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


To my middle schooler

It seems like yesterday we were reading Kissing Hand and you wore size 5T.  

Tomorrow you enter your first day of middle school, how is that even possibly.  I think I've been more emotional over this one than Kindergarten, perhaps because middle school is real to me. Sorry, not sorry, your mom is a middle school teacher and you might not ever get a cellphone in your life. 

I can you promise you middle school is going to change you and that some days are going to be bad and some days are going to be "ok" and some days are going to be amazing.  And some days ever emotion in the world will pass through you at some point.  You are going to grow and you are going to look in the mirror and not know what to think or what is happening or who you are.  You are going to learn about good things and bad things, sex and drugs, algebra and geometry, colleges and careers, your going to get your feelings hurt and your going to hurt other people's feelings.  

I hope you always listen before you talk, soak in as much learning as you possible can, have the wisdom to decide what is good and what is bad, file away what you need for your future and forget the petty stuff.  I hope that you make friends with those that aren't friendly, that you are humble and kind to all. I hope you wear deodorant every day.  I hope you laugh till your stomach hurts every day.  I hope you make a few friends that last your whole life.  I hope you smile at your teacher and tell them thank you even when the lesson plan isn't going well.  I hope you hold the door and say good morning.  I hope you wash your hands after you go to the bathroom.  I hope you give every day a chance to be better than the day before.  I hope you are true to yourself, don't change what you like for others.  I hope you share the love of Jesus with someone.   I hope you read when they tell you to read and ask questions when you don't understand.  I hope that you take your  punishments for rolling your eyes, running your mouth, lying, not working as hard you can, {insert other middle school behavior}, and work to be better. I hope you manage your time well.  But if at some point you need help with these things, I'll be here to dust you off and pick you up and hug you.  Someday's you aren't going to like me, but that's ok.  I know that, I'm still going to help you and grounding might be involved.  You'll thank me one day.  Remember, I'll be praying for you every day.  You pray for me too, it ain't easy being a mom.

Never forget that no matter what, I love you.

I'm here to listen.
I'm here to lean on.
I believe in you!
You are going to do amazing things!
God has big plans for you!
Have a blast! Enjoy every second! 💗



Keep throwing Starfish!

State mandated testing can cause teachers to hang their heads. 

As scores come in and the data is broken down, it's easy to get down on our self and to think that what we do isn't making a difference. We aren't getting high enough growth or even proficiency. 

But as my dear colleague, Shelley, reminded me we all have our starfish.  

Maybe it wasn't math, science, social studies, or reading that you made a difference, 
but in behavior, self confidence, writing, public speaking, conflict resolution, or leadership skills, 
OR maybe you grew one kid 21 points in math.

We all have some starfish that because we picked them up.....IT MADE A DIFFERENCE.

Heads up teachers, keep throwing starfish!  

Most of all remember, Jesus don't care about testing.  You aren't going to show up at the pearly gates and be asked about your test scores.  But you will be asked about this....

Colossians 3:23-23
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 

Teaching is a calling.  It's ministry and Jesus work.   


what my daughter taught me today

"I made a new friend today," she says.

"He's nice."

"Well, he was today."

"He's not, he hasn't always, he sometimes isn't......"  thinks a minute

"He's learning to be nice, mom."

Aren't we all just learning to be nice?

Aren't we all just stumbling around, messing up left and right, or maybe that's just me.

And aren't we all just waiting for someone to be our friend.

Someone who is willing to accept that we are just learning.

We aren't perfect. 

Some days are hard.  

We are just one imperfect human looking for another imperfect human to say,

"Yeah, They are learning to be nice and that's ok, I'm still their friend.


inner demons

i'm not sure what you're fighting today......

self doubt


        financial worry


                    fear of the future


i know these inner demons they fight hard.  

they fight unfair.  
they pull from all the weaknesses. 

Ephesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

but i pray that you let the angels fight for you. i pray that you pray.  

your angels might be 




                                 the holy spirit

let them help.  let them in.

don't let the inner demons win.

and tomorrow when they come back.                       
                                                       fight again. pray again.


you are loved

In case you need to hear about true love this valentine's

(thanks Ann Voscamp for sharing)


 more than anyone or anything on this earth can

don't look for approval here

know that you are loved

you are beautiful

you are wonderful

you are His

"Because He loves you all the way, all the time"

every second of every day

He never stops


Happy Valentine's Day

I need for my daughter and son to know this.  I need my husband to know this.  
People will fail you, guaranteed.
But Jesus never will.


one word: influence

one word

one focus



the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something

where does it start, where does it end, one will never know

but we know we have


on our children, our family, our friends....everyone one we meet

1 Corinthians 12:2
 You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols.

Am I  being an influence the leads others to God or astray? 

How can I be a better influence?

2017 I want to be a better influence for health, technology, friendship, family, and most importantly the Lord.


2016 in review

16 for '16

1.   We traveled. Disney, South Carolina, Blowing Rock, Myrtle Beach, Galax, Morganton, Raleigh, Charlotte - Roaring River to Ronda.

2.  We watched a lot of movies - Finding Dory, The BFG, The Secret Life of Pets, Trolls, Sing, Moana - and all the ones I forgot.

3.  We listened to a lot of music.

4.  We played a lot of games.  Basketball, Football, Soccer, Uno, Battleship, Yahtzee.

5.  We had an amazing Christmas.  Favorite Presents:  Owen - XBOX (finally, he says), Addie - Mashems, Keyboard, and Barbie Stylist Doll, Matthew - Drone and new shoes, Me - new coffeepot!!

6.  We lost loved ones - miss you grandma Shupe!

7.  We got new pets and lost our dogs.

8.  We survived Pre-K and 4th Grade with success.

9.  We went to DISNEYWORLD and it was amazing!

10.  We spent as much time together as possible.

11.  We started new things at work - new grade levels - more welding.

12.  Owen went to Camp Caraway, Merlefest Jamcamp, Red, White and Bluegrass Camp, and Football & Basketball Camp.

13.  Addie is learning lots of new things in Kindergarten like how to READ and mom learned how to get rid of lice and survive hSP.

14.  We visited family and celebrated birthdays and holidays and life.

15.  We argued, cried, whined, and fought through the daily struggle of life, entitlement, worry, finances...struggle.

16.  We thanked our heavenly Father daily for the blessings of our life, let us not ever take it or each other for granted.

WinterJam Rocked

January snow came

my princess and prince with Belle

New Instrument and he's rocking it
Soccer Siblings

New family members Skippy & Doc
Soaking in the Summer sun

ADDIE TURNED 5 and had a Finding Dory party
(she watched Finding Dory at movie 3 times and got it for Christmas)
First Day of School
Addie Kindergarten
Owen 5th Grade
Mrs. Combs 7th Grade ELA/Math
Addie started Ballet and performed in The Nutcraker
Before school mini vaca - our favorite place 
Football team won the Super Bowl - lots of practice and memories

Cousins and Best Friends
Take a hike - Go outside
Owen was inducted in to Beta Club, was a school Science fair winner, and turned 11!
2016 thanks for the memories that made us who we are


Tears for Christmas

As I created Christmas treats I cried....
I cried for those who's loved ones decided to spend Christmas in heaven this year
I cried for those who are hurting so much that they don't know where to turn
I cried for students who are hungry
I cried for those who are sick
I cried for those who don't love Christmas 
I cried for those who don't know Jesus as their best friend and Savior

Help me pray. 
Help me reach as Jesus did all the way to the lowly manger, from the humble shepherds to the mighty kings.  
Help me share the joy of Christmas everyday of the year.  The hope it brings and the peace it provides.

How can I pray of you this Christmas?


Thankful Thursday [ week 4 ]

76.  I'm thankful for rain!!  We haven't had rain in over 40 days.  And this morning we got a shower. 

77.  I'm thankful for firefighters, with forest fires all over our beautiful mountains.  I'm thankful for those who are out there day and night fighting to protect.

