Wednesday, November 4, 2009


What satisfies me?
  • Celebrating special occasions and holidays with family
  • Reading a good novel: one that pulls me into the setting and lives of its characters, one that leaves me thinking about that place and those people for days afterward
  • Viewing the night sky through my telescope
  • Smelling spring in the April air after March's cold and blustery rain
  • Lingering over lunch with good friends
  • Presenting someone I love with the perfect gift
  • Enjoying dinner and a movie with my dear husband
  • Playing with my granddaughters
  • Finding bargains when I shop
  • Sorting clutter and getting organized
  • Spending Sunday morning worshipping God through music and study

This week in Bible Study Fellowship we covered John 4, where in Verse 34, Jesus tells His disciples, "My nourishment comes from doing the will of God who sent me and from finishing His work." (the Living Bible)

This question was presented: What should a Christian who does not have "heart" satisfaction do to find the same meaning in life? At first, I listed

  • Spend time alone with God
  • Meditate on His Word
  • Surrender to the Holy Spirit
  • Pray for the Him to infill and guide
  • Confess sin immediately
  • Share Jesus with others

Then I stopped to re-read a referenced verse in Acts 20:24, where Paul says, ". . . neither do I count my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus to testify the gospel of the grace of God." (King James)

To allow God to order my time in service to Him, to rest and abide in the confidence that He can take care of my life's details while placing me just where He needs me at any given moment, to place His kingdom work at the top of my to-do list, to pray for the grace to share Jesus with any needy soul, to let go and let God -- herein lies true "heart" satisfaction.

Monday, October 26, 2009


This was posted at my former blog "marmee's musings in April, 2006. Today my Bible study included John 4 and reminded me of this post. It appears here for the first time.

I have a definite image of what a well should look like: a stone and mortar structure, topped with a rack-shambled roof and a sturdy, cranking handle to lower and raise the bucket that dangles from a rope. The kind that might be depicted in a children's book with old-fashioned illustrations. The kind you throw a penny in and make a wish.

My grandma had an abandoned well on her farm, which had always been covered by only a concrete slab. Equipped with an electric pump, it had once provided water for the house -- no penny wishes, no dipping bucket. It was a point of interest because my mother continuously warned my sister and me not to remove the cover. I marveled that she thought her four-year-old had such brute strength!

Today my interest in wells turns to the Bible, especially regarding two women: one from the Old Testament and one from the New. It was barren Sarah's doing that Hagar was pregnant, but when Hagar lorded it over her mistress, Sara demanded her departure. (See Genesis 16.)

As Hagar sat by a well (fountain) in the wilderness, did wishes march through her mind in drumming despair? Did she wish Abraham loved her? That she had displayed a humble spirit? That Sara had never suggested their arrangement in the first place? In His mercy, God sent an Angel of the Lord (the preincarnate Christ) to Hagar who commanded her to return to Sara and comforted her with news that she would have a son whose seed would become a great multitude. In gratitude, Hagar named this well Beer-lahai-roi -- "a well of the Living One who sees me" (Genesis 16:14).

Returning must have been difficult, and perhaps it was not what Hagar wished, but surely the Lord's presence quenched her misery, and His promise made the circumstances bearable.

Over two thousand years later, Jesus met a Samaritan woman by a well. (See John 4.) She, too, was an outcast, perhaps wishing for acceptance and respectability, for a way to escape her promiscuity. By visiting the well at mid-day, she avoided respectable women who gathered water in the cool of morning or evening.

So, imagine her surprise when a Jewish man not only asked her for a drink (Jews considered Samaritans as unclean.) but also identified the reason she was shunned and then offered her a drink of the Living Water. The Water that cleanses, refreshes, renews; a water that would reside in her as a "well. . . springing up into everlasting life" (John 4:14).

What are your wishes today? Peace of mind? Reconciliation? A second chance? Healing? Whatever wish resides in your heart, turn to the Living One Who Sees, the Living Water. He is not a Disneyland magican who makes all your dreams come true, but He promises to never leave nor forsake you, to see you through every trial, to shield you from every temptation, to bring you safely home into His arms for all eternity.

Isn't that worth wishing for?

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Church's Place in Public School Education

Yesterday my book club had a lively discussion about Outliers: Stories of Success by Maxwell Gladwell, which included the question: Just how much should a public school system supply in the place of negligent parents?

