goes the first entry of this mini-series:

When we laid the concrete was laid and bare, writing scripture was a top priority. Whether it was a testament to having a firm foundation in not only the house, yet foremost in the Lord. (I also wanted to share Jesus with whomever was working on our home at the time too.) As I walked through each room, stopped at each entryway, and glanced out each location of the future windows, I’d say a prayer of hope and thanksgiving, and write scripture.

We added on to an existing home, so the rooms (only three) that were not being structurally touched, I would walk through, and even sit on the floor, and say a prayer.

“Listen, people of Israel! The Lord is our God. The Lord is the only God. You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. Always remember these commands that I give you today… Write them on the doorposts of your houses and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:4-6, 9

scripture on home collage

Today’s tidbit:

Have God as the foundation of your home and life.

Do you want to make sure you have a foundation in Christ? PLEASE click here to know more.

I hope you will stay tuned, have a glass of sweet tea, and sit a spell with me as I take you on a journey through our home and share some decorating ideas and especially some Jesus time.

“By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures”. Proverbs 24:3-4

Oh, yea…I would LOVE for you to share your own related stories with me as we journey through this together. I will enjoy getting ideas from you!

Blessings to you and yours, Stephanie

#ahomenotahouse  #decoratewithlove  #christasthefoundation  #home

 

I love this photo of me and my man walking the streets/alleyways of Sweden.

I love this photo of me and my man walking the streets/alleyways of Sweden.

Come, let us bow down and worship Him! Let us kneel before the Lord who made us.  He is our God, and we are the people He cares for, His sheep that walk by His side. Listen to His voice today. Psalm 95:6-7 ERV

There is so much solid information in these two verses, yet I want to focus on one preposition…beside.

When I read the word, beside, I thought about how a parent walks beside a child or a husband and wife walking next to one another. To me, this indicates a relationship.

Think about it, if someone is walking in front of or behind you, and you are trying to carry on a conversation, you may find yourself saying, “What did you say?”. Our hearing (at least mine, the older I get) isn’t as keen compared to being beside someone.

There is a poem (the author is supposedly Albert Camus, but that is up for debate according to my source) that goes like this:

Don’t walk behind me, I may not lead.

Don’t walk in front of me, I may not follow.

Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Ladies and Gentlemen, guess what? JESUS IS your FRIEND.

I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. John 15:15

Sure, He is in front of…leading and guiding, behind of and above…protecting, but for today, rest in the fact that He is BESIDE you, holding your hand and being your friend. He is the BEST friend you could ever have! Your relationship with Jesus is the most important and valuable bond you could be affiliated with.

Just as the last few words of verse say, Listen to His voice today, grab His hand and walk beside Him and LISTEN to His voice.

Have a beautiful day.

Blessings to you and yours, Stephanie

#jesusismyfriend #walkbesideme #realtionship

Total Overcast Eclipse

Total Overcast Eclipse

The newscasters were giving a plethora of information to all regarding how to prepare for viewing and reminding us to NOT look at the sun.

Social media was buzzing with articles, videos, and excitement.

Schools were either closing, not opening, or excusing students from this day.

Individuals, groups of friends, and families were traveling far distances to catch a glimpse.

What was all the anticipation about? The 2017 Total Solar Eclipse.

I wasn’t on the ball to purchase special viewing glasses, so the day of this event three cereal boxes were vacated to create the homemade viewing box.

Once school was out, Tim and Cole came home to partake in this historical event for The United States.

After Cole snickered at my homemade viewing box, we would listen to the NASA television station and observe any shading changes surrounding us. For approximately fifty minutes we would peer into the Eclipse Cereal Box Viewing Apparatus and TRY to see any variations in the sun and moon.

Well, wouldn’t you know that the exact time that our location was to have 80+% partial eclipse, Florida rain clouds decided to give us more of an eclipse than we were awaiting. It was more like total overcast.

For our household, it was an uneventful historical event. According to many family and friends’ photos on social media, their eclipse experience was fabulous! Some witnessed the total eclipse, and others captured the moment by taking pictures of leaves which displayed little crescent sun reflections everywhere. So cool!

Throughout the days leading up to the eclipse, I found myself wondering…“Isn’t it interesting how everyone is excited and preparing for this event. I wish we were this enthusiastic and anticipatory for The Second Coming.”

Could you imagine?

The broadcasters (fake and all) giving a plethora of information as to how to prepare for The Day, and encouraging us to ALWAYS look to The Son.

