insights from a daughter of the King, teacher, farmer's wife, and Mommy


Ways to Win the Rat Race

10 ways to win the race

This race of life gets me down.  It makes me rush and not see all that I have.  It makes me want more and more and more.  When is enough enough. As we check off our to do list and get through the daily grind of every day.  Will it ever end? 
When can you say "I finally have it all.  I don't need anything else. I don't have other thing I can clean or another task or project to do.  I'm good.  Don't worry about me."  This race never doesn't seem to end.  There is no finish line or checkered flag.  No one is going to declare you the winner.  But I can tell some ways that will make you feel like a winner. Some things that will make you slow down and realize we are only racing our self.  Remember, even if you win the rat race—you’re still a rat.

1.  Look in to the eyes of a child that loves you, it doesn't even have to be your own.

2.  Help someone who is helpless.  A phone call, money, food.

3.  Hug your mom or dad.

4.  Call a friend just to say hey and thanks for being my friend not to ask a favor or complain.

5.  Make cookies/brownies/muffins for someone else.

6.  Buy a Christmas present.

7.  Read Ecclesiastes

8.  Volunteer. 

9.  Sing! to yourself, to people, any song will do, just sing.

10.  Pray and consider that you may not be winning the race but GOD is winning the war. And He has a great reward for you.


the blessings of today

as i walked down the hall this morning at 7:30am greeting beautiful 7th graders 
i thought about how tired i was and that it was only thursday
a student greeted me and handed me a gorgeous handmade coffee mug cozy from his mom 
and i oooh and ahh cause ya'll its really awesome and immediately placed it on the giant coffee cup i carry every morning and said THANK YOU
i walked away and said thank you Lord for the reminder

i walked out of my back to back language arts and math class at 10:19 
after teaching additive inverse and integers and notice and note and conflict and theme
i told my students to have a great day 
and there stood a young lady who sweetly smiled and handed me a ziploc bag with a blueberry muffin and she whispered mom sent you that
i smiled and whispered thank you
i walked away and said thank you Lord for the reminder

it's the second week of school and my baby kindergarten girl has strep throat
the mornings are early and the days are late
and the routine and schedule is wearying me down
the programs and planning and getting to know your students is draining 
but i love it
and the Lord continued to send these reminders all down


conversations with colleagues of encouragement
emails of kind words and assistance
laughing 12 year olds
aha moments in math
a smiling little girl ready to pick sunflowers and go back to school

mom cooking supper
friends who text you wanna walk tonight at football practice

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up 1 Thessalonians 5:7

For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. Romans 14:7

Thank you, Lord, for sending encouragers my way today.  I'm tired and worn, you know it.  Help me be an encourager to others whether in action or words or in any way I can.  


to my children

i'm not sure if you are ready
i'm not sure if i'm ready
but in a few days we'll set the alarms and pick out the clothes and pack the backpacks 
and off you'll go....
5th grade for Owen
Kindergarten for Addie

have i prepared you enough
have i babied you too much
am i a helicopter parent
am i guiding you in the way
have i done all i can do???

and i'll be honest i'm scared and i am going to worry about you
what will you do when others are being mean?  will you laugh too?  
will you stand up for others the way i've taught you too?
what will you do when things get hard?  will you give up?  will you keep going?
who will you go to when you need a hug, a squishy arm, or an extra snack?
will you make the right decision of who to be friends with?  
will you be pressured to like girls?
will you tell them you need to go to the bathroom?

but tears and fears aren't all i feel

i'm so excited for you!
you are going to learn so much
you are going to make great friends
you are going to have fabulous teachers who are going to love you
you are going to make mistakes and learn from them
you are going to do awesome things 
and in a blink of an eye this part of your journey will end and new journeys will begin

and i promise 
i'll always love you
i'll always be proud of you
i'll always be your biggest fan and your toughest critic
i'll pray for you
i'll hold you when you cry and always laugh at your jokes

because you are going to do amazing things
i know 
God has big plans for you!



Life moves pretty fast if you don't stop and look around once in a while you could miss it.  
Ferris Buller's Day Off

As we prayed last night Addie prayed....

