Saturday, July 30, 2016

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Thursday, July 28, 2016

This I Know

This summer has been [*insert Cousin Eddie voice*] real good to the Shorts. 

[Well, until this week.  My favorite coach had surgery to repair an abdominal hernia and he is currently down for the count.  Every day is getting a little easier...just keep praying for his healing!]

Prior to the surgical takeover of my favorite coach, we managed to take 4 trips to Oak Island since May....not too shabby. [My parents have taken up residence there so we simply invade their space for spans of time. It works.] I spent a large part of many days this summer just watching the ocean waves. 

We have a small medium large collection of shells. 
We have sunglasses tans. 
We have luggage that has stayed permanently packed.  
We still have sand in our car.

Just a side note....I have yet to meet an educator who doesn't love summer time.  We are a lucky bunch. [Remind me of that come January, when I want to pull my hair out....strand by strand.]

These are a few lessons I've learned [or been reminded of] over this summer of fun in the sun.....

I should have majored in marine biology or scuba diving [is that a major?] or something that put me near the ocean.

It is not humanly possible for me to get a decent tan.   On my second trip to the beach, I ended up with a handprint on my left leg. [How? Why? #idunno] It's still there. 

Sometimes Many times it is not possible to go home [not your real home but metaphorically speaking]You cannot return because that moment you are trying to return to is over.[John Bon Jovi and Jennifer Nettles have been playing in my head all summer.] Personally, I'm struggling with this one.

Peaches and homegrown heirloom tomatoes [just not at the same time] are quite possibly two of the world's most perfect foods.

Looking backward never helped anyone move forward. [#fact]

The times when all of my children are under the same roof are becoming less and less frequent so spend them wisely. [The dishes and laundry always wait.] 

Catching sand crabs is the best way to spend a Tuesday night. [Watching Craig catch sand crabs on a Tuesday night is absolutely hilarious.]

Good friends make life easier. 

Snapchat filters are the perfect busters of boredom. [I have not one bit of shame in saying that.] 

I am not sure anyone will survive the 2016 election season. [318 million folks in the US and those two idiots buffoons are the very best we can come up with to lead our country? Geez...]  

Sometimes ALL THE TIME, when there is drama in a person's life, its ok [as in really OK] to NOT share it on Facebook. 

Unfortunately [but often], people that you believed would never forget you fade into the past.

Getting older...I'll spare you the gory details....

I am not organized. I didn't get organized this summer. [#whocares #notme]

No matter how hard you try, you cannot make someone want to be in your life that truly does not want to be in your life.  

Jesus loves me....this I know. 

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Friday, July 8, 2016

Defined

I have never hidden my struggles with weight and self-image. In fact, I remember posting one time that I'd spent my thirties as the F-A-T 30s.  

At 43 years old, I am still searching for a way to love that woman I see in the mirror. [I am in no way, shape, or form "fishing" for compliments from anyone. I am just trying to be transparent.]

The last 18+ months I have dropped almost 50 pounds and tried really hard to be more healthy. For 102 days in a row I have logged my daily food consumption into MyFitness Pal on my iphone. I used to drink 5- 6 20 oz diet Sundops a day. Since Easter Monday I traded in my diet Sundrop for water [and coffee and the occasional glass of tea].  

My blood pressure has come down significantly. There have been no more issues with my blood sugar. My clothes are way too big and I no longer have to wear those horrid [as my children call them] "mom jeans". 

So what's the issue?

My health is the issue. I may have dropped 50 pounds [and still need to lose 30 more] and that is a plus. 

The minus is that I have deprived myself of nutrition in a desperate attempt to be this "skinny" the world says I should be as a woman. 

Now don't get me wrong...your girl loves to eat. [As Craig would say, I've never met a cookie I didn't like...]

Any meal, lately, has become a battle. 

Guilt against the food.

Guilt wins more times than food. 

