Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Surrender: Five Minute Friday

I'm super late, but this is my contribution to the Five Minute Friday linkup. Kate Motaung is gracious enough to host us faithfully every week. All you do is view the word prompt, write for five minutes, stop, link up, and then read/comment on the post before yours. It's simple and rewarding and will become something you want to keep doing again and again!


This week's prompt:
Surrender.


"Apart from me, you can do nothing."


Thinking on surrender for the past few days as I was with family for Thanksgiving, I had not planned on linking up. Today, though, after pondering many worship songs joyfully proclaiming how we surrender all, this verse came strongly to mind.

Surrender is actually very difficult for most of us. The hymn would more appropriately be sung, "I Surrender Most." We don't enjoy being humbled. We want to be independent and in control and instead we are helpless from birth.
Even Paul the apostle was not granted complete freedom from needing God.

If we were perfect, would we need to be saved? Salvation is not a momentary change, in my opinion, but a lifetime transformation. Am I saved? Yes, but I am constantly having to surrender that control and that desire to be the god of my life.

We pay homage to a god, but is it the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings that we surrender to? Pay tribute to? Or have we allowed another god to siege us and take away all that our Lord God longs to reward us with?


The video is a song called "I Surrender" by Hillsong. It's about 4 years old.


Thank you for reading!
-Tammy
P.S. Please include your linkup number or URL so I can read your post and comment back!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Common: Five Minute Friday

Delighted to take part in the Twitter Party and the Five Minute Friday linkup this week! Many friends, from many places, writing for five minutes on the same word. Here's the link to the linkup. Kate Motaung is our gracious hostess every week and she's sincere and wonderful!

Our prompt:

Common.

Go!

Internet definition of common:
  1. 1.
    occurring, found, or done often; prevalent.

    "salt and pepper are the two most common seasonings"

    antonyms:unusual, rare
    • (of an animal or plant) found or living in relatively large numbers; not rare.
    • ordinary; of ordinary qualities; without special rank or position.

      "the dwellings of common people"

      synonyms:ordinary, normal, average, unexceptional;

      "the common folk"
    • (of a quality) of a sort or level to be generally expected.

      "common decency"
    • of the most familiar type.

      "the common or vernacular name"
    • denoting the most widespread or typical species of an animal or plant.

      "the common blue spruce"
  2. 2.
    showing a lack of taste and refinement; vulgar.
I'm reminded of the "commoner". That royalty would never stoop so low as to acknowledge a commoner. A common girl.

And yet, we LOVE Cinderella, don't we?!!! The gracious, kind, sweet servant-heart girl who is noticed by the Prince. It's as if her internal beauty was displayed outwardly with one wave of the fairy's wand.

In our deepest hearts, we know that the heart is where the battle lies and the battle is won.
Jesus won the battle, but it is WE who need to surrender. We're stubbornly not allowing Him into the battle. We are trying to win the wars on our own (and usually failing miserably).

But, it's common in America (and other developed countries) to be independent and stubborn. It's applauded to be on your own, on your own two feet. Well, we're also stressed out. We have that in common.

Instead of getting dizzy on the hamster wheel, maybe we should be less common. Maybe we should actually take a Sabbath rest. Honor our fathers and mothers. Cease to kill and slander others with our words and thoughts. Cease to be envious at what others display publicly when we don't know what's in their lives privately.
Jennie Augusta Brownscombe [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Last week I quoted Romans how while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. We have sin in common. And as we approach Thanksgiving Day, I am reminded that the Native Americans had pity and compassion on the unprepared settlers and helped them farm and sustain their very lives that winter. Love is the common thread that binds up all our wounds.

And, love is greater than all other things. (1 Corinthians 13:13)


~Tammy
P.S. List your linkup number or URL in your comment, please! I don't want to miss reading your post. I can't find you any other way unless you're a regular here. :)

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Journey: Five Minute Friday

Weekly, friends across the oceans and across the continental United States join together and write on a one-word prompt for five minutes without going back and fixing later. It is in this simple free-write community that I have made many deep eternal friendships. Our faith intertwines us like a brilliant tapestry of lives in different seasons, all brilliantly glorifying the same Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
Want to know more? Go read all of our humble offerings at Kate's linkup.

The prompt this week?
"Journey"

A song came to mind, I'll link the video here. It's called "This Road" by Jars of Clay. I used to listen to this song on repeat when it first came out. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z67TTVXi_BM


We are all journeying. I just turned 35 last month and am now legally eligible to run for the office of the President of the United States. I'm beginning to see why there is a minimum age requirement. Until you have lived for a time, you cannot quite see past the end of your own nose to the world around you and to see how your decision can affect so many others.

While content to make my mistakes in private, there is a realization of the immense undertaking we each have as adults. We are leaders. We are influencing our spheres within the world. Some peoples' journeys cross ours in a positive way and others in a negative way.
What we leave behind are our footprints. Our fingerprints. We are the hands and feet of Jesus.
But, are we leaving people longing for us or for Him? We will fade away. How we treat people will be long-lasting.

If I am kind because of Jesus, and I make it known that I love because He loved and loves still, then I am living out Romans 5:8.
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (Romans 5:6-11)

I want to travel my journey in such a way that others want to journey with me.
The woman described in Proverbs 31:25-26?
Strength and dignity are her clothing,
    and she laughs at the time to come.
 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
    and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.


