Tuesday, November 27, 2007

My Top 10 Reasons to be Thankful

10. God has given me more than I have ever needed

9. There are only 17 more days until Christmas break

8. My bible study gals haven't kicked me out for missing two weeks in a row

7. My flair for the dramatic finally has an outlet - Thank you Ed!

6. God continues to teach this old dog new tricks

5. A new baby is on the way for May

4. I have a sister who constantly puts up with my neurotic phone calls

3. I have the most adorable son in the universe and he says, "Love you too"

2. I have a husband who loves me more than I often deserve

1. God loves me, even though I am not always loveable

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Many times my job as a 5-8 grade Language Arts teacher leaves me questioning God's calling in my life. Did he really call me to deal with eye rolls, reluctant discussers who talk non-stop until I ask them a question, and piles of papers to grade?

Yes, He did. On Tuesday, he showed me why. My 7th grade class is, well mine. I am their homeroom teacher so we start and end the day together plus I teach them three other classes. We are close. A few weeks ago the principal asked if the class would like to plan and run the Thanksgiving chapel for the whole school. I was scared but the kids enthusiastically yelled yes. And they did it. They picked songs, and song leaders. They picked what each class would present. They picked the order of the service. They picked who would be the master of the service. They wrote two dramas.

Tuesday was a day where God showed me the joy of my job. Watching their faces as class after class presented their blessings they were so proud of what they had put together, and my heart was so full of joy at their accomplishment.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Gut Check

Sunday church is a place I love to go. But I admit that I do not always garner a huge amount from the messages. This Sunday I was so happy to be in church with Melissa, Kim, Eric and Emily. I was thinking about how great it was to have them in Minnesota and the fun we were going to have at the football game that afternoon.

Then Mark Spencer, the community life pastor, began to preach. The first words out of his mouth, "It is not just the words you speak that affects a room but the power of your presence." Uh, okay. Those words stuck with me. And as he continued preaching my mind began to race. What affect does my presence have on a room and is the affect what I want it to be? I fear it is not what I want it to be. In truth, I fear that my presence brings annoyance at my grousing or dread at having to deal with negativity or one of my comments on something.

Then God hit me again. As Mark was making his point about good advisers (affectors) and bad ones, he said the difference is, "Do I see this person as God sees them?" Oh my! Again my mind was racing. Do I see my students as God sees them? Do I see my annoying coworkers as God sees them? Do I see the people who cut me off in traffic as God sees them? Do I see anybody as God sees them?

As I try to live in a state of rejoicing always this challenges me. I can only pray that God opens my heart and my eyes to view those in my path as he does. I can only pray that God opens my heart and eyes to the affect I have on a room and pray for strength to change what needs to be changed.

To hear Mark's message go to: http://www.faithcovenant.org/pastmessages/pastmessages.php
The message is titled: Encouragement

Finding joy,

Friday, November 16, 2007

Like a Child

Anticipation has always been a problem with me. As a child my dearly loved, older sister and I would hunt down our Christmas presents or we would just unwrap them to get a peek and then rewrap them. On my wedding day, the anticipation of seeing my groom was too much so we snuck in a secret meeting that morning when he dropped off some food and my mom was getting her hair done. Just a quick hello was all I needed to get me to the ceremony.

Tomorrow the Fonder family descends from Nevada. I have been anticipating this event for months now. My sister-in-law is one of my favorite people, she always had the right thing to say when her brother, my husband, is antagonizing her. She is the mother of my lovely niece Emily and my adorable, adventurous nephew Eric. Plus she is bring Kim, who has never met his nephew. Plus she wants to cook all week with me. I love cooking with someone.

Two years is a long time between visits in any family. And I feel like a child before Christmas. Part of me wants to run to bed so I can wake up and it will be tomorrow and part of me wants to keep cleaning so the house is perfect. Either way we are going to have such a fabulous week together I can hardly stand it.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Note: My connection has been reestablished! Yeah!

As a teacher I teach lessons all day long. How to draw a theme out of story. How to analyze a character for stereotypes. How to figure out which word is the verb. How to read and understand. How to write a poem using only seven words.

As a teacher one would think I would be a master at learning lessons. On the contrary I realized the other day that I am probably one of the most difficult people to teach. Oh the frustration God must feel when dealing with me. I look back on 2007 and think, "Really, it took me a whole year to figure out I need to let you do my worrying for me. I need to let you have control."

Thank you, dear patient Father, for being a diligent teacher. May you grant that I too would be as diligent with the students in my care.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Being dependent on something is usually not a good thing and the past three work days have shown me why. I am on a wireless hub at work. For the past three days my wireless hub has not worked. Essentially this means I am unable to do anything. I cannot check email, I cannot enter or check grades, I cannot even access my lovingly created lessons from the server. I have struggled with finding the joy the last three days and I grow more and more behind. This morning I prayed that God would simply make it work so my hope is that the tech guy will figure it out so I can do my job.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Robbed of joy?

Elijah turned two last Monday and with his new status as a "Big Guy" came a new responsibility, giving up his beloved nuk. As a mom, the last thing I wanted to do was rob my son of joy. He loved his nuk for the car ride in the early morning and at nigh-night. I know it brought him joy to happily suck away and twirl his hair.

Friday was the big day and I steeled myself for a hard weekend, but a suprising thing happened. My joy-filled son remained joyful. He talked all the way home, for 30 minutes, about his day and a trip to the pumpkin patch three weeks prior and about Siah coming to YaYa's house and about the sounds animals make and on and on. At bed time he simply went to bed.

So at two loosing something that brings you joy means you adjust. I think there is a lesson in there for me. A woman I deeply love and admire reminded me today that having joy and being happy are two different things because they come from two different places. Joy comes from a confidence in who you are while happiness comes from circumstances. Elijah has joy because he has confidence in who he is; he can find happiness is a million places.

Thanks, son!


Really, always?

In December of 2006 Chris challenged me to find a word to live by for 2007. I love a great challenge and so I set out to find the perfect word to epitomize the new year. I had just recently heard a sermon on 1 Thessalonians 5:16 and felt joy was a great word. Who doesn't like to be happy?

Life was great so joy seemed like an easy word to live up to. Little did I know that God had a challenge for me. "Let's see if you really mean it," was the response God had for my flippant choice. Over the course of 2007 I learned to look for joy in the strangest and smallest places.

Joy is what we are commanded to have always, in all situations, even the ones we think stink. My journey with joy is ongoing.