Thank you for God
Thank you for Jesus
Thank you for sin
Thank you for Jesus dying on the cross

I'm not sure the last time I thanked God for sin.  And for a second I almost stopped her and said don't say that, but I didn't.  But as I lay awake and she drifted fast asleep.  I thought about this.  For the sins I'm thankful for.  Because let's face it without sin, do we need Jesus?  

And when we sin and the world's sin lays heavy on our hearts and minds.  
Where do we turn?  Where do we find comfort and rest?

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."  Matthew 11:28

Dear Lord,
Thank you for making a path to you.  Thank you for your love and your son, Jesus, that despite our sin and wicked nature you still love and accept us. Thank you for giving us rest.  Thank you for children who open our minds. Thank you for giving me a time of rest.


Lessons from the first 10 years: Teacher Life

A teacher doesn't set out to do half of the the things they do.

They don't have a check list with hug a child, listen to their problems, help them understand.

It usually includes normal things like sweep, pay bills, call so and so, grade papers, update website.

But every day they go to work to do lots of things that aren't on the list.

These things were not even on my radar when I started teaching.  

I finished 10 years of teaching yesterday.

I shut the door and walked out (after moving my classroom for the 5th or 6th time).  

I think back to 10 years ago when I got the call that said will you accept this job as a 7th grade Math teacher and I hit my knees.  Yes, I squeaked out.  I didn't want to teach math.  I wasn't sure about 7th grade.  I didn't know what in the world I was doing.  And it was July. So, I had to get ready.  Lord, bless those students I had that first year.   We learned together. They taught me so much.  College does not prepare you.  

So, here is my list of top 10 things I've learned in 10 years of teaching.  

1.  Don't take it personally.  There are going to be students who cuss you, who call you fat and other names, who just don't like you.  Walk away, hold up your head, and keep on keeping on.  

2.  Advocate for your students and for your classroom.  Speak up for them!

3.  Genuinely listen.  When your students are in groups, listen.  When your students are eating lunch, listen.  When your colleagues give you advice, listen.  When parents are expressing concerns, listen.  Don't be preparing your answer.  Don't be thinking about what is next or what's for supper.  Listen.  

4.  Model behavior.  If you expect kids to pick up trash, pick up trash.  When I first started teaching I would get so upset when students left trash or didn't clean up.  And I'll never forget the first time I walked up to a student's desk that had trash on it and said "can I throw that away for you?"  It was like really you'd that?  And then that student asked another student.  Model behavior whether is picking up trash, talking about others, taking notes, or social media.  No one told me they would watch EVERY thing I do.  

5.  Let it go.  Ask yourself what will this anger change?  Some things aren't worth arguing about.  Forgot your pencil, here have this one.  Don't have paper, here have this.  

6.  Be honest.  I'm pretty sure adolescents are the best lie detectors there are because of the fact that they spend a lot of time figuring out how to lie and get away with it.  Be honest with your students and with yourself.  

7.  Students forgive much easier than adults.  If you mess up, they forgive and by the next day have forgot.

8.  Don't take it home.  I can't tell you how many times I've packed up my bag, walked it to the car, and there is sat, until I carried it back into school.  

9.  Teaching is the easy part.  The countless meetings, meetings about meetings, paper work, surveys, insurance representatives, phone calls, emails, and the list goes on.  They get in the way.

10.  Don't give way to the complaining and the negativity.  It's easy to get drawn in at the lunch table, in the hall way, at the third meeting of the week.  Don't do it!  Change the subject, tell a funny story from class, talk about the weather...anything!  Because once you start, it's hard to stop and it eats at you.  

Looking forward to the next 10 years!!  I love my job and have been blessed with 10 years of amazing students, colleagues, and parents.  


Pickin' and Grinnin'

First Bass Performance


Snowday 5 digression

Jesus....have you experienced Him.....

Interviews with my kids.......

