May is busy; so todays post is an old story worth telling again. I was at a wedding last weekend with some of the great friends I mention in this post and we laughed about this day…so here’s to a great story re-told!
“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? Matthew 6:25
Have you ever noticed how something really terrific can come from a disaster? Sunday, our second son graduated from high school and we hosted his open house that same day because my dad was here with us for the weekend. Mexican was his menu choice and I had it planned down to the last detail plus a generous padding of “extra food” because nobody wants to be the party host who runs short on food. Well…it happened…I started to run low on food and my heart sank somewhere down into my shoes.
It would have been a disaster if it hadn’t been for the awesome crew of friends that flocked into my kitchen and saved the day. We cooked some more…we emptied the fridge and a couple of them went home and brought back the contents of their own fridge and pantry. At one point some dads were chopping up watermelon and they chased me out of my own kitchen telling me to leave and enjoy the guests. They took over and amazed me with their friendship, generosity and helpfulness. What a blessing.
When I first started to realize the food was flying off the serving table so quickly I slipped into the office for a minute to pray. The verse from Matthew's Gospel came to mind and I said, “Jesus I trust you!” I chose not to panic. I chose to believe if He could feed 5,000 He could feed a couple hundred and I chose to believe the words of t and not worry. Within minutes the unsolicited help started filing into the kitchen. God paints the dots on a ladybug and He provided me with friends who knew how to save the day…how lucky am I! No detail is too large or too small for such a loving Father.
I’m still scratching my head at the events of the day, but mostly I’m thanking the Good Lord for the blessing of friends and the grace of generous hearts. I will be the first to admit I am a MARTHA right to my core, so the day was a lesson in humility. I was reminded to be more like MARY and enjoy the “better part”. Sunday the “better part” was friendship and the surprising way God hears and answers when we trust. The other part of the blessing that day was enjoying the wonderful people who came to help us celebrate Jason’s special day. Martha here, would have missed that if it hadn’t been for the friends who chased me out of the kitchen.
Today it doesn’t matter that I would have done exactly the same thing for any one of those friends…what mattered is that they did it for me and I’m grateful and blessed. I’ve re-calculated my food list and I’m still baffled, but I finally wadded up the paper work and threw it in the trash because it doesn’t matter. If everything would have worked out according to “my plan” I would have missed the beauty of “His plan”…and as usual…He’s a much better planner than me! I thank God for those good friends. As one of them said to me years ago, "You know someone is a good friend when they can walk into your kitchen and wash your dishes.” I’m thrilled to report I had LOTS of those kind of good friends on Sunday. May God smile sweetly on each of them!
A Seed To Plant: As you plod through this day, stop and ask God where this verse might fit.
Blessings on your day!
Give thanks and remember!
Happy Memorial Day! I'm hoping that most of the Monday morning readers are doing something lovely today. It's so beautiful this weekend so I hope you are enjoying sunshine and beautiful outdoor events and fun where you are too.
Todays post is short, simple and important. Even though I'm not in school today, I am going to give you some homework. It doesn't matter where you complete it, I just ask that you remember to do it this Memorial Day. The assignment is to recall the reason we enjoy this day. Please spend some quiet time in prayer remembering...
*Remember and pray for all those who gave their life for our country. Are we honoring their sacrifice by defending the freedoms and privileges they gave their lives for?
* Remember those who make decisions about our military action. Pray that God will grant them a spirit of peace, justice and mercy as they make decisions.
*Pray for peace; peace in our families, our country and our world.
*Pray for our President and Congress. It's easy to complain about them but how often do we remember to specifically pray that God will inspire, uplift and bless them?
God Bless the USA...really! Spend some time thinking about and praying for that today, it's so much more than a slogan or a line from a song...today let it be our heartfelt prayer!
Blessings on your day!
As adults, one of our primary objectives is to take care of our children and keep them safe. As a parent and teacher there have been lots of moments spent pondering the “best way” to break bad news to kids. We don’t want to see them struggle and suffer and we can sometimes look at them as fragile or unable to process hard lessons. We often work to provide a buffer between bad news and the young ones we love. Today I am going to share a post that speaks to the strength and wisdom of one of the young ones. She writes with the wisdom of an old soul with a deep faith.
Todays post is by guest blogger Saige. She is strong, confident, faithful and funny. Saige is a natural born leader who quietly and gracefully leads others in the right direction. She has navigated her way through some difficulties this year but she has allowed those trials to strengthen both her faith and courage.