On another note, I also lamented that Gladwell ignored how the spiritual aspect of a person's life might affect his/her personal story.

Both of these points led me to look up some information about a program I learned of a few years ago:

The National Church Adopt-A-School Initiative (NCAASI) began with Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship Church in Dallas, led by Pastor Tony Evans. Evans grew up in urban Baltimore and faced the inherent challenges of that environment. He says: "Government has spent trillions of dollars to reverse and elevate this spiral of social disintegration, yet the problems and pain grow worse with each passing day. I believe the reason for this is the separation of the spiritual from the social. There is a horrific disconnect between the role of the church on Sunday and the condition of hurting people on Monday. This changed in my own life and family when my father discovered the life-giving power of faith and began operating differently because of it. Our home became different from most of the other homes in my neighborhood because the connection had been made between the spiritual and the social." (The Vision of Dr. Tony Evans)

This church networks with the Dallas public school system and suburban community churches to create an extensive ministry out-reach to the urban families in Dallas. Also, it offers training to other churches/school districts/communities to replicate their success across the country. Their purpose is to come alongside the students and their families "by seeking holistic, long-term solutions of meeting needs in a way that changes how people think, which ultimately determines how they live." The philosophy is "not a hand out, but a hand up." (Kingdom Agenda)

They provide
  • Mentoring
  • Tutoring
  • Life Skills and Character Education
  • Sports and Recreation
  • Family Support Services such as food, shelter and clothing; adult education; career development; job placement assistance; and preventive medical checks.

Making school days/year longer will not make lasting changes in the lives of students. Yes, it will give teachers more time to mentor and influence young people, as one club member so eloquently stated from his own experiences. (I can not underestimate the power of one individual to reach another -- many teachers influenced my life for the better.)

But, to me, only adding more time to the day/year, only providing breakfast, only doing whatever we can think of to do because the parents are not doing it, is a "hand out, not a hand up." I do not mean, educators all need to be Christians who evangelize and proselytize their students. I do mean that the best way to change students' lives is to address the "whole" person, and the whole community needs to be involved, and that includes the church/synagogue/mosque/temple.

Visit this video link to learn more about NCAASI .

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Morning Like This

On cool spring mornings when the sun parts the dark sky, waving pink scarves over the horizon, and the dew beads on the grass as sparkling diamonds, I think of the lyrics to "Morning Like This" as Mary Magdalene discovered the empty tomb. How jubilant the creation must have been because the Creator had risen!

Did the grass sing?
Did the earth rejoice
To feel you again?...
Over and over like a Trumpet underground,
Did the earth seem to pound: “He is risen.”
Over and over in a never ending round
“He is risen, alleluia, alleluia!”

Saturday, August 8, 2009


Tonight the moon is a beauty, reminding me of a favorite poem:

Walter de la Mare

Slowly, silently, now the moon
Walks the night in her silver shoon;
This way, and that, she peers, and sees
Silver fruit upon silver trees;
One by one the casements catch
Her beams beneath the silvery thatch;
Couched in his kennel, like a log,
With paws of silver sleeps the dog;
From their shadowy cote the white breasts peep
Of doves in silver feathered sleep
A harvest mouse goes scampering by,
With silver claws, and silver eye;
And moveless fish in the water gleam,
By silver reeds in a silver stream.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Knowing How*

Have you ever tossed and turned through the night, unable to sleep, trying to figure out how your circumstances are going to be resolved?

Good news! We do not have to know the how's in our time of need. 2 Peter 2:9 says "The Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials." We do not have to have all the answers, we just need to take care of the what's.

But what if we don't even know what to do? Then do what you know: read the Bible, pray, worship, praise, seek wise counsel. These are the things all believers are called to do -- in seasons of trial and in seasons of calm.

God will take care of the rest. Determine to trust Him.

*This insight is from Beth Moore's study Esther: It's Tough Being a Woman.

Friday, July 24, 2009


The year before I retired from public school teaching, God and I had a lot of talks. While I was eager to leave the bureaucracy and politics that have encroached on the creativity of both students and teachers, leaving my students was another matter.

