life beyond the well…


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Wait, it’s December?

Y’all, I CANNOT get over how fast 2014 has flown by.  How is it December 1? I still feel like there’s so much left in this year- so much that I’m still believing God to do; so much that I have left to do.

Preacherman and I just wrapped up one of the best Novembers on record.  We celebrated our anniversary, went to a Lecrae concert, headed to North Carolina for Homecoming at UNC, enjoyed time with family and friends, worshipped with friends at Hungry Church, ate entirely too much for Thanksgiving…and reveled in how much God has blessed us with this amazing life.

We’re starting December in Birmingham, Alabama, attending a conference on church-planting.  We are so excited to be launching Higher Definition Church in 2015, and there is MUCH work to be done.  Nevertheless, we are working, praying, fasting, and believing.  There are truly great things to come!

This December won’t be any less busy than November- but I am excited for this season that we are in.  Though we often feel stretched and pulled, those times force us to lean in to God, to trust where He has us and where He is taking us.  This journey, this life, is such an incredible gift.

Anyone else surprised that it’s December?  What are you grateful for in this season?

Peace and Blessings!


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Celebrating TWO

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Dear Preacherman,

It’s been two years.  Why is the time going by so fast?  At this rate, we will have to live to at least our 120 years, so that I can feel that I will have had sufficient time with you.

You are amazing; more than I bargained for, beyond what I imagined, the answer to my prayers.  Thank you for your love and your faithfulness, your leadership and your kindness, your relentless drive to pursue and fulfill God’s purpose for your life. You are absolutely one of the best people that I know and I am so glad to call you mine.

In these short two years of marriage, we have changed jobs and addresses; gained and lost weight, traveled to quite a few states, partially eaten our way around Jacksonville, figured out how to make salmon in a way that rivals Vin Rouge, gone to our first professional football game (and made it on the big screen), and shared more laughs than I can remember, nor that I ever want to forget.

Year three is sure to be an exciting one for #TeamAlmond and I’m while I’m excited about the things to come, I’m even more grateful that I get to face them all with you. Love you to the moon and back, Boss.

E5


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The False Report

As I mentioned, Preacherman had been having some undiagnosed difficulties with his car.  Though we had our suspicions on the issue, and trying different potential solutions, we eventually needed to call in some reinforcements.

So, after a particularly challenging situation, we called in some reinforcements (in this case, AAA) and solicited their help on resolving the issue.  And after they provided their report to us, we began to take the appropriate action.  Imagine our surprise (and frustration) when we realized that we had been given a misdiagnosis and a false report.

What we thought was a major issue, really was just a minor hiccup that, with the appropriate knowledge, we could have resolved for ourselves; saving us a significant amount of time and money.  It’s so incredibly frustrating to be in that position, knowing that charting your course of action based on incorrect information has resulted in unnecessary expenditure of time and money; neither of which you can recover.

In this situation, there wasn’t much more that we could have done to avoid the false report.  But every situation isn’t like that.  Oftentimes, we are fed information from a variety of sources, and we have the opportunity to choose what we believe and on which information we will base our decisions.  As believers, our decisions should be rooted in our faith in God and our trust in His word.  We should be seeking to make decisions based off of HIS report and not that which we see around us.  We must guard our hearts and our minds and seek Him daily for the clarity we need to proceed in boldness with faith.

“Whose report will you believe? We shall believe the report of the Lord.” 

Be encouraged!  Peace and Blessings!


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Divinely Delayed

I really hate being late.  Well, let me not say that…because there are definitely areas of my life where I struggle to be on time.  Just keeping it real.

So what I really mean is that I hate for my routine to be interrupted, thus causing me to be late(r).  I know that it happens, and generally there’s nothing that I can do about it, so I’m good about rolling with the punches…after I get over the initial frustration.

Today was one of those days where my routine was interrupted.  Preacherman was having car trouble, so I had to take him to work.  The challenge is that he has to be at work an hour before I do…so my entire morning routine was thrown off by having to take him to work and struggle through the early morning traffic.  Adding insult to injury was the fact that my car was in DIRE need of gas.  I mean, to the point that I was praying that we would make it to his job, and I was REALLY praying that I would make it back home without having to call AAA because I was stranded on the side of some Jacksonville road.

After making it back home (thanks God!), getting dressed, and making it out of the house in a decent time to head to work (after stopping at the gas station), I received a phone call from a friend who I haven’t talked to in a while.  She’s struggling.  Going through some major stuff.  And while I’ve been praying for her, I haven’t had a chance to connect with her on the phone in a while.  So, it was good to talk to her FOR REAL and be able to encourage her in her situation.