And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the older things have passed away. -Revelations 21:4
There was one specific part in Make Every Day Count, by Max Lucado, that talked about days of hospitals, sickness, and sorrow. A failing report card. Cemetery dirt still fresh. I read that paragraph and i just felt connected right away. I knew what all of those things felt like. Like the part about the cemetery dirt. A little while before Christmas, my grandma passed away and I was overwhelmed with sadness and grief. But when I was at Christmas Eve Mass, and I was up in the choir loft singing, I felt a wave of calmness come over me and I just felt better. I knew that God was helping me.
About a month or so after my grandma died, my grandpa, the one whose wife had just died, had a stroke. My uncle took him to the hospital right away. When I heard this, I was filled with sadness and worry all over again. He still isn’t his old self, but i know that God will take care of him the rest of the way, and make him the best that my grandpa can be.
Whatever you’re struggling with, you need to remember that God will take care of it, and you don’t need to worry. He will bring you peace when you need it and he will help you feel strong even when you don’t feel that way.
A seed to plant: If you are ever stuck in sadness, try to just go to church or listen to a religious song to help you to know that God is always with you.
Blessings on your day!
Thank you Saige...you're amazing!
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it. 2 Timothy 3:14
My heart is so full right now I can hardly type! Today I got to be the book ends to the school journey of some truly amazing young men and women. Today I got to see a group of students who were my very first class of 1st graders graduate from high school. The best part was that they invited me to be the speaker at their graduation and it was so much fun talking with my first group of little lovelies on this landmark day. I was asked to give a speech but instead I climbed down from the stage to stand on the field house floor and teach one last lesson to my graduate lovelies!
I spoke today on behalf of an entire community of teachers, bus drivers, school cooks, custodians, parents and grandparents who have invested in these kids for the last 12 years. I got to wish them well, offer some lessons on how to be an amazing human and invite them to be the catalyst for change in this world. In our small community these kids are known by name and they are prayed for and encouraged all along their way. I watched them walk across the stage right in front of me to get their diploma and I saw little backpacks and wide eyed first graders in my mind. It all zoomed by so fast that I felt a catch in my breath wondering if we had taught them all they need to know. I wondered if I did all I could to prepare them to make this world a better place. I prayed I had used well each opportunity I’d been given to help them grow in discipleship.
As I climbed down the steps to be closer to the kids for our last lesson, I remembered the first day they walked into my classroom and I’m pretty sure I was as scared then as I was today. I hoped I could cover my nervous voice and hold back the tears that stung behind my eyes. I hoped that the Holy Spirit would speak through me with the words he wanted them to hear. I felt the weight of responsibility that every teacher feels when they are given a classroom of young people. After the first couple of minutes I began to see their smiles and hear their laughter and every emotion bounding through my mind and my heart was replaced with hope and gratitude. They will do great thing, they will go great places and they will be amazing people! I have great hope that they will use their God given gifts and talents to make the world better. I’m grateful that I had a chance to be a part of their life, a part of their day, a part of their journey to this milestone. I’m grateful to be a teacher, it’s a vocation that reaps rewards that are too many to measure. Mostly I’m grateful that I landed here…in this place…in this community…to do this work. God is so good!
If the PW class of 2018 takes only one thing from todays lesson with them into the world I hope it’s the reminder that changing the world requires three simple things. Be kind, be honest and be grateful. When I give it some thought, that’s probably a great lesson for all of us!
A Seed To Plant: Which of the three things will you focus on today…kind, honest or grateful?
Blessings on your day!
Psalm 139 reminds us we are fearfully and wonderfully made. In other words, we are perfect in the eye of our Creator. That seems like a simple enough announcement but yet, we spend so many minute trying to be like, look like or in some way act like someone else. Today seems like the perfect day to take a look at ourselves through the Father’s eyes. Lets take notice of who we’re trying to follow and say thank you for our gifts instead of wanting someone else's. Todays guest blogger has the perfect post to get us started!
Todays post is brought to you by a genuine, huge hearted, young leader named Kash. This impressive young man was instrumental in getting the whole book study started, and his leadership with this project truly made a difference in our classroom!
Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus” Philippians 2:5
I really love football. My favorite player is Tom Brady because he is such a great quarterback. When we got this assignment and I was praying about what I was going to write about, I saw this scripture verse, it all clicked together. I realized I shouldn’t strive to be like a great athlete. Being like Tom Brady wan’t important; I thought instead, I should strive to be a great disciple. I am not saying you shouldn’t play sports, I am saying if you play sports you should always praise God and thank him for the gifts he gave you.
