Five Minute Friday on Sunday

I’m a little late to the party this week.  But that’s fashionable, right?

I am joining Five Minute Friday again this week, although a bit late.  I have been going through a blog move this week (which I will talk about more sometime in the future, but long story short, I moved from wordpress.com to wordpress.org this past week), so I’ve been a little light on posting.  And this next week is our first week of classes at both campuses where I teach AND I’m traveling to St. Louis on Thursday, so this might be another light week of blogging.  We shall see.  I need to get my weekly rhythm figured out and then stick with a routine based on that rhythm.  So, in four weeks or so, I will hopefully have it down to a regular schedule of posts.  For now, I’m going to do what I can without stressing myself out too much.

This week’s word for Five Minute Friday is “Refine”.  Here goes:

I went to church today for the first time in a while.  We had friends go who don’t typically go and it was nice to have someone to sit with.  The music was raucous.  Both the Gospel Choir and the Contemporary Ensemble were playing and the music was fun.  I’m always pleasantly surprised with the music at church when I go as I remember the music not being so fun when I was younger.

The message was also very welcome today.  It was about Knowing, Living and Loving. I had already been feeling a bit in need of a focus on love as of late.  There is so much anger and hatred and volatility in the world that it can easily create fear and outrage.  But, instead, I am attempting to focus on loving and caring.  I posted this on my Instagram yesterday:

So, the message at church fit in well and helped me to refine my outward goals, but also my inward goals.  I need to refine my vision of life.  I need to rest in God’s grace and know that He will see me through whatever comes my way.  The last eight years have been rough, but they have also been blessed in many ways.  Refining my vision of knowing God’s word, Living as Jesus would have lived (if He were me, as our pastor so aptly put it…so, if Jesus had been a college professor and parent and Girl Scout leader, what would he have done?), and loving as Jesus has asked us to love.  He has asked us to love our neighbors, our enemies, our family members and ourselves as He has loved us.  We are a work in progress, not at all refined in these skills, but they are there.  The possibilities are there for us to achieve these great goals.  And that will be my focus going forward.

Time’s up…

Hope you consider joining Five Minute Friday this week if you aren’t already there!

365 Days of Thankfulness

I am joining in the Thankfulness Challenge over at Gods Growing Garden:

THANKFULNESS Challenge

In this, you post one thing you are thankful for each day for one year.  I thought it seemed pretty kismet that I read about it tonight since our sermon at church today was all about not just being thankful in November (a time when we typically highlight our thankfulness), but living life thankfully all year long.  So, this seems like a good exercise to remind me to do just that.

So, as my first bit of thankfulness on this first day of the month of thanks, I would like to recognize my thankfulness for my church.  This morning I spent an hour plus in church while my DD enjoyed herself at Sunday school and then I spent another hour chatting with another mom while my DD took part in her first day of Children’s Choir.  My DD is pretty hesitant when it comes to doing new things and Children’s Choir was no different.  She didn’t really want to do it.  But, I encouraged her because I know she loves to sing and our church always seems to have the perfect people doing their children’s activities.  This was no different.  I stuck around because my DD didn’t want me to leave and she was very nervous.  But, she did great and I was able to enjoy an hour chatting with another mom who I have met in passing when volunteering before, but had not really spent much time talking with before today.  It was wonderful.  I love that I can feel confident that whatever we get involved with at the church is going to be enjoyable.  I love that people are friendly and welcoming and just plain nice.  So, today, I am thankful that we were able to find this church and that I was convinced to stay despite questioning if it was really the place for us not too long ago.  Now I can’t wait for the Christmas show to see my DD sing in the big church!

To read more about and join the Thankfulness Challenge you can go here.

Five Minute Friday – Welcome

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I’m once again joining the Five Minute Friday party (#fmfparty) over at katemotaung.com!  Come join in!  It’s easy!

WELCOME

Well, that word has a lot of different meanings, but this week, since I’ve just started teaching a Winter Session class, my classroom is the thing most on my mind.  I want students to feel welcome in my classroom.  I want students to feel welcome to come and speak to me.  I think being made to feel welcome in places is so important.  But it is not necessarily something that happens easily.

