life beyond the well…


Leave a comment

Hope for Hubbard: A Love Initiative

“And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love.  But the greatest of these is love.” -1 Corinthians 13:13

Since the end of last year, I’ve been feeling pressed to find a way to demonstrate love to a group of people in Jacksonville.  I wasn’t quite sure what to do, and while I had some ideas, none of them “stuck”.  It wasn’t until the new year (literally, the beginning of this year) that I had clarity on what to do and how to move forward.

Which brings me to Hope for Hubbard: A Love Initiative.

My big goal: to increase the faith and hope of the women of Hubbard House by showing love on Valentine’s Day.

From their website:

The mission of Hubbard House is Every Relationship Violence-Free. Our priorities include providing safety for victims and their children, empowering victims, and social change through education and advocacy. Every woman, man, and child who comes to Hubbard House finds support, counseling, and education as they begin the difficult and dangerous transition to safety and peace. Victims of domestic violence and their children are not charged for the life-saving services they receive at Hubbard House.

Here’s what I want to do:

For Valentine’s Day 2016, I want to provide each of the 75 women who are currently finding shelter at Hubbard House with a token of love–specifically a silver or gold wishing bracelet from Stella & Dot along with an encouraging note.

AND I NEED YOUR HELP TO DO IT!

Will you partner with me to help increase the faith and hope of these women by purchasing a bracelet?

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Order the silver or gold wishing bracelet.
  • Include a note of encouragement in your order in the gift section (to be shared with the recipient).
  • Have your order mailed to me at the following address:
    • Erin Almond
    • KIPP Jacksonville Schools
    • 1440 McDuff Avenue North
    • Jacksonville, FL 32254
  • Believe God with me that this gift of love will plant seeds that increase the faith and hope of these women.

Are you in?  I sure hope so!

Please feel free to comment with your email address if you have any questions and I will reach out to you directly!

Thank you in advance for helping me show love to others this Valentine’s Day!

Be encouraged! Peace and Blessings!

Advertisements


Leave a comment

The Best Thing I Heard Yesterday

“Today, I am here to be the best that I can be. To lift up our community, to be the best that we can be. To make each second count. To make new mistakes and learn from them. To support my teammates in our mission to make the world a better place. I am proud of my hard work, but I am humble. I still have a lot of work to do. Above all, I am grateful for those who have made my life better. I am ready to get to work.”

Yesterday, my school welcomed our 5th grade scholars for new student orientation.  I’m always excited to meet these students.  The beginning of the year, especially at for students attending a new school creates such positive feelings and I love the excitement and anticipation of things to come.  The “Back to School” time is one of my favorite times of the year.

We did a small group activity with students to help them understand the meaning of our school pledge. As we worked on the second half of the pledge, my group began to discuss people who have made their life better and I heard a sweet voice say this:

“I’m grateful to God because He has made my life better.”

This simple, reflective testimony made my heart smile.  It’s going to be a great year.

Until next time…

Be encouraged! Peace and Blessings!


Leave a comment

Note to Self: On Vacation.

Dear Erin,

You need that vacation.  You need that time to unplug, to veg out, to read books endlessly, to watch HGTV on repeat, to laugh and love Preacherman, to live without being tied to your Outlook Calendar and the endless demands that create a home in the dungeon known as your work email account.

You need it. And it doesn’t make you weak to acknowledge that. You are a better woman, a better wife, a better steppie, a better friend, a better employee when you have taken the time to recharge your battery and make sure that you are overflowing with the things that really make your heart full.

You are not your work. Your work is what you do, it is not who you are. And while what you do is important, who you are matters more.  Are you taking the time to develop who you are so that you can be the best you for the people who need you and are there for you before 8am and after 5pm?  Are you making sure that you’ve put aside some time in your schedule for the things that you enjoy? What are you reading for pleasure? When was the last time you decorated your planner? Have you downloaded the many ideas in your brain into your blog?

Take the vacation. Self-care is not selfish, it’s necessary. Reflect, rest, rejuvenate- and then when it’s time to go back to life as usual, you’ll return as a better, stronger, healthier you.

Those people that you do life with deserve to have the best you.  And you deserve to be the best you.