We should strive to be like Jesus. One way we can do this is go to mass. Another thing we can do is go to confessions so God can forgive us. After he forgives you praise him and thank him for taking your sins away.
God wants us to use the gifts he gave us. Thank God for all of the gifts you have and praise him.
A Seed To Plant: Some time today make a list of 5 gifts God has given you and be sure to tell him thank you!
Blessings on your day!
Thank you Kash…you’re amazing!
This weekend at Mass we celebrated the feast of the Ascension and Father Eric gave a terrific homily about the “Good Fridays and Easter Sundays” of our lives. We tend to want to take a pass on the Good Friday moments and wish for the joy of Easter Sundays to fill our days. It can be pretty easy to get stuck in the sadness when the struggles and difficulties of life come upon us. It can almost feel like things will never feel better. We are an Easter people though, and one of the greatest promises of Christ is that there will be resurrection joy. He will lift us from our sadness and struggle just like his Father lifted him, but there is work to be done in the dark days. Todays post reminds me that all of us feel pain and sadness but there is joy to choose and grace to be granted.
Kambrie is todays guest blogger and she is a perpetual spring of enthusiasm, compassion and sweetness! She’s a hard worker with a heart warming smile and an A+ attitude. She tackled a topic that really tugged at her heart and it reminds us that the good goes with the bad.
“If any of you want to be my followers you must forget about yourself . You must take up your cross each day and follow me.” Luke 9:23
In our book, Make Every Day Count, they talk about death and how death gives you sorrow and how we change our sadness to joy. But how exactly do we do that?
Two years ago I was at my grandma and grandpa’s house with a lot of my cousins. We were all eating pizza beside my grandpa who was very sick. I was standing next to his bed talking to my sister. When I looked over at my grandpa,his eyes were open and was looking around the room. I was so excited because he rarely opened his eyes but I realized he hadn’t blinked yet. I went into the kitchen to talk to my parents about it. When I told them my parents were shocked. They went running into the living room and that’s when I found out he passed away.
As I was standing there crying,I thought this is what my grandpa wanted, he was free now. He was always smiling and cheered people up and that it would be the best thing to remember about him. I had to remember those things were important to him and thats what I needed to think about. Sad things happen but we can’t let that get in the way of living our life to the fullest.
A Seed to Plant: Think of a sad day;as you remember that day can you find joy in it?
Blessings on your day!
Thank you Kambrie…you’re amazing!
It’s May…the universal crazy pace month! This is the month jam packed with events, activities and just lots of STUFF! The month of May can cause us to loose our breath and come a little unravelled around the edges! In honor of crazy May and the general unravelling we sometimes experience this time year, todays post hits the nail on the head!
Todays guest blogger is Gracen. He is a witty guy with a huge sense of humor and a deep affection for a great prank! I remember well his famous smirk as he looked up into the bleachers at me while the story you’re about to read unfolded.
He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Colossians 1:17
Five Christmas Pageants ago, I had just finished singing my 1st grade song. When we finished, we left the risers and sat on the gym floor. As I sat there, I noticed a little string on my new red sweater. It was common sense at the time to quickly yank it off. The only problem was, the string didn't rip off. I kept pulling and pulling and pulling until one sleeve of my sweater was about 2 in shorter than the other. The little red string became a heap of red string. I walked up to my teacher, Mrs. Wohlfert, and she couldn't stop laughing. We fixed the sweater with about 15 safety pins to hold my sleeve together.
The lesson I learned in our book and with my sweater in first grade is this; no matter how unraveled or undone things can get, God will always love you. It just doesn’t matter how unraveled you may get, the Man Upstairs will stitch you together with strings of grace.
A seed to plant: How unraveled is your sweater? Is it brand-new or is it a little unraveled? Spend some time in prayer this week and think if your sweater is brand -new or does your sweater need some stitches by the Heavenly Father.
Blessings on your day!
Thank you Gracen…you’re amazing!
This weekend I had the opportunity to speak at a conference for Deacons and their wives in the Diocese of Lubbock, TX. As I sat in the audience waiting my turn to take the stage, I was wrestling with some fear. The fear was self inflicted because the morning speakers were Deacon Dominick Pastore and his wife Teresa Tomeo Pastore. Teresa Tomeo is a Catholic Rock Star! She is a famous TV and Radio personality and the author of many powerful books. To say I was a wee bit apprehensive to follow in the footsteps of such giants of the faith is an understatement. As I sat wrestling, I heard that familiar message of the Father that reminds me; Sheri, I’ve called you to be my servant, not a star. Fear was trying to creep it’s way into my heart and that’s when I remembered a lesson taught by one of my own students who is todays guest blogger.