The last two months I have seen my primary care doctor, my gynecologist, a gastroenterologist, a hematologist, given numerous vials of blood, had an ultrasound and [be very jealous] a colonoscopy and endoscopy. Thankfully, the issues seem to all be pointing to a vitamin deficiency and not something more serious.

I can look back at my food diary for the last 102 days and see some glaring red flags:
1. I rarely consume more than 1600 calories a day and many days I don't consume enough for the app to count it when it is time to complete the diary entry for the day.
2. I haven't replaced all of that diet Sundrop with nearly enough water so I am severely dehydrated [thus all the digestive issues].
3. IF I ALLOW FOOD TO CONSUME ME [NO PUN INTENDED] AND MAKE ME FEEL GUILTY THEN WHAT GOOD CAN COME FROM THAT?

I've searched Pinterest, the world wide web, the pantry, read the books, and punched EVERY SINGLE MORSEL into MyFitness Pal. What I didn't do, until today, is realize that food is not my enemy. 

I am my own worst enemy. Satan is smart and he knows exactly where to get me.

Matthew 6:25 says, "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?"


1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, "Don't realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body."

Food does not define me. It is given to me to nourish my body and that is how I need to treat it. 

The world does not define me [or anyone else]. With desperation in my voice, [as in, I could use your prayers] I have to learn to love who I am. 
  
For you created my inmost being; 
you knit me together in my mother's womb. 
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; 
your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 
Psalm 139:13-14


As always, with a new perspective, it's a great day to be a Shortie.

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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Win the Day

Chip Kelly was, at one time, the head coach of the Oregon Ducks.  If you know anything about my oldest then you know he is a HUGE Oregon Ducks fan. [Incidentally, he is still mad at both Chip Kelly and Marcus Mariota.]  He had a shirt [that still fit when he was the size you see in the picture below....he's a man-child now] and on the front it said, "Win the Day."  I knew that was a quote that was used by Oregon a lot but had no idea that it was from Chip Kelly: Our goal every day is to win the day. [Upon further investigation of quotes by Chip Kelly I have been sufficiently amused. He's an interesting character.]


I have struggled for a large part of my adult life with anxiety. [What the heck does that have to do with Oregon or Chip Kelly?] It actually began when I was in high school, with a panic attack that left me completely immobilized before a football game and landed me in the back of an ambulance. Other times, the fear that gripped me would cause me to check my cell phone at least 100 times during graduate classes. I have gone to bed at night only to end up in the floor of one of my children's rooms, fearful that if a fire struck in the middle of the night that I would not be able to get to one of them quickly enough. 

For as long as I can remember, fear has been a part of my life. Real fear. Fear that was irrational and unfounded but had such a hold on my life that I could not function. I would take days off of work as a way to hide a particularly cruel stretch of insomnia from the anxiety.  It is quite embarrassing when your emotions control you instead of the other way around, in any profession, but especially in education. 

Over time, with the help of a doctors that were willing to listen and find the right medication and with counseling to learn to control the panic attacks, I have found that I can manage the anxiety.

[Back to how Chip Kelly and the Ducks fit into this story....]  More than anything, my faith has grown not because of anything I have done or even deserved but only because I have been protected by God's unending grace. I no longer cower to fear, like that woman who felt as if she were losing her mind. 

Now, I win the day. 

I am a firm believer that God orchestrates 

Every. 

Single. 

Moment. 

of our lives. 

He knows our struggles and our triumphs before we ever experience them. He is writing my story. 
Your story. 
And if your story is anything like mine then it is messy. 
And beautiful. 
And full of harsh realities. 
And overwhelmingly incredible.

In all of this life, through the anxiety and the fear and the worry, I have learned to be thankful and obedient [still working on that one] and hopeful that my story is still being orchestrated. Paul wrote so beautifully in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10,

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. "Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on  me. That is why for Christ's sake, I delight in weakness, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

When I surrendered, about 6 years ago, and really stopped trying to run from God and fix it myself, then I realized the weight of this verse. We [you and I] will do great things for God, not because of anything we've done or will do, but because he has made us to accomplish his purpose, for his glory. In my weakness, he is glorified. 