That's who I am striving to become. Not for my glory, but that I would never take away from the reputation of Jesus and what His followers represent. We represent Him. We draw others to Him.

Blessings to you on your journey tonight!
Love,
Tammy

P.S. If you leave me a comment, please leave me your URL or linkup number from Kate's site. I don't have a way to find your post otherwise. :)


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Friends: Tuesday (because I have time) post

I don't think I'll be able to participate in Five Minute Friday until very late Friday night. I've got a teacher's conference ahead of me tomorrow afternoon. We're carpooling a few hours to a larger city where we will be attending a regional convention.
To say I'm excited is anticlimactic. What's funny to me is that I can recall my mom attending the same conference years and years ago. And I missed her terribly. I actually made a banner. (Remember when printers had paper that fed and was continuous unless you separated the perforated pages?)
"Welcome home, Mommy", it said. I was in the 8th grade. I still needed her, missed her when she was gone. I was 13 and the oldest.

Now I get to go and my oldest is only 9. My husband is well equipped to handle this. The girls don't have school (I'm blessed to teach where they attend-our school is Preschool through 12th grade) and so he doesn't have a huge job ahead of him. They enjoy the times with just them and him.

But back to friends. I am friends with my co-workers. Including our part-time staff, we have just over 30 employees. And? They're wonderful! To find people who care about children, care about raising them to know Jesus with their entire being and to take a job where you earn less, have less benefits, but ultimately make an eternal difference? These are my people! And this conference will have more people that have that same calling and desire to grow children not only in their academic life but in their spiritual life!

The blessing of my job is that not only do I get to teach math (which I have always loved), but I also get to teach the preschool/kindergarten and elementary chapels. These days are my greatest joy. Children worship without abandon and I get to worship with them, then teach them something about how they can be friends to everyone. How they can pray and God will answer them. I see their faith grow-I see them rise up and lead their classmates in ways I would not have imagined possible in young children in the world we live in.

My own girls are in my chapels still. I hear them recite their weekly verses they've memorized and God helps me tie all these things together and show it to them. It's truly the biggest blessing ever!
Oh, and now that I'm a full-time teacher? He's also providing more for us that we are then able to turn around and give with.

How did I end up in such a blessing place? I don't know. I know faithful ones who are not free like I am. Christians are imprisoned for their faith, tortured for their faith, I'm such a privileged American I cannot fathom the horrors. :( But, I just press in and try to obey and yield control and trust the most faithful of all. I try to discipline myself to pray intentionally.

Mostly, I try to live out Psalm 37:4-5
"Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this:"
 
So, there's five minutes of my life right now. I can tell you, God is real. He's proved Himself to me over and over again.

If you're not feeling like rejoicing right now, I have a video for you. This really ministered to me this summer when it came out.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dp4WC_YZAuw

Love,
Tammy

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Mail: Five Minute Friday

It's been a month since I've been able to write a post for Five Minute Friday. No coincidence that the first day of school was that Wednesday and I wrote that Thursday.
Here's the link to Kate's page for the FMF fun. I hope you'll read other posts. Each person's take on the prompt is so unique and wonderful!

Go!

After a month of silence in the writing of posts, I have too many thoughts in my head to settle down tonight. The prompt is MAIL. Well, last week I received the Five Minute Friday compilation that was gathered by Susan Shipe in the MAIL on my 35th birthday!!
Happy 35th Birthday to me!!!!
 To tell you that I was a little excited is an understatement. My love language, words of affirmation, and my inability to retain much in my long term memory due to so much being task managed in my short term memory leads to me being a "keeper".

I keep papers. Birthday cards, love letters from the long-distance year of my husband and I in our dating/engagement period are all tucked into shoe boxes.
I have notes from my sisters, my mom, students, all encouraging me.
I love to encourage others. I love to send surprises in the MAIL. It's hard to surprise a person without their address, however, so I have to spoil it a bit for some of my online friends.

The anticipation can make the delivery that much greater.
This weekend I attended our women's retreat and served as the musician for our worship leader. It was challenging with a malfunctioning keyboard and a backup guitar which I had to rely on. (I've played piano since 1990 but only began guitar in 2000 to play worship songs.)
I'm pretty comfortable either way, but it's God who was in control.
The Fabulous Five. Worship team is incomplete without sound and video, and our team had both!

These dear sisters were my cabin mates. We are aspiring to restore our souls monthly in a group for worship time!

And? You know the "you've got MAIL" icon from our early internet days?
That's what God has for us daily!
He has an invitation for us. To come and worship at His feet.
That is what has been missing from my daily life. I'm praying, reading my Bible, teaching in a Christian school, but I was missing worship time.
And now that I've seen it, and He's shown me where I can carve out just ten minutes before my other tasks (after my first class), I am so delighted to be with Him!

*timer has gone off*

If you comment and it takes me almost a week to get back to you, please know I am not trying to ignore you. I have so little time with my family now that the weekends are pretty precious family time. I will try to respond on Mondays!!
Also, if you don't tell me your linkup number or your url, I may not be able to find your post on the prompt. Could you pretty please tell me one of those as well?

Love,
Tammy

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Heal: Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday. I missed it last week. The prompt was 'Path'. I was helping another teacher prepare her classroom for the school year. I spent some hours Thursday painting in her classroom. I also painted some on Friday while my girls watched a movie. I spent more hours Monday painting in her classroom until it was finished.  Here's Kate's Linkup!!

