Lives Laid Down

I am deeply touched and saddened to hear about another school shooting. This time it was within the walls of a Christian school. Just because people are Christian and pray does not make them exempt from pains and sorrows or outside influences of evil from the world. No barricades or lockdowns can totally protect against a madman who has a plot to destroy and go on a killing rampage.

It is sad to think that the pastor of the church connected to this school lost his daughter during this massacre. It is also horrible that the head of the school was lost during the shooting as well. The school and community is reeling from these losses as well as the killing of two other children and two other adults. My thoughts and prayers are with them.

It is remarkable that the principal left a Zoom meeting and was ready to take on the shooter herself. She lost her life as she sought to confront the attacker and protect her students. Let it be said of her that “no greater love is this than one would lay down their life for their friends”. John 15:13.

This especially hits close to home for me as my daughter is a teacher of special needs students. She tells me stories almost daily when she thrusts herself in harms way for the protection and safety of her little friends. Her job has many challenges but regardless, it is obvious how much she loves these children. No doubt, she would risk her life for those children in the same way as the principal of Covenant Presbyterian School in Nashville. When she was growing up, she attended a Christian school connected with a Presbyterian church in our community.

As a parent of a former student at a Christian school I want to address a few things. There is no guarantee that because my children attended a private church school that they were free of problems. There is no guarantee that other students in attendance are from Christian homes or behave in a “Christ-like” manner. Sometimes, it is even the opposite. There are bullies in every school. Some may feel unpopular or uncool if they are different. There is a sin nature in all of us especially among children who are growing in faith or have not embraced Christ as their savior. Some may have the opportunity but reject Christ. Some may embrace Him and walk away later in life.

Some parents send children to Christian schools who would not thrive in public settings. There are smaller classrooms with more focused attention. Some may have privilege and are sent to take advantage of pre-college curriculum. Some may have learning disabilities or attention deficit problems and hope to improve by smaller classes with more hands-on training by teachers. Others send their students to be taught in a more “Christ”-focused setting with hopes that they will have a positive atmosphere for growing and learning.

This world is full of young people who are facing mental challenges like never before. Just because a student attends a Christian school does not mean they will not face depression or anxiety. The world and home atmosphere have a strong influence on the mental psyche. They may hear the message of Christ at a school but each are accountable themselves whether they hear and respond to the gospel.

The woman carrying out this devastating carnage may have fallen through the cracks at some point. At this point, we don’t know her home life and influences. We don’t know what would have possessed her to devise such a heinous crime. She was an adult and had not been at the school for ten years. We don’t know what transpired in her life since she attended the school. I am sure her parents sought out the best school they thought would have the biggest impact on her. Unfortunately, it failed to sink in or stay with her. She should have sought help within the church and mental health community before it escalated to this point of no return.

God bless the school for those they have touched whether they professed Christianity or not. All they can do is keep training, loving, and educating the children. Future generations depend on schools like these to keep the spark of God’s love alive. May they rebuild and regrow in their quest to continue the work that began in reaching more children and families for Christ.

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Beauty in The Rubble

It is challenging to keep a positive outlook amidst so much negativity in our current world. The focus is on the bad, the waywardness and depravity instead of the good. We must find the cup half full instead of half empty. We must stay thankful to God for our many blessings daily.

There are many naysayers and negative Nelly’s. I am reminded of the scripture in Phil. 4 :8. It says… whatever is true, noble, right, pure or lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy….think on these things.

Keep looking for God. You will see Him! He is right there in front of you! “Even.. if they keep silent, the rocks will cry out!” Luke 19:40.

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Update on “Dog”

It has been five days since Obi came to live with my son (I’ll bet you guessed which name would win out.)

He is a sweet and docile pup. He cowers a little when you reach down to touch him. Perhaps he had been abused. He and my son have become best buddies. He doesn’t bark much except for the first few minutes when Ethan leaves for work. He is quiet throughout the night. His appetite has definitely improved. He seems happy and glad to be “home” at last.

Ethan found him on top of the stove after a brief run to the store. He is a climber and got on top of a chair to reach the counter top. He will have to be crated for now to keep him safe until we can determine his level of cleverness or Houdini talents when we are away.

Amazing grace how sweet the sound! I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see!

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Saving A Stray

Yesterday my husband called me on his way home from working in the field as a real estate appraiser. He had been out in no-man’s land on a rural section of our county. He was inspecting a plot of land when he noticed a dog wandering about. It was a beagle-mix that looked like it had been roaming about for days without food or water. His coat was dirty. The pads of his feet were crusty and his rib cage was protruding. Ken was able to coax the dog to come near him then placed him in the back seat of his car. He gave little resistance towards someone willing to rescue him from his plight. He immediately curled up on the back seat and fell asleep. He was exhausted. Sleep was essential. Food and water were secondary once he regained some strength. Ken drove up to a trailer to ask if anyone was missing a dog. No one was at home and the place looked deserted. Ken decided to take the dog home since he would surely starve to death or get hit by a car. He wrote and posted a report about a missing dog in that vicinity hoping that the owner would claim him.

Our son had been wanting a dog but had been hesitant to take on ownership of a puppy. The right dog, the right age with the right temperament were all issues that had prevented dog ownership from happening up to that point.