Now, win the day.

God has set all of us on a course that is meant to do his work, for his glory, during our time here on earth. We [I, me, Missy] should be running, with infinite passion, towards our purpose, even if it is hard. 
Or seemingly impossible. 
Or on the other side of the world.
Or knocks us right out of our comfort zone into a murky abyss.
Or makes me [us, you, me] over the top excited and nauseous with apprehension all at the same time.

I do not want to waste another minute locked in fear.
Worrying about things beyond my control.
Not "being" enough.
Comparing myself to others.
Riddled with guilt over past regrets.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne.
Hebrews 12:1-2

Now, win the day.

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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Cast Your Stone



We need some changes in public education.


I am not talking about testing. Now, before some or you write me off please let me 'splain: 

1. Standardized testing is zero fun for anyone involved. 
2. Standardized testing makes our students nervous and frustrated.
3. Standardized testing has turned some A LOT of teachers into this-test-is-all-about-me-and-how-well-MY-students-perform [and-I-secretly-hope-the-OTHER-classes-bomb-so-I-look-like-teacher-of-the-universe] monsters.
4. But most disheartening is that standardized testing does not often reflect just how far a student has progressed during a school year.  

HOWEVER, [Yes, I am shouting] STANDARDIZED TESTING AIN'T [It is my blog and I will use what ever kind of slang I choose] GOING ANYWHERE SO FIND A WAY TO DEAL WITH IT SO THAT IT DOES NOT CONSUME YOU.


FOR THOSE OF YOU NEW TO THE GAME, CLASSROOMS ARE FOR LEARNING.

I am not talking about pay raises. Please do not misunderstand: Short and I are flat broke 99.9% of the time because we are both educators.  We could use a few extra pennies.  Our pay has actually gone backwards because we have not seen an increase in pay in several years but our health insurance has skyrocketed...exponentially. [Incidentally that has not equated to better health care or coverage for any of us. Not shocked at all are you?]  We would both like to further our our own educations and pursue our doctorates but with a daughter in college and a son close behind her, that is not our reality at the moment. It may never be our reality. [I am not whining or complaining...just being honest.] In the last several years there might have been opportunities to get ahead if the above situation with pay versus insurance had not been so significant.  A pay raise would be nice but I am not holding my breath that one will come through..soon or ever.  We manage and we have what we need. [You learn to get real creative with money when there isn't a lot around.  Dave Ramsey is amazing and taught us a lot.  We are still learning.]

While the two items from above are things that I think do make or break some educators, I am more concerned about something that I see as far more pressing in our schools today: attitudes. [I am not talking attitudes that can come from children but those that seem to seethe from adults in this profession.]

If there is one simple thing I have learned in 18 years of teaching it is that it only takes one attitude to make a change. One of my favorite people in the whole world, that I go all fangirl over, is Mother Teresa.  I love this quote from her: 

We, as educators, cannot change the culture of education if we do not change some negative attitudes inside the walls of our schools. #FACT

Teachers....we need to step it up and stop petty behavior by adults that threatens what we are trying to accomplish in schools:  L. E. A. R. N. I. N. G.

Stop gossiping. Teaching middle school is a blast and I love it. [One must be slightly deranged, like me, to understand just how stinkin' fun middle schoolers are...even on bad days.] However, the drama that can be created between middle school students is NOT fun. 

So why are there some teachers that act like middle school kids and stir the pot in the building?  We are in education to teach children, just in case some of you forgot. When teachers [especially those that are veteran teachers] walk around and create controversy among the same staff that should be working together then how can students be learning? 

Veteran teachers - I am speaking to you directly. Be the role model. Be the leadership that beginning teachers need to see AND hear. If you spend your time spreading gossip like the plague then that reflects poorly on you and your school. 

If your main goal is to make sure that everyone in the building knows the latest gossip on any and everything then please know that you are doing nothing but causing problems and keeping your school from being the absolute best it can be.