This week's prompt is "heal".

Go.

The first passage that came to mind was Ecclesiastes 3.
"For everything there is a season,
    a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
    A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
    A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
    A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
    A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
    A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
    A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
    A time for war and a time for peace."

But opposite a time to heal? A time to kill.

So that's where I'm going. I don't like to kill. I really lack that drive. Unless it's insects. Or poisonous spiders. But up the ante to small rodents? I cringe. I did finish off a mouse for my cat one time and then burst into tears.
My husband is trying to trap a raccoon in our backyard. It's leaving its waste in a pile. I want to 'catch and release'. He was willing to sit up late with a rifle.
We've done neither because apparently it's illegal in our state to do either without a permit.

When his 17 year old cat was internally dying, to put it nicely, he decided to take the cat out and finish the process himself.

He has a strength I don't have. To end suffering is a passion of mine, but I am interested in healing to end suffering. Sometimes to end suffering, death must happen.

In my own life? It's time to kill pride. Time to kill selfishness. Time to kill the thought that I'm able to do things on my own without God. And really? That kind of killing will bring healing and end suffering in a power that I'd never possess on my own.

What else needs to die so that life can come forth? Plants die so animals can live. Animals die so humans can live. Humans die and are buried and plants live off that, right? Plants also die for our consumption.

Ultimately, the time to kill came for the Roman soldiers that nailed Jesus to the cross. And that killing led to the ultimate healing for all eternity.
A time to die will come, and in reflection of that, let us make the most of this time to live we are in.


 (Kari Jobe- Healer)


Love,
Tammy

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Loyal: Five Minute Friday

I was at the Twitter party four hours before it began, because I was lonely for company. When it was actually taking place, I was at an open swim with my three girls, one of their friends and her mom. What is it about these kind souls across the United States (and world) that cause us to come back longing for more time together?

Well, it really comes into this week's prompt. Here's Kate's linkup.
Loyal.

Loyal. Faithful. Committed. Reliable. Dependable.
I'm so thankful these days. Thankful for a loyal spouse. Thankful for the trust we share. Thankful for loyal friends. Even if we're all busy and overwhelmed in our busy lives with our children, we're available. It may be a brief 'I'm praying for you', or 'Call me in an hour', but we know we can count on those friends. I'm hearing the term 'squad' lately. I'm presuming it describes that same loyal pack that you are surrounded with.

I've always been pretty loyal. It stems from my extreme dislike of change. I'd much rather stay and work it out than try something new. That attitude has led to longevity in church family, in my marriage, in our choice of school (and it has evolved into a full-time job at said school).
Loyalty is admirable, but for people who've been hurt multiple times, it's more difficult to trust.

This is where God takes over. We trust Him. Completely. We run to Him first when we're upset. We don't vent our emotions to humans who may or may not be able to keep it secret or discern what we're 'really' saying. We don't blast veiled hurts all over the internet.
You see, He can take it. Read the Psalms if you don't believe me. David was highly emotional, but He was 'a man after God's own heart.'
God created our emotions, Jesus walked the Earth and experienced those emotions. It's okay to yell how upset you are. He'll wait it out with you. He's loyal.
Starting in Deuteronomy, He promises.

"So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

Here's "Loyal" by Lauren Daigle. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXKG-ooExGs


Love,
Tammy

P.S. Please include your linkup # or your url. I'd love to read your thoughts on Loyal!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Team: Five Minute Friday

A vacation to Idaho one week, a service project with our church the next, and before you know it, I've missed two weeks of Five Minute Friday! My apologies to those of you who have commented on my blog and received a very tardy response. Here's Kate's link this week. :)
This week's prompt is Team.

I wasn't going to link up this week, but today at church, while playing piano on our worship team, the lyrics really jumped off the page. I don't want to talk about politics, but the fact is, that as a Christian, I have a responsibility to pray for the leaders of my country.
So today, I'm going to tell you why the song "O Come to the Altar" has led me to believe I need to be fervently praying for a man named Donald J. Trump.

Two weeks ago I was in Boise, Idaho listening to a passionate Christian man named Franklin Graham encouraging us to pray for our nation, our state, our city, and our candidates. He did not tell us whom to vote for. "God will tell you who to vote for, but you NEED to vote!"

At the beginning of this process I would never have believed that Mr. Trump would even be a consideration with his rough edges and rougher mouth. Now that I'm just a couple months away from the election, he is the representative of the Republican Party.

I was born the same year that Ronald Reagan was inaugurated. My parents were proud supporters of his team. I have always been more conservative than not, and have not voted straight party ticket, but have always researched candidates before voting.

What I saw this week in Mr. Trump, though, was care. He traveled with his vice-candidate Mike Pence to Louisiana. He helped people. He talked to people. He listened to people.
He showed compassion. He didn't hold a large press conference announcing his good deeds. I found out about his visit through the Samaritan's Purse organization which Franklin Graham leads.


I am seeing a change, and I believe that we as Christians need to be praying. We need to be united as a Team. I was playing the piano and thinking of the Samaritan woman and how she was discarded and Jesus loved her. Donald Trump needs the transformation of Jesus as much as any of us. Instead of judging him (or any other), can we be united and pray? I still believe that the good of the Republican Party exists, but we need to unite and pray and work together. We're on the same team.
(By the way, I'm at 7 minutes. So sorry.)