Love,

You

 


Leave a comment

Today.

“Today, I am here to be the best that I can be. To lift up our community, to be the best that we can be. To make each second count. To make new mistakes and learn from them. To support my teammates in our mission to make the world a better place. I am proud of my hard work, but I am humble. I still have a lot of work to do. Above all, I am grateful for those who have made my life better. I am ready to get to work.”

Every morning, our students recite our school pledge, listed above. I’ve heard it so many times that I am also able to recite it. I have it posted in my office above my desk as one of many motivating reminders when I struggle to find or remember the meaning and purpose of what I do and who I serve.

Working with children is hard. Period. My office is nestled in a space where I have the joy of hearing our elementary students and our middle school students.  I never know from day to day what I might hear.  Sometimes it’s the joyful exuberance of second graders.  Other times it’s the patient instruction of our band directors. You just never know.

Earlier this week, I heard an exchange between a teacher and a student.  Apparently the student had engaged in some form of inappropriate behavior, and the teacher was insisting that the student apologize. The more that the teacher insisted on an apology, the more the student refused. Their voices escalated, and then I heard both the teacher and the student storm down the hall.

But it was what I heard later that really caught my attention.

Maybe 20-30 minutes later, I heard the same teacher and student having an exchange.  But in this case, the teacher was apologizing to the student for the way in which he spoke to him. While I couldn’t hear the entire exchange, I did hear the teacher say, “I apologize for speaking to you that way. I should not have done that…”

Teachers make mistakes too, ya’ll.  But what I love is that this teacher owned it, and showed his student the respect that we all deserve.  Even the smallest of us deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.

I won’t say that my school always gets it right. But I will say that each day the students AND adults in the building commit to that pledge, and our community is better because of it.

Until next time…

Be encouraged! Peace and blessings!


Leave a comment

Updates: Higher Definition Church

So, the last time I really talked about Higher Definition Church, was in this post, when we were 5 days away from launch…and that was 7 or 8 weeks ago.

We launched!

It was awesome.

Seriously, we successfully launched the church on March 15, 2015, and have been moving forward since.  Preacherman and I are so excited about how God is working in us and through us.  Every Sunday since launch, we have had people accept Jesus or rededicate their life to Him.  To God be the glory for things He has done.

A couple of things- you can access the podcasts to each of the messages through Preacherman’s website.  I encourage you to check it out, and share with others.  Because I love you so much, I’ve linked the messages below.  They’re good. For real, for real.

And- would you pray for us? It is our true desire to leave a footprint for the Kingdom in Jacksonville.  Pray for God’s guidance, for people to join us in this endeavor, for our families, for the families of those who have already partnered with us.  Pray for the city of Jacksonville- that hearts will continue to be open and receptive to the work that we have been led to do here.

Finally- connect with us! You can catch us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!

I am so grateful for your love, encouragement, and support…and when you’re in Jacksonville, I look forward to you joining us at church!

Be encouraged!  Peace and Blessings!


2 Comments

5 Days Away…

…from the launch of

HD LOGO BLUE LONG

Wow.

To God be the glory.

We are so excited.  Please partner with us in prayer this week as we prepare for the launch.  We are believing God for an awesome worship experience; that lives will be touched and changed and we will begin to have an impact for the Kingdom in Jacksonville.

Until next time…

Be encouraged! Peace and Blessings!

 


3 Comments

The Appointment

It’s not something that’s on my schedule.  If you were to check my iPhone and my Outlook calender, you’d notice that the space between 4:45pm and 5:00pm Monday-Thursday is always empty. It’s the end of the day, and during that time, I find myself doing two things: prepping for the next day and waiting.

Waiting for my appointment.

I don’t know when it became an “appointment”.  It kind of just happened.  She would get dismissed from her class and swing by my office before heading downstairs to get picked up.  Initially, it was just to ask a question about high school or college. But eventually it became more- the visits became more frequent and the questions (and conversations) became about life.  Real life stuff- the kind of stuff that can trip up even the smartest, most talented person if they aren’t equipped to deal with it.  She shares, and asks questions.  I listen- until she’s ready for me to ask questions or provide feedback.