Stop taking everything so personally. When did educators become so thin skinned?  If you are not picked to be the featured classroom, the teacher who is showcased, asked to serve on a committee, chosen to lead something, etc. then guess what? Life. Goes. On. This is not your senior year in high school and you are not in a competition for senior superlatives. [Incidentally, I was not chosen for those either...]  I truly believe for a school to be effective then different voices need to be heard and not always the same ones.  

Believe it or not, a little encouragement of others, on days when you feel like you are not enough, will make YOU feel better. Make it your mission to find something good happening, on a daily basis, with those around you and tell them.  If you only see your classroom and you as the one who needs the attention then you are stealing joy from everyone.  I urge you...do not be a thief of joy.

Stop finding problems that do not exist. Honestly. STOP. Decisions are made based on entire body of people and really, should always be made in the best interest of students. So you disagree with an email or something someone did in their own classroom or you are not pleased with a situation...it happens. So put your grown up drawers on and get over it.  As teachers, we have so much to deal with concerning students and learning  - why add to that plate with "issues" that are not really important?  Creating non-existent and piddly [I love that word...it is fun to say] problems only robs you of precious time to do something that does matter in the lives of children.

I am not a negative person. I did not put these thoughts down to run anyone in the ground or to flog educators. I am guilty of all of these things myself...trust me. There have been times in my teaching career that I have snatched misery and discontent straight out of the closet and worn them like badges of honor. All that ever did was make me worn out, pathetic, and useless to everyone.

I am urging you, teachers, to throw kindness around like confetti - especially towards the other adults you come in contact with on a daily basis. Change the culture in your school by bringing back joy, even when the chips are down. Teaching is a so very hard - we have to root for each other, pray for each other, encourage each other. 

Make a choice to be the change. The solution. The positive.  

Go find your stone.   

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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

7,304 Days

Day 1: May 4, 1996

Twenty years ago I married my favorite coach. [To hear him tell the story there were a lot of hearts that broke that day when he suddenly became "unavailable".]

What a wild and crazy adventure it has been....

Some people that are close to us understand the significance of these twenty years. [And no, its not any kind of miracle that he hasn't killed me yet or the fact that he's had it so bad and has still come out smiling. Don't let him fool you....he's got it made.]  We didn't exactly get the order of date, finish college, get married, have children, etc. correct. Honestly, we had no clue about raising children or being married, much less trying to do both at the same time.

Neither is a job for the faint of heart. #truth 

As I look back on twenty years of marriage, the most defining moments make me realize that even when I was not listening, God was making a way for both of us.  We [Short and I] have not done a thing to make this marriage "work" apart from God's grace [I will admit I've needed way more grace and mercy and humble pie than my favorite coach in these last 20 years].  

Trust me when I say that God has given us way more than we could ever fathom. He has expanded our territory and done immeasureably more than we could ever hope or imagine. 

We have been blessed to be the parents of four amazing [fantastic, brilliant, hilarious, sensitive, awesome, loving, giving, etc...I will go on...its my blog] children. In twenty years, there have been a lot of laughs, a few tears, and way too many hugs and kisses to count. Sometimes, even after all these years, I still pinch myself and question if this is real life [yes...as I sing Bohemian Rhapsody]. Raising kids ain't easy...or cheap. 

But so worth every single bit of the good and bad. I promise.

In twenty years I have laughed way more than I've cried. Have you met my husband? He brings his A game to every conversation. [And he's never, EVER met one of those he didn't like...] Trust me when I say that there have been many times laughing kept us entertained because it was all we could afford.

I cannot imagine spending the last twenty years with anyone else. God has allowed us to make quite a life together because we never gave up on each other, especially when the mountains seemed impassable and the storms too big. One step at a time, holding the other's hand.

Thank you to my sweet Craig for loving Christ first, for loving me before yourself, and for always being my partner in crime without a dime. 

Thank you for teaching me the game of football and for encouraging my crazy adventures.