~Tammy

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Happy: Five Minute Friday

This week's five minute friday prompt is Happy. Come to Kate's place for giveaways and celebration and anniversary party galore!

Go!
"Happy are the people whose God is the Lord." Psalm 144:15

As I searched the word "happy", it's really not as common as cheerful or joy or some other words we relate to happy. But that short verse I began with? That really is key, for me, to happiness.

You see, I'm guilty of losing my happy sometimes. Lysa Terkeurst talks about getting your happy bumped, I think. I'm actually celebrating tonight after completing a 6 week course (3 credits, grad-level) for teaching Mathematics. I needed 1 credit to count for my 2 year license. Those are difficult to find, so I hope that I'll bank some of my credits toward my next renewal.
As I celebrate, though, I was on the Twitter party for FMF and was asked what my happy style was. Here's the link to take the five minute quiz yourself: http://jenniferdukeslee.com/the-happiness-dare/

Jennifer Dukes Lee has just released her book "The Happiness Dare" and her quiz was insightful. I find happiness best with people. When I am giving to them, and helping them. This past year was my first year on staff at our daughters' private school. I loved doing little things for the other teachers. Little notes and gifts, it's something I have always enjoyed. I like to outwardly encourage and express my appreciation for other people. So my ranking was Giver, Relater, Doer on her quiz. (there are five matches you can have, one being your "primary" and one your "secondary".)

As a child? I even cross-stitched "I'm a little doer". But really? God wants me to delight in Him and know He delights in me. My happiness at being loved unconditionally spills out and spreads that love, extends that love to all His children around me.

I enjoy giving compliments to complete strangers. It's kind of a game of mine. I will watch for people who just look like they need a boost (usually women, later in the evening, often the grocery store or Walmart) and find something I genuinely want to compliment them on. It's just so much fun! I don't get anything back except the satisfaction of their response. So many times, they are shaken out of their focus and surprised. I've never made anyone angry, so I'm going to keep doing it.
Happy to have had help from a fellow teacher and friend finishing this mural. Even happier that I did it-it's the mascot of our school and I got it done in six days with her help on the final day!

Happy to have a husband who humors me with silly self-timed kissy-face pictures on a waterfall hike with all three of our girls.

Happy when I'm pretending to be a character out of the Bible times for the children at Vacation Bible School. (Fellow worship team member-we both wore wigs and costumes for the week in Egypt)


So, if you're happy and you know it, then your face will surely show it, right? I need to practice my happy face around my kids and laugh more. Sometimes Mommy gets waaaaay too serious!
Here's the Sesame Rendition of Shiny Happy People..."Furry Happy Monsters". https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BVSvjOY4g4


-Tammy

P.S. Please include your linkup number or url if you would like me to visit your post as well! :)

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Hidden: Five Minute Friday

Wow. I've been unable to join in the last two write-ups and have sorely missed it! One week I was at Vacation Bible School in Egypt with Joseph, dressed up to the nines as 'Tammypatra'. That prompt was 'create' which is one of my favorite words!
Last week's prompt was 'help' and though I desperately wanted to chime in, had to focus on my online college class I've been taking to make me a better math teacher. I was attending a workshop during the day all week, so I had no extra time to complete my work in the evenings. We also had a delightful dinner guest last Thursday who prayed such blessings over our house, I wish I could share them all.

This week's prompt is 'hidden'. Here's the link to Kate's page. Next week is the two year anniversary of her hostessing the FMF party, and we're going to celebrate! Don't miss it!

Hidden.
I first thought of 'thy word have I hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against thee.' (Psalm 119:11)
I then thought of 'For everything that is hidden will eventually be brought into the open, and every secret will be brought to light.' (Mark 4:22)
Finally I thought of '
'For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.' (Psalm 139:13-16)

Have you ever thought about hidden treasure? That elusive, yet-to-be-found treasure that's worth great effort and cost to unearth?
Perhaps you feel like a lump of coal or unusable granite. That you are unappealing. Sure, coal under extreme pressure can turn into a diamond, but the squeezing just doesn't seem worthwhile.

Can I tell you? You are a hidden gem.

God has every day planned for you. He is with you, and in control of every bit of pressure surrounding you. Sometimes you think you're off His radar and in way over your head, but He knows what circumstances will bring about your greatest good in the long run.
Imagine an unpolished chunk of granite. Nobody knows what it has inside, but He does. And little by little, He allows a break here, a chip there, and once in a while, a glimmer of the real stone inside begins to peek out and shimmer. We're so used to looking at our stone cases that even when we do start to shine, we just don't see it.
The people who don't know Jesus are dazzled by the fool's gold all around them.

I just did a non-five-minute read on pyrite. Guess I should admit that my five minutes is up.
But what I found? So worth the detour!!


"It is distinguishable from native gold by its hardness, brittleness and crystal form. Natural gold tends to be anhedral (irregularly shaped), whereas pyrite comes as either cubes or multifaceted crystals."

So, when we, who are real gold, are compared to those who are not, we will be irregularly shaped. We will not fit into a box! Pyrite is a cube, easy to manipulate, doesn't need any work.

Your real worth is hidden. But your Savior longs to show you what you're worth. You were worth dying for. Your life is worth living. Every second!