After talking with Jesus, and praying with Preacherman, this is one of the best parts of my day. When working with students, you often wonder if you’re really impacting their life.  You wonder if what you do, what you say, how you teach and instruct is helping to move the needle; not just in the classroom, but outside of it as well.  Most days, I’m given this appointment- this 15 minutes to plant some seeds, water other seeds, and pull up some weeds in this student’s life.  It’s something that I cherish- and I’m grateful to God to be entrusted with this responsibility.  My life is better because of it- and I pray that hers is as well.

Until next time…

Be encouraged!  Peace and Blessings!


2 Comments

Respond with Grace…

I really struggle with rudeness and lack of manners.  Working with students, I realize that these often provide the opportunity for teachable moments.  But when I encounter these traits in adults, it is a harder pill to swallow.  Mainly because there’s an assumption that as an adult, one would know how to treat other adults.  But I’ve come to realize that isn’t always the case.  And sometimes people DO know better, but something has happened that has broken their filter, and their ability to appropriately manage their behavior and their response is in flux.

My solution: respond with grace.

This is NOT easy.  When I’m mistreated or wronged, my natural tendency is to want to respond in the same manner- even when I know better.  Even when I know that responding in the same way serves only to escalate a situation that doesn’t need to be escalated.  Even when I know that what is really needed in the situation is grace, mercy, and love.

But what does that look like?

That looks like: utilizing manners. Being overly respectful. Not raising my voice. Choosing to listen. Choosing my words carefully. Making sure the other person is (and feels) heard and respected.

I’ve learned that in MANY situations- their frustration isn’t about me.  It’s about a million other things that have brought them to this moment.  And since it’s not about me, I can choose to not take it personal and to respond in a way that is totally about them- by extending kindness.

I am a product of grace and mercy.  Every day, God pours these two over me, in conjunction with his love and as a result, I have been blessed.  In tough and challenging moments, I am given the opportunity to share this grace, mercy, and love to someone else.

Who could use some of your kindness, grace, mercy, and love today?

Be encouraged.  Peace and blessings.


Leave a comment

Recapping 2014

I can hardly believe how fast 2014 has passed.  I have such vivid memories of last New Year’s Eve, that I find it hard to understand that we’re at another one.  As I get older, I find this saying to be more and more true: “The days are long, but the years are short.”

This year has been nothing short of amazing.  Preacherman and I continue to fall more in love with Jacksonville, the people, and our hearts are broken for the city.  We are so excited to be here and to be used by God to reach others for the Kingdom.  Though there are times where we find ourselves missing North Carolina, our family, our friends, and all the great restaurants we love; we are enjoying the challenges of getting acclimated to a new city, making new friends, and finding new restaurants to love.  I’m finally starting to find my way around to the point of not requiring Google Maps directions everywhere I go.  A new grocery store has opened up closer to home that allows me to get fresh salmon weekly.  Our little one started kindergarten this year and continues to amaze us.  Small victories, but victories nonetheless.  We are truly blessed.

And now we gear up for 2015.  We are praying and believing for God to move in us and through us like never before.  2015 will be a landmark year in our lives, and I’m looking forward to watching things unfold!

Believing God’s best for you and yours in 2015!

Be encouraged!  Peace and blessings!


Leave a comment

Shop for a Cause: Higher Definition Church

Last week, I was blessed to host a Stella & Dot Jewelry Party as a fundraiser for the church Preacherman and I will be launching in 2015.  Generally, hosting parties is slightly outside of my comfort zone, but I was excited to welcome some new friends into our home and to invite them to help us launch Higher Definition Church.

I’m excited to extend that same invitation to you.  Until January 8, 2015, you can shop the online trunk show, and a portion of the sales will be donated to Higher Definition Church.  While it may be a little late for Christmas shopping, it’s a great opportunity to get an early start for Valentine’s Day!  Also, if you know someone who has a birthday early into the new year (like my mom, who has a birthday on New Year’s Day), you can go ahead and knock out that present as well!  There are a ton of pieces I love- scarfs, necklaces, bracelets, bags– I wish I could make it all mine!

I’m so grateful for Laura, the Stella & Dot stylist (who is also a member of our launch team), for offering to put this together for our church!

Peace and Blessings!