This was
my theme song for last summer…

became unemployed and homeless all in one weekend in the spring of
2013.  So in June I found myself on a
plane headed for Tennessee to spend the summer with some good friends working
as their nanny.  I also needed to clear
my head and figure out what was next.

 As I
drove around beautiful Franklin, Tennessee with its green cotton-ball trees,
Sidewalk Prophets’ song “Help Me Find It” always seemed to be on the radio
every time I needed it to be. 

It was
my story…

“I don’t know where to go from
here, it all used to seem so clear.”

”If there’s a road I should walk,
help me find it.”

 And the comfort of…

“For every
step, I’ve never been alone.”
“Even when it hurts You’ll have Your way, even in the valley I will say, with
every breath You’ve never let me go.”

 If I
was alone in the car I would sing it at the top of my lungs! But one evening
the song came on while I was driving the girls to dance, or to eat, or to a
friend’s house or to something.  I said,
“Oh, I LOVE this song.  It’s my theme
song.”  They asked me why, so I started
singing along with the words like I was telling them my story.  When it got to the words “You’ve never failed
before” I had to turn my head and fight back tears, because He never has.

before that phrase are the words, “I will wait for You.”  That’s the hard part!!  But I’m learning to “Be Still and Know
(remember) that He is God.”  These are not
new concepts for me.  It’s just when you
find yourself in a difficult situation you learn them all over again.

months later I’m still a bit in limbo. 
But, He’s never failed before! 
That’s all I need to know.  So
even though I don’t know where to go from here, I
will wait for Him.  And He won’t fail me
this time either!

Christmas Gifts

I think I ate a year’s supply of chocolate over the last two weeks. Have I mentioned I love chocolate? I must have because I received lots of it as gifts. I ate every last bit as well as all the fudge and other luscious nummy-ness at parties and on the counters at school and church. I will have to work doubly hard in the new year to work it all off (she says laughingly as another Hershey kiss is plopped in her mouth).

Chocolate is always a good gift for me no matter what the occasion. But one of my favorite gifts this Christmas was from the hugs of former students as they visited church over the holidays. Some of these kids I only see once or twice a year, so as they arrive home from college with diamond rings on their left hand ring finger I see how quickly time is passing by.

It was also a great gift to watch some of my current Junior High students as they sang in the adult church choir. As one 7th grade girl I’ve known since Kindergarten sang out her solo among all the grownups I got all misty eyed and couldn’t stop smiling.

Spending Christmas morning with my 17 year-old niece was another great gift. Watching her open her stocking, I pictured her as a little girl again with curly locks instead of the hair she works so hard now to straighten.

But, I have to say my most favorite of all, first place winning Christmas gift this year was the fact that my church partnered with a Presbyterian Church for a Christmas program mid-month and shared Christmas morning service with a Baptist congregation. Yowsa! Imagine that, different churches with differing theologies getting together to celebrate Jesus. Whee!!  Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” Amen and Hallelujah!

Question: What were some of your favorite gifts this Christmas?

A Lesson From My Teacher

Mrs. Sloan read IF YOU GIVE A MOUSE A COOKIE to our little cherubs the other day.  I love that book.  And obviously the publisher loved the popularity of the book as well, hence the additions of IF YOU GIVE A PIG A PANCAKE and IF YOU GIVE A MOOSE A MUFFIN.  I think the sequels are rather redundant and not quite up to par with the original so, for this blog’s purposes, I’ll stick with the little mouse guy.
If you’re not familiar with this classic allow me to lay it out for you.  The scene opens with a little girl giving a mouse a cookie which leads to him needing a glass of milk.  That plot line alone should tell you you’re in for an action packed thriller.  Anyway, one thing leads to another until finally, after an art project and a nap, the little guy is ready for another glass of milk.  And chances are, if you give him a glass of milk, he’s going to want a cookie to go with it.
I’ve adopted this methodology in my own life.  You see:
When I make my bed every day I notice the rest of my house (life) looks better too.  When I come home from work and my bed is made I hang up my clothes instead of just plopping them on the chair.  That makes my room all nice and tidy.  So if my room is organized I wash the dishes after dinner instead of just leaving them in the sink.  And if my kitchen is all sparkly fresh I want the bathroom to shine as well.  It’s kind of like an IF YOU GIVE A MOUSE A COOKIE style of housecleaning.
So see, everything you need to know you DO learn in Kindergarten (or Pre-K).
The idea of making my bed every day came from Dr. June Breninger.  Dr. June passed away this month.  She was a great teacher and example of Godly living to me and all the thousands of people who crossed her path. She will be greatly missed.
Question:  What are some simple life lessons you have learned along the way?

Salizar Street

I think I am landing on a Monday and Thursday posting schedule.  Now that I am actually up and running in the world of blogging I’m having fun.  It’s much better than the, “Just do it already,” hanging over my head.
I have been writing music since I was in Junior High.  I feel comfortable with that process.  I’ve written musical scripts for my students for years and have had great success with directing these productions in school and church.  But now that I am attempting to write my thoughts in memoir form I feel very intimidated.  So I’m “schooling” myself.  I’ve checked out books on the craft of writing from the fabulous Multnomah County Library, registered for writing workshops, devoured my 3 issues of Writer’s Digest Magazine and searched blogs and websites till my progressive lenses have glazed over.
I am finding one of the books I have checked out, OLD FRIEND FROM FAR AWAY by Natalie Goldberg, very helpful.  It has hundreds of writing exercises to free your memories deeply buried under layers of life, denial, or maybe just dementia.
One of her assignments was to write for 10 minutes using the phrase, “I Remember.”  Here is what I remember…
I remember dusk on Salizar Street in San Diego.  The ticking sound of Daddy’s red Valiant as it rounded the corner and entered the driveway announced his arrival home.  I remember being so mad at him when he chopped off the two lowest branches on our favorite front yard trees making it difficult to jump up and climb.  Tree climbing was my whole life back then. 
I remember finding a nickel on the ground and hopping on my pink Schwinn banana seat bike and travelling on my secret mission to the 7-11, left turn/right turn/left/right/left/right/left, to buy a piece of gum from the gumball machine out front.  I just knew all the big kids there thought I was neato because I rode my bike all by myself and had money for a treat.  After my expensive purchase I immediately rode back home.  Once there I couldn’t even enjoy the chewing process for fear I would be found out and get in trouble.
I remember the Hippie rock band rehearsing in their garage down the street.  I wondered if they were smoking that marijuana as they did their version of Three Dog Night.  I can still see the mom coming out of the front door and shooing us nosey neighborhood kids away.  I thought it was weird that those Hippies still lived with their mom.
I loved playing in the parking lot of the church at the end of the block singing the lyrics of Paul Revere and the Raiders at the top of my lungs.  I remember the sound of my roller skates against the pavement.
For some reason our family inherited a big 4×4 animal cage and kids from surrounding streets found out about it and came to play.  We would pack as many kids as we could inside and then roll them around the yard.  It was the most fun ever.  I remember how those same strangers kept interrupting our Girl Scout meeting the next day to see if we could come out and play again.  I thought we were so cool because of that stupid cage. 
Salizar Street; a great place to spend 7 years of my life, or was it 6.  Who knows, we were always moving.  But that street has more memoires than 10 minutes can hold. 
So there you go.  Give it a try.  Spend 10 minutes reminiscing with an “I remember” story. Let me know what you remember.HoHoHo