I’ve been toying with the idea of changing churches as of late.  It is difficult because they have made my daughter feel extremely welcome, but I still feel somewhat out of place, even after being there for quite a while, volunteering in the children’s programming, attending a women’s retreat and going to a few other events.  And sometimes I wonder if it is my own fault, because we can fight against others even when they are welcoming, but I don’t think that is it.  I think I need to feel more engaged and I want people to have conversations with me, not just smile and nod their head.  I don’t know if that is realistic or not though.  But the other important thing to me about church is that everyone be made to feel welcome and I feel like the church I’ve been attending is going through some changes and those changes are more likely to build up walls than tear them down.  It is hard though.  I feel like I am starting all over again.  But, I also feel like there is a place where I will feel that stronger “welcome” when I attend and if I don’t, I can always go back to the church I’m currently attending.

DONE –

Well, that was not what it started out to be, but that is the beauty of the Five Minute Friday.  Who knows what is rolling around in that brain of mine until I give it some wings and just go with the flow!  What about you?  Stop by over at Kate Montaug and join in the fun of letting your brain and words have five minutes of total freedom!

Thumbs Up Thursday

thumbs-up

This week’s Thumbs Up Thursday goes out at the end of a busy, busy week for me and my daughter.  I feel like enough has happened this week to fill the whole summer!  But, we have a lot of summer left and we plan to use it well.  But, before I run out of time and energy, let’s jump right in to this week’s Thumbs Ups:

1.  Vacation Bible eXperience at our church.  

I really can’t say enough good things about the church we attend.  I like so much about it.  But, they do VBS like no other.  Their youth program was actually one of the things that really attracted me to the church in the first place.  I want my DD to have a good church experience.  I was lucky enough to grow up in a church with a strong youth program and it really brought me a lot when I was growing up.  When I felt out of touch with my classmates or changed schools or just didn’t “fit in” anywhere, I always was made to feel like I fit in at my church.  We had a fantastic youth leader who was so good at making us feel valued and loved.  And that is what I get from our church here.  The focus at VBX Jr (for the 5 and under set) was God Made Me, God Loves Me and Jesus will always be my friend.  And the days were so positive, for both my daughter and I.  I volunteered on the craft team and met some incredibly nice women, got invited to the Women Experiencing the Bible group and another small group, went to lunch with one of my daughter’s preschool friends and her Grandmother who was also volunteering at VBX and was able to witness Bean experiencing the love and joy of the program.  It was AWEsome.  I’m sad that it is over.

2.  Swim lessons.

I taught swim lessons from the time I was 16 until I was about 24 or 25.  I could easily teach my DD to swim.  But, you know what?   I love having her take swim lessons.  First, she listens to them much better than she listens to me.  Second, I get 30 minutes of time to read each evening while she is in the pool.  I’m already a 1/3 of a way through Gone Girl and I hope to finish it next week.  I could obviously find some time to read while at home probably, but this time is built in time that I have committed to reading and I love it.  In addition, she gets to play fun games with other kids in the pool.  That is difficult to provide when she is an only child and we go to the pool.  I can’t have her do swim lessons the next couple of weeks because we will have to go to my mom’s in the Bay Area for a chunk of days both weeks.  But, I’m hoping to get her in one or two more sessions before the summer is over.  The hope is that she will be a swimmer by the end of the summer (safe in the water swimmer, not competitive swimmer).

3.  Pine Sol.

I know…this one is weird.  But, I have just started using Pine Sol to deep clean my kitchen today.  I ran out of my other cleaner and I had some Pine Sol that I’ve had sitting around for a while and I decided to bust it out.  Pine Sol always seemed like my mom’s cleaner, if you know what I mean.  I need new stuff.  Better stuff.  But, then I started using it and the smell reminds me of my childhood home.  My mom used to use it to mop the floors and clean the sinks.  I love that it kills 99.9% of germs.  And, in our house, something that works on hard water is key.  And, when I went over to their website to check out some info on the cleaner, I was happy to see their support of empowering women.