We took the little fellow to the vet. They recommended waiting five days before taking ownership and before paying a big bill for shots and treatment. Upon a brief inspection they said he is young, 2-3 years old tops. His teeth are good and he is overall in good health. Once his appetite resumes, he has rested and has gained some weight, he should be in great shape. It is day three and we have not yet heard from anyone claiming him. For now, he is just “Dog.” We are thinking of names if we get to keep him. Some options are Obi, from my son’s favorite Star Wars movies, Elvis, which my mother recommended since he is a hound dog, and Ribsy, which I thought of when I first saw his boney ribs.

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Minimalist In Mind

Pre-Covid, I think that many were ready to let go of unnecessary home decor items and furnishings. This was influenced largely by the demand for homes with open floor plans. No doubt, these homes are beautiful and feel bright and airy with open shelving, large windows and limited wall space. However, with everything so highly visible, I think that lack of storage has become a problem. It was a nice thought and effort but during the pandemic, I think many of us fell back off the horse. We have picked up old hobbies and activities in an effort to stay sane. Along with hobbies, comes paraphernalia. Along with knitting, come skeins of yarn. Along with painting come paint supplies. Along with collecting…..come collections. You get my drift.

With hobbies, we distract our brains from thinking so much about unpleasantries. We can turn off the news or the internet and find something creative or positive to do instead with our time. We look to pastimes as a solace from all the troubles in the world. It is a comfort to surround ourselves with created projects or displays, whatever they may be. We want to make our spaces pleasing and eye-catching. This is a healthy diversion yet the problem is we can fall back into hoarding.

Look around at all the numbers of storage units. It seems like new ones pop up somewhere in my town every day. While we were downsizing before the pandemic, we rented a storage unit for a transitional spot to stash things until we figured out what we were going to keep and what we were going to get rid of. I sold off some things at two neighborhood yard sales and on Facebook Marketplace. I also rented out a space in a vendor market for large furnishings or nicer items.

When our house was finally built, and we moved in we could finally figure out what could fit and where. It was apparent that we needed much less furniture. To reduce the amount of clutter, I kept purging and paring down my stuff. Now, after three years of living in our home, I finally feel I have a manageable pile of things. I want to keep going and keep the decluttering mindset. One way is to stop shopping in thrift stores and become a donor only.

I still enjoy crafting but am trying to force myself to shop my house and use what I already have. I still like to collect things but am focusing more now on items that are made out of paper and can be stored in a stack or placed in a notebook sleeve to take up much less room. This is much easier on the budget, for sure.

I am reminded of the song Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus. The last line says, “and the things of this earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace”. There is freedom in letting things go. God doesn’t want us to cling too tightly to the things of this earth. They are temporary but…. He is eternal!

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A Wonderful Thrift Store Find

I have been visiting thrift stores lately. I began with the incentive to donate things I no longer want or use yet the thrill of the hunt is too tempting to avoid. I began stepping inside a few shops to just take a peak. It is amazing to me what people throw away. Truly, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. What one may be tired of is just the thing to give someone else’s room a refresh.

I discovered that right after Christmas is a good time to peruse thrift store aisles. Most of us try to make room for new Christmas presents and become motivated to clear out our old stuff in the process.

Here is a little gem that I found in my most recent trip to the thrift store in my town. It is too large to frame so I plan on hanging it from a magnetic wooden hanger. It needs a little restoration on areas of chipped paint but it is a real oil painting on canvas. I love the details of the birds and trees.

I’ll bet your wondering how much I paid for this treasure…only $15 which is great considering it is the size of a mural and measures from the floor to the top of my door frame.

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My First Crazy Quilt

I have begun a new sewing project.

I confess to being a home body. During the winter months, I love cocooning and staying cozy but in order to feel productive I enjoy projects.

I wanted to find a project that would not involve spending money but using things I had on hand instead. I wanted to create something in honor of family. I get nostalgic during the holidays and miss loved ones that have passed on. I have saved a box of ties that belonged to my father with the intent of making a quilted project one day. You can see in the picture that my father had musical themed ties and some highlighting scripture. He was a cellist and played in many church programs and orchestras throughout his life. I looked at Dresden quilt patterns and began taking my father’s ties apart in preparation for a quilt. I began laying out different colored ties to make an attractive pattern yet no matter how many times I changed the layout, I was not happy with it. The color was all wrong for me with all the blacks and navy blues from my father’s wardrobe. I am definitely a lover of blue and green but more in the spring tones. There were a few in his collection that would fit that color palette.

I also have a collection of vintage fabric scraps that belonged to my grandmother that I have saved for various sewing projects throughout the years. I decided to mix both my grandmother’s remnants with my father’s spring themed ties plus a few I purchased for a randomly designed quilt project.

I have never made a crazy quilt before. I decided to go to Youtube for some instructions, patterns and tips. My grandmother made a crazy quilt once. My mother has it at her condo. It is made from velvet and silk remnants. It is made from darker colors and is embroidered on top with feather stitches along the edges of the fabric remnants.

Here is what I have made so far. I now have created twelve squares. Each square took about an hour to make. It will take a while to create enough squares for a lap quilt.

I think it is a good thing to have a project like this to work on during the darker days of winter when it is dismal outside and it is easy to get the blues. Yet these blues and greens are a sure way to make the days seem less gray.

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