Addie - 4 years old

1. What is something I always say to you? Clean up, You gotta listen.  I love you.
2. What makes me happy? If I listen
3. What makes me sad? If I fuss
4. How do I make you laugh? tickles
5. What was I like as a child? like me
6. How old am I? 31
7. How tall am I? I don't know
8. What is my favorite thing to do? Work
9. What do I do when you're not home? Cry
10. What am I really good at? Working
11. What am I not very good at? Not listening to Daddy
12. What do I do for a job? Play, Go to the school and be a teacher
13. What is my favorite food? Coffee
14. What do you enjoy doing with me? Snuggling

Owen - 10
1. What is something I always say to you? I love you.
2. What makes me happy? Hugging you
3. What makes me sad? Not listening
4. How do I make you laugh? tickling me
5. What was I like as a child? you....a good girl
6. How old am I? 30
7. How tall am I?5'11''
8. What is my favorite thing to do? Play with my kids
9. What do I do when you're not home? Watch TV and clean house
10. What am I really good at? Having Fun
11. What am I not very good at? Punishing
12. What do I do for a job? Teach 8th Grade
13. What is my favorite food? What is your favorite food?
14. What do you enjoy doing with me? Playing outside.  Throwing football

I can't stop listening to this song.....

1.18.2016's a problem

"But mommy, {insert name} has beats and a PSP 4."
"I wish I had new shoes."
"I want that."  "I want that."  "I want that."

These words echo through my house.  Familiar?

Entitlement is a problem.  Going way back from the beginning.  We humans we want things we don't have.  We want things others have.  We look around and compare.  Guilty?  Me too.  

And then our children learn what they see us live.  If we talk about what others have and how we wished we had.  And one day we will have this and that.  But we don't talk about how we work and how we spend and how we save.  If we don't show them how to give and how to serve.  

Will they learn this?  Giving, serving, saving, working

What will our children ever learn, if we don't live it?

This poem hung in my house as a child and I never got it until much later in life.  

Children Learn What They Live
By Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D.

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.
If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.
If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.

Let me add

If children live with gratitude, they learn not to be entitled.

So, I have been honored to be part of a launch team for Kristen Welsh's new Book 

Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World: How One Family Learned That Saying No Can Lead to Life's Biggest Yes

and I have found another mom who is living this struggle just like me.  She tells her story and failures and her accomplishments.  It has practical solutions and Godly advice. You will cry, you will nod your head and scream yes, and you will feel conviction.   Because let's face it, its not just our kids problem, it's our problem.  

How are you combating entitlement?



no resolutions

no new years solutions
just one word
one action
one "to do"

less weight......more healthy
less social media.....more family
less soda......more water
less spending.....more saving
less time wasting....more blogging
less procrastination....more planning
less inside....more outside
less talking.....more listening
less excuses......more honesty
less clutter....more organization
less entitlement....more gratitude
less avoidance.....more adventure
less fast food....more home cooking
less worry....more trust
less me....more GOD

just less
because lets face it

less is more 
and there is really just that one thing we need

 "but few things are needed—or indeed only one."
Luke 10:42

i'm looking forward to sharing my #lessismore2016 with you
and caring on #adventureswiththecombs from 2015


2015 in review

15 for 2015

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Philippians 4:6

1.  We prayed so much this year, for mission trips, babies, marriages, weather, sickness, loss, and each other.

2.  Addie started Pre-K, it was a little rocky at first but she loves it now and she has awesome teachers.

3.  Owen tried two new sports football and baseball.  He id still unsure about them both.  But is loving basketball.

4.  We made new friends and were grateful for the friends who have hung with us through the years.

5. Matthew built playsets and trailers and welded machinery and worked.

6.  Owen flew for the first time to Montana with my mom and dad and our good friends Donna and Terry.  He loved it and had a blast.

7.  Word for 2015: Adventure and adventure we did.  Our first time to Pigeon Forge and Dollywood. We hiked and camped at Stone Mountain, NC.  

8.  Music was made every day.  Owen learned to play the upright bass and continues to jam on the mandolin.  Addie rocks the ukulele and belts out Adele all the time.  

9.  Jessica, Chris, and I played a lot of trivia crack and Matthew and I discovered snapchat.

10.  Of course there were concerts!  Winter jam was awesome with For King and Country and Skillet.  Balsam Range like 4 times this year, always good, even in the rain.  Flatt Lonesome dedicated a song to Owen from stage.  Heather and Shannon Slaughter.  Marty Raybon and Shenandoah.  Merlefest was a blast!