Todays blogger is truly a sweet, gentle, beautiful daughter of God. Melanie shares her many gifts and talents as easily as she shares her warm smile and her faithful spirit.
“Don’t worry about tomorrow, tomorrow will take care of itself.” - Matthew 6:34
Last month, I nervously walked into the State Finals Spelling Bee with hundreds of thoughts twirling around my head. I had just placed 2nd in the Diocesan spelling bee to another speller, who seemed like she knew every word in the English language. This was my second state finals and I had studied very hard, but I still feared that my mind would go blank. I wanted to represent my school well, but a sense of worry loomed in the back of my mind.
Just a while back, we began these books as a Lenten reflection in our class. The girls were reading, Make Every Day Count by Max Lucado. The book was a great tool to grow closer to Christ and it touched my heart in many places. But one chapter really spoke to me. It helped me with something I knew I had; fear!
Fear is one of the most negative energies out there. It originates from the feeling that God’s plan won’t work or we’re not good enough. Yet, fear is something we should embrace. But why?
Fear happens to everyone. It can actually be beneficial or harmful, but it depends how you look at it and how you use it. If we let what we’re scared of take over our minds and hearts, we could be in for some serious damage. Rather, take fear as an opportunity, not a burden.
We can use fear to grow in holiness, because every day we can choose how to tackle it. Instead of running from our fears, we can run to God for the strength and guidance to overcome them. God hasn’t abandoned us; he is always waiting with open arms to aid us in our times of need. All we have to do is believe that he can help us and he does care about us. Because it’s true. But, we also must believe that he will help us, even if it doesn’t happen right away. We must still place our trust in God, even if we are waiting, or else we’ll begin to doubt Him and ask,“Can He do this?” “Does He even care about me?” “I’m not sure He’ll even help…” “Why isn’t God helping me?”
You may be wondering, why can’t I just let my fear go and that be the end of it? Well, to be able to let go of something, first you must embrace it. Just like you have to take the opportunity to run to Jesus and admit you have fears before you can get rid of them.
As I stood up to that microphone to spell my first word, I realized that I was prepared and ready to do my best. And even if I did get out, God didn’t love me any less. I knew that Jesus was right by my side and he had everything under control.
A Seed to Plant: Imagine Jesus running toward you, and taking all your fears away. Offer up all of your worries to God today.
Blessings on your day!
Thank you Melanie…you are amazing!
Back in February, I wrote a post called “Kids and Books”. It was about my amazing 6th graders and the book study project they instigated. (If you missed that one, you might want to go back and give it a read to truly understand how proud I am of these amazing students!)As lent rolled along they continued to read and discuss their faith based books. The project was completely student driven and it was my great pleasure to sit back and listen to them discuss what they were thinking and feeling in regards to their Catholic faith and the way they saw Jesus working in their life. As the final project, I assigned each student the task of taking one or two things they learned in their reading and discussion and write a blog entry for the Joyful Words Blog. They were asked to follow the same basic format that the posts typically take; scripture, story, lesson, conclusion and a seed to plant. I gave them a week to complete the task but most of them had finished their assignment by the next day. Over the next few weeks, it will be my great pleasure to introduce you to the “guest bloggers” from our classroom. They are truly an amazing class and the power in their posts are compliments of their simple, trusting, open hearted faith.
The first guest blogger is Landon. He is a kind, strong, funny, hard working young man. He loves animals, being outside and is currently very excited about his newborn goats. Landon’s post is a great reminder about the importance of God’s mercy and the grace found in a fresh start.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.”Matthew 7:7
Way back in first grade, we had a student traffic light chart. The traffic light was used to show how good we were being in class. I had a couple yellow lights, but never got a red. Every time I got a yellow light, my mind would freak out. The light would change back to green if my teacher saw me behaving, so I tried my best to make myself a fresh start. I started fresh because my teacher and I wanted me to start again and refresh my behavior.
It’s never too late for a fresh start even if you are falling apart from God, he will always love you and he will never leave you hanging. I have experienced many times of falling apart from God and getting myself back together like God would want me to. We all sin, that’s why God gives us a fresh start, we just need to use them.
Just like the traffic light in 1st grade we need to set a goal to keep it green. If we fall apart from God, we need to accept that he wants us to start over at the green light. All we need to do is knock at his door.
A seed to plant: Say a prayer that God will help you stay on track with a green light and think how you can be a better disciple of God. Search, and you will find.
Thanks Landon, you’re amazing!
Blessings on your day!
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