78.  I'm thankful for Thanksgiving.  Not just for food, but for a time of gratitude and family.

79.  I'm thankful my sweet girl is resting.

80.  I'm thankful for Christmas decorations.  They make me happy.

81.  I'm thankful for cleaning out the play room.  

82.  I'm thankful for the dishwasher.

83.  I'm thankful for the new movie Moana, it made me laugh so hard, while I listened to my son laugh just as hard beside me.

84.  I'm thankful for my husband.  He's the best!

85.  I'm thankful for school plays.  Addie was a sweet pilgrim girl.

86.  I'm thankful for cough drops.

87.  I'm thankful for spontaneous texts from friends.

88.  I'm thankful for Owen's coaches, music teachers, and teacher.  These people have such an influence.  

89.  I'm thankful for the great moms I'm sharing life with, my own mom and grandma, my sister Jessie, my husbands sister, my best friends, my basketball moms.  Super moms surround me!

(photo bomb by Ryan, photo creds Lydia)

90.  I'm thankful for the gift of salvation and the ceremony of baptism to show the world you are a child of God.  

91.  I'm thankful I got to watch my nephew be baptized.  

92.  I'm thankful Walmart was not crazy last night.

93.  I'm thankful I live in a place people greet one another with a smile.  

94.  I'm thankful Addie loves dance.

95.  I'm thankful for middle schools.

96.  I'm thankful for imperfection.

97.  I'm thankful for my new favorite verse.

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Colossians 2:6-7

98.  I'm thankful for Google photo!

99.  I'm thankful for the blessings I take for granted and forget to be thankful for.

100.  I'm thankful my faith, my family, my failures, and my future.  

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!  Count your blessings!


Thankful Thursday [ week 3 ]

51.  I'm thankful my children and I got to go to Disney World this year with my parents.  We made lifelong memories and had so much fun.  We are ready to go back!

52.  I'm thankful for leggings.

53.  I'm thankful for my church family.  They mean more to me than they will every know.  

54.  I'm thankful for Addie's teachers, Mrs. Blackburn and Mrs. Ward, they are awesome!

55.  I'm thankful my mom and grandma's taught me to cook.  

56.  I'm thankful someone gave the teacher's a box of apples.

57.  I'm thankful for the cheers at Science Fair Project Awards.  We should all cheer students on whether they are shooting a ball or winning the science fair.  

58.  I'm thankful candy makes students happy.

59.  I'm thankful for forgiveness.  We all need it.

60.  I'm thankful for Christmas lights.

61.  I'm thankful my great grandmothers and even though I miss them like crazy.  I'm thankful for the memories I have.

62.  I'm thankful that we are all "weird" and that their are people who's weirdness complements your own.

63.  I'm thankful for Smokehouse Creamery.  It's our place.

64.  I'm thankful for my job.  

65.  I'm thankful for my eyesight, even though it's not perfect, and I can't see a thing without my contacts.  I'm thankful I can see.

66.  I'm thankful for travel mugs....makes coffee toting easier. 

67.  I'm thankful for the ability to type.  

 68.  I'm thankful for no longer being addicted to soft drinks.

69.  I'm thankful for prayers.

70.  I'm thankful we packed 100 shoe boxes!

71.  I'm thankful for bobby pins.  Stray hair savers!

72.  I'm thankful to hear this song this morning for the first time.

73.  I'm thankful next week is Thanksgiving break!!!

74.  I'm thankful for online shopping :)  

75.  I'm thankful God is still on His throne and still controls my every day!


Thankful Thursday [ week 2 ]