On the way to work, I processed all that happened.  Had I not been delayed by Preacherman’s car issues, I would have been on my regular schedule and would have missed the opportunity to connect with a friend who so desperately needed to be encouraged and reminded of God’s love for her in the midst of her challenges.  And I would have missed God’s reminder to slow down and enjoy His delays because He’s always at work.

It’s so easy to be frustrated when our routine is interrupted.  I encourage you, in the midst of those interruptions to seek God.  What is it that He is trying to tell you?  How, in those moments, does He desire to use you?  I’m grateful for God’s nudging and gentle reminders of how He is always at work.  I’m grateful for being used to encourage someone else in their situation. And though I was initially frustrated, I can honestly say that I’m grateful for this morning’s divine delay.

Until next time…

Be encouraged!  Peace and Blessings!

 


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31- I Know A God

And just like that, another year has passed.  Today, I turn 31.

I don’t really know what to do with 31.  I think that after 25, you just have the big celebrations for the years that are multiples of 5.  So…that means I have a few years to get ready for 35.

But what do I do with 31?

I feel really blessed and really grateful.  That has everything and nothing to do with my birthday at the same time.  But as I reflect on this year, what it has meant for Preacherman and our family, I think of this song, written by our friend Jordan.  Here are the lyrics:

“I just wanna sing about His glory.  I just wanna speak to you about how mighty He is.  I just wanna praise Him because He’s worthy.  I just want to live according to His will…Words can’t express my God and His ways. I give You all of the glory and praise.  Your name above all other names.  Your name above all names.  I know a God who reigns over everything, won’t change when everything around me does.  My faithful God loves me more than anything when I haven’t done anything to deserve His love…”

If there’s anything that I’m confident in, it is that I know this God of whom my friend sings so beautifully and passionately.  And I’m so grateful for His steadfast love and faithfulness.

Be encouraged!  Peace and Blessings!

A Birthday Request:  This year will be huge for Preacherman and our family, as we prepare to launch Higher Definition Church.  We are committed to changing lives and hearts for God across the city of Jacksonville, but we need your help!  Please remember us in prayer as we branch out to do the work that we have been called to do.  Please also consider donating to help us meet our fundraising goal!  We are extremely grateful for your love and support!


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Green is for Grandma

I hated the color green as I was growing up, and it was all her fault.  She loved it in the most ridiculous, passionate way.  She had green EVERYTHING.

Green sweaters.

Green dresses.

Green pants.

Green church suits.

Green church shoes (to match the green church suits).

Green LEATHER outfits (yes, outfits- as in more than one).

I should also mention that it didn’t matter which SHADE of green it was.  If it was in the green family, it was good as gold. I didn’t much mind the green for her. I mean, you like what you like.  But what I DID mind was the fact that she spread the green to us by way of our GREEN summer camp shirts.  You see, for a huge chunk of my childhood, my grandparents ran the Harriet Tubman Summer Day Camp in the basement of their church.  And we had camp shirts that we had to wear–and our camp shirts were green. AND, since my grandparents ran the camp, that meant there was no shortage of green shirts for me to wear. I could never ruin my shirt. I could never lose it. I couldn’t forget it. There was always a green shirt for me.

But now, things are different. They’ve changed. And I’ve grown and changed, the color green has become less of a subject of my distaste and more of a comfortable and familiar association with someone who I loved deeply, and who deeply loved me.

Now when I see the color green, I am reminded of faith, family, strength, dignity, purpose- all things that she embodied. I am reminded of the value and necessity of education. I am reminded of the responsibility of serving others and lifting as you climb, lest no person be left behind.

Green is for Grandma.

In honor of my grandmother, Mrs. Mildred Eleanor Roberts-Davis

August 20, 1935 – July 8, 2006

 


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Book Review: NIV Life Journey Bible

I love reading the Bible. It’s hard. It challenges me. It changes me. It pushes me to grow in my relationship with God and with others.  While I have a small NIV Thinline Bible that I carry with me to church (and I also use the Youversion app on my phone quite frequently), I love having a bigger reference bible that can provide greater help in navigating life and growing my faith.

Enter the NIV Life Journey Bible.  It’s already in my favorite translation (NIV), but what I really love about this bible are the practical inserts spread throughout–inserts on family, relationships, grief; with an overall theme of being emotionally healthy.  I think that this is hugely important, and in my own experience with church, I think that sometimes things can be so overly spiritual that there is not much attention paid to some of the real issues that people have.  Being emotionally healthy and learning how to be in healthy relationship is hugely important, and having a bible that highlights those principles as you go through it, is awesome.

I think this bible is excellent and I would recommend it to others. However, I would especially recommend it to new believers, people who enjoy devotionals, and people who value emotional and relationship health in conjunction with their spiritual health.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for a review.  All thoughts and opinions are mine


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First Day

It seems like every year the summer goes by faster and faster.  As a child, I enjoyed summers- they gave me time to read endlessly, play outside for hours, travel to see family members, go to camps to meet more new people.  Summer was a source of endless adventure, and I looked forward to it.