Thank you for realizing that I will never know where my keys are and for ironing my clothes.

Thank you for putting up with my quirks [or what I like to term extremely intellectual tendencies] and for always cleaning the bathroom [because it grosses me out].

Thank you for being organized and for allowing putting up with my disorganization.

Thank you for working hard at your job and for coming home each day full of hugs and kisses.

Thank you for forcing sharing your love of history and for making countless trips to buy groceries to help me out.

Thank you accepting my invitation for a date all those years ago and for never looking back.

Day 7,304 - May 4, 2016: I love your love [and your toast] the most.
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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Holding Hands and Honeysuckles

His skinny, freckled hand grabbed mine.

"Here mom.  I'll help you up this hill."

My heart melted.  The little man, holding my hand in his, was protecting me. He held my Epipens in the pocket of shorts [always on guard for the menacing buzz of an insect], he waited on me every step of the trail...his steps ebbing and flowing in rhythm with mine. 

Tonight, I realized [once again] how my cup absolutely runneth over. My life isn't perfect [far, far from it] but this has to be a tiny glimpse of what Heaven will be.  How else can I describe the enormous swell in my heart when I look around and see all of this love?  

On our way back down the hill, we stopped....
....to partake of a few honeysuckles.  
....to check out a birds eye view of the rock quarry lake.
....to jump on and off of rocks.

Tonight, we put aside the laundry, the dishes from dinner, the news from the world [that honestly seems like it can smother], and a million other things that take our focus. 

Holding hands and honeysuckles. 

Tonight was enough....
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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

I'll Take 3 S's and an R Pat

Tomorrow, March 31, 2016, is my daddy's last day at work.

When he walks out of Duke [Power, Energy...whatever its called] tomorrow he will be a retiree. [Now would be a great time to insert some kind of AARP joke but I'm not that kind of daughter I'm saving it for later.]

Let me 'splain a bit about my daddy.  

He is a working man. Even when he isn't at work the man is working.  For several years he has worked 4-tens [for those of you not well versed in HR language that means 4 ten hour days] but on the days off he was the busiest man I know. He doesn't do idleness.  

Now, after almost 39 years of working for the same company [which is an amazing feat] he's taking it to the house.  [Just a little side note here: My mom works from home.  My prediction is that his new job will be to drive her slap nuts crazy.]

I am so stinkin' happy that my daddy will finally get to do things he really wants to do without the pressure of a job. He deserves to be able to retire. 

My sister and I have never wanted for anything.  All of our lives, as far back as I can remember, we've been provided for because my parents have always worked. My mom and dad put themselves through college, then my sister and I through college [one of us took a little longer than normal but we turned out ok], then paid for two weddings,  took us on countless trips, bought and made meals, took us [my family, her family] shopping for shoes, clothes, and everything in between, provided for us when we needed it, and never, never, NEVER let us go without. 

The only thing my dad ever asked of us, my sister and me, was that we work and do our part to help out.  His favorite saying [now and forever]There's no free lunch. His other favorite saying: Save up.  We learned early having a job and earning our way was an expectation [Can't say that I've always been really great at either one of those...at least not until I got older...and I'm still not great at the save up part.] We've always had good role models.  Everyone should be as lucky as us.

So, tomorrow, when it's quittin' time and Zippy takes his final walk [as an employee] down the sidewalk to his truck and drives out of McGuire Nuclear on his last day I hope he is smiling from ear to ear.  I hope he realizes the incredible legacy he is leaving behind for those that come after him. I hope those that come after him realize the bar has been set really high. [And for those that called him Grumpy all these years: All of you have had it all wrong. He is clearly the 3 S's: Stern, Stubborn, and Sweet and now he can add the R for Retired.] 

There aren't many men like my daddy. He is the finest man I know. He is and will always be the first man I ever loved and he is my hero. 

I am so proud to be his daughter. 

I love you Daddy. 


As a mutual friend of ours says...It's those changes in latitudes,
changes in attitudes nothing remains quite the same.

