Daily Walking with God

January 2018
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Walking in the Word

Plant City's First Baptist Church

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2 Timothy 3:16-17

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


Hiking The Valley of the Five Lakes

Hiking The Valley of the Five Lakes

After spending a week of hiking in Canada, we arrived home last night around midnight, before Tropical Storm Emily decided to hit land and dispense an abundance of rain on us. While visiting Jasper and Banff, Alberta, we hiked trails (and some off-trailing for Cole) that were rocky, smooth, filled with tree roots, and over streams. The trails ranged from easy to moderately challenging. No matter the level of difficulty, the end result was always rewarding.

Last night, I dreamt of hiking through the woods and reading trail maps. Really? Hadn’t I had enough? I believe I dreamed about hiking because I had immersed myself in this routine of seeking trails, reading maps, and taking on the challenge daily over the past seven days.

When I awakened, I thought about how our thoughts and dreams would be if we did a daily hike with God. Think about it…I had occupied myself with a routine of seeking, reading, and taking the challenge (obeying) with hiking trails that were unknown to me.

Listen, life is FULL of unknowns. If we just “wing-it” and do life our way, things probably (okay, definitely won’t) turn out as we planned it, or if it does, it’s not best for us. But when we seek God’s guidance, read His word, and obey His commands, life will be so much more rewarding in the end. To God be the glory!

My handsome hiking guide/lumberjack/husband.

My handsome hiking guide/lumberjack/husband.

DSCN5046“But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.” Deuteronomy 4:29

“Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.” 1 Chronicles 16:11

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

“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” Psalm 119:105

“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.  God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17

“If you love me, keep my commands.” John 14:15

Seeing God's glory as we hike.

Seeing God’s glory as we hike.

I pray that you will strap on your hiking boots and enjoy soaking up The Son wherever you are.  Wouldn’t it be pleasant the dream about hiking with God???

Blessings to you and yours, Stephanie.

God blows me away!

God blows me away!