But…I also looked forward to going back to school.  I enjoyed the routine, I enjoyed the environment, and perhaps more than anything, I enjoyed learning.

I have spent all of my professional career in education, and I can honestly say that I STILL get the same emotions about back to school.  As much as I “needed” a break and a slower pace, after a little bit of travel and some extended quality time with Preacherman, I was ready to see the kiddos again.

Today, they were back.  And there’s absolutely no feeling like the first day of school.  This morning, I had the privilege to meet so many wonderful members of the Class of 2022.  This morning, I met so many little faces of hope, of possibility, of excitement; and I got overwhelmed with the same feeling I get every year when working with students: gratitude.

I am grateful that God called me to work in education.

I am grateful to have a job in education that I love and that contributes to my life’s purpose.

I am grateful for parents who trust me with their children.

I am grateful for previous students and parents who have shown me how to be better.

I am grateful for my current students who continue to defy statistics and prove what is possible.

I am grateful to work alongside (and to have previously worked with) some of the most caring, gifted, and talented educators.

Working education is tough. The days are long, but the years are short. It’s hard work, gut-wrenchingly tough work, that often times keeps you up far too late, or startles you awake far too early.  But it is SO worth it.  The time and energy spent investing in these lives is never wasted, and it is never in vain.  I can’t always see the results of the seeds that are planted, or being watered; but I can trust and believe God for the increase- in them and in me.

Day one down. 189 or so to go.

Cheers to the new year!


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Summer Reading 2014

I don’t think it’s any secret that I love to read.  It’s been one of my favorite pastimes for as long as I can remember.  I’m excited to have some time to read this summer, and I plan on tackling the following books:

  1. The Fault in Our Stars
  2. Lost at School
  3. Simple Church
  4. What’s Best Next
  5. Handle With Care

I heard many good things about The Fault in Our Stars from my students, and some of them have it has their summer reading book for high school.  With the moving just being released, I figured that now was as good a time as ever to read the book.  I’m about 4 chapters in and I’m enjoying it so far.

For professional development, we’ve been asked to read Lost at School.  I have yet to start it (hey, I still have a month or so before it needs to be finished), but I’m looking forward to it.  I’m very interested in understanding how we can improve school discipline for our students AND our schools.  I hope that it will be a refreshing perspective.

Preacherman has read Simple Church and he loves it.  As we continue in our church-planting process, he asked me to read it to gain a new understanding and perspective on how church is done, and how we can disciple others.  His excitement about the book has me excited to read it as well.

It is a personal goal for me to be better about managing my time.  My hope is to develop strong systems this summer that can carry me into the next school year in a good way.  I just started What’s Best Next, and I’m already getting some good wisdom.  I’ll be sure to share what I’ve learned when I finish!

Preacherman and I believe that it’s important to keep growing our marriage, and that we can do that by reading and learning together.  To that end, we are reading Handle With Care together, so that we can take the time to reflect, share, and process the book at the same time.  The book is written by our pastor, and we look forward to seeing what other nuggets of wisdom he has to share through this book.

So, that’s what’s on my bookshelf for the summer!  What are you reading?

Until next time…

Be encouraged!  Peace and Blessings!

 


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Screeching Halt

The title of this blog describes exactly how my school year ended.  Loud and suddenly.

For most of the year, I’ve worked diligently alongside teachers and other support staff.  But since I work directly with 8th grade students and transitioning them to high school, the end of the year gets to be crazy as we plan events to celebrate their hard work.  I actually felt like I was reliving the planning of my wedding when planning our 8th Grade Awards Banquet and Dance, as well as our 8th Grade Promotion Ceremony.  My office became overwhelmed with vases, flowers, table cloths, table tents, seating charts, food orders, and many other things.

So for the last two weeks of the year, I felt like slightly crazy.  And then, it was over.

This past Monday, I sat in my office almost stunned by the quiet and the lack of busy.  It’s not that I didn’t have things to do–I had (and still have) several things to do, but it was the startling transition of going from doing everything right now to having the time to organize your day (and do important things like eat lunch and drink water).

Now I’m in summer mode–working diligently and slowly starting to restore balance to my work life and to my personal life.  Preacherman is in summer vacation mode, which has him much more relaxed, because he’s able to devote a significant chunk of time to church-planting activities.  We are excited to enjoy our first summer in Jacksonville, and look forward to meeting people, building our launch team, and growing together.

I’m grateful for the time to recharge and reflect, as well as move forward on some other projects.  I have much that I want to share here as well- I miss writing and processing my learning and growth with my few faithful readers here.  Thanks for sticking with me.  I’ll be back soon- I promise.

Until next time…

Be encouraged! Peace and Blessings!

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