11.  Matthew and I celebrated 6 years of marriage, with a weekend near Cherokee.   Love him so much!

12.  It rained a lot and we saw lots of rainbows.  Addie loves playing in the puddles and Owen loves to get muddy, boys.  

13.  We made time for family and friends and each other. 

14. Cousins are our best friends.  

15.  Addie fell in love with apple butter and Christmas decorations.  Owen loves cooking!



We are truly thankful for all the blessings of 2015, all the answered prayers, all the memories, and all the adventures.  God is good!


And here's to 2016 and all that it holds.


Thankful Thursday 2015 {week 4}

76.  family - each and every one of them
77.  students clapping at the end of The Giver movie
78.  surviving the grocery store
79.  Owen's vension bbq
80.  my church family
81. online shopping
82. "Thanksgiving means I need to be thankful and give toys away." Addie
83.  weddings
84.  God's healing powers
85.  the reminder of "Do not be afraid."
86.  thankful students
87.  a clean house - a special thankful for my mom, owen, and matthew for their help
88.  Jackson got to come home!
89.  coffee and dessert
90.  churches who worship together
91.  prayer
92.  watching the Macy's parade with my kids
93.  tickle giggles
94.  my friend Melanie 
95.  sunflowers
96.  scripture that speaks
97.  the love of former students
98.  knowing Jesus came to earth
99.   my camera - my new one i got this year
100.  another blessed year with so much to be thankful for


Thankful Thursday 2015 {week 3}

51.  My children's teachers.  Teachers have such an influence on the life of a child and we are blessed to have had great ones!
52.  We saw a shooting star last night.  :)
53.  Jackson
54.  new music albums - I like albums that I can listen to from beginning to end and over and over.
new ones I have on repeat - Eric Church Mr. Misunderstood, Chris Stapleton Traveller
55. mom friends
56. kids reading - discussing books
57.  my mentor - Pat Dalton - i miss her so much but i know she would be so proud of me
58.  Christmas is coming!!  i hear the music, i see the lights....:)
59.  Community Theater
60.  family pictures
61.  when things work out
62.  a surprise day with my friend Kendal (actually saw her twice this week)
63.  text messages
64.  my high school football team playing in the second round of state playoffs at HOME
65.  Kid President
66.  Timehop.....yes I love it and check it everyday...Owen does too
67.  checks and balances in the US government
68.  that I can see colors....i can't imagine a world in grey, black, and white
69.  "Humans (pronounced who-mans) are people and they all have good in them."  Addie Combs 
70.  181 Shoeboxes!!!!!!!!!!!
71.  sunshine
72.  the ability to read
73.  clean laundry
74.  apples
75.  a two day week next week


Thankful Thursday 2015 {week 2}

26.  old country music
27.  busy weekends
28.  addie's prayers
29.  medical care
30.  The Peanuts Movie!  you must go see's amazing
31.  students finding the book we are reading interesting
32. memorial services to honor our veterans
33. our veterans
34.  my granaw :)
35. a day with cousins and friends
36.  surprises
37.  creamer - french vanilla
38.  bookshelves
39.  sunny days
40.  laughter
41.  forgiveness
42.  coffee
43.  scarves
44.  porches
45.  Fair Trade Friday Club one of the highlights of my month
46.  dishwashers
47. sweet baby pictures texted to me
48.  quiet
49.  this song
50.  a day off


Thankful Thursday 2015 {week 1}

1.  my husband - love him more everyday
2.  owen - watching him grow and mature -bittersweet
3.  addie - sassy sweetness
4.  mom - what would i do without her
5.  daddy - no one holds a place in the heart like a little girl's daddy
6.  pumpkins
7.  new opportunities in teaching this year - language arts and social studies
8. pausing to say thank you Lord for unanswered prayers
9. sunday school converstaions
10. car washes
11. new friendships
12. christmas plans :)
13. music!
14. owen reading bedtime stories to addie
15. listening to addie pray
16. healing powers
17. my students - love them
18. basketball season
19. second chances
20. Daniel 3: 24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?”  They replied, “Certainly, Your Majesty.” 25 He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”
21. fridays
22. conversations with former students
23. family time in pigeon forge
24. the power of prayer
25. fingernail polish and finger nail polish remover ;)

what are you thankful for this week?
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