26.  I'm thankful for this article.

27.   I'm thankful for doctors and nurses.

28.  I'm thankful for technology that lets me bring people and experiences to my students.

29.  I'm thankful for courage and bravery.

30.  I'm thankful for laughter.

31.  I'm thankful for veteran's.

32.  I'm thankful for music.....calms my soul.

33.  I'm thankful for helpful coworkers.

34.  I'm thankful for snuggles with my girl.

35.  I'm thankful for basketball season starting.

36.  I'm thankful for Owen's love and gift for music.

37.  I'm thankful for best friends.

38.  I'm thankful for parents who parent.

39.  I'm thankful for sleep.

40.  I'm thankful for God's plan.  It's always better than mine.

41.  I'm thankful for students who stand up for one another.

42. I'm thankful for 44 days till Christmas.

43.  I'm thankful for handmade, beautiful toboggans.

44.  I'm thankful for duct tape.

45.  I'm thankful for fall weather.

46.  I'm thankful for new friendships.

47.  I'm thankful for shoes.

48.  I'm thankful for disney movies.

49.  I'm thankful for love that is greater.

50.  I'm thankful for summer vacation.


Thankful Thursday [ week 1 ]

The tradition much to be thankful for. 
 Let us never forget to stop and count our blessings. 

1.  I am thankful it's November!

2.  I am thankful for a washing machine and a dryer, I'm thankful for the sanitize setting and also that Owen has learned to do laundry. 

3.  I am thankful for my Godly husband.  He is being ordained as a deacon on Sunday and the way my heart just aches in excitement in indescribable.  As I have watched him grow in his walk with God, I just can't explain in words the power God has.

4.  I am thankful for patience.  I know that their are times I wish I didn't have to practice patience, but I'm thankful the Lord gave me the gift of patience or I might not make it through the day.  

5.  I am thankful that no matter what happens next Tuesday on Election Day, God is still in control.  I don't have to be anxious or worry.  God is not worried and He has it all under control.  

6.  I am thankful for for pimento cheese and chicken salad.  I know its weird.

7.  I am thankful for freedom.  Lord knows I take if for granted. 

8.  I am thankful I get to watch Addie learn to read.  Everyday she reads a little bit more confidently and the excitement she has.  If only we never lost our excitement to learn.  

9.  I am thankful for our 2 rabbits.  The lessons a pet teach of responsibility.  And they are so forgiving.  (maybe it's a good thing they can't talk)

10.  I am thankful for a night at home.  We have been so busy since like 2009.  I embrace a night at home with open arms.  

11.   I am thankful for prayer and it's power.  Let us never forget that we can call on God at any time and any place and He will hear our prayer.  

12.  I am thankful for this post I wrote a few years ago and stumbled upon today.  I should write more.  TRUTH

13.  I am thankful for parents who are always helping me out.  My mom and dad are always there for me.

14.  I am thankful that I'm learning to like water.  I recall many times having to make myself drink water.  Today I walked out of my way to fill up my water bottle...what?

15.  I am thankful new curriculum that keeps me on my toes.  

16.  I am thankful for my amazing son.  He is growing way to fast.  I fell like everyday he is growing before my eyes. 

17.  I am thankful for fair trade items.  I love being able to buy things that I feel like my money is making a difference.  Money talks, what is your saying?

18.  I am thankful for my these verses I came upon in Acts 2
                22 Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you ourselves know. 23 This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. 

19.  I am thankful for the fall breeze and the falling leaves.  The colors this year are amazing.  Everyday I drive home amazed by their beauty. 

20.  I am thankful for people who are passionate about what they do.  I love to see someone love their work.  

21.  I am thankful for a clean kitchen.  It doesn't always happen, but right this second the kitchen is clean, just don't open the cabinet. 

22.  I am thankful for Starbucks, Talia's, Anchor Coffee Shop.....just coffee really.  I'm thankful for coffee   e v e r y  d a y!

23.  I am thankful for my students.  They make me love coming to work everyday.  

24.  I am thankful for coworkers who bring you yogurt parfaits :)  and for my hallmates this year they are so encouraging and kind.

25.  I am thankful for weekends.  Thank you Lord tomorrow is Friday!!!

Thankful Thursdays


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.
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