-Tammy

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Build: Five Minute Friday

Twitter party: when you type the same tag as everyone else and then read their posts. It's like a chatroom, only better, because it's the Five Minute Friday friends. #fmfparty
This week, we're over with Kate Motaung, talking about the word Build.

And, Go!

Immediately, my childhood memories flooded in. Attending a small private school with my sisters and brother, my mom was a first grade teacher. Your words can either build somebody up, or tear somebody down. How are you using your words??

That concept is based on this passage in 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11
"For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us. Christ died for us so that, whether we are dead or alive when he returns, we can live with him forever. So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing."

More building continues in verses 12-18
"
Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance. Show them great respect and wholehearted love because of their work. And live peacefully with each other.
Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone.
See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people.
Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus."

And I present to you the formula for a Christian body, built on a good foundation.
We on the internet have much to say. When a tragedy occurs, we are blindsided. We want to make sense of evil. Evil does not make sense.

We try to speak to gain some sense of control, but often we don't know what we are saying.
And? Sometimes we can make it worse.
If ever you are offering comfort, please, in all good intentions, say NOTHING if your sentence begins with "at least".

"At least you have your other children..."

"At least it wasn't..."

Instead, try "I'm so sorry you're going through this." "I'm praying for you."
Better yet? Just be there.

Life is not a competition among believers. Life is a PR. Are you doing your best? Will your muscles (faith) be stretched and pushed and challenged, so that you build stronger muscles?
No perfection necessary. If we were perfect, we'd have no need for a Savior.
His faith was tested, and ours will be too.
Let's encourage and build each other up, shall we?

~Tammy

P.S. Thanks for stopping by! Tell me your url or your linkup # at Kate's this week and I'll return the favor.


And, here's a video of 1 Thessalonians 5:15-18, just for fun.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rgOYArq1FY8





Thursday, June 30, 2016

Protect: Five Minute Friday

Every Week, a one-word prompt, some thought given, and then a timer set. Five minutes later, you stop. That's Five Minute Friday. Some of the best writing on the internet in only five minutes. Poetry, passionate thoughts, hearts that welcome new friends. I love being a part of this community! You can check out the link at Kate's page.

This week's prompt?

Protect.

Tonight, for the third week in a row, I ran short distances at the top of my ability on the track with some middle school students. Last week, I experienced some pain in my left thigh (quad) on my first of four laps, so I had to try to protect myself.

I stretched, took a "power shot" of Gatorade at home. (3 scoops, one part water instead of 3 parts)
I ate bananas and strawberries together. (Vitamin C can help your body absorb potassium)

I wanted to protect my body from a deeper injury. I wanted to be able to show up again and run again this week. I didn't want to be siderailed.

If I, an out-of-shape mathematics teacher, can put this much care and effort into my leg, then how does that relate to my spiritual life??

Am I also an out-of-shape Christian? Do I need to start hanging out with younger Christians who are exercising their faith and re-train? Or, do I energize and inspire other Christians around me to keep exercising their faith?

We protect ourselves by being prepared. By knowing what to do.
One of my passions with my daughters is to protect their innocence. I hope wholeheartedly that they will have innuendo flying far above their heads for many years to come, just like their dear old mother. I want them to feel safe asking me any question about anything, but not give them more than they need.

I'm re-reading Corrie Ten Boom this summer and something I love about her story with her father, is that he always put things in a way she could understand. She asked him "what is sexsin?" He asked her to go pick up his suitcase (full of tools-essentially his toolbox). "Why father, it's too heavy." "Some knowledge is too heavy for you to carry, so I will carry it for you until you are ready."

*end of time*

Sorry I can't give you more, but those were my thoughts tonight.
And, as promised, here's a video of me doing a bridge/backbend. This was how my daughters and I entertained ourselves this afternoon.



~ Tammy
P.S. Without your linkup number or URL, I can't find your post! :)


Friday, June 24, 2016

Rest: Five Minute Friday

Another week, another Twitter party. I was running sprints on a track with students half my age (and twice my speed). But the linkup this week? "Rest". Go visit Kate's page for some of the best writing this side of heaven.

"Where are the rest?"

Although the word rest conjures up relaxation, refreshment, and all other re- words, I chose to go in a different direction.

Luke tells the story of ten lepers. Nine of them are healed but do not acknowledge the healing as they travel. One turns back after he realizes his healing to THANK Jesus for healing him.

"11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.
15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.
17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
In my memory, Jesus asks, "Where are the rest?"
How well written a tale of our human hearts. Many times we are "the rest", but we can change that. We don't have to be "like the rest of them". We can be set apart. Different. Thankful.

Oh sisters (and brothers), how weary the internet has made me in the past few weeks. So much pain in Florida. For so many families. Some lost adults, some lost children, and so many uninvolved people have made it their business to continue to shout across the internet about it.

Instead, can we "give it a rest" and pray? I'm super excited to be traveling to our State Capitol next week to attend Franklin Graham's Decision America Tour. He's going to be at EVERY State Capitol this year to encourage the people to pray. I'm bringing my three girls. No, it's not going to be easy. It's at noon, which is a minimum 4 hours plus stops and we plan to leave by 6am. They are currently 4, 7, and 8. We will have stops. Guaranteed.

But, I don't want to be like the rest. I want to be pursuing Christ the way He pursues me. I want to be a follower, not a fan. And, Billy Graham isn't traveling anymore. I have never had a chance to pray with a Graham, but I want to give my girls that chance.