Enjoy the fishing Zippy!
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Friday, March 18, 2016

P-I-N-G

I lose things.

ALL. THE. TIME.

[Except weight and insanity.  Those keep hanging around.]  

Seriously.  I need an intervention. [I've said that before haven't I?  Still drinking Sundrop, getting on Facecrack, and hitting snooze instead of meeting my running partner at 5am. Maybe my intervention needs to be stop saying I need an intervention and just do it??]

It is a DAILY occurrence [and I will be honest and say I had to Google the word occurrence just now because I cannot spell a lick] for me to not know where to find my keys.  

Craig says, "Just put them in the same place every day so you know where to look."   [Just a little side note here:  Craig is about as uptight as they come when it comes to organization. He has a routine for getting ready, his clothes are all neatly hung in the closet by shirt color, pants color, etc.  He is meticulous about his Bible study and the materials that go with it.  He even organizes the dirty dishes in the sink.  I can't even close my dresser drawers.  It must be true love...or he's secretly plotting to kill me in my sleep.]

*Insert SHOUTING VOICE here*

HE DOESN'T GET THAT I DON'T HAVE A PLACE TO PUT THEM.  MY PLACE IS WHEREVER I LAY MY KEYS!

I've found them in the couch cushions, inside of books, in the closet, in the kitchen underneath bowls or cups, in the floors, behind the bed, in the car [that's ├╝ber safe]....Heck, I even left them in the ignition at school one time, with the ignition turned so that it ran down the battery. [Incidentally I called him to come help me jump off my car.  He was so mad at me that he told me no. Hate it for him...his tough love didn't even phase me.]

This past Tuesday night I misplaced lost my phone. 

The kids and I were going for a walk since the weather was nice and time changed.  [I use the term walk very lightly because 25 feet into the excursion Gabe wanted me to carry him.]  Of course, since I've had 4 kids and I'm about to be 43 my bladder literally has a mind of its on. As soon as we got onto the road I told Molly I needed to run in and go to the bathroom one more time. 

Apparently, I handed her my phone.

During my 1000th trip to the potty, Craig asked Molly to move the car parked behind him so that he could go to the Y. She obliged and we went on our merry way.  

We returned home around 9pm and I needed to send a text message.

MY PHONE WAS GONE. [And this shocked NO ONE I live with since I'm pretty consistent with losing stuff. I'm really surprised I've never left a kid somewhere.]

We looked everywhere...the trashcan, the dishwasher, the fridge [I wish I could say I wasn't afraid it was in one of those places but it has happened], under the couch, under the bed, in every room of the house, in the pantry, outside, inside....everywhere.

Molly, Craig and Coop all used the find my phone app to try and locate it.  The app kept telling us it was in the front yard. [Again, I'm not proud but I started wondering if I threw it in the yard. I couldn't remember.  Who can't remember if they threw their phone in the front yard?  Why would anyone throw their phone in the front yard?]

Craig kept asking, "When is the last time you had it?"

*insert SHOUTING VOICE AGAIN*

NOW YOU KNOW THAT I DO NOT KNOW THE ANSWER TO THAT.  I CAN'T REMEMBER ANYTHING.  I DON'T EVEN REMEMBER OUR CHILDREN'S NAMES SOMETIMES.  I HAD IT BEFORE I WENT TO WALK.  THAT'S ALL I REMEMBER. [I know he already knew I had NO idea where the phone was or what I did with it. He just likes asking me questions he knows I cannot answer.]

All six of us where outside, iPhone flashlights out, looking along the road, in the yard, around the cars, and really anywhere for my phone at 9:30pm Tuesday night.  The high school baseball team had just ended so there was a lot of traffic up our road.  [I'm 100% positive that anyone who knows us was not the least bit shocked to see all 6 of us wandering like members of a flashlight cult up and down the road and in the yard. You are welcome KM. We love to entertain.]