Social media buzzing with excitement for The Second Coming.

Schools closing due to many faculty, staff, and students who won’t be in attendance because they will be promoted to the wisest place ever.

Individuals, groups of friends, and families eager to catch a glimpse of Jesus’ return, and join Him in the sky.

Oh, what a GLORIOUS day!

The thing is…we don’t know when this day will occur. It could be today, next week, five more years, or even before you finish reading this journal entry.

You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected. Matthew 24:44

He is coming again. Do you realize that every promise and prophesy from God in the bible has been, or is being fulfilled? It was foretold that a king is coming to save the world, and He did. It was also said that that same king, Jesus, would die for the sins of the world and will rise again. He did that too. We are promised that Christ will come again to bring salvation to all. Get ready!

“so also Christ was offered once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him.” Hebrew 9:28

Are you eagerly waiting? Maybe you think you must get your life right before you can give your life to God. Nope. Only He can make your life right. Give it to Him now. He is waiting for you. Maybe you have received salvation from the Lord, but you aren’t living for Him with your whole heart because you think “the world” is too much fun. Remember, God doesn’t like us to be lukewarm. Live for God with all your heart. Love Him with all your being. When you do this, you will notice a difference in your life. A wonderful transformation. Maybe you are eagerly waiting because you know the hope we have of a perfect life with Christ. Praise Jesus! Now, don’t just wait, but share His love with others through words, deeds, and/or actions.

“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.  There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. John 14:1-3

When This Day comes, you won’t have to purchase any special glasses or make any homemade viewing device. You can look up to the heavens with joy.

“Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven.  And everyone will see Him, even those who pierced Him. And all the nations of the world will mourn for Him. Yes! Amen!” Revelation 1:7

Friend, this Total Solar Eclipse event that took place today was exciting to see on television. And, yes, I even got goosies while some television guests were enthusiastically experiencing and explaining the totality of it all. Yet, the true day of darkening will be beyond exciting. Oh what a glorious day!

“The sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.” Matthew 24:29 (This is Jesus telling about His Return.)

Whether your Total Eclipse Day was eventful or not, prepare yourself for the amazing darkening day which will bring forth a Great Light. And on that day, PLEASE LOOK AT THE SON!

Blessings to you and yours. Love, Stephanie

 

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This morning I knew exactly what I wanted to write about today. Then, God confirmed it as the preacher (Pastor Brian Stowe) practically took the words right out of my mouth. I guess it was God’s way of confirming the thought.

When we were recently vacationing in Canada we decided to waive the chaotic crowds of touring the glaciers (which I hear were amazing!), and decided to take a more private tour via helicopter. The decision was the right one for us. Private, amazing view of God’s creation, landed on a little island in a river, ate by the riverside, drank from the cool water streaming down from the small waterfall, and partook in a small hike. Are you ready to go? Put it on your bucket list.

My camera was clicking away around every turn (bumpiness and all). Within a fifteen-minute time span, I had taken over 150 photos from the sky.DSCN5133

While flying, and being amazed at the views close to you, you can get so enthralled with what is directly in front of you. The pilot said, “Don’t forget to look up and enjoy the scenery off in the distance too. Most people forget about looking up and only see what is in front of them.”

My eyes glanced in the distance. The scenery took my breath away. A smile came across my face in in my heart as I was captivated by not only the landscape, yet the words from the pilot.

How often do we do the same in our everyday lives? We usually get caught up in the busyness of the day or task at hand or problem or ________ and overlook the fact that we need to change our perspective and simply breathe in and look up to God for awe inspiringness. (I think I created a new word here).

I lift up my eyes to the mountains; where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2

I lift my eyes to you, O God, enthroned in heaven. Psalm 123:1

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33

I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.  Philippians 3:14

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Look up. Get a godly perspective. Don’t miss out on the glory He has for you.

Blessings to you and yours. Love, Stephanie.

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Hahaha.  Here is me and one of my dearest friends dressed in cheer uniforms for a pep rally.  The teachers performed. (THAT was hilarious!)  Kerri is no only a dear and longtime friend, but a wonderful teacher whom the students love.  I just thought y'all would get a kick out of us teachers "cheering you on".

Hahaha. Here is me and one of my dearest friends dressed in cheer uniforms for a pep rally. The teachers performed. (THAT was hilarious!) Kerri is no only a dear and longtime friend, but a wonderful teacher whom the students love. I just thought y’all would get a kick out of us teachers “cheering you on”.