I'd love for you to pray with us Tuesday at noon (Pacific). That means 1pm, 2pm, 3pm for the rest of you State-side friends.
"The Lord was moved by prayer for the land" (2 Samuel 24:25, NASB).

Daniel, his friends, all were "not like the rest". They chose to pray, they chose to take a stand.
What about you?

~Tammy
P.S. please leave your FMF linkup # or url for me, I can't find you otherwise! :)


Friday, June 17, 2016

Lose: Five Minute Friday

We weekly meet to write on the same word. We write for five minutes without refining, correcting, or critiquing. We simply let the words pour forth and share our fishes and loaves in one wonderful place. Here's Kate's link for the week.

This week's prompt is: Lose.
Go!

Well, once again I missed the FMF twitter party. This Thursday, though, it's because I want to lose some flub. As a new teacher this year, exercise fell by the way-side. And, since I'm a comfort/stress "eater", not a "starver", I want to lose how tightly my clothes are clinging. God is really using His mysterious ways to bring me to new opportunities to minister, too. You see, a couple months ago my husband and I had finished our couples' study we had been leading. I decided to help out with the junior high youth group at church.
Last night, I was "running" with our middle school athletes. The coach went "easy" on me. I had nothing to lose except my pride, right?

"I count it all as a loss compared to the greatness of knowing Christ."
Losing my pride has been the theme this entire year of working at the school. I was an excellent substitute teacher. I thought I had great classroom management skills. Any experienced teacher will tell you what I have learned, though. Subbing to full-time is like babysitting to parenting. You THINK you know, but you can't really know. You have to do it to learn how to do it fully.

What I am losing in the classroom is what I am losing on the track. That excess that isn't really me. (or maybe it is me. And maybe what I want to be is not me, but Christ in me.) I'm having to discipline myself and work hard. It hurts. I'm shedding laziness. And you know what? It's hard to lose laziness. It clings to you. In many places.

I don't want to think of having enough of my own strength and being able to just "make it" every day without God's help. I need to have the discipline of seeking input from others and Him to be effective. So next week I begin an online Continuing Education course specifically for math teachers. I'm excited to be able to ask questions and share ideas with other teachers out there.
First day of school...bright-eyed, confident, and about to grow a lot!


The best part of this journey? It's okay to realize you need help to be better. That none of us are without benefit from training. Even standout athletes can refine their talent. And less-than athletic people like myself can still get back in shape. One step at a time.
In honor of this all, here's Chariots of Fire.



-Tammy
P.S. Be sure to tell me your url or linkup number so I can find your post on Kate's page! :) Thanks!


Thursday, June 9, 2016

Want: Five Minute Friday

I was at 8th grade promotion ceremony tonight and missed the Twitter party where we're planning a PNW retreat and I am co-hosting. Love the thought of reuniting with some dear women!!!
Kate's linkup is live, and we're pondering the word "want" this week.

"This world has nothing for me, and this world has everything.
All that I could want and nothing that I need."

I first heard this song in college and it has not lost its appeal.
Want versus need has been a lesson we have tried to teach our girls from the very beginning. We are still learning it ourselves. The discipline of good decision-making comes from delaying impulse and making rational decisions.

Budgeting money, time, calories, all are tied to thinking past the short-term time frame.
If I don't eat cake tonight, I will reach my fitness goals faster. Is this temporary want worth the long-term results?

Will delayed pleasure be worthwhile? A difficult question posed to our young people. I want to feel loved, but I Need commitment.

Jesus can be "all I want, all I need, everything, everything!" (Lifehouse)



I am typing at 11pm on my phone and my five minutes is up. I hope you can listen to the song.
-Tammy
Ps please tell me your linkup number. 😊

Friday, June 3, 2016

Haven: Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday. The prompt this week is Haven. And taking five minutes to just focus on this word? That was a haven in itself.
IF you still don't know about Five Minute Friday, come on over to Kate's linkup and find out why I've been a part of it for over a year!


Haven: a place of refuge. An escape.
I could easily make a joke about being a mother and how the bathroom is a temporary haven. You close the door for a moment's peace.

But, I really did take this one a little deeper and pondered what I really consider a haven. What do I need when I'm overwhelmed? What refuge do I seek? Where or what is my haven?

It's music.

Music soothes me. Music moves me. I am made of music. You'll often catch me humming, unaware that it's audible, or perhaps I want to share my songs. I was given some awful news and asked to pray in mid-April. That day, I did not want to sing. I had no song, but I longed to hear a song that would comfort me. "I will exalt you" was my anthem.

In the middle of something unfathomable, a tragic loss for a friend and a young life gone much sooner than anybody thought, I was clinging to God's Sovereignty.

When we need to run, remember this Proverb. "The name of the Lord is a strong tower. The righteous run in to it, and they are saved." (Proverbs 18:10)

If we are running from our problems, but not running to God, we're running away from the real haven.
For me, He speaks to me through music. So does every other spirit in the world. I'm so careful to look at lyrics and sense the peace brought or disrupted with music.

My girls may not be current with the popular songs, but we are in this world and not of it. It's not to say the musician has to be on the Christian labels, but that I am careful which messengers are bringing their words and hearts into our house. I pray daily for His peace in my home.