Guess where we finally found it, over an hour later?  In the car that Molly moved.  She put it in the console and forgot about it. [Most normal folks would have looked in a vehicle first.  Not us. That's way too simple.]  Craig could barely hear the P-I-N-G.  

I guess I'm not that crazy after all. 

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Friday, March 4, 2016

YOUR Clothes

**Guest post by Molly tonight.**

Today in convocation, I had the privilege of hearing Pastor Saeed Abidini share about his time in a harsh Iranian prison for the last several years. He entered the Vines Center to a standing ovation. It was powerful, and it was very enlightening to now have been privy to hearing about the persecution of the church in our world. After being asked how he was able to convert 30+ people in prison even under such deadly persecution, he said something that really stuck with me. He replied, (I will paraphrase because I cannot remember his exact words), “I learned that the firmer you stand in your faith, the more the enemy retreats…” I have included this rather unrelated bit of information, specifically the quote, from this morning because I think it also resonates well with the topic about to be discussed.
(You can watch convocation online using this link http://media2.liberty.edu/)


Human trafficking currently holds the lives of an estimated 27 million people around the world.

In our American culture of “it’s all about me” we, more than anyone else it appears, seem to completely disregard this issue and instead fight over, advocate for, whatever it may be issues that are not issues in the least little bit.
(i.e., the fact that Leonardo DiCaprio just won his first Oscar and talked about global warming in his acceptance speech…)


So, this post is a wake up call!!! And also a chance for those of you who may not know much about this issue, or the organizations that are in the fight to end it, to learn.


This semester, I am currently interning with an organization out of Lynchburg called Freedom 4/24. 4/24 is a nonprofit organization that raises funds through fundraisers, donors, 5k races, events, etc. that exists to raise awareness for the sexual exploitation of women and children around the world. They partner with several organizations that work specifically with victims and their rescue and rehabilitation, including safe houses in Charlottesville, VA, India, Thailand, and Uganda. 

One of the ways they raise money is through the use of their Instagram shop, “frocks4freedom,” which sells “like new” name brand, women’s clothing, shoes, and accessories at unbeatable prices.


If you have an Instagram, follow @freedom424 and also @frocks4freedom!!! 

Not only will you be able to find really cute, cheap clothing from places like J.Crew and Talbots, but you will also be doing a small part to help those currently trapped in slavery. New items go live each Thursday night at 7:00 p.m. EST. I am one of the facilitators of the page, and I can tell you that myself, and the other two girls (Emily & Kentcie) are working really hard to get the word out and have this awesome mission grow.


I will be participating in a clothing drive for the month of April and basically, it goes something like this: If, at the end of the month, I have not worn an item of clothing for the entire month, I hang it up backwards in my closet and take those items hanging backwards and donate them… in this case to frocks4freedom. Will you participate with me?


If you are at home (Kings Mountain) and have anything you would like to donate, I would be happy to get that from you and deliver it to the office myself! I will actually be home for spring break from March 13-March 20, but can also make arrangements to get your items after that time, as well!

Your sister in Christ,


Molly


Matthew 5:43-48
Matthew 25:31-46
1 Peter 5:6-11




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Monday, January 25, 2016

Shekels of Silver

Hey peeps. 

It has been a while. 

I would love to say that I've spent this time working off my midsection but that would be a lie. [Much like saying "coffee tastes terrible" or "that pizza was a bad decision".]

My sweet girl moved to Lynchburg and started a new semester [and lots of new adventures] at Liberty University.  My favorite long snapper and my favorite coach spent a weekend in Las Vegas learning as much as they can about special teams. [Just an FYI for those of you wondering what the heck the long snapper does....he snaps the football to the kicker and/or punter for PATs, punts, and field goals.  He DOES not snap the football to the quarterback....that is the center. Carry on....]  The babes and I have enjoyed lots of laughs, snuggles, snow, and movies on the couch.  Short has enjoyed sitting in his recliner, watching the playoffs, finding terrible cable access for us, and being in his pajamas. 