I loved them like they were my own children, and I was going to miss interacting with them. God assured me there would be other students, and there have been. I taught summer school in 2005, thoroughly enjoying the 12 juniors who were in that class. I've been able to catch up with many former students on Facebook, and it has been so fun to learn what they are doing now.

Having spent my career at the middle and high school levels, I never thought that my heart would be captured by kindergartners, but that is exactly what happened during VBS. The week was a hectic one, but all I remember is five sweet smiles and eager faces filled with the wonder of exploring and learning. They love God, and I pray that faith will deepen as they mature, that they will walk with Jesus all the days of their lives.

God keeps His promises, and I am blessed!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Children and Kids

Sunday's vacation Bible school memory verse was 1 John 3:1 "God loves us and calls us His children."

D., one of the kindergarteners, memorized it this way: "God loves us and calls us His kids."

There is something warmly familiar in that translation, something comfortable and confident. As a little child trusts that his daddy will spend time with him, teach him, and provide for him, we, too, can place in our faith and trust in our Heavenly Daddy -- Abba Father.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


We are often reminded to "wait upon the Lord." But do we ever think about God waiting upon us?

Isaiah 30:18a says, "The Lord will wait that he may be gracious to you, and therefore he will be exalted that he may have mercy upon you. . ."

Today's devotion in the wonderful Streams in the Desert states: "God is a wise gardener 'who waits for the precious fruit of the earth and has long patience for it.' He can not gather fruit until it is ripe. He knows when we are spiritually ready to receive the blessing to our profit and His glory."

God created time, and God uses time. While He waits for us, may we also wait for Him in the blessings and trials of our lives.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Catching Up

Where have I been for the last two months? What have I been doing?

January 18-31 finished the GKCWP newsletter, took it to the printer, picked it up, affixed address labels and mailing tabs -- my dear husband took all 100+ of them to the post office.

February 10 awoke with a strange pinching in my neck that traveled to my elbow A chiropractic adjustment and massage seemed to solve the problem.

February 12 flew to Chicago to meet some Literary Mamas and attend the American Writers and Poets conference, after which I planned on spending a few days with my sister who lives north of the Windy City.

February 13 awoke in tremendous pain -- spent the morning rearranging my flight, beseeching the hotel staff not to charge me for another night, spending an agonizing morning at the airport, wishing someone would tranquilize me during the flight home

February 14- 25 Lay in bed, on my back, studying the patterns in the textured ceiling of my bedroom.

February 26 an MRI reveals dengenerative problems in my neck. Sigh!

March 13 two cervical epidural steroid injections later, I am typing this, counting my blessings.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Tyler was one of those people who was not cut out for the one-size-fits-all routine of public education. He's brilliant and thoughtful -- quiet and unassuming -- and I'm sure school bored him much of the time because typical busy work (a bane to any student) did not tap into those deep places of his intellect or creativity. A fine arts school would have been more to his liking, I imagine -- a place where he could excel in music and theatre production with like-minded classmates and teachers.

His parents expectations and demands, while well meaning, did not recognize that their son marched to the beat of a different drummer. While I tried to offer him something substantial (as, I'm sure, other teachers did), he didn't always respond to those opportunities. Yet, Tyler is one of my most memorable students.

While in England, I bought a cardboard model of The Globe Theatre and about half-way through its assembly, I gave up on it. When I asked my freshman if anyone would be interested in helping me, it was not until seventh hour, Tyler said, "I can do that for you." I remember the day he stayed after school to work on it, chatting with me freely and comfortably.

It was my good fortune to have Tyler in one of my junior English classes two years later -- still remember smiling when I saw his name on the class roster! That fall he read the part of Danforth in The Crucible with such finesse and expression that I called on him every day to take that part! His skill was beyond his years! And to a teacher who had listened to dozens of teenagers butcher Miller (and Shakespeare) over the years, his delivery was as welcome as a spring breeze on the edge of winter.

Every morning before the first bell during his senior year, Tyler and a group of friends (most my students) could be found in the 900 hall (near my room). Between book bags and long limbs, the 10 of them (give or take) sprawled across the floor. Some were annoyed by having to step over, through or around them, but I was always glad to see their camaraderie, their smiles.

Recently, I found him on Facebook and am delighted to catch up on what he's doing now. God's blessings to you, Tyler, for pressing on through the challenges of high school and family dynamics and for helping make my years as your teacher two of my favorite!