-Tammy
P.S. please give me your URL or linkup number in the comments or I can't find you among the 90 some that post each week! :D

Friday, May 27, 2016

Cheer: Five Minute Friday

I have reason to CHEER this week and it's why I missed posting on "EXPECT" last week.
Here's the linkup at Kate's place!




My two older daughters chose to be baptized last weekend. Their faith is something I couldn't EXPECT from them, but dearly hoped and prayed for! You see, my life can only be an example-flawed at best-of what I want for my girls.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1sLkXTuFdUA




*Five minutes starts here*
I wrote a poem this week by hand and finished right at five minutes.

Cheer quenches fear
When you're overwhelmed
Just give God the helm
Of your storm-tossed ship
Let His righteousness strip
off your filthy covering
His Spirit hovering over us like He always has before Earth was formed
His plan was born.
He forgave us
and planned to save us
When life's end crossed Him
they thought they'd lost Him.
Such great disaster
Until the Master-
He spoke her name
A Holy flame-
A hope-filled spark
Inside her heart!
He rose from the dead
Just as He had said!
She ran off to tell
the group "It is well!"
"Jesus is here!
It's the reason I cheer!"

When I pass from the Earth,
His gaze gives me worth.
The love and the grace
I'll see on His face
will quench every fear-
He'll dry every tear;
and Heaven will Cheer!

~Tammy

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Grow: Five Minute Friday

Kate's Twitter Party was a lot of fun this week. (Or so I heard) My daughters had their spring concert, so I was taking snapshots instead of typing. Here's the linkup to Five Minute Friday.
This week's prompt?

"Grow"

2011, my firstborn and her first year of pre-school just ahead of us. (And her sister)
Wow. That's not a hard prompt considering where I was tonight. My oldest daughter is finishing the third grade in a few weeks. My second born had her first grade contribution to the spring concert tonight. In two years, all three of my girls will be in the Elementary group. And then they'll start springing like butterflies into the whirlwind of middle and high school and flutter away from home.

I'm not the nostalgic, cling-to-each moment kind of mom. I admire and sometimes envy those moms. The ones whose children seem to have a special bond. They hold hands in the parking lot, the hallways, they're always hugging! I'm so practical and logical and, well, I'm a math teacher. I do have my fun, creative, artsy side. And I love to be hugged by my girls, but sometimes I don't remember to initiate.

My oldest and I joke about her height. She's finally taller than my armpit. (Hope that's not too visual for you, but she's not to my shoulders yet, so that's the next logical milemarker.)
I see them growing physically, but where I'm so ecstatic is in their spiritual growth!
Our older two girls have made the decision to get baptized at our church in two weeks. They are seven and almost nine! And they know what it means and their reasoning is that "they want other people to know they have Jesus in their hearts."

My parents decided that investing in their grandchildren was more praiseworthy than in the stock market. So, 4 1/2 years ago, they committed to helping us put our girls into private pre-school, which happened to be a K-12 school.
Between the school we're at and the church we're at, our girls have been discipled so well by so many who have a personal relationship with Jesus themselves! They believe what they teach and they model it in their own life.

This year I've had the privilege of coming on staff alongside these dear sisters and brothers in the faith. Truly, it's been the job of my dreams. The friendships I've formed have been eternal.

And grow? Wow. Put yourself in middle school again. You will grow. Hallelujah. God is continuing to work out my salvation! :)
I love my students. I love math. I love teaching math. And I especially love when I can come alongside them when they're hurting and pray over their situations and reassure them that they're not alone.

I hope to continue to see them grow into their calling. I feel like I'm home already. Heaven will be just that much better. Although, my students don't foresee Algebra as Heaven.
This was a recent trip to an old-fashioned malt shop. My youngest was just months old when the upper picture was taken.


-Tammy

Friday, May 6, 2016

Miss: Five Minute Friday

Kate's linkup is live. I again missed the Twitter party, but there were so many other things I didn't want to miss, that I couldn't do it all.

Which leads me to our prompt:

Miss.

Since I wrote about pass and fail last week, missing the mark would have been a natural follow-up. I'm not going there. Truly, my friend Andrew from the FMF community came to mind immediately with the post, because I know someday he will be missing from the linkup. And I will miss him.

And you know, miss is a negative. It represents an absence, or even something that once was, but is no more. (Can you hear my math teaching coming through?)
When we were made, we had a hole. And we spend our entire lives trying to fill it.
We know we're missing something.
Some of us are better at filling that void than others.

The example of daily manna in the desert, though, is where I'm taking us.

" Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days.”
(Exodus 16:4-5)


If we miss gathering our strength for the day, it's evident by the end of the day. This is not a legalistic mandate to "do devotions", but an invitation from God. We're invited to spend time with Him daily. He wants to bless us. He doesn't want us to face the day without Him.
He doesn't want us to miss out on what He's got for us.

Instead of looking at time with God as an obligation, look at it as an invitation. Something you don't want to miss.
Miss could represent a yearning or a desire for something you don't have.

I know God misses me when He doesn't get time with me. He loves me, and desires good things for me. (Parable about rocks and bread and fish and snakes, anybody?)

**So, I was in and out of my typing because I was not at home and had people needing my attention. Please forgive me if I actually took more than five minutes.**



~Tammy
P.S.
I don't have comment luv or bloglovin or wordpress, so if you tell me your linkup number, I can then read your delightful post and leave you the same gratification of commenting that you have given me. :)

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Pass: Five Minute Friday

Kate's linkup happens every Thursday night on Twitter. I didn't get to be a part of it this week. It's spring and the school year has only 7 short weeks left. I had "3 hours of homework" that took from 7 to 10 pm to get done.
But, I did get the prompt.

