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


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.


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?

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