The first big blizzard of 2016 was rather uneventful. Its been nice to stay at home and do virtually nothing. [I'm fairly easy to please...] LuLaRoe leggings, a nice blanket, plenty of coffee, and the Shorties make being snowed in pretty OK.

I picked up a book yesterday that I began reading at the end of the summer. It is Restless by Jennie Allen.  The subtitle reads, "Because you were made for more."

I must confess that I have been restless and worrying whining about this particular season of my life. 

I describe it as sort of a holding pattern or a spinning of wheels [most if not all of it self-induced and extremely annoying to my sweet husband who has had to listen to me...the man deserves a medal and lots of chocolate chip cookies] that I felt I had no control over. 

On the back of the book, in big huge letters, is a question:


DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU ARE  MISSING SOMETHING? 

Yes.  Affirmative. Oui. Si. Right on. Absolutley. Nail on the head. 

So what am I missing out on?

Enter Joseph, son of Jacob, and brother to eleven fairly jealous brothers.  

Joseph's father Jacob [also known as Israel] loved him more than his other sons because he was born to Joseph in his old age.  He gave Joseph a beautifully crafted robe of many colors.  Joseph shared his dreams with his brothers [which they should have paid attention to very closely] and they hated him more. They then did the absolutely unthinkable: They sold him for 20 pieces of silver. [Just a little Biblical history here...a shekel is about 11.5 grams.  They sold Joseph for about 230 grams.  The current price of silver/gram is about $.46.  In today's money, they would have made roughly $106 for their BROTHER.]

Ultimately, Joseph's steadfast commitment to weather the storms of his situation [sold by his family for almost nothing, wrongfully accused of taking Potiphar's wife, imprisonment, abandonment, loneliness] and to obey God led him to his destiny: second in command to Pharaoh.

But more than than any of that, Joseph was reunited with his brothers and with his father. He had every opportunity [and I would say the absolute right] to make them pay for throwing him into that cistern and lying to his father about his death.  

Instead?  He forgave them, long before they came to him for food in a time of famine and distress in Egypt.  Unknown to them, when he sent them back with food and asked for Benjamin and his father Jacob to come back to him, he even returned the money they paid for the food.

Shekels of silver. 

In each bag of grain for each of his 10 brothers.

I have pondered this story since I read it yesterday in way that I've never thought about before. 

Ever.

I've tried to think about how Joseph might have answered that question on the back of the book....

He missed his father's anguish over the thought of his death.  
He missed watching his brother's marry and have families. 
He missed family cookouts and holidays.
He missed the love of a family.

But he never, ever went without faith in God's unwavering and sustaining love. Even in the midst of being sold, as a young boy by jealous brothers, he committed himself to following God's plan for his life...no matter where the journey would take him.

I couldn't help but be ashamed at how I've been feeling and then I had some questions of my own...

Have I ever sold out others for the sake of myself? [I'd be lying if I said no. So would you.  I know I am not alone...just honest enough to say it out loud.]
Have I ever felt sold out by someone? [More so as an adult than any other time in my life.  Sometimes, people are just plain mean.]
Have I ever compromised what was right for 20 shekels of silver? [Unfortunately the answer is yes.]

Throughout every single up and down in Joseph's life God was weaving Joseph's circumstances with grace and love and forgiveness. 

Joseph wasn't missing a thing. His low points on his journey gave him the opportunity to praise the very same God that gave him the high points of his life. 

Just as God had planned.

I am not being left behind, spinning my wheels, letting the world pass me by [all things I've said recently] but this season of my life is just part of this amazing story God is weaving for me through relationships, struggles, and gifts.

At the end of Joseph's life, after Jacob died,  he reassured his brothers that he was not holding a grudge at them. They called themselves slaves as they bowed at his feet.


"But Joseph said to them, "Don't be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don't be afraid. I will provide for you and your children." And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them. 
Genesis 50:19-21  

Twenty shekels of silver.
  
One amazing, God-breathed life.   
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