"Pass"

Truthfully, I have had much more than five minutes to ponder my post so this will seem more coherent than some in the past. I thought about hall pass and free pass and taking a pass because you didn't want to try something. I thought about Passover. I finally settled on Pass and Fail.

And, perhaps it was the stack of math tests I had just gone through, but it made me go deeper.

I was academically motivated as a child. A firstborn with everything to prove, and a natural skill at academics, I never was content with just a passing grade. I always wanted to be the best and do my best and I can still remember the spelling word I missed in the fifth grade spelling bee. "Bulldozer". "B-U-L-(huge pause-one or two?)-D-O-Z-E-R". "I'm sorry, that is incorrect."

In my Christian walk, I grew up with a lot of the same ideals about walking with Christ, but it set me up for constant failures. It is only in the deep trenches of parenting that God has been able to show me with fullness that I cannot measure up. Ever.
And it's okay.
You see, with God, it's not about us. It's about Jesus. He passed the test because we couldn't. We get a "pass" on this one. We just have to believe it and accept it. Out of our thankfulness, our failures are regrettable, but still redeemable. There is no sin He did not pay for. My successes don't add to his love and my failures don't take away.

I'm sharing a video with a powerful drama that I first saw in 2006 or 2007. The song is "Everything" by Lifehouse, and it gets me every time when the main character struggles. Really struggles.

Because, we have an enemy who is so skilled at telling us we're Failing.
He discourages us. It's his job.

We can know the truth, and the truth can set us free. It can help us get past the lies.
"Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!" (Romans 5:7-9)


When you pass from this life into eternity, where will you go?

-Tammy

Monday, April 25, 2016

Overcoming Stress...A Meaningful Monday post.

No linkup tonight. Just the musings of a middle-school teacher who needs Jesus in increasing amounts the more I know of Him and love Him.
He has been opening my eyes to His perspective on things, but I'm still a human in the experience and revelation. I still need prayer and to pray frequently. I'm pressed but not crushed. And in the midst of being pressed, the fruit of the Spirit is growing in me and producing fragrance of Jesus and His work within. Someday, I will be completely surrendered to Him.

Days full of stress, I sometimes want to jump forward to that complete surrender day. But then, I realize, He's just a prayer away...really He's not gone, I'm just not looking or not listening because I'm looking at the stressors.
So today I drew a picture. A word picture.


It may be a little blurred, a little shaky, but so are we when we're stressed out. :)

First step when you're stressed?
Stop.

Take a deep breath. Inhale for 4, Hold for 4, Exhale for 4.

Truth.

Focus on what you know to be true. Solidify your response by cutting out emotional reaction.

Reflect.

What could have contributed to the stress? Is it truly directed at you, or is there more under the surface? Are you just an innocent casualty of somebody else's pain or stress?

Express.

Write it out, or if you need to, speak in the situation. (After you've stopped and taken some time to breathe.) Try to be objective and speak truth yourself.

Solve.

If there is a way to right the wrong, here's the place to do it. If you're being wronged, see if you can come up with a solution.

Send away.

If there is not a way to right the wrong, you need to pass it on. Don't hold on to the stress. It will eat you up from the inside out.


Do not worry about anything, instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Philippians 4:6 (NLT)
How many times have you brought something to God, telling Him how heavy it is, but kept holding it in front of Him instead of giving it to Him?? You are weary from holding out this burden in front of you in His direction, but you're not allowing Him to take it away from you and carry it for you??

Tonight, let's let go. Let it go. He's got this. He knew it was coming. He's more than willing to take it. If you don't have the power to change it, just let go.


One, two, three, four,

Gone.


:)
-Tammy

Friday, April 22, 2016

Unite: Five Minute Friday

Linking up (on Saturday) with the Five Minute Friday group. A real community of real people that encourage each other with a one-word, five minute, no-edit free write every Thursday night (or one of the following days).
Here's this week's link.

Unite.
  This is such a pleasant word. I was blessed to re-unite with my four siblings this Spring Break along with all our children and my parents.

My sister-in-law, Katie, is a talented photographer and took portraits of many of us. This one she set up and hopped in with a self-timer. It was one of the best times with family I've had in a long while. One of my siblings lives in South Dakota, another in Nebraska, my parents are in Idaho (along with two of my siblings) and I'm in Oregon. The last time my parents had a photograph with all five of us, I was the only parent. I was pregnant with our second child, so we had one little sprite in all the photographs. She was 15 months at the time. (She's on the far left in the shot. My husband and I are also on the far left)

My husband and I were the only parents besides my parents. My brother-in-law was deployed at the time.

2008 Thanksgiving. I was in early first trimester (on far left)


We're still stair-stepped in birth order. (Except my brother.)


The multiple times we have moved across the United States...we developed friendships with people, but truly our sibling bonds are the deepest friendships I have.

For you, perhaps that is not true. I urge you, however, to reconcile and live at peace with those you value the most. Heaven is about relationships. If we do not learn to love and reconcile now, we are not experiencing the fullness of Christ's love.

Thank you for being that community for me. United we stand, divided we fall. So glad we're past all the pesky little petty arguments that can separate siblings. :)

-Tammy