It’s that time of year…FOOTBALL!! Okay, well, really…school.

School is not as exhilarating for some as sports, but it is an important process in life.

Being a teacher, even though I’m on leave this year (BIG SMILE and clapping here), I always take time to reflect on the previous year, unit, day, lesson, etc. as well as prepare my mind for the days ahead.

The past couple of days, during my quiet time, when I would read the scripture, those verses appeared very applicable to “this time of year”.

Work with me here:

I enjoy following your rules as much as others enjoy great riches.  I will study your instructions. I will give thought to your way of life.  I enjoy your laws.  I will not forget your word. Psalm 119:14-16

Following the rules. Study. Instruction. Thought. Not forget. All words or phrases that can and should easily roll off one’s tongue the first few days of school. Yet, do those lovely, eager-eyed students always remember their willingness to please and do well throughout the year? (Some teachers too, for that matter.) Hmmmm…for many…doubtful.

Following the rules: Now, my classes weren’t always perfect, but some came pretty close. Those other classes (few and far between)…I think I’d win the Academy Award for dramatics. One thing my students knew that was a requirement for our classroom was respect. When I’d show respect, even to those who I would have to take a deep breath before doing so, the students would often follow suit. Respect for self, others, property, and their work would make for a more organized and enjoyable classroom. Students, follow the rules. They are there to guide you and make you a better student, and in turn a respectful person. Teachers, don’t slack on those rules. Be firm, loving, and hold students (and yourself) accountable. You should lead by example too. So, don’t set unrealistic rules and guidelines for your students. You were in their shoes once.

Study: Ugh… “Do I have to?” Yes!!! Each year I share with my students, and own children, a story/advice which my step-dad mentioned. Long story short: He would share about a friend he had when he was in school. This friend was involved in clubs and athletics, had an after-school job, and made excellent grades. When asked how he maintained his high GPA, the friend would state how even when he didn’t have homework in a certain subject, he would take at least 15 minutes each night to look ahead and study for what is to come. This helped the friend stay disciplined, prepared, and earn the grades that he desired. Point is…Students, STUDY even when you have “no homework”. Always challenge yourself to do your best and know all you need to know. When you struggle, ask for help. Teachers, peers, tutors are willing. Heck, You Tube it nowadays. I even do as a teacher. There’s often more than one way to get an answer, so do what is best for you. Think smarter, not harder. Stay ahead of the game. You never have “no homework”…create it and study.

Instruction: Teachers, especially those who teach the same subject upteen times a day, or those who teach the same grade/skill/lesson year after year, remember that even though the lesson isn’t new to you, it is to the group of students you are presenting to. Keep it fresh. I often say teachers are under-paid actors. Act like it is the best lesson ever and keep it interesting for your audience. Also, remember that we all learn differently. Accommodate when needed. Yes, it is tiring, but these students deserve your best. They are our future, as scary or encouraging they appear. Be the greatest encourager for them through your instruction. Students, LISTEN. Listen, take notes, ASK QUESTIONS, practice, and apply the instruction you are given. I’m sure some may say, “My teacher doesn’t really teach us, and I have to learn on my own.” Well, first of all, shame on that teacher. Secondly, do what you must do to become the most educated you can.

Thought. Not forget: Ponder each day on what you learned. Take the time to reflect, even on the mundane things. Those mundane things will become foundations for something great. Students, if you do this it will make for easier studying. When you cram in the knowledge just for a test, you will most likely forget later what you learned. So, allow me to encourage you as a teacher and a forever student of life, ponder…soak in your knowledge…don’t wait until the last minute…remember what your teacher/You Tuber/tutor/peers teach you. Read James 1:22-25 below:

Do what God’s teaching says; don’t just listen and do nothing. When you only sit and listen, you are fooling yourselves. Hearing God’s teaching and doing nothing is like looking at your face in the mirror and doing nothing about what you saw. You go away and immediately forget how bad you looked.  But when you look into God’s perfect law that sets people free, pay attention to it. If you do what it says, you will have God’s blessing. Never just listen to his teaching and forget what you heard.

So, please don’t forget. Do it. Pay attention. Apply.

Now, to ALL of us (students of life), God’s word is clear. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

Be equipped. Do good. Read the bible (Life’s Instruction Book) and allow it to teach, rebuke (ouch, yes), correct, and train you in the right way to live.

I pray for a successful school year, and a thirst for a life of learning.

Enjoy soaking up The Son wherever you are.

Love, Stephanie